October 23, 2014

Letter on progressive tax misses mark

Posted 9/3/08

Editor,

R. George Dunn writes that “the progressive income tax is . . . the greatest tool of Marxism . . .” (“Learn about, push for fair tax,” Letters, August 27, 2008.) I see Mr. Dunn hasn’t lost his penchant for hyperbole.

The great virtues of capitalism are that it encourages innovation and rewards work. Nearly every nation has turned to it because it is the best of several imperfect systems.

Capitalism can be consistent with freedom. But when too few people own too much wealth, capitalism begins to oppose freedom.

Unchecked, capitalism is like the board game Monopoly. Once one or two players have far more wealth than anyone else, the game is essentially over. It’s only a matter of time before the other players lose everything.

Under capitalism, the accumulation of capital becomes increasingly easier as one acquires more wealth. Eventually, one no longer has to work to acquire wealth; one need only leverage present wealth into more wealth. When that happens, the system no longer rewards work and innovation. Unchecked, capitalism defeats and destroys itself. That is why the New Deal was necessary. Most historians agree the FDR saved capitalism in American.

Never forget that wealth is power. Today, giant multi-national corporations are greater threats to human freedom than most governments. If they are allowed to continue to accumulate wealth and power, they will destroy human freedom as surely as any government ever has or ever could.

Working people see this in the way they’re being treated with less and less respect by their employers. This is a direct result of companies having too much power relative to the people they employ.

So the best system is one that promotes hard work and initiative by checking the abuses of excessive wealth and power. This is usually regulated capitalism or a mixed economy.

That is why a progressive income tax is important. It balances the imperfections of unrestrained capitalism.

Paul L. LaClair

Kearny, NJ

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