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Letter: Fixing an uneven tax code should be a top priority

Fixing an uneven tax code should be a top priority

George Will’s recent commentary on Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ campaign for president left out half of the economic story. Sanders is well known for his democratic socialist positions. Quoting economist Nicholas Eberstadt, Will referred to the United States’ entitlement programs as the “fastest growing source of personal income.”

Will blames the federal government that creates and sustains assistance programs, for example, earned income tax credit, food stamps and Temporary Assistance to Needy Families. Yes, Congress passed these programs and presidents signed off. Low-income people rely on assistance programs to survive, absent good-paying jobs.

One-percenters give Congress huge campaign contributions and pay lobbyists to lobby for rules that benefit the very rich. While then-presidential candidate Mitt Romney paid 13 percent income tax, I paid over 35 percent on my middle-class salary. Our federal tax system is rigged to benefit one-percenters. Much of one percenters’ income comes from capital gains, dividends and interest, which are taxed at much lower rates than salaries and wages. No Social Security or Medicare contributions are paid on capital gains, only on wages and salaries.

During the past 30 years, altered federal fiscal policies have redistributed wealth to the top. The middle class suffers income stagnation, unemployment and loss of wealth. Google for the October 2012 “CPA Journal” and read an analysis of federal tax policies and the feasibility of tax reform.

We are experiencing “class warfare.” It’s been going on for years. The humming economy of the 1950s benefited most income groups. There were many more federal tax brackets. The tax collected on income in the highest tax bracket was 90 percent.

It is not entitlements for low-income folks destroying democracy and widening the wealth gap. The culprit is entitlement for the top income group. Let’s do something to fix this.

Lynda Stephens

Buffalo