After Governor Scott Walker [R-WI] and Congressman Paul Ryan [R-WI] both proposed expanding drug-testing for poor people on benefits, Congresswoman Gwen Moore [D-WI] introduced legislation requiring urine samples from anyone claiming over $150,000 in itemized tax-deductions -- households with gross incomes of about $1M.
Those who declined the tests would have to take the standard deductions.
“The benefits we give to poor people are so limited compared to what we give to the top 1%,” she said. “It’s a drop in the bucket.”
“We spend $81bn on everything – everything – that you could consider a poverty program,” she explained. But just by taxing capital gains at a lower rate than other income, a bit of the tax code far more likely to benefit the rich than the poor, “that’s a $93bn expenditure. Just capital gains,” she added. And though her bill wouldn’t have any effect on low- and middle-income Americans, clawing back more than $100,000 in deductions from even a handful of super-wealthy recreational drug users – who would be forced to pay for their own tests – could be a much more significant revenue-raiser than testing Tanf recipients.
“Even Oprah gets the mortgage interest deduction,” she noted.
Let's drug-test the rich before approving tax deductions, US congresswoman says
[Megan Carpentier/The Guardian]
(via Naked Capitalism)
Sean Carroll is a physicist at JPL and the author of many popular, smart books about physics for a lay audience; his weekly Mindscape podcast is a treasure-trove of incredibly smart, fascinating discussions with people from a wide variety of backgrounds.
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