Thursday, July 21, 2016

Poverty, taxes, billionaires, and America's collapsing infrastructure

The way I see it, the fact that there are any billionaires at all among us is living proof that the tax code is seriously flawed. To be a "billionaire" means you've become a millionaire a thousand times over. Where I come from, being a millionaire means you're rich.

Now, I know times have changed. You might have been a working class stiff who bought a 900 square foot bungalow in San Francisco or Vancouver for $8,000 in 1960, and today it's worth two million. If that describes you, high five! I'm happy for ya!

But in most of America, a million bucks still counts as a lot of money.

And a billion is an obscene amount of money.

In 1960, the marginal tax rate for the highest income brackets was 90%. America had two billionaires; J. Paul Getty and Howard Hughes.

Today, the marginal income tax rate for the highest incomes is 39.5%. But that's a bit of a beard. Mitt Romney fessed up during his 2012 White House run that he pays 14% on his "US income." That was a sly way of avoiding the question of how much tax he avoids with his use of off-shore tax havens. Most of your big dogs and your big corporations (always remember that corporations are people too!) stash their income offshore to avoid paying even 14%.

That's why there are trillion dollar capital pools sitting in tax havens doing nothing.

And that's why in the "Western" world we're flirting with negative interest rates.

That's also why America today has well over 500 billionaires and climbing fast.

Is that why the middle class is shrinking?

Is that why the working class has been all but eviscerated?

Is that why America's infrastructure is on the verge of collapse?

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