Posted 7 years ago on Oct. 17, 2012, 11:18 a.m. EST by ThomasKent
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The tax cuts mania that Reagan started was an experiment in trickle-down economics that failed miserably. What happened allowed the enough money to be hoarded by the upper income tax brackets that they were able to capture the regulatory, legislative, executive, and judicial branches of our government.
A progressive tax is a tax by which the tax rate increases as the taxable base amount increases. "Progressive" describes a distribution effect on income or expenditure, referring to the way the rate progresses from low to high, where the average tax rate is less than the marginal tax rate. It can be applied to individual taxes or to a tax system as a whole; a year, multi-year, or lifetime. Progressive taxes attempt to reduce the tax incidence of people with a lower ability-to-pay, as they shift the incidence increasingly to those with a higher ability-to-pay.
Wiki progressive tax
Definition of 'Progressive Tax'
A tax that takes a larger percentage from the income of high-income earners than it does from low-income individuals. The United States income tax is considered progressive: in 2010, individuals who earned up to $8,375 fell into the 10% tax bracket, while individuals earning $373,650 or more fell into the 35% tax bracket. Basically, taxpayers are broken down into categories based on taxable income; the more one earns, the more taxes they will have to pay once they cross the benchmark cut-off points between the different tax bracket levels.
Investopedia progressive tax
During the 1800s economic thinking in the United States usually conformed to the founders’ guiding principles of uniformity and equal protection. One exception was during the Civil War, when a progressive income tax was first enacted. Interestingly, the tax had a maximum rate of 10 percent, and it was repealed in 1872. As Representative Justin Morrill of Vermont observed, “in this country we neither create nor tolerate any distinction of rank, race, or color, and should not tolerate anything else than entire equality in our taxes.”
When Congress passed another income tax in 1894—one that only hit the top 2 percent of wealth holders—the Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional. Stephen Field, a veteran of 30 years on the Court, was outraged that Congress would pass a bill to tax a small voting bloc and exempt the larger group of voters. At age 77, Field not only repudiated Congress’s actions, he also penned a prophecy. A small progressive tax, he predicted, “will be but the stepping stone to others, larger and more sweeping, till our political contests will become a war of the poor against the rich.”
In 1913, almost 20 years later, the ideas of uniform taxation and equal protection of the law for all citizens were overturned when a constitutional amendment permitting a progressive income tax was ratified. Congress first set the top rate at a mere 7 percent—and married couples were only taxed on income over $4,000 (equivalent to $80,000 today). During the tax debate, William Shelton, a Georgian, supported the income tax “because none of us here have $4,000 incomes, and somebody else will have to pay the tax.” As Madison and Field had feared, the seeds of class warfare were sown in the strategy of different rates for different incomes.
It took the politicians less than one generation to hike the tax rates and fulfill Field’s prophecy. Herbert Hoover and Franklin Roosevelt, using the excuses of depression and war, permanently enlarged the income tax. Under Hoover, the top rate was hiked from 24 to 63 percent. Under Roosevelt, the top rate was again raised—first to 79 percent and later to 90 percent. In 1941, in fact, Roosevelt proposed a 99.5 percent marginal rate on all incomes over $100,000. “Why not?” he said when an adviser questioned him.
Progressive Income Tax in US History
History has shown us that trickle-down economics doesn’t work. The progressive tax keeps money in circulation by redistribution to the greater economy instead of being hoarded by narrower interests to the detriment of the overall economy as Reaganomics and GW Bushonomics have demonstrated. We are in the greatest recession, middle class incomes have been stagnant for 30 years, official unemployment hovers near 8%, but is actually claimed to be much higher. The government is far better equipped to manage the national economy than the aggregate of individuals who depend largely on investment bankers to manage their finances.
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