Imagine you’re in the checkout line at the local store. You have your cart of groceries and you are watching the clerk scan the items of the person in front of you. You realize all of their items are ringing up at different prices. Their gallon of milk is $2 whereas you pay $3. Same gallon of milk. The same loaf of bread you pay $3.50 for is only $2.25 for them. When you question the price difference, the clerk responds the price you pay is based on your income. You make more, so the store is charging you more because you can afford to pay more. What would be your response? Would you feel lucky that were able to afford the higher tax?
I suspect if the things we buy were taxed like our income, we’d scream inequality and unfairness. But when it comes to income, so many argue it’s ok for someone earning more money to pay more of their share. I don’t see how this is either fair or equal. What if we used ability as our guide for other things. Take the Olympics. What if ability was used as a determining factor in calculating results. Well so and so country has a very limited training budget, so they get a 2 second head start in the 100 meter event. Or when Oakland plays New York, Oakland is spotted a 7 point lead because they have a much smaller budget than New York.
Here’s another way of looking at it. You want fair and equal: everybody starts on the same line, at the same time and must cross the same finish line. There’s no grading on age or gender or your income. If you want equal rights and to be treated equally, then there are no breaks. I’m not making anywhere near $1 million a year but those that are shouldn’t have to pay more because they make more. We fight for equal rights except if you make more than the average salary. You cannot say I’m for equality but only for a certain group. Why isn’t it that we take what it costs to run the country, divide that by the number of those living here, and that’s what each person owes? Overly simplified but the current system makes no sense and obviously isn’t working. Our government talks of fair share and equality for all, but then in the next sentence says those making $1 million deserve to pay more.
“If you make more than $1 million a year, you should not pay less than 30 percent in taxes”
“If you make under $250,000 a year, like 98 percent of American families, your taxes shouldn’t go up”
I understand the point of view but I don’t consider this fair and equal. And I know on so many levels, a flat tax sounds unfair. But is equal burden = equal share? Maybe the government should really call this equal burden. For some, the burden would be harder and for others, it would easier. And maybe we’re ok with using some sort of equal burden but then that is what it should be called: those who have a higher income have a higher responsibility. Or maybe we should really go with use tax. You are taxed on what you use and consume. Those who use and consume more, pay more and those who use and consume less, pay less.