by Linda Beale
Increasing taxes on the rich
crossposted with Ataxingmatter
Sometimes a few letters to the editor can restore one’s faith in the sensibleness of fellow Americans. I particularly like Jerry Trupin’s Nov. 25, 2010 New York Times letter responding to Nicholas Kristof’s article on hedge funds. In A Hedge Fund Republic, New York Times, Nov. 18, 2010, Kristof noted that the US has long surpassed familiar “banana republics” in rampant inequality, with plutocrats in the top 1% controlling 24% of American income in 2007. In that context, it simply doesn’t make economic sense, Kristof says, for Congress to plan to give $700 billion in tax cuts to the wealthiest amongst us for the next ten years and yet not be willing to extend unemployment benefits for the long-term jobless as a result of this recession. The richest 0.1% of taxpayers would get an average tax cut of $370,000–no way, Kristof says, that they will hire enough new groundskeepers and garage maintenance personnel to make that a good way to jumpstart the economy, compared to getting money in the hands of those at the bottom. Tax cuts didn’t work to create jobs in the Bush II regime, and they’re not going to work now. Getting money into the hands of the poor and middle class–especially the unemployed–does.
Trupin’s brief letter says it all–as one of the fortunate whose taxes would increase if the Bush cuts aren’t renewed for the wealthy, he benefited last year by being able to refuse to take out a 401(k) minimum distribution, saving himself $28,000 in taxes but not spending an additional penny. That was a giveaway for the rich, as so many of our policies have been. And it didn’t do a thing to create jobs.