Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Giving Proper Context

I do believe that for folks like me who’ve worked hard but frankly also been lucky, I don’t mind paying just a little bit more than the waitress who I just met over there. . . . She can barely make the rent. . . . And I think that when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody.

- Barack Obama, speaking to Samuel J. (Joe) Wurzelbacher, AKA "Joe the Plumber"
The necessaries of life occasion the great expense of the poor. . . . The luxuries and vanities of life occasion the principal expense of the rich, and a magnificent house embellishes and sets off to the best advantage all the other luxuries and vanities which they possess. . . . It is not very unreasonable that the rich should contribute to the public expense, not only in proportion to their revenue, but something more than in that proportion.

- Adam Smith. In “The Wealth of Nations” (1776)
Excerpted from Steve Coll's current New Yorker article "Overtaxed"

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