More seriously though... This is that fine line into 'socialism.' Weather you're for it or against it, follow along with me for a minute here.
socialism - a political and economic theory or system in which the means of production, distribution, and exchange are owned by the community collectively, usually through the state
Think about what happens currently with welfare in the US. Tax payer money is collected, managed, and distributed by a government agency, and used to give 'monetary vouchers' to the poorer member of our country. Although this is not specifically taking from the wealthy to give to the poor; it is at the most basic definition a form of socialism.
This is a disfigured and corrupt version of socialism though. True socialism (in theory) has all members of the society contributing to the community, then the big earners have their income redistributed so that all members of the community live equally. Our welfare system allows for recipients to contribute nothing to the community (in extreme cases); and to increase their amount received by adding to the stress of the community (having more kids). Some of those on welfare eat far better than the rest of us.
On the other end of the extreme we have people that are so rich that they have become ridiculously frivolous. I think our society seriously overpays athletes and entertainers; but my real ire is aimed at the greedy CEOs and other executives that have contributed to the current financial crisis. Seriously, what do these guys need with 10 houses, 30 vehicles, and a personal jet?
Why not skim 10% off them and give it to the poor? They would probably never miss it. But then I have to revert back a paragraph, why do the poor deserve it?
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What was the question again? Oh yea... I think only the wealthiest should be taxed. Not to have money transferred to the poor, but to pay for government (salaries, projects, public work, etc).
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Then there is Social Security; if that's not some form of corrupt and failing socialism, I don't know what is.
> what do you mean? who's not already paying more than 10% in taxes?
You're probably right. 10% more then? Finance and numbers aren't my area of expertise.
> who would bother to overachieve if their $ was redistributed evenly to everyone?
This is why socialism is hard (if not impossible) to truly apply in a large society. Think smaller scale though. Like a village, less monetary income (if any), more trading goods and labor, pooling resources for the good of the community. Or maybe even smaller scale, think of a large household with three or four generations living together; sharing duties, chores, and responsibilities; while pooling money to pay for things they can't take care of themselves.
It works because you can see the impact your contribution has; or the recipients are relatives. But for this same reason it doesn't work on a large scale; because you don't know the people benefiting from your hard work, and can't see the impact on a community on the other side of the county.
Oh man Johnny. I'd love to see you and my friend Frank in the same room. He's level-headed and kind and articulate, and completely opposed to how you think. I'm on your side, so to speak, but you "say it so much better". Frank and I go back n' forth on FB (in fun) he's in Ca. I'm on OK ( he's a Hollywood movie producer ( no joke) and a catholic conservative.) He has a blog .. really a sweet guy. But I want to ring his neck sometime. (with love of course ) I should make you my hired gun.
Oh, and there's the fire dept and library system etc, that are American Socialistic State.
Social Security is evil, I was widowed at 21 w/ a baby and I know what a frustrating system it is. It kinda kept me in low income.
But if it can't be workable in large society, why support its application in large society? You realize that your lofty goals are what Lenin and Mao started out as thinking, right? A brotherhood of man each working for the benefit of every one else. It will never happen. Its been tried, and Capitalism certainly has a nasty side, but my assertion about that fact is this: it is mostly caused by government involvement. Have you given Atlas Shrugged a try?
The fact is, human beings are naturally selfish creatures, as are most organisms (see Dawkins The Selfish Gene) Capitalism is the only system that embraces that selfishness and uses it to drive innovation and hard work. With few exceptions (education, state defense, and healthcare, because these three things I don't believe can be ethically denied to a person) the market can handle itself. Even the progressive Era, a time when government intervention on behalf of labor was necessary because corporations were treading all over workers, this regulation was needed because union's had been legally stymied throughout the late 1800's and early 1900's. Unions are the free market answer to corporate worker exploitation.
In closing, a question, which you kind of only half answered. Why, as an individual, should I work my buns off to become a doctor, lawyer, or any other field of work requiring much effort, when the ditch digger next door receives the same benefits from the state I do? And what are your thoughts on flat tax?
I saw recently that the 3 richest men in the world have yearly personal incomes greater than the GDPs of the 48 poorest countries. I didn't verify this factoid but assuming its true; isn't there something obviously wrong. I detest socialism but men like Bernard Madoff make it abundantly clear possession of property and doesn't guaranty a person right to have it. Justice is not an easy issue. It is a lot more complex than micro transactions would imply.
Helping the poor can cripple them or raise them to up to a level of contributing member - It all depends on the nature of poverty and the help provided. The question a wealthy person should consider is this, "If the poor are not going to be helped, what consequences might there be? Is it reasonable to accepting the redirection of a portion of ones wealth to preserve social stability and prevent a violent uprising?" It is not just a matter of holding on to personal wealth. It is a matter of being able to enjoy living in a peaceful world where one doesn't have to hide ones wealth for fear of being targeted (rightfully or wrongly) for the perceived injustices in the distribution of wealth. Helping the poor should be considered as a practical means of preserving wealth and moreover preserving the right to keep when others are suffering from the lack of it.
Being the richest country on the planet, I have a hard time with the fact that there are so many poor people in the U.S. and I mean dirt poor. There should be no reason for this, we should at least be able to raise the standard of living in certain communities to at least a tolerable level. I read a while back that 60% of the country's wealth lays with 1% of the population, ridiculous. Hell yes I think the uber rich should be taxed a hell of a lot more than the rest of us, too bad if that CEO cant afford his second private jet because of it, its absurd.
I also think that if this money is to be distributed to the poor there must also be stipulations on receiving it as well, the last thing we need are more mooches in this country sucking the govt dry.