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Posted by on Jan 9, 2010 in At TMV | 83 comments

Tax The Rich — Now!

We were given two choices to help pay for health care reform. The House plan would impose a 5.4 percent tax on people making over $500,000 a year. The Senate plan would tax “cadillac” health insurance policies, which often became so generous because they were given to working people in lieu of pay raises. Now it seems certain that the so-called cadillac tax will get into the final health care bill.

There’s no federal estate tax this year. Because of a dumb legislative fluke it is now zero percent. And while this is likely to be redressed sometime in the future, if the richest people in the country die now their heirs will not have to pay a penny in estate taxes to Uncle Sam.

A proposed transaction tax on stock sales, which for various reasons I’ve discussed in past posts is essentially a tax on the greedy Wall Street bonus babies now rigging the markets for their own benefit, is in Geithner limboland. Which is to say the bonus babies on Wall Street will have a continuing ability to feather their own nest while defiling ours without any tax disincentives to check their greed.

The most regressive tax in our national tax code, and one of the most regressive taxes on the planet, the payroll tax that funds Social Security, takes a big nip from those earning less than $107,000. It takes not a penny from those earning more.

In these ways, in so many ways, in virtually every way these days, the richest among us are getting a tax pass while in countless other ways, big and small, direct and indirect, less economically endowed Americans are getting shafted by government taxmen.

Even if the economic logic that decrees that without more equitable distribution of wealth you can’t have a flourishing economy doesn’t move you, the threat to our national comity being generated by this ongoing and growing inequity is well worth considering.

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