Letter: Help for Those Who Least Need It

To the Editor:

Current tax rates on those earning $400,000 or more are 36 percent, which is scheduled to rise to 39.5 percent at year’s end. It is hard to understand how a millionaire will miss, at most, $35,000 before deductions or loopholes. Keep in mind, 75 percent of Americans earn $65,000 or less and pay 10 to 15 percent of that in taxes, as deductions are proportionally and absolutely less for middle- and low-income earners than for the very wealthy.

I know 40 percent of Americans pay no federal income taxes (not all of them are working poor; some very wealthy people pay little or no taxes). People are smart enough to stay home and receive an entitlement rather than work a minimum-wage dead-end job with no benefits.

Many members of Congress are millionaires. President Obama should ask them as well as the top 10 percent of all Cabinet and federal government employees to take a 20 percent pay cut. Further, they should be asked to shoulder at least 20 percent of health care costs. Pensions for senior personnel should be examined. How is it that someone in mid-to upper-level management at a federal agency for 30 years can retire with a pension of $90,000 a year, which ranks them above 90 percent of American wage earners?

Between 1950 and 1980, marginal tax rates on wealthy Americans were never less than 70 percent and sometimes as high as 90 percent. It is no coincidence that the largest proportional and absolute shift of wealth from the poor and middle class to the top 1 percent has occurred since then.

I was born in 1949. I grew up in an America where if you worked hard and played fair, you could own a home, buy a car, get a good education and afford health care. You could move up into that top 1 percent. Where has the money gone? To a bunch of crocodile-tear-crying millionaires and billionaires who care nothing for America.

As Bob Dylan said, “When you gonna wake up, and strengthen the things that remain?”

Matt Cardillo