Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Nearly 15-hundred millionaires paid no taxes in 2009



John Morgan photo
By GARY BAUMGARTEN
The Los Angeles Times reports that 1,470 millionaires paid no taxes in 2009.
How did they get away with this? Quite legally.
They were either tax exempted because of their foreign investments. Or because they gave to charity.
So let me see if I get this right.
Republicans oppose lifting tax exemptions from the very wealthiest of our fellow Americans because they, the rich folk, are “job creators.” But, according to the IRS, the jobs they are creating, aren’t in the USA. They are on foreign soil.
Then there are those who argue that the government should not be involved in social programs. That’s something for the churches and other private agencies to provide. It’s called charity.
But the rich people who gave to charity were then exempted from paying taxes. So, isn’t that the same as if the government paid that money directly to the charities?
There are those who are concerned about the growing list of people on the other, lower, end of the economic spectrum, who aren’t paying income taxes.  They note, as the LA Times does, that the total percentage of Americans who are tax exempted is 46 percent. A staggering number. But why aren’t they paying taxes?
Mainly because they are out-of-work. Many of them suddenly and prematurely unemployed. If you don’t have income, you don’t pay taxes.
Some people say low income folk who aren’t paying taxes are bringing this country down. They’re not, it is argued, paying their fair share.
One fellow told me the poor should not be subsidized by the government at all. They should subsist on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. There was a bit of resentment in that statement, which, I actually understand. The guy who made it is barely eking out a living himself.
But I’ll tell you what. I’d rather be part of the 54 percent who are paying taxes than the 46 percent who are not. Unless, of course, I was a millionaire.

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