SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska

Viewpoints: Letters / Opinions

Easy to take money from those who have sacrificed, planned and worked

By Jerry Cegelske


November 27, 2017
Monday PM

Ghert Abbott's letter to Sitnews on November 2nd stated that the solution to the Alaska fiscal problem is to heavily tax the investment income from the “rich” people. A problem I have with his solution is the government is the entity which defines the term “rich” or economically advantaged. It is easy for government to lower the definition of rich so that the numerous middle class and lower taxpayers end up paying the bill. Government has an unlimited power to take from people and an unlimited ability to spend more than they should.

It is easy for people to find situations for which they feel that others should pay for. As an example the tax burden on Ketchikan tax payers could be reduced if teacher’s pay the cost of heating their classrooms, after all they are getting a benefit from it. All those not married to, related to or friends with a teacher would be in favor of this solution if it lowered their taxes.

I started working when I was 7 and remember the age I was because Sandy complained of the smell in the third grade classroom caused by my not changing my barn shoes for my school shoes. Years later I was making $5.00 a month allowance for doing more chores, some of the money I placed in my passbook savings account, which was guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. (I recently thanked my mother for making us work as hard as we did- it has served me and my siblings well.)

After I became employed, I decided to place money in an investment fund investing with the stock market which I do to this day. I invested in myself, reading and buying materials to be educated in the stock market. It is not guaranteed and I experienced the losses of the 80’s and 2000’s, which is the risk I take to hopefully gain financially. This is money businesses and industry takes and uses to increase their productivity, employ more people, purchase raw materials, build manufacturing facilities and purchase material from other manufacturers. Many people do not recognize the benefits derived from the investments people have made over their lifetime. More people being employed from mining, harvesting and processing the resources needed by the industries being invested in. Look at the materials and work resulting from the investment in a car manufacturer, steel, rubber, plastics, glass, technology, research, design and development because individuals invested in the industry.

I am near the age that I will start withdrawing those monies I previously invested for my future, for my enjoyment, the enjoyment of my family and for me and my family’s care as we age. If I live to be the age my mother currently is, I will be retired for about 25 years and this money is to be used for my long term care until my death, and thus not dependent upon the government. This money accumulated with the sacrifice of not having or buying things people buy every day without thinking, Starbucks, lunch out, and other items.

I don’t know what classification we would be placed in financially, however I started planning for my retirement in my teen years with an article in Reader’s Digest in which I decided to take the opposite tact and do what they described as being so horrible, as I found many benefits to society in doing the opposite, which they did not credit as benefits to society.

Someone who works for a business for 20—30 years, starting at $8.00/ hour and retiring at $25-40.00/hr. and invests in the company stock program could end up being classified as being rich. (Check out the growth in Walmart stock over the last 10 years.) They could have a substantial amount of money from stocks which they will use to take care of themselves and their family through their old age. Abbott says that this is unearned money and thus should be taxed more heavily and used for other things that someone in government says is needed. I would suggest that the individual that got up at 6 am for those 30 years and faithfully saved would argue they worked for every penny and risked that money for their benefit in their old age. They have helped society in many ways by investing and took a large risk for their benefit and the benefit of others.

It is easy to take money from those who have sacrificed, planned and worked to provide for themselves later in life. It is easy for government to state that you are in a class that they need to take more money from to benefit society. As noted government has an unlimited ability to spend money on projects it feels is desirable. Years ago they paid $40,000 for a study on why farmers were going deaf in their left ear. I as a farm kid I could have told them for $25,000 and given an instant answer! Any farmer could have told them for free.

There are many problems when someone says that the “rich” should pay for things and in many cases just plain stupidity. In college someone wrote in the men’s room “Death to the rich!” Think about it- the fact that they were going to college in the United States, drove there in a car, and ate every day, would indicate to me that they were among some of the richest people in the world, and thus among the first to die under their own declaration.

Since others would describe Mr. Abbott as rich and he makes more than many in the community, should he not share more of his wealth with people that don’t have a job? Who is to define the terms and limits used to punish those responsible people for their gain from their own ambition, hard work, sacrifice, risk taking, or other traits people use to be successful?

Why not work to expand the pie instead of trying to give smaller and smaller pieces to more and more people? Give people the opportunity to help themselves and improve their lives, not give them just enough to survive?

People in this country used to use successful people as examples to aspire to, “I want to be like her!” We saw the potential that people have in this country and the ability to succeed. Now people look at successful people and say, “I want what she has” and proceed to figure out how they can get it without the hard work it took to accumulate that wealth or position. A woman just got accepted into Yale’s medical program and she was criticized due to her “status”. If you read what she endured- alcoholic parents, children’s home, adoption, abuse, the children’s home a second time, taking care of her brother while getting herself through school, going hungry, and other things, you would agree she is a hard working person not to be denied. Nothing was going to keep her from her dreams. Her American spirit is alive! When she becomes a doctor and has some money, would you say it is “unearned” income?

It has been over 60 years since I wore my barn shoes in third grade and I have been working since then. I have some resentment toward anyone who describes any wealth accumulated by successful hard working people as unearned income, in most cases, it took a lot of hard work and planning to get it. If you and the government describe me as “rich”, which I am not, and that I don’t need this “unearned income” who will take care of my now 5-year-old daughter when I am gone? I may be able to if the government doesn’t punish hard work and individual responsibility.

Jerry Cegelske
Ketchikan, Alaska


Editor's Note:

The text of this letter was NOT edited by the SitNews Editor.


Received November 24, 2017 - Published November 27, 2017

Related Viewpoint:

letterGovernor Walker’s Tax Proposal Would Create a Regressive Nightmare By Ghert Abbott

letter The Republican Tax Plan: Tax Cuts for the Rich, Higher Medical Expenses for Everyone Else By Ghert Abbott

letter The GOP’s Malevolent Tax Proposals By Garrett Abbott




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