Paul Buchheit | June 20 2016 | Common Dreams
While candidates bicker and Congress stagnates and the rest of us dwell on the latest shooting tragedy, the super-rich enjoy the absence of attention paid to one of our nation’s most destructive issues.
The richest Americans are takers of social benefits. Yet they complain about paying 12% to 20% in taxes, even as respected researchers estimate an optimal revenue-producing rate of 80% to 90%, and even with the near-certainty that higher marginal tax rates will have no adverse effects on GDP growth.
The super-rich pay little in taxes because, as Senator Lindsey Graham said, “It’s really American to avoid paying taxes, legally…It’s a game we play…I see nothing wrong with playing the game because we set it up to be a game.” In reality, it’s a game of theft from the essential needs of education, infrastructure, and jobs.
The Richest Individuals Cheat the Most
According to a recent IRS report, an incredible $406 billion annual gap exists between owed and paid taxes, with individuals accounting for over three-quarters of the total, and with the most egregious misreporting coming from the highest income-takers.
That’s about $3,000 per U.S. household in annual lost revenue. Yet even though the IRS retrieves well over $100 for every dollar in salaries paid to their agents, the agency has been rapidly losing staff, making the tax avoidance game a lot easier for the biggest cheaters.
Corporations Cheat Most Creatively
Relative to a dollar of payroll tax, corporations used to pay $3 in income tax. Now they pay 30 cents.
Despite having billions in profits and nearly half of its sales in the U.S., Pfizer claimed enormous losses in the United States.