Across the U.S., in virtually all states and localities, government is on the verge of, or has already, stopped providing essential services. The public coffers are empty. In Arizona, the state sold off its Capitol building. In New York City, one thousand transit workers were given pink slips last week.
Plainly, the U.S. needs a big injection of revenue and, with unemployment at 9.9 percent, it wouldn’t hurt to keep payrolls intact. Many are asking: how could there be trillions of dollars in government aid for banks and insurance companies and so little left over for schools, health and transit?
On top of this nagging question comes the release of data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis: Americans paid their lowest level of taxes last year since Harry Truman’s presidency. Which is to say — tax collection is at its lowest level since 1950.
All income taxes, and property, sales and other taxes combined equaled 9.2 percent of all personal income in 2009. The historic rate for the last half century is 12 percent. All told, taxes paid for 2009 dropped 23%, contributing to the federal debt growing to $8.4 trillion dollars.
Is the cause tax cuts, income declines or the continuing havens offered high income earners? A bit of all three. But one thing’s crystal clear: Reality to Tea Party people: high taxes are the very last thing we should be screaming about.
The F Word is a regular commentary by Laura Flanders, the host of GRITtv which broadcasts weekdays on satellite TV (Dish Network Ch. 9415 Free Speech TV) on cable, and online at GRITtv.org and TheNation.com. Support us by signing up for our podcast, and follow GRITtv or GRITlaura on Twitter.com.