[extropy-chat] Tax Burden Gap

Chris Hibbert hibbert at mydruthers.com
Tue Aug 17 20:36:49 UTC 2004

Damien forwarded some statistics:
> In 1998, they owned 59 percent of all wealth. Or to put it another
> way, the top 5 percent had more wealth than the remaining 95 percent 
 > of the population, collectively.
> The top 20 percent owns over 80 percent of all wealth. In 1998, 
> it owned 83 percent of all wealth.

But notice that these are statistics for wealth, not income.  In the US 
(and I have to assume until corrected, in Australia as well) most taxes 
are based on income, not wealth.  If you wanted to raise the income tax 
enough on the wealthy to counter their assets, you'd have to structure 
the taxes very carefully, or you'd snare people with lots of income but 
not much wealth, or people whose earnings merely resembled that of the 

I assume this difficulty is part of the reason the wealthy don't bear 
more of the burden.  Another part, obviously, is that the wealthy are 
willing to, and can afford to hire lawyers and lobbyists to make sure 
taxes don't hit them very hard.

C. J. Cherryh, "Invader", on why we visit very old buildings:
       "A sense of age, of profound truths.  Respect for something
       hands made, that's stood through storms and wars and time.
       It persuades us that things we do may last and matter."

Chris Hibbert
hibbert at mydruthers.com

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