“The notion that “half of Americans don’t pay taxes” not only overstates the share of households that do not pay federal income taxes in a typical year. It also ignores the other taxes people pay, including federal payroll taxes and state and local taxes. Policymakers, pundits, and others sometimes overlook this point.”
In his recent speech on the Senate floor, Senator Bernie Sanders passionately declared, “There is a war going on…a war being waged by some of the wealthiest and most powerful people in this country, against the working families of the United States of America, against the disappearing and shrinking middle class of our country” (see his video speech below). There are a number of data points that indicate the truth of Senator Sanders claim.
Currently, the richest 10% of households in the U.S. owns almost 70% of all private wealth, while the bottom 50% of households hold a meager 2.8%. This is hardly an even playing field for the market to give opportunity for the best ideas and talents to emerge. Renowned sociologist, Max Weber, said the revenues from the inheritance tax should be evenly redistributed among young members of society, so as to create equal starting conditions for the “market struggle.” Part of the objective of the tax is to even the playing field. In American political discourse, if we can’t agree on equal outcomes, surely we can agree on equal opportunity.