This post is going to start a new category for me entitled “My Conservative Friend”. It will be about some conversations I have had with some of my conservative friends. It will also be about some of the conversation I have yet to have with them. Yes, even though they deem me a liberal I still have some conservative friends; in fact some of them are very conservative. So the posts in the category will be put all of them into the persona of “My Conservative Friend”. Their real identities will remain anonymous to protect the guilty (ha).
One thing that my conservative friend can go on and on about is “how so many people get away without paying taxes. He often labels those in that category “takers” while he and his friends are the “makers”. He often rants about how almost half the people in the U.S. don’t pay any taxes and more than half of these “freeloaders” receive at least one federal benefits. I’m not sure if he learned this from Rush or Glen or one of his other conservative patriarchs.
One obvious group in his “taker” category are people like me. I am retired and no longer drawing a paycheck. But like most retirees out there I spent forty years in the paycheck world and during that time I contributed thousands of dollars to keep our country operating. I also gave forty years worth of income to the Social Security Fund of which I am now drawing from. But I guess my friend at least according to his statistics still deems me a “freeloader”. My friend is also getting up there in years so I guess he will have to include himself in the freeloader/taker category soon. Does that mean he can no longer be a member of the conservative club? Just wondering.
My friend just loves spouting statistics that seem to support his opinions. Yes 55% of the U.S. population might pay no federal taxes (according to his definition) but here are some statistics that he either does not know or just chooses to ignore.
- The top 1% of the U.S. population controls over 35% of the nations net worth
- The top 20% of the U.S. population controls over 60% of the nations net worth
- The top 50% of the U.S. population controls over 90% of the nations net worth
So given these facts my conservative friend gets so upset because those who have less than 10% of the nations worth don’t pay federal taxes. Of course these people spend everything they have just to survive in today’s country. Is it too much to ask those that control 90 cents of every U.S. dollar to pay more? Those who benefit the most from U.S. prosperity should pay the most. But my conservative friend seems to ignore the fact that everyone who has a paycheck pays social security taxes. Everyone who buys gasoline pays a form of federal taxes. And of course those 50% who only control 10% of the wealth of the country pay the same taxes as their richer neighbors when they go to the grocery store or any other retail establishment. Statistics are nice but try to learn the whole story instead of stopping when you think you can prove your point.
Here is to you my conservative friend. I wish you all the best but I do hope that you will take the blinders off once in a while and try to look at the world as it really is. If you promise to do that I will do the same. Neither one of us have it completely right and whether you want to believe it or not we could actually learn something from each other if we could just stop narrow-minded thinking and just listen for a while. I know those in today’s congress have lost that ability but I pray that you still have it.
But what do I know.