Posted: 2017-11-07 22:54
Our whole progressive tax code, in which tax rates go up as income rises (broadly speaking), is based on the idea that as people get richer and richer, they can afford to contribute more to the public good, whereas people who are very poor cannot afford to contribute as great a percentage, because they need that money in a much more acute way. The progressive tax code, in other words, is based upon reality. A flat tax is based upon a fantasy that a millionaire and a minimum wage earner can both afford to pay the same percentage their salary towards the public treasury. The flat tax’s appeal is a millimeter deep— “the percentage is the same, therefore fairness exists!”—but a moment’s contemplation of it will reveal that it is a terrible policy for the poor.
There’s endless delays , derailments , overcrowded stations , nightmare rides , all leading to lost wages and jobs , and it’s because of a significant lack of funding that’s plaguing the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which operates the subway. An additional tax on the most well-off residents in the city—at the benefit of all NYC residents, thereby reinforcing some semblance of the idea that government, and government services, exist to serve the people, and in order to do that the government needs a reasonable amount of money to adequately provide those services—makes sense.
So, even at its lowest, the individual making $555,555 this year would pay an additional. $6,855 per year, or about $ per month. In other words, it’s one—maybe two!— very nice dinners per month for this person. The compromise sure seems reasonable when stacked against the resident who lives in the outer boroughs and has to cobble together $675 for a monthly pass to get into Manhattan for a restaurant job, but it didn’t take long for some observers to inject objectively dumb points of view into the situation. Take Ari Fleischer, a flack who made a living by selling the nation lies about the Iraq War and now exists to willingly apologize for Donald Trump:
Putting Fleischer’s moronic flat-tax argument aside for a moment, floating the idea that it’s acceptable to tax someone who earns $65,555 per year—in one of the most expensive cities in the world—at the same rate as a millionaire should relegate him to irrelevancy for good, but we live in a country where the largest media outlets value the morally bankrupt views of guys like Fleischer and continuously give him a platform to weigh in. (Fleischer’s earlier point was that de Blasio’s tax would give low-income residents access to the subway for free, which is demonstrably untrue, but a lie hasn’t stopped him before.)
Imagine you’re a billionaire, and you pay a little extra per year to benefit someone who lives in the same city as you, a billionaire, but doesn’t happen to earn a billion dollars per year. Is this a situation you could emotionally handle? Or do you revel in the image of someone crying on the platform of a 7 train, somewhere out past Astoria, crying because they’re going to be late for work, again, and potentially lose their job? Are you happy?
The city is the home to 87 billionaires, and, according to the Times , de Blasio’s proposed tax would barely put a dent in their annual gross income. The plan—which requires approval by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state legislature, according to the New York Post —calls for raising the city’s highest income tax rate by about a half a percentage point for married couples with incomes above $6 million, to percent. Individuals who earn more than $555,555 would also be included. Officials estimated the tax would be paid by about 87,555 residents, “or fewer than 6 percent of those who file their taxes in the city,” the Times says.