Opinion | Susan Knopf: Welfare for the wealthy
I’m so sick of hearing about welfare queens and people mooching off the system. The biggest rip-offs are at the top of the economic spectrum.
Some of the richest Americans pay no federal income taxes. Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest man, paid no income tax, nor did billionaire Elon Musk according to ProPublica. From time to time Democrats George Soros and Michael Bloomberg have also made the list.
Good news! The newly passed Inflation Reduction Act targets these moochers and makes them pay. According to U.S. Senate Democrats the bill sets a minimum 15% tax for the richest corporations. Unfortunately, so-called Democrat Senator Krysten Sinema blocked efforts to curtail the egregious carried interest tax loophole that only helps the wealthiest of fund managers.
According to Americans for Tax Fairness, “The combined fortune of the nation’s 664 billionaires at market close Friday, Feb. 19, 2021, was $4.3 trillion, up 44% from their collective net worth of just under $3 trillion on March 18, 2020,” the beginning of the pandemic.
If you want to collect taxes from the uber rich, you need an IRS with teeth and staff to chase the money. The newly passed bill finally allocates resources the IRS has long needed to pursue billionaire moochers.
According to NPR, the IRS fails to collect $600 billion per year in taxes due to understaffing. Deputy Treasury Department Secretary Wally Adeyemo told NPR, “… last year, the IRS received 230 million phone calls and only had 15,000 people to answer those calls, which meant that each person had to answer 16,000 calls.”
According to The Hill, The IRS will get $80 billion to collect that $600 billion. Sounds like a great investment to me.
You know who was against taxing the rich and chasing down their taxes owed? The Republicans. Not one Republican voted for the Inflation Reduction Act bill. I even heard Lindsey Graham say the IRS is coming for the little guy. Let’s think about that. Chase a big pot of money or a few hundred dollars. Yeah Lindsey, I don’t think so. You know the IRS agents get bonuses based on their productivity, right?
The bill also pays down the deficit which economists have long asserted drives up inflation. The Republicans have long advocated paying down the deficit. Why then are they so against the bill?
The bill invests in climate change initiatives — the biggest investment in U.S. history — incentivizing electric car purchases and the installation of rooftop solar, among many other things.
The biggest issue is still welfare for the wealthy. The last major Republican tax bill cost me money. While billionaires got enough back from the last administration to pay for a luxury car, my taxes went up. The tax bracket reduction was worth less than the deductions I lost. Non-reimbursed employee business expenses is just one of those deductions.
Republican tax reform always helps the billionaire moochers more than it helps us.
Republican Heidi Ganahl is running for Colorado governor. She would like to eliminate Colorado income taxes. Whoopee! Great idea. What’s she going to do instead to pay for our schools, highways and law enforcement? She told 9News reporter Marshall Zelinger, “I have no intention of raising other taxes to accomplish this goal.”
She said, the five top performing economies in states across the United States are zero income tax states.”
For the record, according to U.S. News and World Report and the Tax Foundation, the top performing state economies and their tax rates are: Utah (4.85%), Colorado (4.55%), Idaho (1% to 6.5%), Washington (capital gains tax only) and Massachusetts (5%).
We are the second-highest performing economy and we have a state income tax rate consistent with our peers.
When Republicans cut taxes they are always helping the rich. Rich people can afford private schools. Every road can be a toll road like the Boulder Turnpike. They don’t need free public libraries; they have personal computers and can afford to buy their books. Their guarded and gated communities have their own roads and security.
The Democrats are always looking for the win-win, balancing everyone’s best interests.
You doubt me? The Inflation Reduction Act sets a maximum monthly price of $35 for insulin for Medicare patients. It was supposed to apply to everyone. You know who opposed it? Republicans. Republicans who voted against it represent states with some of the highest diabetes mortality rates, according to the Washington Post.
Susan Knopf’s column “For the Record” publishes biweekly on Fridays in the Summit Daily News. Knopf lives in Silverthorne. She is a certified ski instructor and an award-winning journalist. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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