23 October 2008

Oppressing the rich

Something struck me while I was watching the full conversation between Obama and "Joe the Plumber, who, despite not having the money to buy this business he claims or even being a licensed plumber, has become the official McCain campaign mascot for the last week or two.

Here's Joe, explaining his position succinctly. (via)

On Good Morning America Thursday, Mr. Wurzelbacher admitted that he does not make $250,000.

“No, not even close,” he said.

But when asked why he does not support increased taxes for the wealthy, he stood by his critique of Mr. Obama.

“Why should they be penalized for being successful?” he asked. “That's a very socialist view.”

Perhaps I'm missing something fundamental, but I've always felt the reward for becoming more wealthy was...becoming more wealthy. This longstanding conservative/trickle-down saw which claims taxing the rich more heavily discourages entrepreneurship seems to imagine that people are not only obscenely selfish but also downright spiteful. How many people would give up on inventing a new widget or starting a business because, even though it would improve their lot dramatically, they would somehow still feel as though they aren't making as much as they should. Apparently everyone has a inherent calculation of the value of labor embedded into their head, and it's conveniently stuck on "Reagonomics." So Joe's just going to pass up the chance to make more money because those calculations don't work out. Okay then.