I could not have said it better myself- Thomas Alston
"Income inequality" is a hot topic these days. It's the battle cry of the Occupy Wall Street movement, based largely on a flawed Congressional Budget Office study that showed the share of income held by the dreadful "One Percent" of top earners rising from 8% in 1979 to 17% in 2007. If the CBO had made this a full ten-year study, instead of mysteriously ending their analysis in 2007, they would have noticed the One Percent's share dropping back to 11.3% by 2009 as the recession got under way.
Furthermore, a great deal of the increased income reported by the "One Percent" was exactly that: an increase in reported income. They responded to lower tax rates by shifting more of their income into taxable categories, which also happen to be productive categories which create jobs. Huge tax increases on the Evil Rich would reverse this process… to the inevitable detriment of everyone who depends upon their investments. Which, for those of you who still take the Occupy movement seriously, means "everyone else."
At the same time the One Percent's share of income was rising, their share of federal income taxes paid was rising even faster. With allowances for 1986 changes to tax law that make comparisons before and after that year imprecise, top earners went from paying 19% of income taxes in 1979 to 36.73% by 2009. It seems clear that the One Percent are paying far more than a proportionate share of income taxes, and the percentage they pay has been increasing much more quickly than their share of the income.
So, to repeat the question defenders of economic liberty have been asking socialists for over a century: what percentage of tax paid by the Evil Rich would be "fair?" It's obviously not a tax burden equivalent to their share of income, because they're paying two or three times that much now. Why don't we isolate that number, according to some logical formula, and put it on the table for consideration?
The answer, of course, is that "inequality" is the eternal wellspring of collectivist power. It is the dragon that can never be slain, the Grail that can never be seized. It will always dance just out of reach… and there will always be socialists leaning over our shoulders and whispering that we must hand over more control of our lives, so they can get us just a little bit closer.