I find it hard to listen to the news these days, because I get so upset at so much that seems to be unraveling. I cannot believe some of the things that some of our political leaders are trying to do these days.
But I realize that the context is that people are getting desperate as governmental budget crises loom, at both the national level and for many of the states. When there is a budget crisis, there are two possible responses: cut expenses, or raise revenues. Doing both would have a bigger effect than doing just one. But for some reason, most politicians seem dead set against raising revenues, because that means raising taxes.
All of this happens at a time when the gap between the rich and the poor has been growing. A blogger I follow has posted about this on his blog, and he included a graph that visually shows the growing gap.
This got me to thinking: it may not really be that there's less money, as such. It's just that over time it has become distributed in a way that fewer people have it. And those few have a lot.
Wouldn't it be great if the super-rich started a movement advocating higher taxes for themselves? If they started saying that, by virtue of controlling so much money, they have a greater responsibility to attend to the public good?
And, in truth, I wouldn't mind paying higher taxes, myself. But my own income is such that that would not have a very big impact.
Here are some more illuminating graphs: this graph shows federal tax rates historically. And this one too is remarkable: tax revenues recently have been declining!
And finally, what are our major expenses at the federal level? Wars.
5 years ago