Letter: An historical perspective on tax rates
With the upcoming election just around the corner, here are a few thoughts for your consideration:
Governor Romney and many Republicans look at our graduated income tax as a redistribution of wealth from the rich to the poor. Actually, the top tax rate has varied from 7 percent in 1915 to a high of 92 percent in 1953. It has since trended downward to the present 35 percent. There are six brackets that begin at 10 percent and move up as income moves up. For example, a couple filing jointly would pay only 35 percent on earned income above $388,350 per year. To me, that’s not much of a redistribution.
With a net worth of $250 million, Romney paid no tax on earned income in 2011. This probably explains his reluctance to release all his returns. Dividends and long-term capital gains, the source of much of his taxable wealth, are taxed at only 15 percent. Here we have a redistribution of wealth from the middle class to the wealthy, who have the excess funds to invest.
In addition, no one knows how much tax he may have avoided by sheltering his wealth offshore in Swiss bank accounts and in the Cayman Islands.
Warren Buffet said, "Debbie (Busanek), my secretary, works as hard as I do and she pays twice the rate I pay. I think that is outrageous!"
In November, you will make a decision. I hope you will give it a lot of thought.
Norris H. Richardson