Myth #1: The Rich Pay an Excessive Amount in Taxes
The conservative shills keep telling us that the top 10 percent of households pay 70 percent of the federal income tax in the United States. True, but how can this be when as individuals they pay lower taxes than the rest of us? It’s not because they pay their fair share – they don’t – but simply because of the income inequality that concentrates a disproportionate proportion of wealth in their hands.
- The average CEO makes 379 times the average worker.
- The top 10 percent own 75 percent of its wealth.
- However, 28% of workers are paid less than living wages and remain perpetually under or close to the U.S. poverty line.
Myth #1.5 : 47 percent, who, according to the Republicans, don’t pay any taxes.
False. Most still pay payroll taxes, sales taxes, and into social programs.
The reason so many can’t pay Federal income taxes, is that they either can’t make a living wage, or are receiving benefits such as Social Security, that they have already paid into.
Myth #2: The Rich Deserve the Bush Tax Cuts
No, they have in fact been getting a huge tax cut for years because they overwhelmingly make a substantial portion of their money from passive income:
- The top 400 US earners make 59% of their income from capital gains or dividends versus only 9 percent from salaries.
- This is taxed at a preferential rate of only 15%.
And, while the shills would like you to believe that raising the capital gains tax rate would hurt poor little old ladies, it wouldn’t. The average retiree does not even make enough from dividend and interest income to benefit from the capital gains tax break.
- The wealthiest Americans save a higher percentage of their income – 15.9%, compared to just 2.6% by the poor and 9.9% by the middle class.
What drives the economy is middle class consumption, not tax policy that redistributes the wealth of the majority into the hands of the wealthiest:
Even if tax savings by the wealthy were to be applied towards investment rather than saving, it would be of little use without increased consumption of goods and services. On the contrary, the additional tax revenues that would be realized as a result of letting the Bush tax cuts expire for the rich would enable the government to lay off fewer federal employees, most of whom actually spend a larger percentage of their income than the rich..
Myths like these don’t just occur by accident. They are planted nu corporate interests in the media – explicitly in the right wing media, and more subtly in the mainstream media.
The argument that the rich should be taxed less because they are job-creators on whom our economy depends just doesn’t jive with the facts of job creation in America. And as Sanjay points out, whatever element of truth there may be in that argument “is still not true enough to justify the arrogance of their stand at a time of national crisis.” A national crisis, may I add, that their greed brought upon us. Sanjay sums it up:
By spinning their tax contribution into a great sacrifice, downplaying the preferential treatment they receive, and misrepresenting what they will do with tax cuts, the rich are trying to game the system…we should stop taking the flawed arguments of the rich seriously, and call it out for what it is. Greed.