As April 15th nears, Tea Party groups around America are getting set to protest what they decry as the impossibly high tax burden Americans have under President Obama. Never mind that most of the teabaggers fall into the category of not paying federal income tax. Or that they have actually received a tax cut under Obama.
No, none of that matters to them, they will be out ranting and raving irrationally about the mean old federal government taking all of their hard earned money. Oh, and the redistribution of wealth.
What we need to think about is just why almost half of all Americans won’t be actually paying income taxes, and if that’s a good idea. It’s important to remember that even if they aren’t paying any income tax, the bottom half still has a tax burden. State taxes, Social Security, Medicare, gas taxes, and others are all still paid by the lower half of income earners.
But here’s the kicker – the bottom half of Americans only control less than 3 percent of the nation’s wealth.
My contention is that the lower half of income earners pay enough tax, even if it’s zery ro federal. However, the wealthy do not pay nearly enough. The rabidly protesting teabaggers will be whining about wealth redistribution, not even aware that it has been going on in America with fervor since the 80s.
Just in a different direction than the common vernacular explains. From Reagan and Bush tax policies to undue corporate influence over Congress and ill-advised deregulation, the deck has been increasingly stacked to favor those among us who are the wealthiest.
The American dream used to be that a person could make a family wage, own a home, provide a good education for their children, and have a reasonable retirement. Now it’s about becoming a sports star or singer or actor or hedge fund manager.
Trouble is, the vast majority of people are being driven downward. Real wages have been virtually stagnant since the early 70s.
Meanwhile, the very top has done quite well, thank you very much. A 500% increase in the top 400 families in America, for example.
Perhaps one of the biggest political success stories in American politics has been the way the wealthy and privileged have managed to draw such ardent support from those who derive no benefit from giving it. The desire and drive to consistently vote against your own self-interest is such a big part of current conservative mindsets.
Just what is it the tea protests hope to do? Extend the Bush tax cuts to the wealthy? Come on, people! You may be out ranting about health care and socialism and the president and people who you think don’t pay taxes.
But ask yourselves, just where has the wealth redistribution occurred? Can you defend that? Even if you could, would you want to?