EdithKeeler and jwiest are referring to the highest marginal tax rates, which are, in fact, much lower now than they were when we enjoyed great economic growth in the 50s and 60s.That's nice. Are you arguing that high tax rates caused great growth in the 50's and 60's?The rich pay more in taxes now, but they control far more of the nation's wealth than they did then. Barring a super-race of remarkably smart and productive wealthy folk (were their predecessors 50 years ago so much dumber or less productive?), this just means the rich are richer than they were in comparative terms 50 years ago. Guess what that means about how much of the nation's wealth is held by everyone else compared to 50 years ago?And yet some advocate for squeezing the bottom quintiles harder for taxes, because a maximum 39 percent marginal tax rate is so hard for today's richer Richie Rich (paying an effective tax rate of 13 percent or so) to bear. It's irrelevant how much wealth anyone holds. If I own a Cadillac and the guy next to me owns a Ferrari, what's the difference? The fact of the matter is this: the rich pay more proportionately now than they have in years and at the same time the poor pay less. The biggest problem we have is a misperception of what American standard of living should be like: in the 1950's the rest of the world was recovering from a global war that devastated every major industrial power...except us. Expecting the kind of growth and standard of living to continue forward at that rate is unrealistic.
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