"As an 89-year-old successful businessperson who faces the "death tax" issue, I have to respond to the July 19 article by Curtis Dubay ("Harkin Heads Wrong Way on Death Tax").
One of America's problems is that the wealthy and powerful have distorted the tax debate. The tax issue is not whether taxes should be raised or lowered. The tax issue is who should pay the taxes. I am one of those who believe, "People should be taxed according to their ability to pay."
In1928, the richest 1 percent of our population received 23.9 percent of the nation's income. We had a depression. The New Deal, World War II, the G.I. Bill and the Great Society restored our economy. Under President Eisenhower the top income tax rate was 91 percent. The nation and the general population prospered. We were the envy of the world.
I went to Congress in 1975. In the late '70s the income of the top 1 percent was down to 8 or 9 percent of America's total income. The income was more broadly spread and the nation prospered.
Then we made a terrible mistake. The politicians caught tax-cut fever, with a big part of the tax cuts going to the super-rich. That tax-cut fever exists even today. [...]"
Read the full op-ed by Berkley Bedell on DesMoinesRegister.com.