It is not greedy or selfish to enjoy the fruits of one's own labor. It is greedy, selfish and slothful to try to live off the fruits of your neighbors' labors.
If you spend half of the summer preparing and caring for a garden, and your neighbors are free to help themselves, and you have nothing to say about it that certainly can discourage you from planting the following year. Nothing discourages incentive more than to remove its rewards.
The reason anyone does anything constructive, is in the expectation of reaping the rewards. Our Constitution does not guarantee us happiness, but only the right to pursue it. It guarantees us the right to liberty, but not the liberty to rob, or live off the bounty of our more productive neighbors. Robbing banks is still illegal in this country, and should remain so, even for the government.
Modern communication has created a new age of tremendously large mass markets. This is a new phenomenon, which has made some positioned in the right place and time enormously rich. This vast wealth in the hands of some gives the schemers among them a great deal of power to influence the direction of society. It is a mistake to assume that all of these people have your best interests at heart, especially the ones who promise you that you are their main concern. To deal with their wealth, and its ability to affect the lives of the rest of us, and do it with justice, and fairness rather than blunt confiscation becomes a challenge.
We have politicians who would gain votes by promising to just tax the rich more so that we all can share in their good fortune. It appeals to many people to live without worry on someone else's dime. "Hey what do they need all that money for anyway!" Therein lies the destruction of society. Both envy of the rich, and snobbery toward the truly destitute, are destructive to a healthy, and productive society.
Many of these super-rich people have found it an interesting hobby to effectively take control of many issues at stake in government. They spend large sums of money to bankroll their favorite candidates, lobbyists, and political action committees to forward their pet causes. Politicians make lifetime careers by catering to these sugar daddies, ending up as millionaires themselves.
Many people in the government share a common concern for simply keeping themselves in control. Their concern seems to be, not so much saving the ship, as just making sure they have a reserved seat in one of the lifeboats. It is very difficult for a peasant like myself without a large bankroll to have any clout. In this new age if we are unable to get term limits on our Congress we shall inevitably lose our freedoms, if we haven't already.
Simply raising taxes on the rich will not bring in that much money anyway. It may sound good, but without effectively closing all those loopholes, or fencing everyone in, there will always be ways of evading taxes. Lawyers always provide loopholes. Finding ways to avoid consequences is their business.
Besides, let's face it, simple confiscation is, or should be, distasteful to any red blooded American. To get anyone to donate willingly we ought to amend the Constitution to say that any money spent to influence a political cause, whether a donation to a campaign, to a lobbyist, or to a political action committee; an equal amount must be donated to the general budget, and is in no way related to their tax bill. That is to say that anything they do to influence our lives must be balanced by an equal amount to support our government in general.
Anyone must support our government, if they wish to influence it. Such a law would doubtless lower political donations; and perhaps yearlong campaign ads would be fewer, thank heaven, and the debt may shrink a bit faster than just raising taxes. May God bless America.
Richard Westlund is a Collins resident. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org