Time for an Income Tax Walk-Out
Who pays income tax? US!
Us, and almost nobody but us.
“Us” being the kind of people who read American Consequences.
People who make more than $134,299 a year pay 83.9% of U.S. individual income tax. (Add those who make more than $79,499 and it’s 97.3%.)
WE PAY ALL THE INCOME TAX.
Only about 27 million of us – in a nation of 325.7 million – are shelling out that 83.9%. Each of us is carrying the freight for eleven other people.
And we’re getting a damn bad deal for our labors.
America’s infrastructure is crumbling.
America’s public education system stinks.
America’s military is splendid but underpaid and overstressed.
America’s national debt is soaring.
America’s Social Security and Medicare programs are woefully underfunded.
Crime is prevalent. America’s murder rate is 4.88 per 100,000 population compared to a rate of 1.58 in France, 0.92 in the U.K., and 0.31 in Japan.
Poverty is prevalent too. America, the richest nation in the history of the world, has 43.1 million people living in poverty. Meanwhile our federal government spends $729 billion a year on poverty programs – $16,914 per poor person when the “poverty threshold” for a household of two is $16,240.
Furthermore, our borders are not secure. (Lena Dunham swore she’d go to Canada if Donald Trump got elected and she’s still in the U.S. What is ICE for?)
We work every day, all year long, and incompetence, malfeasance, and misappropriation take the profits.
Going on strike is what we Americans have traditionally done when our bosses are “Malefactors of Great Wealth” who treat the people working for them like dirt.
We’ve got a bunch of Malefactors in Washington. They may not be, technically, constitutionally, our “bosses,” but they definitely boss us around. A federal budget of $4.09 trillion is Great Wealth and then some. We’re in 24% to 37% tax brackets, so we certainly work for them. And they treat us like dirt.
Let me pause for a moment in my righteous indignation to point out that the “we” we’re talking about are not “the rich.” We ain’t rich.
Yes, $134,000 a year is better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick. But a couple of years ago USA Today ran an interesting article by Howard R. Gold, “What It Costs to Live the American Dream.”
Mr. Gold defined “living the American Dream” as having enough money for a family of four to afford decent food and clothing, own their home (that is, pay off its mortgage), have one reasonably new car, a good health insurance policy, and the means to fund a modest retirement account and put away about $2,500 a year for the children’s education. Mr. Gold estimated the annual pre-tax income necessary for this dream life to be… $130,000.
The livers of the American Dream going on strike is, I know, not an original idea. Ayn Rand proposed it more than 60 years ago in her novel, Atlas Shrugged. Rand imagined America’s “productive individuals” escaping from a government run by collectivist “looters” and hiding out somewhere in the Rockies in a place called “Galt’s Gulch.”
Forget Galt’s Gulch. And, anyway, the Obama administration probably declared it a National Historic Landmark and posted park rangers to keep us out.
We’ll stay put. We’ll just quit working. And we’ll get by.
We’ve got some physical skills and mental resources or we wouldn’t be pulling down $134K. We’ll move into the RV or the lake cottage or the duck blind. We’ll go off the grid. We’ll homeschool the kids. We’ll trade. We’ll barter. We’ll dust off grandpa’s moonshine still. We’ll grow vegetables on the front lawn and graze cattle in the backyard. We’ll go hunting and fishing. (My bird dogs will love me being on strike.) Plus the pet rabbit looks just about the right size for the stew pot.
Individual income taxes provide the federal government with 47.3% of its revenue. Payroll taxes – and there won’t be many of those without us on the payroll – provide another 34.1%. And corporate taxes provide 9.2%, but we run the corporations so scratch that. Let’s see how well the government gets by on a fraction of its revenue.
The government is already broke. Now it will be really broke. Congressmen will be living under bridges. Senators will be eating cat food. Cabinet secretaries, Supreme Court justices, Joint Chiefs of Staff, government agency directors, and GS-15 senior bureaucrats will be selling pencils on street corners.
See you on the picket line!
Come to think of it, no picketing. Let’s make this a sit-down strike. Bring lawn chairs. We’ll set up in front of the Treasury Department and watch Steven Mnuchin beg for spare change. BYOB.