Thursday, April 06, 2006

Why the Poor Are Poor

Jackson County, Missouri, which contains most of the Kansas City metropolitan area, recently held an election to determine if a three-eighths cent sales tax should be imposed to pay for improvements to the local sports stadiums. Ostensibly, it was implied that the nfl Chiefs and the mlb Royals would bolt for more profitable venues if the tax did not pass.

Voters approved the tax by a slim 53% margin. The stadiums will be upgraded and the major league teams will be ensconced for at least 25 years.

Over the last few months, the debate had centered on the wisdom of a county imposing a sales tax on those who are arguable the poorest in the metropolitan area. (Rich suburban Johnson County made it clear that they were not going to be any help.) After all, a sales tax is one of the most regressive means of tax collection available. The poor pay a proportionally higher portion of their disposable income on sales taxes. Why should they bear the brunt of subsidizing rich franchise owners as they put on a show to entertain rich business owners and their rich clients in their rich luxury boxes?

Why, indeed? Good question. So it would make sense that poor  people would not be in favor of this, because they’d be the ones paying for other peoples’ pleasures. Right?

Nope, that’s not the way it turned out. The maps printed in the Kansas City Star reveal the truth. As a whole, the county was almost evenly split on the issue. But it failed overwhelmingly in the rural, suburban, and affluent sections of town. And it passed  overwhelmingly in the inner-city core.

That’s right. The poorest of the poor  are the ones who want to be taxed the most  so other people can benefit.

From what I can figure, the liberal mindset that made most of the people poor in the first place has as its core the belief that the government should take money from people because it knows how to spend it better than the population as a whole. And the philosophy that made them poor is the philosophy that will keep them voting for policies that will guarantee their poverty in perpetuity.

The Bible tells us that the poor will always be with us. The modern day axiom is that the poor get poorer because all they know how to do is to repeat the actions that got them there in the first place. And the rich will get richer because, well, all they know how to do is to repeat the actions that got them there in the first place.

It kinda reminds me of the advice that I once heard on learning how to run: “Place one foot in front of the other. Repeat vigorously.”

It works every time it’s tried.

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