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Guest Opinion: Our policies should reward work, not wealth

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Did you know that an emergency room nurse tending COVID patients or a truck driver who delivers the food and essential goods that sustain us even during a deadly pandemic pay more in taxes than billionaires living off Wall Street investments? That’s because our tax code unfairly privileges wealth over work: the top tax rate on the main sources of investment income (20%) is only about half the top rate on wages and salaries (37%).

Most of us live day-to-day on wages from a job. But the super-rich let their money do their work for them. Their income is largely in the form of investment gains — the rising value of their stocks, bonds, real estate, private businesses and more. When they sell one of those investments for more than its purchase price, that’s called a “capital gain.” It’s capital gains — and a related payment to stockholders knows as “dividends” — that get the nearly half-off tax-rate discount.

That’s how billionaires have benefited from obscene gains in their wealth during this pandemic, while millions of regular working people lost jobs, small businesses, income, healthcare and much more. In Pennsylvania, 17 billionaires........

© The Intelligencer

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