Monday, April 16, 2012

Julien Guerard : Embracing true American equality

  One of the fundamental pillars of American society has come to be the unwavering desire to promote and achieve equality. Unfortunately, we as Americans have strayed from this founding principle and have tried to make equality a man made endeavor. Through unorthodox practices such as affirmative action in education and the workplace and the progressive tax system, America has abandoned equality as an entire entity. In order to get back on the right track we as Americans must insist that our elected representatives promote the undying and righteous principle of equality of opportunity.

  In order to accept equality, we as humans must first accept the fact that humans are inherently unequal. Some of us are taller, smarter, and more athletic, than others. The only equal thing about us are that we are given an opportunity though God himself to live on this planet. The idea that humans are inherently unequal is one that should be embraced because it represents the uniqueness of our world, and in particular American society where the individual is free to pursue whatever endeavors he or she chooses. The cliché phrase of "leveling the playing field" is unnecessary in America because we as Americans already have an even playing field because we live in the United States of America. However, there are serious social injustices that exist in this country that threaten our sense of equality.

  The first obstacle that we face as a society is that of the progressive income tax system, which allows some people to not contribute to funding government and for others to contribute too much. It is a mask that hides the socialist enterprise of redistribution of wealth. The progressive tax system is a form of taxation that allows people who make little to no money to be taxed at a lower tax rate than those who earn a lot of money. Essentially, as a person's income grows so does their rate of taxation. The basic theory behind the progressive tax system is twofold. On one hand it theorizes that individuals who are of the highest income bracket should carry a heavier burden of taxation than those individuals of the lowest income bracket. On the other hand it supports the notion that individuals who make the same amount of money should be taxed the exact same amount.

  At first glance, the progressive tax system may seem far and just, but it is in fact promoting dramatic inequality. In some instances the progressive tax system has some individuals paying 20% more in taxes than other individuals. Some people argue that this is fundamentally fair because those who earn money have a higher ability to pay than those who don't. The basic problem is that it creates disdain between individuals of the various income brackets as some pay a great percentage of their income than others, and receive exactly the same public services. The only solution to correct this massive injustice is the flat tax.

  A flat tax system is a form of taxation that taxes individuals' income at the exact same rate. For example, in a flat tax system, individuals could all be taxed 15% of their income, regardless of their income bracket. Through taxing everyone the exact same rate, we would be making critical strides towards embracing true equality. Furthermore, we would eliminate the disdain between the classes, because everyone would be paying the exact same percentage of their income in the form of taxes. The difference in treatment by the government in the realm of taxation would become nonexistent, and equality in taxation would be attained.

  The next fundamental injustice that must be addressed is that of affirmative action in education and in the work place. Affirmative action is a policy that gives people of certain racial and physical characteristics preference in admission to academic institutions and preference in employment opportunities, regardless of their merit. The basic theory behind affirmative action is that it provides a remedy to the injustices of the past against racial minorities and women. It is undeniable that certain groups, specifically, women and African-Americans once faced intense and unrivaled discrimination and harassment in the past, but is affirmative action really the answer to correct these past wrongs?

  Furthermore, is it ever okay to defy the Constitution of the United States in order to correct wrongs of the past? In my humble opinion the answers to the previously proposed questions is unequivocally no.

  The basic issue with affirmative action policies is that it eliminates equality of opportunity in favor of man made equality. It propels those with sub par credentials to positions of prestige and power, while leaving extremely qualified individuals behind. The United States is supposed to be a color and gender blind nation, where race and genitalia do not matter as long as you can get the job at hand done. Inevitably, there will be racism and discrimination along the way from naïve and ignorant individuals, but we do not expect the government to engage in that type of behavior. Affirmative action has become reverse discrimination where people are unjustly suffering because of our society's past wrongs.

  The only way to promote equality in our society is to open it up fully to equality of opportunity. We must ensure that individuals in this society advance based on merit and only upon merit, or else we will have failed as a civil society. Race and genitalia have no place in determining who advances and who does not advance in this country. Equality of opportunity is the only way, but it is sadly escaping our grasp.

  So how do we proceed in promoting true equality in this country? The first steps must be to eliminate the progressive tax system in favor of a flat tax system and to completely eliminate all affirmative action policies in the United States. Once these are achieved we will not only have begun to return to our founding principles, but we also will have made critical strides in embracing true and serious equality in the United States. The United States is a country where anyone regardless of race, gender, and financial wealth, should be treated equally by the government. Equal treatment is a foundational principle of our constitutional republic, and it is time that we as Americans embrace that principle, and thus embrace the true essence of equality.

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