Monday, October 27, 2008


Like it or not, taxation redistributes wealth. Somewhat. The term socialism has a malodorous aroma, but so too does over-concentration of wealth. The current wealth imbalance between the top 1% of the population and the rest of society creates tangible resentment. It is therefore not surprising that statements from Obama that he will “spread the wealth,” appear to get favorable approval from a majority, if his support polls are to be believed. What is surprising is the lack of analysis in the fourth estate, as to what that really means, and what methodology might deliver on such a promise. Greater taxation on the wealthy few buys votes, but will not make any difference to the vast majority of the population. On the other hand, additional taxes on businesses will.

Those who have depended on others for income, particularly those working for organizations dependent on governments or foundations for income, have difficulty empathizing with entrepreneurs whose lives are engrossed in building successful businesses. There is also absolutely no chance that they will feel any affinity or sympathy for those at the top of financial food chain. Being responsible for covering and issuing a payroll presents its own unique lessons.

When abuse of benefits and power in the corporate executive office seems rampant, the public perceptions become further skewed toward supporting higher taxes for the rich trough progressive taxation. It can be argued that the rich can and should bear a greater percentage of the burden, although the impact on the nation’s majority would be minimal. The picture changes when the increase in taxes spreads to businesses, and impacts the day-to-day reality for business owners and employees.

Most businesses in America are small and medium companies, employing one to a hundred or so employees. They are the economic engines that keep the economy thriving. Imposing further burden on businesses, and penalizing them for government excesses, mismanagement and debt, would deepen the current recession. It would also stretch the process of recovery into a multi-year reminder that accumulating debt and possessions is no way to manage personal affairs or run a government. Deal with abuse at the top of the corporate ladder through other means, not taxes.

“Redistribution of wealth” should be re-defined to intend and encompass the distribution of knowledge through education. Allowing the educational system to disintegrate and inadvertently limiting its access, as we have witnessed through the past generation, restrains the majority from achieving educational objectives, and smothers most personal and financial aspirations. Ensuring that all who want to be educated actually receive the education to the full extent of their capabilities will enrich the country. Education should take precedence over other government programs currently siphoning hundreds of billions but not serving to ensure a healthy future for the country.

As for the next administration cutting anyone’s taxes, the staggering debt says that one won’t fly. It won’t fly for McCain or for Obama. Taxpayers can expect more taxation, and they can expect little, if any, reduction in government spending from the next President.

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