Left Justified: The rich get richer, and the poor get taxed

July 1, 1993

Left Justified: The rich get richer, and the poor get taxed

By Stanley Campbell

Ever wonder why the tax cuts never seem to affect your pay? Wonder why George Bush will get a bigger tax cut than you? I found out when I received a vitriolic response from some right-winger.

I love it when conservatives give me ammunition. I received a letter from a Mr. Steven Young of Belvidere, saying that the rich pay too much in taxes and the poor don’t pay anything. A direct quotation from his letter: “Anyone making $40,000 a year or less do not pay any federal taxes, so they do not get any tax refunds.”

Last time I looked, I paid 20 percent of my meager income to the federal government in income taxes (excluding Social Security—which raises the Feds’ take).

If Mr. “Defend the Rich” Young is correct, I should be getting all my money back. How come I’m not? I’ll tell you why. Most of our rich representatives don’t believe that the poor and middle class pay enough in taxes. Wealthy conservatives think they shouldn’t pay anything, much less their fair share of the government that protects their wealth from the masses of poor and needy in the world.

The rich don’t know what it’s like to be poor. And they don’t care. In their own feeble little minds, poor and middle-class people are a burden and should be heavily regulated, watched and taxed. Mr. Young really believes that $40,000 a year income is tax-free. So do most of the senators and representatives in Congress, the filthy rich who don’t have to work, and a large majority of business executives.

Truth is, my friends, we, the poor and middle class, pay a disproportionate share of the cost of governance. We cannot afford tax lawyers who will find ways of saving us lots of money. For example, the new treasurer of the United States did not pay federal income taxes last year—he was too rich. He is now going to find ways to make sure that corporations don’t have to pay any taxes.

Meanwhile, the majority of the government’s work is making sure the rich stay rich. The majority of the laws written are to protect contracts, treaties, trade agreements, mainly business and rich people’s stuff. And, whenever a foreign government reneges, we send in the Marines. The military budget, made of cost overruns to wealthy businesses friendly to the present administration, is there to protect even bigger business interests overseas. For example, why do we need another nuclear-powered submarine? We could, and should, trim our military to one that protects us from terrorists, invasion, and ready to help out in emergencies.

If the rich and big business people had to pay for the services that they use, we, the middle class, would have a tax rate of 2 to 3 percent instead of the 20-30 percentage taken from most of us.

Instead, most rich have tax lawyers who find loopholes, and who also pay legislators to create even more loopholes. I’m in favor of a flat tax: everyone pays a certain percentage no matter what.

I wish it were that easy. I’ll end up paying more taxes this year than some of the corporations in the Fortune 500. And so will you!

I am so glad that conservatives show their ignorance and disdain for the poor and middle class. Any one of you who makes $40,000 a year and pays taxes should send a letter to the Internal Revenue Service saying that Mr. Steven Young is your tax consultant, and he says we don’t have to pay anything.

Taxpayers of the world, unite!

Stanley Campbell is executive director of Rockford Urban Ministries and spokesman for Rockford Peace & Justice.

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