Bill Byrne: Part of the problem and still fed up
I found it interesting that your wealth distribution figures, surprisingly, closely track the IRS collection figures on income taxes. In 2009, 30 percent of total income taxes were paid by the top 1 percent of filers, 38 percent by the next 9 percent, and the last 32 percent by the next 39 percent of filers. Fifty one (51) percent of filers paid NO income tax in 2009 (up from 44 percent two years earlier). What I’m expressing is that there is a flip-side to the story and to the math. That, however, is intended to explain the parallel percentages, not to endorse them.There are a whole lot of “gaps” in our society, Alex. The most ferocious one of all, I believe, is the education gap. Our K-12 schools, as a whole, are graduating kids who shouldn’t be allowed to graduate. In the world scheme, we rank 23rd in math and 29th in science (out of 41 countries considered first-world). The middle class IS shrinking, yes. The WHY has a lot to do with the increasing gap in educational outcome between us (US) and other countries.Congress, indeed, has played a long-standing role in our downward spiral. Lobbying and money is surely involved. And what industry spends the most in lobbying our Congress and influencing our elections? The teacher unions. It’s sick.If we could rid ourselves of lobbyists we would have a great shot at great improvement in governmental and educational performance. Until then, Alex, in a word, we’re screwed.You referred to Wall Street, which I’m sure we agree had a lot to do with this damaging economic cycle. It’s interesting that fellow Summit homeowner Hank Paulson was a member of the group that created the problem. To be fair, he was one of the few in America who had the talent to assist the government in getting us OUT of the mess, and he performed very well as Treasury Secretary.I fit SOME of the characteristics of people you negatively describe in your column. Don’t think for a minute, though, that all, or even most of us considered “wealthy” like what we are doing to ourselves as a nation. There is no price tag on my values. I’m as fed up as you are.
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