In the March 14, 2001 on-line edition of the Washington Post in an article titled "The Very Rich Pay Growing Tax Share", David Geffen, the music mogul who amassed a $3.3 billion fortune and was placed 70th on the Forbes 400 list of the richest Americans that year, was quoted as saying:
"Speaking for myself, I don't need a tax cut or tax relief…It is a privilege to be an American citizen…It is appropriate to pay a greater share of taxes."
Sure. Easy for you to say, Geffen.
David Geffen made his fortune about 10 years ago by selling his company to Sony for about $2 billion. I believe the federal capital gains rate was about 28% at that time.
I am a single, self-employed taxpayer in the State of Arizona who finds himself in a 46% tax bracket once I reached a very humble $26,250 in taxable income for the 2001 taxation year. The figures (POST Bush tax cuts):
2001 MARGINAL TAX RATES FOR SINGLE SELF-EMPLOYED FILERS LIVING IN ARIZONA:
.275 Federal marginal rate
.153 FICA tax (Social security and Medicaire contributions)
.032 Arizona marginal rate
So, here I am, a struggling working stiff, paying almost 50 cents of every dollar I earn once I reach a paltry $26,250 in taxable income; and David Geffen, who amassed his fortune of billions by paying tax at a rate WAY BELOW what I pay and he has the sanctimonious gall to state that it is "appropriate" to pay a greater share of taxes? Well, he sure as hell didn't.
Geffen supported President Clinton over the 8 years of his presidency and is a well-known Democrat. President Clinton, on reaching office in 1993, immediately put marginal tax rates up to the high levels they are today.
Even the proposals of his successor, George W. Bush, don't go nearly far enough. At the bracket that starts at $26,250, Bush's tax changes from the Summer of 2001 only reduces the federal marginal rate from .280 to .250 over the next four years. Now, Bush has said he also wants to do something with Social Security contributions so that some (not all) can be put into IRAs but, of course, one will still have to set aside that money or else lose it to the federal government (either way, the tax-payer will not have access to those funds for current spending on goods and services).
Progressive taxes don't hurt the fat cat rich like Geffen and never have…the rich already have money. Progressive taxes hurt the poor who aspire to someday become rich.
March 20, 2002