One of the things American history glosses over is that the American Civil War was about money and how much can be made when there’s no cost for the labor, other than the minimum food, health and welfare, that would keep the labor alive. The Civil War ended and the labor was freed, but the mentality of the Planter class, never examined, did not change and has not changed over the years. And now, from Wisconsin to Albany, there’s a bold effort to take America back to those halcyon days of capitalism, when the line of pharaohs, kings and planters told laborers to work or starve. Now it is past time to cease scrambling for table crumbs and tax the rich with all the enthusiasm they have shown for denying food, health and welfare to everyone else.
The Center on Budget and Policies reported in 2009 that “Two-thirds of the nation’s total income gains from 2002 to 2007 flowed to the top 1 percent of U.S. households, and that top 1 percent held a larger share of income in 2007 than at any time since 1928, according to an analysis of newly released IRS data by economists Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez.
“During those years, the Piketty-Saez data also shows, the inflation-adjusted income of the top 1 percent of households grew more than ten times faster than the income of the bottom 90 percent of households.” That’s why there’s so little money around in the richest country in the world, they’ve got it all. That’s where the money is, now let’s go get it.
Start with Social Security. Tax all income, none of this swooning about “caps” or “capital gains”. Tax it all. If a fellow had $1.2 billion in income last year, then a Social Security tax should be paid on all of it, not just the first couple of hundred thousand dollars. It is the imbalances in the system that make income like that possible and somebody has to pay for the damages.
The rich are not going to like it and they’re going to fight mightily against it, but like autocrats and peasants around the world are learning, the rich only have one vote and it is time for the rest of us to rise up and make our voices and votes heard. Thankfully, we can do this here in the States, where we have the right to march on ballot boxes and political offices without having to confront tanks, heavy weapons fire, or even the Springfield .58-caliber musket of the American Civil War. This is a privilege we should be taking advantage of.