C.W. DAWSON: Something must be done about economic disparity

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According to Sunday’s article written by Ellen Cranley in Business Insider, U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-New York, has touted a plan that would tax multimillionaire Americans 60 percent to 70 percent on their income over $10 million to fund massive energy and infrastructure overhauls.

The plan aims to reduce the country’s carbon emissions to zero and eliminate fossil fuels in 10 years. The New York representative said in a “60 Minutes” interview Sunday that a new marginal tax rate would affect Americans making more than $10 million to help pay for the “Green New Deal.”

Such an idea is not new. Tax policies under former President Dwight Eisenhower reached 90 percent in the 1950s. Through the administrations of presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, the rate sat at 70 percent. President Ronald Reagan then sliced the top rate to 50 percent in the early 1980s before it eventually fell to 38 percent in 1986.

Some estimate that of the 16,000 Americans whose income is $10 million or more, a taxation of 60 percent to 70 percent would add an additional $72 billion to the federal government each year. Not only would the money benefit our move away from fossil fuels, but other necessary programs that help the neediest among us would have substantial assistance.

The plan makes sense, but we all know that Ocasio-Cortez’s plan will not see the light of day. The wealthiest Americans will use their access to privilege and power to squash any plan or idea that would increase their taxes.

Their concern is not the common good. Their concern is how to acquire more wealth.

The real issue is how do we overcome the economic disparity that is currently tearing our country apart? The rich are getting richer, and the poor are being forgotten. The middle class is almost nonexistent.

Too many Americans are shackled by debt and subsequent poverty. The gap between the rich and the rest of us is staggering.

Economic disparity, locally and nationally, breeds violence and unrest. If we do not address this issue seriously, we will all be in trouble. None will be exempt; none is immune.

Higher taxation of the wealthy will help, but it is not the solution. A radical redistribution of wealth is the ultimate solution. Perhaps Thomas Jefferson was correct that inheritances should be outlawed or at least restricted. I leave that debate to you.

We know, however, that something must be done about economic disparity. For the good of the republic, and not just the few, a radical redistribution of wealth is paramount. A redistribution of wealth must take place if we are to survive.

The Rev. C.W. Dawson Jr. was the first African-American to earn a Ph.D. in philosophy at MU. He teaches at Columbia College and Moberly Area Community College and writes for the Missourian.

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