By Froma Harrop / syndicated columnist
Taxes are how we raise the funds needed to run government. The rich can afford most of these costs. These points are particularly linked to a time when the rich have gotten a lot richer and the government needs to do a lot more.
But in arguing for an increase in taxes on the rich, it is counterproductive to present such a scenario as some kind of fair punishment for those who have accumulated wealth. Many on the left cannot help harming their cause.
It is true that American billionaires added $ 1 trillion to their pile during President Trump’s four years. But while the 2017 tax cuts mainly benefited the wealthiest investors, a growing concentration of wealth has continued for decades. So, raise the taxes on these guys because they have the money and not because they are supposedly greedy or in need of moral education.
The pandemic has done particularly good things for Silicon Valley businesses that have helped stay-at-home Americans move shopping and work online. They did not create the pandemic. They were just in the right companies when it hit.
So there was no good reason for the Institute for Policy Studies and others to rant against “pandemic profiteers,” a loaded list of tech entrepreneurs. The dictionary defines the profiteer as one who makes “an excessive or unfair profit, in particular illegally or on a black market”.
What exactly made Zoom founder Eric Yuan one of the pandemic profiteers? Yuan had no idea when he created his video conferencing service in 2011 that nine years later, economic shutdowns and social distancing would create a huge market for his invention and make him several times a billionaire.
Liberals need to keep in mind that many of the biggest donors to President Biden’s presidential campaign are the very billionaires he wants to raise taxes on. They include the best people like Facebook, Google, and Apple. One of them, Google CEO Eric Schmidt, saw his net worth, now at $ 17.4 billion, increase by 61% during the Trump years.
Note also that several factors influence the perception of the rich on taxes. Some feel a moral obligation to help support the society that has done so much for them. Others consider it in their best interests to have good roads, ports and the Internet; things their taxes pay.
The “fairness” argument remains valid. The wealthiest Americans have received huge tax breaks while having the option, in many cases, to set their own number for taxable income. In contrast, stiff workers see their taxes automatically deducted each week from their wages.
This makes Biden’s plan to beef up the IRS to go after the tycoons who have weighed on their taxes for a long time. IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig said tax evasion robs the government of something like $ 1 trillion a year.
Don’t blame the honest economic winners of the pandemic for the hardships of others. New York State Senator Luis Sepulveda, who represents a working-class neighborhood in the Bronx, hinted at this when he said: “It makes me angry because in the richest city in the world there is having such a high unemployment rate is inexcusable. in a domain.
Its largely immigrant voters did not lose their service jobs because the wealthy lived elsewhere in the city. They lost them because a deadly virus shut down the companies that employed them.
So there is no need here to tell a moral story about the evils of great wealth. The arguments for raising taxes for those who could most easily pay them are good. Let us stick to this more sophisticated argument and avoid the blame.
Follow Froma Harrop on Twitter @FromaHarrop. Email him at [email protected]