Jon de Vos / The Friday Report: If I had a billion
Ryan Summerlin November 29, 2012
“New car, caviar, four star daydream
Think I’ll buy me a football team
“Money get back
I’m all right Jack
Keep your hands off my stack”
– Pink Floyd
A billion ain’t what it used to be. Even so, the world is producing bumper crops of billionaires, adding about 100 annually for the last six years.
Mere millionaires hang out on Wall Street corners selling Mont Blanc pens. It wouldn’t be hard to blow through a billion dollars. If you budgeted yourself to a meager existence, squeaking by on a miserly $20,000 per day, you’d be stone-cold broke in 137 years.
Making a billion dollars is easy, even if your name isn’t Zuckerberg. The only thing you’ll need is half a billion dollars to start with. Once you’re there, the rest is easy. From 1979 to 2005, income for the top 1 percent increased fourfold. During that same time, median incomes (yours, mine and ours) increased only 12 percent. Ouch, indeed!
But just wait, it gets much, much worse. In 2010 the top 1 percent gobbled an incredible 93 percent of the income growth, leaving a mere 7 percent to be split between yours, mine and ours.
This fact alone gives lie to the canard that the wealthy are job creators. They aren’t. They’re simply wealth consumers. With that many new super-rich, America should be awash in jobs if they truly created them. They don’t. What they are doing is squeezing the middle-class into low-wage, part-time jobs in the service and hospitality sectors, without benefits, hope or futures.
The other lie is that raising taxes depresses growth. Recent history shows us that’s just wrong. The average budget deficit from 1950 to 1980 was 1.17 percent of the Gross Domestic Product. Enter Reagan and Bush One, both of whom dramatically cut taxes for the wealthy and the deficit more than doubled to 3.1 percent. Enter Clinton who raised taxes and the budget deficit fell to 0.7 percent. When the wealthy get tax breaks, the money goes offshore. History repeats that tax cuts increase deficits and tax increases reduce them.
So, how have we come to the point where Mitt Romney pays 15 percent tax on his income and contractors and cafeteria workers pay twice that? I think the answer is simple. Once elected and seated, too many of our political leaders turn into ripe Casaba melons waiting to be plucked by the highest bidder.
A lucrative consulting contract can always be traded for a House vote that supports the wealthy as a class, protecting their God-given right to slap the help. The wealthy have become the vampires of apocalyptic novels, gulping down the vigor and vitality of the middle class.
The inexplicable question is why would anyone in their right mind support such a lopsided playing field? There is a dangerous imbalance in the distribution of wealth caused by the deliberate manipulation of the tax code by the wealthy to favor the wealthy. Allowing this to continue is what will bring us to a socialistic state, not the current president. There’s hope. Our elected officials are theoretically there to help us.
Let our representative, Jared Polis, know how you feel. Contact him through his website at http://polis.house.gov/contact/and tell him the first entitlements to cut should be those of the wealthy.
We can no longer afford to feed the rich.