Letter to the editor: Fairness in taxation
The top 1% of taxpayers account for more income taxes paid then the bottom 90%.
What is the fairest way to collect taxes?
From a Marxist perspective, the fair way to collect taxes would be to force those with the most wealth to pay the most, while those with the least pay proportionately less.
The founders of the USA were not Marxists. They favored capitalism and free enterprise. Thus, from a capitalistic perspective, the fair way to collect taxes would mirror the marketplace wherein a merchant charges the same for everyone, regardless of income. Thus, a capitalistic mechanism to collect taxes would be to calculate the amount of taxes needed and divide by the number of taxpayers, and tax everyone the same regardless of income.
How did we evolve to a Marxist system of income taxation? Marx and Engels published “The Communist Manifesto” in 1848. The Revenue Act of 1861 included the first U.S. federal income tax statute. However, in 1895, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled (Pollak vs. Farmers) 5-4 that an apportioned federal income tax was unconstitutional. Nonetheless, by 1913, the 16th Amendment, which incorporated the federal income tax, overturned the earlier Supreme Court decision. Coincidentally, the Communist Revolution occurred in Russia in 1917.
Hopefully this historical trend can be reversed toward a more capitalistic view of fairness in taxation in the USA.
Joel I. Last