I would not leap to the conclusion that Lincoln was a Marxist. One of the great draw backs to the American Civil war was stuff like the draft and the income tax, at least the continuation of both. Lincoln made the tax progressive, but not because it was fair or anything of that nature. He just had to fund the war. He needed bodies – the draft and he needed money - the income tax. He did what he had to do to preserve the union. In the process he trampled on a number of things that would upset folks today. One example is suspending Habeas Corpus. He locked anybody and everybody up without due process. I think what Lincoln did is in line with what is required to deal with groups like al-Qaeda. The fact that Lincoln initiated a military draft and produced an income tax does not make either of them any better as ideas than suspension of Habeas Corpus.
I get the idea that a rich man’s dollar is not as great a sacrifice as a poor man’s dollar. I just do not want us to get carried away with progressive taxation. The French were toying with the idea of taxing the rich at a 75% level. The rich all threatened to move and the courts did not support it. Looks like that proposal may be a dead effort. Even the French understand that at a certain point progressive tax becomes excessive.
We will never agree on the concept of income taxes. I can concede the point that income redistribution is upward. There may not be anything evil about that particular trend. I do not have a problem with it and agree with Andrew Carnegie – 1889:
[em]“The contrast between the palace of the millionaire and the cottage of the laborer with us to-day measures the change which has come with civilization. This change, however, is not to be deplored, but welcomed as highly beneficial. It is well, nay, essential for the progress of the race …” NORTH AMERICAN REVIEW. 1889 Andrew Carnegie http://eweb.furman.edu/~benson/docs/carnegie.htm
If you like articles on taxes (I know everybody has their own spin on the data and I realize that this article has as much chance of changing your opinion as your wikipedia post had on mine) try this one by Walter Williams: http://townhall.com/columnists/walterewilliams/2012/08/29/the_rich_dont_pay_enough/page/full/
Some Key points:
According to IRS 2007 data, the richest 1 percent of Americans earned 22 percent of national personal income but paid 40 percent of all personal income taxes. The top 5 percent earned 37 percent and paid 61 percent of personal income tax. The top 10 percent earned 48 percent and paid 71 percent of all personal income taxes. The bottom 50 percent earned 12 percent of personal but paid just 3 percent of income tax revenues.
President Obama and the Democratic Party harp about tax fairness. Here’s my fairness question to you: What standard of fairness dictates that the top 10 percent of income earners pay 71 percent of the federal income tax burden while 47 percent of Americans pay absolutely nothing?
Aside from the fairness issue, 47 percent of taxpayers having no federal income tax liability is dangerous for our nation. These people become natural constituents for big-spending, budget-wrecking, debt-creating politicians. After all, if you have no income tax liability, what do you care about either raising or lowering taxes? That might explain why the so-called Bush tax cuts were not more popular. If you’re not paying income taxes, why should you be happy about an income tax cut? Instead, you might view tax cuts as a threat to various handout programs that nearly 50 percent of Americans enjoy.
Tax demagoguery is useful for politicians who prey on the politics of envy to get re-elected, but is it good for Americans?
Here’s the question for us: Is the U.S. moving toward or away from the troubled EU nations? It turns out that our national debt to GDP ratio in the 1970s was 35 percent; now it’s 106 percent of GDP. If you think we’re immune from the economic chaos in some of the EU countries, you’re whistling Dixie. And when economic chaos comes, whom do you think will be more affected by it: rich people or poor people?