During the Eisenhower years, the income tax rate on America's super-rich was an incredible 91 percent. Afterall, we had an expensive war to pay for. And, in what must surely surprise us, a Gallup poll showed that 85 percent of the publiic considered that rate to be fair. And where, incidentally, has been the corresponding sacrifice by the rich for our current expensive wars in Iraq and Afghanistan?
That admittedly astronomical WWII rate was lowered under the Kennedy-Johnson administrations to 70 percent. The Reagan administration later went even further, lowering the tax rate on the very rich to 50 percent. Then, in 1986, a coalition of both Republicans and Democrats lowered the top rate to 48 percent under the guise of "tax reform." The idea of a progressive income tax, in which the super-rich would pay higher rates was almost dead.
The current GOP buget, submitted by Congressman Paul Ryan and endorsed by Mitt Romney, will gut Medicare and other social programs and lower the maximum tax rate on the rich to 25 percent. Incredibly, we now have a situation in which the richest one percent of our fellow Americans own and control 40 percent of the nation's wealth, and the enormous gap between our richest and poorest will inevitably grow wider if this budget ever passes Congress.
And, still, to my amazement, we pledge allegiance to a country "with liberty and justice for all." What's wrong with this picture?
M. Jensen Ogden