In a recent Wall Street Journal column by Lawrence Lindsey, the former Federal Reserve Governor takes issue with a statement made by Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner. Last week, Geithner said that the “most fortunate Americans” should have to shell-out more in taxes for the “privilege of being an American.”
Lindsey notes three distinct problems with Geithner’s statement. First, he says that a privilege is something granted to an individual by someone higher in power. This goes directly against our nation’s founding principles. Those who govern us do not in any way grant us privileges. It is our elected officials who have been given the privilege of serving the American people.
Second, Lindsey reminds his readers that America’s top earners pay a record share of income taxes. He argues that the relative tax burden on the top 5% of taxpayers compared to the other 95% has grown from three-to-one before 1980 to almost six-to-one today.
Third, the author points out a blatant logical problem with Geithner’s argument. If being governed is a privilege for American citizens, why shouldn’t everyone pay for that privilege? Why only those making more than $250,000? More than half of American workers pay no income taxes, yet somehow to the Obama administration, it seems fair that those over an arbitrary threshold must take responsibility for the burden.
The entire article can be found at the Wall Street Journal.