To The Daily Sun,
I printed out the letter from Tim Pease (https://www.laconiadailysun.com/opinion/letters_to_editor/meade-believes-having-money-makes-you-deserving-of-health-care/article_d36dd59a-39fc-11e9-a474-2f162aa7ab06.html) written on Feb 26 because it hit the heart of what I believe is the underpinning of the great divide in this country. Tim’s letter was an emotional response to a factual column written by Bob Meade (https://www.laconiadailysun.com/opinion/columns/bob-meade---the-coming-crisis/article_51846972-347f-11e9-a92a-a38997a1f2ff.html) a week earlier.
Bob’s column stated facts on how unlimited health care for everyone will eventually bankrupt our country. Tim’s letter ignored that and basically said there is enough money in the country that we (as a nation) should take it from those that have earned it to provide for those that have not. And Tim is not alone. Virtually 100 percent of the Democrats tossing their hats into the 2020 presidential election are of the same opinion.
The problem I have with all of them is they ignore the fact that even the rich don’t have enough money to fund the programs they are pushing. I went to Forbes (https://www.forbes.com/forbes-400/#7e3d1317e2ff) and got the latest list of the net worth of the 100 richest people in America. Their total net worth came to $1.87 trillion. Compare that to a national budget of $4.4 trillion. If we as a nation took 100 percent of their money and threw them in jail for the crime of being rich it would keep the USA funded for about five months. What about the jobs their companies provide? Amazon, Microsoft, Walmart, Facebook, google, etc. provide millions of good paying jobs. Yes, even Walmart has a minimum wage of $11/hour, when the federal minimum is $7.25/hour.
I have a math problem for all on the left. There were 150 men who got together every week for beers at the local pub. The tab came to $1,000 and the three richest men who lived in beautiful mansions paid $172 each for a total of $516. Twenty-three more men who lived in nice homes paid $12 each, for a total of $276. And another 74 men who lived in modest homes or rentals paid $2.80 each, for a total of $208. The last 50 men paid nothing.
After years of enjoying the weekly get-together, the 74 men paying $2.80 got together with the 50 paying nothing and complained that it’s unfair that they should pay at all when the three richest lived a life of luxury and they were living paycheck to paycheck. So, the next time they got together the 120 plus men surrounded the three, beat them unconscious and took the money to pay for their share. The next week the three men didn’t show up. How will the tab be split?
The numbers I used above were not random. They were divided according to percentage of taxes paid by wealth category in my letter (https://www.laconiadailysun.com/opinion/letters/top-of-u-s-wage-earners-pay-of-income-tax/article_8cd1a4d4-319a-5c27-9185-f8113adc250e.html) written in August 2017. The math problem above was a metaphor for how income taxes are divided in this country. I used one person to represent 1 percent of people who pay taxes. The reason there are 150 instead of 100 for 100 percent is because for every two people who pay income taxes there is one of working age who does not. The top 3 percent of the wage earners pay 51.6 percent of the total “income” taxes paid (i.e. $516 of $1000). The next 23 percent of wage earners pay another 27.6 percent ($276), and the remaining 74 percent of wage earners pay the remaining 20.8 percent ($208).
I did this to point out how the rich pay far more than the average taxpayer. In that same letter I laid out how you can calculate how much of a financial burden we each will be to the federal government if we live more than five to 10 years beyond retirement. If you receive a federal pension that time frame is reduced further. Bob Meade has done the numbers as I have and the problem is not going away unless something changes and changes soon. The left's solution is always to simply take it from those that have earned it. Which is a short-term solution. But once that money is gone, they have to take it from those that have less but still more than them. It only ends when everyone has nothing. Hence my math question above.
In my opinion the solution we should be looking at is getting the 50 that are contributing nothing to start contributing something. It’s why so many of my letters focus on the Work Force Participation Rate (WFPR), rather than unemployment. Currently, 37 percent of working-age Americans are not working yet our current unemployment rate is 3.7 percent. I will note that 15 percent of the 37 percent are of retirement age but I also know a significant number of seniors who are still working, and, in fact, that is the only group whose WFPR has increased since 2000. See my letter (https://www.laconiadailysun.com/opinion/letters_to_editor/problem-is-millennials-are-just-taking-longer-to-grow-up/article_519a0684-ec30-11e8-bfbf-c36bb5952a9e.html). I think this is tragic.
In closing, I’m old enough to remember President Kennedy’s speech in 1961, where he coined the quote, “Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country.” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JLdA1ikkoEc) He was hailed as one of the greatest Democratic presidents of my lifetime. What has happened to the party since then?