David Henderson is on point:
We hear a lot about the top 1%. We don’t hear a lot about the bottom 1%. There are about 313 million people in America today. 1% of 313 million is 3,130,000. In our prisons today are 2,200,000 people. So the people in prison are 2/3 of one percent. And their wages are typically about 23 cents an hour. They are, essentially, the bottom 1%.
Many of them are there for violent crimes, theft, fraud, and other such things. But hundreds of thousands of them are there for buying, selling, or producing illegal drugs. The drug war has put them there. And we taxpayers are paying $30,000 a year and more to keep them there.
So let me get this straight: high-income people are paying lots of taxes so that the government can put poor people in prison and keep them poor or put non-poor people in prison and make them poor.
We hear the occupy people advocate taxing the top 1% more. I’ve got a better idea: let’s tax the top 1% less–they’re already paying a disproportionately high share of taxes–and let a few hundred thousand of the bottom one percent out of prison and out of their grinding poverty in prison.