THE BLOG
12/14/2010 11:56 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Top Earners: Blame Them or Admire Them?

Bernie Sanders of Vermont spoke on the Senate floor and the speech about the gap between the rich and the poor in America has since gone viral. For eight hours he criticized and appeared to blame the highest earners in America for the condition of the bottom earners. He ranted on and on as though the top 1% are to blame for the bottom 50%. He recited figures suggesting the top 1% earn more than 23% of all US income and more than the bottom 50% combined! Sanders says, "the top 1% earned more money than the entire bottom 50%... when is enough, enough?"

Should the highly successful be penalized by society for their successes? Should they be punished with higher taxes? Are the top earners the reason for the bottom earners? Should their be no bottom, top and middle and everyone is rewarded equally regardless of their commitments? Should the top be taxed more heavily because of their hard work and dedication in hopes that those taxes will benefit the bottom earners? I must admit I admire success and stand in admiration and awe of these top earners. Rather than blaming and penalizing them with higher taxes, I only want to know what they are doing to acquire their status so that maybe I can do more for my family.

When did America start blaming the winners for those that don't do well? In sports we don't blame the winning teams and then penalize them. We honor them! In school, we honor those achieving the highest scholastic scores. Should Oliver and Laurie who had perfect grades been penalized and held back or made to help me because I was only an average student? Should a top earning movie like Avatar be penalized and have to pay more to the theaters and the community because they were so successful? Oh, I forgot, because of their success, they did pay more.

Also, Sanders failed to explain in his lengthy dissertation that this earning disparity is not anew phenomenon. You can go back to WWI and see similar results regarding earnings (see graph above). Rather than assigning blame or fault what Mr. Sanders and others like him should do is discover what the top 1% are doing to be in the top 1% and make that information available to the bottom earners. I just wonder how many of the bottom earners would even be willing to dedicate the time and energy to learn and do what the top 1% have done to get themselves where they have.

Do you think the disparity gap in earnings is a commitment issue or class issue? Before you answer that, consider that since 1920 taxes have increased yet the top earners still figure out how to play the game and win. Penalize the top earners with more taxes and they will only create new products and services for the bottom 50% to spend their money on -- so it won't change the game anyway! Increasing the taxes of the top earners only gives the politicians more money for their special interest groups and to mismanage.

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