How many times have I heard said, “The rich need to pay their fair share?” But they already pay almost all of the federal income taxes while the “poor” receive government checks. A quick check with the Congressional Budget Office reveals that the top 20 percent of wage earners pay over 90 percent of all federal income taxes while the bottom fifth get more from the federal government than they pay to it. Normally around 45 percent of adults pay no federal income taxes. The top 40 percent normally pay it all. This division does not change in the new Trump Tax Plan.
What I have written is not found on any news network or newspaper left of center. Why, because communism, socialism and liberalism, of which the left is comprised, share a hatred for the rich – some call it class envy – and believe in income equality as a major tenant of the faith. The government cannot give to anyone that which it has not first taken from someone else. The graduated income tax notion, first published in the Communist Manifesto by Karl Marks and adopted in full by the progressives in this country over a hundred years ago, historically destroys the rich but also in time impoverishes everyone except the ruling elite.
Those on the left normally go ballistic with the above and quickly change the wording from “federal income taxes” to “taxes” dropping the word federal and noting, mostly correctly, that illegal immigrants and other low-income peoples pay state and local taxes, perhaps as much as a fifth of their income. These taxes, however, are mostly required “use” or purchase taxes which are not based upon income levels, but rather are based on what people buy. Imagine a store having different prices for the same item based upon someone’s ability to pay. Actually, it is the only fair tax, as one cannot get the gasoline, food or anything else without paying the taxes associated with it. Please note that this column is about federal income taxes not state or local taxes, which are paid entirely by those considered rich by the bottom two-income classes.
Simply stated, the bottom fifth of wage earners get more from the federal government than they pay in taxes to it. Such “government transfers” of handouts come in many forms, such as food stamps, medical and housing subsidies, and various other subsidized programs including income and child tax credit programs – some tuition credits.
How can this be fair to the class that is forced to help pay their bills? Why shouldn’t the “poor” pay their fair share, especially since a large portion of the total is funneled back to them in welfare and the nation is nearing bankruptcy with nearly $21trillion in debt as a result?
The country has the normal three solutions in dealing with this debt: tax more, inflate more and cut more. The government could double the taxes but that decision will destroy our incentive and resources to create jobs. They could inflate the dollar, making every dollar already earned worth less as has been done for over 100 years. But that robs those on fixed incomes and seriously damages the lower classes which don’t have the money to purchase gold or silver to ensure the value of what they have saved. Or finally, they could cut the free or subsidized “nonessential” programs and make people live within their means. But no recipient considers his “gifted” program nonessential.
I suggest a fourth solution? The U.S. is becoming a two-class society – those who pay federal income taxes and those who do not, with the non-tax payers still receiving generous subsidies from the pockets of those who do – some say “makers versus takers.” Worse, those who are federal taxpayers are denied these same benefits that their less productive neighbors receive. Everyone has able-bodied friends who choose not to work. How often do people hear of friends who won’t work because they receive enough on unemployment or that they might, in fact, make less by working?
Most people use federal services in some way. As compassionate as people wish to be with the money of others, in fairness shouldn’t everyone be required to pay federal income taxes? Even the widow paid her mite in the New Testament and was subsequently praised, but not excused, for having done so by Christ himself.
All “freebie” benefits that the “poor” received during the preceding year should be added to their salary in this calculation. When they know this rule up front, they may elect to opt-out of the benefit so that it doesn’t put them in a higher tax bracket. When the “poor” pay federal income taxes, they are vested in the system and hypothetically more responsible. When they do not, the issue of taxation on the federal level becomes meaningless to them: “So what if taxes are raised, it does not affect me!”
When the non-federal income taxpayer class – presumably the poor – reaches 51 percent of the population, they become the majority class and will never reduce the taxes on the “rich,” which will always be defined as anyone making more than they do. The working taxpayer class becomes the new slave class. Eventually, when the “rich” are destroyed as a class, as happened in the USSR under socialism, all become slaves and poor. With everyone participating in the tax burden, it is harder to gain support for tax-raising issues, thus saving billions, and the payment of taxes by non-taxpayers, the “poor,” help reduce the national debt.
Dr. Harold Pease is a syndicated columnist and an expert on the United States Constitution. He has dedicated his career to studying the writings of the Founding Fathers and to applying that knowledge to current events. He taught history and political science from this perspective for over 30 years at Taft College. Newspapers have permission to publish this column. To read more of his weekly articles, please visit www.LibertyUnderFire.org.