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 Re-Elect David Brinkley for Senate


May 18, 2012

Some Truth About Who Pays

Steve Gottlieb

In some of the latest political speeches and news stories emphasis is being placed on describing Americans as either the 99 percent or the one percent. The one percent, meaning the wealthy who need “to pay their fair share.”

 

What is their fair share, and who determines what that is?

 

These terms are labels utilized by some politicians to describe the very wealthy and the rest of America. The idea being that the very wealthy don’t pay their fair share of taxes and are the reason the rest of America is not wealthy and the country is in financial trouble.

 

These labels are used specifically to incite feelings of jealousy and envy in America in an effort to divide the population and attempt to influence more people to vote for Democrats.

 

However, there are a few facts not well defined – or ignored all together – by those who like to throw these terms around. First, approximately 47% or more of the American population does not pay any income tax at all. Some of those not paying taxes actually get money back from the government.

 

Here is a quick breakout of who is really paying taxes in America according to the National Taxpayers Union:

 

Tax Year 2009

Percentiles Ranked by AGI

AGI Threshold on Percentiles

Percentage of Federal Personal Income Tax Paid

Top 1%

$343,927

36.73

Top 5%

$154,643

58.66

Top 10%

$112,124

70.47

Top 25%

$66,193

87.30

Top 50%

$32,396

97.75

Bottom 50%

<$32,396

2.25

Note: AGI is Adjusted Gross Income

Source: Internal Revenue Service

 

What this says is the top one percent of wage earners pays 36.73% of the income tax and the top 10% pays 70.47% of the tax bill. So, what exactly is their fair share? It seems that percentage wise the top one percent already pay more than what is fair.

 

By the way, since when did it become a crime in the United States to be rich? The whole idea of our free market economy is to enjoy the benefits earned through hard work, education, and taking risk.

 

What made the United States great – and what makes it a place people still want to come to – is the opportunity to grow and develop personal wealth and a better life. Those who succeed should be celebrated as a beacon for what a person can achieve with the right choices and a modicum of luck. There are no guarantees of success, just the opportunity to try.

 

Often overlooked in the vilification of the one percent (liberal code word for wealthy) is they are the people who take the risk and create the jobs in America. Even when companies are condemned by politicians and the press (such as the oil companies) it is easy to overlook the fact these very same companies employ thousands of people.

 

Given the problems with our current tax code, 47% paying nothing and the top one percent not paying their “fair share,” (sarcasm intended) wouldn’t it be easier to fix the tax code to ensure everyone pays a fair share? Of course, doing so would take away the power.

 

That said, there is actually a proposal that appears to do just that. It is called the Fair Tax and it is intended to make sure everyone has “skin in the game.” After all, if a person has to pay for something themselves, they may be less likely to abuse it.

 

Here is a quick overview of how it will work. Instead of an income tax as we have now, the tax will be an expense (sales) tax of 23% based on what a person buys. It will only be levied on new products and not used items. Everybody pays. The more you spend, the more tax you pay. Hence the very wealthy who have more disposable income spend more, so they will pay more in taxes. Basically, you control your own tax contribution based on how much you want to spend. The good thing is you get to keep everything you earn.

 

The Fair Tax also takes into account differing levels of income by incorporating a prebate into the equation, so every month legal residents would get an advanced refund to help pay for essentials up to the poverty level, essentially making them tax free.

 

For more information on the Fair Tax go to http://www.fairtax.org/site/PageServer.

 

The point of all this is that there are some blatant inconsistencies in what is said to the public by politicians and the press. It is imperative to get the facts and hold both the politicians and the press accountable.

 

Also, the public must become conversant in alternatives to our current tax system, which allows politicians to play Americans against each other on the basis of wealth earned and taxes paid. If there was another tax system to ensure all wage earners in America had some “skin in the game,” we may actually be able to end the artificial politically motivated class warfare we are witnessing today.

 

One does exist. Educate yourself about it and then take a stand. Tell the politicians and press that we won’t allow them to incite class warfare and jealousy in our country, especially when it is for their own personal gain.

 



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