The Spark

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

Tax Time:
Who Gets the Deductions?

Mar 30, 2015

April 15 is the deadline to file income tax, so it’s good to know who’s getting the breaks. Those with the lowest income get a tax break worth a tank of gas. The richest one-tenth of one percent can buy a fleet of Cadillacs with their deductions.

A tax break for saving for the kid’s college seems like a good idea. But those with incomes over $150,000 got 80 percent of the benefit. Maybe the reason their share is so high is that most of us can’t afford to save!

Some of the biggest tax breaks only benefit the rich. While a top tier auto worker, mechanic or airline worker pays 25 percent of the first hour of overtime in income tax, rich people getting income from capital gains – money from gains in stock, bonds and real estate – pay only 20 percent. The same is true for their interest payments on bonds. This money is actually called “unearned income.” And it’s true!

All these tax breaks add up to big bucks: 620 billion dollars in 2014. This is more than the government spends for 15 government agencies, including the Departments of Housing, Transportation, Labor, Education, and Health and Human Services. What’s happened is that money has been transferred from services that benefit working people to tax subsidies for the rich. The money is there – it’s just going to the wrong hands. We know where to look to take it back.