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The Rich: A New Class of Slaves
Helen & Peter Evans
19 July 2003 Slaves to Federal Taxation

Half of taxpayers are paying virtually all the taxes collected in the country. Doesn't it sound like the top 50% are being exploited by the bottom 50%? 

How would you describe someone who benefits from the involuntary labor of others? Do you think of feudal kings sitting on their royal bottoms, watching the serfs work their lives away? Do you think of plantation-owners profiting from slave labor? Think again.

In the bad old days the poor struggled to support themselves and the dominant elites confiscated land and tribute and coerced labor to enrich themselves. In this enlightened age, however, the working rich bear virtually the whole cost of government and its extensive entitlement programs. The tables are now turned but the left media is trying to convince us that the beneficiaries of our system are really its victims. The outpouring of distortions and just plain nonsense when President Bush signed the recent tax-cut legislation shows how they do it. 

Tom Brokaw led off the NBC Nightly News by insisting that, "in what could be an embarrassing omission in his tax cut package, families making between $10,000 and $26,000 a year come up short." The image conjured up by the innuendo of "embarrassing omission" and "coming up short" is that of an un-caring President who willingly sacrificed these poor, hard-working folks in an eleventh-hour, back room deal to win Congressional passage of his pet bill.  However, Brokaw has an embarrassing omission of his own; namely, that those same families aren't paying taxes anyway, largely as a result of the President's 2001 tax-cut. You can't get a tax reduction if you're not paying taxes.

CNBC anchor Brian Williams employed similar language; "We learned today there is an embarrassing omission in what is now the law of the land. Families making between $10,000 and $26,000 a year get left out while critics say many who do not need a tax cut get one anyway."  Again, the conjured image is that the Bush Administration is giving money to its undeserving friends, while the truly needy are ignored.

The reality shown by the Tax Foundation report is that, in general, the lower the income for parents the greater percentage tax cut they got from the 2001 bill and will from the acceleration signed this week. "Families earning below $35,000 are not included [in the 2003 bill] because the tax cuts enacted in 2001 effectively eliminated their entire income tax liability."

By cherry-picking statistics, the left media attempts to support the notion that the usual suspects ("the rich") are getting richer at the expense of the victimized poor, who are getting poorer.  It is implied that the rich, ie. the top 1% or 5% of taxpayers, are unfairly reaping the lion's share of tax-cut benefits.  But let's look at a broader spectrum of IRS Statistics.

  • The Top 1% of Taxpayers pays 37.4% of the taxes collected in this country.
  • The Top 5% (which includes the top 1%) pays 56.5% of all taxes.
  • The Top 10% pays 67.3% of all taxes.
  • The Top 25% pays 84.0% of all taxes, and the 
  • The Top 50% pays 96.1% of all taxes.

One-twentieth of the taxpayers pay more than half of all taxes! Why, that sounds almost unfair. Only half of taxpayers are paying virtually all the taxes collected in the country! Doesn't it sound like the top 50% are working for, or, more accurately, exploited by the bottom 50%? 

Another notorious piece of distortion by Peter Jennings went like this: "... now that the President's tax cut has become law and people thought the dust of debate had settled here, it turns out that a whole lot of people in the country who could use the money are not going to get it. ABC's Linda Douglass is on Capitol Hill. Linda, it turns out that the Americans in question do not make enough money to qualify."

This bizarre turn of phrase makes it sound as though "a whole lot of people" are being punitively excluded from some rich-folks club because they don't make enough money. Jennings doesn't mention that it's the taxpayer's club a whole lot of people don't qualify for.

For the median family with two children, earning $67,000 per year, the Bush plan would mean a tax cut of $1,133 this year, erasing 22% of their current tax liability. A family earning only $40,000 would see 96% (!) of their tax liability erased, while a family earning $200,000 would see only 9% of their tax liability erased.  So, who's really getting the most benefit?

We could go on with examples of media distortions supporting the old myth that the poor and helpless are still being screwed by the rich and powerful, but, if we look more honestly at the legal and statistical reality, we realize that the poor (in cahoots with their big brothers, the welfare-state, careerist Democrats) are increasingly exploiting the rich through confiscatory taxation, in order to maintain themselves in a state of self-righteous, irresponsible victimhood.

This husband and wife team - international teachers, and  authors, write articles and teach a philosophical approach to conservatism. They have helped thousands of adults in more than thirty countries realize more of the best of themselves through responsibility.  new website is:  http://peterandhelenevans.com.

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