Saturday, February 11, 2012

Fifty Percent Tax Rate

If you knew for a certainty that your health care, including eyes and teeth, would be covered 100%, no matter what; that you got five weeks paid vacation every year, no matter what; that your children were guaranteed a college education if they wanted it, no matter what; and that you would not have to downsize your lifestyle or home upon retiring unless you wanted to, no matter what -- would that be worth fifty cents on every dollar you earned? No more insurance premiums, college funds, or fear about how to afford to live beyond retirement. No more rainy days.

If you said yes, you are at least partially a socialist. If you said no you're probably a member of Congress (who has the best health care system in the country, for life). I ask you to consider. If you have health insurance and add its cost to your state and federal taxes, your social security and medicare taxes,I bet the percentage creeps above 50%. Then what's left has to feed you, clothe you, buy you all the things our society and economy need you to buy, plus earn savings for both your college fund and your retirement (which today they say should be one million dollars plus by the time you reach retirement age).

I think I know where the profits go. Maybe it would feel better to have a stake in your own future -- half of what you earn comes back to you in help. Not a handout; you earned it. And as o quality of care, education, and living, it seems that we in the US are lagging behind anyway, with much greater stress levels than any socialist I know.

Of late I listen to pundits who advise us how, what and how much to save, how to prioritize our income, how to budget to achieve the highest saving percentage, and on and on. It is solid advice, but the people giving it seem trapped in the same bubble that has engulfed Washington. Reality in America is a sinking ship. One in four of our children goes to bed hungry every night. One in six Americans -- most of them children -- lives below the poverty line. In the wealthiest country that ever was, ever.

Things have to change here, but first our attitudes have to change, and our prejudices have to be overcome by education. America has become a war-based economy that serves to protect its own corporate empire; no other country in the world (except perhaps Israel) spends so high a percentage of its GNP on war. In fact, the US spends by itself almost as much as the rest of the world combined -- and the rest of the world, at least the developed world, treats its own citizens better than we do.

In America, stay healthy. You can't afford the alternative. And think, challenge, question, learn, even if you find a way to prove me wrong.

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