Tax The “Rich”
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wore a dress to a $275,000 per table gala at the Met in New York City last week that read, “Tax the Rich” across the back. Ironically, she attended to this high scale event because she wanted to hob knob with the “ultra-wealthy” in hopes that they would donate to her re-election campaign in their attempt to purchase influence over her to vote for specific carve outs for them in her “tax-the-rich” plan.
When questioned on social media that since she is considered “the rich” because her $170,000 per year salary puts her in the top 10% of wage-earners, would she be willing to pay more in taxes, she immediately backtracked, claiming she was not talking about herself. She said, “They want you to think that when we talk about rich, we’re talking about a doctor or a lawyer instead of someone with hundreds of millions of dollars, if not billions of dollars. That’s what we mean by ‘rich.’” And that is how it works. Politicians always want to tax the other guy; they want to spend other people’s money, not “theirs”. To someone making $40,000 per year, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is rich, and she should pay more taxes, but conveniently the people making less than $400,000 per year who draw up our tax laws, do not consider themselves part of the rich, and that is why Joe Biden’s tax increases only target people making over $400,000 per year, protecting the Washington politicians who can easily afford to pay more in taxes from the tax increases they’re foisting on other Americans. I guess if you increase taxes on people whose paychecks are funded by other people's tax dollars, it would be considered "double-taxation"?
Even though many politicians regularly use their political office to propel themselves into the wealthy class (see, Joe Biden, Barack Obama, Maxine Waters, AOC, etc…), they never consider themselves as wealthy as they really are. While just 1 percent of Americans are millionaires, over 60 percent of senators, and over 40 percent of House members are. I guess when you enrich yourself off of other people’s hard earned tax dollars, you are not as evilly-wealthy as those who earn their money by building businesses, creating jobs, and producing products that people benefit from. These people never consider that the millionaires and billionaires that they continually want to take more and more money from, are the ones who produced most of the jobs in this country, pay most of the paychecks, create most of the taxpayers, pay most of the healthcare premiums, provide income for people to pay their mortgages and college tuition.
Simply because we can raise taxes on the “rich”, the question is, should we? Considering that the top 1% of earners pay 40% of Federal Income Tax; the top 5% pay 60%; the top 10% pay 71%; the top 25% pay 87%; and the top 50% pay 97% of the Federal Income Tax, and the bottom 50% pay only 3%, it appears that the “rich” and the “ultra-rich” already pay much more than their fair share. They are shouldering the tax burden for the rest of the country. We can debate whether 1% of the people shouldering 40% of the burden is fair or unfair, enough or not enough, and I understand that the top earners have benefitted from this country the most, and have earned so much money that they can afford to shoulder that extra burden, and those who haven’t, cannot, but it is extremely inappropriate to vilify the hand that feeds you simply because you want more food from that hand.
But ultimately, we are asking the wrong question when people like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, or Joe Biden, or pretty much any politician in Washington from either side of the aisle starts talking about raising taxes on the citizens, whoever those citizen may be. The focus should not primarily be on who is paying the extra taxes, it should be on who is receiving these tax dollars. The real, and most fundamental question is, are the people who will be spending these extra tax dollars, people we should trust with our hard-earned money? And the answer is an emphatic, “No!” For the last 5 decades, our elected representatives from both major political parties, have shown themselves unequivocally to be poor custodians of the American citizens’ hard-earned tax dollars. It is a proven fact.
For Fiscal Year 2021, the Federal Government took in $3.86 trillion in revenue, and they are estimated to spend $4.82 trillion which is $966 billion more than they received. We currently have over $27 trillion in a national debt from this type of over-spending, and the fingerprints of both parties are all over that unsustainable, destructive national debt. And many of the same people who have dug us into this enormous hole have the audacity to ask us for more money to buy bigger shovels. If your financial planner took your $500,000 pension and turn it into a measly $5,000 in 5 years, would you give him more of your money? Of course not. If your financial advisor handled your money the way Congress has handled our tax dollars, not only would you fire him immediately, but he would have been arrested for at least a half-dozen felonies.
And what have the taxpayers received for all of our politicians spending, and over-spending? Look at our country. Our public schools do a sub-standard job educating our children. Medicare and Medicaid are failing to provide proper healthcare for the citizens they supposedly cover. The VA cannot provide our veterans with the services they need and deserve. Our public infrastructure is falling apart. Our power grid is failing in many states with blackouts and brownouts. Water shortages and wildfires scourge out major states due to government mismanagement. Crime is at a 30-year high. Homelessness is at an all-time high. Drug addiction and drug overdoses are at an all-time high. 40% of children are being born to single mothers. Urban blight is spreading through our major-cities. We cannot protect our borders. Our military just got beat and embarrassed by pre-industrial revolutionary army. We left $82 billion of high-tech weaponry in the hands of our enemies that will be used against us in the future.
Considering how much our politicians have failed us, the question is, where did all the trillions of dollars we have already given to Washington go? And why have all of these problems become increasingly worse every year, and not better? What percentage of the $3.8 trillion in this year budget is appropriated to address any of these problems? How much of the revenue the Federal Government takes in is spent on ridiculous programs that it already funds like: Neon Light Museum, Zoo Poetry, Cow Emissions, Flying Monkey Feces, Grateful Dead Memorabilia, Vietnamese Male Prostitutes, Modern Wigs, On-Line Soap Operas, not to mention the many pork-barrel political paybacks to donors like Solyndra?
Is any of this evidence that we should give any politician any more of our hard-earned money? Absolutely not! Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, instead of vilifying “the rich”, you should take a step back and learn from the rich. They actually know how to run something, make things better and generate a profit, while you and your cohorts make things worse, create trillions of dollars of debt, and make decisions that only enrich yourselves and your donors.
Judd Garrett is a graduate from Princeton University, and a former NFL player, coach, and executive. He has been a contributor to the website Real Clear Politics. He has recently published his first novel, No Wind.