We wanted to have a serious discussion with you today about economics and discrimination. It’s a topic others shy away from, but we thought it was time for a real “heart to heart” about it.
Who are “we” you may be asking? We’re the top 1% of income earners in the United States – a tiny minority suffering from terrible discrimination, which is why we broke down and wrote you this letter.
You probably know some of us – we’re the friendly CEOs who run your companies, the owners of the buildings where you work – even the heads of the banks where you keep your money. In short, we’re the nice 1% of people who control about 43% of the financial wealth in this country, and who have been kind enough to let you keep some share of it.
We give you, on average, about $31,111 a year to do odd jobs for us, and frankly, we’re a little hurt by your rather classist comments lately. It seems some of you have been saying it’s time for us to “pay our fair share” of the taxes in this country, and have even resorted to petty name calling – using harsh words like “fat cats” to describe us.
Honestly, that’s just hurtful. After all, it’s not our fault we’re rich – most of us were born this way! How would you feel if we made fun of your domestic cars and your charming little houses? What if we were to call you “skinny dogs?” How would that feel, America? Not good, right?
But we digress. Let’s forget about the name calling, and move onto what’s “fair.” What do most of your taxes go for, America? Do you even know? Well, let me tell you one thing right now: they don’t go to us very often.
Here’s the reality, America. about 75% of your tax revenue goes to Medicare/Medicaid, Social Security, “Safety Net” programs, and Defense. You have to admit, we just don’t need all those social programs – it’s not like we’re sitting around waiting for our Social Security checks! Ha ha! Throw in the other 7% for federal employee benefits (none of which goes to us, mind you) and 3% for education (we pay our own kids’ education, thank you very much), and I think you see what we’re getting at here – that’s a full 85% of the budget we’re talking about – most of which is for you!
OK, as for the Defense part, yes, it’s certainly in our interest, we admit, not to have invading armies tearing up our cities, and we really do appreciate you folks securing our oil supplies. Oh, and thanks again for buying all of our weapons systems and such – in all sincerity, guys we REALLY do appreciate your patronage on that. BUT – and let’s be frank here – you guys get a lot of benefit out of the defense budget, too. After all, who gets paid by the DoD? Not our families. Our kids aren’t getting those cool overseas summer jobs riding on armored dune buggies and flying awesome fighter jets in exotic places like Kabul and Baghdad! Nope, all of those thrilling, adrenaline-soaked jobs go to YOUR children, not ours…
So if we’re being honest about it, I think even you have to admit that most of the benefit of your tax dollars go to you guys – the other 99% of the population. So if we’re going to talk fair, why are we shouldering the burden at all? Seems like YOU guys aren’t paying YOUR fair share, am I right?
Nonetheless, the classist cries for “pay your fair share, fat cats” just keep coming…
We really thought we were making some real progress on this issue over the last few decades. I mean, in 1953 (The terrible 50’s), we were being discriminated against with something like a 91% tax rate! Over the last five decades, we’ve finally brought that down to a much more reasonable 35% – still higher than yours, but better.
And we finally got our evil capital gains taxes to a much more manageable 15%. We realize for the vast majority of you capital gains seems like a trivial concept, but for us “1%ers” who own about 40% of all of the stocks, it was a big headache.
For the top-of-the-top of us (the top 400 of us or so,) we average around $344 MILLION a year between our salaries and investment income. If we had to pay 35% of that, that’s over a HUNDRED AND TWENTY MILLION DOLLARS! That would leave us only around $224 MILLION to pay all of our bills! Thankfully, with the capital gains tax reforms, our effective tax rate is only about 20% (just a hair less than you middle class guys), so we only have to pay out about $68 million, which is way better.
Still, even with the last 5 decades of, let’s call them, “Fairness Improvements” in our tax rates, that’s an awful lot of tax for things that frankly, we just don’t use. Why should one of us making $300 mil pay $68 mil of that for YOUR social programs that don’t have anything to do with us? How is that “fair?” Straight up discrimination, in our humble opinion. Bashing the minority.
Feeling ashamed yet, America?
I’ve heard some of you ask, “What do they need all that money for, anyways?” Well, my friend, let me explain a little bit.
You might be able to get by with your quaint little single homes, your domestic cars, and your public education, but our social circles demand a bit more. We’re expected to have a summer home, a winter home, a cottage at the beach, AND part ownership in a ski lodge – preferably in the Alps! And do you know what it COSTS to import a Ferrari? What if YOU had to buy each of YOUR children a Porsche for their sweet 16? Ever price out a European boarding school or an Ivy League University?
Let me tell you: you guys have it good not having to worry about all of that stuff.
You just can’t imagine the pressure. A friend of mine bought his daughter a BMW 3 series for her 16th birthday when all of the “in” kids got a Mercedes C Class. Now THAT was some drama, America. He ended up not only having to buy her a new car, he also had to fork out for SIX MONTHS of therapy, and then drug rehab for her inevitable coke-fueled rebellion phase. For her 17th birthday, he actually had to buy her a small village in Spain and name it after her!
Still think our lives are all roses and buttercups? Not hardly!
So please, America, stop thinking of us as those “rich fat cats,” and start thinking of us as a tiny minority of your fellow human beings – who just happen to own more than 40% of everything in the country.
Maybe if we can reach some sort of understanding, it might help improve all of our lives. We’d really love to open up our vast savings accounts (which dwarf your entire government’s, I might add) and maybe begin hiring you folks again to come work in our factories and offices. But, you know, it’s just a little hard to feel charitable when your elected officials call us names and hurt our feelings.
We know some of you have gotten on board with stopping all of this “fair share” nonsense, and we do appreciate it, but we need to see some more commitment on your part. After all, the elections are coming up, and although we have 43% of the wealth, you have 99% of the votes. Maybe there’s a way forward that would let little rich children and little poor children join hands and walk back into the Status Quo…
Think about it, America…
The “One Percenters”