CBS News recently released a report on how the Tax Cut & Jobs Act is working out six months after its implementation. The basic gist of it is: The rich are continuing to get richer on the backs of their (often overworked) employees.
Six months after the Tax Cut and Jobs Act became law, there’s still little evidence that the average job holder is feeling the benefit. Businesses are spending nearly $700 billion on repurchasing their own stock so far this year. Because many senior executives are paid in company shares, buybacks temporarily boost their pay, sometimes at the expense of investments in infrastructure or workers.
This should come as no surprise to anyone who has done a little research. Studies show that the rich are less likely than the poor to be giving with their money. The reason for this is because of understanding. It’s easy to give a lot when you know the plight of those in need. Privilege breeds all sorts of unconscious assumptions about those lacking it. Studies show that this also holds true for those who gain privilege. People who come from poor beginnings but gain wealth tend to lose sight of their roots – impacting their ability to understand the world of those who have less than they do.
Additionally, the more well-off someone is, the more likely they are to see themselves as “self-made”. When people don’t understand the ways public services, interactions with others, and luck have impacted their success, they’re less likely to be giving or acknowledge the important role social programs, public services, multiple chances, and caring individuals provide in giving people the opportunities they need to succeed.
CASE IN POINT
In my home state of Utah there is an interesting case study in this via Senator Orrin Hatch. He comes from humble beginnings and continues to insist that he is working for the poor and disenfranchised even as he votes YES on bills that have the potential to further burden the middle-class and poor. He can no longer relate to or understand the world he came from because his wealth, stature, and experiences have impacted his ability to see that world properly.
The facts behind how the rich act vs. the poor have clear implications for the viability of things like “trickle-down economics” and tax cuts for the rich: Since the rich tend to keep more of what they get, it’s unlikely these methods of wealth redistribution will work. This is clearly evidenced in the recent report on how the Tax Cut & Jobs Act is faring in action. Since the rich are essentially the wealth redistributors in the United States, their obscene accumulation of wealth will have ultimately disastrous consequences for our economy and country.
REMEMBER HOW LUCKY YOU ARE
It’s important that we do not lose sight of these facts as we manage to climb the economic ladder ourselves – lest we become like Senator Hatch, President Trump, and others who see being poor as a self-made condition. I hope that those of us who have found success in life will listen more to those who are struggling rather than falsely believing that we have the answers they need to find success – if only they would follow the path we did.