Taxes---Same Old Story

Bill Neinast

Unfair or not fair is now the mantra of the Democrat party.  Those are the words most frequently tumbling out of the mouths of that party’s primary spokespersons: Senate Minority Leaders Senator Chuck Schumer and Representative Nancy Pelosi.

As often as they use those terms, however, they never define what they mean.  So here is a helping hand.

According to the dictionary, unfair means not based on or behaving according to the principles of equality and justice. 

That definition prompts a question about calling the word a mantra.  It seems that shibboleth may be a better fit.

A shibboleth is a word or saying used by adherents of a party, sect, or belief and usually regarded by others as empty of real meaning.

Schumer and Pelosi repeatedly refer to our tax system as unfair.  This is the system under which about 1% of the wage earners or income producing Americans pay almost half of the federal income taxes collected in the country.  Under that “unfair” system, almost half of the wage earners will pay no income tax.

The democrats think such a system is unfair to that bottom 50%.  The reasoning behind that thinking may have become clear in the recent debates over the revisions of the tax law signed by our President on December 22.

In railing against this legislation, democrats complained loudly and long about the “rich” getting a bigger break than the working stiffs.  In doing so, they demonstrated that the likes of Schumer and Pelosi failed math at all levels.  

They appear to be incapable of understanding that a taxpayer with a tax bill of two million dollars will wind up with more dollars in his pocket with a 1% tax cut than a taxpayer with a 10% cut of a twenty thousand dollar tax obligation.

Democrats, as represented by Schumer and Pelosi, seem to think that the only fair tax system is one that equalizes the distribution of the nation’s wealth.  Karl Marx must have a huge smile on his face wherever he may be at the moment.

The Schumer/Pelosi arguments play well among those dependent willingly or unwillingly on government support.  This is what keeps them glued to the democrat ballot box.

Most other Americans, however, question the logic of punishing the self-sufficient in order to keep some on the unemployed rolls.  That is why unfair or not fair is a democrat shibboleth instead of its mantra.

Actually, our income tax system is unfair and has been unfair since its inception in 1916.  There had been several versions of an income tax before ratification of the 16th Amendment.  Most of them did not pass constitutional muster, so Cordell Hull, a Democratic Congressman from a poor rural district in Tennessee, maneuvered an amendment through Congress to authorize an income tax.   

Consider now what that amendment spawned.  The first tax under the new law was a 1% rate for incomes between $4,000 and $20,000 increasing to a top rate of 3% for those earning $50,000 or more. Congress urged citizens to "cheerfully support and sustain this, the fairest and cheapest of all taxes.”

In those years, less than 4% of American families made an annual income of $3,000 or more. Deductions and exemptions further shrank the pool of taxpayers. 

Today, more than 100 years after the ratification of the 16th Amendment, the income tax has changed dramatically. Unlike 1913, most Americans—but just barely a majority— today must pay some federal income tax.  In addition, the 15-page tax code has expanded to more than 1,000 pages.

So here’s the perspective.

One hundred years have passed and we are regressing.  Schumer, Pelosi and company want to energize that regression.  They want to make the bottom tier responsible for even less of their support and require the harder workers and more productive segments of society step down a rung or two by sharing more of their income with those below. 

For those who shake their heads in disbelief on this type of politicking, there are several ways to make the tax system fair.    Fair, at least, for those who think everyone who enjoys the benefits of government services like roads, and police, fire and emergency services, should contribute something to the kitty.

Several proposals would approach that fairness.  Among them are a flat tax, a value added tax, or a sales tax on every first purchase of any consumer item.

The chances of any of these passing is nil.  So we will just have to continue to listen to Schumer and Pelosi rail against the unfairness of the current tax code revisions with their shibboleth of unfairness.


Free riders with the same deficiencies in math suck this in hook, sinker, and line as they rush to the voting booths with many holding signs protesting voter ID laws.

And that is how it goes in a democracy.


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