Some modern-day liberals are definitely starting to swing closer towards Socialism or Communism in their economic thought. It’s all about wealth redistribution, right? The rich should pay more taxes than the poor because they hold ___% of the wealth (that number jumps up and down depending on who says it), and everyone else is poor/struggling.
But therein lies the rub: it is inevitable. People who think raising taxes on the rich will help the economy or the poor are naive. People who think raising the minimum wage is something that will change society for the better are being naive as well. These kinds of changes, while useful in some ways, ultimately fall short of the most important thing: culture.
Let’s forget the Communist countries that have fallen apart and look at the one that is still running strong (relatively), China. When Mao Ze Dong took over, he promised a new age of equality. But China ended up being a country without a middle class. You were either rolling in dough, living in Shanghai, Beijing or another large city, or you were destitute, living in third-world conditions. The so-called middle class in China is a tiny fragment between the rich and poor. Even in Communist countries, Capitalism is the only sustainable method of progress because people only work on incentives.
In China, where the incentives were removed, you saw people in governmental positions or corporate management doing a whole lot of embezzling. Why? Because it was the only way to have more. If a person wanted to live lavishly, he had to embezzle. When tax collectors came knocking on the front door, you know what they did? They bribed them. Paying one tax collector $50,000 is better than paying $2M in taxes in a year.
With the ever-growing population in China, it became impossible to regulate businesses and officials. The rich still became rich, and the poor still stayed poor because restrictions and laws only hold back innocent people. That is the cruel nature and culture of human society; people who want to be rich badly enough will become rich, even if they have to step on others. Incentive is the only thing that drives people, whether it be social status, money, sex, or something else. If you take away the incentive, you take away the motivation.
So, in a very practical sense, Communism doesn’t exist. People are naturally incentive driven and ambitious. People will proclaim to be fair while munching up caviar in their private jets. You can’t change that unless you change the culture of society. But the question then is, how do you change the culture of greed? You can’t. It’s in our genes.
I think my arguments may cause some misunderstanding. I’m not against a progressive tax rate. I’m against a WILDLY progressive tax rate, by which I pay 35% and someone else (also working full-time) pays less than 15%. I think there should be a more balanced progression with fewer write-offs for the rich. If I can afford a freaking yacht, I shouldn’t be getting a write-off for purchasing it too. At the same time, I shouldn’t be paying literally more than double the ratio of taxes because I worked a lot harder.
Also, when I say “wealth redistribution,” I don’t just mean taxes. I don’t think our tax money should be used to foot the bill for consistently unmotivated, unambitious, and useless people. I mean adding a time limit by which people can receive unemployment money or be on welfare.
I think our taxes should be spent on things everyone benefits from, not the things that only poor people can benefit from.
I’m not against healthcare or reduced costs of college. Let’s provide a solid funding base for the police departments, and then take away the incentive for them to fine people for victimless crimes. Repeal the stupid laws that exist solely for revenue generation (window tint, anyone?). Restore the trust of the people in police by making police officers who abuse their power pay out of their own pocket (or get police insurance) instead of pulling tax money. Spend more tax money on training officers more thoroughly before sending them out with a badge and a gun. Then, PAY THEM MORE.
I could go on and on about the things I believe tax money should go to. But getting back to the original question: Communism doesn’t work because it promotes laziness. It removes any incentive there is to work by way of making everyone equal. Those who aren’t satisfied turn to more greedy/sneaky means to get more. Communism takes responsibility out of the hands of the individual and places it in the hands of the government.
Everyone should be responsible for their own lives. Handouts and heavily taxing those who work hard in order to subsidise those who do not will never solve problems.