A Prayer for Higher Taxes

By Michael Silverstein

Lord, it’s me, Mike Silverstein. I apologize for not checking in lately. But I have an excuse: I’ve been very busy trying to build my business — stay in business, in fact. Times are tough, and people aren’t spending the way they used to.

I’m back now, though, Lord, and I really need your help: I need to qualify to pay higher income-tax rates if some of the Bush tax cuts expire at the end of the year.

If President Obama gets his way, individuals earning more than $200,000 a year (and married couples earning more than $250,000) will again have to pay the higher rates that were in effect before the Bush administration. People making less than that would still pay the lower rates under Obama’s plan. And even those making more would pay the lower rate on their first $200,000 or $250,000 in income.

And the tax would be on net, not gross, income. You know, Lord, the net — after business deductions. Which maybe I do fudge a little, but not in a sinful way.

So here’s the thing, Lord: None of the small-business people I know net out more than $200,000 or $250,000 a year. They don’t even come close. Indeed, after taking all the available business deductions, we would have to gross a heck of lot more to break the $200,000 or $250,000 barrier.

Most people who do net this much, in fact, aren’t small-business people at all. They’re executives and managers of large corporations, people who fire as often as they hire. And they hire only when their companies have more customers who buy more stuff — which I guess makes customers at all income levels the real “job creators.” But that’s another story.

Republicans keep saying they’re trying to save small-business people like me from paying these higher income taxes. Don’t listen to them, Lord. I really, really want to be a small-business man who qualifies to pay a higher tax rate by actually netting more than $200,000 a year. That would please me greatly, and your help there would be much appreciated.


Michael Silverstein, formerly senior editor with Bloomberg Financial News and its Markets magazine, is now an investigative poet whose books of satirical poetry include Songs Of Wall Street, Beltway Follies and Street Verse and his comic novel, Fifteen Feet Beneath Manhattan. See www.wallstreetpoet.com. This originally appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer.

From The Progressive Populist, January 1-15, 2013



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