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Sunday, May 28, 2006

Reich: More Tax Obscenity

Who's afraid of the big bad wolf?:

More Tax Obscenity, Robert Reich: Real wages haven't budged in five years. Yet the typical worker is far more productive now than five years ago. Where has all the extra value gone? Mostly to people at the top -- to the very rich. So if we want to have good schools, good roads, safe streets, clean air, safe drinking water, homeland security, national defense, Social Security, and Medicare, who should pay more? Yes, the very rich. Their taxes should rise. We should have a national wealth tax equal to one-tenth of one percent of a person's total net worth, payable each year. This is not rocket science. So why are Dems so afraid to say it? Because, as J_Krehbiel suggests, conservative Republicans have so demagogued the issue that Americans believe taxes are bad.

Higher taxes would be bad for most working people who are now paying through their noses for health care, gas, and variable-rate mortgages. But average Americans are already paying higher taxes in the form of rising sales taxes, user fees, tolls, payroll taxes, gas taxes, alcohol and tobacco taxes, and property taxes passed through even to the third of American households renting their homes. Meanwhile, the rich are paying a smaller and smaller share of their total income and wealth in taxes.

The next tax obscenity happens in a few weeks when congressional Republicans try again to eliminate the estate tax -- which Newt Gingrich and his heirs have called the "Death tax." But the estate tax now hits only the richest one-eighth of one percent of Americans. If it's eliminated, federal revenues will be reduced by tens of billions of dollars over the next decade. What does this mean? Fewer or lousier public services, or higher taxes on the middle class.

    Posted by on Sunday, May 28, 2006 at 04:32 PM in Budget Deficit, Economics, Income Distribution, Taxes | Permalink  TrackBack (0)  Comments (50)

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