A reader writes:
This euphemism of "the successful" just kills me. Why can't we call wealthy people wealthy? Also, identifying people who make less than $250,000 a year as "those who haven't [succeeded]" is just offensive. Being a teacher and making $40,000 a year does not mean that someone has not succeeded in life. It means that someone had a calling, that someone decided that educating our future leaders was more important than being wealthy. I am finishing up my masters degree to become a librarian. I just accumulated about $30,000 of loans for an education that I know will bring me a starting salary of about $40,000. I did it because I want to help people. If we all chose jobs that only made us wealthy, who would be a nurse, collect our garbage, bus our table?
Do I think that people who make over $250,000 should be over burdened by taxes? No, people earned that money and deserve to keep a goodly portion of it. Do I think that a person like me (one of "those who haven't succeeded") who works at a not for profit and makes $33,000 before taxes should be paying a higher tax percentage than someone like Warren Buffet? Uh, no.
I also find it interesting that you are so concerned about "the successful" being punished by taxes and simultaneously decide that $5 a gallon gas is the best thing for America. What about the "not successful" factory worker who has to drive to work - no public transportation, no bike route, no community close to the factory to live in? Does he deserve the punishment of $5 a gallon gas? What about my family that has to drive to a far out suburb to visit my very ill grandma at a specialty hospital? She has a rare illness that few facilities are equipped to deal with. There is no public transportation to this area. We visit her daily. Should we be punished by gas prices on top of the hardship brought on by illness? These gas prices on top of the rising cost of food is making many "unsuccessful" people's lives miserable. But I guess that's okay, because we aren't successful - we deserve suffering and punishment.
Gas prices are a necessary sign of a precious and over-used source of energy. We all pay the same for it. And I too wouldn't want to favor the successful over the unsuccessful. That's why I favor a flat tax that taxes everyone at the same rate. The successful will indeed pay more - but not disproportionately more.
I'm not going to persuade my more liberal readers, but I have long believed that progressive taxation of income is immoral.