Middle Class, Poor Aren't the Problem
I just read Richard Wilson’s letter, “Tax Structure Needs To Change — Now” (March 11), stating, “It has just been announced on nationwide news that 49.5 percent of Americans do not pay any federal income tax.”
What he doesn’t say is that these Americans are mostly low-income working families with children, and the elderly; and that this is just federal income tax. These families still pay a considerable amount in other federal taxes, including payroll taxes, to fund Medicare and Social Security, excise taxes on gasoline and other items.
When you consider all federal, state and local taxes, the bottom fifth of households paid on average 16 percent of their income in taxes in 2010, while the second-poorest fifth paid 20.5 percent. Although the total effective tax rate does rise for higher earners, the top fifth, and even the top 1 percent, of all earners pay only 31 percent.
I’ve never seen it stated much better than the following quote from an unnamed source: “These people are not on welfare, they aren’t receiving government ‘largesse’ — they work 40 and often more hours per week and cannot make enough money to actually qualify for paying income taxes. Progressive income tax is not a ‘compassionate’ form of taxation — it recognizes that those who get more income are profiting from more than just their own labor and benefiting far more from the infrastructure and education system than the person who makes less.”
The middle class and poor are not the problem in this country.
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