It has been my style in the anecdotes I tell here to include personal and sincere details and share my blue collar experience.Â It is this contribution to the public discourse that gives this column a perspective off the beaten trail, and hopefully entertains as well.
I canâ€™t claim a tremendous vocabulary like George Will, nor his intellectual sort of delivery, and I canâ€™t seem to imagine and disseminate an endless list of hilarious one liners like that ubiquitous blonde.Â The tedious and autonomous proletariat experience that many Americans share in their pursuit of the American dream is one that I know, and it is from that fountain that I draw for my commentaries.
That said, no issue causes me more apoplectic consternation, frustration, or disbelief than the issue of taxation on this hardworking population.Â Watching a FOX News focus group where the participants were polled to explain why they were supporting Barack Obama, one participant stood to proudly proclaim, â€œBarack is the only candidate who has promised to raise taxes!â€
I was screaming at the TV, â€œHow on earth is that going to benefit you?Â Dipshit!â€
Reviewing many of the not so flattering comments here on this website, Iâ€™ve been reminded about a level of ignorance and disdain many of our citizens possess, and of their tidy lack of knowledge over economic realities.
This exuberance over raising taxes only sprouts from genuine envy and dislike for people more successful than the partisans of such ideology.Â It is truly a pernicious and evil rumination to wish for pain onto others without even understanding the results of such aspiration.
I hate to quote statistics because they are so easily manipulated to conceal truth, but here are a couple only a moron (yeah, I know there are still plenty of morons) could juxtapose to promote the liberal position:
In 1980 when the highest tax rate was 70% the richest 1% paid 19% of all income tax revenues.Â
In 2003 when the highest tax rate was 35% the richest 1% (annual income $295,000) paid over 34% of all income tax, and in 2005 the richest 1% (annual income $364,000) paid over 39%.
In other words, raising taxes shifts the burden to lower income people.Â That meansâ€”moronsâ€”rich people pay less and poor and middle class people pay more of the total tax burden when you raise taxes on those with high incomes. Â (Iâ€™m sure weâ€™ll have plenty of comments this week from brilliant lefties who donâ€™t understand this.)
$300,000.00 or $400,000.00 a year is not even rich by the way, thatâ€™s middle class trying to get rich. Â People in this bracket are the ones who pay the highest percentage of their incomes in taxes.Â The ultra-rich (people making millions a year) have plenty of methods available to them to beat down their taxable income and their ultimate tax rate.
Do you want to know what rich is?Â John Kerry married the heir to the Heinz Ketchup fortune (net worth around 800 million) and paid around 15% in taxes on about 5 million in income for the records that were last made available.
Last quarter I took an end of year bonus check and my net was less than half the gross.Â (FICA, SDI, Medicare, and State Income tax drive the total confiscation way past 35%.Â What do you think will be left after the Federal Income tax goes to 44% and the Democrats institute some version of HillaryCare?)Â My total income tax paid for the year was way over 15% and my total income was less than 5% of Senator Kerryâ€™s.
At my current income level, it will only take me 4,000 years to amass as much wealth as Senator Kerry obtained by marrying some widow in one afternoon, and thatâ€™s if I donâ€™t pay one penny in taxes!
Now I know plenty people are thinking, â€œGee, Iâ€™d be happy to make two or three hundred grand per year.Â What are you whining about Jim?â€
Everyone I know says theyâ€™d like to make that kind of money except when it comes down to actually doing it and I explain how I sleep with the phone on my nightstand which often rings at two or three in the morning.Â How I work from six in the morning to six or seven or eight at night, and then I come back at midnight to make sure everything is running smoothly.Â Sometimes I get back into bed by one, and sometimes I donâ€™t go home at all and work from midnight until five the next afternoon, go home pass out, and start all over again four or five hours later.Â Then I come in on Saturdays and Sundays to do the work I couldnâ€™t get done during the week.
I donâ€™t need any sympathy, Iâ€™m happy to do it, because I believe there is going to be a big payout in the not so distant future so I can afford the sort of lifestyle I envision, but why on earth should I get taxed at the confiscatory 35% (or 44% if Democrats get their way), while John Kerry gets by at 15%?Â
And what if I donâ€™t seize the success I imagine?Â I work my ass off to give a bunch of money to bureaucrats who work nine to five and hold me in contempt for my presumable success.Â Now thatâ€™s my gamble and Iâ€™m willing to roll the dice, but how many would really try it?Â How many would decide itâ€™s not worth it?Â In my experience most decide itâ€™s not worth it.
The flip side is, I donâ€™t have to work another day in my life.Â I could pay off my house which I owe little on.Â I could hire a guy to run my plant since most all of the equipment here is paid for and overhead is now low.Â I could get by on an income of sixty or seventy thousand dollars yearly, go water skiing every day, and this company will just meander down the road.
I wonâ€™t train any new people valuable skills, I wonâ€™t build a business that could easily employ hundreds of people, and I will pay little in taxes to what I believe is an immoral and Stalinist Government.Â Worst of all, I wonâ€™t impart to my workers and fellow countrymen the kinds of skills that can keep business in the United States and keep us competitive with the rest of the world.
The reality is plenty of talented men and women with skills most needed to build our economy make this choice every day!Â
The leap from making two or three hundred thousand dollars a year where people pay the most punitive taxes, to that field across a wide and diligent canyon, where all the accountants and attorneys can be afforded to circumvent draconian tax policy is often so daunting many wonâ€™t try.Â It is especially discouraging to make these attempts when your expertise is in an arduous industry like manufacturing which is severely challenged by foreign competition.
While the small businessman or entrepreneur may actually lose little (and probably gain) in terms of life quality by transferring his efforts from work to leisure, the biggest losers of all are Americaâ€™s poor who might otherwise be trained and given opportunities by experienced people who really know how to succeed in our system far better than any educator or any bureaucrat.
But alas, the class-warfare parasites in the Democratic party know their message resonates with those envious and uninitiated citizens who are too ignorant to know the policies they wish for will increase our budget deficits, weaken our dollar, and shift a greater percentage of the total tax burden away from guys like me who decide we are not going to play anymoreâ€”to them; on top of that, make us less competitive with foreign producers and drive even more jobs off shore.
My clairvoyant powers are on the fritz right now, so I canâ€™t tell you why Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama would embrace policies that will definitely hurt America, but my best guess is theyâ€™re more interested in succeeding at demagoguery politics and promoting their own careers than they are interested in leading our country, and helping our people.Â
Every now and then a lunatic comes along who thinks he can beat the corrupt structure using nothing but skill, determination, and his will.Â He throws caution to the wind and drives forward recklessly daring the system to stop him.Â He does it because deep in his soul he is an American, and it is our culture to succeed in the face of all obstacles.
I donâ€™t know how or when success will manifest itself and create reality from theÂ the fantasy of my imagination, I only know my resolve demands I continue, and in the mean time pay those bastards their confiscatory tariff.Â Meanwhile, many other capable citizens choose to forgo such ambition because government has made it too enticing not to aspire.Â
I convince myself fortitude will deliver me to the objective, Iâ€™ll actually traverse that diligentÂ canyon to The Other Side, Iâ€™ll make millions of dollars a year, Iâ€™ll hire accountants and lawyers to get me into the fifteen percent tax bracket,Â and then Iâ€™ll switch my party affiliation, become a Democrat, and my new best buddy will be Bill Clinton.Â
Billy boy will show me how to handle a cigar, how to get young harlots while still being married, and after all that, thanks to liberalism Iâ€™ll incur a lower tax liability.
Copyright 2008 Jim Pontillo