Profit is not a dirty word

There is a misconception among some people that anyone who starts a business that makes them wealthy is doing something wrong. We hear people continually saying that we must “tax the rich” as if they aren’t already being taxed. The fact is…they are already being taxed.

In 2016 the top one percent paid 37.3 percent of all income-tax revenue which was more than 90 percent of all taxpayers combined. The top one-half of taxpayers paid 97 percent of all income taxes. At the other end of the spectrum, it is estimated that over 44 percent of Americans will pay no Federal income tax for 2018. Before anyone thinks that many in this 44 percent are rich who are using tax loopholes to avoid taxes on their extravagant incomes, the Tax Policy Center estimate that households making over $200,000.00 will make up only 0.1 percent of that 44 percent. These are figures one is not likely to hear from the vocal minority in Congress who want to move this nation into socialism by raising tax rates to 70 percent on the wealthy so more money is available for Federal give-away programs.

Why are wealthy people so despised by these people? What is it about people who work hard, earn an excellent income, invest their money wisely and become wealthy that upsets these people so much? I am a middle-class American, retirement age, who is unlikely to ever be wealthy, but I don’t dislike wealthy people. No poor person ever gave me a job. Wealthy people have contributed huge sums of money to hospitals, universities, churches, and other non-profit organizations that have provided tremendous benefits to humankind. All the taxes they pay, the people they employ and the financial contributions they make are all possible from the profits they make in their various businesses and investments.

Assuming one conducts his or her business in an ethical, honest manner, no successful business person should believe the lie that his or her business is bad or that making a profit is evil. You are providing a product or service that is needed by people, you are providing people with jobs by which they can feed and support their families, you are helping grow our nation’s economy, and, if you are like the majority of people in your position, you are donating money to worthwhile causes to help support their work. There is nothing shameful about any of this. Your ability to do all these things comes from the profits you make in your business.

There is another thing that makes those profits honorable. They represent the fact that you have well served those who do business with you. In his excellent book, Thou Shall Prosper: Ten Commandments for Making Money Rabbi Daniel Lappin writes that when a customer has paid you for your product or service “that money is testament to your having pleased another human being. Having money is not shameful; it is a certificate of good performance granted to you by your grateful fellow citizens.”

When we do business right people will give us certificates of appreciation with President’s pictures on them. If we cheat and steal, provide shoddy products and poor service, it won’t be long before no one gives you those certificates. You go out of business.

Do not buy into the popular sentiment today that there is something evil about making a profit or becoming wealthy through honest means. The fact that you are profitable means you are doing something right, something about which you can be proud.

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