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“I want these billionaires to stop being freeloaders,” demands Elizabeth Warren during an interview with CNBC.
“This extraordinary, unprecedented concentration of wealth and power and privilege must be broken apart,” says the former Texas congressman, Beto O’Rourke, to a cheering audience at his first presidential rally, “and opportunity must be shared with all.”
“Am I going to demand that the wealthy and large corporations start paying their fair share of taxes? Damn, right I will!” Bernie Sanders spewed at a CNN town hall.
These are sentiments from Democrat politicians on how to cure American’s problems. They are not alone, as 51% of 18- to 29-year-olds favor the redistribution of other people’s wealth, or the trendier title, socialism. I do not agree with socialism; mathematically it will not work. Historically, it has not worked. Not even close. Its body count is 100 million strong and growing as it has most recently destroyed the once vibrant economy of Venezuela.
But those are topics for another day. I want to focus on why socialism is simply immoral in its practice. In the words of modern-day sage Dennis Prager, “Socialism breeds envy and entitlement.”
To be considered in the top 1%, you need an annual income of $480,930. The top 10% of taxpayers make at least $138,031, although this varies from state to state. Bernie Sanders has proposed raising taxes on people making $250,000 or more.
I want to tell you about a couple I know very well. Because of the personal nature of this information and the fact that they don’t like the spotlight, I’m going to call them Mike and Jenny. Mike and Jenny are not billionaires, they are not millionaires, not even by a long shot. They are small business owners who fall in the top 10% range, and whenever taxes are raised at any level: local, state or federal, they feel it — like a nightstick to the knee cap.
Let me give you some background. Jenny’s parents were small business owners and they did well for themselves. Mike was raised in a very large family and was dirt poor. His family grew their food, fixed their cars, mended their clothes, and built their home. Both families worked hard, very hard, for everything they had, and those traits were instilled in Mike and Jenny.
Married in their early twenties with a combined college education of one year, they scrimped and saved for three years to become owners of a distributing business (think middleman, like Dunder Mifflin). That means they took a risk and a large loan to buy the rights to a business. If they did well, it meant money in their pockets (eventually). If they didn’t, well, that’s the risk you take. Thankfully for them after decades of hard work, frustrations, prayers, plenty of mistakes, and countless hours repairing worn-out work trucks, business is good and they are finally reaping the fruits of their tireless labors.
The far-left ideology of wealth redistribution suggests that certain people, like Mike and Jenny, don’t deserve their money — but the rest of the country does. This is immoral.
1) They already get taxed more than most.
Our federal tax rate is already progressive, which means the more money you make, the higher percentage your tax rate. A $250,000 gross income is currently taxed at 35%; that means $87,500 goes to the federal government. Bernie Sanders wants to take more.
Also, small businesses like Mike and Jenny’s get taxed up the wazoo, on average 19.8%.
If you are an employee and receive a W2 from your job, about 15% of your gross income goes to Social Security and Medicare; you only pay half as your employer pays the other half.
When you are self-employed you have no employer, so you pay that 15% entirely yourself. On top of that, you pay other taxes like state, unemployment, and sales; it adds up quick.
Let me put this in perspective. For years my husband was self-employed while I was a regular W2 employee. His gross income was 30% less than mine, even after deductions (write-offs for his business expenses), I paid 11% in federal taxes while he paid 14%.
If you are so envious and entitled to the wealth of others, try paying your taxes like they do.
2) They are penalized for growing their business.
Capital gains tax applies when a person or business sells something for more than its purchased price. So if you buy a piece of equipment, you pay sales tax. When you sell that equipment, you pay taxes (again) on the profit you made in the form of a capital gains tax.
When a business sells something and makes a profit, they then can turn around and use that money (or capital) to invest in their business; hire more staff, give raises, contract with builders and utility companies, etc. When a business grows it brings more jobs and money to a community. That is how capitalism works.
When the capital gains tax is high, why would a business want to sell anything if they have to give a large chunk of that profit to the government? In their 30 years’ experience, Mike and Jenny notice when the capital gains tax is high, they and the many business owners they know don’t sell their capital because they don’t want to get taxed at such exorbitant rates. So they hold on to their money instead of putting it back into their business; their business does not grow and neither does the surrounding community.
They find the opposite is true when the taxes are lower. And the higher your tax bracket – you guessed it – the higher your capital gains tax.
3) They work really hard for their money.
There has been a lot of attention on teachers these past couple years, and the hard work and long hours they dedicate to their jobs. I understand this because I have been a teacher. After getting to know Mike and learning about what he does, I can honestly tell you that my busiest week as a teacher is normal for him. Leaving the house at 3:30 a.m. (you read that correctly), often putting in a 12-hour day, a 60+ hour workweek tallies up quick. Between time spent at his office, loading his trucks, delivering to customers, managing his staff, payroll, repairing trucks, maintaining equipment, racing two hours away to corporate to manage a fire, taking work home every day including weekends; it does not stop. Jenny also puts in time, helping wherever needed be it deliveries, paperwork, or customer relations. According to a New York Enterprise Report, this is the norm, as small business owners work twice as much as regular employees.
Sick days? Those don’t exist. If you have a dire emergency, customers still need to get their product. Broken shoulder, three feet of snow, or a pesky cold…
…still don’t get you a day off.
Vacation days? Those didn’t happen for the first four years and were few and far between. It took about 15 years until Mike and Jenny could take regular vacations, even still those are interrupted with phone calls and worry about the business … it’s not really relaxing.
Now you might be thinking, That is the profession they chose and they are compensated very well for it, no sympathy here!
You are correct. They did choose that profession and its consequences. Here’s the thing though: they do not complain or look at those who make more than they do and demand a piece of their wealth. Entitled and envious people do. They made their choices and blame no one for what they lack, relying solely on themselves to advance. Entitled and envious people blame everyone for what they lack, and demand that others make them advance.
4) They are generous with their money.
This is the biggest irritant for me. Leftists like to demonize groups of people; clumping all individuals together and branding them with negative labels, in this case, “greedy.” A commonplace lie about the rich is that they oppose having more of their own earnings taken by the government, therefore they are greedy. This is a smear to make socialists come off as generous and benevolent, even though they are the ones advocating to take other people’s money.
Mike and Jenny are some of the most generous people I know, be it with their money, time, or resources. From volunteering hours with Boy Scout and church groups, hosting weddings for people who cannot afford the costs, gift cards left for hotel housekeepers, looking after the elderly and widows, housing family and friends, planning funerals, donating to causes close to their heart; service is at the core of their lives and it is incalculable to put a price tag on the generosity they’ve bestowed to others.
They are not alone; according to the latest data, 51.6% of charitable donations came from households with annual incomes of $100,000 or more. According to his tax statements, Bernie Sanders’ charitable donations come to 5% of his income; I pay more than that.
5) They are smart with their money.
Rich people don’t get rich from being dumb with their money. For example, The National Study of Millionaires found that millionaires usually spend less on monthly groceries and dining out than the average American. Mike and Jenny are not dumb with their money, they do not live a lavish lifestyle — at all. Their beautiful 2,800-square-foot home is a far cry from the single-wide trailer their kids were born in. Mike built it from the ground up—literally. From the foundation to the roof, his hands put in the time every night for a year, saving them thousands. Still, their home is modest, as is their appearance. In fact, if you saw them you’d have no idea of their success.
They also live within their means and use what they have. They’ve put over 550,000 miles (yep, you read that correctly) into a ragged old truck they bought used in 1991, and the thing is still going strong! Mike finally updated to a shiny new vehicle … in 2010. Let me make this clear: Mike was 50 years old the first time he bought a brand-new vehicle for himself. According to Credit Sesame, the average auto loan balance for consumers under 25 is $12,128, and $10,778 for the 25-34 age group.
This is the same demographic petitioning, protesting, and screaming that the “freeloaders” at the top, like Mike: pay-off their student loans, buy their contraception, provide them free college, subsidize $15/hour wages for their minimum skills/minimum training/minimum education jobs, and foot the bill for their health care.
Envious and entitled people make these demands. And such demands are immoral.
This couple is not unique in their qualities. I know a man who built an incredibly successful one-person business through his own unrelenting efforts, and if you met him you’d have no idea of his immense wealth because he’s just a normal, good guy.
You will find commendable and despicable behaviors on both ends of the socioeconomic spectrum; I’ve known the daughter of an Upper East Side Socialite who was bratty, spoiled, and manipulative. I’ve also known the daughter of an Upper East Side Socialite who was kind, caring, and down-to-earth. I’ve been snapped at by a country club woman for not knowing she meant “half salad” when she ordered “a salad” and I’ve been screamed at by a single mom who demanded free childcare, no strings attached, simply because she was a single mom.
I’ve seen people, more times than I can count, lie on applications so they can “qualify” for more government benefits. I knew a single mother who lived almost entirely off taxpayers; housing, childcare, Medicare, food stamps – yet she somehow managed to get breast implants. I know another single mother who made a lucrative career for herself being a housekeeper; owning her home and two vehicles, she worked tirelessly to create a great life for her family. I’ve waited on uppity old couples who treated me like I was the help, while others treated me like a granddaughter. And I’ve sat in the most humble of homes with people who personify the old adage, “they’d give you the shirt off their back.”
It’s not a money issue – it’s a character issue.
Every person is an individual and deserves to be treated as such. Didn’t someone famous once implore Americans to judge a man by the content of his character…
Oh, that’s right! Dr. Martin Luther King had a dream where the peoples of this nation would not judge a man based on the color of his skin. I argue he would add to that what they wear, where they live, what they drive, what they do for a living, or how much money they make. His dream was one of people looking at the individual and seeing them for who they truly are, not what our prejudices see. And lately, our country has fallen for some very destructive and false prejudices about people with money.
Which America are you part of? The envious and entitled crowd whose coveting of stuff, other people’s stuff, is so blinding they see fit to change the very foundation of the greatest country the world has ever seen. Or are you a part of the America Martin Luther King envisioned? The one that judges individuals by their character, never spiteful but learning from their successes.
That is the America I was raised in. And the America I choose to be a part of today.
What You Can Do
- Educate yourself about what socialism really is. Research: William Bradford, John Smith, and the agricultural socialism of Plymouth and Jamestown, Carl Marx, Frederich Engels, Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin, Mao Zedong, Fidel Castro, and Hugo Chavez.
- Register to vote.
- Vote for candidates who demonstrate they understand how amazing America is and don’t vilify the rich and successful.
- Work or volunteer for a campaign.
- Pray for our country.
- Don’t demonize others. All ____ people are not all _____ all the time.
- Stop judging people by how much money they make. Stop judging people based on how you imagine they are. Stop judging people — that’s it. Just stop judging people. You’ll be better off. So will our country.