By Tank Murdoch
(TNS) To a candidate, every 2020 Democratic presidential contender has claimed they want to raise taxes on “wealthy Americans” because they “don’t pay their fair share” of income taxes.
Congressional Democrats have also jumped on this bandwagon with a recent proposal to levy a 10 percent ‘surcharge’ (tax) on incomes above $2 million.
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Not only do such proposals literally punish the most successful Americans among us while making a mockery of a founding principle — that our country is a ‘land of opportunity’ where someone can ‘go as far and as high as they want’ without being penalized or preyed upon — it belies the truth that ‘rich people’ are already doling out most of the income collected each year by the IRS.
In all, though, Democrats, if empowered to do so, would emulate the growth of the income tax in the first 50 years of its existence, as The Wall Street Journal noted Wednesday.
“What began in 1913 as a mere 7% levy on earnings above $500,000 (almost $13 million in 2019 dollars) rose by 1963 to a 72% tax on incomes above $44,000,” the paper noted in an editorial, adding:
The claim that rich Americans pay a smaller share of their income in taxes than any other households is verifiably false. The nearby graph shows that taxes actually paid, as a percentage of income earned and received in transfer payments, rise steadily from 5.1% in the bottom quintile of households to 39.6% in the top 1%. While it’s too small to show on the graph, the top 0.1% of earners, which included 127,586 households in 2017, had an average gross income of $2,892,434 and paid $1,304,769, or 45.1%, in federal, state and local taxes.
Yes, it’s true that the average top 1 percent household keeps nearly 18 times as much income after taxes and transfer fees/payments than the average bottom-quintile household, the paper notes.
The top 1 percent also pay more than 219 times as much in taxes. “Even at the very top of the income distribution, the average household in the top 0.1% has more than 31 times as much income as the average bottom-quintile household, but pays almost 482 times as much in total taxes,” the paper noted.
So what, the Bernie Sanders’ and Elizabeth Warrens argue? Europeans pay more, and they aren’t nearly as wealthy as the wealthiest Americans!
Neither of those claims is true, the WSJ note:
Data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development show that the U.S. has the most progressive income tax system in the world, with the top 10% of earners paying 45% of all income taxes, including Social Security and Medicare taxes, compared with only 28% in France and 27% in Sweden.
If the U.S. government spent as large a share of gross domestic product and had the same tax structure as France, the top 10% of U.S. earners would pay about what they pay now in income taxes, but the bottom 90% would see their taxes almost double. Although the last OECD tax comparison was made in 2015, before the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, the Joint Committee on Taxation has shown that the U.S. tax system, in terms of proportionate tax burden, became more progressive after the 2017 tax cut than it was in 2015.
Translation: If Democrats truly ‘transformed’ American society to emulate that of ‘socialists’ in Europe, what with all their ‘free health care,’ housing, and other subsidies, the bottom 90 percent of U.S. earners would be paying nearly twice as much in taxes.
“On what basis then do Democrats argue that the rich don’t pay their fair share of taxes? They cherry-pick anecdotes of specific households that, because of the way they receive and use their income, fall far outside the statistical norm, and are in no way reflective of most taxpayers,” the paper said.
Which brings us to this conclusion: Why should people who use the same roads, bridges, highways and airports, are protected by the same military and government law enforcement agencies, and who benefit from the same steady, secure infrastructure that make our country the economic powerhouse that it is…pay nothing for the upkeep?
Why should nearly all of that financial responsibility be shifted to a fraction of the population, just because they have more money?
Granted, Democrats know that many Americans won’t look at it that way. In fact, they’re betting they can play on the jealousies and other negative emotions of enough voters to side with them against the minority of “rich people.”
So let’s look at this another way.
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What the Democrats’ ‘tax the rich’ plans propose is no different than a school teacher who takes the small percentage of high school students who get straight A’s and then divides their academic ‘success’ among the rest of the class; everyone passes with C’s but the smarter, harder-working kids get screwed out of their accomplishments and the less capable get a free pass they never earned.
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