Millionaires’ fair share of taxes?

Michelle submits:

I know we have had some discussion on the millionaire’s tax, but I really think that this is a growing issue that should be discussed further. I found this Wall Street Journal article interesting, because it shows that people are supporting this type of tax. With the Occupy Wall street protest, and those around the world, I feel politicians need to open their eyes to what people now see as reality; an institution that is supporting the wealthy and not the majority. How do you think politicians should respond? I feel like they need to recognize that times change and with an upcoming election year, they should consider public opinion.


About Mark P. Holtzman

Chair of Accounting Department at Seton Hall University. PhD from The University of Texas at Austin. Worked at Deloitte's New York Office. BSBA from Hofstra University.


  1. The only problem with public opinion of course would be that if there was an option on who's taxes to raise that said "everyone else" I think we would all pick that. I do agree with the idea though. We have a huge deficit and one group of people who can afford to pay more taxes. I would eventually like to see some kind of sliding scale tax system where we would be able to lower the rates for the rich during prosperous times as well, but I think it is becoming more and more obvious to the rest of our country where the extra revenue needs to come from right now.

  2. It is ridiculous in my opinion to raise taxes for people who are make more money simply because they can afford it. It is easy to say raise taxes for people who can afford to pay more at this stage in life, but if we were millionaires, I think we'd all agree that we would not enjoy that policy. Raising taxes for the wealthy would discourage our capitalistic market. If at one million I had to pay a much different tax rate, I wouldn't push myself to that million. If we think about it, the wealthy are the ones who can provide jobs, for the most part, and the minute we raise their taxes, the minute they decide not to continue expanding businesses and consequently affects unemployment.

  3. I agree with Yvonne because what incentive does one have to work hard and make more money when they will be penalized for it when it comes to taxes. If someone is right at the cutoff point where they would be taxed at the higher rate, what is the incentive to make the extra money? I think that if the millionaires’ tax was imposed that it would lead to a lot of tax and earnings manipulation. With that being said, I do like spfahey’s idea of the sliding scale tax system. I had never heard of that before and if the millionaires tax provision were enforced, I believe this would be a more equitable solution.

  4. I honestly think that the whole "let's tax the rich" is the ultimately populist rhetoric. The top 1% pays over 35% of the nation's taxes, while the top 5% (which includes the top 1%), pays 49% of the nation's taxes! Half of the population doesn't pay any taxes,so I find it ridiculous that they are so generous with other people's money.I honestly think it's an entitlement issue that society has nowadays. I believe that if a person doesn't like their economic situation, they should go ahead and do their best to change it. I know it's hard, but in all honesty, if you can't make it in America, then chances are you won't be able to make it anywhere else (I have friends from India and China who have told me that opening a business in any of those countries it's a nightmare. Even if one bribes the right people, it still takes years).As an analogy, the whole "let's tax the rich because they are rich" it's the equivalent of me demanding that my neighbor's kid mows my lawn because he is younger and stronger. And it's not fair that he doesn't help me. Completely ridiculous.

  5. Not a bad debate going on here. I know taxes usually brings out very passionate discussions so I don't mind the disagreement with my previous post. The only argument that makes me somewhat frustrated is the "Half of the population doesn't pay any taxes" one. While it is true that they do not pay federal income taxes, the majority of those people are part time workers making less than $9,000 of income. We have a standard deduction and personal exemption, so none of us are paying tax on that much income. Why should they? In fact some poor people are treated unfairly by our tax system. People who are wealthier and able to afford a home get to write off their interest and real estate taxes, while the poor who pay rent and are ultimately paying those taxes don't get to write off that amount. I think the "lets tax the rich" thing stems from the fact that we have a budget that we need to meet and the revenue will not create itself. Squeezing more out of the middle class and poor would only hurt any recovery we are seeing. We have had a progressive tax system in this country for many, many years longer than any of us have been alive. We have seen it work and we have seen it fail which is why I would suggest finding a way to balancing our budget on the back of a sliding scale system. I don't think there is an exact number that will ever work, and to maximize our economic benefit we will need a progressive system. If we allow the progressive system to adjust we will be able to meet our budgets. We also need to be more concerned with how our money is spent but that conversation is for another day.

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