Printed letters, December 23, 2010

Wagner only looked
at one part of tax issue

It is always interesting to read the musings and logic, or lack thereof, of one of The Daily Sentinel’s columnists, Rick Wagner. His recent column regarding taxes is another example of his misuse of a statistic to maintain a deception.

It is tax liabilities and net income, and not tax rates, that are the true picture of what it costs individuals to pay for the creation and protection of the wealth of our nation. Yes, tax liabilities have increased as the defense costs of our nation and the services that are provided have increased, but by ignoring income, Wagner has rested his case on another half-truth.

The latest data, from 1979-2006, available from the Congressional Budget Office can provide a more educated view of our current economic condition and tax policies. The CBO compares combined federal tax liabilities for individuals with pre- and post-tax income. According to the CBO, here is the rest of the story that Wagner refuses to address or chooses to ignore:

The post-tax income growth for the bottom 80 percent of taxpayers ranged from $1,700 to $17,000, or expressed in percentage of growth, from 11 percent to 32 percent. The top 10 percent saw growth ranging from $140,000 to $863,000, or 112 percent to 256 percent.

Wasn’t income supposed to be the real point to tax breaks and the trickle-down economic theories of the past 15 to 20 years?

This could be seen as evidence regarding the true nature of the conservative approach to tax reform and economic theory.  I at least hope readers of this paper who seek a more informed position than Wagner chooses to present can now draw their own conclusions and not rely on his bias.


Grand Junction

Federal bailouts help foster class warfare

Rick Wagner is persuasive in accrediting class warfare to envy and animosity of the non-wealthy among us.

However, I doubt Sen. Bernie Sanders and his allies can create a power great enough to reorganize our society.

The root of animosity may lie more in the public’s reaction to decisions by the federal government to protect the upper class at the apparent expense of the rest of us. The results look a lot to the public like “wealth redistribution.”

Federal bailouts of Wall Street, banks and others show an implicit policy to put the full force of the government behind the protection of the privileged. In this, it hopes that they, in turn, will use their power for the common good. Currently, banks we bailed out are not lending the money we gave them, and CEOs have won the battle to protect their bonuses in publicly traded companies. Profitable companies are not creating jobs.

The current tax reform debate is “a government by the people for the people” working through the age-old conflict between power groups. Regardless of injustice on both sides, it is a sign of a dynamic and healthy democracy. The solution will out when we learn to better consider others’ needs as well as our own. Taking sides in this war, as I believe Wagner has done, simply exacerbates the conflict.


Glade Park


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