To the Editor:
I would like to address the misleading logic levied by Will Edwards in his column (“Current tax rates place excessive burden on rich,” 2/25).
Edwards complains, for example, that the best-paid 6.7 percent of Americans cough up 58.4 percent of the national income tax. This may indeed seem excessive, until one realizes the appallingly lopsided distribution of net wealth in the United States. According to the Joint Economic Committee of Congress, the wealthiest 1 percent of American families controls over 40 percent of the net wealth, whereas the bottom 50 percent of families controls just 3 percent of the net wealth.
Thus, if the government taxed net wealth and not just income, the bottom 50 percent of American families would pay roughly 1 percent of overall taxes, assuming a contemporary sliding tax scale.
This begs the question: why not eliminate taxes for that segment altogether? The effect on the federal budget would be negligible, and the less-wealthy half of Americans would be able to retain badly needed income.
Thus, Edwards’ call to further squeeze the poor, who have so incredibly little as it is, comes across as quite egotistical and heartless.
As future American leaders, Yale students must not forget the needs of the less fortunate.
Christopher Potter ’03
February 26, 2002