Monday, February 13, 2012

Fair to Me or Fair to Thee?

by Lynn Costello
I confess that I will probably become ill if I hear one more time from the President of the United States “I want this to be a big, bold, generous country where everybody gets a fair shot, everybody is doing their fair share and everybody is playing by the same set of rules.”

Growing up with two sisters my mother always wanted to be fair so whatever was given to us was divided into thirds, thus fair distribution was achieved.  Later I learned that life itself was not always fair and while some throughout history have tried to design fairness, it doesn’t work.  Milton Friedman noted that “A society that puts equality…ahead of freedom will end up with neither equality nor freedom.”

So what is our fair share?  It is often mentioned that 49% of U.S. households pay no federal income tax at all, while the top one percent pay 38% of all federal income taxes.  The response is “yah, but they pay FICA taxes.”  FICA taxes support social security and Medicare but pay nothing into the general government.  So those who pay no federal income tax receive all the benefits of government as well as the opportunities available to each of us by living in a (mostly) free country.   Mirror, mirror on the wall; what’s the fairest of them all?  It seems to me a flat tax might be the fairest where we each pay the same rate.  Property taxes are paid at one rate, whether our home’s value is $5 million or $50,000.

 Concerning the generous nature of our government, James Madison said that “Charity is no part of the legislative duty of the government.”  The fact is the government has no money without first taking it from we the people. While the president speaks of charity, his own acts send a different message.  The Obamas gave just 1% of their income to charity between 2000 and 2004, increasing that to 5% by 2007.  Joe Biden gave $369 the year before becoming Vice President.  It might also be noted the IRS reports that 36 of Obama’s executive office staff owe some $833,970 in back taxes and thousands of federal employees owe back taxes totaling $3.4 billion.  It appears this administration is mostly interested in spreading “our” wealth around.

The 49% who pay no federal income taxes will be voting in November for those who will preserve their status and perhaps even promise them more.  We are at the point of no return.  When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that is the beginning of the end of any nation.  We watch Greece disintegrate due to this very circumstance.  2012 will determine our fate; will it be the sunset or the sunrise of freedom in America?

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