Fair Share

Last week, President Joe Biden addressed a joint session of Congress for the first time as the POTUS. He used that platform to promote his first two major policy initiatives, the “American Jobs Plan” and “American Families Plan”. Understanding that money can’t be freely minted without consequences, President Biden strongly insisted that they will be funded by corporations and the wealthy through tax reform. He stated before going into more detail, “It’s time for corporate America and the wealthiest 1% of Americans to pay their fair share. Just pay their fair share.” Echoing a long-time political agenda pursued by his party, the modern Democratic Party.

Putting corporate taxation aside for now, President Biden singled out the wealthy, unsurprisingly. They’re an easy target considering they only account for a very small percentage of the U.S. population and they’re not outspoken, publicly. That’s not fair, in my opinion; however, it is fair to President Biden, the Democratic Party and its constituents.

Figures are used by Democrats only if they support their argument more often than not. Just read the transcript from President Biden’s speech last week, for example. Sometimes he cites a number or a percentage depending on how it’ll likely be perceived. 100,000 or 1,000,000 might sound like big numbers to Americans but they’re probably insignificant when represented as a percentage of something in totality. Take the Affordable Care Act. President Obama, in support of it, frequently cited that there were 20 million uninsured Americans. But he didn’t mention that only accounted for about 6.5% of the population in 2010. Additionally, President Obama failed to further qualify that number. There were definitely many people who mindfully choose not to have health insurance. I was one of them. Not only did it save me money but the very big company that I had worked for gave a cash rebate every pay period for opting out. His 6.5% could likely have been closer to 3% or less. President Obama didn’t care because we didn’t support his agenda. That motherfucker.

With respect to income taxes, it’s commonplace for Democrats to ridicule political opponents whose tax rate is lower than the average tax rate, overall. They verbally attack them as if a crime had been committed knowing pretty much without a doubt that their tax filings were above board because it’s a topic most people can relate to. President Trump was dragged through the mud by Democrats for almost five years for allegedly paying little to no income taxes but they failed to mention the tax filings in question were under the purview of Obama’s eight-year presidency. Senator Romney, the 2012 Republican Presidential candidate, was also criticized by President Obama and his party for legally having a lower effective tax rate. In response to targeted reputational attacks by the Democratic Party, President Trump, years before he took the oath of office, brought attention to the hypocrisy of Democrats by calling-out then-President Obama similarly for paying a tax rate lower than that of the average taxpayer. Have the Democrats acted ethically? Fuck no.

What is someone’s fair share?

Democrats endlessly argue that “the wealthy”, who they define as those people and/or households with an income greater than or equal to $400,000 USD, don’t pay their fair share of taxes. Unfortunately, I can’t run the data to find out exactly how much federal income tax revenue came from them and their tax rate since I’m not the IRS but it has been well documented that high income earners account for the majority of federal income tax receipts, per the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and Tax Policy Center. The IRS calculated that it had collected 40%, 60%, 71% and 87% of income tax revenue from the top 1%, 5%, 10% and 25% of households, respectively, in 2018. For simplicity, let’s just assume Democrats only consider the top 5% as wealthy by its definition. Of the 154,444,000 individual income tax returns for 2018, they only account for 7,722,200 returns. Therefore, that measly group of 7.7 million households pay materially more in income taxes than the other 146.7 million. The bottom 20%, or 30.9 million households, especially, pay a paltry 1% on average, which is well below the lowest tax bracket — 90% less to be exact. Are they paying their fair share? No.

Governments worldwide discriminate between different vehicle types and distances traveled to determine toll rates. Larger vehicles, typically based on axle or wheel count, pay higher rates than smaller vehicles for the same entry and exit points. Somehow governments were able to calculate a usage tariff. Considering that larger vehicles pay more, “wear-and-tear” is probably an important variable in their formulas. Makes sense. People, similar to cars, come in all different types. Larger people cause more wear-and-tear than smaller people. That I’ve seen first-hand as I lived with two overweight people, my parents. Healthy people use less health insurance than unhealthy people. Richer people use less from the government than poorer people. The size and condition of a person seems like fairer measures than income to determine tax rates if you believe that someone shouldn’t have to pay more for something that he/she doesn’t consume. In terms of government services and social insurance, the wealthy use significantly less than those people that are poorer, yet contribute significantly more. Of course, that methodology would be divisive and cause drastic shifts in society but it isn’t an entirely new concept, at least in part. Many major airlines have required passengers needing a seat-belt extender to pay double fare.

You might think that I’m biased toward the wealthy, asshole aside, but, being unemployed, it’s likely that President Biden’s potential policy changes would benefit me. I know, for a fact, that once he took office, U.S. citizenship petitions for foreign births were no longer delayed indefinitely. Regardless, I don’t think they’re fair. Taking more and more money from the wealthy shouldn’t always be the funding solution for Democrats when there are many, many more people who really don’t pay their fair share yet reap the benefits.

The progressive tax system is broken. It can be easily manipulated. Personally, I’m a proponent of a flat income and progressive consumption tax system. Everyone pays the same income tax rate but people who want more luxurious goods will pay more taxes. That will still let the Democrats screw the wealthy, but getting screwed would be a decision they own.

Comments are closed