Tax the rich properly

To the Journal editor:

From 1932-1986, our country was remarkable. We built a national highway system with unsurpassed supporting infrastructure. We funded and developed programs such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. We funded the Marshall Plan and rebuilt Europe. We sent men into space, and made it through a World War, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. During this time, the economy and stock market had its ups and downs, but overall it did just fine, and our country and its people prospered.

From 1932-1986, through both Democrat and Republican administrations, we had the foresight and willingness to strive forward, while keeping the national debt manageable. If you check with the IRS’s Historical Tax Table No. 23, or with the Tax Policy Center’s Historical Top Tax Rates, you will find that this was partly accomplished by not allowing the upper tax bracket rate to ever go below 50 percent. National revenue was maintained by having the top 1 percent of our extremely rich citizens help us pay for things.

In contradiction to what some Republican corporate law dogs want you to believe, our quasi-free market, democratic, capitalistic society neither collapsed nor turned communist during those 50-plus years of high top tax bracket rates.

In 1986, Ronald Reagan lowered the top tax bracket rate to a mere 28 percent. Today it sits at just 37 percent. This is while the national debt expands, the wealth gap widens, student debt rages out of control, as a large percentage of our infrastructure is in need of repair, and millions of citizens cry for better, more affordable health care. All the while, the extremely rich accumulate even more wealth. America had voted to make the rich more rich.

Keep in mind that, currently, only the income an individual earns over $500,000 ($600,000 married filing jointly) is taxed at that top tax rate of 37 percent. Up to $500,000, that individual uses the same tax bracket rates that we do. Simply, if you made $540,000, only $40,000 is taxed at that highest rate. Who do you know who makes more than half a million a year?

Take off the red and blue tinted glasses. You will then clearly see that by returning to historic top tax bracket rates for the richest 1 percent, we will be able to better fund those critical programs for the remaining 99 percent.