23 October 2013

Outrage! Millions Unfairly Pay Tax of 100%

I don't know what you think to be a fair tax rate. It could be, though, like me you think that an income tax of 100% is too high. Outrageous, even. Something that should never be allowed.

Since January 2010, the unemployment rate has averaged 8.6%. Last month it was down to 7.2% but that still represents 4.1 million long-term unemployed and another 852,000 discouraged workers who've essentially given up on finding a job.

At least half of these millions are effectively paying a tax of 100%. They have no jobs. They have no income. This is not because we've had a doubling of lazy or irrelevancy since unemployment was only 4%. This is because of economic conditions they didn't create. And here's the crazy thing: the right stimulus package could have lowered the numbers of long-term unemployed and discouraged by half.

Meanwhile, we continue to cut government jobs and spending, focusing on deficits before we focus on unemployment. Through the end of 2012, about a million public sector jobs had been eliminated since the start of the Great Recession. This is the biggest loss of public sector jobs since the end of World War 2. Estimates are that the ripple effect of this is another 700,000 private sector jobs. Simply leaving the number of public sector jobs stable through the recession could have cut long-term unemployment in half.

When we have a recession, there is a bill to pay. We're lying to ourselves if we try to say that by keeping the bill out of the deficit total no one has to pay it. By dragging out the recession longer than it has to be, we've made millions of people pay the most ridiculously high tax one could: a full 100%.

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