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Your Opinion: Progressive income tax favored

Your Opinion: Progressive income tax favored

October 16th, 2011 by Tony Smith, Jefferson City in News

Dear Editor:

If you start a letter criticizing someone in paragraph one with the word "ridiculous," socialist, godless or liar you might be a Tea Party member. In his Oct. 11 letter Dave Kesel qualifies.

Kesel has lots of questions but none of them are framed in standard tax or economic terms. There are a lot of confusing ideas in Kesel's letter but he seems to be worried about "socialism" when he criticizes equal wealth. I presume he is critical of what he would call wealth redistribution.

Then there is some speculation about what he calls "fairness." I presume he is also an advocate of the so-called "Fair Tax"

Overall, I found his letter somewhat incoherent. So, let me be clear. I am for the progressive income tax.

If you think it is fair that wealthy people pay exactly the same rate as everyone else, I disagree. To those whom much has been given, much is required.

The average family income in Missouri is less than $49,000 and falling. Individuals who make more than $150,000 a year are in the top 10 percent of earners.

Most rich people do not work for their money. They invest and benefit from an American system that is rigged in their favor. I would say that if your assets were in the range of $25 million you are well off.

To be affluent you should have more than $100 million in assets. To be really wealthy, you need to be close to a billion.

If you think the wealthy need protection, you are mistaken. You live in their system. The greatest period of "fairness" in American history was the period from the end of WWII to the early 1980s.

Taxes were very high at the margins and most Americans had incomes that allowed them modest prosperity. Beginning with Reagan our political class has worked for the rich and not you nor I.

To answer the specific question about extreme wealth concentration, I say start taxing wealth at the margins. That means tax more above a certain limit.

It is childish to taunt with terms like "ridiculous." It makes one seem completely not serious. I realize it is a "movement conservative" tactic along with "... we just get no respect!" Even I liked Rodney Dangerfield.

If you think the poor are richer than you realized and that "millionaires" are struggling, you are definitely a misinformed citizen.