The University of Maine student newspaper since 1875
Sunday, April 19, 11:08 p.m.

Taxing the wealthy best way to relieve stress on middle, lower classes

I have a difficult time following the argument against higher taxation for the wealthiest Americans. Our country’s method of taxation is income based, yet somehow those with the highest incomes are able to avoid the elevated rates that the middle and upper-middle class are forced to pay.

While it seems that many of those against this proposed increase, namely Republicans, have shifted their views, more lawmakers need to follow the same path. It is unethical, unfair and un-American for the wealthy to avoid their fair share of the tax burden.

Warren Buffett, a strong proponent of higher taxes for the rich, is also one of the five wealthiest people in the world. In 2010, Buffett had an adjusted gross income of over $62 million. Of this, slightly more than half, or about $40 million, was deemed taxable. Buffett’s actual income tax bill was under $10 million, or 11 percent of his income.

As a student and part time employee of the University of Maine, I make about $10,000 yearly. My income tax rate, before taking into account student deductions, falls close to 15 percent. While Buffett certainly paid more in taxes than I did, he also paid a lower rate. Buffett also, as he has noted himself, has much more money to give than a student or a low-income family.

The reasoning for this tax loophole seems paradoxical. Those proponents of tax cuts for the wealthy state that the rich create jobs. This may be true, sometimes; but even if so, how does this reasoning make sense? When the one percent are given tax breaks, a heavier tax burden is place upon those “employees” the rich “hire.” These same employees may be those men and women who make inadequate wages, but for some reason they are expected to pick up their wealthy employer’s slack?

And even this argument about “job creation” has its faults. Mitt Romney paid a tax rate of about 14 percent in 2010. Romney has stated he created numerous jobs while he was Governor of Massachusetts and while overseeing Bain Capital. Whether true or not, these claims do not apply to the year 2010; I could find no record of job creation for Romney. Although he paid a tax rate similar to that of school teachers, Mitt Romney actually made $21.5 million and made that $40,000 teacher’s salary in 16 hours.

This all seems easy enough to grasp, yet somehow it’s not. There has been a continuous fight over these tax increases for the entirety of the election season and before. However, it seems that now, Republicans may be coming to their senses. Tax increases on the wealthiest of Americans are necessary to help remove our country from our massive debt and to help potentially ease the tax burdens of those less financially secure.