Sara - posted on 07/19/2010 ( 94 moms have responded )
My husband and I were discussing the mega-wealthy, prompted by a discussion about Warren Buffet and Rupert Murdoch. I stated that the mega-wealthy should have to pay more in taxes, so the money they are hoarding can be put back into society at levels where it will be spent in commerce transactions and can create value.
The hubster added that progressive taxation is also important because the super-rich need to have some check placed upon their power.
This really got me thinking. As a "democracy," we usually place a lot of importance on checks to power. The branches of our government are supposed to be balanced so that power is shared, and cannot be concentrated into ever smaller groups of hands (I realize this isn't always the case, but let's suppose it for the purpose of this discussion).
However, there is no check in our system on the power of the super-wealthy. At the level of multi-billions, the numbers no longer represent purchasing power - it represents political power. The power to buy political candidates and influence legislation...even running themselves.
The wealthy may (or may not) have "earned" great wealth, but they certainly haven't been elected by the people whose lives their decisions affect. They act with great power, but they have no mandate. Their decisions affect everyone but they are not expected to act from any consideration other than their own narrow self-interest.
So my question is, should the mega-rich have checks and balances on their power? Or does the idea of checks and balances not apply to the power of wealth?