Friday, April 13, 2012

I Don’t Understand

I like the Lincoln quote about how not to treat people.

"You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich. You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift. You cannot lift the wage earner up by pulling down the wage payer.You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred. You cannot build character and courage by taking away man's initiative and independence. You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves." - Abe Lincoln

I want to see people helped in a way that allows them to help themselves, and I think it is important for people to both succeed and fail largely on their own. If they succeed, let them reap (most of) the benefits of success. If they fail, let them grow from it, and if they fail badly, give a safety net.

This is something I don’t understand about Romney and the GOP. Why do they insist on working on taxes in a way that doesn’t really benefit most Americans? This quick look at the Dem and GOP tax plans isn’t detailed enough, and it’s somewhat gross, but it is telling in that Obama’s plan, which seems to have Democrat support, would raise taxes in many cases, including on the President. However the GOP plan gives breaks to rich people, but then increases taxes on lower incomes.

I think this Lincoln quote is being taken a little out of context when it’s posted on conservative sites. I don’t think Lincoln intended the flip side of this quote, that being that you strengthen the strong by giving them more breaks, or that you should push the wage payer higher by policy.

I also think that the media, and campaigns, are taking too simplistic a view of this. I know it’s a campaign strategy, and neither one wants to confuse voters and lose the election, but it’s a problem that so many people fall quickly to one side or the other because of the way these positions are stated.

We are in a tough spot, and we have spent a lot of money. We are deep in debt, and while I don’t think the world will end because of it, I would like to see the country move to a more fiscally responsible place. That means that we need to watch out spending, lower it, and also raise some taxes. In my mind, we need to opposite of the Bush tax cuts, and we need a limited time frame of raising some taxes on people. And that would mean raising them some on the rich, for a period of time. Arguably, compared to many countries, the wealthy in the US (people making over $250k) are less taxed than they should be since they receive a lot of benefits from the way this country lets them succeed.

However there’s a flip side, one that the Democrats fail to acknowledge. I don’t think most people would object to more taxes if they money were well spent. If it were used to pay down debt, and used to fund programs that are fiscally responsible and not wasting much of their money. How we do that, I don’t know, but the Democrats need to acknowledge that many of our programs are spending too much money, returning too little benefit, and in some cases, encouraging way too much entitlement.

1 comment:

Pinal Dave said...

Excellent reading. Wow, indeed wonderful.