Here Are Just A Few Things America Could Afford If The Wealthy Actually PAID Their Fair Share

It isn’t much of a secret these days that rich people do not pay their fair share of taxes. I’m not even talking about the small business owner who loves to complain about having a higher tax bill than some. I mean the offensively wealthy. Multi-millionaires and billionaires that draw a salary they don’t need just so they can have a larger pile of money to sit on top of while throwing a middle finger at the middle class.

Did you ever wonder, “What could we do in this country if everyone actually paid their fair share of taxes on a progressive scale?”

The short answer is, we’d have about $124 billion extra per year for the government to use.

Thanks to a leak of the Panama Papers, which detail just how much money is being hidden by corporations, the wealthy and even world leaders, we can now start to answer that question. Here are a few examples of what we could do with the money:

1: Help to reduce the deficit

Republicans always say the federal deficit is the great evil of our time. It prevents everything from your business succeeding to sunny days from happening. $124 billion dollars a year would be able to negate nearly one quarter of the federal deficit. Republicans are strangely silent on this obvious remedy.

2: Help to protect the elderly

Thanks to Republican shenanigans, Social Security has some budget problems. Currently, it’s experiencing a shortfall of about $182 billion because people like Ronald Reagan couldn’t keep their hands out of the Social Security lockbox. Rather than consigning our seniors to complete and total poverty for generations to come, $124 billion extra a year could help resolve the Social Security problem until another method can be used to patch the rest and protect 80-year-olds from having to work full-time jobs.

3: Fund universal preschool

Universal pre-k would cost about $90 billion a year. We would actually have money left over from this one. The Economic Policy Institute has already put forth a plan to establish preschool and childcare for parents of infants and toddlers up to 4 years old for just 10 percent of their income. The government would pick up the rest of the tab. The plan would end up paying for itself in the long-term because younger children educated earlier in life will earn more and avoid the need for social welfare programs and have fewer run-ins with our drastically expensive criminal justice system.

4: Pay the full salaries of all of our troops

The Pentagon’s personnel costs in 2014 totaled $116 billion dollars. Here we are again with some absolutely huge and important thing being paid for with money to spare, yet Republicans are silent. Strangely enough, even the troops don’t motivate them on this one. Republicans LOVE our troops. Right? Sadly no, they don’t. They only love having flag draped coffins for photo ops.

5: Make sure nobody in America goes hungry

At its recent peak, food stamps cost $80 billion dollars in 2013. It has since lowered as the economy has steadily improved and people have gotten off the program at a modest pace. However, instead of screaming “cut! cut! cut!” as Republicans are inclined to do, we could fully pay for it and have a little over $40 billion a year left to do other things with.

Here is a chart showing the costs of a few things, and where the extra money falls in comparison. 

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It’s so embarrassing. We could do two of the cheapest ones at the same time and still have a little money left over. But, Republicans are bound and determined to make sure America can’t have nice things.


Featured image via Flickr