Jewish World Review July 18, 2011 / 16 Tammuz, 5771
Guess Who's Not Paying Their Fair Share
By Bernard Goldberg
In case you think I'm referring to the top one percent of wage earners, or the top five percent or ten percent, in case you think I'm talking about those "millionaires and billionaires" who fly around in private jets, think again.
The top 50 percent of all wage earners very few of whom live in multi-million dollar mansions and fly off to vacation villas in G-5s pay about 97 percent of all federal income taxes, which means that roughly half the folks pay for just about everything. The other half pays for just about nothing. Yes, they pay payroll tax and sales tax and if they own a home, property tax. But they pay no federal income tax, and because of that they're not kicking in much to get us out of the debt crisis we find ourselves in.
And yes, we know that the reason they don't pay federal income tax is because they don't make a lot of money, and when you couple that with all the deductions they get, they're left with a tax bill totaling zip.
But, there's something inherently unfair when only half the American people are called upon to pull the load. The half that pays no income tax gets the same benefits as everybody else. They get to use the same interstate highways, they get the protection of the same military, they can go to the same national parks. When the president says we need to raise taxes on the "rich," a lot of them say, good idea, Mr. President. Why not? As George Bernard Shaw so eloquently put it: Any government that robs Peter to pay Paul, can always count on the support of Paul.
Maybe the flat tax is an idea whose time has finally come. A low tax rate, something around 17 percent sounds good. No deductions. The more you make, the more tax you pay. That way everyone has skin in the game. Everyone is contributing.
It'll never happen, of course, not as long as liberal Democrats are allowed to hold office. They demand a progressive tax, where the rich not only pay more taxes, but pay them at a higher rate than everyone else. Success is a four letter word to a lot of libs. Soaking the well-off is in their DNA.
But maybe, to get this debt crisis behind us, just maybe everyone will agree to a lower tax rate for business and individuals along with the elimination of loopholes, which probably would bring in more tax revenue. It wouldn't be a flat tax, but it would be a flatter tax. And that would be a step in the right direction.
Finally, a piece of advice for liberal Democrats: stop vilifying the so-called wealthy. Without them, we would be in an even bigger financial mess. The top one percent of wage earners pay about 38 percent of all federal income tax. They've been forking over more than their fair share for quite a while now. Painting them as greedy bastards who don't care about anybody but themselves, is nothing more than cheesy class warfare politics, an art form liberal Democrats, unfortunately, have fine tuned over the years.
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JWR contributor Bernard Goldberg, the television news reporter and author of several bestselling books, among them, Bias, a New York Times number one bestseller about how the media distort the news. He is widely seen as one of the most original writers and thinkers in broadcast journalism. Mr. Goldberg covered stories all over the world for CBS News and has won 10 Emmy awards for excellence in journalism. He now reports for the widely acclaimed HBO broadcast Real Sports.
He is a graduate of Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey and a member of the school's Hall of Distinguished Alumni and proprietor of BernardGoldberg.com.
© 2011, Bernard Goldberg