STILLWATER, Okla. —
To the editor:
Ben Stein, known as a political and economic commentator, spoke at the OSU Tulsa Business Forum recently. One of his comments, reported in the Feb. 7 Tulsa World, was that our American way of life can’t exist where more than 50 percent of the population pays little or no taxes. It is a comment that is often repeated by others.
He could be nearly correct if he were talking about income taxes. However, there are many taxes that all of us pay. These include sales, gasoline, excise and property (either through ownership or rent) taxes. We also pay taxes called fees for many things.
For example, a family of four living at the 2013 poverty level would earn $23,500. USDA estimates that the low cost food plan for a family of four would be about $8,000 a year, resulting in a sales tax of about $7-800 a year. Social Security tax for employee and employer total 15.7 percent for a tax of $1,536. Property tax for an apartment or small house would be $5-600 a year. Gasoline and excise taxes and fees could be $150-200 a year. Low income people spend a lot of their other income on other consumer goods subject to sales taxes. Such a family could pay as much as $3,000 in taxes and fees.
The above taxes pay for our schools, infrastructure, police and fire protection and other public services. While $3,000 may seem like “little or nothing” to a wealthy person like Mr. Stein and homes in Beverly Hills and Malibu, Calif., Washington D.C. and Sandpoint, Idaho, it surely means a lot to low income Oklahomans who help pay for our way of life.
STILLWATER, Okla. —
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