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Editorial

Tax Policy – A Reflection of a Country

On April 15th, like every year, millions of Americans, specifically 157.5 million, are required to file their tax returns. In 2020, taxpayers reported incomes of $12.5 trillion and paid $1.7 trillion in individual taxes. For most, it’s an unpleasant day because they are obligated to pay taxes to the federal government – the largest amount – as well as to the state and city where they live.

The average tax rate in 2020 was 13.6%. The top 1% of the wealthiest taxpayers paid 25.99% of their income – on average more than 8 times the 3.1% paid by the poorest. (President Biden and the First Lady earned $619,976 in 2023 and paid $146,629 to the federal government, or 23.7%. They also paid $30,908 in taxes to the state of Delaware. Trump does not disclose his tax information).

I don’t think anyone wants to pay taxes or is satisfied with the percentage of taxes they pay relative to their income. Most of us believe that the wealthy pay a disproportionately small percentage of their income compared to the rest of us, whether it’s true or not. It has always been this way and will continue to be so in the future. The ultra-wealthy are an easy target.

However, a society, a state cannot function without taxes, without money. Empires – including Byzantium – were destroyed when they lost their ability to collect taxes to a satisfactory extent. Of course, some countries have fairer tax policies than others. And as is known, there is no stronger way to redistribute a country’s wealth than through its tax policy. And this is one of the most important reasons why which party or which politicians generally hold power matters so much.

The poor, as well as the rich, have their arguments about how fair tax policy is. The poor consider it unfair because they are unable to pay or to pay the percentage imposed on them – their disposable income is very small after paying for food and housing – while the rich consider it unfair to pay so much when they are the ones generating wealth, as they believe, assuming great risks when making investments.

Regardless of who is right and who is wrong, a society has an obligation to treat the less fortunate in life with sympathy, understanding, and generosity – the poor, the sick. Much is judged by this. On this matter, America can and must do more.

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What is proven, and quite clearly indeed by the article which is published in this edition of The National Herald titled ‘Church of Crete Sends Letter to Patriarch Bartholomew Telling Him Not to Interfere’, regarding the ongoing issues within the Semi-Autonomous Church of Crete, is the fact that Patriarch Bartholomew has become a captive of his own choices in general.

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