I am not trying to get too political here, but during the debt ceiling debate this August President Obama made the following statement:
And I do not want, and I will not accept, a deal in which I am asked to do nothing, in fact, I’m able to keep hundreds of thousands of dollars in additional income that I don’t need, while a parent out there who is struggling to figure out how to send their kid to college suddenly finds that they’ve got a couple thousand dollars less in grants or student loans.
This is the usual class warfare talk that we are so used to hearing from both sides. I am not a big fan of either political side – I think they are both partially to blame for the financial mess our country is in – but I was really taken aback by President Obama’s comments. As a moderate income earner, I would not directly feel the impact of taxing those that make more than I since it would not affect my paycheck; however, I do not agree with this philosophy alone to lessen the debt our country owes. That is great that the President does not need hundreds of dollars in additional income (maybe he could personally donate this additional income to the IRS) but who is to say that someone else that makes a similar salary does not need this money. Maybe they are using it to send their children to college or saving up to start a business. Just because the President does not need this money doesn’t mean that someone else feels the same way.
I am all for reworking the tax code to close some loopholes but I feel we need compromise on both sides. I have heard some say the rich should pay more in taxes because they can afford to. Have we ever thought that some are rich because they chose to make changes in their lives so they could become rich? I look at how Tracy and I live our lives. I know many people that have nicer things then we do because they spend their entire paychecks and do not plan for their futures. These same people tell me they have no money to invest for their future – they actually do but make the choice to spend it now rather than save. On the other side, Tracy and I choose to not buy everything we want, drive older cars and cut costs anyway we can so we have money to invest for our retirements. So, at this point in time, some people have a lot more things than we do and spend money in ways that we do not.
Let’s fast-forward thirty years. If all goes as planned, Tracy and I should have invested enough so that we will be able to retire as millionaires (if the stock market continues to perform as it has for the past 100 years) whereas some of our friends that spend money now rather than save won’t have anything except Social Security to live off of. At this point in time, we would be considered the “evil rich” because we have a lot of money saved. Some would even argue we should pay a larger portion of capital gains taxes. I think this logic is so wrong. We have made a choice to save for our Golden Years and have put off buying things so we are prepared for retirement. It is unfortunate that others did not have the discipline to do the same but I feel it would be a mistake to penalize us for our planning just because others, that had the same opportunity we did, made the choice to do something different.
Do you think the rich should be forced to pay more?
Photo credit: US Army Africa