I’m not rich. I’ve never been rich. I’ve never made six figures. My parents don’t make six figures. My grandparents never made six figures. My dad is a postal worker. My mom works as a secretary at a small school. My grandpa installed phones for a living while my grandma was a short-order grill cook. I live in the suburbs of Ventura County. I drive a Kia. I have never been skiing or owned a boat. When I go to Starbucks, I drink $1.50 green tea, not a $5 soy latte with a shot of sugar-free syrup. Are you listening, my friends on the left? I’m not rich, but I love rich people. I love that they make tons of money. I love that they spend it on themselves and on their families and the causes they believe in. I may not want Donald Trump to be president, but I love him for conquering the world. So when I hear Gov. Jerry Brown rant and rave about taxing the rich, I have to ask, what did the rich ever do to be such a sought-after enemy?
Rich people created the jobs I’ve had. Rich people buy products that keep people employed. In fact, I want rich people to buy outrageous items like yachts. That way, when they buy large boats, lumber companies sell wood, paint companies sell paint, electricians work on the deck while manual laborers get hired to build the boats. When rich people get to spend their money, everyone wins, but when they get taxed, those people lose. This is why I love rich people and want to see them continue to do well. They are too important to our economy.
As I write, Brown is asking for a special election to tax the rich to pay for our public schools, which are failing financially. While I assumed Californians were tired of more taxes, it turns out my fellow citizens don’t personally want to be taxed but have no problem taxing other people.
According to a new poll by the Public Policy Institute of California, voters want a special election to extend higher taxes on income, sales and vehicle licenses for five years to fund the schools.
To show how much they deserve other people’s money, teachers throughout Southern California have been staging “grade-ins.” These “grade-ins” are little publicity stunts where teachers go to shopping centers to grade the homework assignments they require of their students. By doing this, they hope people will realize how hard they work and will vote to punish the rich to pay for the public school system.
Their argument is that they work much harder than most people realize. The O.C. Register’s grade-in article covered the events. “I’m overwhelmed with papers,” said English teacher Ken Putnam, explaining that it takes him 10 minutes to grade each Great Gatsby essay. “There’s always an essay to grade.”
That may be. But don’t sales people always have a call to make? Don’t mechanics always have a car to fix? Don’t I.T. workers always have a computer to work on? Doesn’t everyone have a job that requires work? That’s why they call it “work.” If it was easy, they’d call it “easy.”
According to the Ventura County Office of Education, the median teacher salary hovers around $60,000 a year for 180 days a year of work. That includes weekends off, summer vacation, and seven-hour work days with lunch and prep periods. Come June, these teachers won’t be grading anymore. They’ll be on a seven week vacation.
I was a teacher for a few years. It is hard work. But I knew that going in. How could I not? It’s a thankless task, but that doesn’t mean the rich should pay for it. This idea that we can tax ourselves out of problems is naive at best, dangerous at worst. I’ll leave you with a Winston Churchill quote to sum up: “We contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle.” Don’t worry, rich people. Poor Paul, here, has got your back.