The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


March 28, 2013

Taxes: the rich and the poor

When people say that more than half the population pay no taxes, they do not mean taxes per se; they mean federal income taxes. But all of us, including the poor, pay state, county, and local taxes, sales taxes, utility taxes, including sewer, and more. Taxes are society's dues.

Phil Mickelson, a very talented pro golfer, has made news by saying he may move from California because he is paying 63 percent of his income in taxes. (He's since said he regrets his remarks). That is a big percentage, but he won't be paying more than the top bracket of 39.6 percent in federal taxes next tax year. The remaining 23.4 percent is probably a percentage in line with what everyone else, including many low income families, is paying.

Rand Paul, a senator from Kentucky and a possible presidential candidate is in favor of a flat 17 percent income tax for everyone. He and his supporters do not take into consideration what people have left when they pay a flat rate. People least able to pay would be hurt the most. Phil Mickelson makes, by some estimates, over $60 million a year, which means he has about $22 million left after taxes of 63 percent.

It seems many rich people and those that sympathize with them consider the rich unfortunate to pay such a percentage in taxes. Of course not one of them would trade places with those paying no federal income taxes.

Someone once asked why the very rich wanted more money when they had so much. "Power" was the answer. But it's also about the money. It's called greed. It is amazing that so many average citizens defend the rich when it comes to paying taxes and have no compassion for the poor.

Jack Strausser, Elysburg

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