Letters to the Editor

Tax the wealthy?

December 13, 2011

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To the editor:

Political “wisdom” proclaims that wealth generates jobs.

But columnist Paul Krugman writes that “quite a few of today’s wealthy got that way by destroying jobs.”

Now comes Albert Pujols with a $25 million per year for 10 years deal. He shouldn’t be taxed more, should he? He earned it. And just think what that money will do. The Angels will need more beer and peanut vendors. Concessions will be busier selling snacks and souvenirs. The whole (California) economy grows because of his wealthy contract.

Tax the wealthy?

Comments

cato_the_elder 3 years, 6 months ago

From esteemed British actor Sir Michael Caine, in 2009:

"The Government has taken tax up to 50 per cent, and if it goes to 51, I will be back in America. I will not pay the Government more than I get. No way, ever. They've reached their limit with me, and that's what will happen to a lot of people. You know how much they made out of that high taxation all those years ago? Nothing. But they sent a mass of incredible brains to America. This return to high tax will only deepen our debt. While top-earners will be hit by the highest tax in 20 years, our MPs escape Scot-free. We've got three-and-a-half million layabouts laying about on benefits, and I'm 76, getting up at 6am to go to work to keep them. Let's get everybody back to work so we can save a couple of billion and cut tax, not keep sticking it on."

littlexav 3 years, 6 months ago

So what you're saying is we can tax the wealthy up to 49% and keep them right here in America without chasing them off to the UK? Sweet!

kochmoney 3 years, 6 months ago

Except for Gwyneth Paltrow, Madonna, Terry Gilliam, Molly Ringwald, Tom Ford, Tina Turner, Gwen Steffani, and Johny Depp. Oh noez. Maybe if we lower taxes, some of them will move back. On second thought, they can keep Gwyneth.

weeslicket 3 years, 6 months ago

in reply to littlexav re: cato the elder

esteshawk 3 years, 6 months ago

What level? Mr. Cato's example is worthless. No one is talking about raising taxes to 50%. There is empircal evidence that the "tax increase" of letting Bush cuts expire will not damage the economy. Remember, these CUTS in tax rates were TEMPORARY when the government was running a SURPLUS.

mloburgio 3 years, 6 months ago

The Cost Of Bush Tax Cuts For The Richest 5 Percent: $11.6 Million Per Hour | The National Priorities Project, in partnership with Citizens for Tax Justice, has released a new site tracking the ever-growing cost of the Bush tax cuts. They found that the tax cuts for only the richest 5 percent of Americans “cost the U.S. Treasury $11.6 million every hour of every day.”

KS 3 years, 6 months ago

And just how much is the US Treasury costing the taxpayers with the wasteful spending? Get a grip folks! Just whose money is it anyway? The way I look at it is that the U.S. Treasury (The Government) is costing the taxpayers $11.6 million every hour of every day.

KS 3 years, 6 months ago

The answer is simple. Tax the rich and give to the poor (Robin Hood). Soon, the rich will have no more money to tax and the poor will have spent their money. Then we will all be poor. I will admit that there may be some folks that could be overpaid (in the eyes of the beholder), but gosh, isn't it nice to know that in this country one has that opportunity? We all can be rich should we decide to work for it and we can all be poor if we decide not to.

kochmoney 3 years, 6 months ago

That's a fine myth they've been teaching you, but upward mobility in this country is pretty low these days. It's lower than it is in many European countries (http://www.economicmobility.org/assets/pdfs/CRITA_FINAL.pdf) It sure helps the "if you work for it" crowd to come prepared with inherited money. The Kochs "worked for it" by spending the money their dad gave them, and they further worked for it by buying politicians to give them favorable legislation, corporate welfare handouts, and lower tax rates. They did not return the favor by providing more jobs with better benefits, and have instead been laying off workers just as the achieve record profits for themselves.

grammaddy 3 years, 6 months ago

I seriously doubt that the wealthy will go broke if they have to pay an additional 2% in taxes.

kochmoney 3 years, 6 months ago

But, but, Michael Caine whined about the rate in the UK!111 What are we going to do if all our actors move to England or Canada?

beatrice 3 years, 6 months ago

Don't you mean, watch more "reality" television?

kochmoney 3 years, 6 months ago

Actually, it would. Removing the tax and ending the Bush wars would eliminate a large chunk of the deficit without any other measures. Fix it completely? No, but you can't finish a race if you never start it.

jhawkinsf 3 years, 6 months ago

Tax everyone, equally. No loopholes, no deductions, none. A flat tax at whatever percentage is necessary for the government to function.
Don't ask me if I'm rich or poor. Don't ask me the color of my skin. Don't ask me my religion. I'll pay my fair share if you'll pay your fair share.

GardenMomma 3 years, 6 months ago

So, what's a "percentage necessary for government to function," 10%?, 20%?, 2%?

jhawkinsf 3 years, 6 months ago

If we spend more, the percentage goes up. If we spend less, the percentage goes down. That way, if we want to go to war or we want to spend more on education, we pay a higher percentage. If we chooses not to spend money on defense or on social services, then we pay less. But my guess is that we'd all be paying somewhere in the 20% range, plus we'd have to pay a little extra if we choose to pay off our deficit.

kochmoney 3 years, 6 months ago

Economists estimate that it's actually more like 40% if you got rid of sales, property, or other taxes. I'm sure the family getting by on $30,000 will do fine on $12,000, don't you? Oh wait, maybe we can just lower the amount of money they get in food aid or education expenses. It's not like that will trap them into a never ending cycle of poverty.

jhawkinsf 3 years, 6 months ago

If you think 40% is too high, then spend less. Buy less military stuff, go to war less. Maybe not every poverty program is necessary. Perhaps we don't need a federal dept. of education in addition to 50 state depts. of education. Maybe we can streamline that a bit.
I've said before that the easiest way for us to end all the wars we get into is to start a draft, for everyone. That will end "optional" war. If you want to end waste, fraud, redundancy, just try paying for it. Pay for it and you'll become very motivated to end it. If we all paid for war with the lives of all of our daughters and sons, war would end (almost).

kochmoney 3 years, 6 months ago

I'm not going to argue that we shouldn't be spending less on the military, but raising the marginal tax rates on the middle and lower income brackets is not the way to get there.

jafs 3 years, 6 months ago

I get your point.

But, your calculations are off - if you take away 40% of $30K, you get $18K.

kochmoney 3 years, 6 months ago

You're right. I meant to say with 12k less.

rockchalker52 3 years, 6 months ago

I've always wondered, jhawkinsf, why we don't do this or at least figure out the percentage it would typically be. I'd think you'd have to cap the equal percentage number at a reasonable level, although I suspect the actual percentage needed is more than reasonable. I suppose special interests are the reason legislators won't consider it.

Flap Doodle 3 years, 6 months ago

The current regime needs more $ to reward people who gave big $ the the Mope's campaign in 2008.

beatrice 3 years, 6 months ago

Have you ever contributed anything to this board that wasn't based around an insult?

kochmoney 3 years, 6 months ago

They get extra privileges? How about if they're allowed to own politicians? I know, they could all give to a big organization and name it something like American Legislative Exchange Council and let it write model legislation that would often get introduced just as it was written. They could give unlimited funds to super PACs and run advocacy ads telling everyone how they'll stop hiring people if their taxes go up, even though they stopped hiring people when their taxes went down. Emergency room wait? Oh, child. Their private doctor will treat them. Speeding tickets? Their lawyer will take care of those. Ooh, and maybe they could own jets and skyscrapers and use gold plated toilets and... Oh wait, I guess they can do all of that.

You see, it's our current system that got them the wealth in the first place, and if you think that having that money doesn't provide them with further advantages towards making even more money, you aren't paying attention. Well, the fact that you're on the losing end of the class war and still don't see that they've pulled the wool over your eyes is further confirmation of the fact. Furthermore, our tax code rewards them for risky boom-and-bust behavior with stocks, and the current environment rewards companies that have massive layoffs.

Taxes should be fair. We're agreed, but the only fair tax is one in which those who get the most benefit from the current economic system are the ones also doing the heavy lifting.

jhawkinsf 3 years, 6 months ago

It is absolutely impossible to define "fair". No way, no how. So let's leave fair out of the equation. Ask Steve Jobs about fair. He died recently, much younger than me. How'd that money thing work out for him? He was estranged from his biological father. How much is your relationship with your father worth? Would you trade money for a longer life? Would he? What the heck is fair? I haven't a clue. And if you do, I guarantee every person on the planet can define "fair" differently.

kochmoney 3 years, 6 months ago

Well, Steve jobs chose to not follow his celebrity physician's advice to operate right away when his tumor was discovered incredibly early due to an expensive preventative care screening he got for an unrelated gastro issue. He instead chose to wait several months and try a vegan diet while his tumor grew. Meanwhile, when he chose treatment, he had his DNA sequenced, and had specially formulated treatments and cutting edge procedures that were unavailable to the average person. He also engaged in transplant tourism to get a liver transplant (already unaffordable to many people) at a much faster rate than he would have if he wasn't able to fly his private jet to another state at a moment's notice.

All his money may not have saved his life, even if he had chosen to operate right away, but it sure did afford him a lot better chance than it would have for a poorer person facing the same circumstances, and it sure seems to me that he did at least attempt to trade money for a longer life.

Also he was estranged from his biological father because he was adopted and chose to never meet him. He had a great relationship with his adopted father. Honest to goodness, if you're going to try for a money can't buy happiness argument, try using someone that didn't come with a recently published biography. Besides, it really doesn't have anything to do with advocacy for a progressive tax rate.

imastinker 3 years, 6 months ago

That's a very reckless and naive position. I'm not wealthy and don't come from a wealthy family, but making money with capital has never been easier than it is today. It's attainable for nearly every person in the US to start using capital to generate income. Stocks and real estate are cheap and interest rates are low.

The fact that most people can't operate a budget and take control of their money is no concern of mine or anybody else. That's what the "rich" have figured out how to do that most people can't.

Here's a freebie: http://www.daveramsey.com/home/

kochmoney 3 years, 6 months ago

Dave Ramsey? Really? He is a great example of how you can make money today by selling things to people with money problems, that's for sure.

Stinker, stocks and real estate require capital to begin with. That's my point. If you're barely making rent and affording food, you do NOT have the money to invest, and even if you do manage to set aside some dollars for investing, you start at a disadvantage and will not snowball earnings at nearly the same rate as someone who started with a nest egg from their parents. It's like starting a NASCAR race on foot.

kochmoney 3 years, 6 months ago

1) can be mitigated by making sure women are highly educated (the biggest factor in lowering the birth rate) which requires tax money. 2) requires tax money 3) Investing IS the casino. Many people lost their hard earned investments when the markets crashed. We live in a boom and bust economy. Also see my earlier point about having initial nest egg.

You're demonstrating some fine naiveté. Oh the irony. A slight increase in the marginal tax rates of the upper bracket isn't going to make "everyone more poor." The truth is that we're all wealth redistributionists. You'd just prefer that the wealth be redistributed further to the wealthy.

kochmoney 3 years, 6 months ago

Actually, yes. Government can remove some of the risks for people by making sure they all have access to education, unemployment insurance, and health care. It also means that investments could be regulated to make sure that you get what you pay for instead of a bundle of toxic assets designed to fail.

That way people could feel free to try launching a new business or starting a new career. People could make wise choices about savings and not worry that they'll lose it all if they get sick or if the stock market tanks. It means businesses could better compete for quality employees, because they wouldn't have to sink all their efforts into negotiating health care plans.

Your hypothetical poor mechanic happens sometimes. But statistically it happens a lot less often than you imagine it to. We're one of the worst industrialized nations for upward mobility.

imastinker 3 years, 6 months ago

They don't require capital to begin with. They require you to be able to save money.

I might be starting out a NASCAR race on foot, but I have 10x the work ethic of any trust fund baby. He'll end on foot and I'll own the race car. That's the world we live in. I believe in equal opportunity, not equal outcomes.

You can believe what you want about wealth, but the majority of people that have wealth made it themselves or were close to the person that did. The vast majority of people that receive great wealth squander it.

Believe me, I know lots of very wealthy people. They are my customers.

Oh, and you can hate on Dave Ramsey all you want but his program has helped more poor people than all the democrats and their social programs combined.

kochmoney 3 years, 6 months ago

Capital: 4 the wealth, whether in money or property, owned or employed in business by an individual, firm, corporation, etc. 5. an accumulated stock of such wealth.

If they don't require capital, can you walk in and buy a stock with no money? Now you can save up for that money, or have it given to you by grandpa, but if you're going to invest, you need the capital with which to invest. Oh, I guess you don't need capital if you can ask your grandpa for a loan, and then it technically wouldn't be an "inheritance" now would it?

It's a bit of an accounting nightmare to tease out "inheritance money" when you look at wealth accumulation. Most of the time that money is passed to the next generation before death and is therefore not "inherited." I believe you that most of the people who suddenly accumulate wealth in that way would squander it. That doesn't, however, account for those who were afforded opportunities for personal wealth acquisition that would otherwise be unavailable to the average family.

Just being raised in an upper middle class family is enough to give you an advantage and feed your budding talents in a way that a poor kid couldn't do. Just ask Bill Gates or Larry Page.

Denmark has much better upward mobility than we do. So does Canada.

kochmoney 3 years, 6 months ago

I was waiting for that. You've made assumptions about me that are simply inaccurate. Go on. Tell me how I'm on welfare, or I don't work hard, I should have stayed in school, I don't know how to run a business, or I just want government handouts. I could use a good chuckle.

imastinker 3 years, 6 months ago

My capital is money that was not spent from my paycheck through scrimping and saving. I think you define capital as having millions of dollars to invest, but that's not the case. You could buy a share of an inexpensive stock every day on what most people spend on lunch.

Poor is a decision, not a state in life. There are exceptions to that, like the disabled. But overall I believe that to be true.

You think we should make life harder for the upper middle class kids to give the poor kids a leg up?

kochmoney 3 years, 6 months ago

No, I define capital as having money. The more you have, the more it can work for you. Someone who is destitute is making choices between food and school books. They're not picking over their stock portfolio, no matter what Dave Ramsey wants to recommend.

Really, it's going to be hard for upper middle class kids if their parents have an effective rate 2% higher than it is now? I had no idea they were so fragile.

fancy80 3 years, 6 months ago

The fact is that it can be done and I know people that have done it. While you sit and type how you can't make money without having money, there are actually people doing just that.

kochmoney 3 years, 6 months ago

There are also people who win the lottery. I wouldn't suggest that faith in the lottery is an indication that our economic system is balanced, either.

seriouscat 3 years, 6 months ago

I really like the idea that that rascal Liberty One posted the other day...everyone who really gains their wealth through their own work and talent gets to keep that wealth at the same rate as everyone else.

Those who get their wealth via the help of (funded by you and me!) government subsidies and contracts gets taxed at an 80% marginal rate...guys like the Koch brothers who have the government seize property for their pipelines, developers who get the government's help seizing property (remember Kelo?) for malls, defense contractors, energy contractors, "security" contractors, insurance contractors, education contractors...et al.

How's that sound?

kochmoney 3 years, 6 months ago

Add in a steep tax on inherited wealth and capital gains, and you might be getting somewhere.

kochmoney 3 years, 6 months ago

Yes. I'm a total grinch who hates institutionalized wealth gap policy. Your precious metals are only worth money because other people say they are. It's a house of cards, and we should encourage long term investment rather than risky short term gains.

kochmoney 3 years, 6 months ago

I say you should invest in shiny shells and beads. After all, they must be valuable if they were ever used as money, right?

jhawkinsf 3 years, 6 months ago

"Add in a steep tax on inherited wealth" Then I will work less, produce less. I will close my business and let go all my employees. I will pay substantially less in taxes.
Will you make up the difference? Why should you decide where the money I earned goes? Why should your children benefit from my hard work and not my children? Will you also decide where I can spend my money or what charities I donate to? Will you be telling me where I may worship, if I'm allowed at all? (I'm not religious at all, I just thought I'd throw that one in there). Michael Caine was quoted earlier. Look at the Beatle's "Taxman", written by the "spiritual" Beatle. Where did he die? Where did John Lennon die? They all moved out of country for tax reasons. So did the Stones. So did all the Boris Becker (high German taxes), so will the very wealthy here. Will you make up the difference?

kochmoney 3 years, 6 months ago

First off, no you won't. Steep tax does not mean no possible inheritance. Secondly, if you do, good. More small businesses would actually better than a few large businesses. It would mean more people working and more chances for people to gain wealth for themselves.

Nobody mentioned charities in this hypothetical tax system that L_ O seems to advocate, so you figure that one out. Also - oh noez, celebrities might move to other countries. Woe is all of us. I'm sure there's no possible reason to live somewhere else other than tax rates.

jhawkinsf 3 years, 6 months ago

First off, I do own a small business, with ten employees. And if I do end my productivity, there is no guarantee someone else will fill that niche nor that someone else will hire the ten people I let go. I fail to see how encouraging a productive person to cease being productive is "good" as you say. And you never said you would pick up the slack. Will you? And the celebrities are only the highly publicized ones leaving the country. Or would leave the country if taxes became too high. It's corporate executives who will rent an apt. in Monaco for tax reasons and continue to spend 95% of their time here.
Look at all the ships that enter our ports. Why are they not flying the red, white and blue. Why Liberia? Why are American companies suddenly being based in Dubai or Switzerland? Why all those bank accounts in the Cayman Islands?
There is a point of diminishing returns. In your world, I could be rich if I opened a restaurant and sold burgers for a million dollars each. Right, everyone eats burgers. In my world, people would change their behavior accordingly and would either purchase a burger elsewhere or not eat burgers at all.

kochmoney 3 years, 6 months ago

I didn't say you didn't own a business. I did say you wouldn't stop owning it just because you'd get taxed on the inheritance. Do try a different straw man next time. Also skip the burger stand. Clearly you're no good at serving straw burgers. They taste like misunderstood Chicago school BS.

As pointed out earlier, the Bush cuts are still lower than the UK rates that allegedly made one actor whine that he was leaving. Didn't stop Gwyneth Paltrow, Madonna, Johnny Depp, Terry Gilliam, Molly Ringwald, Brangelina, or countless other stars from moving in the other direction.

Why are people offshoring all that money? Because we LET them. They rejected earlier legislation that would have removed that particular loophole. It's not rocket science.

jhawkinsf 3 years, 6 months ago

You keep telling me what I would do in a certain situation and I keep telling you you're wrong. I think I'm in a better position to know what I will do. I'll skip a response to your BS statement. It's rude and I'll ignore it. But did you see the part about diminishing returns. I mentioned the Beatles, when tax rates went up to 95%. ("should 5 percent appear too small, be thankful I don't take it all. I'm the taxman"). Taxes may be lower here at this given time, higher there at another given time, but the fact remains that when taxes get too high, people move away. What that number is for George Harrison may be different than the number for Ms. Paltrow. Nonetheless, it happens, and it's easier now when with a stroke of a keyboard, huge sums can be moved around the world. My argument for a flat tax is primarily concerned with the fact that as a tax system becomes more and more complicated, it is the wealthy that can avail themselves of armies of tax lawyers and accountants. They benefit not from high taxes or low taxes. They benefit from complexity. Make the system so simple that we all benefit equally. And we all share the burden equally.

kochmoney 3 years, 6 months ago

If I had a nickel for everyone who said they'd leave the country if someone got elected and then failed to leave, I think I'd be able to buy out your straw man burger stand and open another one in England just to enjoy the view. I say you're blowing smoke, and I'll stand behind that assessment.

Did people move away under Bush? Because that's the tax rate we're talking here.

jhawkinsf 3 years, 6 months ago

It's a free country, you are entitled to stand behind whatever statement you want. No matter how wrong you are. And wrong you are!

kochmoney 3 years, 6 months ago

If you're the type of person who would shoot themselves in the foot and destroy his own business out of spite and laziness, you're right. I'm completely wrong, and I've underestimated the power of your hypothetical tizzy fit.

jhawkinsf 3 years, 6 months ago

The point is that if we can't pass on to our children what we want, there is little incentive to continue to work once you've accumulated enough money to last your lifetime. I'm at that point in my life. I have enough to last until my death. If I can't pass it on, then why work? And if I can't pass on to my offspring my business, then I should sell. BTW - Any idea what would happen to the housing market if that asset was heavily taxed upon a person's death. There would be far less incentive to own a home. The housing market as we know it would collapse.

kochmoney 3 years, 6 months ago

Are you planning on dying with more than 5 million in taxable inheritance? If not, you have nothing to worry about. If so, you should only be concerned if you have a really bad accountant. Even if we reinstated the steepest inheritance tax in our nation's history, I believe it still wouldn't kick in until 5 million dollars, and it would only tax 75% of assets after that 5 million dollar mark. Housing market not wrecked.

jhawkinsf 3 years, 6 months ago

Ah, now we're getting somewhere. When you first said a "steep tax on inherited wealth" I didn't interpret that comment as a tax that would kick in after 5 million. I assumed you were talking about very different numbers than that.
That said, any tax that is very high encourages people to become very creative with their accounting. Now we're back to square one, with my suggestion of a flat tax, no deductions for anyone. As I said, creative accounting benefits the wealthy.

kochmoney 3 years, 6 months ago

I don't have a problem with people leaving their children something to make them comfortable, but there comes a point when it's ridiculous. You're correct that the estate tax is essentially voluntary at this point.

People become creative with their accounting because they're allowed to be creative with their accounting and given all sorts of carved out loopholes by their pet politicians. Most exemptions do benefit the wealthy far more than they do other classes, even when they're theoretically geared toward the middle class (home owner exemption, charitable donations, etc). I'd be in favor of eliminating most of them or at least putting limits on the amount you can claim.

A flat tax is fundamentally unfair to the lower incomes. A progressive tax with fewer exemptions would be the better alternative. None of this will happen as long as money stays in politics. When people of both parties can pay to play, we'll always end up with tax law unfairly tilted toward the uber wealthy.

fancy80 3 years, 6 months ago

Sorry that your parents were losers and weren't able to leave you anything KM. is that why you are so bitter towards the wealthy?

kochmoney 3 years, 6 months ago

Wrong again, but amusing to see that we've now moved into "your mama" territory.

imastinker 3 years, 6 months ago

Who gets to define who made what? I manufacture equipment for companies who export product overseas. The idiots in Washington who have made the dollar less valuable have indirectly helped me sell equipment due to increased demand from my customers.

Nearly everyone in the US has benefited in some way or another from their reckless policies.

imastinker 3 years, 6 months ago

I've pointed this out several times, but in middle class families with marginal tax rates approaching 1/3 to 1/2 of money earned by the lower producing spouse there is little incentive to go to work. If the tax rates are raised, watch scores of people stay at home rather than go to work and make according spending cuts as well. It's effectively the decision lots of unemployed have already made with UI income. Let's see what that does to our economy.

There aren't a lot of people that can pay $150-$600/week or more on daycare, plus 42% taxes, plus commuting costs and wardrobe, meals, parking, etc; and still come out ahead after the money they make.

kochmoney 3 years, 6 months ago

Actually, they've tested this theory and people don't avoid promotions or not take jobs based on skipping to the next marginal tax bracket. In the case of dual incomes, it's usually not the income but the childcare expenses that cause someone to avoid work, as you've already pointed out. Since it's only the upper brackets under discussion - those over 250k, spending the extra money on childcare isn't going to break the bank.

littlexav 3 years, 6 months ago

you took the words right out of my mouth.

they've also demonstrated that "job creators" don't typically consider tax rates when evaluating capital investments. just a myth perpetrated by the uber-wealthy (not that we should be taxing them into oblivion, mind you).

kochmoney 3 years, 6 months ago

Nobody's suggesting they be taxed into oblivion, but you'd never know that listening to their sheeple talk about it.

kochmoney 3 years, 6 months ago

Yes, decreasing access to birth control and abortion has certainly resulted in fewer accidental pregnancies and therefore fewer children who need any sort of 'subsidizing/rewarding' as I'm sure they all think of it. Also making sure kids don't have access to quality education means fewer of them will make bad decisions as they grow up. Good logic you've got there.

Richard Heckler 3 years, 6 months ago

It's about restoring taxes to say pre Reagan/Bush. The wealthy since 1980 have received numerous tax breaks and often times pay no taxes YET somehow receive large to quite large tax returns can we say $250,000 - over $900,000. This we have seen locally.

It seems also that it must be worth tax dollars to keep properties vacant otherwise why flood the markets ....... with the help of local government officials?

Meet some entitlements for the wealty:

  1. TABOR is Coming by Grover Norquist and Koch Bros sells out state governments, public schools,SRS services etc etc to private industry = Grab Your Wallets! http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2005/0705rebne.html

  2. Tax cuts = the ENTITLEMENT program for the wealthy which do nothing to make an economy strong or produce jobs. Tax cuts are a tax increase to others in order to make up the loss in revenue = duped again. The ENTITLEMENT program for the wealthy at the expense of the middle class = duped one more time. http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2001/0301miller.html

In the end big debt and super duper bailouts were the results which does not seem to bother Republicans, as long as they are in power.

In fact, by the time the second Bush left office, the national debt had grown to $12.1 trillion:

  • Over half of that amount had been created by Bush’s tax cuts for the very wealthy.

  • Another 30% of the national debt had been created by the tax cuts for the wealthy under Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

  • Fully 81% of the national debt was created by just these three Republican Presidents. http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2010/0111orr.html

Richard Heckler 3 years, 6 months ago

There is one consequence that usually goes unmentioned. Local entitlements are draining our pocketbooks and raising our taxes.

Is it the taxpayers responsibility to guarantee the real estate industry and developers a nice tidy profit on their speculation and/or risky investments? Absolutely not!

Why all of this and I mean why any of this? Why do local government subsidies and new regulations funnel money from the poor and the middle class to the local politically connected?

http://www.democracynow.org/2008/1/18/free_lunch_how_the_wealthiest_americans

http://www.uua.org/events/generalassembly/2008/commonthreads/115777.shtml

Let the voters decide!

Residential growth does not pay for itself because the funding of revenues generated by residential does not pay for the services they require from a municipality. Flooded retail growth cannot pay for itself because it is unfriendly to business and taxpayers

Let the voters decide when new development is appropriate mostly because too many elected officials cannot say NO to those that which funded their elections. Not only that taxpayers should ALWAYS have a say in our tax dollar spending debates because we are stakeholders.

Without our tax dollars nothing can proceed and city hall salaries cannot paid.

Richard Heckler 3 years, 6 months ago

"But columnist Paul Krugman writes that “quite a few of today’s wealthy got that way by destroying jobs.”

Maybe as a result of sending USA jobs abroad while receiving USA tax breaks as if nothing changed?

jhawkinsf 3 years, 6 months ago

So Merrill, if you owned a business and an American came to you applying for a job, wanting $18/hr. and a legal immigrant came to you an said he'd do the same job for half that amount, you'd hire the American? A rhetorical question to a posters who rarely responds to questions.
If you're in business, you make business decisions. If that means moving manufacturing jobs overseas because it's cheaper and will increase profits, you will do it. And we all benefit because I can almost guarantee that the computer you posted your comment was not made in the USA. It's hypocritical to demonize companies for moving jobs overseas and then accept the benefits of those decisions by purchasing those very products.

jafs 3 years, 6 months ago

We benefit in some ways, and we lose in other ways, from those decisions. We get cheaper products, but lose American jobs, for example.

And, as fewer and fewer options exist for purchasing American made goods, I think it's kind of funny to criticize people for buying foreign made ones.

You moved your labor force overseas in order to increase profits in the first place.

If you hadn't done that, maybe we could find more American made goods.

In your hypothetical situation, of course.

jhawkinsf 3 years, 6 months ago

This highlights a certain problem I have. There are things I'd like to change, but realize that it is impossible to change them. I cannot control wages in China or India or Bangladesh. Wages here are substantially higher. How can we reconcile that? Or taxes in one country being substantially higher than in another. Or regulations? While we can control what goes on here, and we can encourage what goes on in the rest of the world, we need to come to grips with the "real" world we live in. In the real world, it makes economic sense for businesses to manufacture overseas. Demonizing them for doing that makes no sense. In a free society, we are all free to make decisions that are in our own best interests. We can respond by lowering wages here, reduce regulations, impose tariffs, boycott their products. Or we can choose to not compete with them in areas where they hold a competitive advantage and focus on things where we have a competitive advantage. We do have choices.

littlexav 3 years, 6 months ago

If it's a legal immigrant, then he IS an American. I'm so tired of this xenophobic bulls--t.

jhawkinsf 3 years, 6 months ago

Clearly you're confusing a naturalized citizen with a legal immigrant. The former is indeed a citizen of this country. The latter is not. The latter is here with permission for a period of time. They have rules they must follow, things I as a U.S. citizen I may or may not have to do. Generally, they can be employed here legally, as opposed to a third group, the illegal immigrant. Note I specifically said legal immigrant, not illegal immigrant and not naturalized citizen. Xenophobic bulls--t would be an inappropriate response. Your apology is accepted in advance.
:-)

kochmoney 3 years, 6 months ago

The exact same argument could be made without adding the "legal immigrant" description since legal residents are subject to the same employment regulations as US citizens as far as minimum wage and job safety, so yes, your argument seems xenophobic.

littlexav 3 years, 6 months ago

since you're so good at playing semantics, i'm surprised you don't know that "immigrant" has a legal definition of a "permanent" worker. if you pay taxes here, work here, live here, and raise a family here, you're an american. if you framed the choice in your original comment as being between a "citizen" and a "legal immigrant," i might have been assuaged by your otherwise unpersuasive argument of self-defense.

welcome to racism 101, i'll be your tour guide. today's lesson? recognizing your xenophobia and learning to come to terms with it.

jhawkinsf 3 years, 6 months ago

Because you chose to define a word in one way, and I chose to use it in an equally acceptable and in fact more common way, does not make me guilty of your accusations of racism or xenophobia.
I've always believed that an accusation of racism is one of the most horrible things you can call a person. It should be done only in the most extreme cases and only with solid proof. You must feel differently. I feel sorry for you.

beaujackson 3 years, 6 months ago

Property tax is the "killer" for many retired residents who live on a fixed (or declining) income.

George Lippencott 3 years, 6 months ago

imastinker (anonymous) says…

I've pointed this out several times, but in middle class families with marginal tax rates approaching 1/3 to 1/2 of money earned by the lower producing spouse there is little incentive to go to work. If the tax rates are raised,

Moderate Responds.

Maybe that is why current unemployment rates are so difficult to address. If one member of a family loses their job the unemployment benefits may more than compensates (money and time) for the costs of earning that income given the already significant progressive tax rates on those two income families making above $50K and less than a million???

imastinker 3 years, 6 months ago

I believe that's exactly what the problem is.

I meet with vendors all day who say they have a hard time getting people to show up to work that are quality employees. I've been curious myself to walk in to a shop and try to get a job just to see how hard it is.

Richard Heckler 3 years, 6 months ago

"So Merrill, if you owned a business and an American came to you applying for a job, wanting $18/hr. and a legal immigrant came to you an said he'd do the same job for half that amount, you'd hire the American?"

I'd hire the American. Because the immigrant is likely sending money to the native country therefore USA $$$$ are leaving the country. It is far more important to bolster the USA economy at every given opportunity.

Maintaining a tight american economy is essential to creating new wealth and new jobs for the country. Without such thinking the USA finds itself with an economy with 25 million without jobs.

Not only that for most of the same reasons if USA manufacturing wanted to go abroad they should pay a "tarriff" on all the products made abroad coming back into this country as a cost of putting Americans out of work.

USA manufacturing should not be receiving any USA tax benefits for leaving the USA. Keeping a home office in the USA is not good enough.

jhawkinsf 3 years, 6 months ago

You'd be a rare employer indeed who voluntarily chooses to pay double in wages than the going rate, the going rate being defined as the rate which a qualified applicant says he's willing to accept. Do you also pay double in taxes because reducing the deficit is in the best interest of the public? Do you go to the local farmers market and pay double the asking price for locally grown veggies? Frankly, Merrill, I feel compelled to call B.S. on you.

imastinker 3 years, 6 months ago

If you were a real employer you would be worried senseless about going out of business and trying to cut every penny you can. Very few people can sell enough that they don't have to worry about costs.

Lots of employers worked for free or close to it the last few years. That $9 per hour is their money and is 100% profit if they cut it.

The answer is import tarriffs.

Richard Heckler 3 years, 6 months ago

"the going rate being defined as the rate which a qualified applicant says he's willing to accept."

The going rate would be determined by the employer not the job applicant.

The much larger picture is important.

The nations economy is more important than hiring an immigrant for less money. Strong wages are better for the economy as strong wages promote economic growth,savings and investment.

Lower wages stagnate the economy thus increasing taxes,user fees etc etc etc to support existing demands.

esteshawk 3 years, 6 months ago

Why can't Republicans remember the Bush cuts were TEMPORARY, adopted at a time when tax rates were HIGHER and the economy was booming? That FACT debunks this myth that higher taxes - closer to 30% than 50% - will ruin the economy. Higher taxes in the 90s did not pull down a booming economy and in fact led to a government SURPLUS. The lower rates have led directly to this current deficit.

esteshawk 3 years, 6 months ago

One more comment: This concept of letting "capitalists" (eg the wealthy) keep all their money instead of paying taxes is based on the wealthy creating jobs. That is not happening because the proliteriate (eg the middle class) do not have money to spend, so there is no incentive to invest capital. This means money is continuing to flow to the top, and is not circulating. Without getting that turned around, this economy will never recover. How to get it turned around? Let those that spend money - the middle class - keep more of their money to spend.

imastinker 3 years, 6 months ago

No, the reason to let them keep their money is because it's their money.

If you take their money how long will it be before the same folks come after ours?

Carol Bowen 3 years, 6 months ago

Right on, jhawkinsf. We should prioritize the government services we need, establish budgets to support them, and tac accordingly. Just crying "no taxes" ignores the reality that we need government. And, you have to pay for what you get. We do not need to hear about wealthy or poor, corporate or individual. Fairness will have to be on some kind of scale based on basic need and the ability to pay. No loopholes.

I wonder whatever happened to the recommendations from the Task Force.

John Hamm 3 years, 6 months ago

"Fairness will have to be on some kind of scale based on basic need and the ability to pay."

From each according to his ability - To each according to his need. Sounds like Communism (Marxism) to me. And that was such a great success.......

kochmoney 3 years, 6 months ago

Why don't you come over and discuss it. First you'll need to build a road, perhaps arm yourself against lawless rampagers....

Jimo 3 years, 6 months ago

"He shouldn’t be taxed more, should he? He earned it."

Errrrrr......

A) Who, laboring for their income, doesn't "earn it"? Only in Gingrich's alternate universe do the working poor not "earn" their income (and more!).

B) Will Pujols quit if he's taxed more fairly? Nope. Will he hit fewer HRs? Nope. Will one peanut less be sold? Nope.

C) Why focus on Pujols? Did Vulture Capitalist Mitt Romney "earn" his money by stealing it from working people? Did Historian Newt Gingrich "earn" his money by recycling it from the public treasury? Did Celebrity Paris Hilton "earn" her money by inheriting it? Did Job Creator Fred Koch "earn" his money trading illegally with the communists?

Armstrong 3 years, 6 months ago

I for one would be whole heartedly in favor of taxing the wealthy to the enth degree if this subject will stop popping up every other day on the opinion page.

jhawkinsf 3 years, 6 months ago

But would you be willing to be taxed to the enth degree if this subject would stop popping up?

ivalueamerica 3 years, 6 months ago

Tax breaks for the wealthy historically have never increased employment, and I totally do not understand this never-ending passion for letting the wealthy pay much less in taxes than the middle class.

weeslicket 3 years, 6 months ago

made a comment (2 really) at the outset. then skipped ahead.

from the lte: 1. "The whole (California) economy grows because of his wealthy contract." this is a testable hypothesis. so, we wait and see and watch. caution: this hypothesis in only correct IF the whole californian economy grows BECAUSE of his (Pujols's) wealthy contract.

and also: 2. "Tax the wealthy?" again: wait and see. this question will rather quickly answer itself.

imo: 3. it should only take about ONE baseball season to answer either prove or disprove this hypothesis.

weeslicket 3 years, 6 months ago

another question: does don conrad believe that his economic conditions improved JUST BECAUSE albert pujols signd a multi-million dollar contract?

weeslicket 3 years, 6 months ago

heh. heh. hey cato the elder, and the othr spelling nazis. i left a few lttle gifts in all this for yez. (chrtl. chrtl. snrt. cough.)

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