Wednesday, May 17, 2017

A 'Fat Cat Tax'?

Posted By on Wed, May 17, 2017 at 4:47 PM

click to enlarge COURTESY OF BIGSTOCK PHOTOS
  • Courtesy of Bigstock Photos
A Fat Cat Tax. I like the sound of it. The imagery is so much better than saying, as I often do, that we should tax the rich, or, more gently, that the wealthy should pay its fair share. It's the same thing no matter how you say it, except for the visuals.

Fat cat tax. That's one of the ideas in the Britain Labour Party's election manifesto where it proposes a tax hike on the top 5 percent. The party's new platform is more radical than anything our Democratic Party has suggested or is likely to suggest, but Labour is trying to get back to its left-wing roots which it abandoned during the Tony Blair era. Based on its weak numbers lately, the move to the right hadn't done it any good. Getting a little radical and earning some extra media can't hurt. See for example: Bernie Sanders.

Here's the plan. The vast majority of Brits, 95 percent of them, would pay no more taxes than they do now. Taxes would rise for anyone making more than the equivalent of $103,000 American. The rate would go up still more for those making over $159,000. Now, here's where the "fat cat tax" part comes in. Companies would pay an extra 2.5 percent in taxes on every salary more than $425,000, and an extra 5 percent for anyone who makes over $645,000.

Why does the Labour Party want all that extra money? Because it wants to spend more, of course, on things like getting rid of university tuition, building homes and improving health and social care. Call them the "tax and spend" Labour Party if you want. I'm good with that, except I would rephrase it. "Tax and spend" is a phrase the right wing came up with to make it sound like the left wants to tax people for spite and spend money for the hell of it. A more accurate way to say it is, "Tax so you can spend on things the society needs."

Most Democratic politicians, especially those in Arizona, avoid the "T" word like it's a coiled rattlesnake. Yet they say we need to spend more on education, and roads, and social services, and state parks. How are they going to do that? Sure, it's a great idea to get rid of giveaway tax breaks, but I'm not convinced that's going to generate enough to fund all the state's needs which have gone wanting for far too long. Whenever we go to the tax well, it always ends up as a hike in the regressive sales tax. That's what the renewal of Prop. 301 for education is all about. Right now it's a six-tenths of a cent sales tax which is set to expire soon. Education advocates not only want to renew it, they want to move it up to a penny. They're absolutely right about the need for more fund, but there's a better way to get there than the sales tax.

By wide margins, Arizonans want more money for our children's educations, and they want less pains in their asses from driving over potholed roads. We could deal with both those issues if more money flowed into the state coffers. It doesn't sound like a hard sell to tell 95 percent of the voters we can fund schools, roads and more without costing them a dime. We'll pay for it with a tax on the wealthy, which will make them . . . just a little less wealthy. If Democrats start saying that with one voice and continue speaking up without being intimidated or letting themselves be drowned out by tax cutting Republicans and their fat cat donors, the word will get through. Remember, you don't need a 95 percent vote to win elections. You only need 50 percent plus one.

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