One of the many objectives I have in writing this column is to make connections between what’s happening on the national scene and show how they relate to the local scene, i.e. you and me right here in Newtown.
Toward that end, I, along with many of you, have been following the debate in Washington regarding budget and taxation issues — two things that have direct impact on all of us.
One would think that after the drubbing I took last week for some of my views about the role of government, I would avoid further excursions into this territory and stick to writing about something more innocuous but I believe it’s perfectly appropriate and even desirable to provoke thoughtful discussion from time to time.
By that I mean discussion that is free from personal attack, recrimination, demeaning or belittling comments that serve no purpose other than to impress the rest of us (more precisely, you) with your superior knowledge.
With this in mind, let's proceed.
There has been a great deal of news over the past couple of years regarding unemployment, underemployment and taxation.
In my attempts to follow the national conversation, I have come to the conclusion that Newtown is not quite representative of the nation as a whole.
I think the people of Newtown are better educated, earn more and enjoy a relatively higher employment rate and consequently standard of living.
To confirm this “hunch,” I turned to two sources. The first was the city-data web site and the second was the generally more reliable Connecticut Economic Resource Center.
What I learned was that Newtown’s median household income for 2009 was $109,767 as compared to the rest of the state which was $67,034. The unemployment rate for Newtown in 2008 was 4.1-percent as compared to the state’s 5.7-percent.
I think we can agree that while Newtown is not in the same category as say lower Fairfield County, we are generally better off than others in the state and the nation as a whole.
Obviously, unlike the man Patch reported on who , most of the rest of us pay our fair share. By the way, did you know it’s perfectly legal to “avoid” paying income taxes but not to “evade” paying. Some people have a little trouble seeing the distinction.
I say “most” of the rest of us pay our fair share because it is my belief that the current tax code is heavily weighted against the overwhelming majority of us — the middle class.
Everyone recognizes the importance of social security, Medicare, veterans benefits and national defense but not everyone seems to be willing to pay for them.
We keep hearing from Congressional Republicans, such as Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor, the tired old mantra that we must not require the wealthy to pay their fair share by raising things, such as the social security cap or closing loopholes in the income tax code, because to do so would be bad for the rest of us.
Put another way, conservatives continue to cling to that stubborn — and utterly discredited — myth about the “trickle down” theory.
If you take only one piece of information from this column, let it be this: The trickle down theory is a huge pile of bull! It is perfectly logical for all of us to keep as much money as possible for ourselves by "avoiding" taxes.
What we have to do is demand that Congress rewrite the tax code so that everyone is paying their fair share.
Now, before you burn up your keyboard heading to the comments section, reread paragraph four.