Thursday, September 22, 2011

Do Rich Deserve Their Money?

I'm getting tired of Republicans crying that the "poor" rich shouldn't have to pay any more of "their" money in federal taxes. Republicans falsely claim that allowing those with high incomes to pay lower taxes will result in creation of new jobs.

Perhaps that is the case with entrepreneurs like Donald Trump or the owners of small businesses.

However, many, if not most, of those with high incomes, including corporate CEO's, work for someone else. They aren't going to use any tax cut money to create new jobs at their employers' businesses. Many corporate executives look for ways to reduce the number of people working at their companies so more money will be available to pay them.

How many high income people really deserve the income they receive? The Wall Street executives who wrecked the companies they worked for certainly didn't deserve the large bonuses they received from President Barack Obama.

In 2005, federal prosecutors got a conviction of Westar CEO David Wittig and assistant Douglas Lake for looting the corporation to increase their own income. However, a Supreme Court ruling favorable to corporate executives receiving questionable compensation caused the conviction to be overturned and prevented another successful prosecution. Wittig had been previously convicted of a crooked loan scheme with a Topeka banker who increased Wittig's line of credit so Wittig could loan him money for a real estate venture.

NBA Hall of Famer Dennis Rodman told Jay Leno recently that the NBA really needed to restructure its labor contract because many teams were paying players $20 million a year just to sit on the bench. Fans sometimes complain that some highly paid athletes don't play like they deserve what they are being paid.

The Christian Science Monitor reported in 2010 that 30 private college presidents had incomes of over one million. How can anyone justify paying a college president a million a year, particularly considering the high cost of college? Millionaire college presidents aren't likely to use their "tax cut" money to create jobs. If they were interested in creating new jobs they would take lower salaries.

Some major colleges pay athletic coaches million dollar salaries as if they were profit making businesses rather than charitable organizations. College coaches are unlikely to use any tax cut money to create new jobs. They are in coaching to make as much money as they can.

The sports programs they work for are preoccupied with making money. Schools jump from conference to conference depending upon how much money they can make. Congress needs to consider taxing major college sports programs like professional sports teams. At the very least Congress should eliminate the practice of allowing tax deductible "contributions" to major college sports programs. Tax deductions for payments to organizations should be eliminated to those organizations that exist to help others. College sports programs exist to make a profit in the form of high pay for sports employees.

Colleges aren't the only "charities" that help their executives and coaches get rich. Some charities pay very high salaries to their top executives. Many environmental organizations pay multiple executives over $200,000 per year.

The Boys and Girls Clubs of America at one time was paying its CEO nearly a million in salary and benefits. The March of Dimes CEO has received over $600,000 a year.

Actor Charlie Sheen might have used some of his tax cut money for some "fun dates" but not to create permanent jobs. A few actors may finance their own movies and touring singers may be responsible for paying band members and "roadies". How many overpaid actors use tax cut money to hire anyone other than domestic staff for their mansions.

If income were based on one's contribution to the welfare of society, farm workers would be much better paid than entertainers.

If Republicans want to use the tax system to encourage business owners to add jobs, Congress should allow deduction for any expenses, including equipment purchases, associated with hiring new employees. This approach would reward those who hire new employees. The Republican approach rewards those owners who don't hire new employees by allowing them to keep more of their incomes. The Republican approach also rewards those who have no interest in using the income they receive from their employers to hire new workers.

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