The Inequality of Taxes

The top one percent of taxpayers earn 22 percent of income but pay 40 percent of taxes. The bottom 50 percent of people earn 12 percent of income but pay only 3 percent of taxes. The average person in the top 1 percent thus pays a tax that is 667 times greater than the tax paid by the average person in the bottom 50 percent, but their income is only 92 times greater. Everyone is so concerned about equality and ability to pay, but I have a couple of questions.

OK, so someone makes 92 times what another person makes. Why not just make them pay a tax that is 10 times higher? Why not 50 times? Those would still be termed "regressive" taxes, but does the average person in the top 1 percent of income earner get 10 or 50 times the benefit from government than the average person in the bottom 50 percent?



Blogger Junkyard Sam said...

I understand your sentiment and concern for fairness in taxes... I sympathize with that.

But we have to face the potential consequences of allowing a small number of people to acquire nearly infinite wealth.

At some point they have a wealth so powerful it will absolutely corrupt our government, and democracy ceases to be real... So we'll end up with more of an illusion of democracy than a government that actually represents The (majority of) People.

I'm afraid we're already at this point. You want to make it worse?

7/22/2008 1:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Junkyard sam has it all wrong.

First "allow people to acquire nearly infinite wealth"

Sorry Sam, our government was invented to allow for just that.

Prior, it was being born to wealth and power, not to acquire it by work, invention or just luck.

Secondly, the threat to liberty is not rule by Bill Gates, it's rule by the soon 50+ % who will pay NO income tax and insist through voting for socialists that wealth be taken from those who have succeeded and given to those who have not.

Sounds like you are ready to give it to them.

7/22/2008 8:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the pointer to the WSJ op-ed piece. I certainly would like to see more fairness in the tax system. All those teenagers working part-time at McDonald's shouldn't be getting a free ride. They should be paying at a 33% marginal rate like the rest of us.

7/23/2008 11:31 PM  
Blogger John Lott said...

Dear aonepercenter:

I am not advocating that anyone have to pay a 33 percent tax rate, though of course the highest Federal tax brackets are much higher than that especially when you consider how deductions are phased out at higher incomes. Add state and local taxes to it and you get even much higher rates.

In any case, if someone earns 10 times more in income, why not have them pay 10 times more in taxes? Why the equivalent of 70 times more?

7/24/2008 1:27 AM  
Blogger Junkyard Sam said...

Oh, I guess I was wrong.

The rich in this country are just suffering terribly. They can hardly get by. They're taxed so much they can hardly get themselves out of bed every day.

Hopefully we can get rid of the "death tax" completely so their kids won't have to work. We'd be much better off if the controlling class didn't have to see what it's like to walk a mile in our shoes "working for a living."

God forbid should the people with the money and power to manipulate our government have the breadth and knowledge of real life experience!

"Let them eat cake."

7/24/2008 6:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also a 1 percenter - I worked hard and started with nothing except for college loans to re=pay, which I did before trying to buy a first home with a few percent down. Soon the increasing state, local and federal taxes will take away any incentive I have to grow my business and work harder. I am almost there now. And should I close up shop, as other 1 percenters might, other people lose jobs. You should think about that. Take away incentives to improve, and those that make the jobs and small businesses grow just go away...
I am for anything that makes the system as whole more fair for all. The class warfare is utterly ridiculous. Pick whatever flat tax or graduated tax that seems more fair, the current system is not fair by any stretch of logic.

7/24/2008 7:44 PM  

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