David Cay Johnston: The Fortunate 400June 6th, 2012 3:00 pm David Cay Johnston
The issue we need to debate is not how much you earn — make all you can. The issue is that everyone should pay their taxes now, not in some far-off tomorrow, and as you go up the income ladder so should your tax rate.
By what economic, political or moral standard should working stiffs be forced to pay their taxes immediately, while plutocrats pay their taxes by-and-by? And why should anyone who makes more than $200 million live tax-free?
Those are questions to ask candidates on the hustings, insisting they give specific, focused answers.
To give this a sense of scale, the top 400 are financial giants compared to Mitt Romney. It took Romney a quarter century of smart work to build up a fortune that his campaign says is between $190 and $250 million. The top 400 made about that much in one year.
Romney says that those of us who tell these hard facts about the zero-to-low tax burdens of the richest Americans are promoting class warfare. Income inequality, according to Romney, should be discussed only “in quiet rooms.”
If you agree with Romney then keep quiet. If not, now is the time to spread the word and encourage robust and thoughtful debate, just as the framers of our Constitution intended.
This opinion piece originally appeared at Reuters.com
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