Protecting the Rights of the Minority.

I say “minorities”. You think race, gender, age? If your mind went to economic minorities, it was undoubtedly to those on the rather unfortunate end of the spectrum. If not, you outsmarted my example and I congratulate you.

In the February 2010 issue of Reason Magazine, an article entitled “More than Zero” appears, concerning the zero-sum attitude of most of the people making the decisions in Washington. With that particular issue I am not concerned. A single example used to illustrate a point caught my attention and set my easily-distracted mind a raring.

The alternative minimum tax (AMT) is the example in question. I have little knowledge on this particular tax save for the information I found in the article. What the article tells me is enough. It was created in 1969 to eliminate wealth individuals’ ability to use deductions and such to avoid federal income taxes. Who did this affect? Just 155 taxpayers.

At this point, I am sure you know where this is going, so let me provide some numbers to put this into perspective for you. In 1969, our population was estimated by the Census Bureau at 202,676,946, a 0.98 percent increase from 1968. This tax was enacted and aimed at 0.000000764763842 percent of the population.

If we are now saving a (disputed) 47 million from life without healthcare under the guise of protecting a minority of Americans, the AMT is surely a law passed attacking a minority of Americans. This goes against everything the Democrats stand for, yet it was enacted under a decidedly Democratic–57 Senate seats and 243 House seats–Congress.

This is wrong. Economic minorities at each end of the scale deserve equal protection under (and from) the law. What gives the legislators the right to “save” the poor and persecute the rich? Nothing. A minority is a minority. I do not advocate laws that deliberately ignore the welfare or wishes of the majority in favor of the minority; conversely, I do not advocate laws under which minorities are deliberately targeted because it may be politically advantageous.

Obviously, this tax was successfully enacted because it is socially acceptable to hate the rich for being rich. This is a problem that seems to have relatively recent origins in this country. This kind of thinking is not wise or correct, but it is prevalent in the views of otherwise-reasonable men in this country. The rich are the most productive members of the society, assuming their wealth was amassed honestly. To penalize them for this productivity is, put simply, stupid.

However, progressive taxes and taxes in the vein of the AMT are looked on favorably by many in this nation. These are neither fair nor just, and are further examples of the egregious miscarriages of justice that go unopposed by those seeking “justice” for minorities of every variety but the privileged.

Let us stop bickering about the rights of terrorists and focus on the rights of those who are most important to the economic success of this country.

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