A consumer sociologist explains the bizarre and puzzling ...
Income and wealth are now more concentrated at the top than at any time over the last 80 years, and our unjust tax system is a big reason why. The tax code is rigged for the rich, enabling a handful of wealthy individuals to exert undue influence over our economy and democracy.
Conservatives fret about budget deficits. Well, then, to pay for what the nation needs – ending poverty, universal health care, infrastructure, reversing climate change, investing in communities, and so much more – the super-wealthy have to pay their fair share.
The heirs of the super-rich pay zero capital gains taxes on huge increases in the value of what they inherit because of a loophole called
the stepped-up basis
. At the time of death, the value of assets is "stepped up" to their current market value – so a stock that was originally valued at, say, one dollar when purchased but that's worth $1,000 when heirs receive it, escapes $999 of capital gains taxes. This loophole enables huge and growing concentrations of wealth to be passed from generation to generation without ever being taxed. Eliminating this loophole would raise
$105 billion over a decade
Six: Close other loopholes for the super-rich.
For example, one way the managers of real estate, venture capital, private equity and hedge funds reduce their taxes is the
loophole, which allows them to treat their income as capital gains rather than ordinary wage income. That means they get taxed at the lower capital gains rate rather than the higher tax rate on incomes.
Closing this loophole
is estimated to raise $14 billion over a decade.
Seven: Increase the IRS's funding so it can audit rich taxpayers.
Because the IRS has been so underfunded, millionaires are far less likely to be audited than they used to be. As a result, the IRS fails to collect a huge amount of taxes from wealthy taxpayers. Collecting all unpaid federal income taxes from the richest 1 percent
at least $1.75 trillion over the decade. So fully fund the IRS.
Together, these 7 ways of taxing the rich would generate more than $6 trillion over 10 years
– enough to tackle the great needs of the nation. As inequality has exploded, our unjust tax system has allowed the richest Americans to cheat their way out of paying their fair share.
It's not radical to rein in this irresponsibility. It's radical to let it continue.
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For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9