We're not fans of the French actor Gerard Depardieu. Oh, we aren't exactly adversaries either. We don't know all that much about him, really, except that he's a famous actor and that, as isn't unusual about famous actors, he has few dollars (well, euros) laying around.
We know a bit more about George Harrison. As a Beatle and an outstanding songwriter and musician in his own right, he, no doubt, had money to burn. What might so disparate personalities have in common?
One wrote a song slamming the British government for a 95% 'supertax' on the earnings of the rich. The other has been granted Russian residency in order to avoid a 75% tax rate in his native France.
Let me tell you how it will be <guitar riff> there's one for you nineteen for me. If there is a chord (such a delicious pun in context) which resonates within American conservatism, that may be it. It leads us to questions which simply do not get asked, even by the right wing. It leads us to ask whether it is ever just to take 19 out of 20 dollars from anybody's pocket, let alone three out of four.
After a point, does it matter how much money they have? We will agree that those with more ought to pay more with regard to the needs of society. But seventy five or ninety five percent taxes on income? By what right can such rates ever be justified?
This is illustrated quite well while when you throw in the background of the persons involved. Both Depardieu and Harrison were of humble origins. They weren't born into wealth. They had talent which they were able to parlay into very well paying careers. They made us laugh, they made us cry: perhaps, also, they made us think. Sure, they were not alone in that endeavor. Others recognized their ability, others worked behind the scenes for their success, others incidentally aided the process by which they became wealthy. Without all that, they would not have succeeded so wonderfully.
Yet without their own talent they would not have succeeded either. Can we know which was the more important?
We most certainly can. It was the ones with the talent. Without them, the rest doesn't matter so much. There would be no tax base without their talent.
You may have your sales taxes and user fees. You may even have luxury taxes on items beyond the reach of the vast majority of the population. Indeed, you may have higher income tax rates on the ones who make a lot of money. But anyone who believes the rich should be soaked merely because of their wealth punishes talent and effort and, further, actually denies the economically lower classes of benefits they would never of their own efforts achieve. You deny them recreation, easier lifestyles, and recompense beyond measure in the obtaining of everyday needs.
But worse, you feed an insatiable monster. You feed personal jealousy and public greed. You feed your base desires. And the worst of that is, you fail to ask what type of person are you?