There’s a reason we live in a society that might be about to create the world’s first ever trillionaire. The rich keep getting richer while the poor stay poor.
One of the big contributors to this inequality, many feel, is how the tax system works in the United States. It’s well-known that some of the biggest, most profitable corporations are constantly shimmying out of having to pay taxes at all, while wealthy individuals exploit loophole after loophole to hold on to as much of their money as possible—something the rest of us without extravagant wads of cash to our names are unable to do.
But an animation seen last year in The New York Times and that has recently gone viral paints a graphic picture of just how income inequality has been driven by unfair tax rates over the years. Namely, that the rich once paid a high tax rate that benefitted all of society, but how over the years, they’ve been able to skew things to where they are often paying a lower rate than those struggling to survive.
“For the first time on record, the 400 wealthiest Americans last year paid a lower total tax rate — spanning federal, state and local taxes — than any other income group, according to newly released data,” David Leonhardt wrote in his article, “The Rich Really Do Pay Lower Taxes Than You.”
He went on to explain that estate tax and corporate tax have been drastically cut over the years, helping to lower the tax rate on the ultra-rich. Part of this is thanks to President Trump’s 2017 tax cut, but it’s been a long con over the decades, with many players pushing things to where they are now.
It’s possible this information has gone viral now because we’re facing an economic crisis that is brazenly putting the wealth gap in the U.S. on display. Commercial industries are getting bailouts, the already wealthy are getting even higher tax windfalls than usual, and the lower and middle class are struggling to even get those mediocre stimulus checks and complicated unemployment payments.
But whatever the reason, people aren’t thrilled.
And those who rushed to the defense of billionaires were not treated kindly.
Some folks did call into question the validity of the research the graph was based on, and arguments ensued.
But, as mentioned, there’s a reason we’re close to creating trillionaires even as the country is thrown into economic distress. However you spin it, something just isn’t adding up, at least not for the 99%.