A Return to Fairness - Revenue

A Return to Fairness - Revenue

For more about the need for additional revenue, see
The Federal Budget Crisis: Too Little Revenue

 For weeks now Congress has debated spending cuts, the deficit, and next year’s budget. Unfortunately, absent from the conversation is any mention of Revenue.

Current federal government revenue (the government’s “income”) is inadequate to do all that must be done, no matter what cuts or efficiencies are imposed. Federal revenue today, as a share of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), is at or below level of the 1960s and 1970s despite the many additional responsibilities that the government has taken on since those days, such as:

  • extensive medical research,
  • environmental protections,
  • the bigger and growing Medicare and Social Security programs, and
  • a much larger, more heavily used, and aging transportation infrastructure.

These are just a few of the additional functions that we expect from government. It is no surprise that federal money is tight and everything, from bridges to our water systems, is falling apart.

In a “Resolution for the Common Good,” General Synod 25 resolved “that societies and nations are judged by the way they care for their most vulnerable citizens” and “that government policy and services are central to serving the common good.”  General Synod 25 continued by declaring “that paying taxes for government services is a civic responsibility of individuals and businesses” and “that the tax code should be progressive, with the heaviest burden on those with the greatest financial means.”

Corporations and the Top One Percent

As federal obligations have grown, taxes paid by corporations have declined. In 1965, corporate income taxes were 4.0% of GDP but they fell to 2.5% of GDP in 2008 (and declined even more during the financial crisis). In other major industrialized countries, corporate taxes are higher, averaging 3.0% of GDP. Corporate tax loopholes and subsidies cost hundreds of billions of dollars each year and also encourage the export of jobs and slow economic growth.

The wealthiest households should also be paying more taxes. They have captured essentially all of the nation’s economic gains over the past 40 years. The economy has grown enormously since 1970, but the top 10% of households, primarily the top 1%, has received all the gains while the share of their income paid in taxes has fallen markedly. Among the bottom 90% the average household has slightly less money today than 40 years ago.

Households at the very top of the income ladder can, and should, pay more in taxes.  Learn more - “When Income Grows, Who Gains?”

Corporations and wealthy households have benefited enormously from the economic growth of the past 40 years. For the well being of the country, it is only fair that they pay more in taxes.

For more information,

Contact Info

Edith Rasell, Ph.D.
Minister for Economic Justice
700 Prospect Ave.
Cleveland, OH 44115
216-736-3709
raselle@ucc.org