Bright afternoon sun with a chilled wind here on California’s north coast — nice if you’ve got some type break from that sharp, Alaska-tinted breeze.
Tax season in the wind, too, as we’re almost into March. Working stiffs (or retired working stiffs) are catching the blunt of the taxman-cometh-jigsaw-game of gilded bullshit. And Americans are calling the bullshit, at least according to a new survey: ‘According to the poll, 68 percent of those questioned said wealthy households pay too little in federal taxes; only 11 percent said the wealthy pay too much.’
True reality from the bottom up.
(Illustration found here).
Last November, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen blubbered a mouthful about this current income-tax episode: ‘“All we can do is try to maximize our services as well as we can; as well as we can is still going to be miserable. You really do get what you pay for.”‘
No shit, Sherlock.
Although Koskinen was whining about IRS budget cuts — funded at $10.9 billion, the agency saw $346 million slashed this year — the real meat of the problem is not in collection, but in levy. Tax codes are fueled for the wealthy, and paid by the working stiffs, all to the detriment of the country as a whole. And apparently, if the tax codes/regulations/laws could be shifted, it would really, really improve a lot of shit.
Political writer/analyst David Sirota at In These Times on Friday examined the ugly state of our tax codes (non-federal), especially in this ridiculous, dark-humored of a gilded age, and what could be done:
According to a new report, if the rich paid the same state and local tax rate as the middle class, states and cities would have hundreds of billions of dollars more a year in public revenue.
Last month, the nonpartisan Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy found that the poorest 20 percent of households pay on average more than twice the effective state and local tax rate (10.9 percent) as the richest 1 percent of taxpayers (5.4 percent).
That preceded the new report from the left-leaning groups Good Jobs First and the Keystone Research Center which finds that if tax laws were changed to compel the highest income earners to pay the same rate as everyone else, states and localities would rake in up to $128 billion a year in new revenue.
If just the top 1 percent of earners were compelled to pay the typical middle-class tax rate, the report says the change would raise more than $68 billion in new annual revenues.
To put those numbers in context, consider that the price tag of other public priorities is just a fraction of the money that could be raised by equalizing tax rates.
For instance, the report notes that free community college would cost $6 billion a year and universal pre-kindergarten in all states would cost roughly $24 billion.
Similarly, the report notes that the total annual price tag of backfilling public pension shortfalls is $30.5 billion.
It also finds that five states that would reap the most revenue from equalizing tax rates — Texas, Florida, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Ohio — are among those with the largest pension shortfalls.
The word, ‘if‘,’ is spread through the piece — as Sirota concludes: ‘The political question, then, is: Will Democrats counter with a different vision? The facts about tax fairness are certainly compelling — the numbers prove that the system could be at once more equal and raise more resources for public priorities. But those numbers will only become a reality if there is a serious political counterweight to the GOP — and that remains a big if.’
In other words, don’t tax your bowels, or worse…