Warren Buffett and Bill Gates, two of our richest Americans, have been saying for decades that the rich do not need a tax cut. In 1955, journalists Donald Barlett and James Steele reported in their book “The Betrayal of the American Dream” that the 400 richest U.S. households paid 51.2 percent of their income in federal taxes. In 2007, on the eve of the global financial meltdown, the 400 richest households paid 16.6 percent. In 1952, corporate taxes made up 32 percent of the federal government’s overall tax collections; in 2011, it was 7.9 percent.

Coverage of the Panama Papers and the Paradise Papers shows that many wealthy Americans and U.S. corporations do not reinvest in America but instead create offshore and complex instruments of investment to hide their money for investors and away from taxes.

Taxes pay for things like the costs of waging war since 2001 and maintaining our military; interest on the debt; infrastructure investment for transportation; internet and parks; Medicare and Social Security payments to baby boomers; and a frugal safety net for the most needy. The government – us – needs those tax revenues.

The wealthy and corporations have been getting tax cuts for decades with little evidence of reinvestment or living-wage job growth in America. Stock indexes are breaking records, but since the last recession, many Americans no longer have retirement savings to enjoy these gains. By 2011, the median value of a 401(k) account was $17,686, according to Barlett and Steele, and 24 percent of these accounts had less than $5,000.

There is a documented history that tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations do not equally help the vast majority of Americans, but all Americans will pay for this tax bill. Tell Congress to work for an equitable tax plan that allows everyone a chance to pursue their financial freedom.

Robert Barrett

Westbrook