Not just top 1%; raise taxes on richest 10%
by fairleft, Wed Nov 17, 2010 at 12:04:55 PM EST
While President Obama plans to bipartisanly extend the Bush tax breaks for all but the top 1% or 0.5%, progressives should not get caught up in an “anti-1%” push. Bluntly, this country needs a class consciousness, and let’s make this real simple: it’s not just the top 1%, the entire top tenth (families making more than $109,000 a year) is on the other side of the line. All of them should be paying much more in taxes. We really need to take a look at this graph (from my diary at myfdl yesterday) again:
(Chart originally here, page 7)
Seriously now, the richest one-tenth of families took in 50% of all income in 2007? That’s insane! So NO, these families generally do not deserve to have their Bush tax breaks extended. Hell, instead we should make a major policy push to greatly increase the taxes of the wealthiest 10%.
Conveniently, a great start would be to eliminate the (regressive taxation) cap on Social Security taxes. This would bring in so much extra revenue that we could immediately lower those taxes on the working poor and increase benefits paid to current Social Security recipients. Maybe lower the retirement age for the working poor too. Sound good?!
And, yes, of course, don’t forget the truly wealthy, the top 1 and 2%, they desere even more severely increased taxation. But, hey, in the middle of anger at the super-rich let’s not ignore the upper-middle-class. They’ve benefited a great deal from the last 30 years of transfer of middle and working class wealth to the top.
This sort of ‘tax the rich and upper-middle-class’ regime, by the way, did happen to coincide with the best and most egalitarian economic era in U.S. history, 1945 to 1973. And as you can see from the blockquote (from yesterday’s diary again), there’s a lot of room for increased taxation if we want to get back to the 1940s to 1960s tax rates on the top 10%:
Lane Kenworthy, January 5, 2009: … both the CBO and Tax Foundation include government transfers in the incomes used to calculate effective tax rates. … but if we want to see how much redistribution is accomplished via taxes [and not] via transfers, it’s better to use only market (pretax and pretransfer) income in calculating the effective tax rates[, which] yields the following … [for all taxes, local, state and federal]:
Quintile 1: 31.6% [the poorest 20%]
Quintile 2: 28.1%
Quintile 3: 28.3%
Quintile 4: 28.9%
Quintile 5: 30.1% [the wealthiest 20%]