Why shouldn’t the rich pay their share?


D. Allan Kerr

During its first debate with Donald Trump in 2016, Hillary Clinton berated the self-proclaimed billionaire for failing to pay his fair share of federal taxes and for running in bankruptcy court to avoid paying his bills.

Trump, being Trump, naturally blamed Hillary.

“If you want to change the laws, you’ve been here for a long time, change the laws,” he replied. “But I take advantage of the laws of the nation because I run a business.”

Amazon, one of the largest companies in the world, has reportedly not paid federal taxes in recent years. Neither FedEx, Nike nor other big companies.

So now Joe Biden is doing exactly what Trump suggested – change the laws companies and billionaires cannot therefore continue to shirk their financial obligations. But Republicans, who profess their love for working people, are strongly opposed to Biden going after the rich poor.

Which really troubles me. Why in God’s green earth is it so outrageous to expect rich people to pay taxes like you and me?

If you are concerned about the welfare of wealthy Americans, you really don’t have to. Biden assured us that he had no intention of “depriving any of these leaders of their second or third house,” or their private jets.

“It’s about making sure the average multimillionaire pays only a fair share,” he said.

Warren Buffett is definitely not the average multimillionaire. He is one of the richest people on the planet, with a net worth of over $ 100 billion. Yet Buffett has pointed out for several years how much his income tax rate is actually lower than that of his secretary.

“How can this be fair?” he asks.

Bill Gates, the second richest person in the world, also called the current tax system unfair to the working class, saying we should not “promote wealth at work as we do today”.

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Abigail Disney, heir to the empire bearing her famous name, pointed out that the company’s CEO salary ($ 66 million in a single year) is more than 1,400 times the average salary of a Disney employee.

I’ve said it before, but when I was a kid Democrats were seen as the blue collar party and Republicans were seen as the big cat elite advocates. In recent years this public perception has shifted, but I’ll be damned if I can see this reflected in political decisions.

During his tenure as president, Barack Obama proposed a plan called “Buffett’s Rule”, inspired by the multimillionaire investor, in which those who earn more than a million dollars a year would pay the same tax rate as families. of the middle class. At the time, the Obama administration said the top 400 people in the country paid just 18% of their income in income taxes.

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In 2012, Republicans filibustered to block passage of the bill. Susan Collins of Maine was the only GOP senator to voice support.

This week, Democratic senators revived this plan, officially known as the Paying a Fair Share Act.

“Our tax code is riddled with loopholes to help the wealthy avoid paying a fair share of taxes,” said Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, one of the co-sponsors of the new bill. “We shouldn’t have a system where the ultra-rich get by paying less than the people who work for them.”

The office of New Hampshire Senator Maggie Hassan said this week that it supports Buffett’s rule, but “is also working to pursue tax breaks for working families.” Comrade Granite Stater Jeanne Shaheen previously supported the plan, but she is now “looking for more comprehensive ways to tackle tax reform”, in particular to “prioritize working American families”.

In 2017, after Republicans took control of the White House and both houses of Congress, they made it clear which corner they are backing into. Even as they bragged about a booming economy – while plunging us deeper into national debt – they decided it would be a good idea to give money back to the rich who needed it least.

The idea, I believe, is that if we let these people keep more of their money, they won’t put it in their own pockets, but rather share it with us, through the creation of new jobs and so on. after. The Congressional Budget Office, a non-partisan agency, estimated that the tax cuts would instead add an additional $ 2 trillion to the budget deficit over the next 10 years, beyond previous forecasts.

It scares me to hear middle class guys defending their business leaders when it comes to fiscal responsibility, with the kind of loyal serfs manifested to their lords and masters in the olden days. They are convinced that the riches of the rich will end up spilling onto their own table if we just let the American aristocracy do what they want.

“There is class warfare, okay,” Buffett told The New York Times, “but it’s my class, the rich class, that is at war, and we are winning.”

Of course, meeting their tax obligations also helps create jobs. Biden’s goal in raising tax revenues is to fund investments in U.S. infrastructure – something Trump complained about in the same 2016 debate mentioned earlier, but did nothing about his four years in the power.

Give Biden credit. At least he’s coming up with a way to pay for these projects rather than just adding to the America tab, which the GOP has had no problem doing for the past four years.

D. Allan Kerr is still waiting for the release of those tax returns that Trump has been promising for half a dozen years now. Kerr can also be found on the Sloth Blog atslothonline.com/portfolio/d-allan-kerr and by name on Facebook. The opinions expressed are those of the writer.


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