So my uncle worked in a steel mill for most of his life, became an investor for about 5 years, and then decided to opened up a small grocery chain (3 stores) since he didn't know what to do with his time. He's almost 80 now, and I wanted to get his view on the economy.
He said that becoming an investor taught him a lot about how the economy works, and said trickle down economics absolutely doesn't work, and that it was preposterous to think that somehow giving the rich more tax breaks equated to more jobs. He said that he lost a lot of money as an investor at first because he focused more on net income of companies rather than than sales. Companies used all kinds of tax tricks to save money, but the problem was no one was buying the products and services, and eventually the companies usually went under and my uncle lost a lot of money that way.
He said when he opened his first grocery store, even though the store brought in a lot of money, there was no incentive to hire new employees. He said while his pockets kept getting fuller, his 8 or so employees made about $8.00, and he had no reason to hire anyone else because they did a fine job of keeping the store going. Then eventually he did open up two more grocery stores and hired more people, but he said that was more out of boredom than anything. He was perfectly content with his one grocery store.
I'm not entirely sure how much money he has, but I know it's several million. For whatever reason, he votes democrat and says that he fully supports higher taxes on the rich and little to no taxes on anyone who makes below $80,000. This surprised me, and I asked him if he thought a voluntary tax system would work where the rich could pay as much as they wanted to. He said absolutely not, because up until a couple years ago, he wouldn't consider ever paying more because the more money you make, the greedier you become. But now he has such an excess of money, he's so old, and he doesn't really know what to do with his money. So he's satiated.
I suggested that taxation is stealing since you had no choice to pay it. He said he believed taxation was necessary because people are not created equally, regardless of what people might say. He used to live in a one bedroom shack with my grandparents, my dad, and my other uncle, but he had the ambition to make a better life for himself. Not everyone has this kind ambition, and it's not something that you can just develop. He said he saw a lot of hardworking stupid people, and he saw a lot of intelligent lazy people in his life. He didn't feel that either person was at fault, but it was somewhat just in the cards that they would never achieve what others would be able to. He said some people just absolutely need to be cared for, and he'd rather live in a country that took care of its citizenry than allow a more Darwin approach.
Anyway, I thought his view was pretty interesting, and it has kind of changed a lot of my views on the subject. Maybe there is no black and white. Maybe everything really is gray, and compromise is absolutely needed.