Fair, by it's very definition, means something is equitable and just. It seems pretty obvious to me that a flat rate on all income is about as fair as taxation can get. Whether that rate is 0% or 20%, if it's the same for everyone, it's completely fair. I'm not sure how you can suggest that a flat tax is anything other than exceedingly fair.Yes, since the world isn't going to be fair, then we could at least have everyone pay the same flat rate. Would that mean that some millionaires would pay more? Yes. But that doesn't mean it isn't wrong. It isn't fair to have some pay so much more than others, the same way it isn't right to have the really poor pay more than a very small token amount to at least be contributing something. I don't want Pgsmith to pay so much, but that doesn't mean I want Romney to pay more either. A flat tax gives the politicians less wiggle room to screw us over, and it isn't as immoral as hitting some innocent people with tax rates over 20 percent, be they rich, middle class or poor.
The problem is actually the same one that grants corporate CEOs incredibly exhorbitant salaries. In the case of CEOs, the board of directors decides their salaries, and the CEO helps to set the benefits for the board of directors, you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours. Politicians and the rich are exactly the same. The rich give money to the politicians so the politicians can become one of them. In return, the politicians work to make sure the laws favor the rich, because they are now a part of that group and so helping themselves. It used to be that all of this wheeling and dealing was done in back rooms and under the table because people would be outraged if the newspapers discovered what was going on. However, it has become so commonplace today that none of the players have a problem with being seen as underhanded and greedy, and the newspapers only report what their company (and the political party said company is partners with) lets them.
I don't know what the answer is. The rich (including the politicians) will continue to get richer since they are the only players in this game. The rest of us don't matter because we hold such a small stake in their power/money game. I just simply try to get by without compromising my morals and principles. I'll tell you what though, if I made 150 million a year, I'd be happy to pay 50 million in taxes. If I can't live in the best of style for 100 million a year with more than I can count left over, then something is seriously wrong with me.
It'll never happen. I am tied too tightly to my principals, and had poor parents. Well, I hope you get that rich pgsmith, and we'll see how readily you give 50 million dollars to greedy politicians who have done nothing to earn that money and use it for their purposes, rather than yours.
The people who get really rich are usually rich as a by product of their work.
If it wasn't a by product, they would stop working as soon as they were rich. Most, Rush, Trump, Gates, Jobs, and the others work because they love what they do and fortunately for them, what they do pays really well.
For the sake of brevity, I didnt cite the research behind the statement. But since many of you have asked, and we aim to please here at the Wealth Report, here are my three main data points:
1. According to a study of Federal Reserve data conducted by NYU professor Edward Wolff, for the nations richest 1%, inherited wealth accounted for only 9% of their net worth in 2001, down from 23% in 1989. (The 2001 number was the latest available.)
2. According to a study by Prince & Associates, less than 10% of todays multi-millionaires cited inheritance as their source of wealth.
3. A study by Spectrem Group found that among todays millionaires, inherited wealth accounted for just 2% of their total sources of wealth.
Each of these stats measures slightly different things, yet they all come to the same basic conclusion: Inheritance is not the main driver of todays wealth. The reason weve had a doubling in the number of millionaires and billionaires over the past decade (even adjusted for inflation) is that more of the non-wealthy have become wealthy.
On inherited wealth...
My principles keep me from employing the ruthlessness necessary to become very rich. I've had personal conversations with Ross Perot, who told me that it requires ruthless drive to amass great wealth, and he's made a great number of life-long enemies that were casualties of that ruthless drive. Bill Gates stole the original code for Windows from his partners. I was involved in the electronics industry back when that happened, and there was much discussion about it on certain Darpa net sites.What principals would keep you from getting rich? You don't like hard work or long hours? I can understand that. The people who get really rich are usually rich as a by product of their work. If it wasn't a by product, they would stop working as soon as they were rich. Most, Rush, Trump, Gates, Jobs, and the others work because they love what they do and fortunately for them, what they do pays really well.
. They are ethical and rich
"Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me. -F. Scott Fitzgerald