Every time a bank fails an angel gets its wings.” So goes a graffito in Manhattan’s East Village. One block away, as marchers occupied Broadway on May Day, their picket signs proclaimed, “Millionaires must pay their fair share” and “No free ride for Wall Street.” Lacking capital letters, another oddly stated: “i put all my books in the oven and i’ll never read again.”
Apart from that last, puzzling sentiment, the placards echoed Occupy Wall Street and its spiritual leader, President Barack Obama. Class warriors scream about imposing “fairness” on the rich, but their shouts become mumbles when asked what precise tax rate achieves “fairness.”
Liberals fall mum amid these facts: In 2009, the latest IRS figures demonstrate, the much-maligned top 1 percent of taxpayers earned 17 percent of national income and paid 37 percent of federal income taxes. The top 10 percent made 43 percent of national income and surrendered 70.5 percent of income-tax revenues. Meanwhile, the bottom 50 percent scored 13.5 percent of national income and paid just 2.3 percent of income taxes.
Unfair? If so, the Left should specify what heavier tax burden on the wealthy or lighter tax load on the lower half of taxpayers would constitute “fairness.”