Sep 16, 2011 | By Eric Gibble
Take a look at this new post (“Wealth Gap: How Far Apart Are The Bottom 50 Percent And The Top 1 Percent? “) on Huffington Post. Excerpts appear below. Tax inequality has become a hot topic during presidential debates. Unfortunately, their rhetoric seems to focus on taxing the most vulnerable in our society versus those who are the most privileged.
“Part of the problem is today only 53 percent pay any federal income tax at all; 47 percent pay nothing,” Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) told a crowd in South Carolina, repeating a conservative meme. "We need to broaden the base so that everybody pays something, even if it’s a dollar."
If we did increase taxes on low-income people to a flat 50 percent rate, how much would that raise in revenue?
Using data from the Internal Revenue Service compiled by the Tax Foundation, a HuffPost analysis found that if the bottom 50 percent of Americans (those earning less than $33,048 a year) had their gross income taxed at a flat rate of 50 percent, the government would net around $537 billion.
That $537 billion number is a far cry from the tax cuts that the rich have received, which have depleted revenue and increased our deficit to frightening amounts.
The Tax Policy Center said the Bush tax cuts, which lowered the top tax bracket from 39 to 35 percent, have cost the United States more than $2.3 trillion since they were enacted. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has shown that the Bush tax cuts, if extended, would become the largest contributor to the deficit within a decade.
We cannot continue to marginalize low-income people who have already suffered from devastating cuts to essential services. We must work towards a comprehensive solution that ensures everyone is paying their fair share. Only then can we truly mend the gap.