TOM WARD - Tax fairness is overdue

TOM WARD - Tax fairness is overdue

You know, I might just agree with U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, the self-described socialist from Vermont, who last weekend called for a "progressive estate tax on multi-millionaires and billionaires."

Wrote The Washington Times Sunday, quoting Sanders at the Vermont AFL-CIO convention, "A nation will not survive morally or economically when so few have so much while so many have so little."

"We need a tax system which asks the billionaire class to pay its fair share of taxes and which reduces the obscene degree of wealth inequality in America," said Mr. Sanders, an independent."

Sanders caucuses with the Democrats, home to many others who are socialists, too, but don't have the courage to say so. Still, even a fiscal conservative like me can see that the United States has a growing problem with income inequality. The figures are undeniable.

The story did not detail Sanders' "progressive estate tax," not that it matters. As an independent and socialist, he'll be ignored by his colleagues anyway. He did say that it would touch only one quarter of the top one percent of the wealthiest Americans. So that's only a quarter of the people labeled "one-percenters" by left wingers. I need not worry.

Keep something important in mind here: This is not an income tax increase on those successfully employed, but a wealth tax on dead families who have accumulated homes, stocks and bonds, and perhaps a business, or are the children and grandchildren of those people who made many millions or even billions of dollars.

The Times also wrote: "Former U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Robert B. Reich said America 'is creating an aristocracy of wealth populated by heirs who don't have to work for a living yet have great influence over how the nation's productive assets are deployed."' I imagine Reich is talking about guys like Gov. Lincoln Chafee, candidate for governor (as of this writing Tuesday morning) Clay Pell, former Congressman Patrick Kennedy and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse.

So do we "99.75 Percenters" take away the $4 million family money Clay Pell spent in the primary and move it from his family to "the greater good" of society? Perhaps. What I know for sure is that a serious debate is coming, and it will extend far beyond the feel-good politics of forcing middle class business owners to raise the minimum wage, which will only stall or outright kill jobs for young people, and raise prices for the rest of us. This is not Republican vs. Democrat. Reasonable people on both sides can see this problem worsening, and Sanders might offer a starting point for a thoughtful discussion of tax reform on both income and wealth, and a closing of loopholes.

Interesting work, bro

I'm going to give a hat tip to my brother, John Ward, the former Woonsocket City Council president and current Lincoln finance director. Somehow, with his extensive Internet prowess, he determined that Clay Pell might have been a Republican in his past life, and on Aug. 13 sent that little factoid off to Providence media for investigation. It all led to last week's dust-up over Pell's decade-long dance with the GOP in his home state of Arizona. No doubt this impurity of a young man with the Pell pedigree was an arrow straight through the bleeding hearts of fellow travellers on the far left. Egads! How could Pell have done such a dance with the devil? It's unforgiveable!

On another matter, I'm pleased new Woonsocket Mayor Lisa Baldelli-Hunt has dusted off my brother's thoughts, discussed on the Woonsocket Patch website in September 2013, for consideration of moving the athletic fields for Woonsocket High School from the current Barry Field, across the city to Cass Park, adjacent to where the high school has sat since 1971. While there is room for all of it, the move would be costly, and so a "go slow" approach will be needed as the city's financial struggles continue. There is also the deed restriction on Barry Field, donated to the city a long time ago for educational purposes. That may not be simple to undo. Still, the move is common sense, and I urge city officials to consider this much-needed change.

Ward is publisher of The Valley Breeze newspapers

Comments

I wonder who will declare their candidacy first. Hillary Clinton for President or John Ward for Mayor ?