This Day in History. "A country without a memory is a country of madmen." - George Santayana

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Taxes Will Double for Everyone in the Future?

According to this commentary at CNN, it's a very strong possibility. Now, I am a proponent of a fair degree of fiscal restraint, but I will not be bullied or scared into it due to some projected/speculated belief that my taxes will double in the near future.

Here's a novel idea. Look back to previous times of crisis in our history and review the tax rates for the highest income bracket. People, most notably the ones with a great deal of money, were asked to sacrifice some "hard-earned" dollars to help keep America's economy alive, sometimes upwards of 90% of their income above the tax bracket below the top. Keep in mind that during the 30's and 40's when tax rates were hiked considerably on the wealthy we had both a financial crisis and we were involved in a war abroad on two fronts. Sound familiar? I am not advocating that we increase to the high 80% rates that existed then, but something reasonably high (50%) like in the early 80's could help keep us afloat. When the top 10% hold over 70% of the wealth and the top 1% holds over 35% of the wealth in this country, I think it's only fair for them to utilize some of that squandered wealth to help keep the American dream alive. I probably do not need to remind many that it was largely people in the top 10% of income earners that laid the groundwork for our financial mess, so they ought to bear the burden of helping prop the economy back up.

It's not socialism, it's patriotism. Or would you rather see the country spiral downward as long as you've got yours? Without going into it greatly, I think there is mutual benefit to ensuring the bottom does not fall out from under the poor. Think of crime rate increases, drug-use increases, and other general societal degradation that frequently occurs in the poorest of neighborhoods of cities, towns, and rural communities. It has a tendency to spread.

*Sidenote: An interesting review of that tax rates leading up to the Great Depression (specifically 1925-1929) could lead one to note that when we place a great deal of trust in our top 10% to not act selfishly (i.e. let them keep their wealth rather than tax it), we have seen our trust thrown back in our faces when the economy collapses under greedy folks at the top. I'm not one for class warfare and I acknowledge a certain amount of envy of those at the top, but I find it silly that people argue between $5 and $10M as if they are OWED the $10M. Shit, I would not complain about $5M.

I am working on a blog about taxes that should come out soon.

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