Robert Purdy’s Feb. 21 letter (“Inequality Myth”) is more than misleading; it contains a statement that is patently false. He avers, “When wealthy people are allowed to keep more of their own money, they will invest that money in enterprises that generate more jobs.” Oh, please, Mr. Purdy. Events of the past few years sadly have rendered that sentiment laughable.
Check out JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon’s holiday card on the Internet. Read “The Jersey Sting” by Ted Sherman and Josh Margolin. Watch the movies “Margin Call” or “The Wolf of Wall Street.” All give the lie to the argument that the wealthy will use their accumulated wealth to create jobs. What they show is that, when the wealthy invest their money, it is in lawyers to help them avoid taxes. They also show that a large portion of the money goes to throwing lavish parties and pampering wives who carry purses that cost more than the annual salaries of the ordinary worker. I could go on for several paragraphs.
I agree with Mr. Purdy in that focusing on how much money other people have will not help the poor and middle class get ahead. I do posit that how much they get to keep could make a big difference.
The truth is that most people want the dignity that goes with having a job that will put food on the table. I happen to live in a town where the folks swim in a pool that was built during the Great Depression via a government program. So was the football stadium. I’m not sure I’d trust the government to use confiscated wealth as wisely today as it was done then. If I ruled the world, however, I’d hire people to come up with a plan where the rich would have a choice of paying a hefty tax or choosing to underwrite a project which would require hiring labor, perhaps a bridge or overpass replacement or something equivalent. The project could be named for them.
Alas, I don’t rule the world; I just pay my taxes and wish for a world where everyone who wanted a job had one.