There is a great tendency all over the country now to be high brow. More people should work for their dinner instead of dressing for it — Will Rogers
This quote caught my attention because for the last few months I have been watching the PBS series “Downton Abby”. Here is how Wikipedia describes the series:
The series is set in the fictional Downton Abbey, the Yorkshire country house of the Earl and Countess of Grantham, and follows the lives of the aristocratic Crawley family and their servants during the reign of King George V. The first series spans the two years before the Great War beginning with news of the sinking of the Titanic in 1912, which sets the story in motion.
One of the notable things is how the Earl and all the residents of the Abby dress up in very formal clothes for every evening meal. Another is that each of them has at least one servant who helps them dress and handles most of their daily matters and of course scores of others who cook and clean. I am drawn to the show because much of it centers around the service people at the abbey. The Earl, of course, was one of a long line of noblemen who obtained his wealth and the corresponding responsibilities from those who came before him. The store doesn’t tell us when the wealth was collected but I suspect it was hundreds of years before the current Earl.
Getting back to Will’s quote here I think he is basically saying that he thinks earned income is much preferred to inherited wealth. I couldn’t agree more. If it were up to me I would re-establish the 90% inheritance tax! Our whole country would be better off if everyone had to work for a living instead of living off previous generations wealth. I’m sure that the Rockefellers, the Gettys and many others are still living off the money earned several generations before them. One of the key things the founders of our country railed against was the inherited wealth and now here we are protecting it at the expense of the middle class!
I guess given the season we are in, I need to re-state my plan for tax reform in this country. I always have one handy in case someone chooses me to be their running mate; it seems the field is wide open right now. 🙂 One of the cornerstones of RJ’s Tax Reform Plan is to define income as anything coming into your accounts. This includes the money for the work you do, interest on your saved income, dividends on invested stock, and especially money you receive from anyone else and of course that includes inheritances. Let’s tax it all at the same rate. Income is income no matter where it comes from. No exceptions. If we did that we would close so many loopholes such as those that allow the “high brows” as Will calls them from calling the profits they take from their personal business as dividends instead of salary and therefore paying one-third of the actual taxes they owe. I don’t understand how we ended up taxing unearned income at a lower rate than when you have to go out and earn it? Unearned income should be taxed to the hilt.
In other words for it everyone should have to work for their dinner…
But what do I know….