Regressive taxation. That’s when the taxes the government levies disproportionately hit those with less money than those with more money. They sound like something only an out-of-touch, snooty, oligarchical, oppressive, “let-them-eat-cake” sort of government would do, no?
Heh. If only.
Taxes on gasoline are a prime example: everyone who pulls up to the pump pays the same amount of tax on each gallon of gasoline. Assuming, for sake of argument, that all people purchase the same average amount of gasoline, the taxes the government levies on each gallon of gasoline draw a higher percentage of the income away from those who have less money to begin with than those with more.
Let’s break it down with some very simple arithmetic. (Don’t worry, I did the math already.) Think: if everyone pays $20 in taxes on gasoline per month, that $20 is 1% of the income for someone who takes home $2,000 per month and $24,000 per year, but $20 is only 0.3% of the income for someone who takes home $6,000 per month and a modest $72,000 per year, and a teeny-tiny 0.167% of the income for someone who takes home $12,000 per month, or $144,000 per year. So the same gasoline tax is 6-times more “costly” to a person making $24,000 as it is to a person making $144,000… You wanna know where the people whom our politicians, by their rhetoric, call “the rich”—i.e., those making $250,000 or more? That $20 per month is an easy-to-miss 0.096% of that guy’s income, or more than 10-times *less* costly as a percentage of income than they guy scraping by on $24,000 per year.
Now, mind you, the “taxes” that Joe or Jane consumer incurs at the pump are not just the straight-up taxes levied. They include other things government has done to make gasoline more expensive.
And you know what else the ethanol requirements have an impact upon? Food. So many foodstuffs are influenced by corn. Cows and pigs and chickens eat the stuff, making beef, pork (and sausage, and bacon, and ham, from the magical little animal), and chicken, as well as eggs, milk, cheese, butter, etc., more expensive.
Corn syrup is, oddly enough, made from corn, making anything with corn syrup more expensive. Here’s a challenge: go to the grocery store and try to satisfy your entire meal plan without putting anything in your cart that does not have corn syrup. If you manage to, good for you: it means you’re eating healthily. People ought not be eating much of the stuff anyhow, but it ought to be a choice rather than an economic necessity.
Then there is, of course, just straight-up corn itself: a staple of a healthy meal for families across the country.
But corn costs more now since 41% of the corn crop goes to ethanol and not to food or animal feed.
Then toss in the reduced gas mileage vehicles get from ethanol-infused gasoline, which means that businesses and consumers have to spend more on transportation for the same food…
Corn and gasoline are only two examples. Milk and wheat get pretty sweet deals as well.
So now look at both sides of that: the monetary burden from government involvement in gasoline is carried disproportionately by the poor, as is the monetary burden from government meddling in corn, ethanol, milk, and wheat for the same reasons.
Farm subsidies, over-bearing drilling and refining regulations, ethanol requirements, and the ever-increasing repression of industry by the EPA for ever diminishing returns, must end, or the poor will become wards of the state (moreso than they are now) and the middle class will cease to be the engine of ingenuity and advancement in this country, if it survives as a recognizable middle class at all.