I saw a new blog that reminded me of why I love America so much: We are the 1 percent. Some of our 1 percenters, those that lucked out to own and control much of the nation's income and resources, are standing with the Occupy Wall Streeters in spirit. I want to hug them. They have been adding their stories to a blog called "We are the 1 percent." The blog was started rich youth working with Wealth for the Common Good and Resource Generation. They aren't simply buying into rich/poor dualistic thinking - they seem to understand the need for long-term sustainability in a true democracy where the human spirit can flourish.
Taxes in themselves aren't evil - they represent a sharing economy. They do redistribute wealth, but they also prevent gross distortions that leave some people starving or unable to afford medicine or operations. There are millions of people in the United States without health care, and millions losing their homes because mortgage companies refused to modify terms. Taxes fund teachers, police, space exploration, and medical research. Taxes represent our priorities as a nation, and they are collectively established by representatives we elect. Some people don't like to share and have effectively rigged the system to break it.
I encourage everyone to check out the one percent blog - and encourage the one percenters to OCCUPY WALL STREET and everywhere else. We are the 1 percent has an amazing trove of personal photographs. One gentleman writes "The system is rigged to protect and enrich the wealthy. The American dream is becoming a fantasy. It needs to be renewed. Raise my taxes."
A girl writes "Tax me - because health care shouldn't be a privilege, it should be a right. " The self-described daughter of "trust fund baby" writes "100 percent of us deserve to enjoy life. 100 percent of us deserve a fair shot." One man wrote that he had retired at 46, his wife planned to retire before 45, he stands to inherit a lot of money that would not be taxed, and his wife earns more than $100K annually. In conclusion he writes "The 1 percent should pay their share. I stand with the 99 percent."
Another woman noted that "some days the clothes I wear and the stuff I tote around come up to several times the monthly wages of the chauffers and maids in my neighborhood. It's obscene. We need more reciprocal social responsibility, not just individually, but systemically and institutionally. It's not just about taxing the rich more...it's about adopting forms of corporate governance that don't screw over regular workers so that top executives can take home more money than they could ever possibly know what to do with."
I would love it if these rich one percenters would have a march on Wall Street of their own - without permits - and exercise their constitutional right to assemble. Would the police launch tear gas and flash bombs on a march by the rich in favor of higher taxes. I highly doubt it.
It takes 100 percent to make our country whole. Why can't Congress see our unity? If Congress won't, let's replace them with Congress members who will fix the economy, end preferential tax rates for the rich, and enact fair share taxes.
We need a significant increase to the capital gains tax (since the Bush tax cuts, the capital gains tax has sat at 15 percent for high income individuals - and it is scheduled to increase to a 20 percent in 2012. Right now it's cheaper to make money off money than to make money by working. The government subjects wages to a host of taxes, many of them necessary. In comparison to wage earnings, capital gains earnings - off the appreciation or sale of stock, bonds, or other financial instruments, offer the rich a virtual tax shelter. This is one reason why Warren Buffet pays lower taxes than his secretary and why Bill Gates, the perennial richest man in the world, advocates higher taxes for the rich.