Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Hug a rich person

Bernie Goldberg says we need to stop vilifying rich people and instead build a huge monument "to pay tribute to those this nation of ours owes a great debt; to those who give and give and give and in return get anything but our gratitude." He offers some numbers to make his case:
Did you know that the top one percent of American wage earners (adjusted gross income) pay about 38 percent of all our federal personal taxes (according to the National Taxpayer Union)? The top one percent, by the way, account for 23.5 percent of all income — a substantial amount, yes, but considerably less than 38 percent.

Or that the top five percent pay just under 60 percent?

Or that the top ten percent pay about 70 percent of all the personal income taxes collected in this great land of ours?

These “fat-cats” are the ones who do the heavy lifting in this country. They’re the ones whose federal tax dollars pick up a big chunk of the tab for all sorts of noble things, such as: food for folks who don’t have enough to eat … medicine and doctors for people with little money … financial aid to help other people’s kids go to college … milk and diapers for poor babies whose 15 year-old mothers and deadbeat fathers are too irresponsible to take care of their own kids … a safety net for old folks who are retired on fixed incomes … and on and on. . . .

No, I’m not saying the wealthiest Americans are all a bunch of selfless philanthropists. But try to imagine an America without those rich people.

By the way, the bottom 50 percent of tax filers pay a paltry 2.7 percent of our federal income taxes. How many poor people do you think their tax dollars are taking care of? If you ask me, they’re the ones not paying their fair share. Every time they pass a “rich” person on the street, they ought to say, “Thank you for everything you do for me and for this country.”

Goldberg is right. The rich aren't necessarily heroes, but Americans have the highest standard of living in the world in large part because we receive the benefits of a small group of rich people acting in their own self interests. In addition to all the services they pay for and the jobs they provide, they are responsible for all the wonderful things that make our lives so much better.

Even poor people in America are known to have cars and stereos and color TVs with cable service and VCRs and computers with Internet connections and cell phones and microwaves and washers and driers, not to mention plumbing and electricity and heat and air conditioning and contact lenses and medicines and on and on.

Rich people created all that stuff! Then they figured out ways to make it cheap so we could afford it. Poor people in America have luxuries that even the super rich couldn't buy not so long ago.

Hell, I love rich people.

I know. You say, then why don't you marry them? Well, I just might should one of them ask.

No, maybe we don't need to build a monument to rich people, or give them a national holiday, or even start naming streets and babies after them. But maybe we could at least cut them a little slack? Stop calling them bad names? Say thanks for all the cool stuff?

Besides, if rich people are all that bad, why is everybody trying so hard to be one?

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