Mind and Destiny

“I make no pretension to patriotism. So long as my voice can be heard ... I will hold up America to the lightning scorn of moral indignation. In doing this, I shall feel myself discharging the duty of a true patriot; for he is a lover of his country who rebukes and does not excuse its sins. It is righteousness that exalteth a nation while sin is a reproach to any people.”- Frederick Douglass

Location: Delhi, N.Y., United States

The author and his webmaster, summer of 1965.

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Shared Sacrifice

In 1982, the first year the Forbes 400 was compiled, those listed had a combined net worth of $93 billion.  At the time, the 400 had a combined net worth of $2.3 trillion, up 2,400 percent in 30 years.  Meanwhile, the median household income rose only about 180 percent during that time.  And, the percentage of Americans living below poverty level remained at 15 percent over that period.
According to a recent estimate by Bloomberg, Warren Buffett is the third richest person in the world.  In 2010, Buffett announced “The Giving Pledge” with Bill Gates.  The pledge was an initiative aimed at inspiring wealthy people of the world to give the majority of their net worth to philanthropy.
President Obama’s budget urged Congress to support the “Buffett Rule,” that was named after Buffett, who admitted paying a lower tax rate than his secretary.  He believed it was wrong that rich people like himself could pay less in federal taxes as a portion of income than the middle class and voiced support for increased income taxes on the wealthy.
Buffett pointed out: “In recent decades, our country’s rising tide has not lifted the boats of the poor...Last year my federal tax bill — the income tax I paid, as well as payroll taxes paid by me and on my behalf was $6,938,744. That sounds like a lot of money.  But what I paid was only 17.4 percent of my taxable income — and that’s actually a lower percentage than was paid by any of the other 20 people in our office.  Their tax burdens ranged from 33 percent to 41percent and averaged 36 percent… My friends and I have been coddled long enough by a billionaire-friendly Congress.  It’s time for our government to get serious about shared sacrifice.”


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