Related to my post yesterday (Future Looks Bleak for My Students) on how our distaste for taxes and collective bargaining helps the wealthy, but not the masses, there is a great letter in The Economist this week from a self-professed “rich American”.
The letter is a response to The Economist’ piece (Hunting the Rich) suggesting that a way forward would be to eliminate many of the existing loopholes and deductions that favour the wealthy, but to keep income and corporate tax rates low.
SIR – I believe I am classed as one of the wealthy in America, so I took a great interest in your leader on how to get the well-heeled to pay more tax (“Hunting the rich”, September 24th). You advocated a tax system that would make the top rates more equal on wages and capital, eliminate virtually all deductions and get rid of corporate taxes. This, you said, would allow for a much lower top rate of income tax and would actually reap more tax revenues from the rich. You appear to be arguing that I, as one of the rich, would prefer to see lower income-tax rates, and for this “benefit” would be willing to pay more money. What are you smoking?
I do not give a damn about tax rates. My entrepreneurial instincts are in no way discouraged by high marginal rates. But I do care about how much money I have to pay. I like my deductions, all perfectly legal, around which I have structured my life.
Yes, the tax system is unfair. The array of consumption and payroll taxes are regressive and result in the less well-off paying a higher proportion of their total income in taxes. And this will continue as long as we, the rich, can persuade the politicians who write tax laws, and who are also part of the monied class, to structure the tax system to indulge us.
What is there not to like?
Anthony Sweeney, Connecticut
It’s not workplace law issue, but what do you think of eliminating many of the tax deductions currently permitted? For example, does society benefit by allowing wealthy businesspeople and corporations to write-off expensive dinners, wine, Maple Leaf games, and first class travel? Should you and I be subsidizing these activities by permitting the beneficiaries to pay lower taxes?