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The IRS, loopholes for the rich and be glad you don’t live in France

By Dian Vujovich

Well, if there were ever a time to be thankful that you’re wealthy and not living in France this is it: France’s newspaper Les Echos has reported if your household has assets of  over 1.3 million euros —about $1.67 million— you’ll be taxed at a 100 percent rate. Sacre bleu!


According to the story, the tax-the-rich ploy was introduced by President Francois Hollande in response to a “rebate scheme and taxation cap” put in place by President Nikolas Sarkosy. That’s a tough got-cha response and will impact over 8,000 French households.


Back here in the mighty U.S. of A., our  tax-the-rich story often amounts to nothing. As in: With the right accountant, the wealthy can scoot by paying 0 in taxes.


If you think paying not a cent on a multi-million dollar income is something new, it isn’t.


I ran across the following  editorial piece from the Fort Scott, Kansas Tribune published on January 25, 1972. Titled ” Another Welfare Abuse”,  it addresses how  0 percent tax rates have been enjoyed by millionaires for decades.


Here’s the  ”Another Welfare Abuse” editorial:


“One hates to keep picking on welfare clients, who have enough troubles on their own without meddling.


“But 112 such clients deserve much closer attention from government than the President, Sen. Tower, William Buckley, Jr., and other hound dogs who seek an end to welfare abuses have given them.


“These are the 112 with income of more than $200,00 who paid no income tax last year. Three of these unfortunates hauled in more than $1 million and paid nothing.


“It’s a shame. Everyone is entitled equally to this country’s opportunities, one of which is the chance to help keep it going by paying income tax


“Still, nothing is done. Nothing has been done for the past three years since Rep. Henry S. Reuss, Wisconsin Democrat, began dredging this sordid story. Reuss does have a reform bill to close tax loopholes which he figures would add at least $19 million to the Treasury, but what’s 19 million.


“Still, we must show our concern for these 112 welfare recipients, and try to help them get back into the mainstream of American life.


“And while we’re at it, would it not be timely for some Kansas eager-beaver in search of people abusing the government to dabble into our own state of affairs?


“If at least 112 well-heeled citizens are escaping Uncle’s taxes, how many Kansans do you suppose are thumbing their noses at our state income payment?”


As an aside, The Tax Reform Act of 1969 was supposed to end America’s non-paying tax mess but didn’t. In 1969  before the Act was in place, 300 people with incomes of more than $200,000—52 had income over $1 million— paid no taxes to the Uncle.


In anther 1970 article,  Rep Reuss was quoted saying, “What we ought to do is simply close the loopholes that oilmen, wealthy executives, real estate speculators and those with great inherited wealth use to escape taxes. We need tax reform Phase 2”.


Perhaps it time for tax reform Phase 2013.

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