The Spark

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

April 15:
Tax day in a society where wealth rules

Apr 15, 2002

An average family earning $31,000 per year pays close to $9,000 of it in taxes: federal income tax, state and local income taxes, Social Security taxes and sales taxes, not to mention gasoline tax, cigarette tax, alcohol tax, etc. In fact, the lower our income, the more we pay as a% of our income. There’s a simple reason for this. The tax laws are written by people who represent the wealthy.

And the corporate world is also helped by their friends in Congress. In 1960, taxes on corporate profits made up 23% of all taxes going to the federal government. In 2001, these taxes made up only 10% of the federal government’s taxes collected. Instead of paying taxes, some corporations get tax credits and others get money back: Texaco, Chevron, Pepsico, General Motors and Enron, to name a few.

To add insult to injury: Not only do working people pay proportionately more of our income in taxes than do wealthy people, but the IRS also admits that it checks the little guy’s tax return much more frequently than the wealthy guy’s tax return. It’s certainly not because the wealthy cheat less often. So, it must be that the wealthy have a friend at the IRS!

So April 15th reminds us of why we hate to pay our taxes. It’s not that we don’t need the services that taxes pay for society – like education or Medicare or Social Security or fire departments. It’s that working people pay so much more than is necessary and yet we get services that are completely inadequate.