American Revolution fought to banish inherited wealth
British rule in 1776 was aristocratic privilege based on inherited wealth. The American Revolution was fought to overthrow the European class system and create a new nation where all citizens had an equal opportunity to succeed. “We hold these truths to be self-evident…all men are created equal…” enshrines “equal opportunity to succeed” in our Constitution. Accumulated, inherited wealth in Europe denied equal opportunity because it restricted success to only those who could afford it. The curtailing of entailment (inherited wealth) by a series of laws that promoted equality such as public education served to hold back plutocrats until the end of the 19th Century when great fortunes amassed by industry assisted by legislatures began threatening class prerogatives. Presidents like Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt turned the tide against robber baron wealth. A permanent income tax was codified into the Constitution, estate taxes cut inheritance, Social Security, progressive taxation, and anti-trusts slowed the growing inequality. Today, however, the gap between powerful rich and the rest of us is wider than ever. Access to higher education, better work positions, networks of influence, higher incomes, and the ability to buy elections are rushing tax incentives toward the rich and away from those who work for a living. Income wages have stagnated for forty years. The top 2% of the population owns more wealth than 50% of the rest of the population combined. Executives make who made 20 times their workers 50 years ago, now make 300 times a worker’s pay, which is then taxed at a lower tax rate than the average sale clerk. The rich derive most of their incomes from of interest investment, which is taxed at a lower rate than earned income. 95% of the income gains during the first 3 years of the recession have gone to the top 1%. It took 5 years against a campaign of billions against Obama for some of that wealth to be reinvested in jobs. The wealthy think net worth is a sign of merit, but the vast majority of the top 2% inherit their resources. For every Microsoft there are dozens of family owned businesses run by inherited wealth for decades. The gap between rich and the rest of us is worse today than it was in 1776. In France the aristocracy lost their heads. In the American colonies, we fought a revolution to abolish the British class system of inherited wealth. Once again, however, reckless, greedy, unrestricted Wealth is growing in control and restricting the American dream of equal opportunity for all to succeed. What we need are leaders who demand fair taxes, not corporate sponsored conservative propaganda where wealthy business owners whine that attacking the rich makes them victims just like Nazi attacks on Jews. Richard Dorsey, Hacienda Heights, CA.