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posted: 9/30/2013 5:00 AM

Rich could handle a bigger tax share

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The Daily Herald printed a "Guest View" on Sept. 6 by Ben VanMetre of the Illinois Policy Institute, which the Herald characterized as a free market think tank. The IPI is a member of ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council, a major driving force for reactionary conservative legislation which receives significant funding from the Koch brothers. The IPI is a 501(C)(3) organization that permits it to hide the names of its donors.

Does anyone doubt that large corporations and the rich dominate federal and state policies through their lobbyists and campaign contributions? In a truly "free market" we give everyone an equal chance. We wouldn't riddle our laws with subsidies and tax loopholes for the well connected.

The simple fact is that the super rich, generally, don't want to contribute any more to the common good than they can get away with. The progressive income tax asks that those who are most able to pay bear a bigger share of the common burden. Most states that have income taxes have progressive income taxes. However, ALEC has recently succeeded in getting some states to switch from progressive to flat taxes. Flat taxes are regressive because they place a relatively greater burden on those least able to pay. In 1970, forces representing the affluent of Illinois locked the regressive flat tax into our Constitution.

Since Proposition 13 in California there has been an endless demagoguery by the right wing over taxes, e.g., Mr. VanMetre's statement "Illinois residents are sick of taxes." The citizens need to decide what services they want from their government and then they need to fully pay for those services. Conservatives foster an austere small government.

We could have something approaching heaven on earth if the wealthy would willingly share their assets and income for the common good.

R. Kent Kirkwood

Mount Prospect

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