For as long as there have been politicians when an election looms, candidates name-call, prevaricate and foment envy, jealously and outright hatred. In an America where only half of us pay taxes, the conflict over money is like Clark Griswold’s Thanksgiving Day argument with his perpetually unemployed brother-in-law – “give me money, you have too much.” We still determine one’s worth by paycheck – but now when one’s earnings exceed average they are judged as BAD. Isn’t this the same as criticizing Michael Jordan for scoring more points than the rest of the league?
Like most things, it is a matter of perspective. If one benefits from government handouts, those programs make sense. If one pays for them, value becomes the top priority. We rarely mind when someone else is being taxed; so it would seem that the trick is to only tax those who don’t vote for our side? Rich or poor, no one likes to pay. Long ago, Adam Smith pointed to the truth that we care more about smashing our own fingers than the deaths of a million in China.
Like most, I struggle to escape my own point of view. Our kids are well-fed and sheltered. But when they seek an increase in allowance, we don’t claim a lack of affordability, tell them that we don’t love them enough, allege their needs to be without merit, or wish they’d move out and die in a ditch. Instead, we wonder should our focus be on paying for education and security or benefits? Does our generosity add advantage or cause harm. And, can they learn to spend less, earn more, and be accountable for choices? They don’t like the oversight. But when folks not paying tax, push others to pay more, doesn’t it necessarily lead to tention? Shouldn’t it?