Where Do You Stand On “Spreading The Wealth Around”?
It’s hard to not have heard of Joe the Plumber these days if you have had the television on at all. He is now famous for questioning Presidential candidate Barack Obama on taxes which resulted in perhaps the most important four words of this election: “spread the wealth around”. My view is that this concept is both a crucial component to this year’s election and also an economic issue much more important than a single election.
This rare moment of candor in this political season has sparked an interesting debate regarding taxes, government’s role in our economy and personal responsibility. Polls show that most Americans are against government acting as an agent of wealth redistribution. Most Americans want to choose where their money goes instead of the government telling them where it should go. Another interesting point is that many have testified that the more government redistributes money, the less people give when it comes to charity. Western Europe is typically the comparison used in this regard.
While it seems we truly may be taking steps towards more wealth redistribution, I have several fears regarding this direction our country may take. I’m a believer in the economic philosophy that was originally brought up by the now-famous plumber. Joe said additional taxes would prevent the business from growing as much as he’d like. I work for a small business and I believe there are a great number of small businesses that will be affected.
Now, maybe an increase in taxes for a business owner won’t result in layoffs, and maybe it won’t even result in not hiring additional employees; but, what about raises for current employees? Or, how about bonuses? Do you really think if the owner’s “bonus” (aka earnings) goes down that employee bonuses won’t also be lowered to reflect the decrease in company earnings? Do you rely on year end bonuses and work for a small business? Worth thinking about if so…
Another major fear of mine is the trend this might establish for our country. First, I don’t believe an extra $1000 to a poor person will do anything to raise them out of their current status. Sure, it might help putting gas in the tank a little easier temporarily, but it will not result in a long term status increase. My worry is that without a jump in the status that this wealth redistribution is intended to help, will we here more rhetoric during the next election about spreading the wealth around again? Where does it end? How high can you tax the highest income earners?
Obama has made his tax plan clear during the election. He wants to raise the taxes on the highest earners and provide a rebate to the rest of the country including those who do and don’t pay taxes. My question to you is do you know what Nancy Pelosi wants to do when it comes to taxes? The reason for my question is because Obama does not create tax policy. He signs or vetoes it. The tax policy will originate in Pelosi’s House of Representatives. I fear Pelosi and house Democrats will create legislation encompassing more tax increases than even Obama is calling for. Then, will Obama really have what it takes to veto additional increases? I doubt he would be willing to go against the powerful individuals in his party. I hope he proves me wrong if he gets the chance.
Do I think Obama possesses some qualities that would make him an effective leader? I do. But, I am one to vote based on policy. I’m amazed at how many people out there are against the concept of wealth redistribution and are believers in conservative economic policy yet are voting for Obama. I’m not one to say that my reasons for who I’m voting for are better than yours, but at least be honest why you are voting for that specific person. I have a friend who agrees with me on most policies especially these economic ones, but he believes we need a black president because it would show how far we have come as a country. Well, everyone has their reasons and if they are based on what you value, I won’t argue with it.
I wish our government would use tax policy to fund the necessary functions of government such as infrastructure and defense. I wish they would use policy to stimulate the economy and to incentivize giving and charity in order to help those less fortunate. While I am not in the highest income bracket, I want to work hard and eventually get there but I’m discouraged by the policy of our country to penalize success. If I make it to that income level, I’m discouraged that the government would decide that I would be making too much money and take more of it form me. Using labels such as “fairness” doesn’t change the reality of “spreading the wealth around”.
I would love to get your feedback and hear where you stand. Frankly, I would love to hear especially from Obama supporters regarding this concept. Do you think this is good for our economy? Do you think this is good for our country? What is the real impact of spreading the wealth around?