wealth definition

Opinion: Instead of saying tax the rich… | Indy Now


Marcus Hill

Marcus Hill, Staff Reporter 

If I have to hear about another billionaire in outer space, I might blast off with the next one and never return.

We’ve heard a lot of chatter about Jeff Bezos’ and Richard Branson’s ventures beyond our atmosphere, but what has recently piqued my interest is the revitalized ‘tax-the-rich’ movement that’s accompanied their trips.

Yes, many billionaires dodge taxes at all costs, keeping millions of dollars out of public coffers and away from programs that need assistance. But we can do better than demanding the rich be taxed. For starters, let’s eliminate amortization for the rich.

Investopedia’s definition of amortization says it’s an, “accounting technique used to periodically lower the book value of a loan or intangible asset over a set period of time.”  

ProPublica began a series of stories — “The Secret IRS Files” — illustrating how billionaires exploit the system. One story highlights how professional sports team owners legally manipulate the rules of amortization. Another ProPublica series illustrates how the ultra-wealthy use loans to offset profits — a façade to make it look as though they’re hemorrhaging money.

So here’s a shout out to those of us who struggled to pay/are paying college loans. As far as I’m concerned, someone with three commas in their net worth shouldn’t get massive tax breaks while many Americans pay their fair share and continue to struggle. So let’s provide breaks to those who actually need them — not those who abuse them.

All that tax revenue slipping through the cracks could then be used to support programs that provide food and shelter to the homeless; they could be used to create a fund for single parents to alleviate financial stress; they could go to struggling schools and districts; they can provide daycare for parents who need the help.

This country prints money every day — but it often falls short of those who need it most. We know the many wealthy Americans exploit tax laws that would otherwise require them to part with a significant chunk of their annual incomes.

My advice: Instead of saying “tax the rich,” let’s just eliminate the perks that accompany that status.

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