Poor Should Pay Their Fair Share

Steven Greenhut: I was recently on a left-leaning radio show where the host and callers echoed the standard Democratic talking point that the key to solving the state’s budget crisis is to make the rich pay their fair share of taxes. If the rich paid their fair share, of course, the tax burden would increase dramatically on the middle class and poor given that the rich pay far more than their fair share. The Wall Street Journal recently published an article with this stunning statistic: In California, 45 percent of income taxes are paid by the top 1 percent of earners. Nearly 44 percent of the state’s revenues come from income taxes, with the top rate at an alarming 10.3 percent. Treasurer Bill Lockyer’s office today mocked Republican Assembly members who are going to Texas to meet with officials there to learn about why so many Californians are heading to the Lone Star State. But keep in mind that Texas’s top income tax rate is zero — the state has no income tax. No wonder it’s easier for wealthy people to start businesses there than here. Let’s at least dispense with the leftist nonsense that the rich don’t pay their way. It’s the poor that don’t pay their way — they essentially pay nothing in taxes or receive more back in government benefits than they pay into the system, so every new government program is free to them. Why not support it? It’s a good thing that Atlas Shrugged is coming out soon in movie form. Then again, instead of seeing the movie, Californians can just watch the Legislature in action.

APRIL 7, 2011

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