19 September 2008

Taxation and Patriotism

Much has already been written and said about vice presidential candidate Biden’s comment about paying taxes and patriotism. Though many have missed the quote (from Townhoall.com, “We want to take money and put it back in the pocket of middle-class people," Biden said. Of those who would pay more, he said: "It's time to be patriotic ... time to jump in, time to be part of the deal, time to help get America out of the rut.") and merely heard what others have said about it. But given Sen. Biden’s words, much can be said from a middle class point of view – none of which has anything to do with Sen. Biden’s warped, statist view that giving the government more of what it wastes most would help anyone outside of government.

As a worker who doesn’t really earn all that much per year, but still pays federal taxes, I can honestly say that my federal tax burden is not unbearable. I also realize that I only see, in the form of federal income tax, a small portion of the tax revenue generated by my employment. There are numerous taxes that are “behind the scenes” for the average worker; the employer pays them. Those employers are, to a great extent, wealthier than I am. Taxing employers more – those nasty, rich people – creates a potential problem for me. Sen. Biden claims that increased tax revenue will be passed along to the middle and lower classes. I don’t believe for a second; no more than I believe that I will receive a dime from Social Security when I’m 65. But what’s more, taxing job-creators is a potential threat to my job. No government handout should, or can, take the place of my job.

It may be a humbling realization, but those of us in the working and middle classes don’t create jobs, we accomplish work. That’s our role. Business owners and entrepreneurs create wealth and jobs. Money taken from the pockets of business owners and entrepreneurs may enrich the government, but it also reduces the ability and willingness to take on salaries.

I’m neither an economist nor a lawyer-turned-senator, but the following seems self evident. If the government willingly increases the tax burden on the “wealthy” – many of them business owners and entrepreneurs – then the government reduces opportunity and prosperity for the working and middle classes. There’s nothing patriotic about that.

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