By Jim Harrison, UWUA National Representative Region IV and Steve Wyatt, UAW
- We all agree, no one likes to pay taxes – Taxes are the dues we pay to belong to Club USA.
- We also understand that our taxes pay for a lot of good things in society; our schools, national defense, Medicare, and Social Security, to name a few. Individually we could never purchase these items on our own.
- So, we don’t mind “paying our fair share.”
- The principles of taxation have always been pretty simple:
- The total tax burden should be distributed among individuals according to their ability to pay – those who can afford it the most, pay the most. And,
- Taxes should be based on the benefits received – those who receive the greatest benefits should pay the most.
Does everyone pay their “fair share?”
- The sources of revenue for the Federal Government aren’t really complicated.
- The Federal Government receives tax revenue from individual income tax, payroll tax (FICA and Medicare), corporate tax, and excise taxes (fuel, alcohol, tobacco, inheritance, etc.)
- Of course, our state and local municipalities also collect taxes.
- Over the past 30 years, the share of taxes paid by income groups has significantly changed.
- Let’s examine each of these main sources of revenue.
- As a result of policy changes occurring over the past three decades; Who are the winners? And, who are the losers?
- You decide!
- When Eisenhower was President, the marginal rate on the highest earners was 91% ! That meant that the very highest income earners paid 91% tax on any income over $400,000 ($3,000,000 in 2010 dollars).
- That meant the wealthy elite had to make a choice; re-invest any income over the $400K cap or be taxed on it at the rate of 91%. Is it a coincidence that during this time a tremendous level of investment was made in America – new products, new factories, etc ?
- By 1980 the rate had reduced to about 35%, and now after the “Fiscal Cliff” 39%
- Meanwhile, middle income earners have seen their rate increase from 5% to an effective rate today of about 15% (after all deductions and tax credits).
- Individual tax payments have been seriously reduced for the wealthy and elite, and the burden shifted to the middle class.
WINNER = The wealthy and elite
LOSER = You and I
- It’s not bad enough that the owners and top executives of corporations are paying less in individual taxes – the corporations they run are paying even less too. In fact, many corporations are paying ZERO in corporate tax.
- In 1962 corporate tax paid totaled 21% of all federal revenue. Today, just 8%.
- In part, that’s because current tax loopholes allow many corporations to evade paying any corporate tax.
- In 2008, the GAO (Gov’t Acct’g Office) found that 23% of U.S. corporations pay zero tax in a given year. The same study revealed that 72% of large foreign-owned corporations that do business in the U.S. reported no tax liability for at least one year between 1998 and 2005.
- Who are some of these corporations that can’t afford to pay corporate tax?
- Exxon Mobil, Bank of America, GE, Chevron, Boeing, Valero Energy, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, ConocoPhillips,, and Carnival Cruise Lines.
- So what is “Payroll Tax”? It’s the tax you see on your paystub that’s the amount you pay for FICA and Medicare.
- Since 1980 these taxes have gone up 25%. Meanwhile, estate tax has dropped 46% and Capital Gains has dropped 32%.
- Income tax is “Progressive” – the more you earn the higher the rate (at least that’s how it is supposed to be). Payroll tax is “Regressive” – since the tax is capped at a fixed rate, the more you earn, the lower the effective rate you pay.
- How does this work out in real life?
- You will pay 6.2% FICA tax on the first $113,700 you earn in 2013. That means, that most of us will pay FICA tax on EVERY DIME WE EARN.
- The wealthy elite will also pay 6.2% FICA tax on the first $113,700 they earn. However, they pay nothing on any earnings over that amount.
- Associated Press reports that David Simon of Simon Property Group was the highest paid U.S. CEO in 2012. His earnings = $137 million for the year.
- Let’s do the math: $137M / 52 weeks = $2,634,615 per week / 7 days = $376,373 per day / an 8 hour work day = $47,046 per hour.
David Simon paid his FICA in full in about his first two and a half hours of work !
- The last area of tax revenue to review is that of excise tax. That is the tax for fuel, tobacco, liquor, tolls, etc.
- And, then of course there is state income tax, municipal tax, property tax, and sales tax.
- Most working families spend their entire income. Maybe a few “upper middle class” may save a little; otherwise, your paycheck is spent taking care of life necessities.
- On the other hand, those at the very top can’t possibly spend their entire income. So, a large percentage of the income (that which is saved or invested in stocks) becomes tax free! If you don’t buy merchandise, fuel, tobacco, or liquor, you don’t pay tax.
- The end result is a grossly unfair tax system.
- Those at the very top are paying less than ever and receiving even greater service.
- The 23 million unemployed, and millions of others earning minimum wage, don’t make enough to pay any tax.
- Therefore, an unfair share of the burden shifts to —– yep you guessed it YOU!
- In last week’s issue of “E-News” we covered the points that:
- This week we are discussing that; it’s not bad enough that we aren’t getting a share of the wealth we are creating — but, we are also paying a larger and larger share of the tax burden. At the same time those receiving the fruits of our labor are getting a free ride.
- And, trends don’t seem to be changing. Earlier this week Governor Snyder announced even more taxes for working families: added gas and diesel tax, higher auto licensing fees, higher hunting and fishing license fees. And let’s not forget, that just last year he started taxing senior pensions, all the while cutting business tax a whopping $1.3 billion!
These facts are why UWUA is launching a new effort to better educate, motivate, and mobilize our members!
Enough IS Enough!!!!
Stay tuned to learn how you and your local can fight back.