"No man should receive a dollar unless that dollar has been fairly earned. Every dollar received should represent a dollar?s worth of service rendered?not gambling in stocks, but service rendered. The really big fortune, the swollen fortune, by the mere fact of its size, acquires qualities which differentiate it in kind as well as in degree from what is possessed by men of relatively small means. Therefore, I believe in a graduated income tax on big fortunes, and in another tax which is far more easily collected and far more effective, a graduated inheritance tax on big fortunes, properly safeguarded against evasion, and increasing rapidly in amount with the size of the estate."
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
TR and Taxation
Barack Obama and Joe Biden have been heavily criticized for wanting to "spread the wealth" and redistributing the wealth. They've been called socialists and even Marxists. Apparently wanting to tax the wealthy (who by the way have seen their wealth increase exponentially in recent years while the lower and middle classes have at best stagnated), is anti-American.
John McCain likes to claim Teddy Roosevelt as his hero. I want to remind John that Teddy Roosevelt, though a Republican, was also a progressive. Remember that in 1912 he ran for President under the Bull Moose banner. One of TR's legacies is the Progressive Income Tax, which requires that you pay more if you earn more -- in the name of fairness. That apparently is an idea John McCain doesn't like -- but why then embrace TR?
Here's what TR had to say about taxes.
Note that he believed in the value of the graduated estate tax -- what Republicans like to call the "death tax." He also put his focus on the earned income over the unearned income. John McCain is proposing lowering the capital gains tax. While that may have some value, in many ways capital gains cuts helped fuel the bubble that recently burst. Rather than encouraging companies to pay dividends, they encouraged companies to inflate value so as to take a bigger share of capital gains. So, Republicans -- listen to TR!
And read Steven Waldman's beliefnet commentary.