I read Jim Gier’s recent 700-plus word response to my letter in the Payson Roundup with some interest. He states that I believe “the accumulation of wealth is akin to rape: immoral, unethical and perhaps should even be illegal.” That’s quite an indictment from a stranger …
The hardest part to understand is that while Mr. Gier defends the wealthy, he states that he owns a one-man business, cleaning chimneys.
Unfortunately, he missed my point entirely. My message is about nothing more than tax fairness and equality.
Mr. Gier mentioned America’s Lions of Industry: Henry Ford, Louis Chevrolet and Walter Chrysler. Does he know how much income tax they paid? He might be interested to know that they all paid over 63 percent of their top dollars as federal income tax every year after 1932. And they did it unflinchingly, without complaint. I think that says something about their patriotism.
Until 1986, the top federal income tax bracket ranged from a low of 50 percent to as high as 92 percent.
What about today? According to the Congressional Budget Office, Americans average tax rate is now the lowest in the past 30 years. The top marginal income tax rate is currently 35 percent, unless you’re one of the Wall Street leeches with a top marginal tax rate of 15 percent. That’s because the tax laws made by their purchased politicians allow hedge fund and investment fund managers to declare all their income as long term capital gains even though none of their profits come from investing their own money.
The fact that it’s legal doesn’t make it fair or right.
Mr. Gier also talks about all of our wealthy legislators. You know why so many became so obscenely wealthy after they were elected to office? Unlike corporate executives and the financial industry that are forbidden to use insider information to their benefit, U.S. law states that the prohibition of using insider information to make investment decisions doesn’t apply to U.S. congressmen. Guess who made those rules? It’s like putting the fox in charge of the hen house.
No, Mr. Gier, I don’t condemn the wealthy. I’d like for both of us to join their ranks. However, unless and until people like you stop shilling for the deep pockets that use their wealth to buy the politicians that make the rules that benefit them alone, nothing will change.
All I’m asking for is a level playing field. And, until wealth is no longer able to buy our elections, it’s unlikely to happen. It’s too bad 99 percent of us can’t afford our own politicians.