Some friends and I were having a discussion about the ever-growing gap between the rich and the poor in our society.
It is a subject that more than just we are wrestling with.
It has come up in the news many times, where they sometimes call it the erosion of the middle class.
Some governments have taken the stand of getting everyone (except themselves, of course), on the same level by taxing the rich at a higher rate than the poor.
In my mind, that is simply operating from the lowest common denominator. It just won’t work, and neither will the populace allow it to come to fruition.
Here are some of the ways and thoughts that led to a few of our conclusions.
1. The rich think rich and the poor think poor.
We observed that when a family is wealthy, their expectations in life become, over time, those of entitlement; something that is especially manifested in their children.
They become so used to the wealth, that they come to the point of demanding it, even if it means going into debt to obtain it.
We also saw that for the poor, prospects were very minimal, almost as if they did not even have the right to have opportunities.
Their children, in turn, grow up with minimal expectations, and for the most part, are thereby almost forced to succumb to a lesser lifestyle.
2. The rich save and the poor spend.
It is a known fact that the tax laws and the entire financial structure are geared toward the wealthy who, by the way, have the resources to fight any changes that would take more out of their pockets. For this reason, they have the greater ability to save their wealth.
The poor, on the other hand, do not have the resources to fight in the same way. Increasingly, their entire supply is used to make ends meet, and because of the depletion of their resources, more and more is spent maintaining what little they have; let alone increasing their disposable cash.
Our discussions led to the idea of a flat tax. You should have seen the fur fly at that idea.
Here is an idea that you may not agree with, but I have good reasons for thinking this way. It all starts in a church.
You see, in a church, the expected source of their financial budget is based on a biblical principle called tithing, which is 10 per cent of your income.
As is often the case, some follow that principle and a few do even better. The larger majority give under that 10 per cent figure, so in many cases, those churches struggle.
In studies I have done, I came across some stats that said if everyone paid their tithe, and the church board spent wisely, they would end up able to help many more than just their own congregation.
Of course, you know where I’m going with this, but I’ll say it anyway. If every wage earner above a base level gave this 10 cents per dollar earned, with no loopholes for exemptions, and we had a government with a sound financial mindset, this country would never have to run incredibly stupid deficits. Debt kills.
I guess it is a pipe dream, after all. I don’t know very many wealthy folk who would consent to this plan, nor do I know too many governments that spend wisely; nevertheless, they need votes, so financial promises are the way to go.
If we, as a country, used common sense, and not just personal gain at everyone else’s expense, I believe we could become a country with wealth beyond measure.
We’d be able to help the poor, and no longer be without a middle class.
Chris Salomons is a retired Red Deer resident with a concern for the downtrodden.