I received a comment this morning from a reader who explained why she was voting for Romney. Here is her comment and my response.
I love reading your blog Ms. Ravitch, but I totally disagree with this post. This teacher will vote for Romney because I do not believe in the re-distribution of wealth. I do believe that if you can’t produce an ID at the voting booth, you should not be allowed to vote. I believe that taxing the rich heavily will mean less hiring. I actually believe in one flat tax for all. As a woman, I believe that if you can’t afford birth control, then don’t have sex. Additionally, if birth control for women is to be paid for by the government, then condoms should be paid for too for men. As a Catholic, I am offended that Obama would try to dictate the availability of birth control to Catholic employers for their employees–don’t take the job with the Catholic organization if you don’t like their terms. I believe it is unconstitutional for the government to require people to buy health insurance. I believe both political parties will make education worse in America with their devotion to standardized testing and love affair with charter schools, so I can’t take sides on education issues.
I grew up poor. Neither one of my parents graduated from high school because their fathers died when they were young and both had to go out to work. They struggled at every financial turn. We got one present each for Christmas and a new outfit for school for our birthdays. Yet, through hard work and perseverance, they put four kids through college–one teacher, one engineer, and two accountants. They never accepted food stamps or welfare even though they qualified for it. They were too proud and embarrassed to take it, so they dug in and took any jobs they could find. My father worked several low paying jobs seven days per week. My mother took any work she could find too. They knew education was the ticket out of poverty, so they were militant about our doing well in school. So I don’t want to hear about redistributing the wealth after you have worked hard for it. If you want to be charitable, it is your choice to make donations to the less fortunate, but I believe the government should not dictate it. Hence, this 25 year veteran teacher will be voting for Romney.
And here is my response:
I don’t question anyone’s decision to vote for the candidate of their choice.
What I do question, however, is the idea that taxing the rich means redistributing the wealth and killing jobs.
Our nation has nearly 25% of its families living in poverty. Many don’t have enough money to eat or pay rent or see a doctor.
At the other end of the spectrum are people who are obscenely rich. They have enough money to have several vacation homes with many servants. They own more luxury cars than there are adults in the family. They go to fabulous restaurants in big cities where a single meal costs nearly $1,000. They don’t think twice about buying a bottle of wine that costs $500.
Now maybe they are providing jobs for the people who build their private jets and yachts; for the servants in their homes; and for the waiters and chefs in their fancy restaurants.
But these are people who could pay higher taxes and it would have no impact whatever on their lifestyle. It would not stop them from creating jobs, if that is what they do. Some of those who work on Wall Street don’t employ anyone except the people who serve them. They don’t create jobs. They make money by speculation, by betting on which stock will go up and which will go down. It is a form of poker that creates no jobs.
I say, raise their taxes. During the Eisenhower years, when this country had a Republican president, taxes on the rich were far higher than they are today. They can afford to pay more. They should help to reduce the suffering of others, not by creating foundations but by shouldering their responsibility to pay a fair share of their income to pay the costs of essential public services, like education and healthcare.