LETTERS TO THE EDITOR - Taxing super rich would be a start


I must respectfully disagree with my friends and others who argue taxing the rich will discourage job creation. It's not rich people per se who create jobs: Demand creates jobs.

The people who started Microsoft, Google and Facebook, for example, were not rich. They only became rich -- very, very rich -- because they created a product people demanded. Most new, job creating companies start small, often in someone's garage.

The already rich spend most of their profits on extravagant houses or other luxuries, or invest in stocks or other financial instruments that increase their wealth without creating jobs.

How many jobs has Goldman Sachs or other hedge fund managers created? Few to none. Their wealth comes not from creating industries with jobs, but from siphoning wealth from other businesses and individuals.

Remember this -- when a derivative speculator makes money, someone else is losing it. In my opinion, those individuals making millions on other's losses can't be taxed too much.

One of the most productive periods of the 20th century were the '50s and '60's. The highest tax bracket in the '50s was 90 percent. Kennedy lowered that some, but still much higher than now. And look at what we accomplished in those two decades!

An interstate highway system envied by the world. We built dozens of hydroelectric dams and nuclear power plants. We built scores of missiles and missile silos, scores of B-52 bombers (still in use), nuclear-powered ships and submarines, all to keep our democracy safe, and then sent men to the moon.

Much of this burst of productivity was fueled by government investing in education after World War II, sending thousands of former soldiers to college on the GI Bill.

We also fought two wars, Korea and Vietnam, and launched President Johnson's "War on Poverty".

In contrast, President Reagan's deregulation and tax cutting launched a decade of hostile business take-overs (to use up excess corporate cash) and budget deficits as a trade off for more business freedom and entrepreneurship.

Whether that was good policy depends on your political viewpoint. The point is, since the beginning of the '70s infrastructure has been neglected, programs of national pride such as the space program have been devalued, and the income gap between the rich and the poor has widened.

It's time to re-examine our tax policies and our priorities. Maybe taxing the super rich a little more won't solve our budget problems, but it would be a start.

Jack DeWitt


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