Money not the key to happiness |

Money not the key to happiness

I have a controversial opinion to express at this time of year: We are not overtaxed.

The United States is 13th in the world in percentage of income taken in personal income tax. Since our income is the highest and we can afford to pay more taxes, that’s not bad. Of course, you could say we get what we pay for in terms of the quality of and benefits from our government.

We do lead the list in corporate taxes, but when you consider the obscene amount of money our country’s corporations make, that’s fair. Exxon Mobil can pay their 30 percent and still have enough left over to buy and sell any other corporation in the world.

What baffles me is how the top 1 percent in personal income that has more income than the other 99 percent combined can get away with paying no income taxes. With all the deductions available to them, they get off scot-free.

Why isn’t the 99 percent outraged? Don’t they realize they have to pick up the slack for these deadbeats? If the 1 percent paid their fair share, the 99 percent would pay next to nothing. Does the 99 percent think the 1 percent deserves to pay no taxes?

I grew up in a wealthy suburb of Chicago and now I live in a wealthy valley in the Rockies. I have known many wealthy people. My observation has been the vast majority either inherited it or stole it. Trump did both. I don’t see inheriting or stealing as particularly noble or meritorious efforts.

I used to work for a man who actually earned it, an industrial engineer who built a small steel fabricating plant into a multimillion-dollar concern. He said to me, “Son, don’t waste your time making money. It’s easy. Not worth the effort. Do something you love and be the best at it you can.”

The 1 percent should give to charity out of the goodness of their heart and because they can afford it, not for a write-off. Trump said he was smart to evade taxes (though he was apparently dumb in 2005). How intelligent do you have to be to hire a big-ticket tax accountant to show you how to screw the government?

I’m not sure why we worry so much about how much we pay in taxes, anyway. A recent survey judged who the happiest people in the world were based on how often they smiled and laughed and the positive responses they gave on a questionnaire.

Topping the list were Norway, Denmark, Switzerland, Finland and Iceland. These countries also happen to pay among the highest taxes in the world. That is because they are all social democracies, or welfare states. Many of life’s necessities, like complete health care and education, is paid for by the state. Apparently people don’t mind paying taxes if they get a return on their investment.

The United States, the richest nation in the world, ranks 14th on the happiness list. Among the many things money can’t do, it can’t buy happiness.

Fred Malo Jr.