Opinion | Blame Congress, not markets, for inequality

The Jan. 8 editorial, “A new debate on an old subject: How fair is America?,” said federal actions are “pushing back against market forces driving up inequality,” but market forces aren’t taxing paychecks at higher rates than income derived from existing wealth; Congress is.

For example, in 2023, a person receiving $500,000 annually in taxable capital gains is taxed at 15 to 20 percent, while a worker earning $50,000 in wages falls into the 22 percent tax bracket. And capital gains, not earned income, drive the increasing fortunes of the wealthiest people.

Many other government policies redistribute wealth upward before progressive policies kick in downstream to mitigate those effects, and Republicans’ 2017 tax shift legislation made federal taxes more regressive.

Policy, not markets, makes the United States an outlier among wealthy nations for our inequality and high poverty rates. Those policies and candidates’ positions on them should be prominent in The Post’s election reporting.

Jeff Milchen, Colchester, Vt.



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