- Jul 2007
- So. Md.
This piece is an interesting argument about how to go about taxing wealth at a rate that helps sustain, maintain and and help our country progress. Essentially, we need to enter into agreements with the rest of the world that reduces the number of tax havens so that the super rich have no choice but to pay their taxes. The lax tax laws that the wealthy have been functioning under since the 80s have been a big reason why we have such high debt. Insisting that our meager social safety net is the cause is absurd.
The author also points out how a majority of Americans think the wealthy don't pay enough in taxes but because of the concentration of wealthy in the hands of a few those few have an outsized influence over our government and our elected officials who write laws that benefit the few to the detriment of the many. And because policies and laws that would benefit the average American are ignored for the sake of the few, Americans have come to hate government because it doesn't work for them. I don't see how anyone could argue that most of our economic growth has benefited the wealthy in a far greater way than it has the vast majority of Americans and a big reason for that is the fact that the wealthy pay so little in taxes.The costs of our government’s inability to police every inch of our 1,933-mile border with Mexico — and thus, perfectly enforce our legal restrictions on labor mobility — are miniscule if not nonexistent. Far from burdening middle-class taxpayers and straining the welfare state’s capacity, undocumented immigrants contribute an estimated $13 billion to Social Security and $3 billion to Medicare each year, despite their ineligibility for those programs’ benefits. Meanwhile, America’s undocumented population also increases our nation’s productive capacity, and thus, the size of the economic pie that can be diverted to publicly beneficial ends. These facts, combined with the undocumenteds’ greater propensity for abiding by our nation’s laws, means that the imperfections in our immigration enforcement system have gifted our country a lower crime rate, higher economic growth, and a smaller federal deficit.
By contrast, the costs of Uncle Sam’s failure to enforce existing taxes on the rich (let alone, to enact rates commensurate with popular preferences) have been exorbitant. By the IRS’s estimates, tax evasion costs the federal government roughly $450 billion in lost revenue every year. Much of this is achieved through underreporting, but a good chunk is attributable to the illicit movement of wealth across borders. Globally, upwards of $6 trillion in untaxed earnings are stowed away in tax havens, according to the estimates of economist Gabriel Zucman, a leading authority on the subject.