by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
I think we should bestow good-citizenship medals on people who pay lots of taxes, regardless of the rate they pay. George W. Bush would be near the front of the line. Back in 1998, Dubya forked over $3.7 million to the Treasury on income of $18 million. That’s the year he sold his stake in the Texas Rangers baseball franchise.
The tax rate was 20.5% of his adjusted-gross income, because he paid a more favorable capital-gains rate on the proceeds of the baseball team’s sale. Hey, I paid a higher rate on my income that year.
Even so, $3.7 million is a lot for the tax man. Think about it: Rich people in general consume no more government resources than the rest of us. In fact, they probably consume much less. Plus they employ other people who turn around and pay taxes.
Making someone give millions more to fund a bloated, inefficient government strikes me as ludicrous. Think that I am overly cynical about the bureaucracy? Consider the “Plum Book,” a listing of 9,000 patronage jobs controlled by the ruling party that a president can give to his supporters.
In dollar terms, no other standard bearer ever has handed over so much moola in a single year to the government than did George W. Bush — not even big government champion FDR. (Adjusted for inflation, FDR in 1932 paid the equivalent of $239,563.55 in taxes on income of $1,129,010.80, or 21% of AGI, a slightly higher rate than Bush paid.)