Support higher taxes on NJ millionaires


A Rutgers-Eagleton poll released yesterday shows that 72 percent of the N.J. voters polled support higher taxes for the uppermost reaches of the tax brackets. This is curious to note, given that last year Gov. Chris Christie vetoed a measure to do just that. Perhaps Christie should heed the call of the voting public and increase the taxes on the state's millionaires. We all know they can afford to pay higher taxes, although they will be predictably resistant to such a measure. Of course, there is selfishness involved in most millionaires' rejections of the higher taxes. They like to spin the "I did it myself" story, conveniently forgetting many only did it themselves because of the resources and support society gave them. Also, as New Jersey citizens, they should be willing to take the same kind of hits people in other tax brackets took to close the excruciatingly large budget gap.

Many Americans are quick to adopt rugged individualism as their personal ethos — especially, it seems, those at the top of the economic ladder. The problem with that though is it ignores the basic fact that human begins are social animals. People live together — in nations, states, cities, towns, etc. All of these people living together constitute a society, and that society provides these people with better lives than they would have if they tried to strike out on their own. Against this social backdrop, rugged individualism is pretty much impossible. Think about it: How much of a rugged individual are you if you attend public school? Or drive on government-funded roads? Or eat government-subsidized food?

The point is that in America, no one truly makes it on their own. Everyone takes advantage of the opportunities society gives them in order to make it to the top. But once they are up there, they tend to forget all the public resources that helped them with the climb. More millionaires need to start taking cues from people like Warren Buffett and Bill Gates and realize they have a responsibility to the society that helped them become so ridiculously successful — especially when their country or state is in dire economic straits.

People are fond of calling America the "Land of Opportunity," and that can be a pretty accurate nickname for this country. However, people — in this case, millionaires especially — often forget to thank the country which offers these opportunities in the first place. What better way than to throw it some extra money when it really needs help getting back on its feet?


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