"I'm for the rich," Mona Charen announces.
Well, I have to hand it to Mona because I've often felt compelled to preface my criticism of President Obama's take-other-people's-money policies by going out of my way to say I have no brief for the rich. Brava, Mona!:
Well, I'm for the rich, and not just because the top 1 percent of earners in America paid 38 percent of income taxes in 2008. And not just because I suspect that attempting to tax the rich more will only lead to more tax avoidance, not more tax revenues for the federal government. I'm for the rich because, with some exceptions, they've earned their money. A Prince and Associates study found that only 10 percent of multi-millionaires had inherited their wealth.
In the process of earning their wealth, the rich have created products, services, and whole industries that have dramatically improved my work life, my family life, and my health. I'm so grateful to them for the GPS, iPads, non-drowsy antihistamines, smartphones, XM radio, and The Teaching Company courses – to name only a few advances of the past decade or two.
I'm for the rich because nearly all of the rich people I've met are extremely public-spirited. They volunteer. They form committees to improve things in their communities. And they are incredibly generous with their money. As Arthur C. Brooks of the American Enterprise Institute notes, "The top 10 percent of households in income are responsible for at least a quarter of all the money contributed to charity, and households with total wealth exceeding $1 million give about half of all charitable donations." In general, I think they probably make wiser choices in their charitable giving than the federal government would make if it took their money and spent it.
I'm for the rich because they create the dynamism and energy of a growing economy. The rich create businesses and hire people.
A wealthy person gave me my first job. And I'll bet the same is true of you.
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