The plight of the rich

As the political season heats up, it becomes germane to prattle on about taxes. Mainly because every governmental body from here to Newfoundland appears to be swimming in an Olympic-sized pool of red ink.

The best way to tackle this topic without becoming a horrid bore is to, of course, pick on wealthy folk. Always a sure fire, can’t miss formula. I’m sure you’ve noticed all the porky squealing resulting from the possibility that the Bush tax cuts of ’01 and ’03 could vanish next year, which would result in the following change—individuals earning 200k a year and households earning 250k a year would be required to pay 39.6 percent in federal taxes. Currently, thanks to those Bush cuts, the rate is 35 percent.

This seems to me to be about as stone cold of a no-brainer as you can flop out there. Meaning, yes, let those particular tax cuts wander off into the sunset. But then again, I’m a reasonable, right-thinking human being. That puts me in an endlessly vulnerable position here in modern America. It’s estimated that these revised tax rates would result in hundreds of billions being injected into a federal treasury that’s desperate for such a jump start. But, predictably enough, we’re wasting vast amounts of oxygen on endless haggling about the supposed dangers of a tax increase that is, in reality, safer than milk.

I mean, come on, wealthy people, step up to the plate and cough it up for your poor country. Quit fighting this tax bump and be happier than hell it’s not 1973, when you would have been taxed at a rate of 60 percent (or 90 percent in the Eisenhower era). Go ahead and drape yourself in a martyr’s shawl, if you’re so inclined. We’ll grant you that. Look, let’s crunch some numbers. Let’s say you make $300k a year. Under current tax laws, you would owe $105k to the IRS. If the code bumps up according to plan, you would owe $118.8, an increase of $13,800. Boohoo. BUT THAT STILL MEANS YOU TOOK HOME 181.2 THOUSAND DOLLARS! Can you scrape by on that? Can you stay out of that grocery store dumpster on a paltry 15k a month?

Classic quote from a Republican senator who could well be a reptile from another planet: “We should extend the current tax cuts for all, especially when so many families and businesses are struggling under this recession.” He’s half right. Many are indeed struggling. That’s obvious, especially here in Nevada. But please don’t try to even hint at the surrealistically absurd notion that households taking home $181,000 a year are to be included among those having a “tough time.” Allow me to dare to suggest that if you’re knockin’ down 181k a year, you are simply not allowed to describe yourself as “struggling.” You are allowed, on the other hand, to sell one of your boats.