Readers React: High tax rates kept CEO pay reasonable and the middle class healthy. We need to bring them back
To the editor: I have a crazy idea for curbing CEO pay. My idea is to do what has worked in the past.
From 1933-81, the United States’ top marginal tax rates were very high (more than 90% in the 1950s). As op-ed article writer Dean Baker notes, during that time, the CEO-to-worker pay ratio was 20 or 30 to 1.
Also during that time working-class incomes went up, the poverty rate dropped and the workweek was set at 40 hours. Almost all working-class income gains for the last 100 years happened when taxes were high.
The effective income cap prevented the rich from taking a disproportionate share of the national income like they do when taxes are low. The great American middle class was created and thrived when taxes were high.
If we want to reverse soaring income inequality, we need to restore the high tax rates that existed before Reaganomics, which was invented by the rich to serve the rich.
Jeff Christie, Woodland Hills
To the editor: Not since the robber barons of the so-called Gilded Age has the gap between the rich and the poor been so wide.
I believe in capitalism; however, when the typical CEO makes 127 times what his or her workers earn, the system is exploitative and unfair. As Baker points out, some CEOs are collecting as much as 3,000 times what their employees make.
Profit-making companies should be required to direct a certain percentage of their income to their employees. In that manner, the workers would share in the profits based on the sweat of their efforts.
Let’s have a true “trickle-down” economic system, where tax revenues would increase and our country would develop the economy it deserves.
William E. Farris, Santa Ana
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