Kilroy Was Here
December 16, 2002
A life of ease
Life is too easy for the working poor. The hours of work at soul-deadening jobs for low wages, the unemployment, the fear, the anger, all of this is too easy. The poor choose this life so that they can avoid to pay their fair share of taxes. According to The Washington Post, the Bush administration is refining arguments on why the poor should pay more.
Timothy Noah, in Slate, explains why this particular argument bears no weight. In fact,
- The top 1% of the nations wage earners, earned 19% of all income in the nation, and paid 26% of all taxes. Quoting Robert McIntyre, "Not exactly socialism." (Citizens for Tax Justice)
- !n 1992, US households with income over $100,000 average $9,280 worth of cash and in-kind benefits from the federal government, while those households earning less than $10,000 average $5,560. (The Atlantic Monthly)
- If you look at state and local taxes, the richest households pay on average 7.9% of their income, while the poorest pay 12.5%. (Citizens for Tax Justice)
Republicans are going out of their way to try and recharacterize these taxes to make it look as if the rich are shouldering more of the burden of our community institutions than the poor. Bush's advisers are trying to reclassify the payroll tax as some sort of savings account the government runs rather than a tax.
This whole charade forces me to shake my head. Why? Other than for power, why doctor the numbers so badly? Why not see things as they are and address these problems? It is not good for our democracy that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. In fact, I would argue that it is better for our democracy when income disparity shrinks, and our tax system should be primarily focused on maintaining the health of our democracy.
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