Thank God for Rich People — a Second Look

Back in December 2010 I published a column in this space entitled, “Thank God for Rich People.”  It touched off a brouhaha – without the ha ha, attracting more than 300 comments.  When we talked about the column on the O’Reilly Factor it touched off another firestorm.

This seems like a good time to run it again.  Because by now it has become depressingly obvious to anyone paying attention that President Obama will run for re-election trying to divide Americans based on envy.  He’ll try to pit the 99 percent against the 1 percent.  Rich people are the ones, according to the president, not paying “their fair share.”  Rich folks are the bad guys.

I don’t think so.  Which is why I’m running the column again.  Let me know what you think.


I have an idea for a monument in our nation’s capital.  I envision a big bronze and granite statue that would honor an entire group of Americans who are true heroes, and unsung heroes at that.

It is time — no, make that long past time — to pay tribute to those this nation of ours owes a great debt; to those who give and give and give and in return get anything but our gratitude.

This is an idea whose time has finally come.

Right there, amongst the sacred national structures that honor great Americans, we need to build a shiny monument to … (this is where the drum roll would come in) The Rich – otherwise known in liberal circles as the filthy, no good, greedy, heartless rich.

The statue could be simple and elegant:  a smiling rich guy in a business suit holding hundred dollar bills in both hands, extended toward the blue sky.

President Obama compromises with Republicans and gives the wealthiest two percent of Americans a temporary respite from a tax hike and listening to the yelps of the  “progressives” you’d think he just tried to shut down WikiLeaks or something.

The Left is bawling about how “we can’t afford” to give people “who don’t need it” a tax break.  This argument makes perfect sense, of course – as long as income re-distribution is a central tenet in your theology.  Never mind that liberals weren’t all that concerned about what we could afford when they passed a nearly trillion dollar stimulus package that didn’t stimulate very much or when they poured in billions of our tax dollars to bail out General Motors.  It’s only now that they’re concerned about budgets because those nasty rich folks are getting a break.  But I don’t want to pick a fight with my liberal friends over whether the wealthiest Americans “deserve” a tax break or not.  I have come to praise The Rich, not to bury them.

I offer a few numbers to make my case:

Did you know that the top one percent of American wage earners (adjusted gross income) pay about 38 percent of all our federal personal taxes (according to the National Taxpayer Union)?   The top one percent, by the way, account for 23.5 percent of all income — a substantial amount, yes, but considerably less than 38 percent.

Or that the top five percent pay just under 60 percent?

Or that the top ten percent pay about 70 percent of all the personal income taxes collected in this great land of ours?

These “fat-cats” are the ones who do the heavy lifting in this country.  They’re the ones whose federal tax dollars pick up a big chunk of the tab for all sorts of noble things, such as:  food for folks who don’t have enough to eat … medicine and doctors for people with little money … financial aid to help other people’s kids go to college … milk and diapers for poor babies whose 15 year-old mothers and deadbeat fathers are too irresponsible to take care of their own kids … a safety net for old folks who are retired on fixed incomes … and on and on.

And if they “only” bank their new found savings instead of spending it all over town?  Well, that’s a plus too.  It means there would be more money out there for businesses to borrow for expansion, which probably would mean more jobs.  Or it could mean more money for new homeowners to borrow, which would also give a boost to the limp economy.

No, I’m not saying the wealthiest Americans are all a bunch of selfless philanthropists.  But try to imagine an America without those rich people.

By the way, the bottom 50 percent of tax filers pay a paltry 2.7 percent of our federal income taxes.  How many poor people do you think their tax dollars are taking care of? If you ask me, they’re the ones not paying their fair share.  Every time they pass a “rich” person on the street, they ought to say, “Thank you for everything you do for me and for this country.”

For those of you not already making plans to hang me in effigy – or for real –  let me simply say this:  The richest Americans may not “need” a break on their taxes, but they sure don’t need being vilified, either.  They need our gratitude.

So let’s get busy on that shiny monument in our nation’s capital.  And let’s get some unemployed people out there building it.  It’s the least they can do for those nice rich people who have been keeping them afloat.



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  • Sidney18511

    I have a business in Florida. If I did not have to pay any taxes it would not cause me to hire or expand. The one bit of information that all small business owners like myself know is that we need CUSTOMERS. We need the middle-class to have jobs, so that they can walk into stores like mine and buy goods. The GOP used to know this, but since the so called job creators can sell their goods all over the globe, they don’t need to depend on a healthy middle-class anymore.

  • 1Haole_Boy

    The Tree and the Streem: A story of Class Envy!
    __The tree was growing in the sun with plenty of water to make it grow but the tree was envious of the streem because the tree reasoned that the streem had too much water.
    __The tree convinced the beavers to dam up the streem to spite its abundance. The Tree smiled big when it noticed how the once flowing streem dried up and left a streem bed with flopping fish dying in the sun.
    __The grass began to turn brown and the tree started to drop its leaves. By the end of the summer the Tree began to lose its bark and before it died the tree said, ‘I miss the streem, what have I done?’ It was too late when the tree had realized that the Streems water was for all.

  • richard whaley

    Most “rich people” are the business owners in a community. When our business is growing we
    tend to hire more people to help us grow our business even more. However, this has not been the case for the last several years. I don’t blame the current administration for causing all the problems, but I don’t feel they have the correct solutions.
    I have been a small business owner since 1978 and this is the worst economy I have ever experienced. My ability to remain in business
    is based on cash reserve I built up over a long period of time. Keep up the good work and I look forward to your future observations.

  • Morior Invictus

    I like rich people. Maybe not on a personal level, but on an employer/employee level. I learned early on in life that a poor person makes a poor employer. As for the liberals who keep up the shrill and those who support obama, they better stop and think about it. He (obama) is trying his best to take the Country over the cliff. Americans have become lemmings. They don’t think about issues and fail to recognize, or maybe refuse to accept, a person who hates this Country. Just look at the czars he has.

  • Dave

    Good article.

    I’d like to add this. What gives Obama or anyone else the right to decide what the fair share of taxes should be for one group of people who have been singled out? If a 38% tax rate for the rich is fair now according to Obama, what happens when he decides that 50% or 80% is their fair share? If the law does not treat all people the same then that is an unjust law. The law must be completely impartial when it comes to judging people. All laws are made by people, and as soon as one group of people begin to apply the law with prejudice against another group of people then you have a tyranny! The only fair tax is one that does not differentiate between people, because it applies the same rule to all people. That is what fairness really is, not this lie spread far and wide by the social radical lefts who want to take over this country.

  • Brendan Horn

    There is the phrase that liberals love: “the rich are getting richer while the poor are getting poorer.” The sad part about the phrase is that many people actually think it is bad when rich people become richer. Why should it be seen as bad for rich people to become richer? I think it would be great if both rich and poor people became richer at the same time. Would that not be the sign of a very healthy economy? Yet, the liberal utopia seems to be a world where the rich become poor and the poor become rich. That seems a little perverse to me.

  • Jamal

    People of this country have so much–cars, air conditioning, television sets and cable, more living space than the residents of Paris, enough food to keep us overweight. Yet we allow politicians (and ourselves) to drive us to the politics of envy.

    Remember the Columbia graduate student/ trust fund baby who joined Occupy Wall Street to rail against the man and injustice? Don’t let him become the icon of your political thought. It’s not flattering or virtuous.

  • Pingback: Surprise: Romney’s Tax Plan Takes From the Poor, Gives to the Rich – Gawker |

  • Florida Jim

    I agree with you and I believe the goal of all I know is to rise from whatever level they are to a much higher level in income, prestige and kindness-that is America!
    America is based on hard work , good education and doing better than your parents and it has worked for most of us. O’Reillyt, Stossel, Buffett, Soros, Obama all have risen from a low level of income and success to a much higher level and it is to be applauded not held to ridicule as Obama is trying to do.

  • Barker

    Great article Bernie! According to the Bible, envy is one of the seven deadly sins. Of course quoting the Bible is not fashionable among hip crowds these days, but we all pay the price for arrogance and ignorance.
    I’m considered to be working class, but I’m limited only by my anbition or lack of it and by the level of skills that I possess.
    Why should I envy the rich people who give me the enployment that earns my self respect and my living wages. I haven’t got the skills or the ambition to lead a company so I’m paid what I honestly earn.

  • chuck.tatum

    Bernie, your title ought to have been, “Thank Goodness For Rich People…” Not, “Thank God…”

    When you inject imaginary dieties into the otherwise sound argument you made, it gives the evangelicals cause for blurting out their silly devotions.

    BTW, next time you see O’Reilly, please call him out on telling his guest’s, “I’ll let you have the last word.” and doesn’t.

  • Kevin G

    Bernie, Wonderful article. The entire us vs them theme of Obama’s reelection strategy is due to the fact that he has nothing else to run on. If people really looked at the facts, if the media looked at the facts this guy wouldn’t have a chance. He is inept and everything he does yet his appeal to fueled by the left-leaning media and favorable coverage he receives. Obama relies in people being stupid and the guy who majored in puppetry not being able to find a job. Lenin had a description for these people…..useful idiots.

  • Wallace Flint

    Well said! I know your friend Bill O’Reilly would agree and why not? He too, had to work to get where he is today! It takes the old work ethic to get ahead! I remeber my father adhered to that, also. He had a good job during the Depression, because he had a family to support and the work ethic was the way to go! He worked hard to get where he was!
    I’m glad to see somebody with a good “audience” to listen (along with Bill O’Reilly)- keep bringing this up. It’s about time! Those rich people are certainly doing their share and Obama should be damned ashamed to even bring this up! But what can you expect from a cheap politicaian? My God, 4 more years of him and God help this great country of ours. He has to now jump on human shotcomings like not only greed, but envy at it’s lowest form! Many thanks for your time!

    In God We Trust!
    Wally flint-Boonville, NY

  • Diane

    My parents weren’t rich, same for our relatives and close friends but I aspired to be rich. Didn’t make it but I don’t begrudge those who did. I still hope our grand children, and all other young people, still have that chance. If a rich person wants to buy a yacht, great, do it. The bigger the better. Just think how many jobs that one purchase would generate. If Obama wins again they will take everyone’s money. Why do people like Hollywood stars think they would be exempt? Keep up the good work. God bless you and the USA.

  • cmacrider

    Bernie: I will be happy to define “rich” for you. Rich is where you have a job which entitles you to tell the Federal Treasury to print more money whenever you need it for some program which you think will garner votes. Now that’s “rich”.

    All those other poor slobs like Romney etc. had to actually supply goods and services the public wanted. When they needed capital to expand their enterprise they couldn’t just print money they probably had to go to a bank.

  • Will Swoboda

    You’ve hit it on the head once again Bernie. I tell all my friends that I have never collected a paycheck from a poor person. All of my employers were and still are rich people. Thank God for rich people. Maybe even start a collection for that statue. I’ll send a $100 and I’m on a fixed income.
    Will Swoboda

  • Jean from Lake Ariel

    Well said again, Mr. Goldberg. Rational, sane,common sense with facts to back it up. Unfortunately we are living in a selfish “me” society where people are jealous if they don’t have the same as everyone else. There is also the idea out there that the 1% all got their wealth by inheritance, not by working for it. In addition some of the 1% is complaining about having so much and they think only the government can do the best with some of it….well please go ahead and write a check, however, how can anybody trust the federal government with managing money considering the current status of the deficit, Medicare/Medicaid and Social Security?
    I would love to know who sets the standard for how much is “too much” and who decided how much is someone’s fair share? It seems to me the folks carrying the burden right now are paying more than their fair share and I am not in the 1%….I am not even in the 10%.

    • ted wight

      I think you’re wrong. I think most people are not jealous, most people just want to be left alone to pursue their lives and happiness any way they (legally) want. It is the incessant messaging by the media and Democratic Party that states the class jealously mantra. Unfortunately no Republican stands up and challenges the Big Lie, that even you believe. Mitt Romney is our only hope. He needs to loudly project the benefits of capitalism/free enterprise/self achievement. He needs to proudly state he is “rich” by helping create and grow companies and with them…jobs. He needs to say that America has taken more people around the world out of abject poverty than any nation in the history of the world. He needs to disregard what the biased, left-wing NY Times and NBC, etc. says. They are the enemy.

      This is our Second Civil War.

  • EddieD_Boston

    Obama is counting on the stupid (Jerry Springer Nation) and the clueless (Harvard PhDs) to win him re-election.
    Hopefully, Jerry Springer Nation stays home election day b/c the clueless will vote in huge numbers.
    Romney has got to hammer home the truth about what venture capital means to the economy and the working class. He also MUST tell the working class that it’s liberals like Obama who force manufacturing overseas with their taxes and environmental regulation. If Obama wants to vilify the rich Romney needs to vilify the EPA.

  • robin in fl

    I like the article and I am what many consider poor..I’m all for rich people as long as they didn’t steal from people to become rich.I say good for them .After all everyone is not alike. I may be poor but I’m happy and I may live in a what use to be called mobile home (yea they take the wheels off now a days people),BUT I am glad it’s not in a trailer park and am lucky enough to have it on a bit of acreage …so since I’m happy like that ,I have NO problem with rich people.

    What I do detest is the entitlement poor people..they ones that always have their hands out wanting more and more without wanting to work or earn anything and all the while living way beyond their means that group of people REALLY bother me.They make me SO angry..just who do these poor folks think they are..yea have another kid and get more free stuff and more money for your irresponsible bad behavior .

    so long live the rich and just figure out a way to get these supposed “poor” people that don’t want a helping hand when times are tough ,they want a hand out 24/7 for life off their butts!

    besides. The Walton’s were poor folks,but at least they had ethics and morals and love..

  • ted wight

    And, finally, Bernie, numbers and rational argument will never win. The Democrats use emotion. That wins.

    We — conservatives and Republicans — need to win this Second Civil War.

  • ted wight

    Like Mitt Romney — but on a significantly smaller scale — I am “rich” by being a venture capitalist. I helped create and/or build something like fifty companies and 50,000 jobs and I am proud of it. I say so on my blog I have written a novel featuring, among other things, a president who stands up and defends “business” as good, personal happiness as achievement and against dependency on government. The president gets cheers from the “people”. I believe with all my heart and soul that most Americans would cheer such a president because they don’t want to be dependent, they want to imagine that they could be “rich” if only. It doesn’t matter what the “if only” is, only that they could, even though they don’t.

    I hope Mitt gets that his life has been notable and he should shout that out. As with all of us, he is not perfect (well only Democrats can be perfect in their fantasy world). He should not be afraid to be human and share his learning experiences.

  • ted wight

    Obama and the Democrats as usual have successfully taken ownership of the concept that the rich gain their “richness” unfairly. With no pushback from conservatives or Republicans the Left has convinced many Americans and voters first that the “rich” is an unchanging bloc of greedy people. As the Left has segmented and catagorized Americans in various useful groups, the “rich” is but another one. Again, the Republicans seem to have no comment at this Big Lie. Even Mitt Romney seems brainwashed and embarassed by the wealth he earned by helping start and build companies that create jobs.

    So congratulations, Bernie, keep it up.

  • Dallas

    Bernie — Amen, brother. While I am retired now (and paying substantially lower taxes), I was clearly in the 1% for most of my working life. For a president who lives for “fairness,” I wonder why he is so ulwilling to tip his hat to the people who actually pay taxes instead of pandering to those who do not.

    Was it “fair” that I paid to put three kids through college with no financial aid AND saw my tax dollars subsidize my neighbors’ kids, just because I saved from the time they were born unlike my neighbors, who spent like their money was about to disappear?

    Any 1st grader can moan about “fairness” but some of us have to be grown up.

  • Drew Page

    Great article Bernie. What you said bears repeating again and again.

    There is a perception out there that anyone that makes twice times as much money as you do is “rich”, regardless of how much or how little you make. If you make $50,000 a year, you will think anyone who makes $100,000 is “rich”. There is also the perception that those who make more than twice what you do somehow don’t deserve it, unless they are your favorite movie star, entertainer of sports hero.

    One of the really great things about America is that we all have opportunity to accomplish whatever we want. We may not have the ambition, the talent or the determination to get what we want, but we do have the opportunity. It’s easy to envy the “rich” and accuse them of being “greedy”, much easier than doing what it takes to put yourself in the same position.

    Why do you suppose young kids wanted to “be like Mike” (Michael Jordan)? It’s because he was the best basketball player of his time (maybe of all time) and because he made a ton of money. I don’t remember anyone being angry at Michael Jordan for being rich. I don’t recall anyone wanting to “occupy” his front yard, or accusing him of not paying his “fair share” of taxes, whatever that means.

  • Lev Tannen

    I would agree with everything here if not a hidden agenda. And the agenda is that because capitalism is so great it is great to have a successful businessman as our president. And this is a statement I disagree with. It is not that I think that a businessman cannot be a great president. He can. But not necessary. And rather not that yes. The reason is that a businessman and a president have different tasks at hand and therefor different psychology. The task of a businessman is to manage a company. In his company he is a monarch. He controls the company from the top down. The president does not owns the country. Actually his task is not even to grow economy. His task is to create the environment that will allow and encourage businessmen to create and to grow businesses and therefor to grow economy. And these are very distinct tasks. The same basically true for all kinds of capitalists. That explains why so many successful capitalists leans to democrats (Soros for example). And this is why I would rather trust a professional politician that has a proven record of achievements toward capitalistic system (think Mr.Gingrich), then a successful capitalist with more them doubtful achievements as a governor. (think Mr.Romney).

  • Michael

    Apparently there are women out there who are not able to have sex because those rich people aren’t paying enough taxes to fund free birth control pills for everyone. Tragic, just tragic.

    • Drew Page

      If the taxpayers owe that law school student free birth control pills, what else do we “owe” her? What about free food and lodging? How can women be healthy without food and lodging? And why should women have to pay for health care of any sort? Why not mandate that women be treated by doctors, hospitals and clinics for free? Any why limit free prescription drugs to contraceptives only? Why shouldn’t all prescription drugs be free for women. After all, they are only poor helpless women. Why expect women, the weaker sex, to pay income taxes? Why expect them to pay for anything. Aren’t children even more helpless than women? Shouldn’t any and all medical care be provided for free to all children?

      It’s time for men to step up and be men. Let’s tax only men and have them pay for not only their own health care, but for all women and children too.

    • Ron Kean

      Imagine giving a cute young girl money for pills so she can sleep with somebody else. I don’t think it works that way.

      • Michael

        You’re right; it doesn’t, or shouldn’t, work that way. If I’m going to be giving money to women so they can have sex, it better be with me. 😉

        Liberals can’t grasp something as simple as this, and it’s a great example of why they can’t run an economy.

  • MichaelB

    Thanks for the re-print, Bernie.

    What bothers me more than the Left’s creepy ideology is how they lie to the electorate in lock-step fashion. The reason why is clear: to bamboozle the public.

    Obama and Co. knows that if there are more takers than makers, he wins. Look at all his decisions and actions with that as a backdrop. He’s been trolling for votes for 5 years.

    Frankly, I’m tired of the haters. Just say no to the Neo-Americans.

  • Phil

    Interesting relationship between the rich and the Left. The Left constantly demonizes them, yet relies on them completely to fund their massive entitlement society. I can’t think of any other relationship where the dependents are so hostile to those who support them. Then again, what to you expect from the Left? Logic?

    • Doug

      Interesting comments there, Phil. From my perspective thoroughly incorrect, yet interesting.First, I’d like to remind you that “entitled” in this context refers to programs that the recipient pays into and are entitled to a return on their investment. I’m sure you aren’t unfamiliar with the concept of return on investment. Bottom line, though, is that as a blue collar grunt, the only thing I want from you is for you to invest your money into the American economy instead of reaping the quick buck from emerging markets around the world. You (generic) call yourselves the job creators than live up to your bragadocious claim and create some jobs.

      • Phil

        Let me just say that, as a person who makes $25,000 a year, I’m about as far from “rich” as you could get. But I understand that, if you require the producers to “invest” more and more of their money, one of two things will happen: 1. they’ll leave the country and go somewhere where they won’t get soaked so much, or 2. they’ll retire and stop producing. I’m not saying that’s morally right or wrong, just that it’s reality. If we build a society where people expect more and more from the government, sooner or later that society will collapse under its own weight. Atlas will shrug.

      • wally

        Doug. You should listen to Phil. He is more accurate than you are. I can relate to Phil in that I am retired and would be considered middle class when I was working. Yes, you are correct that we are entitled to the benefits that we invested in the programs. The problem is that,most of us do not get back the return we should have received from the government since the government stole from the SS fund rather than investing the funds in a conservative area. For example, I took the time to calculate each of my 50 years of social security contributions and compared the total with what I could have realized by investing in conservative market funds. The amount that I would have received from the conservative fund was about twice as much as the SS system. Please do not say that the markets are worst than the government since I have been in the market on a 401k program that went though two recessions and each time the 401k fund recovered and grew to more than I expected. Now I guess I’m out of luck since the SS system is broke. I don’t blame the rich for this problem. Its a government problem because everything the government does is completely inefficient.

      • Guest

        No, Doug, “entitled” refers to programs that transfer money to people who do nothing for it, who decline to work (or even seek jobs), or (as with the OWS idiots) demand ludicrous wages as their “right” – because they have *TWO DEGREES!!*…even if the degrees are in *puppetry*. Entitlement refers to the folks Nancy Pelosi’s daughter interviewed, who claimed they were “owed” the money because their ancestors were slaves…ettiresomecetera. Those are the folks who run this “entitlement culture” – the leeches, the thieves…you know, the Obamaites.

  • Tim

    Too bad Greece doesn’t have more rich people. Maybe they wouldn’t be in the financial crisis
    they are in if they had more rich people in their country. Everyone wants to kill the goose with
    the golden eggs.

    • Bruce A.

      We’re next. I watch the rioting in Greece & keep saying that. What happens after the govt. decides we have no money for handouts?

  • Bob

    What are we in kindergarten arguing about what’s fair? The rich pay most of the taxes for one reason, they have the most money. It’s hard to pay taxes with money you don’t have. Rich people, guys like the late Steve Jobs, have their products built by virtual slave labor in China to maximize their profits and do little for American jobs and income equality, why should we build statues to people like that? Please, give us one example of a 1% person who doesn’t either send jobs overseas like Apple or GM or Ford or GE, or who doesn’t make their money by exploiting the poor like Wal-Mart. We shouldn’t hate the ‘rich’, but income inequality isn’t really a good thing.

    • Steve

      Bob, You just aren’t very bright. without the evil doer rich like the late Steve Jobs, especially entrepreneurs like him, you would not have the opportunity to live in such a great place. Income inequality is not a good thing? With that logic you must believe everyone should have the same income? Have you ever seen that work? Do you know anything about the Soviet Union, Cuba, China before they became capitalists? Socialism doesn’t work Bob. All you bleeding heart liberals are either fools or just want someone else to give you something you haven’t earned. Which are you Bob?

      • Bob

        First off, I’m not a flaming liberal. I don’t hate rich people, I just hate the idea of building a statue to them in Washington D.C.

        Russia, China and Cuba didn’t fail because of income equality, they failed because of human corruption. Fat cat party officials skimmed off the top and screwed the common people – the thing they were trying to avoid. I’m no socialist or communist, but any time you have people getting rich off those less fortunate there is a problem that should be addressed.

    • Drew Page

      Rich guys like Steve Jobs, the guy who founded Apple, do little for American jobs? Do you have any idea how many people work for Apple? Do you know how much federal income tax Apple employees pay? Do you realize how many 401k retirement plans have have grown due to investments in Apple stock?

      You want income equality. Are you saying that you want highly skilled professional people with Masters degrees, PhDs and advanced technical training (doctors, scientists, physicists, engineers and lawyers) to be paid the same salary as unskilled manual laborers? Do you believe that the person who studied hard, got a job, became skilled, took on more responsible and higher paying jobs, deserves no more compensation than the person who didn’t bother to study in school and put in only the minimum effort to hang onto an unskilled manual labor job?

      Do you believe that someone who starts up his own business, puts in 80 or more hours a week, takes on all the legal liabilities and government regulations associated with owning a business, makes a success of the business, hires employees to whom he provides wages and benefits is somehow ethically bound to pay all his employees the same amount that he pays himself and to share any and all profits his business make make with all of his employees, regardless of their skill level, or the time they spent on the job? Do you believe that employees, so eager to want to share in any profits, would be equally eager to share in any losses the business may suffer?

      Whether you realize it or not, and most don’t, the primary function of businesses is to make money, not to hire people. Businesses don’t owe the public jobs. Businesses hire people in order to produce goods and/or services. The more efficiently and cheaply they can provide these goods and services, the more money that business will make and the greate the chances that business will expand and hire more people.

      • Bob

        OK, to answer your first question, yes Apple is a large employer in the US, but it also ships a lot of jobs overseas, and at a slave wage. Steve Jobs was brilliant and probably earned every penny he ever made, except for what he screwed Woz out of on his first job.

        I picked Jobs for a reason. I have total respect for anyone who has started their own business or gotten the education to be a doctor, lawyer, etc… MOST of these people are not the mythical 1%ers. I’ve seen varying figures, but it sounds like the top 1% start out in the $350K – $400K range of annual income. None of the small businessmen that I personally know make that kind of money. None of the doctors I know do that well, at least they don’t act like it.

        If we are going to have this argument, let’s define the rich as somebody that makes $400k a year in AGI and talk about them.

    • wally

      Bob. If you owned a business, what would you do if you were using US labor and discovered that your product wasn’t selling because it could not compete with a China made item? Your options might be to cut labor wages, change to cheaper materials, ask the government for lower taxes,sell the business or buy cheaper energy. I’ll answer the things that I would do that appear the most promising. The main problem in the US is that the US products are not competitive on the world market. No one wants lower wages or cheaper materials. What we can do is to reduce corporate taxes to a level that promotes more US products. The other thing is to use the cheapest form of energy by investing in the existing energies. Get to the point of energy independence with oil, natural gas, coal and nuclear. We know that green energies are not there yet but could be at some time in the future. The problem with the current administration energy policy is that the president wants to have gas prices to be $10 per gallon so the green energies can compete. That will not make US products competitive but will instead keep the country in a longer recession

      • Bob

        Wally, I do own a business and I do business with Americans. It’s not a hard and fast rule, but if I can outsource something to somebody in the US, or better yet to somebody in my city I do it.

        The problem isn’t that Americans cost too much, it’s that we think we need 40 hour work weeks, paid vacation, social security, a place to live, etc… We circumvent every labor law in this country when we hire people in China to work 12 hour shifts with no overtime and no payroll taxes.

        Don’t get me wrong, I’m not faulting the corporate heads in this country for doing what’s cheapest. Their ethics isn’t really my problem, but this needs to be solved in the political arena. Either we have to eliminate some of these additional costs when it comes to hiring Americans or we need to put some kind of tax on companies that ship these jobs overseas.

        • wally

          Its great that you are in business. I take it that your business does not have much foreign competition. If it has a substantial foreign competition, you must have a tremendous product so the consumer is willing to pay the higher differential in price or that you can deliver your product on short delivery time.
          In terms of taxing the companies for shipping jobs overseas will not work since we are in a world economy and any tax will surely prevent a company who competes on the world market from making their product there but will increase their tax to cause them to go out of business.
          It is not a political problem by taxing the business more. It is supposed to be a free enterprise problem. The government can really help by a making energy an energy policy that makes the US the cheapest in the world. This will assist the US industry to compete. It isn’t going to happen by the current energy policy that wants energy prices to rise to $10 per gallon so the green energies can compete. The government can make environmental and other business regulations “business friendly” without adversely restrictive to business start up and operation. The government needs to reduce taxes on businesses that compete with foreign countries so the differential in the cost of US and foreign isn’t significant. Should I go on? Have a great day and much success in your business.

  • Neil Blam

    And that’s why I support a “flat tax” on all income, regardless of the source.

    • Bernard Goldberg

      Me too, Neil.

      • Chris Blankenship

        That would make too much sense… Plus the accounts couldn’t play the games that they enjoy with the ballooning tax code.

      • wally

        I’ll agree that the existing tax code needs to be dumped. The flat or fair tax are possibilities. I think a consumption tax could work and could be the most fair. Consider this example. If a person (A) who makes $XXX per year hires one carpenter (B) to build a number of buildings and the carpenter works for the entire year to complete the project. The carpenter (B) charges (A) $50000 for his labor for the project. Of course, (B) paid his living expenses, savings and all taxes. So even though (B) paid the taxes to the government, (A) actually paid all these taxes. From a technical stand point, (B) taxes could be reduced to ZERO and a consumption tax could be paid by (A). In other words, a consumption tax means that the rich man could still pay higher taxes on higher priced products than a poor person and the government would receive funds as they are purchased. A possibility exists that the consumption tax could charge all foreign products this same tax in that it shouldn’t be considered a tariff.

    • Jean from Lake Ariel


  • Jenna

    Plus, most people would never sacrifice or work as hard and as long as the people who make their own wealth. Fact. Most people want to work 9-5, sit at a desk all day, take lunch, and not extend themselves.

    And expect to make $250K. Sorry. You have to work 10 x harder to make it and become very successful.

  • Jenna

    The top 10% of earners pay 70% of the taxes. The bottom 50% pay less than 3%. And have of that 50% pays nothing but receives a great deal of $$$ FROM the government.

    Who’s IS paying their fair share, is right?

    Love you Bernie!!!!

  • Paul Borden

    A liberal I am Facebook “friends” with recently posted an item in which she essentially decried that some people simply had too much money and that they didn’t need it all. I simply asked her where the line determining what was “too much” money should be drawn and, more importantly, who should draw it. She had no answer for that, but she did “like” that I agreed with her that the tax system needed an overhaul.

  • JP

    Thanks to the rich, I have a job. I don’t care if their wives drive 5 Cadillacs as long as they continue to trickle the wealth down in the form of jobs so I can afford to but my own Cadillac.

  • Mark

    Well said, then and now. But ok Liberals lets take more of their money because money getting sent to washington’s black hole never to be seen again is a much better way to spend it.

  • Bill

    The best way to motivate people out of poverty is to reverse the progressive income tax so that the highest rates are for the lowest income brackets. This would also leave the wealthy with more money to spend and invest and so would drive up employment. The “fairness” of the progressive income tax actually works the opposite to its stated goals.

  • Frank trenga

    Good work, Bernie. Someone has to say it. If we took all the money the so called rich have it would still not pay for the debt the administration and congress has spent. Woe is us.

  • Rick Johnson

    I’m amazed at how paycheck envy rules our culture. Too many look at someone who makes more than them and wonder how they can have some of it, not how can I too earn more. The Democratic Party has pandered to this my entire lifetime.

  • Glen Stambaugh

    It’s still true and I still love it Bernie!