It gives me the willies to hear the words “spreading the wealth” maybe because I’ve had a very personal experience with that concept.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s nice to think about spreading the wealth. It’s just that I like to decide to whom to give the money that I worked so hard to earn, namely — family, friends and groups that I like to support, like my writing groups and the assorted charities to which I regularly contribute.
Having someone else decide that bugs me.
And while it’s nice to imagine being the Robin Hood who steals from the rich to give to the poor, don’t ignore the operative word in that sentence — steals.
The American tax structure seems to have firmly embraced that concept. When you talk about taxing the top wage earners, consider these numbers from the National Center for Policy Analysis:
- According to data from the IRS, the bottom 50 percent of income earners pay approximately 4 percent of income taxes.
The top 25 percent of income earners pay nearly 83 percent of the income tax burden, and the top 10 percent pay 65 percent.
The top 1 percent of income earners pay almost 35 percent of all income taxes.
The top 400 richest Americans paid 1.58 of total income taxes in 2000.
The emphasis added on the second line is mine. Consider those numbers. 25% of wage earners pay 83% of the tax burden. It just doesn’t seem right to me somehow. What will they pay in the future? 90%? 95%? 100%?
When will those top wage earners chuck their papers, work and responsibilities and decide it’s just not worth it? Why would people risk starting up new companies? Why would people invest in stocks and other things? Why do people have to pay estate taxes? Didn’t they already pay taxes on all that stuff while they were alive?
What I feel isn’t just because I’m a child of Castro. It’s also because I’m a child of Reagan. I prospered under his trickle down theories as did most people I knew at all levels of the economy.
When faced with criticism about his tax cuts, President Kennedy said “A rising tide lifts all boats.”
Seems to make sense. Increase prosperity and all benefit.
Something for all our political leaders to consider.