By the always-worth-reading John Steele Gordon (author of the excellent "Empire of Wealth: The Epic History of American Economic Power")
A Short History of the Income Tax
One original sin was the separation of the corporate and personal tax,
giving lawyers, accountants and the wealthy a chance to game the system.
The other pernicious consequence of the separate corporate and personal
income taxes has been a field day for demagogues and the misguided to
claim that the rich are not paying their "fair share." Warren Buffett
recently claimed that he had paid only $6.9 million in taxes last
year. But Berkshire Hathaway, of which Mr. Buffett owns 30%, paid
$5.6 billion in corporate income taxes. Were Berkshire Hathaway a
Subchapter S corporation and exempt from corporate income taxes,
Mr. Buffet's personal tax bill would have been 231 times higher, at
Worth keeping in mind that part of the reason we have high marginal tax
rates is because we keep narrowing the tax base by adding all kinds of
exemptions, deductions, credits and other shenanigans - and that
applies to both the personal as well as the corporate tax systems,
but it's especially convoluted on the corporate side (ie the headlines
about how GE didn't pay any income taxes in 2010).
Anyway, just food for thought. And regardless of all of this,
I can't recommend highly enough JSG's book "Empire of Wealth".
I read it about 4 years ago and may dig it up and re-read it.
- posted 8 years ago
-- David S. Meyers, CFP(R) http://www.MeyersMoney.com
Click to see the full signature