As parents we are all faced with “playing with matches” issues while raising our children. There are stages our kids go through: “too young,” then “maybe they’re ready,” then “we hope they can handle it,” before we get to “they’re on their own.” Between “maybe they’re ready” and “we hope they can handle it” there is the aspect of our kids having to actually play with the matches to learn their proper use, and what they can and cannot get away with. The bigger issues are drinking, sex, and driving a car. With matches, they can get burned, sure, but only a little bit (we hope). With a car, they can kill themselves and others.
While learning to handle such responsibilities we find ourselves monitoring the behavior of our kids and occasionally having to sit on them by removing their privileges (“Give me the car keys. You’ll get them back in two weeks, if. . . .”).
Currently rich people are whining that the government takes too much of their money. This is confusing because over the last forty years, the government has been taking less and less of their money and they have been getting richer and richer, but let’s stick with the current premise. Let’s do our parental thing and monitor what they have done with their money.
Currently many rich people have been undermining the state and federal governments to get laws changed in their favor. That may not be such a bad thing, if those changes did not also hurt many others, which quite a few do. By getting the laws changed regarding unions, workers have less clout in the market place and our wages have been driven down, even though our productivity has gotten higher and higher. These rich people have paid politicians to oppose helping poor people with food subsidies. They are pushing laws restricting the right to vote by people of color. They have gotten laws passed so that students cannot discharge their school tuition debt through bankruptcy and many, many other laws passed that hurt people financially.
They are opposed to Social Security, the greatest poverty fighting tool we have ever created, and they are against Medicare, Obamacare, actually anything that has the word “care” in it.
Clearly it is time to take away the keys to their car. They have proven that they cannot be trusted with such great wealth. That with that wealth, they have not just enjoyed life and philanthropically helped others to enjoy theirs, they have been stamping their wishes on our society whether we want them or not.
In the 1950’s we had a progressive tax system that put a lid on earnings. In the 1950’s, if you were middle class, you might make $3500 per year and live a good life (single wage earner, family of four). Once you reached $100,000 in income, though, everything above that was taxed at a 91% rate, effectively making further salary increases unreasonable. (This was with a Republican President, mind you.) And realize that that $100,000 in earnings, before the 91% rate kicked in, was almost 30X as much as a middle class salary (and an ordinary house cost maybe $800-12,000 with a large, really nice house might cost $35,000, etc.). Plus companies kicked in with generous fringe benefits and perquisites (plush offices, company cars, expense accounts, etc.) so the corporate executives at the time weren’t suffering. We need to go back to such a system because the system created by the rich people, the one we have now, is destroying the country. Their money is being spent to divide us through propaganda and “political contributions” that result in more changes in our laws to help them and hurt us. The current government shutdown in an attempt to defund Obamacare is being paid for by the Koch brothers and other plutocrats. They don’t care what happens to Obamacare, they just want less government because the federal government is the only agency left that can stand in the way of their total control of the economy. And what better way to get less government than to just shutter the doors?