There are a lot of questions about why the gap between the incomes and wealth of the very rich and the rest of us has grown over the last 40 years after shrinking for the previous 35 years. The answers are many, but one seems obvious. Between 1945 and 1980 the top income tax bracket was never less than 70 percent. During the 1950s and early 60s it was over 90 percent. Those tax revenues were used to hold the cost of education low, build the interstate highway system, help people buy their first homes, fund flights to the moon and many other things that helped the middle class with education and jobs. It wasn’t income redistribution, it was asking the most fortunate in our society to help fund opportunities for the rest of us.
In the 1980s governments began an experiment based on an economic model that said reducing taxes would increase wealth and pay down the federal debt. By 1982 the top tier rate had dropped to 50 percent, by 1988 it had dropped to 28 percent. Now it is 39.6 percent. The wealth gap and federal deficit have grown for the last 45 years. It’s time to rethink that failed economic model.
Darwin Roy, Mayfield
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