"Why should I be punished for being successful?"
This is the conservative talking point or response, when the issue of graduated or higher tax brackets is raised. The notion that the more successful or rich you become, the more onerous your tax burden becomes, isn't a punishment at all. However, this is not the way conservatives see it...
So, the point I'd like to make here is: 'the more you benefit from something, the more you owe it'. There's a system of government in place that serves us all, and it must be paid for through taxes. If you aren't 'benefitting' from said system, then your duty to it isn't comparable to someone who has garnered great wealth from the same system. You see, alone one can accomplish very little, and hold even less. Wealth can't be created in a vacuum, and it can't be held as an individual.
If you were the richest man in the world, but there wasn't a stable system of government to protect and serve you and your wealth, you'd soon find yourself at the hands of marauders and or pirates better armed and or organized than you. Luckily we aren't truly 'individuals' anymore. We exist, as we do, as part of a community or government. We left the State of Nature, to form this "more perfect union". And as part of this union, we all have a duty to fund it, as it is the thing that safeguards all of us and the wealth we garner.
When the system benefits you 'more', you should feel more obligated to pay for it. Imagine a lemonade stand where an owner employs 2 squeezers. Out of each glass sold, the owner keeps .50, and pays the workers each .25. Then one day a tornado completely destroys the stand and all the inventory. Upon deciding who will pay to fix it, would it make sense to demand that everyone pay the same amount? Possibly, IF they were all going to be equal partners, but if the profit isn't going to be shared equally, if would be unfair to ask those not benefitting from the operation to pay the same as someone making twice as much.
With that said, I believe that we DO all deserve to pay the same 'rate' of taxes, on our earnings. If you make "0", you pay "0". If you make a $1, you pay .10. If you make $10, you pay $1. If you make $1,000,000, then you pay $100,000. This is what as known as the "Flat Tax", and is NOT what is being employed right now. Instead, we have a convoluted system of laws complete with loopholes, caps, and exemptions that allow those who can afford it- Tax Lawyers, who's sole purpose is to make it so that the rich DON'T pay their fair share. Worse yet, is the fact that people brag about legal tax evasion as though it isn't stealing from everyone.
Instead of viewing taxes as a patriotic duty, taxes are thought of as punishment. Friends, my fellow countrymen, nothing could be further from the truth. We owe each other a tax debt, and the more you benefit from this system, the more you owe to it, period.