December 18, 2013 - To the editor:
In the last few weeks there have been some letters attempting to define “rich” in the United States.
One writer noted that the “rich” once paid income tax at a rate of 90 percent. The writer failed to note that when the rate was in effect, people who made between $4,000 and $8,000 paid a 22 percent rate. Also, at the time there were many more deductions and exemptions in effect.
Because of that, the 90-percenters paid less of a share of the total income tax collected than the “rich” taxed at 39 percent do today. Also, at that time there was a thriving middle class in this country, and the share of the gross domestic product controlled by government was much less than it is today.
The writer misses the big point, it’s not the income tax rate paid by the “rich” that helps or holds back the middle class.
Rather, throughout history whenever government power becomes increasingly concentrated centrally — whether communism, feudalism or federalism dominated by Washington — there is no thriving middle class.
It has not been the reduction of income tax rates on the “rich” that has made it difficult for the middle class. It has been the growth of power in Washington, D.C., over the states and the people, and the accompanying growth in crony capitalism.