Just What Is A ‘Fair Share’ of Taxes?
As the United States political debate continues to focus on wealth distribution and wealth redistribution, we must clarify the term “fair share.” First, the Oxford Dictionary defines fair as “treating people equally without favoritism or discrimination.” This leads to the question, does “equally” mean equal percentage or equal amount? It should come as no surprise; it depends upon your point of view.
If an employer informs all her employees that company performance dictates that all Holiday bonuses will be equal, the lesser compensated prefer she means amount, and the greater compensated prefer percentage. After all, 5% of $25k is not the same as 5% of $100k; or is it? Then again, it would be hard to argue that everyone receiving a $2500 bonus would not be equal. Therein lies the problem; it all has to do with expectation. Why should percentage be anything other than a collateral result, as opposed to a key variable in the bonus calculation? Why is percentage an element of compensation negotiation?
Clearly, it is in the employer’s best interest to involve percentages, as this provides a smokescreen of equality over direct inequality. Percentages cause the same confusion with taxes; only it is the poor that benefit from its use to describe tax burdens, or when money is being subtracted. The irony is that the rich have a legitimate argument that equal tax rates provide an unequal tax burden, in pure dollar-for-dollar terms, while the poor continue to complain that the rich must pay a higher percentage tax rate. But poor people, you can’t have it both ways, decry percentages when it serves, and vice versa!
The simple numbers cannot be contested, as the facts are the facts. The richest in America already pay the highest tax percentages on wage income, and account for close to 40% of all Federal taxes collected. Perhaps they should pay even more than they do, and that remains up for discussion, but that is for Congress to decide. However, we should never accuse the rich from not paying their “fair share,” as they already pay an obvious unfair share. So lets stop the political nonsense and call things as they truly are. The 99% wish the 1% to pay a larger share than they now pay, so if we must use the term fair, in all fairness, it must be “unfair.”
Mark G Capolupo