The “greatest generation” paid a top rate of 90% in federal income tax (36% on long-term capital gains). Most people, not being rich, paid nowhere near that top rate, of course, and no one is suggesting anything like that rate today – nor should they. But we had World War II to fight back then, and then to pay off over the ensuing 35 years as we got our war debt back down to a reasonable levels. Which reasonable level Reagan, Bush, and Bush blew back out of the water with massive tax giveaways mostly to the wealthy.

Enjoy the patriotic feeling it’s still possible to have when you pay your estimated tax tomorrow. America is a wonderful country; the obsession some rich people have with not paying taxes is certainly misguided (it’s destroying their country) and arguably selfish or even shameful.

I do not myself argue that it’s shameful because I think those folks have persuaded themselves it’s good economics – that they are the job creators, etc. It’s only truly shameful if they realize how selfish they’re being. Though – deep down – can they really not? Can one of my Republican classmates who threw himself a multi-million dollar birthday party really believe his talents are so extraordinary that, when he makes $500 million, it’s because he “created so much value?” Steve Jobs has created tremendous value. But this guy? He makes deals, some of which work out, some of which don’t.

Or what about the folks who take huge risks trading financial futures with other people’s money. How have they “created enormous value” when their bets turn out right? Why do so many of them feel they are the ones with the raw deal, having to pay a chunk of their seven-, eight-, or nine-figure incomes in taxes, when their nannies and hedge-trimmers and cleaning ladies pay little or no income tax?

Anyway, don’t forget to mail in your third quarterly 2011 estimated income tax tomorrow if you’ve had appreciable income on which tax has not been withheld.


Here’s the bill, summarized for easy digestion. It will be a badly needed boost.


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