Rich already get enough breaks

In Andrew JohnsonâÄôs recent column in the Sept. 22 Daily (âÄúGive the rich a breakâÄù), he fails to confront the inequalities of our tax code. The richest 10 percent of Minnesotans (those who earn more than $136,000 per year) pay a smaller percentage in local and state taxes (10.1 percent) than those middle class families earning $35,000-$45,000 per year (12.8 percent) âÄî they are the highest taxed of any income group in the North Star State.

Our state and country is being poorly funded on the backs of middle-class families while the wealthiest earners in Minnesota enjoy a continually sliding tax bracket of 9.7 percent for those earning more than $193,000 per year, and 8.8 percent for those who cross the $481,000 per year threshold.

Meanwhile, he essentially tells the students of the University of Minnesota to shut up and put up with rising tuition costs even though the prosperity of this great state and country depends on us creating the technologies, jobs and industries of tomorrow.

Anyone who believes the wealthiest Americans got rich on their own is kidding themselves, and taking a very narrow view of the social and economic forces at work in our society.

Every millionaire and billionaire has benefited from a public education system that trained their highly skilled work force, an infrastructure of roads, bridges, ports, highways and airports that moved their goods to emerging markets, and a military and police force that protects their assets from thievery both here and abroad.

All of this and more are being paid for courtesy of the middle class. All that would suggest the richest Americans have more at stake financially than anyone else, but they are unwilling to pay the taxes needed to protect it, and instead place this burden on the middle class and borrow against our childrenâÄôs education to pay for it.

If someone showed me any unbiased empirical evidence or research that proves tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires creates jobs and grows our economy, I would wholeheartedly embrace the trickle down economic policy used by presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and our GOP majorities in both Washington, D.C., and the Minnesota Legislature.

Instead, Johnson cites a conservative lobbyist group âÄî the Tax Foundation âÄî whose only agenda is to continue this failed economic policy and protect the wealthiest from paying their fair share to a country they have to thank for so much of their economic wealth.