August 3, 2007
Sharing the Ridiculous Wealth (Bob Franken)
@ 12:30 pm
Help me understand why someone, anyone, should be allowed to get paid several hundred million dollars in any year and keep it.
What would be wrong with a confiscatory tax rate, maybe 90 percent on personal income that exceeds, say, 10 million dollars annually?
Is this class warfare? You bet it is. But isn’t hoarding such massive fortunes and keeping the money away from the millions of people struggling to subsist also class warfare?
And yes, I know: It’s the chance of great reward that provides the spark for great ideas, and incentive to take risk, but how much reward does one need?
What am I missing? Wouldn’t $10 million a year, for example, be enough? How many villas can one person have?
Day after day we listen to our elected officials voice their concerns for the poor and the middle class. But until they’re ready to make some fundamental changes in our nation’s priorities, they will simply be giving lip service.
While it is true that the amount raised would not be anywhere near enough to rectify the nation’s problems with basics like healthcare, hunger, education and housing, such a change might be a good way to address the resentment the “have-nots” feel against the obscenely wealthy.
Yes, the Gates and the Buffets of this world are putting their personal billions to good use, others choose causes that are questionable and the rest simply choose to support their lifestyles of lavish self-indulgence.
I’m sure the response will be the usual litany of name-calling. But I would argue that paying some attention to how we distribute the wealth is not socialism, it’s common sense.