Fair Tax Where the Wealthiest and Corporations Pay their Share; Tax Wealth More than Work; Tax Activities We Dislike More than Necessities
The complexity and distortions of the federal tax code produces
distributions of tax incidence and payroll tax burdens that are skewed
in favor of the wealthy and the corporations further garnished by tax
shelters, insufficient enforcement, and other avoidances.
Corporate tax contributions as a percent of the overall federal revenue stream have been declining for fifty years and now stand at 7.4% despite massive record profits. A fundamental reappraisal of our tax laws should start with a principle that taxes should apply first to behavior and conditions we favor least and pinch basic necessities least, such as the clearly addictive industries (alcohol and tobacco), pollution, speculation, gambling, extreme luxuries, instead of taxing work or instead of the 5% to 7% sales tax food, furniture, clothing or books.
Tiny taxes (a fraction of the conventional retail sales percentage) on stock, bond, and derivative transactions can produce tens of billions of dollars a year and displace some of the taxes on work and consumer essentials. Sol Price, founder of the Price Clubs (now merged into Costco) is one of several wealthy people in the last century who have urged a tax on wealth. Again, it can be at a very low rate but raise significant revenues. Wealth above a quite comfortable minimum is described as tangible and intangible assets. The present adjustment of Henry George’s celebrated land tax could also be considered.
Over a thousand wealthy Americans have declared, in a remarkable conflict against interest, that the estate tax, which now applies to less than 2 percent of the richest estates, should be retained. The signers of this declaration included William Gates, Sr., Warren Buffett and George Soros. Ralph Nader does not believe that "unearned income" (dividends, interest, capital gains) should be taxed lower than earned income, or work, inasmuch as one involves passive income, including inheritances and windfalls, while the latter involves active effort with a higher proportion of middle and lower income workers relying on and working each day, some under unsafe conditions, for these earnings.
Ten Tax Questions the Candidates Don’t Want You to Ask
By John O. Fox
Answered by Ralph Nader, the Independent Presidential Candidate
- The McMansion Tax Break—
Taxpayers can deduct interest on loans of up to $1 million used to buy one or two personal residences.
Would you limit the home mortgage interest deduction so that it subsidizes the purchase of one basic home, and would you redirect some of the tax savings to help qualified renters purchase a basic home?
- The Inequitable Home Equity Break—
Congress offers less than certain homeowners preferential deduction for consumer loans.
Would you limit the deduction for interest on up to $100,000 of consumer loans (called "home equity loans”) that benefits only homeowners who itemize?
- Poorest Families, Poorest Child Care—
Tax credits help working parents who owe taxes pay for child care costs.
Would you reform the child care credit do that it helps low - and moderate - income working parents who don’t owe taxes and can at least afford their child care costs?
- Social Security’s Insecurity—
The Social Security Trust Fund is likely to be bankrupt by about 2042. Yet the highest paid Americans don’t pay Social Security taxes on all of their wages.
Why not fix Social Security’s long-term solvency problem by making taxes apply on all of their wages?
- A Sick Policy on Health Insurance—
An employee’s health insurance premiums paid at work are exempt from income tax – no matter how deluxe a policy that tax payer chooses.
Should the tax exemption for an employee’s health insurance premium paid at work be limited to a basic premium for a basic policy, and would you deny the tax break to managers if their employers paid more of their premiums than they paid for rank-and-file workers.
See Response to Question 10.
- The Oh-So-Golden-Years Pension Break—
Top managers not only get bigger pensions, they also get enormous tax breaks on their employers’ pension contributions.
Would you stop giving tax breaks for much higher pension contributions for highly paid employees than for rank-and-file employees?
- The Great Pension Robbery—
Forfeiture rules can deprive employees of pension accounts crucial to their long-term security.
Should Congress prohibit pension plans from deriving employees of their pensions after they have been employed for at least three years?
Education Out of Reach—
Congress helps students pay for college by giving them, or their parents, tuition tax credits that reduce their taxes.
Would you reform the tax credits for college tuition to help households who don’t owe income taxes but often need the assistance the most?
Single and Paying for It—
A single person who doesn’t earn enough to escape poverty may still owe income taxes.
Why shouldn’t Congress do for single persons what it does for a family of four – exempt them from income tax until their income rises well above the poverty level?
Medicare’s Drift Toward Insolvency—
By 2026, Medicare is unlikely to be able to pay for all of its hospital and nursing home bills.
How would you restore the long-term solvency of Medicare’s hospital insurance program?
Replace it with Federal, single payer health insurance—that provides health care for all and allows free choice of doctors from a private health care delivery market—with quality and cost controls, and covers preventative care. See http://www.votenader.org/issues/single-payer for a detailed analysis of how to provide health care to all now.