Robert Merriam: Affordable tax

January 2, 2013 

Affordable tax

The Dec. 28 letter “It’ll take cuts” states, “As everyone should know, the ‘rich’ do not have enough money to fix the problem (avoid the fiscal cliff by paying more taxes).”

I think we should consider the “Federal Reserve Bank Z-1 Flow of Funds Statement, End of 2011 Account.” It gives the total wealth of the top 10 percent of U.S. households as $66.71 trillion. That includes about $45.5 trillion of financial assets, defined as currency and securities. It does not include capital held in off-shore tax havens. Just their financial assets are enough to completely pay off the national debt of 2011, give $1 trillion to stimulate the economy (enough to hire five million unemployed workers at $50,000 for four years), and still have about $30 trillion of financial assets left.

After these generous donations to the nation, their remaining $30 trillion of working capital would still be more than the entire equity owned by all the rest of U.S. households combined. Why shouldn’t they pay a little more in taxes?

Robert Merriam

Chapel Hill

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