Argument: Fair for rich to pay more into system that helped them get rich
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- Debate: Occupy protests - pro argument.
Robert Kuttner. "Cantor's view of success is wrong." Politico. October 27th, 2011: "Cantor fails to acknowledge the many social mechanisms that help people up that ladder — everything from public schools and universities to publicly supported research and development and regulations that keep markets tolerably honest. As Elizabeth Warren recently put it, 'There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own.' For example, the biotech sector, one of America’s few export winners, exists because of extensive public investments via the National Institutes of Health and government grants and contracts to our great research universities. In the same way, U.S. leadership in aerospace was partly created by and depended heavily on contracts from NASA and the Pentagon. The geniuses who devised a new generation of advanced computer technology benefited from the innovations funded by the National Science Foundation and the Pentagon that linked computers at major universities — which, in turn, produced the Internet.
But no actual politician, not even Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) or Ralph Nader, wants everyone “to meet in the middle of the ladder.” The real issue is: Do we preserve and extend these social mechanisms of upward mobility, and who should pay for them.
With average incomes down 10 percent since 2007, according to the census, do we just stop providing these mechanisms — as Cantor argues? Or do we raise taxes on the middle and the bottom, with Perry’s flat tax or Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 tax hike? Or do we keep providing these social ladders and tax millionaires to pay the cost? That’s a no-brainer.
As Warren put it, 'Now look, you built a factory and it turned into something terrific, or a great idea? God bless. Keep a big hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.'
Most Americans agree with that. In a head-to-head argument about how to help the next generation up the ladder, the Warren view demolishes the Cantor view."