Today is Friday the 13th and I have just finished my tax return and mailed it in, 2 or 3 days early, or whatever. The deadline is not Titanic Day this year, but the 17th for some reason.
It occurs to me that I may have paid more taxes than a few multimillionaires might have paid. As long as they didn't cheat or break the law, why should I care? I KNOW I paid more federal taxes than about 50% of Americans, because about 50% of Americans pay no federal taxes at all.
This is not about somebody's idea of what "fair" means. It is about following the tax code and getting on with your life for the rest of the year. If it is not fair, then it is not the fault of the rich but of our congressional tax code authors and President Obama's tax code enforcers.
Some people speak of "tax avoidance" as if it were a dirty cheating thing; that people who pay a lot of taxes should pay even more. There's nothing illegal or wrong about avoiding taxes. All Americans have the legal right to arrange their financial affairs in such a manner as will allow them to pay the least tax. The government uses, and has always used, the federal tax code to direct its social agenda. No problem. If the government wants low-income housing built, it gives tax breaks to those willing to build low-income housing. If it wants to promote green energy, then it gives tax breaks to people who put those odd solar panels on their roof. If the government wants investors to search for natural gas deposits, it gives tax breaks for those who take those risks. If the government wants to subsidize mortgages for low-income people who shouldn't have mortgages at all, then it gives tax breaks to rich folks who invest (put their capital at risk) in mortgages and derivatives and bonds and maybe let them play the hedge fund game or artificially inflate the spot-price of crude oil. Cool. Always has it been thus. Those who don't do it, angrily call these things "tax loopholes." But they are angry at the wrong people.
"Tax evasion" on the other hand is a crime and should land the evader in prison. Tax evasion is cheating and lying. Tax evasion includes such things as saying you earned $12 last year when you really earned $2 million.
A lot of the non-wealthy in the USA (those who take in a lot of welfare money and other entitlement monies, but who don't pay any income taxes at all, per the above) think that the rich should pay even more taxes so (I assume) the non-producers and actual needy can receive a higher dole. I mean "entitlement". Of course. Beats the hell out of actually paying some taxes yourself, right? President Obama has made a political career out of playing the two against each other, taking donations from fat cat corporations while telling the tax recipients, his political base, that he is fighting for the "working man" (meaning them, even though they don't work) and promoting class warfare against the rich. Cool. That's the American way. At least it seems to be the NEW American way. Occupy Wall Street, right? After all, it is the fault of the people who educated themselves, worked hard, played by the government's tax rules, and got rich, who are at fault for YOU not educating yourself, working hard, following the tax rules, and getting rich. Who could argue with that logic?
In the U.S., the tax code (rules) for the federal income tax rates are written by Congress. It is possible that this is true in other countries as well; perhaps their Parliaments write the tax laws rather than, say, their Chancellor of the Exchequer.
If you don't like what rich people pay in taxes, or if you don't like the way the government directs the economy (by offering tax deductions in the tax code for for various things) then it seems to me the thing for you to do would be to attack Congress and the President to make tax code changes and enforcement standards, and stop bitching at the people who follow the legal tax code. Do YOU want to volunteer to pay taxes you don't owe? Neither do the rich.
If you think the rich should pay 60% off the top of everything they take in, then you should force Congress to change the tax code so that's what the law says. Don't bitch at the producers or go occupy some little park near Wall Street. Personally, I don't get offended when I see some investor pay 15% capital gains tax instead of 100%. I get offended when I see the unemployed wink on camera and say, "I've never worked in my life, and I don't intend to start working now."
How offended would you be if someone suggested you get down off the wagon and maybe helped the rest of us pull it?