brotherpeacemaker

It's about our community and our spirituality!

Lessons On Sharing

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My parents did a pretty good job of showing me the importance of sharing.  With my brothers and sisters, or whenever I had friends, cousins, or other family members come to our house and I didn’t share my toys or anything else with them I learned that there were heavy consequences for not having a generous spirit.  If I didn’t share I could have whatever I thought I owned and controlled free and clear taken away from me.  I could actually have my things taken away from me and temporarily given to somebody else for them to play with.  And if I continued to not cooperate, what may have been temporary could quickly flip and be made permanent.  I learned, sometimes the hard way, that sharing is an important concept to teach to every member of any community.

Unfortunately, not too many people seem to have learned these lessons or may have taken these lessons to heart.  The whole Joe the plumber saga made famous by the political race to the White House exposed some really twisted, anti sharing thinking by a lot of people.  I saw the video of Samuel “Joe” Wurzelbacher trying to raise an issue with then Senator Barack Obama about his tax policy.  Mr. Wurzelbacher gave a sad story about wanting to buy a plumbing business but didn’t want to do it under Mr. Obama’s plan for taxes.  Mr. Obama’s plan for taxes is that those who are more capable, people who have an income of more than a quarter million dollars, should pay a higher tax rate.  Why?  The thinking is that those who can need to help make up for those who are less fortunate.  Mr. Obama tried to explain to Mr. Wurzelbacher that when we spread the wealth, more people will be able to help support Mr. Wurzelbacher planned business and we all benefit from it.

Mr. Wurzelbacher, and a lot of people who think just like him, responded that Mr. Obama’s plan sounds like socialism.  Forcing people to pay a higher tax rate simply because they are more fortunate and may have more disposable income sounds like Marxism.  These are communistic principles and Mr. Obama is trying to change the tenets of capitalism!

Actually, America has a history of multi-tiered tax rates.  As people go up the income ladder, people pay a higher tax rate.  Take someone who makes say thirty thousand dollars a year.  For the sake of simple argument let us say that this person has a take home income of two thousand dollars a month.  Paying for a place to stay, transportation, food, and other necessities, there isn’t much left for anything else at the end of the month.  Compare this to the person who makes three hundred thousand dollars a year.  Their monthly take home income is about twenty thousand a month.  After they pay for their transportation, food, and other necessities, logic says that this person should have a lot more money at the end of the month.  Logic says that this person can afford to share with people who don’t have as much.

But the idea of sharing this extra wealth through a tax policy is simply too much to bear for a lot of people.  People want to control what they give or who they help.  People should be free to say no to the though of helping our less fortunate neighbors or free to pick and choose who they want to help and when.  It is this type of thinking that has led to the awesome chasm of disparity between the people who have a great deal and the people who don’t have much here in America.  And instead of people having a sense of compassion for the people who need help, we have been manipulated into having more compassion for people who already sit on top of mountains of treasure.

Under the guise of staying true to the concept of capitalism we are becoming a country of people less likely to put the good of the many ahead of the good of the few or the one.  Many of us don’t event want to entertain the idea of living as a community of people that spreads a minimum livable amount of wealth to everyone.  We prefer to keep our poor people poor and to have a greater portion of wealth concentrated in a smaller pool of people.  Some of our political leaders will say that we don’t need to spread the wealth, we simply need to create more wealth.  But regardless, the more wealth the country creates, the more that wealth is likely to go to the people already wealthy and the less likely that wealth will be distributed to the mass of people who need it.

There’s a reason why we hear statistics like the upper one percent of wealthy Americans control two hundred percent of the wealth in this country or that the average American corporate executives make five hundred times the salary of the average worker.  There’s a reason that we hear stories of schools in one district are allowed to crumble and to fall into disrepair while others thrive with limousines for school buses and state of the art liquid crystal personal display devices being used for books.  We are less and less likely to share our good fortune with our neighbors.  It is more important to a lot of people that a billionaire makes another billion dollars than to have a tax system that provides for better public infrastructure.  But providing for public infrastructure is too socially responsible for a country obsessed with run amok capitalism.

I learned a long time ago that if I don’t share what I have with people who might not be as fortunate I run the risk of having what I have taken away.  It is a basic tenet of being in a community.  If I found myself in the middle of the ocean sharing a rubber raft with a person with a plenty of water and food rations I would hope that he or she would share their food and water with me.  If not, I would do my damnedest to share my parent’s lesson on what happens when people don’t share with my rubber raft associate.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008 - Posted by | Capitalism, Economy, Life, Socialism, Taxes, The Economy, Thoughts, Unemployment, Universal Healthcare, Welfare, White Privilege

6 Comments »

  1. Couple things…how can any percentage of people control 200% of the wealth??

    And for the guy in the raft, if he doesnt share, and doesnt get the lesson….If I am the lesser one in this situation, I’ll plant my flag into the raft to show ownership….then he can decide if he wants to share the food and water, or if he wants me to make the decision to share the raft or not!! LOL

    On the concept of sharing, you and I had a pretty similar childhood in that respect, and I run that gamut with my kids. Although, I think the kids, like you were under the impression that those toys were theirs….point of order, whoever pays the rent in the house…owns the toys! Martial Law prevails in my household, if for no other reason than to cut the bickering and screaming down to a tolerable level.

    As for the taxation issue, federally, the personal income tax coming into play in the middle of US history, has, as you say always been a progressive mutli-tiered system. At some points in history, the highest tax bracket was in the mid-90th percentile. At that point, I dont think anyone can claim fairness. In the upper 30s range…maybe, but then with Social security, medicare, and state taxes taken out, and you have a lot of these people paying over 50% of their income into the system. It hardly seems fair that I would have to work into July or August before my money really was mine.
    I think the solution needs to be pared down some. Reduce the federal levels, set state levels for the majority (Ironically I already always end up paying into the state, but never the Feds). Reduce the tax burden on the poor, WITHOUT raising the burden on the value creators, which without them the rest wouldnt get a paycheck to start. And seriously cut the bureaucracy down. By eliminating the multitude of overlapping regulatory agencies that do the job of the main departments (cabinet post organizations), you could slash government spending by at least 30% right off the top. And by doing so, you would have less of a tax burden that needs to be covered in the first place. Although, with political powers in play, good luck with such a common sense theory.

    Comment by mike lovell | Wednesday, November 19, 2008 | Reply

  2. One other thought: you have a small business and you really do earn 250,000 a year PROFIT from your business (that is what is taxed; not revenue).

    On the other hand, your neighbors are treading water. Guess what? WHO IS GOING TO PATRONIZE YOUR BUSINESS????

    (duh). 🙂

    Comment by ollie | Wednesday, November 19, 2008 | Reply

  3. Just a thought to add to Ollie’s..if I’m profitting $250k…apparently my patronage is healthy

    But I get the point 😛

    Comment by mike lovell | Wednesday, November 19, 2008 | Reply

  4. You do realize that charitable contributions decrease dramatically everytime taxes are raised which causes a loss of revenue to charitable organizations as a direct payment. Rather the money is given to the government who squanders about half of it before the first charity gets the first dollar of money they had to jump through hurtles for. The govenment is the absolute worst at fairly distributing anything as everything it recieves is ground up in the mill of Bureacratic Red Tape and spit back out at far less than what it was going in.

    Secondly I was taught to share also but it was a reciprical thing… I was not taught to share with the kid who took the toy and hit me in the head with it.. that is silly it requirese the other party to play nice also and the whole analogy is sophmoric at best..

    Third, your man on a raft analogy is pathetic also because it is overly simplistic and devoid of any serious critical thought.

    Fourth, what you are really discussing is Class envy and your own notion of fair… People don’t get rich over night unless they win the lottery… or it is inherited but even in inherited it was created by people who worked hard and were risk takers who built industry and jobs and gove jobs and contributed to the social and moral fabric of our nation more than anyone else..Don’t you think they have earned the right to do with their portion of those profits what they see fit… It might also intrest you to know that wealthy consirvatives give more to charity than do wealthy democrats…. why because they see it as a civic duty… democrats see it as a function of government to distribute the wealth which at the end of the day my friend is SOCIALISM BY DEFINITION> and would make you a socialist by vice.

    The difference is what you think is fair is that everyone be FORCED to share as if this world full of adults still needs a nanny government to tell us right from wrong.

    What I see as fair is that everyone shoult be allowed to enjoy the fruits fo their labors, give as they see fit to give and to whom they feel is worthy of the gift and that fairness on the part of our govenrment is to ensure that everyone has the right to be as much or as little as they want to be with their rights stopping at someone elses nose.

    Comment by Joel | Sunday, August 2, 2009 | Reply

  5. Here is some more reading for you.

    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2008/03/conservatives_more_liberal_giv.html

    http://abcnews.go.com/2020/story?id=2682730&page=1

    http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=18218

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/21/opinion/21kristof.html

    All four stories evolve around the brooks study but I just wanted you to see that it was picked up by multiple new sources and presented as credible so there wouldn’t be any arguement about must be a FOX Pundit piece.

    Comment by Joel | Monday, August 3, 2009 | Reply

  6. Thanks for the feedback Joel,

    But I think your attempt at trying to look intelligent is pretty pathetic. You totally missed the mark in your attempt at trying not to look like a “FOX Pundit piece”. All of your sources are conservatives who would rather cut off their arm than do anything that might support a socialistic agenda.

    The most socialistic program in the United States is the military, an organization that sucks at the public teat with the best of them. And yet, generally speaking people in the military, who’s entire existence comes from tax dollars, love to promote pushing other government social programs out the window. Talk about hypocrisy!

    Because of your limited imagination you have a tendency to hide your shortcomings with hostility. This is pretty typical of people who surf sites that promote pundits like Ann Coulter. Nevertheless, I cannot let your comment go without a correction.

    As a kid you were taught to share. But now, we’re supposed to believe that because you may have been forced to share your toys with a kid who was hostile to you the concept of sharing is flawed. I’d like to know what, if anything, you did to make this other kid so hostile that he/she wanted to kick your ass. You probably tried to get him to listen to an article from somebody like George Will.

    What conservatives like you fail to realize is that there is a much bigger picture here for comparison sake. Conservatives like nothing more than to limit their vision of what works and what doesn’t to studies conducted by conservative think tanks that show that lower taxes leads to everything good. If such is the case, why not eliminate taxes altogether and let charitable contributions take care of every thing including our war machine?

    What would be nice is if a study was made to compare the standard of living in places with higher tax rates like Norway or Belgium to places with lower tax rates like Ireland or Mexico. Suddenly lower taxes don’t look so attractive from such a view point. People in Denmark don’t have to worry about charities because the people there have a system where everyone is taken care by government instead of relying on a hodge-podge network of charities to take up government’s slack. No more study is needed.

    Peace

    Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Monday, August 3, 2009 | Reply


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