Monday, July 11, 2005

Who Needs It?

The point was recently made by one of my blogger friends on my comments page (see my July 5th post "Stop This Immoral and Unwinnable War") that the top 1% of wealth holders in America own 38% of all wealth, and subsequently should pay 38% of the tax burden. He then proceeded to rail against inheritance, calling it "welfare" and saying it was "unfair". He contended that the only fair way to divide up the tax burden is for the people with the most money to bear the largest burden. After all, do we really believe that Bill Gates NEEDS all that money??

NEEDS??

I am not picking on him or trying to start a fight, he is entitled to his opinion. This is mine.

We must be very careful when we start deciding how much of their own money someone else NEEDS.
Sure Bill Gates wouldn't starve to death if he didn't have 28.41 billion dollars, but he made the money. It belongs to him. No one else has any legitimate claim to this money. Not the Government, not me, not you. Not the homeless, the poor, the disadvantaged, not even his children. This Fortune would not exist had Bill Gates not figured out how to amass it, and then amassed it. He could just as easily have shut down the whole company as soon as he got his first two million, and then I would be typing this on a green MSDOS screen.(By the way, did you know that there is a website devoted entirely to how much money Bill Gates has? It's The Bill Gates Net Worth Page.) ( Why is that any of MY business?)

Bill Gates is the ultimate "American Dream" story. He invented a product that nobody had, and a marketing strategy which ensured success and as a result, he and the people who invested in his business have become wildly rich. Along the way they have created thousands of high paying jobs and his business continues to grow.

I personally am happy for him. I wish I had thought of it.

And there it is right there.

If I had thought of it, and done it, it would be me who had 28.41 billion in the bank.
How we arrive at the question of whether he needs his money is beyond me. Even if he doesn't, who is to decide who DOES need it? Especially when he basically came from nothing himself?
Are we to leave this decision to the government? The same government who administers the Social security system? The same government that enacted NAFTA? The same government who invaded Iraq?

I hope not.

In my opinion, logic dictates that the only one who can make that decision is BILL GATES. If he wants to use his fortune to grow his business and create more jobs and make available more products to make my computer more user friendly (which he does), Then that's okay with me. If he wants to donate to a myriad of charities (which he does), that's okay as well. If he wants to invest it in other businesses (which he does), so be it. And if he wants to pile it up to the moon and then leave it all to his children (which he has said he will NOT do), then that's his business. It makes no difference to me whether Bill Gates is rich or not, or what he decides to do with his own money.

Let's take Bill Gates out of the equation for a minute...

Is there some homeless person in your town who needs money and food more than you need a new television? Would you die if you lived in a smaller house? Do you NEED all that space? Do you NEED a new car or could you get by with one that is ten years old? Do you really need a car at all?

Do you want anyone else making these decisions for you?

I don't...

16 comments:

FrenziedFeline said...

I couldn't have said it better myself. :)

Mark said...

I agree, Tug, I am always broke and I envy the rich but I made my own bed and although ot's linpy and uncomfortable, I lie in it and I don't resent those that have nicer ones than me.
Most wealthy people have worked hard for their money except those who married into it (John Kerry). Even those who were born into rich families and now are in control of the family fortune have to be smart enough to be able to keep it.
Look at the Guy in West Virginia that won the biggest single lottery jackpot in history. He has been robbed anout 3 times because he left thousands of dollars on the seat of his pickup truck in a parking lot while inside a bar, and recently was arrested for assaulting a stripper.
Once a fool, always a fool.

Toad734 said...

So you don't think the government has any rights to that money at all. You think Bill Gates shouldn't pay taxes?

As I said in your last post, who made it possible for him to make so much? Was it Americas Free Market, was it Americas defeat of European Communism, was it Americas trade deals with China, was it our lax antitrust laws, was it our civil society that doesn't have warlords running the street robbing the rich, was it our welfare system that kept those roving gangs off the streets unlike Brazil or Afghanistan, or was it our education system that educated Bill Gates or was it a little of all of that?

If bill Gates had been born in Cuba instead of the US no one would know who he is, doesn't he owe us something for that?

Toad734 said...

RE: Mark

Listen to Chris Rock, you can't get rid of or lose wealth, not the kind of wealth I am talking about.

tugboatcapn said...

It was all of these things, Toad that allowed him to make his money, and as I stated in my post, the opportunities are there for everyone who is born in America to do THE EXACT SAME THING. Bill Gates has not been shown any favoritism over any other American, so NO he doesn't owe any more for his privileges than any other American.
I totally agree with you that Cubans would be a lot better off if they had a similar system to American Capitalism than the failing socialist dictatorship that they now labor under, But Bill Gates was born HERE, So that is not an issue within the context of this discussion...

FrenziedFeline said...

Nope, Toad, he doesn't owe us anything. He worked the system when he had the opportunity. Everyone has the same opportunity--it's between their ears. If you don't like the circumstances which afforded him the climate in which to grow a fortune, you can try to work to change the system, but you don't get to complain just because you don't have what he has.

I'd like to know just how much you'd willingly give us if it were you that made all that money.

tugboatcapn said...

Thank you Feline.
Toad, I notice that you neglected to answer the larger question at the end of my post...
Would you be willing to let the current administration decide how much money YOU NEED?

Toad734 said...

The current administration already decides how much money I need. A couple of years ago they decided I needed $300 worth of taxes I already paid and they sent it back to me, shortly after they ran up the biggest fastest deficit in recent history. So you can't always look at it from the stand point of what I need, sometimes you have to look at it from the view of what WE all need. But no, I should be the one who decides how much everybody should pay. In fact I propose a luxury job tax on successful actors, athletes, musicians and TV personalities. If get paid over a million dollars per year doing a job that kids dream of doing when they grow up, and in doing that job you can get laid everywhere you go, you should pay more taxes than a guy that works a shitty job that no one wants, and prevents him from getting laid, such as a garbage man.

If I had 40 billion dollars and the government took half, I don't think I would miss it, especially if that meant every kid in the country actually got the same education, and actually had just as much opportunity as I did.

The problem with your line of thinking is that you guys think GW Bush is a self made guy, you think that he had the exact same opportunities in life as a black kid raised by a single mother who went to a public school in Pine Bluff, AR, Gary, IN or Detroit, MI.

tugboatcapn said...

No, Toad, I know that GWB was born into (some of) his money. That still doesn't give me any right to take it away from him for any reason. It doesn't belong to me. Or us. Or anyone but him.
I got the same $300, and by the way ,at that time, so did Bill Gates. Nobody got any more or less than that (unless they didn't make $12,000 by that point in the year, in which case they hadn't paid enough taxes in to qualify to get any back.)(You have to PAY taxes in the first place in order to benefit directly from tax cuts...)
As for your statement that YOU should decide how much money everyone pays, I don't even believe YOU should be allowed to decide which pajamas you wear every day. The government has enough megalomaniacs already.( John F. Kerry, Ted Kennedy, John McCain, Harry Reid...)
By the way, I love the way that you shifted the argument from Bill Gates to GWB when you had to admit that Mr. Gates came from nothing and that we all have the same chance that he had to become rich.(Gates has more money than GWB...)
I am learning your tricks, and that one was brilliant!

tugboatcapn said...

Oh, and Toad...I know you love doing research...
Go to http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/13/business/13deficit.html and read what happens when you cut taxes. The record deficits you cited in your comment were brought on by the economic policies of the Clinton administration, Not the Bush tax cuts. The tax cuts were enacted to try to head off the coming recession, but they didn't have time to work before the house of cards the President inherited from the Clintons fell in on itself.
Now that they have had time to work, you can expect the next few years to show record economic and job growth.
A word of personal advice...
You must let go of your Jealosy, Your Hatred, Your Fear...These are the path to the Dark Side...

tugboatcapn said...

Hey, by the way Toad, do you mind if I link to your blog? (I won't do it without your permission...)

alaletos said...

Hey tug.

I can see that the new post is keepin ya pretty busy. however, My friend has just started a blog. hes border line genius, lil scary but jeenius none the less. drop him a line if ya get a chance.

www.zombieswillrise.blogspot.com

Mark said...

Tug, What a coincidence! Just today, I heard on a Liberal radio program that the deficit was higher than ever, and right after that, I turned the station and heard a Conservative claiming it was lower than it's been since 1959. I wonder where they get their facts?

tugboatcapn said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
tugboatcapn said...

Same place they ( the liberal media) always gets their facts, Mark. They either make them up out of their head, or they run a poll with very specific, pointed questions designed to portray the notion that most Americans THINK that the deficit is at an all time high.
You know how this works.
Fortunately, I got my facts from the NEW YORK TIMES, so you know that it's GOSPEL...

Toad734 said...

Of course you can link my site

When you say "Liberal Media" are you talking about:

Bill Oreilly, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Pat Robertson(Family Channel), Sinclair Broadcasting, Clear Channel, Fox News, Joe Scarborough, Newsmax, The Drudge Report, Laura Ingraham, Ann Coulter, and the Pax network?

Or are you talking about Air America and Tom Brokaw?