First Word: One-percenters work hard too-Stop demonizing those with money; They are achieving the American Dream

Carissa Jones, Staff Writer

     We have a serious issue in America, one which threatens the crucial value of hard work and success. For, in the United States, accomplishments are seen by certain individuals as a sign of greed and cronyism rather than a perfect example of the American dream. In America, people are shamed rather than revered for pursuing and obtaining incredible jobs, creating new inventions, and showcasing their talents and skills. This country has demonized the one percent, and this trend needs to end.

     To be successful one certainly does not need to be a “one-percenter,” or even be part of the middle class. Success is measured in many ways, and how big a paycheck is hardly affects how myself, or other individuals, judge success. That being said, many of the wealthy individuals of our nation have worked incredibly hard to get where they are. Bill Gates is an extraordinary American business magnate, investor, and author.

     In addition, many millionaires and billionaires have come from nothing, showing what the American dream is all about: Moving up the ladder, fulfilling you wildest dreams. For instance, Starbucks’ Howard Schultz grew up in a housing complex for the poor, Forever 21 founder Do Won Chang worked as a janitor, gas station attendant and in a coffee shop when he first moved to America, and one of the richest men in the world prior to his passing, Harold Simmons, grew up in a shack with no plumbing or electricity (Business Insider).

     Yet these extraordinary individuals are often judged by the left for one reason: They are the one percent. This leads to the question, why is making money a negative? While I’m not saying it is a prerequisite for success or to be seen as a worthy person, breaking barriers in business and other fields and reaping the benefits is nothing to look down upon.

     Many liberals state their grief with the one percent by stating they do not pay taxes. However, the top one percent pays nearly half of all the federal income taxes in the US. The bottom 80 percent of Americans pay about 15 percent of the income taxes, with the bottom 60 percent paying less than two percent (CNBC). Clearly the one percent do pay taxes, quite a bit of them.

     While there will be cases where wealthy individuals use legal loopholes to avoid paying taxes, for the most part the wealthy carry this nation in terms of income taxes. While I do not approve of such loopholes allowing the wealthy to pay virtually no taxes, it is perplexing that liberals want to focus on these occurrences but turn the other way to welfare fraud, which actually is illegal.

     In addition to paying taxes, the one percenters are incredibly charitable. The top one percent provide one third of all donations to charities, and the richest one point four percent of Americans account for 86 percent of the charitable contributions made at death (Washington Examiner). If you go to the wealthiest individuals biographies, you likely will see the word “philanthropist” under their name and read about charities they have donated a substantial amount to or even started.

     In addition, in America you choose what job you want to do, and therefore choose how much money you will make. As someone going into education, I know I won’t make as much as a businesswomen or soccer player. Why should I be angry at those who make more money because I choose a profession where I won’t be rich? If it’s so easy to become a CEO, a football player, or an author, you do it and stop complaining you are not making as much. This is America; at the end of the day, if you want to be rich and successful you can. Don’t blame other for doing what you wouldn’t.

     Overall, the one percent is not selfishly taking all the wealth and not giving back. In terms of taxes, they pay almost half of the federal income taxes in America, and they contribute quite a bit to charity. Rather than judge those who become successful in professions which rake in the doe, let’s celebrate everyone who reaches milestones, regardless if they make 30,000 dollars a year or 3,000,000 dollars.

Carissa is a Secondary Education, History and Political Science major. She is the College Republican President, a Columbia County GOP Committee Member and DASL Social Media Director. She is a Staff Writer for The Voice.