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Letters to the Editor

Soak the rich

D.W. Tiffee September 28th, 2011

I got a good chuckle at Mike Brake frantically waving the crying towel for rich Americans (Letters, “Batchelder logic,” Sept. 14, Gazette). What is the relevance that the top 1 percent pay 40 percent of income taxes given that they constitute just half of all federal revenues?

The Congressional Budget Office says the top 1 percent pay 27.6 percent of all federal taxes compared to the 35.6 percent of all national wealth they own (the bottom 90 percent owned just 25 percent).

Billionaire Warren Buffet pointed out in an Aug. 14 New York Times op-ed that because investment income is taxed at just 15 percent, he paid “only 17.4 percent of my taxable income — and that’s actually a lower percentage than was paid by any of the other 20 people in our office. Their tax burdens ranged from 33 percent to 41 percent and averaged 36 percent.

“In 1992, the top 400 had aggregate taxable income of $16.9 billion and paid federal taxes of 29.2 percent on that sum. In 2008, the aggregate income of the highest 400 had soared to $90.9 billion — a staggering $227.4 million on average — but the rate paid had fallen to 21.5 percent.”

Perhaps Mike can enlighten us poor, dumb Okies as to why a small business owner who toils 80 hours a week pays an effective tax rate double that of billionaires who play stock market roulette.

And the economic impact of this?

The 2000s were the first decade since the Depression to have zero net jobs created.

Adam Smith wrote: “The luxuries and vanities of life occasion the principal expense of the rich. … It is not very unreasonable that the rich should contribute to the public expense, not only in proportion to their revenue, but something more than in that proportion.”

Those who profited the most from the lax regulations and tax handouts are going to have to foot the bill for cleaning up the god-awful mess the nation is in.

—D.W. Tiffee

Tiffee ran for U.S. Congress in 1994.

Oklahoma Gazette provides an open forum for the discussion of all points of view in its Letters to the Editor section. The Gazette reserves the right to edit letters for length and clarity. Letters can be mailed, faxed, emailed to or sent online at, but include a city of residence and contact number for verification.

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