Welfare: The hyper rich use Americans to live on easy street

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For a writing assignment in English Composition II. I wrote another version for critical thinking class with a similar topic and most of the same sources, but a completely different paper. The paper …

For a writing assignment in English Composition II. I wrote another version for critical thinking class with a similar topic and most of the same sources, but a completely different paper. The paper deals with how the most wealthiest people in America use everyone else as a type of inverted welfare program to maintain their lavish lifestyle.

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  • 1. Running head: WELFARE 1 Welfare: The hyper-rich use Americans to live on easy street Chris Harden November 4, 2013
  • 2. WELFARE 2 Chris Harden Professor Johnson English Composition II E.S. 102 November 4, 2013 Welfare: The hyper-rich use Americans to live on easy street “It’s a shame that the successful should be made the prey of the unsuccessful,” opined U.S. Representative Bourke Cockrun at the 1894 debate of the nation’s first permanent federal income tax explicitly devised as a tax to be levied on the richest Americans back then (Freeland, 2012, p.78). Resistance in Congress was intense, and though our political democracy is a government where, in theory, the majority rules, America’s super-elite have always been effective at manipulating the tools of American democracy to protect its minority privilege (Freeland, 2012, p.78). Prior to 1894 the federal tax system was grossly biased in favor of the rich and all attempts to fix the issue have been corrupted by mutual back-scratching between members of Congress and influential lobbyists (Gordon, 2011). Ironically, in ancient Athens each person had to pay the same tax, which was burdensome for most and a trivial matter for the rich until a moral principal was developed: the more a person gained economically, the greater his duty to maintain society by paying taxes (Johnston, 2007, p.279). Therefore, the hyper-rich must honor their tax responsibilities to society and refrain from using America as corporate welfare to maintain their inordinate privileges. For more than a quarter century the government has adopted rules that tilt effective tax rates in favor of the rich (Johnston, 2007, p.14). This is achieved thanks to the services of an army of lawyers, accountants, and lobbyists who constitute the income defense industry (Freeland, 2012, p.79). The hyper-rich respond to the protests of their inordinate privileges with
  • 3. WELFARE 3 a wounded amazement that anyone could consider them villains instead of heroes because it is their businesses and other contributions that keep the American economy going (Freeland, 2012, p.249). Unfortunately, our television programs, magazines, and tabloids celebrate the wealthy as the kings and queens of our age (Johnston, 2007, p.15). For example, one prominent mutual fund investor believes that we all rely on the hyper-rich and we ought to honor and uplift them for being able to do what the 90 percent cannot do which is make the world a better place (Johnston, 2007, p.247). Consequently, the true sources of inequality in America stems from corporate welfare that enriches the “haves” and betrays the “have nots” (Freeland, 2012, p.190). The yearly income for the bottom 90 percent of Americans peaked at $33,000 back in 1973 and by 2005 it had fallen to a bit more than $29,000 (Johnston, 2007, p.10). Alternatively, in 2005, the 300,000 men, women, and children at the top tenth of one percent had as much, if not more, income as those Americans at the bottom 90 percent (Johnston, 2007, p.11). These highly educated, highly connected individuals have an ambivalent attitude toward those who have failed to succeed as they have, and they are very unenthusiastic about economic redistribution, that is, the taxes required to make the world a better place (Freeland, 2012, p.5). In 1980, President Ronald Regan asked, “Are you better off now than you were four years ago?” and American voters responded with a resounding no (Johnston, 2007, p.9). Thirty-three years later, even at nearly $4 a gallon, gasoline costs about the same in inflation adjusted dollars as it did in 1980, tires last longer, and long distance calls are virtually free (Johnston, 2007, p.10). But until the hyper-rich honor their tax responsibilities to society and refrain from using America as corporate welfare to maintain their inordinate privileges we will never be better off than we were a few generations ago.
  • 4. WELFARE 4 References Freeland, C. (2012). Plutocrats: The rise of the new global super-rich and the fall of everyone else. (pp. 5, 78 – 79, 190, 249). New York, NY: Penguin Press. Gordon, J. (2011, September). A short history of the income tax. News. Retrieved November 2, 2013 from Wall Street Journal.com: http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052970204422404576594471646927038 Johnston, D. (2007). Free Lunch: How the wealthiest Americans enrich themselves at government expense (and stick you with the bill). (pp. 9 – 10, 14 – 15, 279). New York, NY: Penguin Group.