Someone said to me, in a response to one of my HuffPost comments, "You mean "equal opportunity" and not equality." I was saying we need total equality in government for all as to how our government sees and treats all of us and he felt the need to correct me. This is fine because I love to learn from those who might disagree with me but also because they might know something I am missing.
I see two arenas or categories in a free society when it comes to freedoms and liberty, those two being what we can achieve in the private sector and we should be able to expect from our government as citizens. Two separate sets of rules to live by, so to speak.
This is what I mean.
In the private sector we should and do have the right to purchase products and services according to our ability to pay. We, in most cases, do just that with the exception of some of us who buy over our heads and then find ways to adjust to their self-made higher cost of living, but let's stay with the norm of buying within our means (to pay). If we can show up with the money we should be able to get a Rolls Royce. If we cannot, we show up at the Chevy dealer or whatever in between. I have no problem with this concept.
Now for the public sector as it applies to what we should be able to expect from the federal government, which we all own as American citizens. I won't go so much into detail about what the founding fathers wanted for us but let's just say they fought for equality for all Americans, not only for those who could afford more equality.
Over the last several decades we can say the average middle class person or family paid an average of below 20% in taxes and that remains fairly true today. We also know that those making millions have learned to lower their tax burdens by being able to afford the loopholes in the tax system and their tax burdens have, for so many of them, dropped from perhaps around 50% to below 30%, and some even lower than 25%. I believe the capital gains tax has not only dropped dramatically but it was designed by wealthy congressmen for themselves and their fellow millionaires and billionaires. Common sense suggests that the ones who benefit the most from the capital gains Tax are those who can afford the most capital gains. Of course, it helps a bit for those who can afford only a few dollars a month to invest but their ability to meet their personal cost of living, and improve it, is hardly expected but only hoped for.
Recently, the second wealthiest man in America, Warren Buffett, announced that he is paying less in taxes than his secretary and that he and others in his tax bracket felt this is unfair. I say our government is showing favoritism toward those who can afford to pay less and that, in my opinion, is in conflict with what our founding fathers wanted for all Americans. These mega-wealthy citizens can afford better tax advice and that gives them an unfair advantage but more than that the government is allowing this unfairness. Our government should not be for sale at any level or degree and if it is available to those who can "afford to pay" then equality in how the government serves us is so obviously for sale and unaffordable to so many of us.
The Buffett plan suggests that, "No household making more than $1 million each year should pay a smaller share of their income in taxes than a middle class family pays. This is the Buffett Rule -- a simple principle of tax fairness that asks everyone to pay their fair share."
There were many millionaires, according to the IRS, who paid less than 15% in taxes. Those making over $1 million a year should pay at least 30% and no less, according to the plan, no exceptions or loopholes..
There are more specifics to this plan but not much. It is basically a simple common sense approach to attempt to achieve more equal treatment from the government we all own. I repeat this "we own" thing because we so often forget it was meant to be just that from the beginning a citizens' government, a "government of the people, by the people and for the people." We seem to forget this all to often and that is why we allow the government to go astray. A very important but equal part is the "for the people." I do not believe the founding fathers meant "only for those who can better afford to pay for it."
I feel strongly that the Buffett rule is a good idea to start with but it is only a start and it shouldn't end there. Change for the better takes time and repeated attempts. I also believe we need to let the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy expire this year and that is a must to help fight off what our government owes in our name. Then we should all consider more ways how we can breathe equality back into our government which is our American birthright. Then let them know what we want. I am not talking hand outs, I mean what we already own "for the people," all equally. If our government representatives wont give us our due, in all we need from them, we must change for those who will represent us. After all, we are not a corporation, we are "The People," those who vote.
Very soon our government will vote on the Buffett rule, perhaps as soon as next week. Tell your representatives what you think about it and the expiration of the Bush tax favor for the wealthy. We owe it to us.