“Please Raise My Taxes” via LinkedIn town hall meeting with President Obama.
For those who can’t watch clips online, question came from a man who retired at a young age, thanks to the success of a start-up company he worked for that “did quite well” (the man was later identified as the former director of marketing at Google). He asked the president, “Would you please raise my taxes? I would like very much to have the country to continue to invest in things like Pell Grants, and infrastructure, and job training programs that made it possible for me to get to where I am.”
We all benefited from someone investing in us.
We’re a massive, modern nation with a vast economy. We face real challenges, and they’re not the kind of challenges individuals can hope resolve on their own — we need cooperative solutions built around shared action.
This is kind of what Elizabeth Warren was getting at: a lot of people in this country were able to take advantage of certain opportunities with the help of government programs; whether it’s Pell Grants, temporary & disability assistance, guaranteed federal loans for graduates students (like myself), or what have you. When those programs are in jeopardy due to a lack of tax revenue, there is a case to be made that those who willingly took the benefit of those programs (and became successful as a result) should contribute to their upkeep so “the next kid who comes along” will have the same access to opportunities that you had.
This isn’t to say there aren’t principled arguments to be made against government aid for all the things I just mentioned. Libertarians make these arguments all the time, and I don’t find them unreasonable. But essentially what you’re dealing with are two worldviews in which society looks different in a lot of fundamental ways: I guarantee you that if we stopped having the Federal Government guarantee loans for graduate students, for example, less people would be able to go to law school or Med School, because there’s no way private companies would underwrite as many students. And while this can be argued as a good thing for the legal profession, the same argument cannot be made for the Medical profession, which continues to be desperate for new blood.