John McCain and Sarah Palin have repeated the epithet over and over again ever since Joe the Plumber confused his own tax cut with socialism. Is presidential hopeful Barack Obama’s tax plan a socialist scheme or a wrong made right? Let’s analyze.
First, Found Father Benjamin Franklin – America’s first millionaire – was a proponent of progressive taxation. In fact, our progressive tax system was devised, among other things, by this most industrious of our Founders. One of the wealthiest men of his own age, Franklin understood the necessity for taxes and he understood that those who have the most to lose also have the most to gain by ensuring the maintenance and continuation of valuable government services. That’s why he proposed such a system.
But that was long before Karl Marx opined “from each according to his ability andÂ to each according to his need.”
To Joe the Plumber, Obama’s “spread the wealth” philosophy sounds like Marxist socialism. I understand that. Obama made the fatal mistake of explaining his tax plan in the most ineffectual of linguistic styles. What he should have said was, “I’m justÂ taking back a little bit of what the Bush Administration and America’s wealthy classÂ have stolen from the poor and middle class and giving it back to its rightful owners.”
Progressive Taxation Is Not Socialism
I don’t like paying taxes. As a fiscal conservative libertarian, I wish no one had to pay taxes. I’d like to see taxes cut to zero for everyone – rich, poor, and middle class alike. But that isn’t realistic.
Most of us realize that some taxation is necessary. If you want a strong military then you have to have a way to fund it. Taxes. If you want roads to drive on then you need to fund those roads. Taxes. We may all disagree on the amount of taxation that is necessary and on the government services that are necessary and that should receive tax moneys for appropriation, but we can all agree that some taxes are necessary.
When Ben Franklin proposed a progressive tax he was doing so as a wealthy member of society. He knew that an invasion of his homeland would mean that he stood more to lose than his average neighbor. Therefore, if he wanted his wealth protected then he should pay more than his average neighbor. It was his civic duty. He knew that.
Personally, I’d prefer a flat tax. But history is history and tradition is tradition. Progressive taxation is one of the most conservative ideas of the modern era. If Republicans really want to be true to the vision of the Founders then they should support progressive taxation. It’s not socialism.
John McCain And His Republican Base Are Waging A Class War
It was Dick Cheney who bloviated upon winning the 2000 election that the day had come for him and his Republican friends to get their due. He meant that it was time for the wealthy to get their tax cuts. The poor had been dipping into their pockets for too damn long and it was time for the super rich to protect what they had worked so hard to earn.
Fine. I can allow for a tax cut to the super rich in good times when the military that is used to protect their wealth is not deployed for such purposes. But when you start a war then you have to fund it. And the people who should fund it are the people who want it and the people who have the means to pay for it. Those people are the wealthy class – the class that has been receiving tax breaks for the duration of the Bush Administration, while the poor and middle class do the dirty work.
Where Are The Rich White Guys On The Battlefield?
If you look at the population of men and women in uniform serving in Iraq and Afghanistan you’ll see that an overwhelming majority of them come from the poor and middle class. Even the officers. The huge income gap of those serving in the military is no secret, but it isn’t being reported on by the mainstream media.
When Republicans repeat the oft-spoken mantra that military men and women are protecting “our” freedom, what they really mean is that they are protecting the right of the wealthy class to live as they please without accountability. While our poor and middle class men and women are risking their lives for the lies that were told to get us into Iraq, the wealthy have used their money to bankroll risky investments causing many less economically fortunate Americans to lose a large portion of their lifetime savings. Plus, the tax cuts the wealthy class have received are coming from the public purse, putting a heavier burden on lower class taxpayers who have had to pick up the slack – while they and their children risk their lives on two fronts. To further add to the injury, many of those wealthy noncombatants are profiting from the efforts of those on the battlefield, the oil companies realizing record-breaking profits.
As noted earlier, I’m all for cutting taxes, but not in the middle of a war. Not when men and women are risking their lives for those receiving tax breaks to see record-breaking profits as a result of the hard work put in by those in uniform in the execution of a war based on unjust causes.
Why Obama’s Tax Cut Is Not Socialism
I’m with Republicans when they say that people who pay no income taxes should receive no “refund”. That does sound a little bit like socialism – at least it would had not the above injustices not been on the table. Still, wealthy oil executives have profited from the sweat of poor and middle class soldiers who returned home to $4.00 per gallon gas prices while the oil companies broke their records. A little relief is in order. It isn’t payback. It’s just the right thing to do.
Throughout the Bush Administration, the wealthy have not performed an ounce of civic duty. They’ve taken, not given. And I’m not the only one who has noticed.
Allen Taylor is an Iraq War veteran and writes the daily News and Media Blog.