This may well be my most unpopular posting yet, for I am writing in favor of higher income taxes.
This coming Monday is the deadline for filing federal income tax returns this year—three days later than usual because of a Washington, D.C., holiday on April 15. Those of you who are due a refund likely filed your tax return some time ago. Others, like me, probably waited until near the deadline to file, for payment of taxes due must accompany their return. And even though retired, I had to pay a considerable amount of tax this week.
So why would I be writing in favor of raising taxes?
As we all know, there is a very serious budget deficit in this country. There are many Congresspersons, especially those supported by the Tea Party movement, who are determined to reduce the deficit by reducing the budget. But here is the problem: in their effort to reduce the budget they are suggesting cutting off funds for some very important programs.
We all agree that wasteful or duplicate programs, and there certainly are some of those, need to be eradicated. But such cuts would make only a small dent in the deficit, so other cuts are necessary. (Some of us would like to see significant reductions in military spending, but that is not likely to happen.)
Unfortunately, many of the cuts now being proposed would negatively impact needy people here in the U.S. as well as in others parts of the world. On April 1, a group in D.C. fasted and protested to oppose "the proposed budget cuts that would eliminate $7.6 billion from domestic programs that impact low-income women and children. Other cuts,” they said, “would potentially eliminate feeding programs for 18 million of the poorest and hungriest around the world.”
Instead of cutting programs for the poor, the tax cuts for the wealthiest two percent of Americans should surely be eliminated. The extension of those cuts this past December was a big mistake. Why in the world should billionaires be given tax cuts and then programs to help the poor be eliminated because of the lack of funds?
Further, profitable corporations should be required to pay taxes. As you have probably heard, General Electric had billions of dollars of profits in 2010 but paid no income taxes at all. The same was true for Exxon Mobil, Bank of America, and many other large and wealthy corporations in the country.
After the tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans are eliminated and large corporations are required to pay taxes, if there is still need for further revenue to reduce the deficit, as there likely will be, then taxes should be increased for all of us except for those who have minimal incomes.
The federal deficit must be reduced and the budget needs to be balanced, but not on the backs of the poor. If it takes a tax increase to maintain the government programs that provide vital assistance to needy people in the nation, especially children and the elderly living in poverty, then so be it.