I ended up taking the 20 best paying jobs in the US thread off on a tangent. I would like to take this topic further without derailing the original thread, so I opened it up for discussion here. This is what transpired there so far.... ------------------------------------------------- In the US, you reach the highest tax bracket at about $95,000. Strictly speaking, that is something like 40 - 45% of your income going back to the Federal, State and Local government. Of course there are tax breaks and other tircks dishonest people play to keep their money. Equal? Your definition of equal must be different than mine. If some people are more equal than others, equality does not exist. I am not filthy rich. I don't have yachts and tax shelters. I don't own several homes. Hell, I don't even own ONE home. I rent. I grew up poor, in a poor neigborhood. I drive a used Honda. I don't travel the world in a private jet. I work very hard for what I have. I have been working steadily since I was 13 years old (I am now 32). I have never had a leg-up from anybody in my life. But, I pay over $40,000 a year in taxes. That is almost HALF my paycheck. So I am being punished for working hard and sacrificing to pull myself up higher. But Joe Blow, working at the local convenience store to earn just enough money to keep him in weed and twinkies, pays 15 - 17% of his income. If we paid out the same percentage, I would still be contributing over $18,000 (which is more than he makes in a year). If EVERYONE paid 17% across the board (from single moms to billionaires) we would have so much more tax money coming in than we do now, we could fire most of the IRS and swindling cheat tax attorneys would have to get real jobs and actually contribute to something. I should pay more dollars, sure. But what is the justification for having to pay a higher %? Then there are people like my father, who feel it is below him to take a job at a gas station, collect unemployment and spend it all at the local bar. When I couldn't find a job in my field, I worked two full-time jobs at gas stations making less than I did when I was 17 years old, and didn't take a DIME from the government. No, I am not a cold hearted right-wing bastard who thinks the poor deserve what they get. I think health care should be government sponsored. I think the government should offer people a TEMPORARY leg-up when they truly need it. I think the ideal system would be a balance between: The Republican ideal of small unobtrusive government and personal freedom... The Democratic ideal of taking care of those who truly need it... The Socialist Democrat ideal that our basic needs should be taken care of... ...and my own personal ideal that if you CAN work, you WILL work (at whatever you do best) or you simply don't eat, and your children will be given to someone more responsible. You should have the right to not work, but if you make that choice, you made that choice. Be a part of the "society" (I hate that word) or fend for yourself. To be perfectly honest, I don't even agree with the capitalist system at all. The ideal, that people that work harder will be rewarded for that hard work, is quite obviously bull****. People who know and manipulate the tax laws get rewarded. People who lie, cheat, swindle and steal get rewarded. People who stay at home pretending they are looking for jobs are rewarded. People who decide they don't want to work are rewarded (if they know the system). Honest people who work hard... We foot the bill for everyone else. The biggest problem with "the land of opportuinty" is that the we have spoon fed everyone with our golden promises of freedom, opportuinity, entitlements and the all-mighty dollar since the 50's. We are told from the time we can walk that we have a right to this, and a right to that. We are free to do what we wish. Life, Libery and the Pursuit of the easy buck. But we are not taught that with great freedom comes even greater responsibility. We have managed to get more demanding and less responsible at the same time. We want all the luxuries, but no accountability. We complain that health care cost too much, but we sue doctors for billions of dollars ever year. We ***** that the public school system sucks, but we ***** when someone wants to spend money on it. We complain that our taxes are too high, but we vote for people who want to generate more government jobs, more government programs, more government spending. We complain that all politicians are dishonest, but not only do we vote them in, we allow them to pass the laws that allow them to BE corrupt. Besides, no one would ever vote for the guy who was honest, anyway. People don't want to hear the truth. They want someone to tell them that everything is going to be fine, and their taxes won't go up. Drugs should be legalized. However, if you do drugs so much that you can't afford to eat... Go ****ing hungry! Ahem... I guess I got a little off on a tangent there. Bit of a passionate subject for me. Doesn't take much to set me off. I will let it go for now. I think we need to define "rich". Like I said, you reach the highest tax bracket at about $95,000. I hardly consider that "rich" if rich people can afford "very expensive accountants". Single people who earn between $45,000 and $125,000, have no children and do not own a home pay the most taxes. Them, and the struggling small business owners. Who has been feeding you that self-pitying, pathetic victim complex? My father was a raging alchoholic who dropped out of school in the 8th grade. My mother barely scraped by working ****-wage jobs to feed her 4 children. I never had, nor do I have now any connections. I don't have any degrees either. I worked my ass off, and earned what I have with long hours, dedication and work ethics. Which is exactly why I get so pissed off when people who have no right to what I have earned claim they "deserve" it.