I had the opportunity to read an article from the Star Tribune that was talking about one of (the?) the Democratic candidate for Governor of MN. The reason of this article existences was to deplore this candidates commitment for increasing the taxes on the “wealthy” in order to help cover the cavernous $5.3 Billion (?) budget deficit facing the state.
On the one hand, I understand the basics of his argument. He says that income does not equate to wealth. Fine. This candidate wants to hit those with moderately high income ($150k couple) somewhat harder and those that make more than a million a year much harder. The contention is a classic one – the rich paying for benefits for the poor. The rich getting robbed of their due income because the state government is too needy.
OK – I got it. Call me a liberal (I like to think of myself as a moderate) but I think that if paying a 2-3% higher income tax when you make a million vs $100k and your personal economy breaks, or if you really even notice the difference, then your ability to manage your income is suspect at best. To put that in perspective, lets paint that as 3% on a million dollars different. That’s what a teacher makes in a year and its a whopping 3% of our millionaires take home income. The utility of that money to the millionaire is tiny compared to what that money means to that teacher. Personally, I think that as a wealthy citizen of the U.S. you are obligated to help fund the system and society that made you that way and to keep it working well for those unborn generations of U.S. citizens. In a rational debate, I think that many could agree this is a reasonable way to view our system of taxation and why those who can be inconvenienced a little but provide much should be for the benefit of all.
On the other side of the higher taxes argument is, what I think, is giving the “Tea Party” conservatives so much momentum. Where is all this tax money going? How is there not a clear and public breakdown of this?
Continuing on with my opinion piece, it is necessary for us, as citizens to completely layout and reach agreement on what we expect from our government. Clearly, we want roads and education – yet these are exactly the places where money is being pulled from for “other things.” It is just extremely frustrating to not have a clear picture of the state, and countries, commitments and understand where all the extra lard is going.
The fact of that matter now is that if you cut taxes, you lose something that the government provides. We have huge groups of people clamoring for lower taxes and we need to understand what will be the ultimate outcome to the government and its spending if we do so. “Big Government” is here and now and has had a good century of so of build up and a century of U.S. citizens becoming dependent or at least accepting the activities of big government as absolute. One election cycle won’t change much.
With that, I urge anybody with good sense not to knee jerk react and vote for rhetoric this cycle. Vote for the intelligent candidate who will do the best job of making this best of the mess the economy has gotten us all in.