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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 6/6/15

Who Pays Taxes in the US? Everyone but the Super-Rich

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Why are our seniors paying higher taxes on their social security benefits than billionaires pay on stocks?

The IRS released a new report that reveals the staggering amount of money that the top one-thousandth of the 1% in the US is hoarding.

While the top earners in the bottom 50 percent of Americans only make 36,000 dollars a year - the bottom earners in the top one-thousandth of the 1% "only make" more than 62 million dollars a year.

Sixty-two million dollars per year is what it takes to be a top one-thousandth one percenter -- and those are the poorest of the richest households -- on average the top earners make more than 160 million dollars a year.

That's 160 times richer than the average one percenter who only makes about 1.5 million dollars.

That's an obscene concentration of wealth -- but that's not the most outrageous part of the story, because those top earners are paying a lower tax rate than working class Americans and retirees.

The highest tax rate on income taxes in 2014 was 39.6 percent for households earning more than 439,000 dollars -- and the majority of US households paid an income tax rate of between 15 percent and 28 percent.

Those are households of plumbers, bus drivers, doctors and engineers -- the average working Americans who create real wealth for the economy.

Meanwhile the banksters and vulture capitalists -- the billionaires who make most of their income by moving money back and forth -- pay a maximum rate of 20 percent of their earnings from the stock market.

How does this happen? Why did Mitt Romney pay a lower effective tax rate in 2011 than a waitress earning $2.13 an hour?

It started with the memo that Lewis Powell wrote in 1971 -- just a few months before Nixon nominated him to the Supreme Court.

In no unclear terms -- Powell wrote: "Business must learn the lesson, long ago learned by labor and other self-interest groups. This is the lesson that political power is necessary; that such power must be cultivated; and that when necessary, it must be used aggressively and with determination -- without embarrassment and without the reluctance which has been so characteristic of American business."

And for the last 40 years -- business has followed Powell's advice to a "T": by taking over our education system; purchasing the nation's newspapers, TV and radio stations; filling the courts with activist judges; and filling Washington with lobbyists and corporate-owned lawmakers.

And what have they done with that power?

They've rigged the system against the average American and in favor of themselves.

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Thom Hartmann is a Project Censored Award-winning New York Times best-selling author, and host of a nationally syndicated daily progressive talk program on the Air America Radio Network, live noon-3 PM ET. His most recent books are "The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight," "Unequal Protection: The Rise of Corporate Dominance and the Theft of Human Rights," "We The People," "What Would Jefferson Do?," "Screwed: The Undeclared War Against the Middle (more...)

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