Skip to main content

Obama should tax the rich

Obama and Timothy Geithner with reps from JPMorgan Chase and PNC
Obama and Timothy Geithner with reps from JPMorgan Chase and PNC

The federal deficit is currently over 12 trillion and suddenly the sky is falling, or so people think. In reality, some solutions are quite obvious. In the first place, we need to look at where we can make cuts. Ask any working class person and they'd tell you they're indifferent towards the American empire we've built on debt. In other words, we really don't need soldiers in places like Japan and Germany: WWII ended a long time ago. The most recent round of base closings alone will save taxpayers around 13.7 billion. Repeat that process around the world and we could reach the billions easily.

America has been extremely good to the rich as of late and in return the rich ought to show their patriotism by stepping up for their country. Before you leave dirty comments below, open yourself up to the data. According to Cal-Berkley professor Emmanuel Saez, in 2007, the top .01 percent of earners took home about .50 percent of total wages. Between 2002 and 2007, that same top .01 percent took home two thirds of income growth. St. Nick's generosity was not the source of this gift. Rather, it was a tax code that became ever so regressive (favoring the rich), reaching its zenith with the Bush tax cuts. The total amount budgeted for those tax cuts was 1.35 trillion dollars. The actual price tag through 2010, however, is around 2 trillion dollars because of the cost of patching the Alternative Minimum Tax, according to the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center.

A small number of individuals left well over 270 million scraping for precious few crumbs and also helped jack up the deficit to its current splendor. Isn't it only right that they help patch up the holes? Surely the rich would rush to show their love and support for the country that enabled the top .01 percent to have more than the bottom .95. Immediately, there are counterarguments. Again, before you rush to defend a class of people you will never join (England has more social mobility than the U.S), hear the facts.

Many say that the rich need tax relief so that they can provide jobs for everyone else. That argument is easily debunked in that the Bush years were the worst in terms of job creation since Herbert Hoover. With the lowest tax rate in history, the rich simply fattened their bank accounts. The other big argument is the whole "trickle down" philosophy. That is, if the rich are kept rich, the money will make its way down. This ideology is most closely associated with the Reagan era. The only problem with that is poverty actually grew during that time and the wealth, much like today, stayed up top.

So what should the rich kick in? The current tax rate for top earners is around thirty five percent. If you think that's high, you should know that under Eisenhower it was ninety percent (in fairness, not many actually paid that percentage). If you worship Ronald Reagan, you should know that even under the bastion of conservatism, the rate was fifty percent. The point is that it could be much higher than it is and the world wont fall apart. Bush forfeited 2 billion by simply moving the rate a few points. How many billions could we take in by moving it back up by several?

Want more? Click the subscribe button above to get notifications of new articles.


  • StevieB 5 years ago

    What Obama should,could,would do will be different then what Obama will do. It is apparent that Obama's decision making leans in the direction of the Federal Reserve, Banking, Wall Street and Corporate interest that got him elected. Tax the rich? Too many of the rich are influencing or are in bed with our politicans. Much of our debt will continue to be paid by the middle class... The rich will get richer, the middle class will be no more...

  • stan 5 years ago

    Of course you realize that Obama and his "socialist" cronies in Washington are all "rich." You may not have noticed that anytime Congress makes a law it favors the rich -- no matter what they call it. I notice you call yourself the "Populist Examiner." Was that because Marxist Examiner was already taken? Your naivete reminds me of Lenin's assessment of the masses. He called them "useful idiots."

  • tony 5 years ago

    what your analysis conveniently omits is what the percentage of total taxes that top 1% pays. In 2007, the top 1% paid over 40% of all taxes and the top 10% paid over 70% of all taxes. How about we just have the top 10% pay ALL freakin taxes, would that be showing enough love? And when you find the data, you will note that under Bush, the "rich" payed a greater share year over year, every year, 200-2007. Give me a break.