Thursday, February 26, 2009
Too Much Reverence for Wealth
One of the problems hobbling our current efforts to make a budget on the state and federal levels is our reverence for wealth and fear of the people who are wealthy. It is useful to keep in mind that most of the very wealthy people in this country (over $500,000 in annual earnings from all sources) were born into their money, or have been overpaid for the services they render, or have made one or a handful of clever investments or friendships. Do some of them work hard, build businesses and provide useful products and services? Sure, but why should we be afraid to tax them? Why do we grant them special status? Why shouldn't a higher percentage of their money go back into the society that gave them the opportunity to be rich? In Connecticut, our Republican legislators (mostly) act terrified of the prospect of raising taxes on the wealthy. It's time to grow up and stop being afraid of rich people. At this point, I don't know which is worse, the Democrats afraid of state employees or the Republicans afraid of their wealthy constituents. Both tendencies are very harmful to the budget-making process.