Home
In this issue
April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Jan 24, 2012/ 29 Teves, 5772

The Flatter Tax

By Ed Koch




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | I don't believe class conflict is harmful to our country, as long as it is limited to elections. It is also helpful if the charges made by both sides in this conflict are factually correct.

The Republicans are the party of the wealthy. Its membership, however, is made up primarily of people who do not fit that description and are not in the 1 percent of our population with an income of $380,000 and above. Those people, not part of the 1 percent, have an expectation of someday becoming part of that small group which pays just over a fourth of all federal taxes, according to the Tax Policy Center.

It also may be that even if they don't expect to be part of it, they hope their children will be, and they want to protect the prerogatives that come with wealth. The major political tenet of these people is — success comes to those who strive to make it and do on their own. I truly believe that is the meaning of Newt Gingrich's statement that President Obama is "the most effective food stamp president in history," and "I would like to be the best paycheck president in American history." Mitt Romney decries these criticisms of Republican philosophy as "the bitter politics of envy."

The Democrats, on the other hand are the party of the poor and middle class. Rich people also play a leading role in the party, but that role is to decry the lack of a level playing field seeking changes in the law that if executed would be damaging to their own economic condition. The best example of a wealthy person heading the Democratic fight is F.D.R., whose policies as president were decried by his social peers and he was condemned by the Republican elite as a betrayer of his own class.

Today, that role is held by Warren Buffet. The Times of January 14, 2012 reports, "The top 1 percent of earners in a given year receives just under a fifth of the country's pretax income, about double their share 30 years ago…In 2007, they accounted for about 30 percent of philanthropic giving, according to Federal Reserve data. They received 22 percent of their income from capital gains, compared with 2 percent for everybody else."

The political battle between the Democrats and Republicans has generally taken the form of Democrats seeking to address and upgrade the economic status of the poor and middle class with Republicans defending the rights and privileges of the wealthy. The I.R.S. code has conferred special privileges for different groups.

Today, most people, even many Republicans, would agree that the most glaring example of special and unfair favorable treatment is given to those whose income comes primarily from Wall Street, with capital gains taxed at 15 percent. Income described as "unearned," as opposed to "earned," the latter consisting primarily of salaries paid to employees or professional fees, e.g., lawyers, doctors, architects, etc., which are taxed at different rates depending on the amounts, with the highest rate on "earned" income currently being 35 percent. Contrast that with the income of hedge fund operators — their income described by the I.R.S. as "unearned" -- which is taxed at 15 percent, no matter the millions they receive in the conduct of their business.

I am not an economist and don't pretend to be an expert on the I.R.S. code or the many loopholes carved out allowing the privileged and wealthy in some cases to be pay nothing. The media has told us of oil companies, very successful in their profits, using available deductions and ending up in some cases paying zilch in corporate income taxes.

When you have middle class taxpayers paying up to 35 percent of their earned income subject to taxes, and well known businessman Warren Buffet paying 15 percent on most of his income, why shouldn't there be anger in the country taking the form of class warfare dominating the pending election?

What should the Democrats be offering as one of their top priorities to deal with the enormous inequities in our tax code? I believe it should be a form of the flat tax, but not the traditional flat tax. The traditional flat tax excludes from any tax "unearned income," taxing only "earned income." Now you will understand why Steve Forbes when he ran for president in 1996 and 2000 supported as his top issue the adoption of a flat tax. If adopted, he would have paid nothing, since he and many others can manipulate their income so it is only "unearned" coming from Wall Street investments.

Instead, I call for the "flatter tax." I believe all income from whatever source should be taxable. As many deductions as possible, now available to us, should be eliminated. Realists believe that at least two deductions will remain: the mortgage interest deduction, the impact of which The New York Times of January 20th described as follows: "The average family in the top 1 percent saves more than $5,000 from the mortgage deduction." The Times also points out, "The mortgage interest deduction, widely considered a middle class benefit, actually saves a typical middle-income household only about $200 a year, because so many families claim the standard deduction, rather than itemized ones."

The charitable deductions allowed have a huge support base. The deduction in my opinion really should be eliminated and certainly at the very least be far more limited. Why should the public pay a significant part of someone's charitable contribution? Indeed, when the government is involved, it isn't, in my view, charity anymore. Nevertheless, probably at least these two deductions will be kept. Finally, I believe three rates, depending on income, should be retained so as to keep progressive taxation a part of the code, and, voila, we've leveled the playing field.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Edward I. Koch, the former mayor of New York, can be heard on Bloomberg Radio (WBBR 1130 AM) every Sunday from 9-10 am . Comment by clicking here.

Archives


© 2012, Ed Koch

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles