Pride and Taxes

During a discussion about Social Security, a happy Obamist suggested that those who have earned $1.0 million over the course of their working lives should not get social security payments.

“But they paid money into the system,” said I.

“But they’re rich” was the reply.

Let me add that I detest Social Security. It’s a ponzi scheme. I would happily cut my losses on it if we could vote the thing out of existence today. But that’s not likely to happen. Like all government programs, it will continue to operate in a faux-reality in which the government prints money to make payments to people to compensate them for taking their money in the first place and spending it on welfare queens and sub-par health care.

But if we’re going to all play along and pretend this is working, then fine. That’s the social compact we’ve made so let’s get to it. So, the “but they’re rich” comment annoyed me because rich people shouldn’t be forced to pay into a system, then have that money go directly to others, and then just take a loss on it. That’s not fair.

The more salient point, however, is that just because a person is “rich” by your definition doesn’t mean that they should be punished.

My ancestors, and probably yours too, came to this country because it was a place they could be more than their neighbors. They escaped the bloody fists of Castro and Khrushchev to find a place they could work hard, and earn some money, and live on their own terms.

But that place no longer really exists. It is a place where making money warrants persecution, where because you have become successful, you are automatically guilty, and have been elected to pay more into the general pot “because you can.” It is a place where your wealth is thought to belong to the commons, for other’s needs to take precedence over your own.

This has got to stop. I don’t know how to stop it. I am not, after all, a community organizer drafting my own little utopia and hoping others follow. All I want is to be left alone. I want to keep the billions I’ve earned with Cara Ellison Corporation and not have to give any to anyone else. I accept that there are things we need. Roads. Policemen. Clean water plants. Sewage. And a standing military. I’m happy to pay for those. In fact, I bet you would be hard pressed to find anyone who doesn’t want to pay for those things.

But I don’t want to pay for your health care, your house, your new car, your abortion, a new airport in Minnesota, and for politicians to fly around in private jets. This is absurd. You don’t own me and I don’t own you — you have no moral claim to my wealth and more than my body.

If people would just take care of themselves, the deficit would plummet overnight. I started to think about this very closely, pondering why people won’t get a job, why they believe the government would take better care of them then they can.

I think it’s pride. I think it really comes down to people not having that thing inside them that tells them they are significant, worthy, and capable. I think it was more common in years past, and slowly parents became more interested in their children avoiding pain instead of taking pride in accomplishment. Thus we have a “self-esteem movement” where everyone gets a trophy and thus real accomplishment isn’t recognized. For the kids, the special ones who run the fastest never feel special, but for the masses of others, they never have to know the feeling of defeat.

If it were up to me I’d slash programs for under achieving kids and dump that money into the gifted and talented programs. The different kids – the very bright – should be encouraged. They should not be dragged down to mediocracy.

Likewise, the USA should not be dragged down to the level of Cuba. The USA is special. We need to keep it special – and I think the best way to do that is to become a strong, accomplished individual. You’ll be taxed and torn down, assumed to be evil or criminal. But it’s better than the alternative of assuming the masses are right – that accomplishment is bad, and in mediocracy, you will find a golden trophy.

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  1. “welfare queens and sub-par health care”….it is not the welfare recipients who live in downtown DC who worry me most, it is the individuals who live in Bethesda and Chevy Chase (two wealthy DC suburbs) who get their income directly or indirectly from the government and are hence incented to vote, and to use their influence, to expand government without limit. Executives of not-quite-public-not-quite private entities like Fannie and Freddie, lobbyists (the demand for whose services always goes up along with government overreach), executives of “non-profit” organizations which derive much of their funding from government while enjoying tax breaks, etc etc…in addition to federal employees themselves, who are now paid considerably more than most people recognize. See my post paying higher taxes can be very profitable for more on this.

  2. ilovecress says:

    It’s a fundamental difference of ideology.

    I guess I am what you would term a liberal. And I do believe in taxing ‘the rich’. But let me explain. I’m going to try to not come across as argumentative RTG (!) – and if I do, it’s not intended. I just want to put across the other side of the argument, and try and avoid the uselss sniping that pervades blogs across the internets.

    The crux of the argument is that if society as a whole is better off, then individuals are better off. The only way for that to happen is for the ones who are in a good situation to help out those that aren’t. Taxes are simply the mechanism for that. It’s the contract you have with the society that says “I’ll pay my share to make sure everyone is basically ok. In return (if I am a rich person) my colleagues and employees are healthy and more productive, kids are better educated, and the poverty levels are lower. This means that I live in a safer, cleverer society, which is something that I would like.”

    If people would just take care of themselves, the deficit would plummet overnight.

    See, I see this as unrealistic. Some people cannot take care of themselves. Be it through health or developmental problems, or just dumb luck.

    If I get hit with medical bills that I can’t pay, and lose my job, it is in society’s best interests to get me back on my feet and being productive as soon as possible. So when that did happen – and I got unemployment benefit for a couple of months – I’d see that as money well spent. The alternative is that I drop out of society and become unproductive. Which costs society way more.

    It’s kind of like society’s insurance for itself.

    I think it’s pride. I think it really comes down to people not having that thing inside them that tells them they are significant, worthy, and capable.

    And here is the other difference in opionion. I don’t see the problem as a lack of pride. I see it as a lack of opportunity for a way out. When I was on unemployment benefits, it was so that I could afford to live whilst getting a job. Without those benefits, I’d most likely be a fisherman on a remote scottish island right now – rather than a productive member of society, paying my share into the ponzi scheme, so that another 21 year old liberal arts major can get that helping hand and do the same thing.

    If it were up to me I’d slash programs for under achieving kids and dump that money into the gifted and talented programs. The different kids – the very bright – should be encouraged. They should not be dragged down to mediocracy.

    Can’t we do both? Rather than dividing the next generation into the clever people and the left behind people – wouldn’t it be much better to have a new generation of clever people and geniuses? I’m definately up for paying for that.

    So, yes, the rich paying more than the poor isn’t ‘fair’. But my way of looking at it is that it is the price to pay for living in a society that allows me to be so affluent. It’s not a hippie thing – it’s entirely selfish. I want to make sure that the kid who in the future will invent the hover car doesn’t quit high school to flip burgers. Or the guy who will go on to invent the teleporter doesn’t quit halfway through to pay his hospital bills. Or that the school down my road doesn’t turn out a load fo drop outs who make their money selling drugs.

    Is it a perfect solution. No. Does it work all the time? Undoubtedly not. But that’s the way I see the ‘tax the rich’ argument.

  3. hey how many sleeping pills does it take to kill myself? I don’t need this informant now, but it might come in handy later, like if get fired and attacked again. I make 8.25/hr. I don’t want to die, but i can not afford to live. I own 30,000 dollar because my one goal in life was to get a BA. I alway hating those girl got preggo at 15,16, 17, because their lives would be so hard due to dumb choices, I did not chose to have CP, live is not fair i get that but it is even: we will all die. I rather die to save money. I don’t like guns. or if anyone knows how i could poison myself that would helpful , as well.
    oh and Cara how long did you teach disable kids before you knew we all are stupid, and unworthily to be in school? you compared students who are not bright to poor people, so you look on down students with learning problems, not bad kids, because you look down on poor people. I just want to say Laziness is not a disability. I work my ass off to get c’s and tried to kill myself because thought i would not gradated. Why can’t you compared poor people to guys who don’t know what they are doing in bed, even throught i’m a virgin i know there is little excuse for that!
    But i solve the taxes problem,: if you mAKE LESS THAAN 50,000 AYR , YOU PAY 10 MILLION IN TAXES. IF YOU HAVE 10 MILLON YOU PAY $.002. EVERY BODY WINS!

  4. I have more to say, but i think just say sorry it sucks being different but Able in a world were lazy and disabled are equal and interchangeable.

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