To the Editor:
I would like to propose some alternate concepts concerning Gerard McLain’s letter “All things are not equal,” which appeared March 23.
First of all, I don’t believe that most progressives believe that everything should be equal. I think most progressives believe that the system right now is rigged.
Consider the following facts: 46.2 million Americans are working but are below the poverty line. At the same time, the top 50 employers of low-wage workers paid their CEOs an average annual income of $9.4 million a year and paid out $175 billion in dividends since 2007.
The accusation of punitive taxation is a fantasy. Tax rates are the lowest they have been in 50 years. The top tax rate under President Eisenhower was 91 percent.
I find it extremely interesting that Mr. McLain is upset about tax money going to a “safety net that is way too big.” (By the way, what exactly does that mean?) But he has nothing to say about the fact that Facebook, which posted a $1.1 billion profit will be rebated $429 million in taxes this year, and ExxonMobil will be rebated over $30 billion.
The average income tax paid by the top 1 percent of wage earners was 15 percent. The fact is that over the past 30 years, income to the middle class and below is flat, whereas the rich have seen their incomes explode.
It is extremely difficult, in today’s world, to achieve from a starting point of poverty what Mr. McLain was able to achieve. I don’t want everything to be equal, but it is high time that the playing field was leveled.
Finally, I too rose from poverty to enjoy a successful career. I am a liberal. I am not mean-spirited, guilt-ridden, or scornful.