Thursday, March 22, 2007

To Do Health Care Right The Rich Must Be Taxed

The headline link above leads to an editorial by State Co-Chair Bob Master and Executive Director Dan Cantor of the Working Families Party. It was printed in the Albany, NY Times-Union on March 14, 2007. WFP is a progressive New York State political party.

Though their editorial deals with New York State, they point out a reality that often seems to be missed in the major media nationwide, that our biggest problems with funding health care and education is a lack of taxpayer revenue, and that the superrich pay inordinately low tax rates.

Here are a few excerpts:

"Gov. Spitzer's budget proposal has a lot of good stuff in it: Education funding. Better allocation of economic development funds. Expansion of health care programs for children and the poor. But there are two big problems. The first is the health care cuts. And the second is an unwillingness to raise taxes on the superrich.

They are the ones who actually keep winning this debate, because they depend less on the public goods and services that go underfunded, and make out like bandits from counterproductive tax cuts at the state and federal level.

Take a breath and consider this: There are approximately 44,000 New York taxpayers with incomes more than $1 million a year -- that means they earn more than $20,000 per week. They claim an astonishing $225 billion each year, a full quarter of all income in the state. In other words, this elite club takes in more than New York's entire middle class, the 2.5 million households earning between $50,000 and $150,000 a year. The inequality in wealth that results is even more astonishing.

In order to have the kind of equitable society we all want, the rich must be taxed in fair proportion to their earnings.

/Dick Jones

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