Socialism or democracy – we choose

Who should pay taxes and how much of their income should they pay in taxes?  What is fair?  Should everyone pay the same percentage of their income in taxes, or should the percentage increase as their income increases?  If everyone paid the same percentage of their income in taxes, the more you earned the more taxes you would pay.  That seems more than fair.  Our government thinks not.  Our government believes those who earn more should pay not only more in total taxes but also pay a higher percentage of their income as well. 

Is that rewarding hard work and success or is that punishing success?  What is wrong with earning more money?  Would this tax system be compatible with our Founding Fathers vision of America’s opportunities?  Or is this the spirit of European socialism?   

According to the IRS, in 2006 the top 5% of wage earners paid 60% of the total federal taxes but only had 37% of the total pre-tax income.  The wealthiest 5% of our country paid twice their share of taxes.  Is that not enough?  Is this inequity rewarding democratic opportunities or is it socialist redistribution of wealth?  Did our Founding Fathers expect the government to redistribute the wealth?  Does the Constitution guarantee equality in lifestyle or does the Constitution guarantee freedom and opportunity? President Reagan observed, “The federal government has taken too much tax money from the people …and too much liberty with the Constitution.”

Our politicians ignore the Constitution, massaging it to say what they want.  An example of the government overstepping their Constitutional authority and “sharing the wealth” was when they were complicit with lenders getting people home mortgages for which they did not qualify.  The result of this “sharing the wealth;” when the economy faltered, the people could not make their payments, and the dominos toppled.  They set up the economy for failure because they knew best.  Pure socialism.  President Reagan summed it up saying, “Government’s first duty is to protect the people, not run their lives.”

The Founding Fathers never intended for the government to fix all society’s ills, all the inequities of life, all the unfairness in life.  They never intended nor advocated for socialist redistribution of wealth.  Is life fair?  No.  Will life ever be fair?  No.  Can government fix that?  No.  Should government try to fix that?  No. 

So, when is enough, enough?  Always demanding more of our money, is the government rewarding hard work?  Or, are they removing the incentives for success, replacing the American dream with the American nightmare; dismantling the democracy our Founding Fathers gifted us with their blood?  The government’s reward for hard work and earning significant sums of money is a punishing, progressive income tax system.

My oldest brother graduated high school at age 16, in 1947.  That summer my parents put him on a train to Lincoln, Nebraska to attend college.  My parents could not help him financially.  They were too poor.  My father shook my brother’s hand and said, “Good luck son.”  In our family that meant, “You are on your own.  Do well and make your parents proud.”  At age 16 he was on his own.  He worked tirelessly and paid his way through college, medical school and completed a residency in dermatology.  He created an international business in hair transplantation, pioneering that medical specialty.  Yes, the Bosley you see on television discussing hair transplantation is my big brother. 

Does my brother owe the government a larger percentage of his income than the rest of us do?  Is that the reward for working 12 hour days for decades creating his business?  Is that the American dream our Founding Fathers foresaw and promised? Why should he pay a higher percentage of his income in taxes than the rest of us do?  Shouldn’t we all pay the same percentage, those earning more paying more total dollars in taxes?  Isn’t that enough?  Do those who achieve great success need to be punished? Should the government decide the maximum we can earn and then punitively tax us if we dare exceed that limit?  That is exactly what they are doing. 

What do our politicians promise?  Money, never ending money.  They promise socialism.  They promise to pervert the Constitution and morph government into the role of taking care of everyone from birth to death; no need for us to take care of ourselves.  And they expect 5% of the people to pay for the rest of us.  In Democracy in America, Alexis de Tocqueville warned us saying, “Democracy in America is doomed when the people learn to vote themselves money from the public trough.”  Politicians.  Money.  Never ending money.

Equality in lifestyle requires socialism with redistribution of wealth.  Equality in opportunity requires democracy with rewards for hard work.  We choose.

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