Fair Share or Class Warfare?

Pleading for the rich to pay their “fair share” insinuates that they haven’t been paying taxes. It is, at best, disingenuous to talk about a millionaire paying less in taxes than his secretary. That does not happen, neither in absolute dollars nor in percentage rate of taxation. The only lower “rate” of taxation the millionaire sees is on capital gains, the money he makes from investing income that has already been taxed at a higher “rate” than that of his secretary.

That simple-to-understand explanation doesn’t fit in the “fair share” sound bite, so it is omitted. Also omitted is any mention of the consequences of taxing capital gains at a higher rate. It could provide an incentive for “the rich” to stop investing money in the US. That could curb job creation, creativity, and productivity – things the government cannot, and was never intended to, create.

“Class warfare” is also just a sound bite meant to stir the masses. It legitimizes and inflames the jealousy that the “haves” receive from the “have-nots”, causing more animosity. It does nothing to address the fact that too many loopholes exist in our tax structure mostly favoring those with lots of money. It also ignores the problem of a tax structure so thoroughly complex that an entire industry exists just to figure out how much tax a person must pay.

Unfortunately, both sound bites fall into the stereotypical view that Democrats care for the poor and Republicans care for the rich, an idea still existing due solely to political inertia. The truth is that Democrats push entitlement programs for the poor in order to lock in their votes while Republicans help the rich in order to continue to receive financial support for the GOP. Caring is, and has been for quite some time, more of an impediment in politics than anything else.

The media co-invented sound bites so they love them. They should be investigating and reporting the reality behind these simplistic rallying cries, but they don’t. If they did, they would have to stop taking sides and return to journalism. Of course, many would have to first learn what journalism is.

David J. Hentosh

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