I’ve been a lurker on the Straight Dope for quite a while, and as some one with strong libertarian leanings I am honestly struggling to understand the thought process behind many of the posters with more liberal views.
So here’s my totally hypothetical question. Let’s say I could prove with 100% certainty (I have a magical crystal ball) that by cutting the current tax levels in half on corporate earnings, capital gains, and on people earning more than $200k/year an additional $200 billion in government income would be generated annually.
These additional revenues would be spent on providing health care coverage for all those who currently don’t have it. As a result of these tax cuts, many of the “rich” would be paying a lower percentage of their income in taxes than the middle and lower earners – but the uninsured would now be covered.
So here’s your choice, given these two choices, would you stick with the current system (higher taxes and limited to no health care services for the poor), or would you choose to lower taxes on the “rich” if it resulted in HC insurance coverage for the poor?
What I’m trying to understand is to someone with liberal leanings what is more important, providing help to the less fortunate, or making sure the “rich” pay their fair share?
If you could prove that lowering the taxes not only provided healthcare to the people who don’t currently have it and fix the other problems with our current system and any other system that is struggling for lack of money, then I’d have no problem with it.
I wouldn’t be okay with it if, say, healthcare got improved but everything else fell to hell.
Um, actually, since I’m only a liberal by certain measures, I probably shouldn’t have answered.
My intent was not to debate “trickle down”. I’ve read enough of those debates here with the usual suspects chiming in with their 2 cents and conveniently arriving at a conclusion that supports their own political views.
I’m simply trying to understand what is more important to someone with a more liberal viewpoint then my own – providing services for those without –or a more even distribution of income.
Okay, as a typical U.S. (as opposed to Canadian, Australian, European or whatever) liberal of the New Deal variety, I’ll take a shot at it.
When Franklin Roosevelt said “I see one-third of a nation ill-fed, ill-housed and unemployed” he didn’t say under his breath “so let’s screw the other two-thirds.”
Contrary to what some would have you believe, American liberals are not opposed to people being rich. We don’t wish to simply redistribute income so that everyone winds up in the same drab apartment, riding the same mass transit to pick up our children from mandatory daycare.
A good liberal wants everyone to have access to a basic level of services. Now, we’ll all have a big fight over the definition of “basic level” but we understand that people who can afford to pay more will end up getting more (or better). And that’s okay, as long as everyone can get enough (or good enough).
So, in terms of your hypothetical, If it means that 50,000 families can get health care, then yes, Bill Gates can have a few more million.
The real question you’re posing has nothing to do with healthcare for the masses. Clearly, if the government had more income, it could do anything it wanted with the money. National healthcare is just one of many options. Your real question is: If I could prove that lower taxes on the wealthy would lead to higher government revenue, would you be for it? Well, who wouldn’t be? Unfortunately, the real answer is: your crystal ball is defective. Our tax rates are far below the levels where this might work. Plus, you’d get more bang for the buck by raising taxes on the wealthy and reducing them on the low and middle class.