Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Campaign expresses enthusiastic support for Bill Gates Sr. and Initiative 1077

A proposed ballot initiative in Washington State would start an income tax for individuals earning more than $200,000 per year and couples earning more than $400,000. The effort to collect signatures has just begun.

Though some indicators seem encouraging, a sober analysis of economic reality tells us the worst is far from over, and may yet begin. We simply must learn from the experience of the last depression and take action to put people back to work. This effort must be well thought out and resources from those who have fared better than most – a fair system of taxation such as Bill Gates Sr. supports – is but one step. I personally applaud Mr. Gates for his sense of decency and the effort he puts forth to do good things. It is important to note here that there are more “cold-hearted” reasons to support this tax as well.

We often forget that Sir John Maynard Keynes, the Father of Modern Economic Theory, did not suggest taxing the wealthy so as to fund jobs programs because he was soft-hearted and felt bad for starving people. Keynes was famous for his contempt for the poor, but he knew as an educated rich man, that if the poor got too poor they would revolt. The New Deal was not a socialist takeover of the government as some today might have us believe, but a compromise with reality that the wealthy simply had to make. Keynes argued correctly, we now know, that taxing the wealthy in a depression is necessary to save capitalism.

Mr. Gates has more noble motives, I believe, but for whatever reason one sees as key we simply must tax the wealthy more to turn the economy around. This is not a tragedy but an opportunity to put vast segments of America back to work rethinking, redesigning, and rebuilding a new economy for the 21st Century. Initiative 1077 will be a significant step forward.

I-1077 website

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