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Letter: The rich will continue to avoid paying taxes

The rich will continue to avoid paying taxes

We now know the rich are hiding their incomes in tax havens around the globe. Sure, these hundred-thousand or so households will spend some income in the U.S. on private planes, yachts and other signifiers of wealth. But this will hardly keep the United States economy humming. So can we let go of the trickle-down myth now?

These rich tax evaders are also not contributing to the commonwealth by paying taxes. So no supply-side “miracle” either. (You remember that gem: tax revenues will grow if we cut tax rates.) But then tax avoidance among rich households and corporations has been a thing since about the time Laffer drew his famous graph on a cocktail napkin at a D.C. party. So can we now also let go of the supply-side miracle myth?

You’d think the rich and corporations who have grown wealthy because of what this country offers would be more patriotic. Try doing business in Russia or some other country where an autocrat can just confiscate what you have, or in failed states where property rights and contracts aren’t always enforced, where access to electricity, roads and other infrastructure is intermittent, or where investments in people are so minimal you cannot find a workforce healthy enough, much less educated enough, to maintain your business.

The rich corporations and individuals who would pay tax attorneys and accountants rather than their taxes are unpatriotic ingrates.

Can the middle class be naive enough to believe (again) that by lowering the top marginal income and corporate tax rates, these ingrates will stop trying to avoid paying taxes – any taxes anywhere?

Susan M. Davis


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