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Words are important: What does 'fair share' mean?


Last week, the president claimed that “the wealthy” were not paying their “fair share." His idea is that "the wealthiest Americans and big corporations" should pay their "fair share" in order to reduce the nation's red ink instead of cutting spending to “valuable programs.”

This should not come as a surprise to anyone. This is the standard modus operandi for liberals. In fact, this is how they address every issue: it’s someone else’s fault. Someone else must pay for it (either literally or figuratively).

You cannot get into the college of your choice because of bad grades? Make them accept you. Sue them until they accept you. Make it unlawful not to accept you.

You cannot pass standardized tests? The tests must be biased. Make them change the questions and scoring system.

You cannot afford insurance (although you have access to Medicare and Medicaid)? Everyone else should then pay for it.

You have an overly healthy libido but cannot afford prophylactics or birth control pills? Someone else should provide it. In fact, it ought to be a right.

And this is really where we get to the heart of the problem with liberalism. It’s not so much that they are fiscally irresponsible with other people's money--as they most certainly are-- but that they have a complete and dangerous disregard for personal accountability and self-reliance.

And there is the real problem. If a man goes through life and never accepts personal responsibility for his mistakes or shortcomings, and cannot even recognize that they exist, then how can he be expected to grow in wisdom, justice or prudence?

Who is going to pay for universal insurance? Why should an institution, whose sole purpose is to teach and educate great minds, dumb down its program because someone could not pass their entrance exams or was "offended" by the curriculum? Where are you getting the money for these programs and how do you plan on sustaining them?

To liberals, these questions do not matter. Why should they? They have arrived at their causes irrationally. If one presses them for the details of their plans to save the world, they get bleary eyed and they--the champions of abortion--begin to laud their heartfelt compassion for the near-sacred middle class “little guy,” the illegal immigrant and the single mother.

They have no actual, sustainable plan for any of these things. Liberals just have notions. The problem is that, without a plan, they remain just that: notions.

This brings us to the current situation with the debt ceiling. Obama, the leader of the free world, has said that the answer to our problem is for the wealthy to pay their “fair share.” But what does that even mean?

Do the wealthy pay a certain amount commensurate with their earnings? Or is a “fair share” what everyone else pays? Or do the wealthy simply pay an amount that someone else has deemed to be "fair"?

So what does he mean by “fair share”? Is he stating that, depending on how much someone earns, they should pay more than others? If this is the case, then who decides what "how much" is? Who watches the distributors of "fairness"?

What is the notion of “fair” and who decides it? Perhaps if there were an absolutely unquestionably good person who was just in all things, then maybe one could tolerate the idea of submitting themselves to that person’s idea of “fair share.” But who would that be? If men were naturally inclined to act like this, then government wouldn’t be necessary.

The simple and sad truth is that men are not angels; we are far from it. That’s why a social contract is necessary. It helps to establish the checks and balances necessary to deter one from claiming that he has a right to another’s goods because it’s “fair.” When the government starts taking property in the name of a perceived and mutable notion of “fair,” then that government has lost its reason to exist.

But try telling that to a liberal.

Furthermore, the idea that the top earners in America should ante up and pay their “fair share” is ludicrous on its head, not so much for philosophical and practical reason, but simply because, well, they already do. Consider these facts: the top 5 percent of wage earners (this includes all income, not just wages, but excludes Social Security) pay 53.25 percent of all income taxes, the top 10 percent pay 64.89 percent, the top 25 percent pay 82.9 percent, the top 50 percent pay 96.03 percent, and the top 1 percent is paying more than ten times the federal income taxes than the bottom 50 percent.

The bottom 50 percent of wage earners? They pay 3.97 percent of all income taxes. Also, an estimated 43.4 percent of Americans do not even pay federal income tax.

Shouldn’t we be asking for that 43.4 percent and the bottom 50 percent to pay their “fair share”?

It is only fitting that this president of all people should be using this kind of language. The rhetoric is not only consistent with the tone of “hope and change" but it also embodies his presidency: things that sound good at first but turn out to be just a lot of worthless, shallow noise.

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