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LJWorld.com weblogs Science Becoming Religion

Do Rich Deserve Their Money?

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I'm getting tired of Republicans crying that the "poor" rich shouldn't have to pay any more of "their" money in federal taxes. Republicans falsely claim that allowing those with high incomes to pay lower taxes will result in creation of new jobs.

Perhaps that is the case with entrepreneurs like Donald Trump or the owners of small businesses.

However, many, if not most, of those with high incomes, including corporate CEO's, work for someone else. They aren't going to use any tax cut money to create new jobs at their employers' businesses. Many corporate executives look for ways to reduce the number of people working at their companies so more money will be available to pay them.

How many high income people really deserve the income they receive? The Wall Street executives who wrecked the companies they worked for certainly didn't deserve the large bonuses they received from President Barack Obama.

In 2005, federal prosecutors got a conviction of Westar CEO David Wittig and assistant Douglas Lake for looting the corporation to increase their own income. However, a Supreme Court ruling favorable to corporate executives receiving questionable compensation caused the conviction to be overturned and prevented another successful prosecution. Wittig had been previously convicted of a crooked loan scheme with a Topeka banker who increased Wittig's line of credit so Wittig could loan him money for a real estate venture.

NBA Hall of Famer Dennis Rodman told Jay Leno recently that the NBA really needed to restructure its labor contract because many teams were paying players $20 million a year just to sit on the bench. Fans sometimes complain that some highly paid athletes don't play like they deserve what they are being paid.

The Christian Science Monitor reported in 2010 that 30 private college presidents had incomes of over one million. How can anyone justify paying a college president a million a year, particularly considering the high cost of college? Millionaire college presidents aren't likely to use their "tax cut" money to create jobs. If they were interested in creating new jobs they would take lower salaries.

Some major colleges pay athletic coaches million dollar salaries as if they were profit making businesses rather than charitable organizations. College coaches are unlikely to use any tax cut money to create new jobs. They are in coaching to make as much money as they can.

The sports programs they work for are preoccupied with making money. Schools jump from conference to conference depending upon how much money they can make. Congress needs to consider taxing major college sports programs like professional sports teams. At the very least Congress should eliminate the practice of allowing tax deductible "contributions" to major college sports programs. Tax deductions for payments to organizations should be eliminated to those organizations that exist to help others. College sports programs exist to make a profit in the form of high pay for sports employees.

Colleges aren't the only "charities" that help their executives and coaches get rich. Some charities pay very high salaries to their top executives. Many environmental organizations pay multiple executives over $200,000 per year.

The Boys and Girls Clubs of America at one time was paying its CEO nearly a million in salary and benefits. The March of Dimes CEO has received over $600,000 a year.

Actor Charlie Sheen might have used some of his tax cut money for some "fun dates" but not to create permanent jobs. A few actors may finance their own movies and touring singers may be responsible for paying band members and "roadies". How many overpaid actors use tax cut money to hire anyone other than domestic staff for their mansions.

If income were based on one's contribution to the welfare of society, farm workers would be much better paid than entertainers.

If Republicans want to use the tax system to encourage business owners to add jobs, Congress should allow deduction for any expenses, including equipment purchases, associated with hiring new employees. This approach would reward those who hire new employees. The Republican approach rewards those owners who don't hire new employees by allowing them to keep more of their incomes. The Republican approach also rewards those who have no interest in using the income they receive from their employers to hire new workers.

Comments

overthemoon 3 years, 3 months ago

"There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody. You built a factory out there -- good for you. But I want to be clear. You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. You were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn't have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory... Now look. You built a factory and it turned into something terrific or a great idea -- God Bless! Keep a Big Hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along." - Elizabeth Warren

tomatogrower 3 years, 3 months ago

Liberty, during what time in history did businesses build the roads, and in what country? Just curious. I'm just trying to think of a time that happened.

ljwhirled 3 years, 3 months ago

Balderdash Liberty_One.

The first gravel road in the nation was built in the early 1800's by public money. Before that there were NO good roads in this country.

No single private enterprise has EVER built a significant road for the public good that was NOT a toll road. This goes all the way back to Rome.

Point me at one significant example. Be specific.

devobrun 3 years, 3 months ago

Ever been to the North Maine Woods? It is America and it is part of the state of Maine, but you wouldn't know it from the laws, services, roads.....everything.

It is a privately run wilderness of logging and the toilet paper it produces.
How 'bout northern New Mexico? Shoot, all of New Mexico, except the cities. Ever been to the Absaroka range north of Yellowstone in Montana? Don't bother calling for any of the things you think make you rich. You can be the richest person in the world on a night on Mystic Lake with trout on a stick over a fire and the Milky Way draped over you.

Ah heck....it's late September and I didn't get a good enough vacation from you wimpy city folks.And I'm going to Chicago for fall break.

OK, that does it. I'm going to get my mind right next spring. It's small Carribean Island for me. Conch, grouper, and livin' on $10 bucks a day for gasoline for the little boat and a bottle of rum.

Carol Bowen 3 years, 3 months ago

Our neighborhood, here in Lawrence, was completely developed using private funds back in the 1950's. That included the streets, from what I have heard.

esteshawk 3 years, 3 months ago

Before Lincoln, huh. I guess labor was cheaper then. And goodness knows the education system was far superior in 1850.

esteshawk 3 years, 3 months ago

I was referring to slavery in labor costs.

In other sarcastic news, it's a real shame that that horrible government sponsored road system - the Interstate - is not at all coordinated and is so hard to find your way around the country, unlike those private roads you refer to, which must surely have been planned out and worked together so much better than the interstate.

Also - if you've bothered to read the constitution, you would know the government is

esteshawk 3 years, 3 months ago

I was referring to slavery in labor costs.

In other sarcastic news, it's a real shame that that horrible government sponsored road system - the Interstate - is not at all coordinated and is so hard to find your way around the country, unlike those private roads you refer to, which must surely have been planned out and worked together so much better than the interstate.

Also - if you've bothered to read the constitution, you would know the government is

esteshawk 3 years, 3 months ago

I was referring to slavery in labor costs.

In other sarcastic news, it's a real shame that that horrible government sponsored road system - the Interstate - is not at all coordinated and is so hard to find your way around the country, unlike those private roads you refer to, which must surely have been planned out and worked together so much better than the interstate.

Also - if you've bothered to read the constitution, you would know the government is

rwwilly 3 years, 3 months ago

I do contribute. A lot. About 22% of my total household income goes to FEDERAL INCOME TAX ONLY. That doesn't include Federal payroll, KS state and RE/property taxes, and the litany of daily use and sales taxes. I'm not complaining, per se, but I never thought I would live to see the day that being successful via the sweat from my own brow would be considered sinful and I would be labelled as greedy. I didn't inherit my money, I worked for it. By the way, I also support a number of charities and children here and overseas as I have none of my own. Pay your own way like I did and stop looking for a life with all your streets already paved.

chootspa 3 years, 3 months ago

But rwwilly, all your streets were already paved. That's precisely the point. Keep a good hunk, but pay it forward for the next hardworking person.

chootspa 3 years, 3 months ago

Nope. She's implying that the super rich currently enjoy one of the lowest effective tax rates in modern history and are asking for more cuts.

Even if your math were correct on the number of jobs supplied by small business, small business owners aren't generally super rich. What I've read says the average small business owner takes home somewhere between 36k and 96k per year. That's considered middle class.

ljwhirled 3 years, 3 months ago

Liberty_One:

Your right! Like in Somalia - a Libertarian Dreamscape.

Full of infrastructure, safety and stability! Why, it is heaven on earth!

If you like libertarianism so much. Move there.

chootspa 3 years, 3 months ago

Au contraire, there's nothing BUT enforceable property rights in Somalia. However, you must enforce it yourself when the government is too weak to help you. Yay for libertarianism!

BarrySoetoro 3 years, 3 months ago

You don't have to worry about marauders??? Ha! We will take over all businesses!

http://www.socialistworld.net/print/5273

jhawkinsf 3 years, 3 months ago

What are people's labor worth? It's a question that we can all answer differently. How much in compensation does a CEO deserve compared to say a teacher at one of our local schools? How much should a star athlete make compared to say Justin Bieber? How I value one may differ substantially from how you will value it. There really is no right or wrong answer. Once we agree that there is no right or wrong answer, we still have to decide what to pay them. The formula we have is that they should get paid whatever a free market will pay. If a Justin Bieber concert or a LeBron James game is priced at a level that the market dictates, then they will get their fair compensation, whatever that is. The same with the CEO and the teacher. The free market, for all it's flaws, is still a better system than any other.

tomatogrower 3 years, 3 months ago

The problem is if the teachers set up a school and started charging what they are really worth, only people with lots of money could afford an education. This happened in the past, like the middle ages. They only way you were educated is if you had money or became a nun or priest. Maybe that would make a lot of people happy, but the less educated a populace is, the more likely you will have a dictatorship and suicide bombers. Lots of suicide bombers can't read, and are told the Koran says to kill Americans. They don't know any different, because they can't read. The same goes for fire fighting and police protection. Police protection would devolve into your basic extortion. Fire fighters would let a house burn, because the owner didn't pay up. Some things need to be done as a community, or how else would you have a community?

Cant_have_it_both_ways 3 years, 3 months ago

News reports last month had education costing upwards of 4X what medical care costs.

chootspa 3 years, 3 months ago

Oh good. Let's stop educating doctors then.

ljwhirled 3 years, 3 months ago

Yeah, because they never received a free education from the government. None of them got Pel grants. None of them got subsidized loans.

They don't drive to work on government roads, or gas up their cars using a fuel supply chain secured by government troops.

If you don't like government - move to Somalia. They have a libertarian paradise there.

CountyResident 3 years, 3 months ago

How you propose to pay for our army, navy and marines?

Ron Holzwarth 3 years, 3 months ago

It's very unfortunate that the care of young children, which is the most important job of all, is one of the lowest paying ones.

But in any way other than financial, it's the most rewarding of all.

ljwhirled 3 years, 3 months ago

"The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little." - FDR

Liberty_One: Let me into your libertarian paradise. I will create my own kingdom by force of arms. You can mine coal for me! I always wanted to own a libertarian!

common_man 3 years, 3 months ago

"Deserve" has nothing to do with it. Once government begins determining who "deserves" to keep those things that they have we've headed down an ugly path of Fascism/Socialism/Communism.

rwwilly 3 years, 3 months ago

Dear Common_man- Great point. "Deserving" has very little to do with it. In a cosmic sense you hope and trust your good efforts are rewarded over the long haul...hopefully. There's no guarantee. The government can and should be a source of short term aid. However, its primary function should not be to spend its (our) capital in a wasted effort to insure a liveable standard of living to everyone. My God, look overseas to Britain, Greece, France and even Germany. All are cutting back their socialist programs because all have discovered these programs are unsustainable...even in countries where socialism is not a dirty word.

heygary 3 years, 3 months ago

How much in compensation does a CEO deserve compared to say a teacher at one of our local schools?

Today's paper has Obama relaxing the no child left behind laws so that teachers are not canned if their students fail to perform. No responsibility for performance ... no risk! Teachers get paid for working 7 months a year ... they get additional compensation for everything they do beyond the classroom.

CEOs have no life! 60 to 70 hours a week! They are held absolutely responsible for the performance of their company. In many cases, if their comany goes under they are bankrupt.

These readers suggest that the "millions" they get are stored in a room somewhere! Get a clue! The top 2% wealth in this country account for about 40% of the goods and services purchased ... when goods and services are purchased, people are put to work.

I wonder how much of the taxpayer money goes for the purchase of drugs and booze!

eric1889 3 years, 3 months ago

What teacher works only 7 months a year. Last I remembered the school year lasted from August to May, That is actually about 10 months. Then May thru August you are all but forced to continue your education on your dime, so that you may keep you license. CEOs work 60 hours a week, but have you ever seen what a teacher actually does. They teach during the day, but then have to take everything home to prepare for the next day. That includes grading papers, which takes anywhere from 2-4 hours a night. They have to prepare the next days lessons. They have to respond to emails and calls from parents. This doesn't include any extracurricular activities they may coach or sponsor, which again takes a huge chunk of time. Where would those CEOs be if they didn't have the teachers to educate them, so that they can be where they are today. Where would the CEOs be if the teachers were not there to teach their workforce that they depend on to make their millions. American companies depend upon a workforce that is educated by our teachers, but we have many in this country that disrespect the education profession.

tomatogrower 3 years, 3 months ago

eric1889, don't confuse heygary with facts.

MarcoPogo 3 years, 3 months ago

It's about time someone posted a response that has a good solid laugh in nearly every paragraph.

Heygary, I like your style!

ljwhirled 3 years, 3 months ago

My CEO friends mostly work 20 to 30 hours per week.

We golf at least twice a week and take vacations whenever we please.

I am not paid near as much as most CEOs, but the time is coming.

Keep advocating for me. I hate paying taxes. I have my eye on a new boat. It is made in China is is very, very nice.

rwwilly 3 years, 3 months ago

Dear Made-In-China: According to several governmental sources, statistics indicate over 94% of households that report total net assets of over $1 million are self made. Not Waltons, Rockfellers, Kochs etc. Most are Zuckermanns, Gates and even Buffett. There are over 250,000 households that fall into that class. You are singling out a few at the top. Very few. Either way, what on earth difference does it make? We are the only major industialized country that sees fit to try to recyle your assets back to the state for the "greater good". What a crock.

ljwhirled 3 years, 3 months ago

If everyone pays 15%, then we need to get rid of Social Security and Medicare. Eliminate the defense department. Eliminate most federal programs including the national parks, NASA and other government agencies.

Basically, we could do it, but it would be the end of the American Century. The future of mankind would be in the hands of the Chinese elite.

Maybe it already is.

ljwhirled 3 years, 3 months ago

Um....no.

You heard it in 1935 when tax policy shifted to redistribute the wealth of the few for the benefit of the many.

What followed was the greatest period of growth and prosperity in the history of mankind.

The Great Depression was what followed the Guilded Age and the Great recession is what followed the neo-con attempt to restore the Guilded Age.

Libertarianism doesn't work. Well regulated capitalism does.

whats_going_on 3 years, 3 months ago

When the rich paid more taxes, there was actually less unemployment. Makes no sense. Giving them breaks won't create jobs...they don't care...they just want to pad their pockets. Just because they pay less isn't going to make them feel more generous or less greedy.

ljwhirled 3 years, 3 months ago

Ironically, they also got richer, faster.

http://s9.photobucket.com/albums/a64/anjiaoshi/?action=view&current=incomegrowth.jpg

Income growth was much faster when taxes were higher in the 1990's. Not only did wealth accumulate faster for the rich. It also accumulated for the poor and the middle class.

It is only recently that the wealth growth of the rich has outpaced that of the middle class. Despite this, they are actually getting richer slower than they would be under a more progressive tax structure.

Paying more taxes is actually GOOD for them, but like any spoiled children, they don't want to take their medicine.

whats_going_on 3 years, 3 months ago

Rich people who worked for their wealth, no doubt deserve it, they earned it! However, the middle class, who may work just as hard and just don't have the resources that the rich do, don't deserve the unfairness of having to pay more in taxes than the more fortunate.

ljwhirled 3 years, 3 months ago

True that.

And people who didn't work at all for their wealth (i.e. capital gains on inherited stock) should pay their fair share.

We are in danger of creating an entrenched aristocracy. That is exactly the situation our founding fathers fought to end.

jaywalker 3 years, 3 months ago

"I'm getting tired of Republicans crying that the "poor" rich shouldn't have to pay any more of "their" money"

If you're wishing to establish an argument you should reconsider showing your hand so idiotically right off the bat. Not a single Republican, I am certain, has referred to the "poor" rich. Quoting "their" is just plain ol' dumb.

Absolutely no point in reading past the first sentence.

eric1889 3 years, 3 months ago

Haven't the rich been receiving tax cuts for the last decade? If so, why haven't jobs been created?

deec 3 years, 3 months ago

Bingo. Actually the cuts started under St. Ronnie, so its more like 30 years. Why are we not at 0% unemployment? Oh, that's right. The beneficiaries of the tax cuts aren't creating new jobs...in the U.S. They are sitting on their money and living large.

jafs 3 years, 3 months ago

Then unemployment should be 5%, but it's considerably higher than that.

jafs 3 years, 3 months ago

Nice way to miss the point.

Your comment was that the reason we don't have 0% unemployment was that 5% of the adult population are lazy and don't want to work.

If this were the case and the reason, then we'd have 5% unemployment.

jafs 3 years, 3 months ago

Oh, so rockchalk is wrong in a couple of ways then.

rwwilly 3 years, 3 months ago

We're in a deep recession, thats why. Why are we in a recession? Loss of jobs due to world competition and a COLLASPED housing market. If you want to go down the food chain one more level I would list the Chinese as the current answer to the competition issue and excessive speculation as the answer to the housing issue.

ljwhirled 3 years, 3 months ago

Simple. Tax cuts for the rich don't create jobs. They concentrate wealth.

You create jobs by investing in education and infrastructure and by providing a social safety net that reduces the risk of entrepreneurship.

Unfortunately, that doesn't make a good talking point.

Carol Bowen 3 years, 3 months ago

Oh, but it does make a good talking point. Very concise and without blame. Thank you.

Fossick 3 years, 3 months ago

Does Reasonmclucus deserve his lawn furniture?

I'm tired of people calling the police simply because stuff that they think is "theirs" or is on "their" property is put to use by others elsewhere. It's outrageous.

First of all, there are people who don't even have regular furniture, much less a complete second set that almost never gets used. The mere existence of Reasonmclucus' furniture just sitting outside not being used is proof that he a) is depriving the poor of furniture, and b) publicly parading the fact. Bad form, Peter.

Therefore unless Reasonmclucus can persuade everyone here that not only does he deserve to keep his lawn furniture, but that he deserves it more than anyone else who might have designs on it, I argue that the community - or any member of it - has a perfect right to put it to better use at their own discretion.

Anyone have a problem with that?

ljwhirled 3 years, 3 months ago

Lawn furniture is a bad example. Lets try clothing

It is -10 deg F outside and Reasonmclucus has a closet full of clothes.

In addition, he has 10 shipping containers full of warm clothes, which he keeps on his lawn to prevent neighbors from peeking.

The poor have no clothes and are freezing to death.

In a moral world, does Reasonmclucus deserve to keep all of his clothes? Or in a civil society should he be forced to give some of them up for the common good?

ljwhirled 3 years, 3 months ago

A better example might be that he has shipping containers full of clothes and the U.S. Army needs warm clothes for its soldiers.

Should we take the coats from the poor who only have enough clothes to stay warm?

Or should we demand that Reasonmclucus turn over one of his shipping containers?

Which is fair?

Fossick 3 years, 3 months ago

"A better example might be that he has shipping containers full of clothes and the U.S. Army needs warm clothes for its soldiers."

What do you suppose the public reaction would be if we allowed the army to take what it needed from civilians simply because it was 'there'? I suspect it would be rather hostile, and rightly so.

The problem with your analogy (and the one below it) is that it plays heart strings instead of brain waves. No one is starving here in America because the government lacks funds. No one. We have the richest fattest poor people who have ever lived. If we made a BMI adjustment to America's poverty measurements, the poor would be richer as a group than the middle class.

Reasonmclucus' argument, to the extent it makes any sense at all, is that some rich people don't deserve to own what they own because a) they're not using it correctly, b) they are bad people who do bad things for bad reasons, or c) they are sitting on the bench. In short, he is deciding what others ought to be able to keep based on his own judgment of how they use it.

As King Osric might have said, "What daring! What outrageousness! What innocence! What arrogance!" It's as arrogant as me deciding that since he's not using his grill in the way I think he ought, I have a right to haul it away.

Fossick 3 years, 3 months ago

It doesn't matter why they're fat. For most of human history and even most of human history, the most obvious and relevant indicator of poverty was malnutrition. The poor were undersized and mentally stunted from a lack of calories. Poverty was so vicious because it literally killed the old and the very young through lack.

It is obvious that our poor have many problems, but malnourishment is not among them. The fact that food is "cheap and easy" just underscores the point that our poverty is of a wholly different nature than what has historically been the case.

Fossick 3 years, 3 months ago

"and even most of human history"

Should have been "and even most of American history, especially in the South."

jafs 3 years, 3 months ago

Of course it matters.

Being obese is not much healthier than being too skinny.

It leads to a variety of health issues, and is quickly becoming an epidemic in America.

Being poor sucks, whether you're too skinny or obese, if you can't afford decent quality food.

Fossick 3 years, 3 months ago

You might be missing the point - it's not about health but opportunity. The poor in France during the Revolution could not do anything about their situation because 3 years of failed harvests meant the food they needed did not exist. The poor in the rural south were inbred, stunted, and radicalized because of disease, parasites (hookworm, mostly) and a lack of food. These things do not exist as factors in modern American poverty, which is a subjective poverty (poverty by comparison), not an objective (poverty of lack) one.

Today, Jesse's "cheap and easy" is important, but 'easy' is more important. Fat is a choice in America, and it's a choice most of us (even those of us who are not poor) are making. We choose convenience over health. It is not more expensive to eat well, it is simply more work.

The poor are making bad choices as we all are. But they do not lack choices.

jafs 3 years, 3 months ago

Good, healthy food costs more than unhealthy food.

It's unfortunate, but it's true.

Fossick 3 years, 3 months ago

Fortunately, it's not true. Not only is it not true, the poor generally ignore the single-greatest source of inexpensive and healthy food available.

According to the Brookings Institution, "Suburbs were home to the largest and fastest-growing poor population in the country." We have to set aside the idea of poverty as urban and black, it's mostly suburban and white. http://www.brookings.edu/papers/2010/0120_poverty_kneebone.aspx

Now, drive through the suburbs and notice all the yards. Nice and big, aren't they? Biggest in the world, Baby. America, F-Yeah! Now notice how few gardens are in them. The few you see will usually be worked by a woman who is a) old, and b) skinny. That's because she remembers when her family was poor.

The very fact that today's poor don't garden (and don't know how to garden and could probably not cook what they grew in most cases) proves that the poor's food problem is not the food other people provide. It's ignorance combined with the desire for convenience over health.

jafs 3 years, 3 months ago

One could certainly grow some vegetables and fruits in their garden, but that would hardly provide everything one needs to eat a balanced diet.

And, ignorance is also one of the problems that plague the poor, given the failure of our educational system to adequately educate them.

Healthy whole-grain bread costs more than unhealthy white bread.

Soy milk costs more than dairy milk.

Brown rice costs more than white rice.

Even lentils and split peas cost more than ground beef much of the time, because of various subsidies.

Extra-virgin olive oil costs more than corn oil.

Etc.

I grant that many people prefer/prioritize convenience over health in many sectors of our society, but that's not the only thing that's going on here.

BarrySoetoro 3 years, 3 months ago

no prob at all dude!! Let's all join a union and go jack that stuff from his yard!!!

rwwilly 3 years, 3 months ago

I am told the lower echelons of household income do not drink.

heygary 3 years, 3 months ago

In the year 1787, Alexander Tyler (a Scottish history professor at The University of Edinborough) used an analogy to describe "The Fall of The Athenian Republic" some 2,000 years prior:

“A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship.

The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations from the beginning of history, has been about 200 years. During those 200 years, these nations always progressed through the following sequence: From bondage to spiritual faith; From spiritual faith to great courage; From courage to liberty; From liberty to abundance; From abundance to complacency; From complacency to apathy; From apathy to dependence; From dependence back into bondage.”

From my vantage point, Mr. Tyler’s observation has been unsettlingly predictive of the path of our own experiment in Democracy.

In my youth I studied, with gratitude and reverence, the “bondage to liberty” sequence associated with the birth of our country. I believe I have lived through the “abundance to apathy” sequence. Now, as I watch the current Administration attempt to spend its way out of a recession, push forward massive bail out and entitlement programs, and socio-engineer Government intrusion/involvement in to most aspects of our lives, I cannot help but feel that the road to “dependence” has been charted.

ljwhirled 3 years, 3 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

irvan moore 3 years, 3 months ago

i don't know why nobody likes rich people, i'm rich. I have my health, i have lots of friends, i have a family that loves me, and we have enough of everything we need. what more could anyone want for?

rwwilly 3 years, 3 months ago

Dear beatnik- Good for you. You are indeed rich. I don't know why people hate you or me for that matter. The only thing I wish for is that as long as most of my hair has fallen out anyways, why does the little that remain continue to grow? I get ripped off at the barber.

ljwhirled 3 years, 3 months ago

We don't hate you.

We just think that we shouldn't have to give up our rent money and grocery budget to pay for all of the roads, schools, police, fire, military protection, drug research, technology research, loan guarantees, weather prediction and other government services you consume.

We think it is more fair that you give up your Bently and instead drive a more modest Chrysler 300. That way we can feed our kids.

Also, we'd like it if your kids served in the military. We are disproportionately having to bleed for you. It kind of sucks.

sickofdummies 3 years, 3 months ago

LJ, are you saying that the 'rich' dont pay taxes? The top 10% pay 70% of the taxes. Be very careful when you make an argument that you know your facts.

sickofdummies 3 years, 3 months ago

Not one of you on this page has the right to say who deserves their money and who does not. You are not God. You do not get to just whether someone deserves something or not. However, it does not matter whether or not you feel someone deserves their money. It is their money, just as your money is yours. Be very careful judging others. You may only make $30k/year, but someone may decide that you dont deserve it, and come up with a plan to take it away from you.

jafs 3 years, 3 months ago

Everybody's entitled to their opinion, though.

And, to be aware of the way in which income and wealth are distributed in our country.

TopJayhawk 3 years, 3 months ago

Do you deserve your money?

Stupid question, stupid premise. I just shows you that the liberals want to stick it to the rich out of jealousy, and spend and waste their money.

Here's an idea. Instead of petty jelousy, why don't you get a better job, take a chance, start a business. You might get rich and then all the liberal parasites can bug you about how you don't deserve what you have worked for.

BarrySoetoro 3 years, 3 months ago

but Dude!! I had a bad childhood, my dad was an alcoholic...sold liquor by the rich and corrupt alcoholic beverage industry...I deserve free housing and a CAR!!!!

Flap Doodle 3 years, 3 months ago

Next up, the federal government declares that you don't deserve the 20 books you bought last year. You may keep 5. The rest will go to a public library.

Lane Signal 3 years, 3 months ago

I think a better question (because it's more focused on tax policy) is: Do the rich deserve to pay a smaller proportion of their income in taxes than the middle class? I don't just mean payroll tax, but capital gains, and other ways the rich accumulate wealth. And I'm not talking about taxing the wealth, just the money added to the wealth. Under current tax policies the extremely rich pay a smaller % of what they take in as federal (or state) taxes than the middle and upper middle classes. To me this is not class warfare. I don't think someone who makes a million dollars a year should have to pay 70% of it in taxes. But if I have to pay 30%, then I'd rather the guy who made a million pay at least 30% as well. I think a flat tax would be a pretty good start. I'd rather see a simplified tiered system with essentially no deductions, but a flat tax with no deductions would be more fair than what we have now. That means no mortgage deductions, no deductions at all. The one exception I might make is retirement savings. Corporate taxes should be simplified as well. No more subsidies or "special" tax breaks to help one industry compete. I understand the idea of some of these breaks, but it's too rife with political favors and corruption. Lets stop letting the rich and the republicans steer this into a discussion about socialism. Right now it's the rich stealing from the poor and crying "Communism" or "Socialism" any time anyone tries to point out that the rich don't pay as much in taxes as most of the rest of us.

jonas_opines 3 years, 3 months ago

"Right now it's the rich stealing from the poor and crying "Communism" or "Socialism" any time anyone tries to point out that the rich don't pay as much in taxes as most of the rest of us."

Yep, except for when they scream "We're too big to fail give us money!" and then use parts of it to pay performance bonuses for people who steered them into failure in the first place.

BarrySoetoro 3 years, 3 months ago

no kidding black copter!!! No more tax breaks and no more loans!! I really love it how we got our guy in office to make the Solyndra loan so that we could finally STICK IT TO THE MAN!!!!

kulawl 3 years, 3 months ago

How about everyone just pays 27.5%?

I'll be sure to tell my buddy who had to accumulate $175,000 in education-related debt to go through four years of undergrad, four years of med school, and six years of residency/fellowship that he doesn't deserve his salary.

For every example of someone who doesn't "deserve" their six-figure salary I can think of a dozen who do.

Tony Kisner 3 years, 3 months ago

I agree.I hate rich guys with their fancy cars with hub caps and stuff. Eating sandwiches with crisp letuce on sliced bread. I mowed David Whitig's grass he could have paid me $2000 a time easy but did he - hell no. He could afford it but he was not a nice dude.

BarrySoetoro 3 years, 3 months ago

Watch out for my union brothers and sisters!!! Now that we have THE MAN in the White House we even got our maruaders dressed in fed clothes!! It's freaking Animal Farm in real life baby!!!!!

http://money.cnn.com/2011/09/02/smallbusiness/gibson_guitar/index.htm

http://www.socialistworld.net/print/5273

Arise!!!

George Lippencott 3 years, 3 months ago

Interesting. Are we going to put salaries up to the vote?

Eileen Jones 3 years, 3 months ago

The rich owe it to pay a fair share of what they earn to the society that enabled them to become rich and stay rich. Period.

That the wealthiest people pay NO TAXES AT ALL or pay only the 15% capital gains, while the rest of us are paying perhaps 28%, is not fair.

BarrySoetoro 3 years, 3 months ago

I hate it when the rich only pay 15% on risks that they took with their money giving me a job. That they still have to pay income tax like me too really makes for an uneven playing field. That TOTALLY sucks!!

Flap Doodle 3 years, 3 months ago

If you donate enough money to Democratic candidates, you can get hundreds of millions of tax dollars to keep you from losing money on very questionable ventures. It's the Chicago Way.

JackKats 3 years, 3 months ago

The US has only five percent of the world's population and has 40% of its wealth. Based on most of the logic used on taxing the rich, that should mean that you are willing to distribute the US's wealth to help other nations. (By the way, only 1% of our budget goes to foreign aid.) Where does this stop? How many of you who want to tax the rich more are also willing to raise the budget of foreign aid to a "fairer" level. Are you consistent in your standards or are you for this only when it benefits you? It sounds more like many on here are envious or jealous of other's who are better off. Jealousy is wanting what someone else has. Envy is wanting what someone else has and also wanting them not to have it.

Fossick 3 years, 3 months ago

The beauty of sloganeering is that you never have to define the terms. It is pretty much the difference between thinking critically and just being critical.

Sunny Parker 3 years, 3 months ago

Why aren't you crying about the 47% of Americans who PAY NOT TAXES at all? Is that fair?

tbaker 3 years, 3 months ago

Reasonmculcus is a statist folks; he believes in the sovereignty of the government, not that of individual human beings. Never forget that about him and his ilk. He would see you put under the boot of a dictator. His belief system is in direct conflict with the founding principles of our country which held the "sovereign" is not one man though which God's powers pass to "rule" man; the United States was built based on the (radical) idea that what is truly sovereign is man himself, and in each of us had God's spark to do with our lives what we chose. We were not born to be ruled, but to be governed by those of our own choosing. This arrogant sense of self-importance and elitism that leads liberals in their quest to seize and distribute your earnings is based entirely on the belief that YOU are subordinate to your government; that government knows best. They hold the very foundation of individual liberty (personal property rights) in contempt when they proclaim who "deserves" something they worked for and earned. Don't be fooled. This isn't their only motivation. There are two more. First we have the common leftist belief that the wealthy in America became rich not through hard work and good decision-making, but by exploiting and plundering others. In this context they see their wealth seizure as some form of economic justice. The other reason, of course, is votes. Liberals understand wealth envy. They know wealth envy has been present in virtually every culture since the beginning of civilization. They also know wealth envy can be exploited ... for votes. "Keep me in power and I will take that money away from that person, who, after all, probably cheated to get it anyway, and I'll give it to you." A winning campaign plank in any election.

Where would you rather live? A city crawling in entrepreneurs, or one crawling with welfare recipients? There has never been any economic system in the history of civilized man that has done more to bring more people out of poverty than has capitalism and free markets. Statist elites like Mr. Reasonmculcus are therefore terrified by the concept of people taking care of themselves in this kind of system because it just doesn't seem "fair" to them. When people end up getting exactly what they deserve out of a free market economy, that takes the liberal elites out of the equation of deciding what people should get.

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