This one chart speaks volumes.
It says we have a tax system in states and communities all across this country that enables those who are well connected politically to avoid paying their fair share. It says there is a close relationship between your tax burden and your ability to make large political donations and pay lobbyists to work for you in the corridors of power. It exposes one of the chief reasons why so much wealth is concentrated in so few hands, and why the gap between the rich and the rest of us continues to grow. Political and economic inequality feed each other.
At Blue Jean Nation, we see no need for new taxes, but insist that everyone pay the ones we already have. There should be one tax system that applies equally and fairly to all. This one chart shows that we do not have that in America today.
We have our work cut out for us. Achieving one-for-all taxation involves systematically identifying and closing loopholes, tax shelters and other features of the tax code that facilitate tax avoidance. Also required is a commitment to taxation based on ability to pay and elimination of current policies that doom low- and middle-income folks to pay a larger share of their incomes in total state and local taxes than high-income tax dodgers.
Needed most of all is an answer to political privilege. So long as the parties and political establishment are so consumed by the task of catering to the wealthy and their lobbyists, this one chart won’t change as it needs to if America is to grow together rather than growing apart.