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My Turn: Teddy Roosevelt would be horrified

Here is a speech by a Republican president:

“The absence of effective state, and, especially, national, restraint upon unfair money-getting has tended to create a small class of enormously wealthy and economically powerful men, whose chief object is to hold and increase their power.”

The speech calls for “a graduated inheritance tax on big fortunes . . . increasing rapidly in amount with the size of the estate.”

The speaker was a Roosevelt – not FDR, but Teddy, the Rough Rider, in 1910.

Teddy saw the dangers of income inequality 100 years ago.

Teddy would be horrified today to see a single family, the Wal-Mart folks, with holdings eight or nine times the size of an entire New Hampshire state budget for a year. Or a single corporate entity like Koch Industries dominating the flow of information (look for Americans for Prosperity commercials with paid actors trashing Obamacare).

Teddy would be horrified as well by the $26 billion in bonuses (over and above regular salaries) paid to Wall Street executives last year.

That amount of money, if spread around, could double the wages of every worker in this country who earns the federal minimum wage we now have.

One partial solution to this nightmare imbalance is a tiny tax proposed by HR 1579. It would impose a one-half of 1 percent tax on financial transactions on Wall Street. This is not a tax on dividends or capital gains. It does not affect small businesses. It seems to me that it would hit hardest on hedge-fund guys and the people who sit at their computers and buy and sell stocks at lightning speed, creating volatile, unstable markets way too often.

It will be tough to get a bill like this through the Republican-dominated House, but I trust U.S. Reps. Annie Kuster and Carol Shea-Porter to support measures like this one.

I do not expect the same from any of the people who want to run against them.

The bill could raise as much as $350 billion. Sen. Kelly Ayotte likes to talk about the deficit. I wonder if she would like this bill. Ask her, at her next town meeting.

(Tim Frazer lives in Concord.)

Legacy Comments10

First and foremost, $350 Billion is a drop in the bucket as compared to the spending Obama has done over the past 6 years. In Teddy's day, what he referred to were the millionaires who were much fewer in number as compared to the general population. What you ignored is that several of them bailed out the deficit spending of the country on more than one occasion. There was no "middle" class in those days, no upwardly mobile population. Wal-Mart folks as you call them, put sweat and their own equity into building that business, what did you do to invest in that? Moreover, the Koch Brothers give millions to causes each and every year, yet you ignored that fact. The last time I checked, what a private company does in regards to paying company bonuses, is their business, not others who are jealous of anothers income. The suggestion of taking others money to "spread it around" flies in the face of a free country and undermines things like having ambition, goals, working hard and making good choices. Your suggestion is a "hand out" to people who have done little to be deserving of that hand out.

unfair money getting? Is that like the government forcing you to buy a product or pay a fine?

Yeah, or like forcing you to take a driving license or buy plates every year or inspect your car. Who does the government think it is anyway? Not people voted in by American citizens by or any chance as compared to Walmart which we all know as all our best interests at heart.

Income inequality by the latest liberal progressive socialist democrats metrics has never been higher than under NObama. If you don't know why then you might want to lean what Nobama's fed has been doing for the last 5 years under NObama's edict.

I seem to remember those alter egos Van and Sail saying they will participate in the socialist programs of Medicare and Social Security, are you ready to say if you will be partaking? Did you attend one of those socialist programs called a "school". Are you a closet socialist?

The way I figure it, I have been required by law to pay into those programs, I am going to get my money back. If I invested that money, I would get much more back. We pay handsomely on income taxes, property taxes, fees and fines so to take back the money we have paid for our 45-50 years of employment is appropriate. On schools, we have a responsibility to offer a basic education as a civilized society, to every child. But to BPR's point, the facts are the facts, I think you should addres those facts. Income inequality, which is generally a matter of ability, ambition or drive and most often attitude and choices has grown under Obama. His economic policies and overall lack of experience has crippled the job market.

Dear Jim, 1) I am already retired and doing quite well without Social Security and I will not need it when I am of age. 2)I have stated many times in this forum that I will always have my Real Estate Investment company and it will always pay for my health care until the day I die. I will be one of the few that will not be required to enroll. 3) I am a product on PRIVATE schools and Ivy League PRIVATE education and as such have not fallen into the trap of the zip code based liberal union indoctrination institutions that brings us the flawed liberal thinking we see in this forum.

You are a product of private schools? Makes me appreciate public education even more

LOL! I've had many students who've transferred out of the local catholic school in favor of our public school because their folks have not been happy with the faculty or the curriculum there.

Perhaps your reasoning and writing skills would be better had you gone to public schools. You certainly seem to have missed out on the sense of noblesse oblige that most elite private schools claim to inculcate, as well as their professed aim of developing critical thinking skills. Programs like the International Baccalaureate Program are widely accepted at elite private schools, but hoi polloi of the public schools are deemed not worthy by those who think they know best. Teach "critical thinking" to high schoolers? Then who'll be cannon fodder for our wars? You take pride in the fact you're the product of PRIVATE school education. Were you plucked out of some slum on merit and sent to St.Hotchkisstafteter on scholarship? Or were you one of those lucky ducks who chose his parents wisely so that they could send you for full price? If the latter, then while you may not have been born on 3rd base like Mitt (who is forever congratulating himself for his batsmanship), you at least drew a walk to get to first, or more likely, got a head start in life at 2nd base. And have since been congratulating yourself at having ever so gracefully doubled to start the game of life. Almost without exception, "self-made" is the quintessential oxymoron.

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