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5 Republican Lies About Income Inequality

The Republican position on inequality rests on five statements, all false.

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5. Taxing the rich would not raise much money.

Of course it would. If only the richest 400 families, whose average income in 2008 was an  astounding $270 million actually paid the statutory rate of 39 percent (revived as of next January 1st) an additional $500 billion would be raised over 10 years, putting a substantial dent in the projected deficit.

In 2010 hedge fund manager John Paulson made $5 billion. That year, according to Pulitzer Prize winner David Cay Johnston, Paulson  paid no income taxes. Am I envious Mr. Romney? You bet I am. But I’m also angry at the stark injustice of it all. And terrified of the power such wealth can wield in a country that allows billionaires to spend unlimited sums influencing legislation and elections.

A recent survey by the Pew Research Center  found that two-thirds of Americans now believe the conflict between rich and poor is our greatest source of tension. I agree. It is a conflict that deserves to be aired fully and in public.

David Morris is co-founder and vice president of the Institute for Local Self Reliance in Minneapolis, Minn., and director of its New Rules project.