Today is Tax Day USA, a day that many Americans both dread and are angry about. The anger is even more deeply felt when they see headlines such as this on CNN: 45% don’t owe U.S. income tax. Who? I’m betting that, depending on your political ideology, there are widely differing ‘suspects.’ Right-wingers, I suggest, cast their eyes downward while liberals, upward. Which is more egregious? Which is less ‘patriotic?’ By the way, my eyes are looking up, as if you didn’t know.
Check this statistic out: 4,000 households whose earnings are +$1,000,000 will pay zero Federal income tax. Why? Because some congressman provided tax-free shelters for them in a quid pro quo campaign donation scheme. Of course, no one knows which politician. Just last year, 712 new pages were added to the enormous book of tax laws. And what were these new laws? No one knows, but surely, some congressman’s political war chest was filled by these laws.
Very high-income households pay zero taxes if they get their income from tax-exempt bonds or overseas sources for which they get foreign tax credits. Banks in Luxembourg and Switzerland bulge with American dollars that have been taken out of circulation here in The States- sucked up like a vacuum cleaner. You and I, on the other hand, pay an enormous percentage of our income to the U.S. Treasury because we cannot afford to stash away our money in these foreign banks. Interestingly, you and I and the rest of middle America pay for an army to defend these rich bastards from foreign aggression. They pay not a dime. How counter-intuitive is that?
For those wealthy Americans who do owe Federal taxes, they average a measly 17% while most Americans are in the 22% bracket. The wealth-friendly GOP has drawn a line in the sand. Eric Cantor said, “We can’t raise taxes; that was settled last November during the elections.” Oh, it was? I don’t recall any Federal tax issues on my November ballot. Paul Ryan quipped, “We don’t have a tax problem, we have a spending problem.” What grade did he get in his Economics 101 class in college?
The top Federal tax bracket has fallen precipitously during my lifetime. When I was born it was 81%. At my high school graduation it was 91%. It dropped to 77% at my college graduation. It remained in the 70’s through the first 10 years of my daughter’s life until Reagan lowered it to 50%. It was again lowered to the historic low of 28% during the first Bush presidency. During Clinton, it was raised to 39.6% but GW Bush lowered it to its present rate of 35%. Of course, this drop came during two wars- the absurdity of it missed by the masses.
“We can’t raise taxes,” says Cantor and Ryan. Naturally you and I understand the stupidity of this statement, but it sells well to The People. The People are easily fooled most of the time and the GOP is the master of deception.
The other “Who?” to which the title of this post refers are those 100 or so nameless high-rollers on Wall Street and in the banking and mortgage business who precipitated the massive financial crisis that reared its ugly head in September 2008. Those people. The ones who have effectively slipped out of the reach of the media and the Federal prosecutors. Will we ever know their names and their crimes? Are any of our congressmen pursuing these people, investigating the scam? Of course not. Rather, they are busy cutting social welfare programs for our citizens while drawing a line in the sand on raising the upper tax rate. Bastards!