The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Will the Rich Be Taxed?

May 10, 2021

Joe Biden said that he will pay for his economic program by raising taxes on corporations and wealthy individuals.

Today, tax rates for corporations and wealthy individuals are the lowest they have been in 70 or 80 years. For the past decades, tax rates for the rich have been reduced on corporate profits, personal income, stock dividends, stock holdings, capital gains and inheritances. And then there are all the tax loopholes written into law, where taxes are reduced even further to the point that many corporations pay no income taxes at all, or even get tax refunds without paying any taxes!

Today, taxes paid by corporations, as a share of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), are only about one-fourth of what they were in the 1950s and 60s.

Biden says he will do something about that. So let’s see ... the federal corporate tax rate was about 50% in the 50s, 60s, and 70s. When Trump took over in 2016, it was 35%. Trump’s tax law reduced that to 21%. Biden said he wanted to bring it back up to 28%. When some Republican senators complained that was too much, Biden said well, maybe he could live with 25%.

The personal income tax rate on the richest individuals was over 70% in the 1930s, and was as high as 91% for the top one-tenth of one percent in the 1950s and 60s. But it has been steadily reduced ever since. Today it’s officially about 37%. Biden wants to raise that back to 39.6%. And, of course, whatever the official tax rates end up being, there are so many loopholes for the wealthy and the corporations that they never end up paying the official rate anyway.

In any case, the wealthy classes don’t seem too concerned by Biden’s proposed increases, if they even happen. The richest of the rich never had it so good.