Mr. Thomas Sowell, editorialist and clear thinker, wrote a simple to understand piece about the dangers of government re-distribution of wealth and determining how much money was "enough" for someone to earn.
As expected, there were comments to the piece and I, fool that I am, decided to respond to some of the insanity. We'll see what happens. Here is my response to the ignorance, comments in-line with the other poster's drivel:
@Loren: After reading your post, I took some time to explain a few things. You will find your full text below, with my comments marked as "toadroller."
Thank you for being such a concerned comrade. I mean citizen.
Sowell’s erroneous argument comes from the wealthy who have in this economy avoid taxation as compared with ordinary working people. That’s you and I Paul, but you surely know this. Money buys special tax avoidance schemes used by the wealthy to avoid taxation.
toadroller: Why yes, the "wealthy" do pay the taxes. At a rising percentage rate, the more you make. Those who are not wealthy, receive unearned income from the government.
There is presently the greatest shifting of wealth from the “middle class” to the wealthy under the cheney/goofy tax code.
Use of taxation has always been used to “redistribute wealth” in this and most countries of the world.
toadroller: That is untrue. Taxes were used, in this country, to fund the limited and enumerated purposes of goverment as defined in the Constitution ( see section 8: "The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States").
Taxes began to be used for the re-distribution of wealth in this nation.. a) when the income tax was instantiated, 1916, and b) truly when Social Security was created, 1935.
Its fairness has always been the issue from the perspective of the rich. A society which allows unlimited accumulation of wealth fails.
toadroller: please explain and provide examples of this. Sowell's example of Rockefeller explains the fundamental concept of economics (especially in a price driven economy in a free market) that wealth results from providing an improved service, to the benefit of society.
World history is replete with failed nation states because of this issue.
toadroller: Again, please give some examples? While it is true that nation-states have failed throughout history, I wonder in which nation-states (most all of which have been, historically, states governed by fiat rather than deferrence to a higher power (that above man's government)) the citizens were "permitted" to accumulate wealth without "control?" And please, do not cite cartels as examples.
Sowell argues that we dare not allow politicians to control the issues of allowable wealth accumulation. Think about what he has just argued. First he in fact recognizes that somehow wealth accumulation should be controlled,
toadroller: that is projection on your part. You fundamentally believe that wealth accumulation should be controlled (or am I wrong here?), and since Sowell pointed out the dangers of governments controlling wealth (with specific examples), you assume that he believes someone should be in control of wealth accumulation. That's a bold assumption. And a very dangerous one.
the issue in his view is who should do this task fairly.
toadroller: again, projection. And what is this assumption that it is good to control wealth, be it fairly or un-fairly? How about a fair Opportunity. Opportunity in this country is as close as any government (nation-state) (limited and consented by those governed) is and, sadly, will likely ever be, to fairness. I would recommend equal opportunity, not equality in results. It's what has led to American success for which President Obama insists on apologizing to the world of nations.
He asserts that we must not allow “politicians” to do so. Mr. Sowell would you please enlighten we mere morals as to how exactly wealth accumulation/concentration is to be dealt with?
toadroller: via free markets, which raise the standard of living for all involved. Including governments who collect revenue from the resulting wealthy. It is ironic that you should have the typo of morals for mortals; it is human morals in free markets (see below) that is the solution.
Since Mr. Sowell you have excluded politicians/government from this function how will this important issue be resolved fairly?
toadroller: It was resolved fairly in 1776, when leaders from these collective states and commonwealths risked everything and declared their independence from tyrrany, pointing out: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." This is fairness- equal opportunity, not redistribution of wealth and property. Our country was founded and thrived on the belief that you have a right to pursue (not necessarily achieve) happiness, and that right cannot/should not be infringed upon by the laws of men. Oh, and it works, too.
Mr. Sowell I don’t believe you want any control at all of accumulation/concentration of wealth.
toadroller: ding ding ding, you win the prize! “Our economy rests on a three-legged stool—political freedom, economic freedom, and moral restraint.” —Michael Novak. This is a lesson you should contemplate on long walks. If you will, this is a satement of optimism- that humans are essentially good. And, of course, that liberty is a good thing. You might not understand that if you wish to redistribute wealth for the "benefit" of others. Are you so cynical as to believe that people have no moral restraint?
You recognize the issue but offer no solution other than the status quo.
toadroller: Keep in mind, Loren, that the status quo currenlty is redistribution of wealth. The status quo is: Half of households in the US pay no taxes (they don't earn much money). The other half does, at a rising rate (10% - 35%), plus state taxes (5-10% depending on state, unless, of course, you live in NH, TN or another income tax free state), plus social security at 6.1%, plus taxes on all you consume (with a few exceptions). So, the status quo is roughly a 40% burden if you're a breathing wage earner. Is that enough wealth distribution for you, to take 40% of others for the purposes of running the state? Keep in mind that the top 1% of taxpayers pay 32% of the income taxes. Expand that to the top 5%, and we're at 51% of income taxes. Expand again to the top 10%, and it's 63%; top 20% is 78%. In other words, the status quo is that the tax burden is upon the rich. If you'd like fairness, how about spreading the tax burden around to the 80% of taxpayers who pay the other 20% of income taxes? Wouldn't that be more fair? More logical?
I don’t think Mr. Sowell you are a qualified arbiter of this issue.
toadroller: I think, Loren, you should read Mr. Sowell's book "Basic Economics," and then consider weather he is qualified to comment on economic concepts, which include taxation and wealth re-distribution. Oh, and you'll learn something, too.
I think Mr. Sowell your argument is disingenuous and meant for simple minded people who have imposed upon themselves the security of ignorance.
toadroller: the ignorant, who are not paying attention, have the right to vote. And they do. That has been to the detriment of America, especially so with President Obama, who was voted in by the ignorant for something as vague as "hope and change."
Let us recognize a plain undisputed fact Mr. Sowell, our tax code created by politicians/government has long been used to “redistribute wealth”.
toadroller: again, 60-80 years (federal income tax through social security through welfare) is not a long time, especially in a country that is young- 234 years.
The system works in a straight forward fashion, politicians are bribed by their benefactors (corporations and the rich) to draft tax codes which are beneficial to their financial interests. The present tax code is the result of such forces and private interests.
toadroller- The rich wanted to be taxed at 35%?? Boy, the rich are dumb. Of course, it's better than the 50% tax rate Reagan repealed.
We did not hear or see your argument during the lower tax rates for the very rich during the bush adm.. Only now when “politicians” are removing some of those substantial tax breaks for the rich do we hear your voice.
toadroller: Should anyone complain when their tax burden is lowered? Let's implement tax rates (which is, mathematically, the same thing as removing tax breaks) on those not currently paying taxes and see if they complain. I'm willing to bet they would.
I think you, Mr. Sowell are an “expert” who’s opinion may be for sale to the highest bidder and therefore your ethics are suspect. I question your ‘expert” status in this issue and recognize you may be little more than a common street “hooker”, with no insult meant to that ethical profession
toadroller: Loren, thank you for ending with name-calling. That's mature.
Now, go to the library my taxes have paid for, borrow Mr. Sowell's "Basic Economics" book, and read. You have some thinking to do.