We were astonished but pleased to see the headline in The Times (June 19), "Senate Rejects Tax on Wealthy by 71-29 Vote." What moral courage these fine senators demonstrated in voting their conscience on this ridiculous tax proposal. We have long agreed with the Republican analysis that higher tax rates on the wealthy will severely discourage economic growth; who's going to work for an extra buck if they know the Internal Revenue Service is going to get 35 cents out of it? To extend this logic, we would like to offer our Modest Proposal for Tax Reform and the Elimination of Poverty.
We propose simply two tax brackets: one above the poverty line, and one below. Those above the poverty line would RECEIVE 35 cents for every dollar they made as a reward for being decent productive folk. Those below the poverty line would have to pay 95 cents for every dollar they made as a punishment for being lazy, no-account bums. This can cover the cost of our incentive to decent folk, and maybe even reduce the deficit, too.
The positive effects will be nearly instantaneous. Poor people will have two choices: They can work very hard to rise above the poverty level, escape the 95% tax bracket and receive the 35% incentive, or they can starve, in which case they will be dead, and no longer poor.