Wednesday, November 2, 2016

The Easy Way Out

It seems like the popular thing to do these days is to ask rich people to pay more taxes.  I hear the shouts that ‘They don’t pay enough!”  As a former CPA who did a lot of very rich peoples’ tax returns, I can tell you that those people will never pay as large a percentage as the average American.  Get used to it.  Never gonna happen.

You can tax rich people.  They’ll leave or expatriate their incomes though.  They will look for, and find, loopholes that reduce their taxes.  They will never pay what you would expect them to pay.  And the economic bottom line will be that instead of getting a rich person to be more supportive of the government and those who are less-rich, they will become more reclusive and less participative.  Or they will use their income to generate more power and control over the government. 

Regardless, the less rich will always cry out against the more rich.  The poor will be angry with everyone.

There is also no way to eliminate competition, either physical or economic or mental, and still have people.  We grow due to competition.  There is always someone out there in the world that we want to beat.  More often than not, there are always many people that we want to outcompete.  There may or may not be animosity involved.  There is always some jealousy.  We don’t get better by doing less than the next person. 

I can understand the desires of the less ambitious folks in our country.  They are competing by working to slow other people down and by discouraging them to work less.  Who hasn’t heard the phrase “Hey, slow down.  You’re making the rest of us look bad.”  I hear it sometimes in my shop, much to my own personal dismay.  Those folks don't last long, by the way.

This attitude seems to have gotten worse during the past few years.  The outcry against the very rich has actually been translated into proportionately higher tax rates for that class of people.  It is a tragedy. 

The less ambitious are working side by side with the less rich to raise minimum wages, create a shorter work week and allow for more paid vacation and family leave.  Corporations should pay for all of this because they make lots of money.  Oh, and the big rich companies don’t pay a lot of taxes. 
The outcry does not consider the fact that small businesses, who are in the less rich category, comprise nearly fifty percent of the work force and create nearly sixty-four percent of the new jobs in this country.  (SBA FAQ) Every new tax and wage hike and family leave allowance that is imposed on the large corporations takes a much larger toll on the small corporations.  It is no wonder that new business startups are falling behind business failures (Gallup Business Journal).

The past couple of generations of people in this country have subscribed to the idea that we can take an easy way out.  We can just vote for higher taxes and higher wages and more vacation.  Social media says that will solve our problems.  Thankfully, I am not part of the latest generations.  I really don’t want to see the consequences of the easy way out.  For my part, I’ll keep my head down, manage my small business and keep people employed for as long as possible.  And hope that I can survive the easy way out for long enough to get at least one or two days of retirement.      
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