Communities Digital News
By: Conor Higgins
February 19, 2014
There are few Americans who do not want to reduce income inequality. Few do not want people to make more money.
Where we disagree is on how to reduce inequality and raise incomes. There are conservative and progressive approaches, and between them lies a vast gulf of common sense.
The progressives see the rich in this country as a piggy bank. It is easy to be generous with other people's money, and progressives are easily generous. This kind of generosity is not charity; it forces people to turn over their hard-earned money to the government for redistribution -- at gunpoint.
Conservatives understand that taxation is coercive and believe that tax revenues should be spent only on those things that are necessary under the Constitution, such as supporting the military. Taxes should be kept as small as possible.
Government money is your money. The government takes your money and redistributes it according to the prevailing political fashions of the moment. The federal government is the most sprawling, corrupt, and ineffective institution in the country.
Progressives believed under President Bush that that state was coming for them. Under President Obama they believe that government is the best thing since sliced bread, which was of course the result of government funding. There would be no air without government funding.
Conservatives are no more consistent. They demanded that Orwellian damnation be visited upon the heads of those who would not bow to the state under President Bush, then screamed bloody murder when they learned that President Obama presides over a national security apparatus.
Income inequality is part of a game to stay in power, and because of this the grab for other people's money is so dangerous. With the Progressive shift towards redistribution of wealth masquerading at the ball as "income inequality" the Democratic politicians in office get to feed off of their Liberal constituents for a double whammy. They get to stay in power by demanding more money from the rich. There could be no greater situation for a politician; they get political brownie points for demanding that the group of at the top 1% of the country who already pays 50% of all Federal income taxes pay their "fair share."
The Progressives seem to define fair share differently than the rest of the World, apparently "fair" means "absurd." Half of the country does not even pay federal income taxes, yet they get to demand that the group that accounts for half of that revenue stream pay more. That is not fair, that is extortion.
But let's look at it from a Progressive point of view for a second. Conservatives argue that they are taxed enough already, hence the TEA (Taxed Enough Already) Party rise to power in this country. They argue that too much of their tax dollars go to Welfare, Social Security, and other entitlements. But Progressives counter this by saying, no! Your tax dollars go mostly to defense spending and healthcare. Which is true, military, health, and interest on federal debt are the top three expenditures for your tax dollars.
So if entitlements are not even in the top three destinations for the money the government steals from you every paycheck and entitlements aren't actually that affected by taxes, then how is raising taxes on the rich going to reduce income inequality?
Is the government going to send direct deposits from the money they raise from the top 1% and give it to everyone else who is not rich enough? Is the government going to send money to those individuals below the poverty line?
Or how about they open up a savings account and put $1000 in it whenever an individual is born in the United States. This is a real program being proposed called KidSave. Newborns would have $1000 deposited into a savings account when they are born, as well as a $500 tax credit every year for individuals who are considered below the poverty level. According to The Atlantic, the funds would come from payroll taxes. The money would accrue over the course of the individuals life, and be accessible when they are 65.
That is literally wealth redistribution. Increasing taxes which are already astronomical and wasted on ridiculous government programs, and garnering support for this effort from those who would seek to gain finically from such legislation is tantamount to mob extortion. These are the same people who are telling Americans that there is no government tyranny and no need to own guns to defend against such things. And the abovementioned program itself will be nothing more than a government slush fund they will raid when their spending continues to expand astronomically.
How is a retirement fund which an individual cannot touch until they are 65 going to solve the income gap? What good is $700,000 (which is how much the article estimates one can accrue by 65) if one cannot access it for high school, or college or any other way to get a better education?
It makes no sense.
To sound like a broken record, the easiest way to end the income gap is by creating opportunity, not by punishing success. In California right now, millionaires are taxed at roughly 60% including federal, state, and local. That means that the government owns more of your paycheck than you do, and it is similar in New York. Yet the states with the most explosive job and industry growth are Texas and North Dakota who have deregulated the market, lowered taxes, and brought in job after job and lured dozens of big name companies to their borders.
But the Establishment Republican approach to breaching income inequality through an economic recovery is also fraught with peril. Both Establishment Republicans and Democrats needs to let the free market be the free market. Republicans at the center spent billions on corporate bailouts, with Democrats doing the same, and all that is doing is scooping water out of a sinking ship with a Dixie cup. The market cannot do its job and take its course with crony capitalism interfering in the name of government on a constant basis. President Obama sank billions into failed energy companies, and President Bush sank billions into Wall Street bailouts. The answer to this recession which was caused by big government is not more big government, it is less.
We are demonizing success instead of mimicking it. We are making it more difficult to open up a business with more taxes and more regulations and yet we decry the fall of the entrepreneur as a sign of the recession. Businesses, large and small, do not need tax breaks they simply need to be taxed less. No loopholes or gimmicks, it simply needs to be easier to start and maintain a business, it needs to be easier to "keep" more of what you make, and it needs to be easier to take a step in this country without having to pay the government for the privilege.
We fix the income gap when we fix government interference in the free market. We fix the income gap when we allow charter schools, when we make education about independence of thought and not about teaching to a standardized test. We fix the income gap when the free market is actually free, and not subjected to the whims and wishes of the very body that exists to maintain that freedom.