Net Worth Tax

Started Nov 15, 2012 | Discussions thread
Midnighter
Senior MemberPosts: 1,727
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In reply to RBFresno, Nov 16, 2012

RBFresno wrote:

Hi!

I agree that the (mal)distribution of wealth in the U.S. exists and causes problems.

I think most rational and compassionate persons would agree.

But the difficulty, and the impassioned arguments come with how to best remedy this.

The outright confiscation of wealth by the government? In what paradise has his improved the lot of the truely poor, disadvantaged, infirmed, and needy?

Completely unregulated and unbridled capitalism? Not a big fan of that one either.

These issues are complex, always in motion, and I'm certain, not completely understood by anyone.

Here's the view of an immigrant to the U.S. from Communist Eastern Europe:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UnX7TNFIELg

Let me tell you a story.

Once upon a time there were two men, cousins who lived in Communist Eastern Europe who both escaped, knowing they would be imprisoned or simply 'disappeared' should they be caught or returned. The west generously gave them a choice of where they wanted to resettle in the free world.

One cousin chose the US and this was by far the most common choice for refugees. The other cousin had doubts despite his fellow refugees urging him to go to the US. Though simply a carpenter to him it sounded a little too good to be true. Instead he chose a path far less traveled, Australia, about which he knew nothing other than it had kangaroos and was free.

Both through hard work prospered. The cousin in America became a truck driver hauling loads interstate. The cousin in Australia worked in a steel foundry doing double and triple shifts. Using the money they earned they were each able to bribe officials in their old country to buy their families freedom.

Their respective families prospered but money was of course always tight. It always is for men who would rebuild from nothing.

One day the cousin in Australia was bitten by a spider (we have many nasty poisonous creatures here). He wanted to 'tough it out' rather than go to hospital but his wife told him he was stupid and forced him to go. Why would she not, as even if hospitalized there would be no charge because health care was publicly funded via a flat rate of tax. After three days he recovered.

One day at home the cousin in the US felt sharp pains in his chest. He was in a position of having an income too high to allow him to be covered by public health yet not having private health cover. One could argue not having health cover was his decision, thus he bore the weight of his own choices, but one could also say there were many Americans just one bad illness away from poverty. Private health cover was very expensive, high because medical care in the US is phenomenally expensive. So he and his wife debated what to do about his pains, knowing that going to hospital even for a short time would be very costly. Together they decided on an old country remedy, home made yoghurt. His chest pains went away.

The following week, driving the truck he now owned by virtue of his years of hard work, he pulled off the highway and parked. There he died of heart failure and his body was discovered some hours later. He became one of the thousands to die in the US through want of insurance.

The cousin in Australia? He became my father in law.

You ask what paradise has this improved the lot of the truly poor, disadvantaged, infirmed and needy?

My answer is it does not matter if I care or not, because if they are my fellow countrymen I must bear their presence one way or another. I can be ignorant, I can be indifferent, but I can never be untouched.

My wife, the daughter bought out of communism by the sweat of her fathers brow long ago, is a high school teacher in a low socio-economic area. She has, in her classes, students that come from a background of multi-generational welfare and public housing, parents and grand parents who expect the state to care for them. Their children, for the most part, have inherited that same sense of entitlement and same ambition.

Yet I am personally glad a system of welfare exists that supports their view of the world, and it has nothing whatsoever with improving their lot, its because I know the alternative, the opportunity cost, would be both worse for me and more costly to me.

Just as the dead cousin, being dead, could no longer benefit his government with future tax, leaving his wife and children to seek support from the state. Possibly better financially off and less burdensome to the state than had he sought medical care the week before and lived, only to be rendered bankrupt because of it.

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