Monday, September 26, 2011

Rush Limbaugh, Capital Gains, and the Founding Principles of America!

So every once in a while I like to listen to the Rush Limbaugh Show on the radio.  I know, he’s a bit alarmist (ok, a lot) but I try to remember, Rush is just an entertainer and he’s trying to draw more ratings.  When he speaks in harsh, polarizing terms it’s really just to draw attention and draw listeners; who is going to listen to someone who says, “Obama has made some policy decisions I don’t agree with and the economies struggles may or may not be a result of such.”  Boring radio! Anyway, I value perspective, even if I don’t agree with it, so that’s why I listen every so often; as long as my stomach can handle it!
The other day, he was talking about the “Buffet Tax,” as it is so called. This Gazillionaire investor (Warren Buffet) wondered why his secretary gets taxed at a higher tax rate than himself, especially when he makes huge buckets of money (Literally! LOL!).   This comment by Buffet has been the impetus for a renewed vigor by the Obama administration for raising taxes (or to be more exact, ending the tax cuts Bush enacted).   Well, after listening to Rush, I think I may have learned something; though probably not what he wanted me to learn!
Rush kept going off about how ridiculous it was to tax these “job creators” on money they have already earned.  He said it was tantamount to “stealing their property” (my paraphrase).  So I got to thinking about this, and I must admit I’m not an economist, but Rush’s logic doesn’t make sense.  If I understand this correctly, the income which is earned off money invested is what is actually taxed.  So the suggestion that one is being taxed on money which has been taxed previously doesn’t really make sense. If I make $100,000 at my job, then invest it and make $10,000, it’s that $10,000 which is taxed, right? Because that is new income which has been earned. Right? That money hasn’t been previously taxed.
So assuming I’m right (and you’re welcome to comment if I’m not), because this income is not “earned” in the traditional sense, it doesn’t deserve to be taxed at the same level of “regular” income tax.  Why then is it considered “class warfare” to “raise” (or again rather end the temporary tax cuts Bush enacted) tax rates on money that is “earned” in a non-traditional fashion?
For all this talk about “entitlement” programs and people who “mooch” off the government without doing work, why are people who simply “mooch” off money sitting in the bank (or more likely in investments) called successful and worth exemplifying? Puritan Christianity was a huge influence in early America; remember “you don’t work, you don’t eat?” Puritan Christianity glorified the concept of work, which is one of the reasons Puritan churches failed to gain a following in the South, where people gained wealth off the work of others (slaves) and consequently were able to sit around and kick back quite often.  Well, these were two big taboos of Puritan Christianity; idleness and benefiting off the work of others. 
So if we really want to get back to the “principles” America was founded on, these principles (of the Puritans) did not allow for people to get rich off the work of others (i.e. corporate shareholders) and decried the sin of “idleness” (again, shareholders don’t work for their earnings).  In fact, if we really want to get back to the “principles,” we should ditch capitalism all together, for the Revolutionary era was marked by republicanism, a system in which citizens put the “general welfare of society ahead of private gain” (Lambert, Religion in American Politics). Funny how that never comes up when people talk about going back to the “principles” America was founded on.
What I’m getting at, is that for all the bashing of people who live off “entitlements” and depend on others for their income, they’re not alone; like there aren’t tons of kids living off the wealth made by their parents and grandparents?  If we are going to insult those “entitlement moochers” wouldn’t it be at least fair to be a bit more honest in speaking about the “income” these folks are earning? Let’s also be a bit more respectful, rather than slighting the integrity of people who find themselves in need of a little extra help.  Besides, maybe the government could use some additional revenue from that “previously taxed money” (the quotes are on purpose here!) to help create some jobs for those folks currently depending on the government for assistance.  For all the praise of the “job creators,” their taxes have been low for several years yet the unemployment rate continues to rise; perhaps they really aren’t creating any jobs after all…
I think we all could use a reminder, where ALL in this TOGETHER!  And we are ALL apart of the United States of America!

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