A Letter from a Working Person

Imagine my surprise to hear Chris Matthews, on his February 26 broadcast, enthusiastically announce that President Obama is “promising to tax the rich people in order to pay for health care for the working people.”

Dear Mr. Matthews: maybe you are a rich person who doesn’t earn your money and doesn’t work. Since I see you working on TV all the time, perhaps you secretly feel that cheerleading for Barack Obama isn’t really “work.” I’m willing to accept your critical self-assessment.

But I and all the other people I know earning over $250,000.00 a year – and into seven figures – well,we are definitely working people. Most of us work longer hours than our employees do, take more work home to do in evenings, and work more weekend hours than our employees do. Many of us travel and spend a great deal of time away from our families. Many of us bear enormous executive responsibility and the stress that comes with it.

We also do more valuable work – not by accident, but because we have worked very hard to make ourselves more valuable. We have chosen to learn more and keep learning more; read more, play less; develop expertise. And almost all of us worked much, much, much harder than the ‘average working person’ for years, even decades, to create our businesses, master our crafts and skills, build our reputations, and finally put ourselves in positions to harvest our current high incomes.

As a matter of fact, our willingness to work more and work harder than most of those you designate as “working people” might just be the reason we now, finally earn much higher incomes. I know this is a troubling concept for liberals, but there it is: cause and effect.

 So when you speak class warfare, it enrages us. Your dividing of Americans into separate groups, “working people” and “rich” – thus characterizing the rich as “not working people” – is obscene.

Oh, and just for the record, we already pay extraordinarily high taxes. More importantly, we pay an exorbitant share of the total U.S. tax burden – far, far in excess of the difference between our incomes and those paying less, little or none, and far in excess of our ratio to the population and our consumption of services.

We are Atlas already carrying the entire nation on our shoulders, and we are now tempted to shrug. You see, we could choose not to work if sufficiently antagonized, assaulted and abused. And for every one of us who takes the next four years off, thousands can kiss their jobs bye-bye. If that’s a surprise to you, I’d be delighted to explain it with specific examples.

We not only work harder than all those we provide jobs for, we also provide nearly all the capital and take all the risks to create businesses and build communities and retail centers and everything else that provide the majority of jobs. Those you see as working people create no jobs for themselves; we non-working rich provide them all. If we put our capital on strike for the next four years – a strike already in progress – there’ll be 16 to 20 percent or worse unemployment, a 3,000 or lower Dow wiping out all working peoples’ pensions and retirements entirely, boarded up businesses as far as the eye can see, and no health care for anybody.

Yes, that’s a threat.

Finally, a quick math lesson. There are no more than six million of us (give or take) that Obama has targeted for his grand panoply of stated income tax increases, backdoor tax increases via the taking away of real estate interest, charitable giving and other deductions, capital gains tax increases, etc.If you confiscated 100 percent of our combined incomes, you still couldn’t pay for everybody’s health care.

This is the most vile lie ever told to those working people. Why? Because every dollar of income stolen from me with taxes I retrieve plus three from those working people, to cover the taxes and overhead. I do so by: downsizing companies and cutting jobs, outsourcing jobs, not investing in expansion and creating jobs, and by raising prices. The last, raising prices, causes inflation, the biggest tax on working people and the only tax on poor people. Every tax-the-rich scheme costs far more than it gets. Nothing else could come close to the destruction guaranteed by abusively taxing the rich.

Some honest reporting about all this would consider the so-obvious folly of trying to force six million people to buy health care for 200-million; acknowledge that Obama is not merely returning top tax rates to Clinton or pre-Reagan points but that he is laying on myriad tax increases by removing deductions; and would stop smearing the rich as not-working-people. We ought to be thanked, daily. Better, we should be encouraged to work at creating and building things, but right now we’ve set that aside to work at out-maneuvering Obama’s tax assault, and watch how hard we work at that.