Chicago PM Sunday 22 January 2012
Editors, The New York Times
The New York Times' editorial “The 1% and That 15%” (Wednesday 18 January) laments “the fundamental unfairness of the current tax code...” The biggest reason for this alleged unfairness is that it has been continually adjusted for nearly 90 years by Presidents and federal legislators, goaded by voters. And 90% of those voters opinions are distorted by the 1943 current tax payment act that dictated rather than being paid out of voters personal checking accounts, virtually all of it comes from employer bank accounts.
The 2012 Statistical Abstract of the United States says in 2010, 73% of gross US taxes collected were withheld from wage earners' pay. Since all employers must do this. there is no competitive reason to do anything other than add it to their product price. If that money doesn't get to Treasury, the employer goes to jail, never the wage earner. So more than 2/3 of all taxes received by the federal government come from a silent, painless national sales tax.
Even worse, 80 million wage earner voters have drawers full of pay stubs saying: “You earned and your employer paid” so they think the federal government owes them retirement income and medical care.
This needs neither a super committee nor a Constitutional amendment to fix, only a majority of the House of reps, 60 Senators, and a President with backbone enough to change the US Tax code from "every employer making payment of wages shall deduct and withhold upon such wages a tax..." to "every employer making payment of wages shall pay all of those wages to the employee...."
Returning to voters the responsibility of writing personal checks to fund the government would force them to face how much all these entitlements cost, encouraging election of legislators less likely to support federal vote-buying giveaways.
Arnold H Nelson