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Tom and Curley

Tom and Curley debate: How much money is too much?

John Curley wants to know what his incentive is to work any harder if the amount he can earn will be capped. (AP)

KIRO Radio’s John Curley is a hard working guy who makes a lot of money. And he doesn’t want the government deciding when he’s made “too much.”

In contrast, co-host Tom Tangney supports certain socialist missions and believe there is a point when some people should pony up a little more for the good of society.

Related: Porsche prejudice: John Curley says he was singled out

Thus the great debate: How much should John Curley be allowed to make each year until eventually the next dollar should belong to the government?

Tom Tangney: “$100 million. Now argue with me on that, Tom Curley.”

John Curley: “An honest answer from you, Tom.”

TT: “I don’t know what the upper limit would be.”

JC: “How about no limit?”

TT: “That’s what we have right now and the idea is that we as a society would be better off if we shared some of that profit.”

JC: “What would be my impulse to get up and go to work then?”

TT: “For the same impulse that I get up and go to work for a minimum wage. It is the sense of self, well-being, what’s good for society and yourself.”

JC: “Who cares about society?”

TT: “That’s your stance and I think that’s great. I think a lot of us actually embrace society. Hopefully my side would outvote you, but sometimes your side outvotes me, but for the good of society I think that’s a good impulse.”

JC: “Well, most people, even though they’re not rich, agree with the idea of letting people keep the money that they earn.”

TT: “Not all of it, that’s why we have taxes. You are on an extremist position where you keep absolutely all of it because you think society has done absolutely nothing to help you make that money.”

JC: “Look at it this way: The scary thought of a socialist president is that he will determine how much money I’m allowed to keep. (“No, we determine,” Tangney interjects). This is why we are a constitutional republic and not a democracy, because if you had 100 people in a room, 80 percent would say, ‘Hey, let’s take it from the rich guy over there, which is what they’re trying to establish now … Eventually you become enslaved by ‘the people.’ So what would be my incentive to get up and go to work? Why would I want to work any harder if I don’t get the return?”

TT: “You get most of it, John. You make it sound like we live in a socialist society. We live in a capitalist society with a socialist underpinning. That’s what is happening. Then the question is, to what degree of that socialist underpinning do we want?”

JC: “If you want to encourage people to make more money, then don’t take more of their money.”

TT: “I think that might be true to a certain point. You can’t kill the entrepreneurial spirit. At the same time, you want to make sure that we don’t live in a society that’s just a few have’s and mostly have-nots.”

Tom and Curley on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM

  • Tune in to KIRO Radio weekdays at 9am for The Tom and Curley Show.

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