January 30, 2003
There's no better way to help the economy than to leave more money in the hands of the men and women who earned it.
George W. Bush 2003
The above statement is one that I agree completely with. The only problem that I have is with my definition of the word "earned," and president Bush's definition of that same word.
Suppose that someone inherits a couple of billion bucks. He invests it in stocks and bonds and makes money from that investment. Has he "earned" that money or does it count as "winnings" similar to what someone gets from a lottery or from a bet on a horse race?
I don't think that anyone would argue that when someone builds, makes or grows something and sells it, that he has "earned" that money. Nor would anyone argue that a person who does labor, mental or physical, earns his money. There is no question in my mind that president Bush earns his salary, but did he earn the money that he gets from dividends on the stock that he owns? Will the money that he will inherit, when his parents die, be earned?
Suppose that some fool puts a coin into a slot machine and he hits the jackpot, or buys a lottery ticket that wins, has he earned that money? Suppose that someone is walking along and he finds a hundred dollar bill; has he earned that $100? Suppose that someone owns a piece of land and oil is discovered on it; did he earn the money that he gets for the oil? There is no question in my mind that the people who develop that oil, extract it from the ground and refine it, have earned the money from its sale. By the same token, middle eastern potentates haven't earned their wealth; it is lucky money. They just owned the land that had oil underneath it. They did nothing to develop the well or refine the oil to make it into a useful fuel.
How about money that was stolen? Is stolen money entitled to be tax exempt? Criminals thinks that it shouldn't be taxed, so it isn't. How about money acquired by the sale of illegal drugs?
When Bush proposes the abolition of taxes on stock dividends, what he is saying is that winnings should not be taxed, but that wages and salaries should be. To me it is the exact opposite of the meaning of the above statement. I believe that there is a big difference between earned money and lucky money. The money is the same and will buy the same amount. The difference is in how it was acquired.
The Republican solution to any financial problems is Tax Cut. The economy is in the tank; tax cut. No jobs; tax cut. You have AIDS; tax cut. This is nothing new; I have heard the same recording for as long as I can remember: "Tax cuts and that Democrats are big spenders." It is true that Democratic politicians spend lots of money. All politicians spend money. That is their business. However, to the Republicans, money spent on the military shouldn't be considered as real money. Why? Damned if I know.
Money is money and there is no way to tell, by looking at it, how it was acquired or how it will be spent.
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