Bernie Sanders has a point, but after listening to him over the entire primary campaign, I am beginning to believe that the rich and the super-rich should not be taxed at all. I am saying this out of self-preservation.
As a prospective super-rich person, I expect to get millions of dollars because every week, I buy a lottery ticket. My chances of hitting the Mega Millions is as good as anybody else’s. I do not want to pay taxes on my acquired wealth, because it would be used for people who are unable to lift themselves from the gutter they are in.
When I look at Tom Steyer and Michael Bloomberg, I get a thrill. One of them did not get any delegates, and the other got six delegates from American Samoa. But one thing they sure proved: They know how to spend money. Steyer and Bloomberg did it because they had the dough. If they were taxed to the brim, the way Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders have proposed, the country would have lost two role models for spending money. In all fairness, were the rich and super-rich burdened with high taxes, then all the voluntary contributions they make to buildings and organizations to put their names on would dry up. We need their names.
There was a time when rich people did not boast about their wealth when they wanted to represent their fellow citizens. Nelson Rockefeller, for example, wanted to be president of the United States. When Gerald Ford chose him to be his vice president, he agreed to come to Washington because it would keep him only a breath away from the presidency. Compared to his mansion in New York, the vice president’s residence was like a barn. Everyone knew he was rich. But he presented himself as a common man, an ordinary Joe.
In the last 40-plus years, our values have changed. Rich people are no longer embarrassed to flaunt their money before ordinary citizens. They even say they have much more than they actually have. As aspiring politicians, they want to be recognized as financial wizards. If they know how to acquire so much money for themselves, then they can teach others how to do the same. Politics, like business, is all about taking advantage of a given situation. Unfortunately, every one of the citizenry did not go to Harvard or Wharton or had a father who could shell out a couple of million dollars to see his offspring get a solid start in the private sector. All of us would love to be rich. That is why great institutions like Trump University spring up to show us the way. Their ghostwritten books become best-sellers just through the hype.
We are told that corporations do not pay their fair share of taxes. The statement is unfair. Leaders of corporations make campaign contributions liberally and through that they help people of their choice to serve the country. Their money brings the best possible legislators to Washington and state capitals. They continue to protect our Second Amendment right to shoot each other.
The good book says that a camel may pass through the eye of a needle easier than a rich man can get to heaven. But a rich man sure can live in the White House. President Trump has proved it. He is not only rich in money, he has proved to be rich in ideas as well. The coronavirus has created havoc in the country. He goes by his hunches to solve the problem. When everybody is worried about the disease and the government’s response to it, he talks about changing his chief of staff. When the Centers for Disease Control asks elderly people to stay home and not expose themselves to a crowd, the president creates a big rally for them to attend. He has already cut taxes for the rich. We must thank him for helping us.
“Blown Away” is Anadi Naik’s third book of fiction. He lives in Frederick and can be reached at acnaik @aol.com.