Taxes and income
Re “Too rich to last,” Opinion, Sept. 23
Professors Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson are right on the mark about the increasingly destructive role of money in our political system.
We are fast becoming a 21st century feudal society.
With the huge gap between the wealth of the rich and the poor and the shrinking middle class, we now have the “lords” who use their wealth to promote their own ends with the “vassals” (read “members of Congress”) and the serfs who will work for anything to keep their families alive.
Can our American democracy be saved?
Gloria Van Gieson
The Op-Ed article was excellent and needs to be widely read. The authors could have substituted “America” for “democracy” and still been right.
Not only are growing disparities in income ludicrous and unfair, they will ultimately bring the economy to its knees.
Though the bankers and financial alchemists have been healed by government bailouts, millions of Americans are unemployed or underemployed.
Our economy depends on consumption, but consumption has been crippled by a combination of job losses, flat wages, home foreclosures and uncertainty. Shifting more national income to the wealthy results in less consumption, not more, which in turn decreases demand for most goods and services. With businesses selling less, they have no incentive to invest.
Shift enough to the wealthiest people and the economy will ultimately stagnate, raising unemployment to unacceptable levels and increasing anguish almost everywhere.
The greatest danger to American democracy is the class hatred spewed by progressives like Hacker and Pierson.
The free market is responsible for America having a high standard of living. The authors ignore that more money in private hands has always resulted in more investment and job creation.
The so-called progressive income tax has been a total disaster. Rates have grown to confiscatory levels for everyone and have resulted in economic imprisonment. Those behind this draconian scheme have used it to implement their social justice quackery, creating parasitic government bureaucracies that balloon in size and demand more money each year.
What more do you want from us? You have told us that the middle class is taxed enough, but then you make us give those who are in our county illegally everything they want.
You tell us that you will add taxes to the rich, then give recovery money to banks so that their executives can have huge bonuses for running the bank into bankruptcy.
You say you are going to lower the cost of healthcare, and then you put in a program for which we will have to pay.
I can no longer afford you making my life better. I go to work every day and work very hard to give my family a better life, and you take it all away.
More than half of my wages go to pay the taxes that are assessed me in one way or another: income taxes, sales taxes, property taxes, Social Security taxes, excise taxes, gasoline taxes. What more do you want from us?
Rancho Palos Verdes
The authors are to be commended and applauded for their intelligent, rational analysis and commentary. They provide an insightful view and historical perspective of tax-cutting agendas and the effect on our democracy as well as on our economy.
It is beyond my comprehension how the GOP favors tax cuts as a solution for virtually every socioeconomic ill that confronts us. Supply-side or trickle-down economics have failed time and time again, so what would tax cuts for the top 2% do to provide economic relief today?
I didn’t need to read the bios to know that the authors were eggheads toiling in academia — the general cluelessness of their piece was a dead giveaway.
They claim to be puzzled why some Democrats support extending the Bush tax cuts to upperincome groups, but what is really puzzling is why they don’t venture out of their ivory towers from time to time.
The unspoken assumption that runs through their piece is exactly why liberals always overstep their ambitions, even when, as in 2008, they come to power with so much goodwill. That assumption is that government has the right to confiscate people’s earnings at whatever level it feels it needs at any given moment.
We may fume about income disparities, but a stronger inclination rails against the government’s taking of people’s income, however high that income might be.
I’m struck by the language used by the authors in their dismissal of tax cuts for the “rich.” The authors say that “even as the rich grew vastly richer, Washington decided they needed more help.” “Help”? If you are now able to keep a greater percentage of the money you have earned, can that really be explained as Washington “helping” you?
Whose money is it? It’s yours, and Washington doesn’t “help” you simply by letting you keep more of what you have earned.
Anne Kemp Hummel