- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 24, 2009

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

In a recent report on the 2008 Maryland legislative session, there is a short report that the sales tax on computer services was repealed and replaced with budget cuts and “a temporary surcharge on incomes over $1 million.”

This surcharge tax is fundamentally immoral. I do not come close to being subject to this tax, but I recognize it as state thievery from a minority - basically, “I want something that I am unwilling to pay for, and I can identify an indefensible minority that has (in my opinion) more than they need, and I have the power to take what I want from them.” Who will defend this minority against the depredations of the government? Who feels any pity for anyone who has an income of $1 million? Nevertheless, that doesn’t make it right to misuse the power of the state.

Progressive tax rates have been accepted as a necessity to fund the government (although a flat tax with a large basic exemption is preferable). The flaw we have all witnessed in the application of progressive taxing is the continuous shifting of the burden of taxes to a smaller and smaller proportion of the population. The top 1 percent of taxpayers pay more dollars than the bottom 90 percent of taxpayers. The top 1 percent of taxpayers pay about 40 percent of the income tax burden, while the bottom 50 percent pay just over 3 percent of it. This trend has been continuous for years since President Ronald Reagan.

Singling out that tiny fraction of 1 percent who make more than $1 million and summarily confiscating it to cover a shortfall from a bad but otherwise broadly based tax is a clear misuse of legislative authority.

EDWARD P. McMAHON

Bethesda

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