Taxing the Super Rich



Published in the Daily Herald 8/28/2010 as “Let the Rich Carry a Larger Load”

It's time to start shaming the super rich into carrying a bigger portion of our nation's tax load. Most of us can't imagine what it's like to be worth $100 million, but that's just the entry level for the super rich. Those are the people who have made out like bandits from Ronald Reagan through George W. Bush. The Bible tells us that much is expected of those to whom much has been given. The Judeo/Christian teaching is that our wealth is not really our own, that it really belongs to God, that we are stewards during our lifetimes to use our wealth for the good of all, and that on judgment day we will be made to account for our stewardship. This is the rationale for progressive income taxes with more of the burden being carried by those who can most afford to pay.

I propose two changes to US tax codes to get the super rich to share more equitably with the rest of us: first, to Institute additional tax brackets to apply to people with super rich incomes, and second, to tax dividends and capital gains as ordinary income with no top limit.

For 2010 the top tax bracket is 35% for individuals or couples earning more than $373,650. I propose a 45% tax bracket for those earning more than $1 million, a 55% tax bracket for those earning more than $5 million and a 65% tax bracket for those earning more than $10 million and a 70% tax bracket for those earning more than $25 million*. The 1946 tax rate was 94% for all income over 200,000, It was reduced from 91% to 70% by as recently as the Kennedy administration.

Once upon a time it was considered immoral to charge a lesser tax rate on dividends and capital gains than what working people paid on their wages. Tax them as ordinary income.

R. Kent Kirkwood
317 S. Edward Street
Mount Prospect, IL 60056
847-392-5644

*Modified 12/8/2010



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