It would be easy to assume if you read some of my blog posts that I am a proponent of class warfare and I hate rich people. I don’t at all. I try not to judge people on things like race, sexual preference, religion or “class”.
Yet I do have a serious problem with the war that (many) rich people wage against taxes. I can see how if you make a lot of money and you pay a lot of money in taxes and you look around and see a lot of people paying far less taxes that you wonder if that is fair. I have paid a lot of taxes in my day, too, and it sucks.
Or it would if I didn’t believe we live in a great country that has a great government that does a lot of great things. (Note I am saying this proudly even though I think the current administration is appallingly lame.) I love my country. I am a patriot, a capitalist and a small “D” democrat. All of this, to me, means that I should see the money I pay in taxes as a good and necessary thing.
I believe we have a struggle in this country between the haves and the have-nots. The haves want a small government because they know that they have to pay for it. Yet they want a large military because they have the most to protect. The have-nots want a big government so that concentrated wealth does not concentrate into a plutocracy. The haves see anything remotely socialist as a threat to their wealth and the have-nots see laissez-faire capitalism as a road that ultimately leads to plutocracy.
This is a struggle that really always has been and always will be. The fundamental test of fairness is when you walk a mile in the other guy’s shoes. If we all can do this we can find the right balance between these two seemingly opposing ideologies. Rich people should not want a plutocracy. Not-rich people should not want a government to strip wealth from individuals. There is a proper balance but we don’t get there by tending towards the extremes. We get there with a willingness to compromise.
We all do better when we all do better.
(A tip o’ the hat to Ben for the “grain of sand”…)