Cal Thomas is, according to his website, the most widely syndicated columnist in the United States.
Even so, this has gotta be the dumbest paragraph any columnist wrote all week.
Perhaps the revolt can start with the so-called “rich,” those making more than $250,000 a year. That has always been an arbitrary figure applied to all, regardless of their personal circumstances. Suppose people who are able decided to limit their income to $249,999.99 in 2013? If they make a lot more than that, they could consult their tax adviser about legally placing the excess in tax-free municipal bonds or other tax shelters, depriving the government beast its sustenance.
First of all, tax-free munis don’t work that way. It’s the interest that’s not taxable. You couldn’t use the purchase to reduce the size of your income. You can use a SEP that way if you’re eligible. And, of course, you can use charitable giving during the tax year.
More than that, Thomas almost seems not to know how brackets and marginal rates work. The tax rate you’d pay on your first $250,000 wouldn’t change, even if you made a lot more. The top marginal rate is assessed against your last dollars earned, not against all of them.
That’s why, for part of the 1940s and then again during the 1950s and early 1960s, top marginal tax rates climbed to 90 percent. They have since plummeted to 35 percent.
Anyway, according to Friday’s Times, the total local/state/federal tax burden has actually gone down even since the 1980s.