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One constant in push to raise taxes on the wealthy: envy

by The Oklahoman Editorial Board Published: September 28, 2012

We mention the above statistics simply to note that the rich are already paying most of the taxes and the non-rich are paying relatively little (or nothing) to support federal government functions. That's less true in Oklahoma: The top income tax rate kicks in at a relatively low income level — something that needs to be addressed.

Raising taxes on the rich doesn't make the tax system more fair. It makes it more punitive. In the end, most Oklahomans have a sense of how much government they think they need and how much of a sacrifice they're willing to make to pay for it. This may help explain why there was no groundswell for a state income tax cut in Oklahoma last year.

The federal scenario is different: The Bush-era tax cuts benefitted far more than “the rich” and the definition of “rich” is quite elastic.

Justifying a federal tax increase based on fairness is bogus. A truly fair system would tax every income level at the same rate. Justifying a tax increase based on the need to bring in more federal revenue is folly. It would lead to even more unsustainable spending levels.

So what's left in the tax-hike justification arsenal? Nothing but this: Envy of the very small group of people paying a very large share of the taxes.