By Ruth Bayang
NORTHWEST ASIAN WEEKLY
The trend of vilifying the rich has now secured a foothold in Seattle.
On July 10, the Seattle City Council imposed a 2.25 percent tax on any individuals making over $250,000 per year, and married couples filing joint returns with more than $500,000 in annual income.
It’s a move designed to raise revenue and “make the wealthy pay their fair share.”
The last time I checked, “the rich” are the people that create jobs. I’ve never been hired by a broke person.
And here’s a news flash for the middle class. Whenever politicians talk about taxing the rich, hold onto your wallets, because you’re next!
A state law was passed in 1984 that prohibits a county, city, or city-county from levying a tax on net income.
That means a state income tax is a violation of the state constitution. Voters in the state have rejected personal income tax-related measures at the statewide ballot several times over the past eight decades.
The Seattle tax is an intentional legal battle to get the courts to change the constitution, and get around the will of the people. And you better believe that a state income tax won’t target only the rich.
I’m not a tax expert, nor am I a policymaker. Here’s what I understand about taxes.
The rich pay less in income taxes than the middle class because they earn their money differently. They know that the best way to save on taxes is by generating passive income. Passive income is taxed less and is the result of cash-flowing assets, like rental income from real estate, not from getting paid as an employee at a job.
The rich also get scores of tax breaks offered to them by the government to encourage investing and business development, which generates more jobs.
Substitute the word “rich” for any other word — let’s say “Asians.”
“Tax the Asians” — that would be racist, wouldn’t gain any traction, and certainly would not pass.
“Tax the disabled” — nope.
“Tax the… ” — you get my drift.
The only socially acceptable group of people it’s okay to pick on is “the rich.”
The way I see it, money and taxes are a game. A game with rules. Follow the rules and you can play to win.
Ruth can be reached at email@example.com.