New York - East Hampton Town police arrested six people today (July 11) protesting higher taxes for the wealthy outside the East Hampton airport. The demonstration was organized by advocacy group New York Communities for Change, the latest in a series of Hamptons protests over the past few days. New York Communities for Change is focused on climate emissions caused by wealthy Hampton residents. Around 25 people gathered outside the airport this morning, holding signs that read “tax the rich” and “make billionaires pay.” In addition to linking arms in front of the entrance, one demonstrator stood atop a wooden tripod blocking traffic into the airport. The protest lasted for approximately an hour and a half, said Alice Hu, a climate campaigner for New York Communities for Change, in a phone interview.
Tax the rich
Do you have a good pension? Do you have any pension at all? Back in 1975, most Americans who worked for established employers could say that they do indeed have a decent pension. Back then, what the experts call “defined-benefit” pension plans set the standard. If you worked for a company with one of these plans, you could look forward to receiving — for every month of your retired life — a pension check based on your salary and years of service. These defined-benefit plans gave employers the responsibility for funding their employee retirements. Employers contributed into retirement funds and used the investment returns these funds generated to keep pension checks flowing. If those returns came up short, employers had to fill the shortfall.
Would you walk around the block to get to your next-door neighbor’s house? Of course not. Yet America’s system for taxing the ultra-rich, especially billionaires, works that same exact roundabout way. For most of us, different taxes function in different manners. Sales taxes, for example, impact our spending decisions. Income taxes affect everything from how much we save and how many hours we work to when we retire. Property taxes influence the choices we make for where we live. But these taxes don’t work that way for the ultra-rich. These deepest of pockets can essentially make decisions on spending, work, and retirement without regard
According to a new IPS briefing paper, the richest .01 percent of Americans, about 33,000 lucky souls today, now pay just one-sixth of what they used to pay in tax, when measured as a percentage of their total wealth. The top .01 percent in America is a phenomenally wealthy group. Even during America’s most egalitarian periods, the average member of the top .01% held over 200 times the wealth of the average American. Today, the wealth of the average top .01 percenter is nearly 1,000 times that of the average American and is closing in on one billion dollars. Hence, it doesn’t matter to the top .01 percent what type of tax they pay, be it income, sales, property or anything else. Taxes don’t influence their spending decisions or such mundane things as how many hours they work, when they retire, or whether their spouse must work.