Dave Tunnell: Political math

March 7, 2019

Editor: Based on letters to the editor and postings on the internet by a whole bunch of folks in Mohave County, I am, as a Democrat, one of the foulest entities ever imposed on the human race. Apparently, I and my fellow Democrats are virtual demons bent on the total destruction of all that is good in the world. To some, it must seem a difficult choice as to whether we should simply be denied our claim to citizenship in the USA or we should be dismissed from the planet.

From time to time, I ask one of those good people what exactly I have done that makes me so antithetical to the good order of the people. Most times the question is ignored, but when answered it almost always comes down to the fact that I do not agree with them on questions of public policy.

Let’s examine a current public policy dispute. A proposal has been made to tax annual income above $10 million at 70 percent. Many of my Republican friends have faith that this is a strike at our very existence and places the socialist camel’s nose under the tent of acceptable American politics. I tend to think that it would be a good way to offset some of the ballooning of the deficit caused by the last round of tax cuts.

So, let’s look a minute at what such a tax policy shift could entail. Let’s take a married couple who, between them make some $12 million per year in salary. Let’s say they have the absolutely worst financial advisers in history and some $11 million of that is taxable as ordinary income. (They spend it as it comes in and have no stocks or interest-bearing accounts.)

Based on the 2018 tax tables, their federal income tax burden would be $4,009,379 or 33.41 percent of their gross income. Their income after federal income taxes would be $21,892 per day. Under the proposed tax plan, the last one million dollars of income would be taxed at 70 percent. The federal income tax amount would be $4,339,379 or 36.16% of their gross income. Their income after federal income taxes would be $20,988 per day.

Advocating for that tax plan may make me marginally tougher on high income individuals than some of my fellows, but I doubt it makes me an evil socialist.

Dave Tunnell

Lake Havasu City