How is it anyone's business but mine how much money I need?
It can be. If you have a situation where one person feels that he doesn't have enough, that you have more than enough, and that he "deserves" that more than you do (such as by working just as hard, or harder, than you but having started off with more disadvantages) then it's not obvious that you should have more than he does. As much as individualists like talking about the benefits of merit, it's simply the way of the world that there's not a perfect correlation between success and merit, and sometimes that correlation is very week indeed.
I argue that our social contract does allow for certain amounts of asset redistribution. The purpose behind the social contract is to provide a society that is better for its citizens than would be had otherwise. By removing so many of the barriers that would otherwise exist, it allows everyone to be better-off. However, there are costs as well, since TANSTAAFL. We delegate much of our right of defense to the military and the police. We delegate much our right to governance to our local, state, and national governments. One of the things we get in return is a certain degree of protection. Just as the government can seize property through eminent domain (we can argue the limits, but let's say they want to build an ABM site on your land), they can also levy taxes and spend for the general welfare. That general welfare might include life-saving medicines, food stamps, and even make-work jobs. As with eminent domain, the question is what things aren't reasonably within the "general welfare."
Most of us, I suspect, would be willing to either pay whatever rate in taxes is genuinely needed to pay the government enough to fulfill its constitutional duties, or to leave. IIRC, Lincoln fought the Civil War on a 3% income tax for most people. It's just that there's been so much waste that we're unwilling to support anything we don't absolutely need to, even if it's something we might be willing to do were we to be paying a 5% rate and running a budget surplus.
So, as before, it comes down to your business not necessarily being your own in times of crisis. This is a time of economic crisis. It doesn't mean that we need to go all socialist, but it does mean that it behooves us to be able to explain the benefits of capitalism to society and not to simply have our argument be "none of your business."
Wolfwood, let me break this down for you....
17% of 100,000 is 17,000. That's a lot of taxes. 17% of ONE MILLION DOLLARS is 170,000. The great beauty of the flat tax is, and here is the beautiful part, THE MORE YOU MAKE THE MORE YOU PAY!!!
And your argument that someone "needs" to pay less in taxes in order to maintain their standard of living, wasn't it Obama who called for "shared sacrifice"? That means giving up a cell phone, a cable bill, the boat or motorcycle....
I'm just saying.
I herefore declare that I NEED all of Wolfwoods extra money. But it's ok, because he believes that asset redistribution is part of the "social contract". Nothing wrong with because he says it's ok as long as I FEEL that I need it.
Wolfwood, use your damn brain. Americans are the top two percentage points of wealth earners in the world. We are ALL rich. If you don't believe me go travel the world and get back to me in six months.