Some politicians say this country is divided into “takers” and “makers.” Americans on Social Security and Medicare are not takers. They have paid into those programs. Poor people may not pay income taxes, but they pay state and local taxes.
Big businesses are huge takers. According to Americans for Tax Fairness, companies such as Google and Bank of America cost this country about $90 million in taxes by diverting profits to dummy companies outside the U.S.
And according to the Economic Policy Institute, American CEOs’ pay, including stock options, jumped about 875 percent from 1978 to 2012, while a typical worker’s pay over the same time increased 5.4 percent. Stephen Hemsley, CEO of United Health Group, received $101 million a year in compensation. Overpaid CEOs need less pay and workers need more.
Americans pay Social Security taxes on the first $113,700 of earned income. Millionaires pay on only $113,700, regardless of how many millions they take home. Heirs can inherit up to $5.5 million and not pay one penny in taxes. That's fair?
American capitalism has allowed about 13 million millionaires to exist, which is terrific. Good for them. However, we also have one of the highest percentages of poor people among developed countries. Something is wrong.
All Americans deserve to have a fair chance at a decent life. Splitting people into two opposing groups, takers and makers, does not help, nor does cutting unemployment and food stamps.
More jobs, a living wage for workers, and fair taxes would help.
Ellen Field, New Gloucester