Tax Policy: Motivate the Best to Be The Best – No Lazy Rich

As my income has grown, the taxes I pay (especially income and property) have grown due to making more money and moving into higher tax brackets. I feel fortunate that I’ve been able to earn more, and don’t find higher tax brackets I’ve entered to be punitive.

Interestingly, if someone were born into an extremely wealthy family, went to the best schools in the country (without ever filling out a financial aid form), and developed an incredible network of connections along the way, the tax policies Michele Bachmann supports would allow that potentially highly productive citizen of the United States to sit on their butt and live off long term capital gains of the money they inherited with no estate taxes.

Personally, I think we’re a better country if everyone contributes to the best of their ability. That means no lazy rich. And it means enabling the less fortunate so they can create better lives for themselves. For example, I think kids are capable of learning more in school if they’re not going to school hungry.

Do Taxes Promote Growth?

It’s common to hear corporate Republicans suggest that taxes don’t promote growth, but it seems likely that many of those same people would be willing to concede that educated people are more capable of helping our state and country compete, while earning higher incomes than those who are uneducated. Using the Minnesota Democrats Exposed bloggers as examples, taxes pay for Ryan Lyk’s education (and paid for Andy Post’s). Does that make Ryan and Andy welfare queens? It seems likely to me that they’ll end up earning more money over their lifetimes, and pay more in taxes, due to the educations they’re earning or have earned. It sure seems like a case could be made that taxes promoted growth in Ryan and Andy’s cases.

George Soros

George Soros, and his political strategies are another popular topic for the right to attack. It’s not surprising to see FOX programming devote so much air time to trashing opposing viewpoints. Soros like the kind of guy who thinks government (the people of a country) should step in to make up for the shortcomings of free markets. That’s crazy talk to FOX supporters (and, not surprisingly, people who get their news from FOX).

George Soros has explained that there are limits to what free markets can achieve, so many people will be better off under a system where the government makes up for the shortcomings. Free markets don’t provide education for all or health care for all. We now have a system where the free market provides education for many and health care for many. They’re not perfect systems, but more are better educated and healthier under these imperfect systems than we had under the more imperfect systems we had before.

Soros could contribute his money to organizations that can help the poorest among us, provide for more open governments, and saner drug policies. However, he has also chosen to leverage his wealth to make an even greater positive impact on the poor and powerless by influencing public policies and political campaigns. Soros explained this in a 1997 piece in Atlantic Monthly:

When I had made more money than I needed, I decided to set up a foundation. I reflected on what it was I really cared about. Having lived through both Nazi persecution and Communist oppression, I came to the conclusion that what was paramount for me was an open society. So I called the foundation the Open Society Fund, and I defined its objectives as opening up closed societies, making open societies more viable, and promoting a critical mode of thinking.

It’s no different than what the Koch brothers, Richard Mellon Scaife, and other right-wing billionaires do, with one exception: he’s supporting policies and politicians that help the poor and powerless while the Kochs and Scaife support policies and politicians that support the Kochs and Scaife.

Inheritance Taxes

As I see it, taxing the inheritances of the very very rich is among the greediest and most disgusting tax policies Republicans oppose. You’re either greedy from the grave, or a greedy next of kin who thinks they’ve got it bad if a portion of the money they’ve inherited from their extremely wealthy parents is taxed before being handed over.

A tax policy that rewards greed and laziness does not belong on the platform of any major political party.

2 thoughts on “Tax Policy: Motivate the Best to Be The Best – No Lazy Rich”

  1. And while the rich always seem to avoid paying their fair share of taxes, those of us earning a living by investing in real estate and renting our properties have taken a huge hit to our bottom line due to the huge increase in our property taxes. I have rental properties in Minneapolis that have seen the annual property taxes increase by 100% over the last seven years. Everyone knows that the values haven’t increased during that time. We need to figure out a tax system that fairly distributes that tax burden.

  2. Promoting growth? I’d be happy if they’d raise taxes just to pay back a good chunk of the debt that my parents’ and grandparents’ generation amassed before it’s shoved onto my kids’ generation.

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