Taxes And The Moral High Ground

February 10, 2011

in News

When President Obama reached an agreement with Congress last month to maintain the status quo regarding Federal income tax rates, the American political Left went apoplectic. What followed was emotional rhetoric in the halls of power, on TV and radio, and on editorial pages both near and far.
Few issues are subjected to as much demagoguery as the matter of income taxes and tax rates. It seems that there have always been those among us who are determined to believe that the rich do not pay their “fair share”. Those folks – Senator Bernie Sanders among them – certainly made themselves known in the aftermath of the agreement.
All concerned would do well to consider the truth regarding who pays how much. According to syndicated columnist Deroy Murdock, the Tax Foundation has analyzed IRS data and reached the following conclusions: 1) in 2008, the top 1 percent of taxpayers (who made more than $380,354 apiece) paid 38% of all federal income taxes while earning only 20 percent of America’s Adjusted Gross Income (AGI); 2) the top 5 percent (with incomes exceeding $159,619) paid 58.7 percent of all federal income tax collections; 3) the top 10 percent (with incomes above $113,799) paid 69.9 percent of federal income taxes; 4) the bottom 50 percent of taxpayers generated 12.8 percent of AGI and paid only 2.7 percent of all federal income taxes.
Thus we see that those who earn a lot also pay a lot, certainly far, far more – both in dollars and in percent of earnings – than any other segment of our society. In view of these facts it seems reasonable to ask: If these figures do not reveal “fairness”, what ratio WOULD be fair? If 1% of our citizenry is providing almost 40% of our country’s total income tax receipts, and 10% are paying almost 70% of total receipts, how much more would it take to satisfy Bernie Sanders and his supporters?
Web sites such as the Huffington Post, MSNBC, money.CNN, and USAToday have all reported that almost half of American households pay zero income tax. Again, a question suggests itself: how many more folks should get a free ride before Saint Bernard of Brooklyn is satisfied?
What bothers me is that Sanders and his ilk assume that they have the moral high ground when it comes to tax policy, as if it was THEY who created the wealth being taxed and are somehow entitled to its use and redistribution as they deem to be appropriate.
It says here that genuine morality is better demonstrated by allowing ALL Americans to keep the fruits of their own labor to the greatest extent possible.
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MORE ON TAXATION: Reason magazine senior editor Jacob Sullum made this cogent observation regarding federal income taxes during his December 9, 2010 appearance on Fox Business’ Freedom Watch: “The general assumption is that everyone’s money belongs to the government and it lets you keep as much of it as it decides to let you keep and you should be grateful for it. And, to the extent that rich people are allowed to keep their own money, it’s as if they [the rich] are taking it away from somebody else.” Well put.
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CIVILITY 101 – One Democrat was so upset with President Obama that he reportedly dropped the F-bomb in reference to our chief executive. Compare media reaction to that misbehavior to the outcry which followed the lack of tact of Congressman Joe “you lie” Wilson who managed to challenge the President’s honesty without use of profanity.
WISDOM OF THE FOUNDERS: Thomas Jefferson, on debt. “The principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale.”
Dick Tracy was raised in Woodstock. He currently resides in Sharon.


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