Archive for Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Tax equity

February 10, 2004


To the editor:

In a Feb. 5 letter to the editor, Joel Wagler advocates the abolition of the income tax and an increase in sales taxes because everyone then pays the same percentage on purchases and "what could be more fair than that?"

I am afraid I could not invite Wagler as a guest lecturer in my introductory economics course at Kansas University. He is totally wrong. We teach that sales tax is a highly regressive tax that takes a much larger portion out of the income of the poorer people.

How come? It's really very simple. The poor person by necessity spends most, if not all, of his income and so pays that tax on most of it. The wealthy person, however, does not pay a sales tax on what goes into savings and what is spent on the purchase of stocks and bonds, on premiums for health and life insurance policies, or on maid and butler services.

The income tax, on the other hand, is the only really progressive tax that takes a larger percentage out of the pockets of the higher income-earners, which is, in my opinion, as ought to be.

Sorry, Mr. Wagler. If the state or the federal government needs more, it should, in my opinion, come from taxes levied on people according to their ability to pay, and as long as it is for worthwhile social purposes, I for one shall be happy to pay my fair share.

Harry G. Shaffer,


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