What’s Wrong With Spreading The Wealth?

That is the question that The New Republic asks, and attempts to answer. After six paragraphs of leadup and discussing John McCain, the writers finally get to their defense of spreading the wealth

But let’s get back to this apparently controverisal phrase–which, I gather, is going to remain prominent in McCain’s campaign rhetoric over the next few days. What, exactly, is so awful about “spreading the wealth”?

Government performs certain essential functions, from education to national defense. It must raise money to do that. Charging everybody the same tax rate might sound simple. But it would actually impose a much harsher burden on the poor, since they end up spending much–if not all–of their incomes on the basic necessities of life, such as food, clothing, and shelter. As one famous 18th century philosopher argued,

“It is not very unreasonable that the rich should contribute to the public expen[s]e, not only in proportion to their revenue, but something more than in that proportion.”

Another rationale for progressive taxation is the fact that random chance has profound effects on everybody’s financial well-being. (A guy named John Rawls once wrote a thing or two about this.) Mandating economic equality–i.e., carrying out a truly socialist agenda–would obviously be wrong. But there are compelling moral and economic arguments for asking the fortunate to pay a little more in taxes, in order to blunt the influence of chance on people’s lives.

That’s it. That’s what they got. The famous 18th century philosopher is Adam Smith, a name that probably a good chunk of people may have heard, but, with todays education, do not know what he stood for.

Anyhow, government has certain functions, and some people are luckier then others, so, we need to redistrubute success. That is their argument, which, to be honest, is more then any other liberal/progressive outlet has attempted. Most of them have focused on Joe the Plumber, as we all know.

Yes, government has certain functions, but, one of them, per the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, is not to play Robin Hood. It is not there to punish success. Yes, Article 1, Section 8 gives Congress the power to lay taxes, but, nowhere does the Constitution suggest that people who work hard, do well, and succeed should have to pay a disproportionate portion of the fruits of their labor to people who sit on their buts watching TV most of the day.

Should we help our fellow citizens? Sure. Works a whole lot better when it is handled by State government, local government, and local organizations, such as churches. But we should not help at the expense of others, performed at the barrel of a jail cell.

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11 Responses to “What’s Wrong With Spreading The Wealth?”

  1. Silke says:

    Teach said:… nowhere does the Constitution suggest that people who work hard, do well, and succeed should have to pay a disproportionate portion of the fruits of their labor to people who sit on their buts watching TV most of the day.

    Teach, what’s wrong with people who make less than $32,000 a year paying 15% and those who make over $360,000 a year paying 35%?

  2. Silke says:

    Teach, could you please explain why the numbers I quoted above are not fair?

  3. manbearpig says:

    Why are they not fair? Why should citizen B be penalized because they have make 10 times more per year than citizen A? Maybe citizen B works 80-90 hours a week vs. citizen A working 30 hours a week. So you are penalizing citizen B for working harder/more?

    Also, who decides the cutoff points? Why not place the 35% bracket on people who make $100,000 per year? Why not drop it to $75,000?

    I understand that someone who makes more money would (theoretically) have more disposable income and be less affected by paying tax to the government, but how can anyone say that it is inherently fair for someone to have to pay more tax because they have more income?

    The only way to be fair would be to develop a flat/or fair tax, where everyone is paying the same proportion of their income. After all, lefties are always trying to be ‘fair’.

  4. Silke says:

    So you’re saying that the progressive tax rate that all of us pay under the current law is not fair? Is that what you’re saying?

  5. manbearpig says:

    That is exactly what I am saying, but that is just my opinion. Personally, I believe that if one segment of society is funding the government at a higher rate, then that segment should be entitled to more of a say/control of that government. After all, it is a majority of their money that is propping up the operation of that government.

    You can call me crazy, but I don’t believe that someone should be punished (taxed) more for being successful. That is why jobs are being moved off shore. Now I realize you can’t just completely change the system that has rooted itself so deeply into the pockets of Joe punch clock, but there needs to be a serious shift in how taxes are assessed/paid.

  6. Silke, can you explain why it is fair for people who make more from working hard should pay considerably more in taxes? That is penalizing people for succeeding.

    • Jennifer says:

      Your comment is making an assumption that a person making $360,000 is working harder/more than a person making $36,000. What would Joe the Plumber think?

  7. Silke says:

    Teach, you seem to be complaining about a progressive tax structure which is the way it currently works. Do I think it’s fair? No, only a flat tax would make it completely fair (which no candidate supports). Do I think at a time when our country is fighting two wars, spending $700 billion to bail out Wall Street and accruing unprecedented debt we should ask a little more of those who can afford it? Yes.

  8. I’ll refer you back to the comment I left at Hooah Wife about it a bit earlier, rather then writing again.

  9. Silke says:

    By your definition a progressive tax arbitrarily “punishes success.” But neither candidate is talking about eliminating the progressive tax structure. So why are people all of a sudden calling it Socialism? Barack Obama’s plan calls for a targeted tax cut for those who need it the most.

    I have never engaged in class warfare. I am very much in favor of tax cuts for middle-income and lower-income Americans. I’m deeply concerned about a kind of class warfare that’s going on right now. It’s unfortunate. There’s a growing gap between the haves and have-nots in America, and that gap is growing, and it’s unfortunately divided up along ethnic lines. I feel very strongly that we ought to have middle-income and lower-income tax cuts,

  10. It’s not really socialism, but Marxist/Fascist doctrine, where those who have are relieved of their booty to give to those who don’t have.

    And, again, there are NO tax cuts. It is a welfare check disguised as “tax relief.” If it is a tax cut, Silke, then what will the rates go down to? They won’t go down? Those in all the brackets under $200K will still be at exactly the same tax rate? Goodness!

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