All the furor over Trump's tax returns and the "Top 1%" paying their fair share draws focus to the need for a major tax code overhaul.
Social media is ablaze with memes showing a comparison of President Trump’s effective tax rate from 2005 as compared to President Obama’s and Bernie Sanders’ taxes, ignited by Rachel Maddow’s release of a portion of Trump’s 2005 return.
The somewhat embarrassing truth shows that Trump, at least in that year, paid a higher percentage of taxes than did the other two in different years. It is correct, I suppose, but comparing one year to another seems an attempt to cherry-pick to prove a point.
Trump has not released his returns to the public, and is unlikely to do so, since it is not a requirement of keeping his job as POTUS, but the returns themselves are not the real issue that the opposition is looking to bring to light. The actual focus from the Democrats is on the source of Trump’s income, which they want the public to believe came from shady sources. The left would sell their soul for some proof of collusion between Trump and the Russians, legal or illegal, that they could use to tint the color of his presidency.
Be that as it may, the conversation about fair share of taxes has now taken center stage, but we don’t exactly have an accurate description of what determines what a “fair share” is. Many believe it is a floating standard, based on the level of one’s income, usually followed by the statement that the wealthy should shoulder a greater burden of the cost of running the nation than those less fortunate.
The most recent campaign was filled with concerns about the “top 1%” and the Wall Street financiers failing to pay their “fair share” of taxes. But, how can you quantify accurately what a fair share of someone’s income should be? And shouldn’t everyone be held to the same standard of determining a fair share, whether they make $30,000 or $30 million?
As a nation, we cry against discrimination every day, so is it right to discriminate against the wealthy, just because they have more income than we do?
So, the only fair measurement of a person’s “fair share” is the IRS acceptance of their tax return as being accurate and complete. In other words, the taxes paid by the filer of the return were what the government required them to pay, after taking advantage of all deductions and tax breaks allowed by, the current tax code, currently more than 74,000 pages long.
If the IRS says your tax return is accurate, and that you did not take any unauthorized deductions or credits, you have paid what the government says you owe, or your fair share. The dollar amount of the taxes you pay is irrelevant.
The fact that someone can make $30 million and pay very little or no income tax is not the fault of the individual, but the fault of Congress, which makes the rules to determine what you can and cannot deduct, and credits you can receive, and the tax you pay.
If you believe the “top 1%” are not paying their fair share, focus not your energy on the one percent, who are following the rules, but rather on your representatives to reform the voluminous, bloated tax code, and make it fair for all, rich and poor.
Tax reform has been promised for decades, while the tax code itself has almost tripled in size since 1984. It is time to re-write the code, make it simple and fair for all, and hold everyone accountable to pay whatever is their fair share.
As for the Democrats wanting to expose Trump’s sources of income, that could be another backfire moment. I’m sure many of the donors to the party would not exactly want to have their sources of income laid bare for all to see as well. It seems pretty evident we all swim in the same ocean.
But that is a discussion for later.