By: Meredith Neely
The fact above is sadly and surprisingly true. Throughout the course of the 2020 presidential election, raising taxes has been a heavily debated topic on both sides, discussing income definitions, tax brackets, and where tax dollars go. The question has always been to raise or not to raise, but there are some sad realities that come with raising taxes on America’s ‘wealthiest’, and it’s not pretty.
There are many high paying professions in the United States, their gross income falling within the top 1% of American salaries. With these workers falling in the highest tax bracket of 37%, their salary is significantly cut, getting only a portion of their gross salary to take home. These professions, like doctors and self-made business owners, would not be worth anything to people to become if their salary isn’t representative of all the hard work these people are doing. Neurosurgeons, one of the most intelligent and hard-working doctors in the medical field make on average $615,801 after working 24-hour shifts and going through at least 8 years of schooling. Currently, with the federal income tax at 37% for this income, about ⅓ of this salary would be cut, leaving them with around $387,955, which is not representative of the hard work and determination poured into their work.
With copious amounts of professions out there, typically, the ones that make the most are the ones that took years of schooling and hard work to achieve that position. Freshly minted doctors step out of college and medical school with heaps of debt, closer to the upwards of $201,000 according to a study done by the Association of American Medical Colleges. With this much debt, it could take well over 15 years to pay it off, therefore these individuals need to acquire a job position that would be able to support this amount of debt and their needs. If a large portion of their income is taken away, they would not be able to support themselves and their debts at the same time.
Along with the multiple tax brackets that are fit and tailored to every individual and their income, these brackets fall on their gross income. While one person might make a salary of $400,000, what they take home is only around $265,000. This is incredibly unrealistic to consider a person wealthy if they don’t even take home ⅔ of their hard-earned income, especially calling them wealthy from the money they don’t even have. To actually achieve a $400,000 net income, a person would have to make at least $657,000 to earn the $400,000 definition of wealthy. A person should not be defined by the money that they could be making, but don’t have because of the government limiting their income in a tax bracket, instead, the individual should be held to their net income, not their gross income.
Without willing and empathetic doctors and persistent and determined business owners, the United States would look very different. Without their hard work, where would America be without their compassion? The least we can do is appreciate them and reward them for the hard work that they selflessly do for us, right?