Jan 27, 2012 11:02 PM GMT
The implications are simple. If the rich do get more benefits then they should pay more in taxes - how much more is debateable. If they do not, then is the share they pay more than "fair"? As it stands the Rich pay for the considerable majority of the US government.
How about education? The rich benefit from an educated workforce because it allows them to staff their companies and grow their wealth. The middle class benefit by having job opportunities and a non-zero chance of someday becoming wealthy. In my case, a government-subsidized education system allowed me to go from lower-middle class to rich. And that makes me...oh, say 50% happier than I would have been otherwise. Meanwhile, the rich got richer, but I doubt they increased their overall happiness by more than 10%. If the goal of life is happiness, including health and physical security, I benefited the most from the government during my journey through the middle class, during which time I paid far less than I do now in taxes. Now that I'm in the top 1%, and paying at the top tax rate, even if I doubled my income tomorrow, it wouldn't have much impact on my happiness. So while a functioning government allows the rich to stay happy, it allows the middle class an opportunity to substantially increase their happiness. I'd call that roughly a tie.
How about safety nets? Compared to the rich, the middle class have a far greater risk of someday becoming poor. That risk is magnified if they have relatives who might need assistance too. But arguably, safety nets also prevent the poor from forming marauding gangs of cannibals preying on the rich. If I didn't pay taxes to provide safety nets for the poor, I'd spend a fortune on a private militia to defend my house. Benefit-wise, I'd call safety nets an equal benefit for all.
In discussions such as these, I like to call upon my automobile analogy. You can argue all day long whether a car's engine is more important than its wheels, but unless you have both, the car is useless. It might be true in some technical sense that one class of citizen benefits more from taxes than another. But from 30,000 feet, it looks to me as if you're arguing whether the engine or the wheels are more important to the car.