Levine is a sophomore politics major and can be contacted at email@example.com
It cannot be denied that many of the overarching sentiments and demands coming from the Occupy Wall Street movement are anti-capitalistic in nature. The protestors call themselves the “99 percent” and detest the alleged greed and evil of the 1 percent of wealthiest Americans. Those rich, fat-cat Americans should pay more taxes, OWS argues, because right now they are getting off easy. Right?
Nope. Wrong. Dead wrong. As of 2008, the top 1 percent of Americans paid 38 percent of federal income taxes; even worse, the wealthiest 10 percent paid almost 70 percent of federal income taxes. Yet, despite contributing above and beyond their fair share, OWS protestors—and Democrats in Washington—don’t think that’s enough; they both agree that the rich need to pay more.
Really? President Barack Obama and the Democrats in Congress are so addicted to spending that they are willing to raise taxes even further on those Americans already contributing the most. It is completely ridiculous. I mean, set aside the negative economic effect it would have (taxes should be set at a lower level optimal for economic growth and not at a high level, optimizing revenue). It is morally unjust to take more from these people. That’s right; I am defending those rich CEOs against the idiots prancing around New York City. And here is why.
Rich people obtaining wealth is not any sort of injustice; in fact, it is good for every American when people earn money. Instead, the true problem is that the government is in bed with some of the biggest businesses of America, giving subsidies to large oil companies and bailouts to companies like Goldman Sachs. Ending corporate welfare such as this is what OWS should demand, not the far-left policy of increasing taxes on the rich and then redistributing it to others. Do the wealthiest Americans really deserve to have their money taken from them at a higher rate simply because they have a lot of it?
Of course, despite the logic, there are still those who will cry for higher taxation on the rich. After all, they only got there by stepping all over middle-class families while sitting in their offices.
Or, more realistically, they became successful after coming up with a vision, working their tails off, employing hundreds of people (middle-class) in the process, making a ton of money, investing it, saving it, spending it on other goods and contributing to the wealth of America’s economy.
Sure, there are rich people lobbying Congress for unfair benefits, such as the corporate welfare mentioned above, but that is not how the majority of wealthy people operate, and to put the blame on all of them is ridiculous. Politicians, both Republicans and Democrats, need to shoulder some of the responsibility. It is their policies that allow some rich people to evade paying taxes, to jump through tax loopholes or simply to favor some companies by giving them an unfair tax break and screwing with the market.
Yet politicians in Washington — Democrats especially, right now — are playing class warfare, pinning the anger of the middle-class against the upper-class citizens. Obama is leading the pack on this one, yet young people still put their faith in him as a leader.
I think it is time to use the critical thinking skills that Drake is supposed to be fostering in its students and look beyond the “hope” and “change” slogans that Mr. Obama so wonderfully articulated in 2008 to see the “failure” and “corruption” he has equally just as wonderfully acted out.
Don’t buy in to the “tax the rich” sentiment coming from OWS and Washington. Not only is it economically irresponsible, but it is morally unjust as well. And this is coming from a middle-class American, not the “1 percent.” Instead of envying the successes of those wealthy citizens—I understand that their hard work has given my parents jobs over the years, among other things—embrace them. Don’t eat the rich; thank the rich.