Feb 21, 2011

Right wing media bias & confusion over taxing the rich

A letter writer in the right leaning Star Tribune: Newspaper of the Twin Cities. (er- I'm sorry, Minnesota's Top News Choice.) points out that the top 5% of earners pay 60% of the income taxes in the country. Patrick O'Keefe of Maple Grove doesn't give a citation but, seems to think this proves the rich are way over taxed. However, this doesn't begin to take all factors into account.

Do the rich make 60% of the income? No, it's closer to 80% isn't it? And, what about property taxes. Perhaps they pay 60% there to but own 70% of the property & control huge swaths of public land's mineral or right of way rights. Oh, then there's Social Security & Medicare taxes. The rich probably pay about .05% of these because they're capped at about $108,000 in earnings. And sales taxes? Clearly the rich don't pay a fair share of these. Another, the gas tax. The rich use way more road subsidies living out in private enclaves & driving huge cars that chew up our highways. Plus many of these privileged folk tend to speed, creating more pressure on our common right of ways. In so many ways the rich are greatly under taxed. One only need look at how much their income has increased in the past forty years. Our Former Governor Tim Pawlenty was fond of pointing out how fast government spending had gone up over some period of years, say 10% then asking, "how many of you know anyone whose salary has gone up 10%?" I always thought the answer was obvious, "not many of us because we don't rub elbows with the richest members of our society." It is their income that has gone up, while the working people of our country have lost ground, paid more in taxes, and seen their jobs, their homes, their communities and their way of life destroyed by Republican leaders and their rich friends in media, finance, and warmongering.

So, Mr. Patrick O'Keefe, please don't think your use of statistics convinces everyone of your delusion that the rich pay too much in taxes or even cover the cost to society of maintaining their life-style. I may be an atheist but, How I pray for the day that the rich man's behavior is treated like a gay man was in the last part of the 20th century. We can be better, but we need to be better aligned with one another first.

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