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home : opinion : columnists January 18, 2017

12/5/2012 2:02:00 PM
Dinghys are sinking
Dear Editor,

An axiom is a premise so evident as to be accepted as true without controversy. In the Nov. 7 issue of the Echo, Mr. Cowles stated: "Liberals just won't accept the economic axiom that a rising economic tide floats all economic boats." The rising tide metaphor was axiomatic in this country from the end of World War II till the mid 1970s. Since that time, however, the yachts have been floating upward at an astonishing rate, while the dinghys are taking on water. From 1979 to 2006, the after-tax income of the poorest fifth of households has increased by 11 percent. That of the second fifth has risen by 18 percent, while that of the middle fifth has increased by 21 percent. The fourth fifth realized an increase of 32 percent. Those households in the 80th - 99th percentile (the top fifth minus the top 1 percent) increased by 55 percent. The top 1 percent of households saw their income increase by 256 percent! Income inequality in the US is now greater than at any time since 1928. And, of course, there is a highly skewed distribution of wealth (net worth): the top 1 percent of households control 35 percent of the wealth of the country, while the bottom 80 percent have just 11 percent of the wealth.

Something is wrong with the tax system in this country when the income tax rate of a carpenter, a plumber, a teacher, a policeman is oftentimes higher that that of a multi-millionaire. There are two main reasons for this: 1) a rich person can hire lawyers and accountants to find nifty loopholes in the tax code, and 2) the tax rate for dividends and capital gains has been lowered to 15 percent. So someone who works 40 or more hours a week pays taxes at a higher rate than someone who simply cashes the dividend checks. There is class warfare in this country, and the middle class and poor are losing!

In his letter, Mr. Cowles says, "Obama is an anti American socialist / Marxist / communist, Muslim and I have seen the proof of it. Try watching the now popular factual movie '2016.'" It's too bad that he inserts the word "factual" in his description of the movie, since it's essentially a propaganda film masquerading as a documentary. It's interesting how many labels Mr. Cowles gives the president; I guess those words can have any meaning the writer cares to give them.

R. Wesley Aman


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