Warning - non market post.
I try to avoid politics in this blog but I may be in violation with this post. It's just that something I saw on a financial news show last week was bugging me.
There is no doubt that the host of the show and all his side kicks are small government advocates and most likely will vote Republican down the line. The guest was as far to the left as I've ever seen. It was painfully obvious, uncomfortably obvious, that the host was ready to pop an aneurysm in his brain during the interview. You could see the froth forming in the corners of his mouth.
OK, the stage is set. The topic was how much is someone's fair share of taxes.
The guest said that people in this country got rich thanks to the government and the public. Of course, the host said they got rich by taking risks, getting educated and doing hard work. I wondered, how much of the guest's arguments were true. After all, without roads, electric power, the Internet, police protection, courts, bridges, tunnels and food safety inspection none of the wealthy's businesses could exist.
She had a point.
Then it hit me. The rich, the poor and everyone in between all benefit from roads, police, courts and food safety. Rich people do not use more shares of soldiers' efforts than poor people.
In fact, we could argue that poor people require more police and prison expense due to their higher rates of crime. Before you flame me about that distasteful argument, rich people require more enforcement by the SEC and white collar crime units. Let's move on.
Here is the real argument, in my view. Since everyone gets the opportunity of having roads and police - note I did not say uses them - then why are there rich people and poor people? The answer is what rich people do with the services offered. Do they drink beer or do they write that novel? Do they complain or do they hit the pavement looking for work? Do they do what they've always done or do they go to trade school?
Again, don't flame me. I am fully aware that the cycle of poverty is tough to break. Discrimination still finds its place everywhere. And it is still who you know that often makes the difference between moving up in the world or moving down. I get it. Some people are dealt a crappy hand while others are born with a silver spoon.
Yet some privileged people head down while some poor people pull themselves up.The difference, as the host would argue, is the blood, sweat and tears they put into reaching their goals.
Yes, rich people got rich thanks to the bounty and taxpayer fueled services of this country. But for two people with equal backgrounds and limitations, one still manages to be a success while the other may not. The difference is their own efforts.
So how much should they pay in taxes? Oh, I am not going to go there. But for the argument that without the taxpayer they would not have gotten rich, I'll agree. But only if people like that financial show guest will agree that taxpayer bounty is there for all people, whether or not they use it, therefore rendering the argument moot.
Please be civil if you care to comment.