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Archive for Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Letter: Taxing truth

February 19, 2013

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To the editor:

As we swing into tax season, how about some truth from D.C.? While 70 percent of all income-earners are subject to filing individual returns, some 60 million of those will pay no income tax. From the 144 million returns that will pay taxes, the government expects to get some $950 billion. Approximately 104 million returns will account for $94 billion in revenue, with the remaining 40 million returns picking up the tab for the rest. That means that 28 percent of the income taxpayers will pay some 90 percent of the income tax collected. Let’s talk about tax fairness.

Even with nearly a trillion dollars flowing into the treasury, Washington will borrow another trillion, just to pay its bills. Let’s talk about spending reductions.

With four straight years of spending over a trillion dollars more than it takes in and another rearing its ugly head, let’s talk about deficit reductions.

It’s past time for our elected officials to step up to the plate and be fiscally responsible. If they can’t do it, we need new representatives.

Comments

Trumbull 1 year, 1 month ago

What about Federal Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid taxes? Everyone who works pays those.

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Richard Heckler 1 year, 1 month ago

The right wing posing as the GOP are pushing the Forbes Flat tax I'd say...

This includes Sam Brownback in Kansas

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-reich/flat-tax-progressive-tax_b_1026339.html

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George Lippencott 1 year, 1 month ago

Fiddleback

I notice that all liberals like to make that argument – that other taxes even the score. I will never accept that argument. Payroll taxes buy the recipient a retirement and a medical program. None of the money goes to pay for the operation of the federal government. I just do not count that tax because of the very clear link to personal reward.

The income tax buys many programs that most Americans never use. It buys Medicaid, food stamps, housing support, child support and a myriad of other programs that at the federal and state level equal almost a trillion a year. It is my assertion that everybody must contribute to those costs. Simply buying yourself a retirement and a health care program does not under any rational argument discharge the personal responsibility to contribute to the COMMON good.

Yes, I support progressive taxation. I do not support half the tax paying world not having to contribute to the common pot or filthy rich people paying an effective rate less than a middle income player. The system is horribly skewed. You will note from my data how highly progressive the tax rates are between 50 and 100K. That progressivity ends at about $400K – why?

While I count state and local taxes as taxes that do contribute to the common good. They by no means discharge the responsibility of every citizen to contribute to all the common pots. They are also progressive and lower income taxpayers pay little.

The real issue here is seeking additional taxes from the middle while settling for 4% from the filthy rich and effectively excusing half the population from any increase. Unfortunately that is how I interpret continuous and loud arguments from the left for more revenue. These are arguments that never reconcile the trillion dollar annual shortfall with an identified taxpayer. Cutting Defense, nicking the rich for some deductions or hoping the economy improves enough just will not IMHO cover the annual shortfall.

The decision to increase annual expenditure from around 20% to close to 24% was not driven by the “Bush” tax cut. It was a conscious decision to spend more money on a host of government programs. So far the decision has been paid by incurring debt. The alternatives are to cut those increases or tax somebody.

IMHO that somebody is the upper middle and the sums involved are ruinous. One more time – how much is enough and who should pay?

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Armstrong 1 year, 1 month ago

If the Obamanator has his way we will all be unarmed pesants

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rockchalk1977 1 year, 1 month ago

1,392 days since Senate Democrats fulfilled their legal obligation to pass a budget. Obama, Pelosi, Reid are the Three Stooges of DC. Hopeless change!

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KansasLiberal 1 year, 1 month ago

Get rid of the military and "intelligence" departments and we won't have any more debt or deficit problems.

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fiddleback 1 year, 1 month ago

"Income inequality between the average in Kansas and $100K is twice. Income inequality between the poor and the average is - guess what - 2. Income inequality between the average and the really wealthy is 20 and up."

Your shorthand is unclear. Please clarify what you're talking about and your sources/links. Also:

-Where did I imply that I'm satisfied with rate structures for the top 28%?

-Where did I imply that I wouldn't want more targeted taxation of the super-rich?

-Where did I imply that I wanted to "go after" the upper middle class?

-On what basis do you assume that we're remotely in danger of particularly punishing the latter, esp. since the GOP defines "upper-middle" much higher, and thereby demanded setting the threshold for the expiring Bush tax cuts at 400/450K rather than 200/250K?

"What you are talking is income redistribution to make us all equal except for a few elites who will still be fancy rich..."

I'll forgo comment on your final two paragraphs; you seemed to start with a straw man of my points and then ended with snowballing hyperbole that doesn't sound the least bit "moderate." If you want to credibly characterize my remarks as seeking to tax teachers into the lower-middle class, then you should bring some actual sources and data to the table.

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George Lippencott 1 year, 1 month ago

Well fiddleback yours is too.

Focus on the top 5% and we will find that is where the wealth really is. Using the top 20% helps you justify higher taxes on part of the middle class - a part that is not wealthy. Don't fall for that conservative trick. The 5-20% pay a fair amount of taxes in the aggregrate but it is a reasonably large aggregrate. The 5% is not a large set - but it holds much of our wealth.

Income inequality between the average in Kansas and $100K is twice. Income inequality between the poor and the average is - guess what - 2. Income inequality between the average and the really wealthy is 20 and up.

Now if you go after the really wealthy you will bring in some revenue. The problem is that there are few of them, they are highly mobile, they cheat, they own several congress persons each and will probably not pay much no matter what you do. Therefore only by making the upper middle equal to the middle can you find any real money to pay for the trrillon dollar annual deficit that stretches onward to forever..

If you want to go after the upper middle get your facts straigyht. You are not talking the rich - you are talking those who have worked all their lives like teachers. What you are talking is income redistribution to make us all equal except for a few elites who will still be fancy rich - not much different from how it is today.

You liberals are easily fooled. Do you really want a society where after earning an advanced degree and working all you life married to someone of equaly accomplishment your taxes reduce you to an income level just a bit more than you enjoyed in your late 20s??

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fiddleback 1 year, 1 month ago

Mr. Meyer, I call baloney. Your letter is mostly just re-hashed and myopic rubbish about the "taker" 47% vs. the "maker" 53%, yet trying to masquerade as an appeal to fiscal sanity....

Yes, the top 28% pay the largest share***

*Nevermind the grand canyon of income inequality that makes that general structure a necessity - the top 20% owns 85% of the country's wealth.


**Nevermind that their taxes are still historically very low (see rates set under "Republicans" Eisenhower and Nixon).

Effective tax rates, US high-income.png

Effective tax rates, US high-income.png

***Nevermind that the Bush Tax Cuts are a major reason for 47% not having federal income tax liability...

http://taxfoundation.org/article/bush-tax-cuts-erased-income-tax-burden-78-million-families

Look Ken, we all want more efficient government. But whining about how those at the bottom, the 72% percent sitting on a whopping 15% of U.S. wealth, have no skin in the game, is just plain stupid.

How about starting your argument with cogent analysis of inefficiencies you'd like to see corrected rather than warmed-over divisive b.s. that already cost your presumed party of choice the 2012 election.

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jhawkinsf 1 year, 1 month ago

It's easy to keep spending when someone else has to pick up the tab. In this case, it's our children and grandchildren. If there is anyone out there who wants to give me their credit card, I guarantee you I can spend on it day into night, night until day.

Raise taxes on everyone, and I mean everyone, a flat tax of 20%, or 30%, or 50%, whatever. Tax every person, every business, every corporation, LLC, church, everyone. Whatever it takes to pay for the things we demand of government. Once we've achieved that, once we're really paying for it, rather than sending the bill to future generations, then we'll be able to decide if all that spending is really what we want from government. Maybe we'll decide to reduce entitlement spending. Maybe we'll slash the military industrial complex. Maybe it'll be a bit of both. Only then can we reduce taxes to the level of our demands for spending. But as long as we have the ability to borrow while having some future generation pay for our recklessness, we'll face a fiscal cliff, a sequestration, an abyss every few months or so.

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deec 1 year, 1 month ago

I assume the author is advocating for eliminating the credits and accounting tricks that allow GE and other multinational corporations to avoid paying any taxes or even getting millions back in refunds?

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 1 year, 1 month ago

Great idea, Ken. The most pressing need in society right now is to make the poorest and most vulnerable among us even poorer and more vulnerable-- in the name of all that's fair.

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skinny 1 year, 1 month ago

You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is about the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it.

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