The Rich Don’t Have Enough?
Great article in Common Dreams about taxes. It’s not about raising taxes, but rather collecting the taxes that are already in place.
Every year, this is how much could be collected were it not for special exemptions and other avoidance techniques, used primarily by the rich:
- $1.25 Trillion: special deductions, exemptions, exclusions, credits, capital gains, and loopholes;
- $450 billion: the 17% of taxes being under-reported and/or unpaid;
- $250 billion: money hidden in tax havens by people like Mitt Romney;
- $250 billion: corporate tax avoidance has cut their payments from 22.5% to 10%;
- $300 billion: getting rid of the cap on payroll taxes.
The article adds $100 billion lost if the estate tax is repealed, but since it has not been repealed, I do not include this.
The total comes to $2.5 trillion a year, more than double the current deficit.
It would be sheer idiocy to suggest that somehow these exemptions pay for themselves by more than a small fraction.
True, some of this is distasteful and some not feasible; we could not magically collect all unreported taxes, and many of the deductions are badly needed by the middle class.
However, even if only half of these were achieved, collecting what could be realistically found and ending special exemptions mostly for the rich would instantly eliminate the deficit, and even give us a start on paying down the debt.
Not that it will ever happen, of course. We do, after all, have to pay respect and homage to the insanely ludicrous fantasy that making rich people pay taxes will stop them from trying to make money. Sadly, that theory is so deeply ingrained that the recent Republican presidential candidate actually campaigned on cutting tax rates for rich people nearly to zero. He wanted to slash corporate taxes, have no taxes on capital gains at all, and eliminate the estate tax. And nearly half the country voted for him.