The wealthy pay more than their fair share

May 11, 2012

Your recent editorial on the elections in Europe states that you believe Americans are now ready to embrace tax increases rather than voting for "conservatives and further cuts to government spending" due to the "widening gulf between the haves and have-nots, the 1 percent and the 99 percent" ("Rejecting austerity," May 9).

Such misguided statements make for superb political rant, playing on President Barack Obama's continued class warfare rhetoric which he hopes will blunt criticism of his abysmal economic record. However, your conclusions ignore the facts.

IRS statistical data show that the top 1 percent pay 38 percent of all gross U.S. federal tax revenues, the top 5 percent pay 58.72 percent while the bottom 50 percent pay 2.7 percent (IRS 2010 figures). In fact, 48 percent of Americans pay no federal income tax at all, while enjoying all of the service benefits derived from the 52 percent who do pay.

President Obama likes to talk about fairness. Is this fair? Philosophically, do you not have a fear, as I do, that a burgeoning subset of U.S. citizens not paying taxes will sap civic pride and sense of duty, ultimately fostering the same sense of entitlement that pervades the European countries' citizenry, fomenting riots in Greece and elsewhere when their federal treasuries go broke? How much more should the top wage earners pay in taxes, 100 percent? You also ignore the fact that the vast majority of the top 5 percent are small business owners who drive our economy, not the inherited wealth children of multimillionaires.

To paraphrase Winston Churchill's quotation on democracy, "Capitalism is the worst economic system, except for all the others." The moral good of capitalism results in job creation and more wealth for our nation. It is why we have dominated world trade for the past two centuries. It is too bad that the Obama administration and The Sun's editorial board continue to believe that an even more confiscatory tax system overseen by an elitist cabal of federal bureaucrats is preferable to our historical free market system.

Thomas M. Neale, Baltimore

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