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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    The tax man stealeth…

    Jon Richescolumnist
    Jon Riches
    columnist

    “”You know what’s (bleeped)-up about taxes? You don’t even pay taxes. They take tax. You get your check, money gone. That ain’t a payment, that’s a jack.””

    Though probably not couched in terms that Pat Buchanan would use, Chris Rock was right. The federal government confiscates the wages of American workers liberally, and then, to add insult to injury, turns around and spends most of the money on programs the government has no business running in the first place.

    But, you know what else is bleeped-up about taxes? They are totally and completely redistributionist. This means that the harder you work, the more money you make, the larger percentage of the tax burden you will bear. Liberals call this tax code “”progressive.”” I call it unscrupulous.

    The Treasury Department just released data

    The bandits in Washington who want to steal your income will not tell you these things because they think they can spend your money better than you can.

    on who paid how much in taxes in the United States through 2004. The statistics are astounding. Americans with an income in the top 10 percent paid 68.2 percent of all federal income taxes in 2004. American wage earners in the top 1 percent paid 36.9 percent of income tax in that same year.

    By contrast, taxpayers in the bottom 50 percent – those households with an income below the median of $44,389 – paid only 3.3 percent of the total income tax. In other words, the top half of taxpayers pay almost 97 percent of federal income taxes, while the bottom half accounts for barely 3 percent.

    Put another way, if the American taxpayers represented a group of 10 people out to dinner, one of those 10 people would pay nearly 70 percent of the tab, while five would dine for free. If that is not “”progressive,”” I cannot possibly imagine what is.

    In a perfect world, we would eliminate these wild inequities – as well as the morass of deductions, adjustments and credits – in the U.S. Tax Code, and institute a flat value-added federal sales tax. That is, instead of paying income taxes (and going through the pain and expense of hiring an accountant and filing returns), we would pay a fixed percentage on any good that we purchased, just like we do when we pay state sales tax. This plan would have to include exceptions for basic necessities such as food and clothing, so that poor people would not have to spend a large percentage of their disposable income on such items.

    But we do not live in a perfect world, and reason and fairness do not yet govern our national tax policies.

    So the next best thing we can do (and the only thing we can do in the short term) is elect leaders who will continue to cut taxes and who will vote to make the 2003 tax cuts permanent.

    The 2003 tax cuts have succeeded beyond anyone’s wildest projections. In the nine quarters preceding the tax cuts, annual growth averaged 1.1 percent. In the 12 quarters since the cuts, growth has averaged an extraordinary 4 percent.

    What’s more, 2006 revenue figures just released by the federal government expose two major myths propounded by critics of tax cuts.

    The first myth is that tax cuts will lower government revenue and thus force government to cut programs.

    Not true. The Bush tax cuts have produced two years of record revenue growth. 2005 revenues were 14.5 percent higher than the previous year, and this year’s revenues were 11.8 percent higher than in 2005. This increase in revenue has helped slash the federal deficit in half – three years ahead of President Bush’s 2009 goal.

    The second myth expounded by those who want to raise your taxes is that “”tax cuts are for the rich.””

    This is absurd. The Bush tax cuts provided a typical middle-class couple with two children a minimum of $1,600 in relief – the equivalent of a 4 percent increase in their real take-home pay. And, if that is not enough for the Robin Hoods of the world, since the tax cuts were enacted, the share of income taxes paid by the top 1 percent, 5 percent and 10 percent of taxpayers has increased. In other words, the rich now pay a larger percentage of the tax burden than they did before the tax cuts.

    The bandits in Washington who want to steal your income will not tell you these things because they think they can spend your money better than you can.

    That’s not progressive. That’s insulting.

    Jon Riches is a third-year law student. He can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu

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