Taxes and inequality

Posted10/28/2020 1:00 AM

Warren Buffett said, "Class warfare? Of course there's class warfare and my side is winning."

French economist Thomas Piketty's new book, Capital and Inequality, shows how all societies have been unequal. Most grossly so. However, after World War I, countries began instituting graduated income taxes, which has caused the greatest reduction of economic inequality in history.


In 1970, Illinois' wealthy guaranteed continuation of their unequal advantage by outlawing a GIT. The Daily Herald, unfortunately, has endorsed continued economic inequality in Illinois for the indefinite future. Our neediest fellow citizens need help now.

True, passing the graduated income tax will not immediately relieve high property taxes. Our debts are a higher priority. And, guaranteeing 3% cost-of-living increases to retired schoolteachers is not sustainable.

However, Illinois will be better equipped to meet its Equity Based Funding obligations in the near term, on its way to meeting its constitutional obligation of 51% funding of local education expenses. Eventually, property taxes will come down if GIT passes.

Instead of raising the taxes needed to meet our financial responsibilities, politicians of both parties have kicked the ball down the road. However, they perceived, correctly I suspect, that they wouldn't have been reelected had they raised taxes. The voters need to grow up.

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"No new taxes" is a shortsighted appeal to voters' fear and greed while preaching austerity for the poor. Better is to love your neighbor and be willing to sacrifice for the common good. Definitely apply the GIT to pensions. World War II debt and the G.I. Bill were gradually paid off with 90% income taxes and the greatest growth in history. Then, Reagan cut taxes on the rich, producing huge deficits and restoring inequality.

The biggest inequality reducer will be a wealth tax on the growth of investments and assets.

Kent Kirkwood

Mount Prospect

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