[Letter published in the Sheridan Press 18 March 1983.]

Who could afford
‘fair share?’


Often when the issue of taxation is raised, we hear people saying, “I wouldn’t mind paying my fair share if everyone else did.” This refrain grows tiresome for those who wonder what a “fair” share is. Just to dispel a few illusions, I’d like to point out some figures I get from the National Taxpayer’s Union.

Based on 80 million real taxpayers, the Union has a little chart it sends out each year. The individual taxpayer’s share of the public debt alone (at one trillion, two hundred ninety billion plus) works out to $116,125. Adding in accounts payable, undelivered orders, long-term contracts, loan and credit guarantees, insurance commitments, annuity programs, and other international commitments and financial obligations, we derive a total bill, for last year, of a measly $148,653 per taxpayer, which, if we want to pay off all the bills, could be called the fair share.

I didn’t make that much last year, and I bet most of you didn’t either. Even if we shook the rich, which is a bad idea, we wouldn’t get it done. The problem is spending that is out of control, not a few “freeloaders.” If you’d like to contact the Union you can write to them at 325 Pennsylvania Ave. S.E., Washington, D.C. 20003. If you still feel like paying your “fair share,” go ask the bank for a loan… the rest of us will be laughing.

Gerry Reith

[In response to submorons.]

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