Basic capitalism

Basic capitalism

I write with great concern regarding the opinion piece by Philip Horn (“Raising taxes on the wealthy hardly a ‘burden’,” Sept. 15). Business investment and employment are the cornerstones of a growing economy. Business decisions are based on after-tax return on investment. Simply put, before a business owner makes a decision to invest and/or increase his total headcount, he determines what a given investment will put in his pocket at the end of the day. Warren Buffet, prominently mentioned in the article, refers to this as “owner’s earnings” and it is paramount to his investment philosophy. It is important to remember that each investment decision that the business owner makes comes with risk and it is their job to decide if the potential after-tax return outweighs those risks. If not, they would be foolish to allocate capital to that venture. Conclusion: increased taxes will reduce investment and result in fewer jobs created.

Additionally, Mr. Horn went out of his way to contact Warren Buffet, Michael Steinhardt, Edgar Bronfman, and Mark Cuban. The common denominator here is that they have already amassed great fortunes. Many who have accumulated their wealth seem to have no trouble impeding the path to the financial success of others. I would also suggest that Mr. Horn look at past tax returns for each and see what taxes they paid on the way up. I am sure they all filed perfectly legal and correct tax information to the IRS in accordance with tax law. However, I am also certain that over the years their tax returns included substantial sums that were taxed at rates below the maximum rate. I do not begrudge them for doing this. Many of these reduced rates were designed to encourage investment and avoid or reduce double taxation. I am not advocating for no taxes; there is much that only government can provide and I hope they can do so effectively and efficiently (although, it is not their strong suit).

With Yom Kippur approaching, we should remember that it is not up to us to decide how or if individuals should give back some of their wealth to society. We all answer to a higher authority and each individual will be judged. Let each person decide what to give back and how he or she will be judged. That is basic capitalism and basic Judaism.

Steven J. Glass
West Orange

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