By Harold Pease, Ph. D
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% of wage earners pay over 90% of all federal income taxes while the bottom fifth get more from the federal government than they pay to it. Normally around 45% of adults pay no federal income taxes. The top 40% normally pay it all. This 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) noting, mostly correctly, that illegals and other low income peoples pay state and local taxes, perhaps as much as a fifth of their income. These however, are mostly required “use” or purchase taxes, not based upon income levels. Imagine a store having different prices for the same item based upon ones ability to pay. Actually, it is the only fair tax, as one cannot get the gasoline, food or etc. without paying the taxes associated with it. Please note, 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” (handouts) come in many forms: 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?
We have the normal three solutions in dealing with this debt: tax more, inflate more, and cut more. We could double our taxes but that will destroy our incentive and resources to create jobs. We could inflate the dollar making every dollar already earned worth less as we have done for over 100 years. But that robs those on fixed incomes and seriously damages the lower classes who don’t have the money to purchase gold or silver to ensure the value of what they have saved. Or finally, we could cut the free or subsidized “non-essential” programs and live within our means. But no recipient considers his “gifted” program non-essential.
I suggest a fourth solution? We are 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 their less productive neighbors receive. We all have able-bodied friends who choose not to work. How often do we hear of friends who won’t work because they get enough on unemployment or that they might, in fact, make less by working?
Most use federal services in some way? As compassionate as we wish to be with the money of others, in fairness shouldn’t all be required to pay federal income taxes? Even the widow paid her mite in the New Testament and was subsequently praised (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 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% 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. The working taxpayer class becomes the new slave class. Eventually when the “rich” are destroyed as a class, as happened in the U.S.S.R. 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 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.