Do you think it is unfair that only 1/100th of 1% of Americans paid estate taxes in 2011?
Just 3,300 filers paid estate taxes in 2011. Estate taxes only apply to estates with adjusted values over $5 million. Does that mean that 99.99% of all Americans are freeloaders? Republicans are fond of claiming the poor are fortunate freeloaders because the bottom 46% of American households pay no income tax. Funny, if the poor are such lucky duckies, the rich could enjoy the pleasures of poverty by just giving all the money they’ve been cursed with to the poor, thus transferring that terrible burden of wealth to them, and then refusing to work. I suppose it’s only their steel-like strength of character, their rugged self reliance, that keeps the rich from availing themselves of life on easy street, AKA food stamps.
In reality, isn’t the 46% number is rather like the 99.99% number? It is absolutely true, and, in my opinion, totally meaningless where a discussion of economic fairness is concerned. Here’s why I say that. The 46% not subject to income taxes arises because, for those earning a low wage, the standard deduction is greater than their adjusted gross income. What GOPers conveniently leave out is that the poor pay lots of their total income in taxes; far more as a percentage of earnings than the very rich pay. The poor pay payroll taxes, FICA taxes, sales taxes, property taxes (whether on a home they own, or to their landlord on a unit they rent), gasoline taxes, state and local taxes, excise taxes, and more. The average American family of four living on $50,000 per year pays a far greater percentage of their total income in sales taxes than do families in the top 1/10th of 1%. This is because the family earning $50,000 spends almost all of their disposable income on taxable goods (in states having a sales tax). The top 0.1%, earning $1.6 million per year or more, spends only a small portion of their annual income on items subject to a sales tax.
So is it really “Class Warfare” for the average American to ask a multimillionaire to pay the same federal tax rate that an upper middle class worker pays? If the poor have it so good, what’s keeping the rich from divesting themselves of the curse of wealth, and getting in on the joys of poverty?
This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.