I should probably add a category to my blog titled “shit my neighbor says”. She was complaining about the lack of a balanced budget, when I brought up the fact that Republicans are fighting against the repeal of Bush’s tax-cuts for people making over $250,000 per year. In other words, ending these tax cuts (as Obama wants to do) would restore the old tax rates for people making more than $250,000 per year. Not only does this affect the US deficit, but it’s obvious that Republicans are acting as puppets for the rich by fighting this.
Of course, she wanted the tax cuts to stay in place – not because of the deficit problem that her position causes – but, rather, she complained that the rich have to pay a higher percentage of their income as taxes. She wants a flat-tax system where everyone pays the same percentage. Progressive tax systems (i.e. systems where the rich pay a higher percentage) are “punishing the rich for their success”. This is such absurd rich-republican nonsense. They want someone earning $20,000 a year to pay the same tax percentage as people earning $2 million a year? In an extremely simplistic way, her system is more fair – assuming you don’t know anything about the world or the cost of living. I told her that according to her thinking, all taxes are a “punishment for success” (which she couldn’t disagree with, only saying that governments have to get taxes somehow). I also disagree with the characterization of higher taxes on higher income brackets as “punishment”. It would only be punishment if the government was taxing people at more than 100% of the higher-income.
This type of thinking is not only simplistic, it’s also exactly the type of thinking that appeals to rich people because it justifies shifting the government’s tax burden away from the themselves and onto the poor. And who doesn’t like justifications for paying less taxes?
It also makes sense for the US to gather taxes from people in the least painful way from society. Taking $6,000 from a family earning $20,000 is a lot more painful to society than taking an extra $6,000 from someone earning $2 million.
Further, despite the US’ existing progressive tax system, since 1980, the rich and poor’s share of wealth are diverging. A flat-tax system would further exacerbate the divide – moving us towards a nation of ultra-wealthy living in castles and serfs living below.
I really don’t understand how anyone can arrive at supporting a flat-tax system except through some kind of ivory-tower theoretical reasoning that’s disconnected from reality, the self-serving desire of the rich, or conservative propaganda.