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JIM HARRIS: Taking From The Rich Could Be Obama’s End Game
In the movie “Return of the Jedi,” an angry Luke Skywalker confronts his mentor, Obi-Wan, wanting to know why he had been lied to about Darth Vader.
As anyone who has watched the Star Wars movies know, Darth Vader was Luke’s father
“You told me that Darth Vader betrayed and murdered my father,” Luke said to Obi-Wan.
In a style that any elected official caught with his hand in the cookie jar would envy, Obi-Wan explained it this way:
“Your father was seduced by the Dark Side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true… from a certain point of view. Luke, you’re going to find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view.”
Indeed, a person’s point of view alters many things.
It is true that the sky is blue. That is true if your point of view is outside on a clear day during daylight hours. If your point of view is at sunset, the sky would be orange. At night it would be black with glittering stars – unless it is cloudy.
Barack Obama is counting on people’s points of view being different in his goal of redistributing the wealth of this county.
For Obama, the government’s main focus should be taking money from those who earn it and giving it to those who don’t.
He frequently says that the rich are not paying enough in taxes and more needs to be taken from the rich and given to the poor.
Who is rich depends on your point of view. If you make $100,000 per year, your point of view is that someone making $1 million per year is rich and you are not. So you are okay with heavily taxing the man with $1 million or more in income.
If you are making $50,000 per year, everybody making $100,000 or more is rich. You are okay with heavily taxing the man making $100,000 or more.
If you are making $7.25, minimum wage, and the man with much more experience who is making $15 per hour is rich. So you are okay with taxing the man making $15 per hour.
So no matter what your point of view, there is somebody making more money than you are and, as you see it, is “rich.”
So when you have an elected official who talks about taxing the rich and does not define “rich,” it is easy to agree with him.
The question becomes where do you draw the line and say everyone who earns “this amount” is rich.
The people who decide that are the President and members of the U.S. House of Representatives.
The President makes $400,000 per year. Senators and congressmen make $174,000 per year. Most of them are wealthy before being elected. While some may live only on their salaries, nobody who is poor gets elected to be President, a senator or congressman.
Senators and congressmen will defend their salaries by saying they have to maintain two places to live – a home in their district or state and a place to live in Washington, D.C.
Having lived there I can tell you the cost of living in Washington, D.C. is much higher than it is in Arkansas.
So from a Member of Congress’ point of view, a salary of $174,000 isn’t as high as folks making minimum wage might think.
Even if they don’t take their own salaries into account in deciding who is rich, each state or district represented has a different per capita income.
On my last trip to New York, I ran into a man from Arkansas who was working two jobs in the Big Apple and sharing an apartment with five guys. Each of those jobs paid about $70,000 per year.
In New York the cost of living is very high so earning $140,000 is just making ends meet.
In Arkansas, where the per capita income is $33,150 per year, earning $140,000 would likely get you defined as rich.
If you lived in Utah, where the per capita income is $32,595, your point of view could be that Arkansans, who make on average $555 more than those living in Utah, are “rich.”
When the definition of rich is somebody making more money than you are, it is easy to say we need more taxes on the rich.
Being a small business owner, I can say I have had some successes. Success did not come because the government did anything for me. It came because I worked hard, I made intelligent decisions, I took chances, I was lucky and I credit God with His blessings.
My success provided a good income for the people who worked for me and did business with me.
You would think the government would want to provide positive reinforcement for people being successful in private enterprise.
Instead, when I was successful and turned a good profit, the extra taxes that came with success made it seem like the federal government was fining me for being successful.
Now we are to a point where about half the people in this country don’t make enough to pay the minimum federal income tax. Their point of view is that the other half has all the money and they are not paying enough taxes.
The perspective of the half paying the taxes is that they think the other half should be working harder or in come cases, just working. They resent having to pay for those who take without producing.
If Obama wins a second term, he will count on this as he pushes for his real goal – redistribution of wealth.
Old Obi-Wan was right when he said: “You’re going to find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view.”