The Reality of Taxing the “Rich”

cod6-class-warfareWe have all heard plenty of talking points over the last year or so from the left about getting the rich to “pay their fair share”. Given the realities of who pays what in this country, that is a baffling statement from folks who obviously are appealing to emotion rather than looking at the facts surrounding what they are talking about. Recently in the comments I saw some discussion about the “death tax” and how it was the right thing to do, about what its purpose was, etc… But again I saw so many facts being ignored when that argument was being made. So I decided that I wanted to once again tackle the idea of class warfare and getting the rich under control, a game played by the left these days, but played by all politicians when it is politically expedient to do so. Because there are just too many flaws in the argument, and too many individual rights being trampled on…

Big Brother Classic PosterThe “reality” being driven down the throat of Americans today is far from reality. In fact it comes right out of the novel “1984“. For those who have read this classic, you can recognize the altered reality espoused in which the “evil capitalists” have taken advantage of everyone, treated everyone like slaves, and crushed the rest of the peons under their boot as a ruling class elite. In 1984, “Big Brother” saved everyone from those evil capitalists. Of course, those who have read the book know the reality that existed in Big Brother’s world, that all the claims of Big Brother were lies meant to control the people. Having recently re-read 1984, I was struck with the similarities of Big Brother’s claims to the claims of today’s political parties. 

The claims have always been there from those with a more socialist leaning philosophy. Claims of social injustice. The rich aren’t paying their fair share, we are told. They are only wealthy because of the unfair system that gives them advantages that you didn’t have, we are told. There are claims that the wealthy are riding on the backs of the poor. The wealthy are evil people who won’t do anything to help anyone unless government steps in and forces them to. The poor pay a disproportionate percentage of the fruits of their labor. The way to spur the economy is to take money from those rich capitalist sonsabitches and redistribute it to the poor, that the economy is revived from the bottom up, not the top down. Reagan and his trickle down theory were wrong and flawed and worthless and failures. 

These are the claims that we hear from those in power today. These are the rallying cries that essentially allowed the election of a party that did nothing more than claim to do what Big Brother claimed in 1984: Save us from the “elite”. In a system where one vote is one vote, no matter how much income is behind that vote, the top earners are destined to be persecuted the second that the bottom 90% realize they can vote someone into power who will take from those top 10% and give it to them. And in my humble opinion, this is one of the fundamental flaws of the government as set up by the founders. Given the system in place, we are at a point that was put in motion and inevitable from the day the Constitution was signed. But this is true not because of the type of government, but because of the lack of safeguards put into place to stop this. More on this at the end of my article. 

Let’s take a look at some of the claims made by the class warfare folks in power today (and please recall that we are discussing them because the Democrats are in power and, therefore, relevant. Republicans play similar games, but are irrelevant to this discussion right now). Because I think that all of the claims are false from the outset, and the proposed “solutions” to these non-existent realities are both morally and ethically flawed. 

“The Rich Are Not Paying Their Fair Share” – Simply not true. Let’s lay out those numbers that those making this claim simply refuse to accept as reality. Or refuse to accept as relevant. Here are some numbers from the National Taxpayers Union. They are simply throwing out numbers here. It is up to us to interpret them:

For Tax Year 2006

Percentiles Ranked by AGI

AGI Threshold on Percentiles

Percentage of Federal Personal Income Tax Paid

Top 1%

$388,806

39.89

Top 5%

$153,542

60.14

Top 10%

$108,904

70.79

Top 25%

$64,702

86.27

Top 50%

$31,987

97.01

Bottom 50%

<$31,987

2.99

Note: AGI is Adjusted Gross Income
Source: Internal Revenue Service

For Tax Year 2005

Percentiles Ranked by AGI

AGI Threshold on Percentiles

Percentage of Federal Personal Income Tax Paid

Top 1%

$364,657

39.38

Top 5%

$145,283

59.67

Top 10%

$103,912

70.30

Top 25%

$62,068

85.99

Top 50%

$30,881

96.93

Bottom 50%

<$30,881

3.07

Note: AGI is Adjusted Gross Income
Source: Internal Revenue Service

So what we see there are the facts about who pays what percentage of the taxes in America. The top 1% of American earners pay roughly 40% of federal income taxes. The top 10% pay 70% of the federal income taxes. The bottom 50% of wage earners pay 3%. Let’s look at this another way. Let’s apply those percentages to to the average federal income collected in the United States(1 Trillion in 2006) and the number of taxpayers (133,209,000 returns filed in 2006). That gives us these numbers (pardon my math as I do this at 2:00am):

 

% of Total Paid

$’s Group Paid in Taxes

Number of Returns per Group

Average Income Tax Paid Per Taxpayer in this Group

Top 1%

39.89%

398.9 Billion

1,332,089

$299,454

Top 2% – 5%

20.25%

202.5 Billon

5,328,358

$38,004

Top 6% – 10%

10.65%

106.5 Billion

6,660,446

$15,990

Top 11% – 25%

15.48%

154.8 Billion

19,981,341

$7,747

Top 26% – 50%

10.74%

107.4 Billion

33,302,233

$3,225

Bottom 50%

2.99%

29.9 Billion

66,604,467

$449

Big Brother ObamaIt seems to me that the top 1% of earners in this country pay 667 times as many dollars for the exact same services provided to the bottom 50% (actually for less services since they aren’t getting any welfare or social services). So explain to me exactly how it can be said that the wealthy in America are not paying their fair share? They don’t get better roads for all that extra tax money they pay. They don’t get better health services provided by the government for all that extra tax money they pay. In fact they don’t better anything from government for providing 667 times as much money as the bottom half of the earning scale. They get less. The wealthy in America is paying far more than their fair share. It is just that the socialists in America like the idea of being philanthropic with other people’s money.

“The Wealthy will only help the poor if government forces them to.” –  Another falsehood brought to you by those who are using class warfare to gain control. Because the bottom line is that the wealthy in America are quite generous when it comes to giving to charity. A couple of facts gather by the The Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University based on 2005 data:

  • Households with an annual income between $100,000 and $200,000: 46.2% give to causes aimed at meeting basic human needs, giving an average household gift of $657, cumulatively making up 12.9% ($2.46 billion) of the funds raised to help meet basic needs.
  • Households with an annual income $200,000 and Above: 75.6% give to causes aimed at meeting basic needs, giving an average household gift of $3,076 for households 200k-1 Mil. and $12,673 for households 1 Mil. and up, cumulatively making up 38.1% ($7.27 billion) of the funds raised to help meet basic human needs.

So it would seem that over 50% of the charitable contributions to causes dedicated to help meet basic needs are provided by the top 10% of earners in America. So we can plainly see that the wealthy in America are quite philanthropic and willing to help out the poor of their own free will. Boy, I sure hope Big Brother puts a stop to these black hearted capitalists soon. I don’t know how much more of this despicable behavior I can tolerate from the top hat wearing elite.

Time Reaganomics“Reagan and his trickle down theory were wrong” – I am not going to go in here and provide all the numbers to dispute this revisionist history that is presented about Reaganomics. Those in power today like to claim that Reagan was all screwed up. The economic numbers say otherwise. That is all that needs to be said about that. The numbers are what the numbers are. And the numbers say trickle down has its flaws, but is more effective than Obama’s idea that the economy is spurred on by a trickle up theory. 

I am just going to throw out two observations that go through my head whenever I hear today’s class warfare folks make the claim that taxing the rich, cutting their tax breaks, or sticking it to big business is a good idea. First of all there is no “sticking it to big business”. No such thing happens in the current state of political and economic realities. You don’t take money out of their pockets. You take it out of consumer’s pockets. Big business, no matter what, passes every cost, and that includes taxes, on to the customer. What part of that equation are these people not getting? Look at the “Sin Tax” on cigarettes. You raise the tax 159% on tobacco. We sure showed those horrible tobacco companies. They raised the price of cigarettes slightly more than the tax they are now paying. Who pays the tax increase? The consumer (who for the record is overwhelmingly poor. 75% of smokers are poor, but we aren’t taxing the bottom 95% right?). Come to the real world with us big business haters.

Second, If you make things bad enough for big business, do you know what they do? They pack up shop and take their companies, and the jobs that they provide, to a country that is more friendly to the business. And you may hate them for that, but it is just smart business. You want to tax the crap out of them and impose all of these stringent eco-bullshit rules on them, and then get pissed when they pack up, give you the middle finger, and roll out to India or China. You socialists do what you think is best for the country and they will do what they think is best for their business. But here is a quick bulletin for ya, they are doing something else too. They are showing you with their actions the exact reason why what you think is good for the country is very frackin bad for the country. Thanks Big Brother. You forced manufacturing overseas. Oceania will never be the same. 

I said above that the founders screwed up in writing the Constitution because with our form of government and things set up the way they are that we were destined to get to this point. It is not because the form of government was wrong. It wasn’t. The Constitutional Republic is the best form of government that we have seen to date (Until the American/VDLG Party is forced to re-write it that is). Where I think that they screwed up is in providing more stringent rules on taxation in America.

They left it too vague when they said “for the general welfare”. That left the door open for Progressives to implement the income tax. And a tax created without a defined purpose was a huge mistake. It allows the government to take your money up front without identifying what it will be used for (although to be fair this administration is identifying where our taxes are going to be spent for the next two generations). Taxes should have to be collected and used for very specific and limited uses. The biggest problem we have today is that Congress spends all of its time doing two things: Figuring out how to gain more control and more money from our pockets, and deciding where to spend the Trillions of dollars they are already taking right off the top. 

So there is my rant. I grow weary of listening to those who use a flawed version of the truth to justify that they simply want to have the right to determine how other people’s money is spent. That is the liberal mantra of the day: We don’t like how you spend what you earn. We have decided the best course of action is for us to spend it for you. And they don’t mind a bit completely ignoring the facts that get in the way of being able to do just that.

 

 

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Comments

  1. Good Morning to all!! I’ll start by asking, how do we get these morons (govt.) to understand this? How to we STOP them from being so damn stupid?

    G!

    • Naten53 says:

      I wonder that myself, the only thing I can come up with is that they don’t care to educate themselves.

    • Black Flag says:

      You both have it wrong.

      This is by design. It is purposeful.

      It is not an accident of stupidity or of the innocent of intentions.

  2. Birdman says:

    USW:

    I got into a debate earlier this year when I argued that everyone should not have the right to vote. There is a famous quote that all democracies fail once the people figure out that they can rob the treasury with their vote. The people then vote for the person or party that promises them the most. This then leads to eventual bankruptcy and collapse of the government. I argued that voting should be limited to those that have some vested interest or stake in the system. If someone was on welfare, social security or some other means of public assistance they should not have the right to vote. They are not bringing anything to the table and are only taking from the system. If someone pays no federal income tax then they should not have a vote in any federal election. If they don’t pay state income tax then no vote in the state. I argued that some type of formula or system could be worked out to deal with this problem. My position was not popular and everyone disagreed with me but I don’t believe that all votes should not be equal.

    In regard to Corporate taxes, I hear that the United States has the highest corporate tax rate now amongst most industrialized nations. I agree that in most cases Corporate taxes are passed on to the consumer but only if your business sales the product to the end user (the consumer). I used to work for an automotive supplier that made glass windows for the automotive industry. The plant where I worked at closed on 3/31/09. We could not pass on any increase to the automotive industry. The plant absorbed the increase. The supplier would have to find a way to deal with the increased tax (or increased energy price, raw material, etc.) and become more efficient or cut costs in other ways (lower wages, reduced benefits, two tier wage structure, layoffs).

    • Birdman, Your argument on voting has some merit considering what happened last November. I could argue some parts of it, but don’t see the need, as it would not help anything. I do think that taxes are way out of control and needs fixin!

      G!

    • esomhillgazette says:

      Birddude

      I don’t disagree with your voting idea. I see that you only have a rough idea of what you want, but I believe the general idea has a lot of merit. Our “poor and underpriviledged” are indeed voting to rob the Treasury. This is exactly how Obama came to power in the first place. By promising to “Spread the Wealth”.

      Like you, I’m not sure how it would actually be implemented. However, something needs to be done.

      Peace Out
      EHG

    • Lemminkaenen says:

      Birdman

      I agree with you that a democratic system is dealt a hard blow by individuals who seek the wealth of government treasuries. But it is not the poor and downtrodden who are doing that to the budget. Sure they receive welfare and all that other stuff, but by and large members of low income families are much less inclined to even participate in the votes and election. People of lower economic status take less of an interest in politics and tend to feel disenfranchised. In defense, and in response to G-Man and Esom, assuming we place our poor and downtrodden in the bottom 50% of the income ladder, that economic sector accounted for approximately 18% of the vote (cnn.com exit poll). The lower classes may have been more starkly in favor of Obama, but it was the middle and upper classes that really helped put him there. The problem is not varied classes, it is the philosophy of government that much of society has. The general sentiment here seems to be for less government (with the “VDLG party” and all), but much of society appreciates the services that government supplies. We elect members of Congress based on what they can do and have done for us as their constituents, which results in a Congress that constantly seeks money for pet projects. It also means that the government overextends itself and tries to pay for so many diverse interests that it cannot possibly pay for everything. Since government, and we behind the government, believe that it is the job of the government to micromanage as many aspects of life, economy, etc. as they can. Which leads us to the whole bailout issue and the national debt…

      • Dead on Lem:

        We want MORE COOKIES, MORE COOKIES….EEMMMMMM….MORE COOKIES

        JAC

      • esomhillgazette says:

        “assuming we place our poor and downtrodden in the bottom 50% of the income ladder, that economic sector accounted for approximately 18% of the vote (cnn.com exit poll). The lower classes may have been more starkly in favor of Obama, but it was the middle and upper classes that really helped put him there. The problem is not varied classes, it is the philosophy of government that much of society has.”

        Of course you’re right Lem. We can’t disenfranchise the people’s vote. But can’t we make people take a test or something? You know, to see if they have a brain before they vote? Or they even know what their candidate stands for and against? There has got to be some kind of fix for the ignorance of the voting public.

        • We already had a test. It was the butterfly ballot.

          Those with hanging chads don’t count. But then the polyticks took over.

          Sorry Esom
          I just couldn’t resist that one.

          Remember the problems with tests to qualify voters? You and I are old enough to know how that was used.

          JAC

          • esomhillgazette says:

            We could at least ask the dumb bastards if they know what Polly Tick’s political agenda is. The problem is that most voters would have no idea. But I bet they would know what Party she was in.

            I still remember the little documentary where the guy asked the voters for Obama what he stood for and even simple questions such as “Who’s in charge of Congress right now?” Not a single frickin’ one got it right.

            • esomhillgazette says:

              Makes my Hanging Chads hurt.

              • OK you got me laughin ral hard wit dat one!

                You know what an orangatang is don’t you?

                It’s a monkey with one “chad” of iron and another “chad” of brass.
                When he swings through the trees you can here
                Orang a tang….orang a tang!!

                And I’m off to see the wild west show!!
                Later Gator
                JAC

        • JayDickB says:

          I’m not suggesting this as a current fix, but back when we had 13 colonies, didn’t the electorate consist entirely of white male property owners? Is there anything here we can learn from?

          • Lemminkaenen says:

            Technically it was made up of whoever was allowed to vote in state elections, which did tend to favor white male property owners. However, I believe we found that system to be somewhat undemocratic and limiting to political discussion and involvement. Additionally, the 14th Amendment protects the privileges of all citizens of the US who are either born or naturalized. I think that you would be hard pressed to pass a law that limits the right to vote based on economic status, and even harder pressed to get an amendment passed on that right. For starters, the citizenry would likely oppose it. They would see it as an infringement of rights that could spread. Or they could see it as a barrier that, should some of the lower middle class fall on hard times, they could fall under and lose suffrage. And congressmen would never pass something that so clearly places a limit on the chance of being reelected. I am not exactly sure how it would work, but one possible way of solving the problem would be to revamp the budgetary process so that funds are used more wisely.

    • Alan F. says:

      I’m afraid you are stuck with the results of a democracy such as they are. What business can and will do is alter its footprint within the United States of America to best fit the needs for survival and/or thriving. Luckily each of your states is a mini country unto itself and at that level you will see the jockeying for a favorable position. Right now, as I see it with regard to mine supply with American ties (which is most), there is an effort in Texas to strengthen ties to the Canadian mining industry and industrial site construction specifically. If you were to ask which states are going to be doing a quick recovery, I’d pick those with already established connections up here in Western Canada. They’ll be doing fine regardless of Obama’s impersonation of Robin Hood on crystal meth.

      What I would actively looking for are retained “outs” in place for Obama’s friends who also qualify as the very real “rich”. Were they uninterested in amassing and retaining wealth, they would NOT BE RICH TODAY. My grandfather’s cousin is an actual Benedictine in Ireland and his share in the family’s estate goes to the order without him ever seeing a dime, true altruism. With that in mind, how altruistic is tossing over 2-5% but only after making sure the PR machine or capital loss for doing such is good-to-go? So what we know for certain is they ENJOY THEIR MONEY and I don’t doubt will be able to RETAIN THEIR MONEY under the current administration. Locating their “out”, as its certainly there somewhere in that field of text, is going to be difficult but doable. So who is really going to be taking it on the chin if not them?

      For most of small business, the margin is a percentile and set in stone. Its what has to be achieved each cycle to make it worth keeping the doors open. Any and all increases in production, warehousing and transportation will be carried by the consumer at the end of the day. This affects ALL goods and services without exception as they are inseparably intertwined. In the acid test: A member of the well-to-do and one of the working poor both have $10,000 in common consumables per anum. To which is a 15% increase in cost worthy of note? To which is a 25% increase a lifestyle altering event? Your “What have we done?” moment has yet to actually arrive but its certainly on its way.

      What to do? Get involved somehow in all elections you are able which would be in fact all of them. By small donations, emailings, blogs such as this one and beating the ground with your feet. Its all there to be done. For fiscal conservatives, your party of choice needs to become aware of the free data services you all can provide them with. Obama’s people made hay on the 8-tween and 9-tween year olds willingness to walk off a cliff en mass because it was “cool” to make a “difference” without comprehension. Currently they engage every blog from the center to the far right (search for specific quotes) frantically cutting and pasting their emotional baggage and fantasies in an attempt at drowning out the voice of the reasonable on both shallow sides of the center.

      As for “the vote” itself, back to age 21 or having already had a taxable income for a year are your markers. Until you’ve been out on your own and paid into the system, you’ve no perspective of your actions on that same system and the cascade street level in grocery stores and shopping malls. My most fiscally challenged daughter never appreciated a car until I put the total cost of ownership on her shoulders and the results of cutting maintenance to fuel her lifestyle on her feet. A friend of mine in Tempe made his overtly liberal son aware of a certain reduction in what he can expect from dad’s wallet during his 5 year stay in university as “passing along the cost of your change on my finances” and with his wife’s blessing welcomed him to accountability.

      • Alan:
        “regardless of Obama’s impersonation of Robin Hood on crystal meth.” You got me laughing so hare the tears started running down my cheeks.

        Your points are well made and righ on. Only problem I have with the 21 vote is I don’t think we should send anyone to die for our country who does not have the right to vote. If we raise the voting age then those below that age should not have to pay taxes on their income. When they hit 21 and start paying we will really have their attention.

        Best Wishes
        JAC

        • Alan F. says:

          You certainly have me there. My brother (and the rest of my uniformed relatives) would kick my can right royally for ever slighting in any way the armed forces.

          The “21 and welcome to taxation” would be an incredibly valuable exercise:

          – a chance at building wealth when they most need it, starting out

          – a chance for a real consumer to “have at it” as they indeed would inject back in all they were amassing, frugality comes with age

          – a chance to see the stark reality of their wealth(as it is) removed from their pocket and into the government’s, when its your dime…

          • Alan F. says:

            The more I think about it, the better I like the idea of a tax break for those just entering the work force. Your first two years or some such as a chance to get your financial footing. It benefits both those who are laborers, fresh trades, college or university grads and women entering the work force for the first time of which there are many now forced to do these days. It also tows the line of less taxation while even affording parents a break from carrying the little buggers all by themselves those first years.

            Now that would be a radical branching from the current line and something a young conservative or centrist could run with.

        • esomhillgazette says:

          You know I have never understood that. You can send a man to die in a war at 18. But he can’t get drunk until he’s 21? He’s responsible enough to join the Armed Forces, but not responsible enough to drink?

          When I joined the Army, the drinking age in GA was still 18. When went to New Jersey later I was shocked to discover that I couldn’t even go into a bar because I wasn’t 21. The drinking age in NJ. Later after I was out they changed the law nationally to 21.

          It’s sad that you’re considered a man by the Law unless it concerns taking a drink of alcohol. I think this and I don’t even drink.

        • JayDickB says:

          JAC

          OK, the voting age is 21 unless you are on active duty in the armed services. Then, there is no age limit!

          • Can’t we just lower the drinking age instead??

          • Black Flag says:

            Or simply eliminate it completely.

            • Alan F. says:

              I take it you are thinking a 5 year old can’t possibly make any worse choices than an 8-tween year old and of their own volition I’d agree but who’s to protect the preschool vote from ACORN intimidation tactics on the jungle gym?

            • Black Flag says:

              No, I mean the parents of the 5 year are the rightful guardian, and they are the ones responsible.

              Government has no overwhelming right or place between parent and child

  3. I agree Birdman. I also think that non-property owners (i.e. renters), should not be allowed to vote on any property tax issues. As a former apartment complex owner, the idiot tenants could never understand that if my taxes went up, so did their rent.
    Also, the death tax is a joke. If you earned the money and paid taxes on it, it should not be taxed again upon your demise.
    Just my 2 cents tho…

  4. Naten53 says:

    I made a “Big Brother” referance just yesterday and my co-workers did not get it, so I said from “1984”…. Still nothing, where did the obama big brother image come from? To bad no one here at the office will know what it means.

  5. esomhillgazette says:

    JAC, BF, USW: I was lying in bed last night trying to go to sleep with while visions of philosphy danced in my head. Suddenly, click! The light came on in my head. All of a sudden, I got it.

    All of the philosophy we have been absorbing all week suddenly began to make sense in the construct of our present Government. I saw Obama trying to change reality of how the Government is SUPPOSED to work, by rationalizing his own belief in how HE thinks it SHOULD be.

    The man absolutely HAS to know he is wrong. He has to be rationalizing to himself that he is doing this all for our own good. In his mind, what we want is unimportant. We are not smart enough to know what is good for us. Only he and his Homeys in Congress know this.

    I believe that those in power think that we must be torn down to our basics, and then Obama and his minions will remold us into their perfect idea of Social paradise. This is their dream.

    I see now where philosophy must be learned to understand where the problems are. Only THEN can we begin to fix it. Am I wrong?

    • Esom:

      The reason the Obama Admin and the leading Dems talk one way and do another, ignoring the rest of us is because of their underlying foundation which supports an ETHIC of group over individual. The ETHIC also contains other prinicples that grow from this, such as it is OK to use force to take from one to give to another. All of this leads to a POLITICAL philosophy that declares “The ends justify the means”.

      Any action to achieve the underlying goals of “social justice” and “equality” is justified. As I see it he is not necessarily RATIONALIZING to himself, but to us. We are told this is needed because. Then when it fails we are told we need to do this, only more of this, because, again. There is a small dose of the PRAGMATIC ethic and politics at play as well. Do something, always be doing something. Take action now, if it doesn’t work we’ll take more action later.

      I believe that this Administration and the leadership in Congress are not as much pragmatic as Goal driven, however. This crowd is operating from a very strong Socialistic/Fascist base. Centralized planning, management, and control is thier religion.

      A good example of Rationalizing this ethic, in my opinion, is the statement “We need govt control because our society is simply to large and complex.” This is a rationalizatioin for an ethic that supports statism over liberty. Pure and simple.

      I hope that adds to your awakening.
      JAC

      • esomhillgazette says:

        It does indeed JAC.

      • JayDickB says:

        JAC

        I agree with your group vs. individual thought.

        But, as I have said before, I think a thirst for power plays a big part in the leftist thinking. What I can’t figure out is if they lust for power so they can make a more perfect world or whether they are just plain power hungry. Maybe some of each.

        I also believe that some on the right lust for power. Are they just power-hungry or do they also have an agenda they want to force onto the rest of us? If they want to force things onto us, aren’t they leftists?

        This may seem a ways away from taxes, but taxes are the mother’s milk of government and its associated power.

        • They need power to implement their agenda, because their agenda. They have no problem seeking power and using it against us because of their ethics. Of course the agenda they hold is because of the core ethic they have as well.

          And JayD..I think you’ve been paying attention. Yes, those that seek power over us, for what ever reason, are on the left. Statists on the left, free men on the right.

          Be a Radical Right Wing Liberal and Be Happy
          JAC

        • Alan F. says:

          I’d put it more as a lust for relevance. Find me a lefty not lusting away for recognition and I’ll poke him/her with a stick to show you they’re in fact deceased.

          The right exists to protect their own interests and “beliefs” which just happen to more often than not benefit everyone else and the centrists have given them a chance to do such as the middle tends to “give you a shot”. Its why they control more often than not.

          The left exists to provide relevance to themselves and their “beliefs” and at times less often than their counterparts on the right end up benefiting the rest all the while being afforded “their shot” by the centrists. Its why they control less so.

          The centrists are due for a “shot” themselves. I believe they’ve needed the extremes on either side to push them/yourselves into accepting responsibility for allowing things to go so awry and forcing them/yourselves into the conscious effort of standing separate of both “official” parties. The birth of the center could quite possibly be the final stage in the evolution of American democracy.

          May you live in interesting times indeed!

  6. Hello everyone-sorry I have been gone the last week or so. I dont really agree on the voting not equally idea. It is a nice idea, but I think that it is a slope I dont think we should be on. The death tax is not right, any which way you slice it. It is the government getting a second bite out of the pie. If you have already paid taxes on it, you should have to pay again. The Corporate Tax is something we have to look at in this country. There are other ways of doing things. I have a large company that is located near me, they have received a discounted tax for being here. But they made other deals. Example: they buildt a new bike route for people to use, did new landscaping in town etc. Plus they have brought jobs and money to the town. It is time we open our eyes to everything!

    • Ellen,

      I am with you on that. I think if all would reflect on JAC’s past articles they will re-think their position. The “right to vote” is one of our founding principles. We hate to see it abused or not respected, but simply cannot abandon those principles.

  7. esomhillgazette says:

    This stuck in my mind from yesterday. And I saw it played out on the news last night.

    “If in the course of philosophical detection, you find yourself at times stopped by the bewildered question: “How could anyone arrive at such nonsense?” – you will begin to understand it when you discover that evil philosophies are systems of rationalization.”

    Specifically this: “How could anyone arrive at such nonsense?” I asked myself this very question at least 5 times while watching TV. Or at least this was the “general construct” of the question I screamed at the TV. 🙂

    Evil Philosophy? I don’t know. I do know though, that this is definitely a messed up one. I, and probably more of you, can see that this Government bulldookey just isn’t going to work. It is getting to the point of just being utterly ridiculous.

    I keep asking myself: Self? How can they be so utterly stupid? Anyone with 1/4 of the brain of a chipmunk should be able to see how stupid these policies are!

    But they just keep right on chuggin’ along. And along the way they are having silly arguments over whether or not to fund the closing of Gitmo. Or whether Pelosi or the CIA is lying. Or (and this one really got me off the couch screaming) concluding that, after a substantial amount of money was spent investigating, Sarah Palin was justified in wearing the clothes that the RNC bought her for the frickin’ campaign.

    It’s thing like this that tell my bulldookey detector that something is very wrong in Washington. Because Common sense is totally absent there. The reality is that their philosophy of Governance is all skewed. Either that or they don’t LIVE in reality.

    • Esom my dear friend you are getting closer all the time. Let me help.

      “It’s thing like this that tell my bulldookey detector that something is very wrong in Washington.” ITS NOT IN WASHINGTON, ITS THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY.

      “Because Common sense is totally absent there.” THIS IS TRUE AS IT IS MOST ELSEWHERE, AMONG THE ELITE. BUT WE HAVE NOT LINKED COMMON SENSE TO A PURPOSE YET SO WE CAN’T BE SURE NOW CAN WE.

      “The reality is that their philosophy of Governance is all skewed.” NO ITS NOT. THEIR POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY IS COMPLETELY CONSISTANT WITH THEIR ETHICAL PHILOSOPHY. THE MORE CORRECT STATEMENT WOULD BE “THEIR PHILOSOPHY OF GOVERNANCE IS NOT CONSISTANT WITH REALITY”. AS SUCH IT IS DESTINED TO DESTRUCTION. UNFORTUNATELY WE WELL ALL GET BURNED IN THE FIRE.

      “Either that or they don’t LIVE in reality.” THEY LIVE IN THE SAME REALITY WE DO. AGAIN, THEY ARE ACTING AGAINST THE RULES OF THE UNIVERSE (REALITY), IN MY OPINION. THEY ARE IGNORING REALITY, NOT CREATING A DIFFERENT ONE.

      THIS LAST POINT IS IMPORTANT. THERE IS ONLY ONE REALITY. THERE ARE MULTIPLE PERCEPTIONS AND CONCEPTS BUT ONLY ONE REALITY. IF WE ACT AGAINST US, AS BLACK FLAG HAS SAID, IT WILL TREAT US VERY BADLY.

      JAC

      • Should have been “IF WE ACT AGAINST IT,

        sorry

      • esomhillgazette says:

        Oh I know it’s all across the Nation JAC. Hell it’s all across the WORLD. By they don’t live in reality, I mean they are dumber than dogshit. Does that clear that up? I was trying to be too fancy in explaining when I should have just come out and said it plain. Their ethics are also corrupted by their stupidity.

        “THEIR PHILOSOPHY OF GOVERNANCE IS NOT CONSISTANT WITH REALITY”. Man you are spot on there too. I’ve got to go to a meeting now so I’ll drop back in later.

        Peace Out Buddy

        • Esom

          I share your feelings about them and this country boy can come up with a few descriptions that would peel the paint off the walls. But lets just say they are Book Smart But Plain Stupid.

          The purpose of my response to you was to get you to that point where you can attack their positions from strength. If you simply tell them they are not living in reality, how do you respond when they point out they live in the same real world as you, they simply have a better understanding of it than you do. Reacting with your dummer than dog shit won’t quite get you past this point.

          But if you pointed out they were acting in contradiction to reality they would have to defend their position or fall back on rationalizations. In either case you are on the offensive, not defensive.

          And their ethics are not corrupted by their stupidity. What we see as stupid is the result of their ethics. Your statement is true in one respect. Their ethics are corrupted by the wrong view of reality. Their metaphysics is all messed up. So I guess you could say that if their metaphysics contradicts reality, then that would be stupid. Making them

          Dummer than dirt, as smart as a box of rocks, or smart as a fence post.
          Thought I would share some of my cleaner ones.

          Smile Esom, Your having some fun nowwwww!
          JAC

          • esomhillgazette says:

            In actuality JAC, I have about given up even trying to talk to “them”. They look at the world through rose colored glasses and see the Utopia that could be theirs if only the rest of us low-browed morons would just shut up and let them do what they were voted in to do.

            And Obama is indeed doing exactly what he said he was going to do in his campaign. He simply put it in a way that excited the masses and stimulated their unused thinking mechanism for politics. He shmoozed them.

            When I have tried to talk to members even of my own famn damnly I get blank looks like they are sheep being led to the slaughter. I think a little is because when Obama meets resistance in his agenda, he simply changes the way he says it. He doesn’t change his mind, he just changes his sentence patterns. And boy is that bastard good at it too!

            I have heard until I am ready to blow groceries about “Because of 8 years of…” or “Because Bush did so and so I have to…”. The sad part is that most folks turn their brains off right after these kinds of statements and don’t even listen to the rest. The sheeple just automatically assume he is looking out for their best interests. Meanwhile the rest of us are looking on in disbelief and screaming WTF?

            Even though I sound like gloom and doom, It’s because I am! 🙂 LOL

            No, I’m kidding. I just have been frustrated at peoples, not stupidity, but ignorance.

            Stupidity is when you do something when you know not to. Ignorance is when you do something because you don’t know.

            Most of the voting public out there the last election were like I was. Politically ignorant. They voted for Obama because they did not have the information (thanks MSM) to make a good decision. And now it’s too late.

            We don’t need to make the mistake of thinking Obama believes he has a mandate from the people. He knows EXACTLY what got him in office. His slick tongue. His superrich moneymen. And his ignorant public made angry by Bushonomics which he played like a damn fiddle.

            He just conveniently left out the part where his own policies were Bushonomics on Meth.

            • I think that was pretty much an excellent summary of politics in the USA these past 2 years.

              Only difference is I might have thrown in Snake Oil Salesman in there somewhere.

              Its 3 day weekend my hillbilly friend. So what’s on the menu? I had BBQ Poke Chops last night with BBQ corn on the cob and green salad.

              Thinking BBQ chicken tonight with a Slap Ya Mama dry rub and zest of lime. Maybe some rice, salad and spicy green beans.

              After that I’m out of ideas.
              JAC

            • Oh Hell, I just remembered. Its memorial day weekend and you got a ballplayer in the family. I know where ya’ll be the next three days.

              Which ball park serves the best food on your kids league?

              When I coached Legion ball the best was is Trail British Columbia. They served the burgers with fried onions and toad stools. And of course cheezy fries.

              Have a good time.
              JAC

              • esomhillgazette says:

                My youngun’ will be in Ringold, GA in a tournament with a different team from the one he usually plays with. We oddly enough don’t have a Tourn. scheduled for this wkend. But he’s in hot demand. (good ball player)

    • Good morning Esom,

      You have nailed it, “Either that or they don’t LIVE in reality.” The modern progressive continues to believe in some vague utopian world. They are not interested in reality, what has failed and what has worked, just what the world “should” be like.

      Was out yesterday, so missed some discussion. I am the John Ringo reader, so I know you are a truly twisted person (glad I’m not the only one )if you have read nearly all his books as I have. Kildar was not what I expected in a military adventure book. That guy is kinky over the top (warning to Spitfire). The Princes of Wands is written like a series, but I have only seen the first book, hope for more. Spitfire would likely enjoy David Webbers Honor Harrington series. Have you read any F. Paul Wilson? I am sure everyone here would love his Repairman Jack series.

      • esomhillgazette says:

        Hey LOI my man. I am reading John Dalmas right now. Haven’t read Wilson but I will check him out. I am a voracious reader. A sho’ ’nuff book worm. I know what you mean about Kildar but I love them anyway. Have you read the Looking Glass series yet? They are comic space opera combined with action and sci-fi adventure.

        You can go to http://www.baen.com and read a lot of books for free also. Just look for the free library tab on the homepage. That’s where I discovered John Ringo to begin with.

        On the subject of philosophy, it’s apparently still a little vague. I thought I had it, but it keeps evading me. But I’ll get it.

        On USW’s subject of taxing the rich to support the poor, or the Obama Robin Hood Syndrome. (thanks Alan 😀 )

        The rich are always picked on by the Government. No matter what Government we have had or who has been President. Obama just flat shmoozed the public with that whopper. Bush wasn’t any better to the rich than any other President has been.

        Numbers don’t lie. The only way to be fair in paying taxes is for ALL to pay them. Rich or Poor. I don’t know what a good tax system would be, but I know it ain’t the one we got.

        My mind wants to say a Flat Tax with no loopholes or excuse. Or just maybe a Federal Sales Tax, but if THAT was done, then it would have to have some very strict guidelines on how much it could be. It also needs to be implemented with severe government reduction in both spending AND size.

        But hell. Who are we kidding. With Obama and his crowd in DC, they ain’t NO changes for the good going to be made. Only bad ones.

    • JayDickB says:

      Esom

      Didn’t I tell you the other day to hang in there, that there is nothing wrong with good old hillbilly common sense?

      See, I was right.

      • esomhillgazette says:

        JDB: Hope you’re not one of them WV snake handlers. I said something about them in the post yesterday. Nothing insulting because I wouldn’t dare insult anyone who has the ‘nads to pick up and play with a dang rattler. Just that God gave me faith, but he also gave me the sense not to pick up a snake! I didn’t want to offend you. Us hillbillies have to stick up for each other.

        Hope you and yours are well.

  8. To Everyone, A Great Good Morning.

    I would like to comment on something I saw yesterday and again this morning. We start talking about THEY. THEY don’t listen to us. THEY aren’t thinking. I think you get the idea but your missing the big picture, the real point.

    First, THEY won the elections so why shoud they listen to us. They think the voters told them to move ahead at full speed. After all, they clearly told us what they were going to do. As my West Virginia friend told me many years ago, elections matter because to the victors go the spoils. Our politicians are not ignoring what they think is Us the public. Well I take that back, some are. Because they are part of the bigger agenda and are not about representing their public.

    Second, OUR feelings of disenfranchisement are a mirror image of what THEY felt like when WE won the election. Remember my comment about how I felt about moving to a very liberal county and town, then my wife told me that now we knew how our Dem. friends felt in Idaho. The only thing I find disengenuous about the Left is their stated anger and frustration at us for reacting the same way to Obama as they did to Bush, and Bush and Reagan, and Nixon.

    Third, don’t get distracted by all the Policy Details. We know what they want and they are going to try and get it all done. Why do we wonder about their motives. They are quite clear about them and they are driven by a PHILOSOPHY that supports STATISM.

    Fourth, the vast majority of Americans are lazy brained. We need to change that but that may be harder than getting our constitution back. We need to keep hammering away everyday, day in and day out 24-7-365. To do this we need to make sure we have our foundation, our principles, our politics and our explanations fine tuned to a razors edge. NO CONTRADICTIONS, or at least Very Damn Little.

    Fifth, and this is perhaps the hardest to accept. We have contributed to a culture of “elitists”. Yes, I mean you and me…WE. We don’t think we are as smart as those guys who get elected, or the economists, or the phiolosophers, or the professors, or the attorneys, etc etc. How many of you declared you weren’t smart enought to get it these past few day. It was an instinctive reaction representing a cultural value. We aren’t smart enough! So we turn our lives over to those who know best. The WISE MEN of Plato’s Republic. Mix in a little salt and pepper, some green onions, stir and WHA LA….you have Fasciolism Stew.

    Now if you think I just hijacked this article, you need to think again. This all fits together in a nice big puzzle.

    Whew, I need more coffee.
    Live Free and Stay Happy
    JAC

    • Second, OUR feelings of disenfranchisement are a mirror image of what THEY felt like when WE won the election. Remember my comment about how I felt about moving to a very liberal county and town, then my wife told me that now we knew how our Dem. friends felt in Idaho. The only thing I find disengenuous about the Left is their stated anger and frustration at us for reacting the same way to Obama as they did to Bush, and Bush and Reagan, and Nixon.

      What’s interesting to me is that I never liked Bush and didn’t vote for him. I would rant here and there and at times turn off the TV if he was speaking. I didn’t vote for Obama, either…he was too radical for my likes and seemed ‘showy’. I am often shocked at how vicious it can become if I voice a dislike of Obama, I was never attacked so harshly for voicing a dislike of Bush.

      I have never before felt scared living in our country, under presidents I liked or didn’t like…I feel scared for the first time in my life. Obama and his policies scare me. I fear for our country and capitalism. I do not want to live under socialism.

  9. USW,

    Another good post. I think you are leaving something out (everyone does) with the AGI data. Everyone pays in for FICA, with the employer required to match the employee’s contribution until $102,000. That is a tax all US workers pay. Even a person making $20,000 pays in $1240. Since the government moved SS to the general fund, in reality, is that not a general tax. The government says it is credited to our SS account, but how does that work in the real world? They have expanded it to cover people who have never worked a day in their lives. They have tried to add illegal aliens to its rolls.

    You are correct about how they play the class warfare game, last summer they were wanting to penalize the oil companies, who make eight % profit. (hope Flag will help out here) So the oil companies were not driving the price up, nor were they the main benefactors(traders making 200-400%). And as you have written in the past, its all smoke and mirrors, they point at one thing to gain attention, so they can hide what they don’t want looked at. Pelosi had “promised” lower fuel cost, instead they reached record levels. They did not want to examine that their policies had caused it, nor that they caused the housing/financial crash.

    Interesting that the UK has raised taxes on everyone making 150,000 pounds or more to 50%. I am sure Obama and co. will be following that lead as soon as possible.

    • LOI

      I don’t think SS has been moved to the general fund. It is still maintained as a trust fund account. The money was borrowed for general fund expenditures. When paid back, by general income tax then it is put back in the trust, and immediately spent.

      You raise the more important question of whether our current trust fund tax rates (FICA/SS)are high enough to cover the actual benefits. If not it should be raised to cover. That might wake some folks up.

      Some here may not realize the reason for the upper limit on SocSec withholdings is because they would never be able to draw that money out, given the payout rates after Federal Age of Retirement. Because it was a “Trust Fund” is was considered bad form to make people put money in a trust they couldn’t get back. Funny how times have changed.

      I also wonder how many of you youngun’s here know what the top tax rates were before Reagan. While you look it up, let me tell you that I personally knew many folks who stopped working extra because the return on the extra effort wasn’t worth it. This was especially true for Doctors and Lawyers and Investors at the time. They simply cut back.

      And just to stay on topic I would like to offer my very strong opinion about one form of taxation.

      PROPERTY TAXES OF ANY KIND SHOULD BE PROHIBITED AT ALL LEVELS OF GOVT.

      Have a good one
      JAC

      • JAC,

        I heard/read on the SS being moved to general fund, but do not remember where. But, I could be wrong. Damn unlikely, but its possible.LOL

        FICA, don’t tell a poor person they are not paying taxes. But its sad how the government miss-leads people on how their money is being taken and how it is spent. We are witnessing the finest application of propraganda in history. And a “free press” is a willing participant.

        Agree on property taxes, to me they violate a fundamental “principle” of our founding.

        Damn, gotta work, later.

  10. Good Morning Everyone,

    We’ve talked this week about knowledge, truth, reality, perception, beliefs and how we can sometimes get them mixed up. I have more of a math mind and your article today is where I don’t understand how it can be intrepeted differently. The numbers are the numbers. How in the world could trickle up ecomonics work? Have any of you ever been employed by a poor person?

    Birdman, I understand your frustration with the voting; instead of taxation without representation, it seems to be representation without taxation. Not giving voting rights would be a big step backwards, but instead there should be a more equitable tax system – when you have a vested interest, you become a more responsible player. You don’t like paying taxes on your welfare check? Then do something about it…….

    Shoot, just missed the Pelosi presser – was it another meltdown and who is lying to her now?

  11. OK LETS CREATE A LITTLE CHALLENGE ON THE TAXING RICH QUESTION.

    WHAT IS THE MEANING OF FAIR?

    HOW WOULD YOU KNOW IF A TAX IS FAIR?

    We need the answers to these before we can criticize the system or create a better one.
    JAC

    • USWeapon says:

      I will take a shot at this one and attempt to define fair as I see it when discussing taxes. In my mind, fair is when everyone is paying the same price for the services that government is providing. As I mentioned above, on average the wealthiest 1% pay 667 times as much for the exact same government supplied benefit. If we walked up to a hot dog stand and they charged the guy before you $2 for his dog and then charged you over $1300 for that same dog, I don’t think there would be anyone who thinks that it would be fair. I tend to look at government as being an entity that provides a service, and the taxes are payment for that service. Fair to me is that everyone pays equally for the services that are provided to them. Just an opening shot at this…

      • I like it for a beginning. That would lead you to a per person tax.
        Now where did I see that? I know it was somewhere?

        Next test though is

        How do we know if we are getting the same services provided? (Hint, don’t list all the ones that apply, just the concept of “how do we know”)

        JAC

        • USWeapon says:

          I don’t think we do know that we are getting the same services. For the record, I don’t think that we are in most cases. But I am unsure of where you are going with this so I am unsure of how to answer.

          • What criteria would you use to determine if we were all getting the same services?

            • JayDickB says:

              JAC

              Considering that we are talking about government services, I don’t see why the question about equality is relevant. Could you enlighten me?

              Are you saying that the taxes we pay should be commensurate with the services we receive?

            • Is it getting the same service or the same service equally available?

              Like a libray card, we can all have one and we can check out books equally but some may use their card more than others.

              • I would think received not available.
                A library card does me no good if I’m 100 miles from a library and have no way to get there.

                Such as with lakes, rivers, Nat Parks and forests. Few actually ever “use” the last two.

                Thought provoking comment, good one.
                JAC

      • Black Flag says:

        But if I’m not interested the service provided by government, why do I have to pay?

      • JayDickB says:

        I’m not sure the service for fee framework is a good fit for analyzing taxes.

        Government is essentially a collectivist activity. A normal service for fee transaction in the “real” world is an individual activity.

        Governments are formed as a way for people to band together to protect themselves from outside threats and, to a degree, from one another. It is when government starts doing things that maybe it shouldn’t be doing that the common good starts to get lost and more benefits start going to some individuals than to others.

        For example, if having a good fire department lowers property insurance, everyone benefits to the extent of their insurance premiums. A good police department seems to provide common good also.

        If we decide government should help people who are destitute, does that provide common good? In the service/fee framework, these people don’t have the resources to pay any taxes, let alone a tax that is higher because of the greater service they received. You could argue that government shouldn’t provide this service. I have sympathy for this view, but I also have sympathy with people who are destitute. But that seems a somewhat different issue.

        Seems to me we should just regard government as a necessary evil (well, maybe that’s a bit extreme), keep the burden as small as possible, and spread it around evenly (evenly, not fairly, unless I get to decide what’s fair).

        • JayD You are kicking the answer around right there in your comments.

          How do we define “General Welfare”?

          This becomes our criteria for Fair!

          Except BF, cause we have to make him take the benefits whether he wants them or not. Now what benefits might we be able to make him take that wouldn’t cause him to draw down on us?

          JAC

          • JayDickB says:

            JAC – Yeh, I know. I guess the concepts of common good and general welfare are pretty close.

            What I had in mind was government services that benefit everyone more or less equally.

            At this high a level of abstraction its hard to be really precise.

            I still don’t like the service for fee framework.

            How about “even” as a way to spread the tax burden? Does that work for you?

            • This is more of what I was looking for:

              “What I had in mind was government services that benefit everyone more or less equally.” I would take out the more or less.

              Same benefit to all as in everyone.

              Your above question about fairness and equality of service came from my asking USW how we could define fair (start at beginning of #11). I think we now have that criteria.

              A fair tax is one where we all pay the same for the same service. In order to pay the same amount for the same service the $/unit of service must be the same for all. And the service must be the same and one where we all benefit equally. Therefore the $/service unit/benefit unit is the same for everyone.

              So what services would these be, that we could pay for with taxes that we feel are fair? Here also you have already posed the answer, somewhere below I think.

              Defense is one. What is another? Note I left out police as I am talking federal level for now.

              JAC

          • amazed1 said
            May 22, 2009 at 9:40 pm
            Highways, water ways, lakes, national forests???

            Sorry but NO.

            All of these benefit some or many but not all to the same extent.

            JAC

            • JAC: Fair or FairEST? Because I personally don’t really think ANY taxes are fair.

              Fairest though would be MAYBE in the neighborhood of 10% across the board. But that’s just my opinion of FAIREST.

              I would be willing to pay some for services if they were greatly reduced, along WITH the Government. But we all Know none of that is ever going to happen.

              Until we actually rear up on our hind legs and show some fangs, things will just continue going down to Dookeytown.
              (sounds like a song)

              • We aren’t tallking Fair Rate but how to determine Fairness relative to govt services and thus taxes.

                So far we have Fair services are those everyone gets equally.

                Now go from there.
                JAC

        • JayDickB says:

          Based on BF’s post #17 (with which I agree), I retract the comment about my comment being extreme.

        • Black Flag says:

          Governments are formed as a way for people to band together to protect themselves from outside threats and, to a degree, from one another.

          This is an interesting hypothesis.

          Do you have any proof?

          • JayDickB says:

            I thought I remembered it from Poly Sci or Sociology or something, but that was 50 years ago.

            Isn’t this why people have always banded together, first in tribes, then governments?

            In addition, it seems like a fair summary of why OUR government was formed:

            “We the peoople of the United States, in order to…….insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defence,…….do ordain and establish this constitution of the United States.

          • Black Flag says:

            Humans organize – true.

            Government is a type of organization – true.

            Government is here to protect you – not true.

            …but I’m ahead of myself again… please do stay tuned over the next couple of weeks – this will come flyin’ out

            • JayDickB says:

              I think government should exist to protect us. Whether individual politicians believe this is debatable. If government doesn’t protect us, what good is it?

            • Alan F. says:

              Government started off as a mechanism for the management of the ever growing tribe. It alleviates the burden on the king/emperor/chief/grand poobah through the art of delegation. The grand designs were never much more than enabling one to rule many without having to resort to 24/7 micromanagement which would have indeed made being the king one crappy job and prevented Mel Brooks from millennia later coining the phrase “Its good to be the king!”

          • Godzilla says:

            BF, doesn’t this sound like a loose description of religion?

    • JayDickB says:

      JAC

      I think “fair” probably has different meanings to different individuals. It is an inherently subjective term requiring value judgments not directly supportable by facts and logic.

      When it comes to taxes, I think fair would be for everyone to pay the same percentage, whatever the tax.

      Income? Define income the same for everyone and have everyone pay the same percentage.

      Property? (I also don’t like property taxes.) Assess the value the same, apply the same percentage.

      Sales? Again, apply a uniform percentage.

      • JayD

        “I think “fair” probably has different meanings to different individuals. It is an inherently subjective term requiring value judgments not directly supportable by facts and logic.” To use a phrase from our generation..Right On!!!!!

        That is why they use the term. It is a value created by humans. I agree the tax system should be fair, if I get to define fair.

        So we need to find a definition, relative to taxes that the vast majority would agree to. I think USW is onto the right approach but it needs more meat.

        JAC

      • esomhillgazette says:

        I don’t think there ought to BE Property taxes. This to me is Government Rental Charges. You pay the Government rent every year to keep your property. If you don’t think so, try missing 2 or 3 years and watch them throw your butt off of “your” property and sell it at auction.

        • ESOM,

          You just nailed another philosophic point. Tell us again you don’t get this stuff. If you buy land, do you “own” it.
          Or are you renting it from the government? And after you pay rental fees for endless years, and leave it to your children, they must “pay” a fee to keep it, just to continue paying rent on that same property.

  12. Ray Hawkins says:

    Interesting how entities like Philip Morris and the Tobacco Institute are ardent supporters of the NTU – but I digress.

    On several points:

    1. I’d challenge you to define what is fair? Is fairness what Finland does with speeding tickets (fine is based on your income)?

    2. Trickle down versus trickle up – are you saying trickle down is the most effective policy framework? As you state – you know for every ‘pro’ of Reaganomics there is a ‘con’. That we can debate. I am not clear how we debate the measurable effectiveness of a plan that has not been fully implemented unless you’re suggesting that based on dubious evidence you just know what is going to happen with median family income, the deficit, trade deficit, unemployment, etc.

    3. I tire of this nonsense regarding ‘sin taxes’ – so what answer are you suggesting here? We don’t tax cancer sticks because it affects the poor? I don’t think we tax cancer sticks enough. I do think the tax revenue pulled from cancer sticks should be used to pay down the defecit rather than used to support specific programs. If the effect is successful then at some point they become cost-prohibitive to buy. There are plenty of examples of where the public good has driven policy, law or standards. If the public decides something is no longer a sin then the laws etc are changed to reflect that. The hypocrisy is that there is suggestion that we should let some of the GMs of the world fail – blow ’em suckers up eh? But don’t touch the dear tobacco companies that are in my backyard? Where is the disconnect here?

    4. I don’t disagree that taxing corporations to the hilt is the best answer – so what is? Our own cities and states enjoy cannibalizing each other for the big businesses – give them huge tax breaks to attract them with the hope that jobs are created, associated industries are uplifted and we get a snowball effect. The pendulum was swung way too far in the wrong direction – where does it go now?

    • Ray, Ray, Ray.

      And we were doing so well this week. Lets look at the discussion from a deeper percpective, even if it is just Policy Wonking.

      1. I asked first on the fair issue. I would say Finland’s tickets are not fair.

      2. The up or down issue is political rhetoric that oversimplifies complex fiscal and economic policy issues. We have records of how each theory works at the economic level. Down works better than Up if you are looking at overall economic growth and vitality, in the long term. That is because you are letting people with money use their money to expand the economy. So, in this case Up will also work if you are letting people use their money to expand the economy, or at least reduce the cost to govt. That is why Lil Bush cut all the rates. Reagan cut the higher rates the most because they were having a negative effect on growth. And we know enough, from experience, that this Admin’s policies will fail, in the long term.

      Now lets look at dealing with short term problems like the recession. In order for an economy to keep going people have to have more money than they think they need to cover life and the unexpected. The more you take the more they hide it away. I would submit if your goal is to stimulate growth then UP & DOWN work well here, as long as you are still letting people keep their money. The minute you are taking from one to pay the other, you are restricting the system. Down may work a little better in this example only because those at the top may not have as great a need to hoard money in down cycles. They may see excess funds as potential added investment. Those at the bottom are in debt, so that money goes to pay bills, not stimulate growth. This is the economic side of the issue and does not address the impact of bad economies on the lower income groups. That is a different issue.

      Of course the real problem is the total level of spending by Govt but we seem to always get sucked into discussing who should pay instead of saying no one should pay.

      3. I also am tired of sin taxes but for apparently a more fundamental reason. No single group of taxpayers should be forced to pay for benefits to the others. Taxing tobacco to pay the debt is placing the cost of benefits we all received on a small group, at that happens to be a poorer economic group than others. If, and I add a strong IF, we are going to tax Cigs, then that money should be tied directly to societies cost associated with that product. Namely only those govt paid medical expenses that relate to smoking.
      Taxes should never be used to change behavior. If we don’t want smoking then outlaw it.
      Oh, we tried that with booze didn’t we?

      Your comparison of GM bailouts and taxes on tobacco is illogical. They are separate issues and I would say are not hypocritical. Niether should recieve federal funds. And before you try, reducing taxes on a business is not a subsidy. That is a word game I will not play. The extension of that logic is that any tax reduction to you or I is a subsidy of our existence. I call Bulldookey on that concept.

      4. You mixed a couple things so here I go. Shrink govt to absolutely minimum and then tax all people for those services all people receive. If one group gets more service then find a way for them to pay. Tax people, real breathing people.

      I also am bothered by how cities and states use taxes and tax money to manipulate business decisions. I got to tell you though that unless they are long lasting or very big dollars they don’t have the big effect everyone thinks. I think the answer is again in controlling the size of govt spending, at all levels. I personally would not support a property tax vacation to suck in a new business. It would violate my ethics and political philosophy.

      Take a deep breath Ray. You seem wound a little tight this AM
      JAC

      • Ray Hawkins says:

        JAC – first off I was responding to what was described by the author as a rant – I think of a rant as something tied to emotion and not necessarily fact. Its discouraging that the underlying requirement of the reader may be – “I post a rant, you can only respond with facts and truth – otherwise you are wrong”.

        So –

        1. Why do you find Finland’s approach unfair? Please do tell. This is a common issue or problem – many corporations consciously elect not to comply with standards and laws required of them – it is cheaper for them to pay the fine than to follow the requirement or law. If their penalty was commensurate with their ability to pay they may think differently?

        2. Yet the Clinton tax raise in ’93 didn’t stop the economy from growing did it? We can do this all day JAC.

        3. The deficit was merely an example. To my other point, in his posting on Sin Taxes USW went to length to defend the Tobacco companies from a localized NIMBY perspective – dear Lord – don’t do anything to the Tobacco companies because it could be bad for my State/community/neighbors – yet there is vehement opposition to do anything government backed for the auto companies? What? No factory in NC so its not your problem right? To heck with those communities that would be affected. No safety net means you think those companies should be allowed to fail. That is hypocritical my friend.

        FWIW I would rather see cancer sticks outlawed than trying to dick around with what is the right tax formula – I just had to balance that with what is practice.

        • USWeapon says:

          Ray,

          That is not quite fair there pal. Cherry picking the word rant. While I call all my articles rants, that does not preclude the fact that I went and found data and information that solidly backs up my position on what I “ranted” about.

          • Ray Hawkins says:

            Um – not so fast US – you present some facts that support a portion of your position. The typical political blogger rarely shows demonstrable evidence supporting their point – a la Malkin, a la Krugman. You fall short from time to time and inject opinion that is disconnected from the facts you present (arguing trickle up/down has zilch to do with the facts you presented). Anytime I see “rant” and “while I am on a roll let me bitch about…..” my ears perk up cause I am worried I am about to be snowed and have to apply the skeptics hat even more. Make sense? When its all pontificating I’m good – I can off the cuff with the best of ’em. When people claim a bunch of beliefs as facts and then get mad when I challenge them (yes – you Common Man) and I get amped up as well. When I see a pot pie of facts supporting beliefs mixed with unsupported beliefs I get cranky cause I know if I take the bait (I usually do) I’ll be ‘required’ to supporting ALL my beliefs with facts – when I don’t then I am decried as another close-minded liberal dick head who runs and hides when the going gets tough. Please don’t digress to a bunch of academic writing – I deal with that enough already elsewhere. And please exercise care with over-philosophizing in the coming days – being obtuse doesn’t make one write (in other words – please do not boil the ocean).

        • Hmm,

          #1 has nothing to do with theis rant, disregarded.
          #2 I am not informed enough on to debate.
          #3 I beleive goes back to an EXAMPLE of coporate tax passed on to consumers, period.

          I feel ther ewill never be any sort of “fair” or “flat” type tax until some sort or VLDG presents itself and limits the budget back into some sort or reasonable entity. As was said above once the masses start voting the coffers dry how do yo get back out of that cycle? I see it as just continually getting worse.

          V/r
          Dudes

          • Ray Hawkins says:

            What is fair has everything to do with level of taxation is seen as appropriate for a particular bracket.

        • Ray, I fear you are assuming to much when you read my responses.

          1. I don’t think penalties should be based on my wealth they should be based on the risk or cost of my miscreant behavior. A traffic ticket for rolling throgh a stop sign? Warning to stop. Running a stop sign, not even looking? Send me to traffic school and make me spend a couple nights in ER. I understand the frustration with Companies and fines but I happen to think the whole Fining thing is BS. Why is the Govt collecting money for “potential” damage or “actual” damage that has not occured to them. Air quality fines by the fed is good example. Who is damaged? Those in the town down wind of the factory. Why is the fed govt taking the money? Give it to the town or those down wind.

          Virtually all of the environmental and health and safety laws/rules could be enforced through civil actions. Don’t need to stinking EPA.

          2. Your completely off on my tax comment. This is where you start jumping to conclusions because of stereotypes of political positions. Read my original comment. I said down is better I didn’t say it was the only. I explained when it works and when it doesn’t based on what the goals are. As for Clinton’s situation, he didn’t raise them enough to cause a drop. Why? A lot had to do with luck, namely he had an economy being driven by exploding growth in new technology. As usual with govt, they don’t recognize these kinds of economic changes and assume its a new level from which to increase spending. It’s not. There is usually a bell shaped curve to the increase. We see the result as a “bubble”.

          While reducing taxes on upper income levels has and can aid economic growth, there is somewhere along the curve where the impact begins to diminish. Nobody knows where. What we do know is that the rates in place when Reagan took office were counter growth.

          Also per Clinton and his “budget surplus”. This was created primarily by the large and unpredicted increase in Captial Gains Taxes related to the Dot Com bubble. When the bubble broke the revenues dropped. The surplus was gone before the Bush tax cuts were even in place.

          I thought you agreed that both parties lie about this stuff? So why fall into the trap of defending only one side? I tried to take the political out of it.

          3. I still think you are mixing two things but I think I understand your point. The diff. as I see it is in one case the Govt is trying to harm an existing business. In the other they are trying to prop up a failing business, by taking money from some other successful entity…ME. That would not be hypocitical because I don’t want govt involved in either.

          Now if I argued for govt support to my local plant and then stood against helping GM, that would be hypocritical.

          Because I argue to defend my local business and don’t raise hell over yours is not hypocritical. The effect of your concern is to change the meaning of the word.

          JAC

          • Ray Hawkins says:

            I absolutely agree that both parties lie about this stuff – which is why I didn’t want to get into trickle up / trickle down tit for tat. I could certainly point as easy to what Clinton did with defense spending relative to the prior 12 years – certainly makes other numbers look good but leaves guys in the ‘Dishu wondering where the F their equipment is (thanks Les Aspin – biggest dick in the world) – course we won’t digress either into a discussion of proper accounting methods.

          • Ray Hawkins says:

            My point on #3 (hope I can simplify this) – I am focusing on the end game here – the POTENTIAL failure of a community due to the failure of a large industry – in one case (#1) in theory due to government action (the Tobacco Industry) in the other case (#2) due to government inaction (auto industry).

            As I see this – in #1, harming the community was seen as a no-no – not because of some analysis on economic conditions, impact on trade balance, national defense,….. – it was made as such because that is where USW lives.

            In #2 the resounding applause has been to let GM/Chrysler/Ford fail. Community harm be damned. That is the illogical nature of this. Tell me what it is okay in one case and not the other.

          • Ray Hawkins says:

            JAC – sorry – on #1 – here is where the purity of philosophical argument gets a little sticky.

            I was referring more to that which I know – technology / security / compliance and so on….

            We can use the risk argument as well to the Finnish driver – may the wealthy driver be less inclined to ever observe speed limits if the fine he must pay is but a pittance? The two risk factors, likelihood of occurrence and impact severity are unlikely to change from an inherent ‘high’ if the player does not have a safeguard commensurate with the risk posed.

            In the IT space many companies do risk/reward calcs and conclude often that it is cheaper to pay a fine if they lose your data rather than implement complex & costly controls. This is a fact. I have had multiple CRO’s, CLO’s, CIO’s and CEO’s tell me this. It is one reason I exited consulting and went back to industry.

    • USWeapon says:

      Ray,

      JAC started to answer your questions and I will try to do the same as the afternoon progresses. However one point that I wanted to hit and explain a little more thoroughly than JAC did. You said:

      The hypocrisy is that there is suggestion that we should let some of the GMs of the world fail – blow ‘em suckers up eh? But don’t touch the dear tobacco companies that are in my backyard? Where is the disconnect here?

      Utterly unrelated topics. I did suggest that we let GM fail rather than supporting a taxpayer funded bailout of the company. I have not at some point suggested that a taxpayer funded bailout of the tobacco industry is OK. I do not support government heavily taxing cigarettes for “our own protection”. I also would not support government heavily taxing automobiles to help pay to protect us from the global warming BS. That sir, is consistency, not hypocrisy. You are either
      a)confused and allowing emotion to cloud your judgement of my positions.
      or b) intentionally misdirecting the issues so as to cast me as a hypocrite.

      Either one of those issues shocks me a bit coming from you. You usually attempt to stick to the facts and analyze what is placed before you. What gives? You know I am willing to consider just about any idea or position you put forth, why not stick to comparing apples to apples?

    • USWeapon says:

      Ray, you said, “To my other point, in his posting on Sin Taxes USW went to length to defend the Tobacco companies from a localized NIMBY perspective – dear Lord – don’t do anything to the Tobacco companies because it could be bad for my State/community/neighbors – yet there is vehement opposition to do anything government backed for the auto companies? What? No factory in NC so its not your problem right? To heck with those communities that would be affected. No safety net means you think those companies should be allowed to fail. That is hypocritical my friend.”

      Besides what I already posted above, a couple of points. What I discussed about hurting the local tobacco industry was that Kay Hagan, the Senator for NC, whose job it is to represent the people of NC, instead votes along party lines regardless of the impact on the people she is supposed to represent. It is not a call for government to support the tobacco industry. I have NEVER called for that. So I have not called for some “safety net” for the tobacco industry. I called for government to stop doing things that intentionally hurt that idustry. Quite a difference. Painting that picture is dishonest of you, at best.

      Second, you make a lot of assumptions in saying that I don’t support the auto industry because there are “no factories in my state” so it is “not my problem”. North Carolina ranks among the nation’s foremost automotive parts and supply states and has actively promoted this sphere within the automotive industry for several years. North Carolina’s focus on developing its automotive cluster has resulted in well over 1,000 companies operating in the state. In fact, Harvard Business School’s Cluster Mapping Project reported that North Carolina’s automotive cluster ranked 10th in the nation in total employment. Almost 200,000 of NC’s 9 million inhabitants owe their employment to the auto industry. Nearly a quarter of NC’s manufacturing jobs are auto industry related. Interestingly, that puts the auto industry on par with the tobacco industry in my state. When you cast that stone in my direction, make sure you know for a fact that I am operating from a “NIMBY” perspective, my friend. That assumption will simply lead you down the wrong path.

      Hope you are having a good afternoon.

    • Black Flag says:

      Ray

      Regarding (3) –

      Tobacco taxes are not in place to reduce smoking.

      There are in place to fund tobacco farmers.

      Smoking is declining in the West due to heightened concern over health.

      Tobacco production in Latin America is exploded – producing good crop at cheaper price.

      The US tobacco farmer has seen the percentage of his market share shrink.

      By placing cigarette taxes, the government provides programs and subsidies to the tobacco farmer.

      The tobacco farmer, thus, can keep is crop competitive in the world market as his income is offset by subsidy. The tobacco companies benefit from a less expensive supply. The government raises the money on behalf of both.

      If you believe the government is interested in your health, I’ve got some real nice land in Alaska to sell to ya 😉

      • Ray Hawkins says:

        They are only partially interested in my health and in instances that change with the wind. A healthy citizen is a healthy taxpayer. Where do you source your info regarding tobacco farming subsidies?

  13. A different spin on USW’s post.

    “Suppose that every day, ten men go out for beer and the bill for all ten comes to $100. If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this:

    The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing.

    The fifth would pay $1.

    The sixth would pay $3.

    The seventh would pay $7.

    The eighth would pay $12.

    The ninth would pay $18.

    The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59.

    So, that’s what they decided to do.

    The ten men drank in the bar every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until one day, the owner threw them a curve. “Since you are all such good customers,” he said, “I’m going to reduce the cost of your daily beer by $20.”Drinks for the ten now cost just $80.

    The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes so the first four men were unaffected. They would still drink for free. But what about the other six men – the paying customers? How could they divide the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his ‘fair share? They realized that $20 divided by six is $3.33. But if they subtracted that from everybody’s share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would each end up being paid to drink his beer. So, the bar owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man’s bill by roughly the same amount, and he proceeded to work out the amounts each should pay.

    And so the fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% savings).

    The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33%savings).

    The seventh now pay $5 instead of $7 (28%savings).

    The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12 (25% savings).

    The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 ( 22% savings).

    The tenth now paid $49 instead of $59 (16% savings).

    Each of the six was better off than before. And the first four continued to drink for free. But once outside the restaurant, the men began to compare their savings.

    “I only got a dollar out of the $20,”declared the sixth man. He pointed to the tenth man,” but he got $10!”

    “Yeah, that’s right,” exclaimed the fifth man. “I only saved a dollar, too. It’s unfair that he got ten times more than I!”

    “That’s true!!” shouted the seventh man. “Why should he get $10 back when I got only two? The wealthy get all the breaks!”

    “Wait a minute,” yelled the first four men in unison. “We didn’t get anything at all. The system exploits the poor!”

    The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up.

    The next night the tenth man didn’t show up for drinks, so the nine sat down and had beers without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important. They didn’t have enough money between all of them for even half of the bill!

    And that, boys and girls, journalists and college professors, is how our tax system works. The people who pay the highest taxes get the most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up anymore. In fact, they might start drinking overseas where the atmosphere is somewhat friendlier.”

    • Texan, I love this. Copy and pasted if you don’t mind.

    • I had heard this told some time back and then couldn’t find it when trying to explain taxes and the wealthy. Thank you for bringing it back.

    • Oh and cross posted over at my place if you don’t mind US…..

      • USWeapon says:

        of course not Dudes. I wasn’t aware you had a sight. Send me the link when you have a chance.

    • esomhillgazette says:

      The last time I heard that it was about a dinner in a Restaurant. That is the best comparison for paying taxes I have ever heard and I have been hunting for it ever since. Thank You!

    • Black Flag says:

      The story has a flaw, and it is the assumption that Taxation=Government Revenue.

      Taxation is control.

      The wealthy will not leave because of taxes. There are ample avoidance’s that they can avail themselves to.

      As in the story, taxes rates, tax increases and tax deductions based on income class creates conflict. “Fairness” doctrine is invoked all across the board – with very few understanding that none of it can every be fair. Simply all taxation is unfair, no matter how small and no matter for what reason.

      As soon as one realizes that taxation is a tool for controlling the people, the smarter they’ll be in avoiding the manipulations and the impact of taxes.

      • I’m taking back your invite to the 4th of July Parade.

      • Black Flag says:

        Is that a special day? 😉

      • Formerly ARS? says:

        Good point. Taxes are not a concern to big business or the rich. They don’t leave the US because of them and you don’t see them on TV going off on any president or state gov’t for being to high or robbing them. You only see politicians, media commentaries, and the “poor” talking about them. Poor in quotations because unless your making $1M a WEEK your poor. And even then you’ll never make the Forbe’s list or get mentioned on the news. And please no responses about rich envy. Although I do wish I was in the category, I don’t wish ill on anyone for achieving it or think they owe someone something for it.

        Black Flag…You are 100% correct when you said above this is all purposeful and by design. I have ask though: What’s your reasoning?

        JAC I like parrots, you can call me one any time…

        One last comment. Running Windows 7 and I can’t see any comments after about 60. Also, the screen shoves off the right edge after about 6 replys. Any fixes?

  14. IMHO, There should only be three taxes, Federal, state, and county/city, for the purpose of running government, having a strong military (for defensive puposes only) and paying for infrastructure that we all rely on. I think all schooling should not be tax funded. With that said, there are so many different taxes and fees that we pay on just about everything, one must ask why? Who benefits from all these extra taxes and fees. The fund programs that ultimately benefit the wealthy. And they hurt the working class and poor. The tax tables only reflect what the tax is on a certain amount of income. The wealthy pay more taxes but get wealthier because of all the other Bulldookie taxes and fees that we pay that end up in their pocket anyway. So I ask, when was the last time anyone heard a multimillionaire(s) (such as the Waltons of WalMart) actually stand up and complain when their percentage goes up?

    PEACE

    G!

  15. MyNameIsEd says:

    I’m going to flatly admit as far as economics, I understand the rhudementary fundamentals AT BEST, so any and all opinions I have on the subject more or less are probably uneducated, as I rarely have any desire to read material focusing on the complex workings of the money system.

    But since the author has cited the almighty reaganomics theory, which, no matter what side of the isle you pledge to be for, the mere mention of this notion sparks passionate debate, I actually have a general question that I am too lazy to research to answer myself (again, that whole lack of wanting to read economic journals… I know it’s sad…).

    I don’t doubt Reagan’s economic policies had their merit and had strong benefits, but I’ve seem to notice something that all economic policies seem to kind of miss; things change. Money changes, industry changes, supplies change. Demands change. in 1990, there was a recession… Right after Reagan left office. I’ve noticed it seems to happen after we instill an economic policy that appears to “work”. All economic policies appear to only work when you place the right elements in at the right time. to me, it looks like the inner workings of the economy is a game of change and circumstance.

    So my question, now that you know my opinion of not just reaganomics, but any and all economic policies that have claimed to “work”, from FDR, to Clinton… How do we know that with our current economic situation that the theory and policies of reaganomics would be beneficial to our current situation?

    Again, I am asking for educational purposes only.

    • USWeapon says:

      MyNameIsEd,

      Believe me you are not alone in struggling to understand economics. Besides BF, I am not sure anyone here completely understands, and I don’t know that he would claim to, but he is probably the expert of this group.

      I think I should be clear that I am not saying that Reaganomics is what would or would not work as a fix to today’s problems. I agree that every solution seems to come up just short of really fixing the problem, and I submit that this is because the government is attempting to manipulate and control the unctonrollable. No plan can completely be flawless, because no matter the big plan there are too many contradictory smaller plans at play as well.

      My general feeling was that Reaganomics had a solid base in understanding that the wealthy in America are who provide employment and opportunity to the economy. Hurting them hurts everyone.

      However, for me the problem, at its core is ethical. The sheer amount of money collected by government from the poor, middle, and wealthy has reached an unethical proportion. So in my eyes, you take the evil that takes the least amount of money from the people into the government’s corrupt little paws. Since the top 10% pay 70% of the money the government collects, cutting their taxes is the best way to choke the life out of big government. Therefore I support that. Whatever takes money out of government’s hands and puts it into the people who earn its hands, I am for. That doesn’t mean that, like BF, I don’t support any taxes at all. But the amounts collected today far outpace what was Constitutionally mandated. How much do you wanna bet that a Constitutional Convention today would eliminate the income tax immediately? Government knows that and will make sure that it never happens. Hence why talking about the Constitution, and by proxy a Constitutional convention or amendment, is considered an act of right wing extremism.

      • MyNameIsEd says:

        Having a problem with the current tax system on ethics is completely understandable. I can understand that, while other ideas and theories exist out there for growing the economy (even if it is unpredictable and uncontrollable as you pointed out) going with the system that is most ethical and is for common good of all is simply logical. Unfortunately, for most of us, ethics, can be extremely subjective. The government making Big Corporations appear to be the Big Bad Wolf is at times ridiculous, but sometimes, Big Corporations are The Big Bad Wolves, and its normally the few that make the rest look bad, and thereby give the government the leverage it needs to move forward in becoming a “savior”.

        I like your idea of a Constitutional Convention and am curious to know more of what you think something like that would entail, but I would somehow disagree with you that it would look like right wing extremism on a whole. I think it would depend on how the idea was brought up, and to have it work, you would have to have a majority. I fear that there is such a sense of complete apathy to politics today, unless it is to “cheer for your home team,” that we might as well get used to the idea our income taxes will continue to increase regardless of our salaries.

        thanks for playin’ along!

        • My Name:

          And there in lies much of our problem today;
          ” for most of us, ethics, can be extremely subjective”.

          Stick around as we try to build an ethics based on “objective” rather than “subjective” reasoning.

          Best Wishes
          JAC

        • USWeapon says:

          “I would somehow disagree with you that it would look like right wing extremism on a whole. ”

          I am not saying that it would be. What I was referring to was the recent report from the Department of Homeland Security that identified those Americans who refer back to the Constitution and the trampling of it as “Right Wing Extremists” That is what the report actually said. So it sets up a situation where the government is saying that if a movement begins to hold a constitutional convention to fix what ails our great document, those doing so are labeled extremists and trivialized, demonized, or incarcerated.

          Just a simple example: Something as basic as a grass roots movement against government increasing taxes and increasing spending, the tax day tea parties, were portrayed to America as radical fringe movements by the government and as right wing extremist anti-government rallies by the MSM.

          The point is they are currently creating a climate where discussing the Constitution or trying to regain control over a government that is OURS TO CONTROL is considered radical, extreme, and quite possibly in the future, illegal.

          • so too was the American Revolution considered radical at the time by the royal governors and wealthy tories who supported them

    • Ed,

      I like your question, but am not qualified to give a proper answer, which has never stopped me in the past. I think Regan, with GREAT opposition got tax reductions passed which allowed businesses to prosper and the economy and tax revenue had impressive growth. Obama even acknowledged that raising business taxes would result in less tax revenue. So modern history has proof as to how high taxes affect the economy and tax revenue. There are also modern examples of European countries and how they have done under socialism. Following copied from GOOOH website.

      An example of the Austrian theory being implemented is Ireland in the late 1990’s. Prior to 1990, Ireland was one of the poorest nations in Europe; it was massively socialistic. Huge portions of its population were on welfare and companies avoided investing in Ireland like the plague. Then Ireland decided to implement a (partial) “fair tax” system that ceased penalizing businesses with excessive regulations and high taxes. What happened? Ireland became the 2nd strongest economy in Europe nearly overnight (second only to Luxembourg). Today, the Irish have one of the highest standards of living and greatest buying power in Europe (4).

      But I think there is one thing missing, not just taxes, but spending. The current government plan of “spending” our way out of this crisis reminds me of the story of the “village idiot”. A village had an idiot who simply could find no job where he could support himself. So they “hired” him to clean the village cannon. He did a fine job, each day polishing it to a bright luster. After a few years, he told the mayor he was quitting, and thanked him for the job. The mayor asked the idiot what he was going to do to support himself. He replied, “I’ve been saving all my money, and purchased my own cannon, so I”m going into business for myself”.

    • My Name:

      There is not doubt that the idea of reducing taxes on the production sector (businesses) and on capital investment (the wealthy) would be good for the economy in the long term. Part of the problem in these discussions is we mix what is good in the long term with actions and reactions to short term problems. Govt wants to meddle, they want us to think they can prevent pain of normal short term economic cycles.

      When you say things change that is only correct for the little things,like the goods and services demanded. The rules of economics don’t change.

      You are very observant also in noting that all these different approaches may or may not work for awhile, then another down turn comes along. That is because govt keeps trying to ingore the rules of economics. We are now seeing the result of decades of manipulations that just put off our day of reckoning. Only the impact is getting greater each time.

      And yes, there is a large degree of luck when it comes to how an Administration is viewed with regard to the economy. These guys have it down now though, 8 year cycles to coincide with 8 yr presidential term. The new guy alway starts with a mess, fixes it and hands the impending mess to the next guy. Bush Sr to Clinton to Bush Jr to Obama to ????VDLG party.

      Please note the cycle stops once the VDLG party gets in office.

      You are also correct in how the term Reaganomics is used. It simply referes to a “supply side” of theory vs “deman side” of theory. Obviously you have to have both demand and supply for an economy to work. You need to remember than in 1980 our tax system was strangling our upper income brackets and businesses. The term is now used to chastize Republicans for cutting taxes without cutting spending, thus running up deficits. The Dems on the other hand raise taxes without cutting spending, thus running up deficits.

      Does this help any? I can answer specific questions if you have them as can BF.
      JAC

      • Birdman says:

        JAC:

        What does VDLG stand for?

      • Just A Citizen,
        What was the mess that Clinton handed to Bush?

        And if these guys ‘have it down’, why did the current recession start in 2007, a full year before Bush left office?

    • Black Flag says:

      Ed

      There is no active economic policy of government that can be a positive impact on the economy. The only positive policy of government would be to do nothing economically.

      A free economy (one without government) operates on the optimum – economic decisions are made on economic reasons.

      A government economic policy operates on Political expediency – not economic value.

      If economic decisions are made for political reasons you cannot get an economical result – you get a political result.

      So if your goal is to achieve some political result, then a political economic policy may achieve such. But be cautious, rarely does the stated goal of the plan equal the actual goal that is desired. There is a lot of smoke and mirrors in political play.

      Regardless, there can be no government policy including taxation, that has a positive impact economically. All government economically policy destroys or damages a part or parts of an economy.

      • Black Flag says:

        So, the only positive economic thing a government can do is to reduce its impact economically.

        Cut spending, cut taxes, stop printing money.

        None of this will happen.

        Therefore, expect the economy to worsen over time – surges of economic growth are merely an illusion of fiat expansion, and not of an increase in productivity.

  16. “Bottom 50% 2.99% $9.9 Billion 66,604,467 $449”

    Yeah RIGHT you have OBVIOUSLY NEVER worked a minimum wage job in the last 10 years!!!!!

    While I & my husband worked for McDonald’s because my family could not afford to send me & his family was too selfish to pay for him to go to college… & we were paying 25% of our checks to the government… WHILE getting paid ONLY $5.15 per HOUR and we were doing damn good to get 25 hours a week each because McDonalds has a phobia of paying overtime…

    Every 2 weeks our family was bringing in ONLY $386 that is MONTHLY $772 for TWO people working every hour we could get!

    We could BARELY afford a 1 bedroom apartment until I decided to start working from home… Now we have a house on a 1/4 acre lot, 2 cars and our 3 kids in a good school.. and GUESS WHAT I am now paying MORE taxes than I was at working poor… 30% but yet my Mother in Law who is bringing in well over $200k a year pays ONLY 15% so PLEASE tell me again that the rich don’t pay less???

    I’ll bet you make quite the pretty penny and you think your paying a ton yet your not on the verge of being homeless if you miss a day of work but yes the poor pay so much less… BECAUSE THEY GET LESS YOU IMBECILE!!!!!

    • If your mother in law is paying only 15% then her entire income is Capital Gains, which is of course an entirely different class of income. So your comparing apples to oranges. If you own property you to now qualify for the 15% capital gains when you sell.

      And on behalf of the host and others here, you could make your point without calling people names, especially when you apparently missed the entire point of the article.

      Since you seem so upset with Mums 15% rate, can I assume that you equate Tax Rates with fairness?

      JAC

    • Black Flag says:

      CT

      I believe the wisest thing you could do is hire the same accountant that your Mother-In-Law uses.

      There are reasons some of us pay little or no tax.

      It is because we are smarter than you.

      Go and buy ‘smart’ – there are numerous ways available to everyone to reduce your tax exposure.

      Remember, taxation by government is not to fund government. They do not need your paper, since they can print (or create) as much money out of thin air as they need.

      Taxation is a matter of control and political policy manipulation.

      By manipulating the tax code, the government can alter the economic flow. Tax deduction here makes people move the economy that direction. Tax increase there makes people move away from that direction. Taxes is the nose chain of the public.

      Thus, the government wants you to avail yourself of every possible deduction.

      Therefore, quit complaining and go and seek such.

    • USWeapon says:

      CT,

      First and foremost, name calling will not gain you any debate points on this site, and more importantly, is not permitted. Perhaps you should read a bit more and find out my background before you make assumptions about what my income level is now or was previously in life. I appreciate your story. The fact that government took 25% of your pay at that income level should piss you off. However, let’s look at the whole spectrum. If that was your wage for the entire year, then when you filed your income returns on April 15th, government refunded 100% of the money that you paid them. Meaning that you did not end up paying a dime of income tax for that year.

      As for your mother-in-law. Where are you getting your numbers from? You are either outright lying or vastly uninformed as to the progressive tax rates in the American tax code. American income taxes are taken at the following rates:

      10% on income between $0 and $8,025
      15% on the income between $8,025 and $32,550; plus $802.50
      25% on the income between $32,550 and $78,850; plus $4,481.25
      28% on the income between $78,850 and $164,550; plus $16,056.25
      33% on the income between $164,550 and $357,700; plus $40,052.25
      35% on the income over $357,700; plus $103,791.75

      So if you are paying 30%, then you are making over $78k (which means that you are in the top 10%, congratulations) a year, in which case you are paying 28% actually. And according to the IRS, your mother-in-law is paying 33%. What is interesting is that you seem to be able to completly ignore the relevant and accurate data that I presented in the article above. I did not make those numbers up. They are the facts.

      If you are paying 30% (actually 28%), then you are making over 78k. And that means that if you are in a position where missing a day of work will cost you your house, you have either not applied any fiscal responsibility to yourself, or you bought a home that was well above your income range. Either way, that is not the wealthy folk’s fault. Yet you seem pissed at them, instead of at the government that takes your money from you. They wealthy aren’t taking 30% of your income. The government is. Your anger is justified, but vastly misplaced, my friend. Stop listening to the class warfare Democrat leadership and use your brain to THINK. You may be surprised what you find.

      And just as interesting… why is it that you think that those who have worked themselves into a better position in life should be forced to worry about losing their home simply because you do? Misery loves company? And why exactly is it that you think that on top of paying 667 times more than those in the bottom 50% they should have to do more?

      • Oh, and USW? Don’t forget the Earned Income Tax Credit that she would have recieved too. 😀

        I’m smilin’ big ’cause I think you had a drive by again!

    • USWeapon says:

      “Yeah RIGHT you have OBVIOUSLY NEVER worked a minimum wage job in the last 10 years!!!!!”

      And for the record, I have worked for minimum wage. You know nothing about me. The only difference between your story and mine was that I stopped whining and blaming and pointing fingers, got off my butt, and did something about it.

  17. Black Flag says:

    So, keeping in mind that all taxation is unfair…..

    The Founders instituted Import and Export Taxes to fund government. They had their reason.

    The believed that the earnings of a citizen was his property, to dispose of as he saw fit. Thus, income tax was a no-no.

    If one citizen bought goods or services from another citizen, the government felt it had no right to tax that either – if they did, it would unjustly seize the property of a citizen.

    However, taxing the sale of a good to a foreigner was justified since the foreigner was not a citizen, and did not have a right to avail themselves of the rights of the Constitution. Equally, buying from a foreigner was taxed for the same justification.

    But of course, once government got to tax, they perverted it. Remember, taxation is a matter of control.

    By increasing the export duties on cotton, while increasing the import duties on manufactured goods (and eliminating the export duties for manufacturing) forced the South to buy manufacturing from the North, while the South’s taxes went to fund the Federal government (and at the same time, their sales of cotton went down).

    The North gained benefit of sales internationally and to the South, and paid little toward the federal government via excise duty.

    We know how that ended up.

    Thus, there exists no viable form of taxation from which will result a fair or just conclusion.

    • Ya’ll hear that? And you wonder why we fought the War of Northern Aggression in the first place! The North was a screwin’ the poor South to fund the whole damn Federal Government!

      And then after they won, they continued screwin’ us to the present day!

      Dang Yankees!!!

    • Black Flag,
      Export taxes are unconstitutional specifically because of cotton exports:

      http://internationalecon.com/Trade/Tch10/T10-4.php

      In the US, export taxes are unconstitutional since the US constitution contains a clause prohibiting their use. This was imposed due to the concerns of Southern cotton producers who exported much of their product to England and France.

      Does your argument on North vs South still hold true?

  18. Black Flag says:

    Gold cracked $960, then fell back $3 ….

  19. Birdman says:

    Video on Obama Man (to the tune of Candy Man)

  20. Totally off topic, but two items I’m wondering about:

    Bilderberg Group – what is the story? What do they control?

    Audit of the Federal Reserve – as I understand it, the Fed is quasi-government so can Congress decide to audit it? Will it happen and what do you think they’ll find? Who would audit it – would this just be an inside job?

    • Black Flag says:

      Bilderberg is a invitation only group of the richest and most powerful and of government leaders. They control basically everything.

      Audit of the Fed. Eisenhower when he was Prez demanded an audit and the Fed Reserve refused. He had no power to enforce his demand.

      No, Congress has no power over the Fed. The Fed is not a quasi-anything. It is a corporation owned by the banks. The only part government has is that the President appoints the Chairman.

      An audit would find – IMO – the largest fraud ever perpetrated on a people in history.

  21. amazed1 says:

    BF is 100% correct. The founders did not intend for us to be taxed except to pay for war (which we were good at staying out of). Fair is no tax at all…but then how do we pay for roads, lakes, national parks ect? To be equal all people would have to enjoy the same benefit for the same amount of money. The founders would be totally amazed at what we have done to the constitution. Without a tax how could our reps, and pres make their outrageous pay?

    • Black Flag says:

      Where in the Constitution was roads, lakes and national parks part of the job of government?

  22. Black Flag says:

    Formerly ARS

    Black Flag…You are 100% correct when you said above this is all purposeful and by design. I have ask though: What’s your reasoning?

    FDR quote: “Nothing in politics is by chance”.

    It is a purposeful design to seed class conflict. Rich vs Poor has been an excellent scenario for both parties. Fingers point between the groups as the ’cause’ of the problem – and none point to the real cause – government.

    Review most of these posts.

    Essentially only mine say ‘toss the whole system’. Nearly all of them are different ways, attempts, thoughts and ideas to somehow make something that is irreparably unfair to be ‘just’. No questioning the morality of taxes. No questioning the reason behind government taxes.

    As soon as the reason of government taxes is understood, all discussion of making it ‘fair’ disappears – such discussions are pointless.

    • BF: The only reason you hear my old ass saying anything at all about trying to “fix” the Tax problem, is because the Federal, much less State, Governments will NEVER do away with taxes.

      To be totally honest, I have serious doubts any Government will ever even try to really change anything.

      You be honest. Do YOU think the Tax System will ever change? I mean change meaningfully?

      • Black Flag says:

        No.

        Taxation has nothing to do with government revenue.

        It has everything to do with manipulation and control

        No way and no how will government ever give up its most powerful lever of public manipulation. In fact, it will get worse and more perverse.

        Any attempt to ‘change’ it will be ignored.

      • I agree, there is no way we will ever see *no taxation*, so that leaves us to find a more acceptable way to be taxed. I think the way we are taxed will change at some point. Things cannot continue as they are, the wheels are coming off the cart.

  23. I saw this early this morning but didn’t have time to read it. I printed and took it with me. I was helping a neighbor finish a new patio before their daughter’s HS graduation party on Sunday. Long day – another one tomorrow.

    I haven’t read any of the comments. If I start reading them, I’ll never get this done. I’ll read them and add updates.

    There is more to this issue than just income and taxes. There also wealth and wealth distribution.

    I added numbers to US Weapons points to make it easier for you to rip my explanations a part. 🙂

    1. The rich aren’t paying their fair share

    I agree with the numbers in the AGI charts, but there is another part of this issue – Wealth. Wealth distribution is a bigger issue than income distribution and tax rates. The Wealth numbers are from 2004 – the most recent I could find. And although 2007 and 2008 were bad years, 2005 and 2006 were phenomenal years for the wealthy. My ASSUMPTION (feel free to ignore this!) is the percentages would be much higher at the end of 2005, and some what higher at the end of 2008:

    The top 1% pay 40% of income taxes, but they control 42% of the wealth.
    The top 25% pay 85% of income taxes, but the top 20% control 92% of the wealth.

    This is an article about wealth & income distribution. It explains the importance of wealth. It also has a paragraph about inheritance taxes (death tax). One quote: “Since financial wealth is what counts as far as the control of income-producing assets, we can say that just 10% of the people own the United States of America.”

    http://sociology.ucsc.edu/whorulesamerica/power/wealth.html

    See the Financial Wealth Chart for the percentages above. And be sure to read the part about CEO pay near the bottom of the article, and how it compares to the wages of average workers.

    And wealth is more important than income. Income is what you earn in a year. As your income rises to a point where you can start saving/investing significant amounts of money, you start to accumulate WEALTH. And wealth is a bigger issue than income, because incomes can rise and fall rather quickly, but once you accumulate real WEALTH, you have opinions that others don’t.

    One way to understand wealth vs income is to answer this question: What would happen to you if for the next 12 months you had absolutely no income? You go about your normal life, go to work, etc, but you pay for everything out of your pocket/savings. No pay check. Car accident – no insurance – you pay. Go to the doctor – no health insurance – you pay (but you still pay all your premiums). Even assuming no major bills out of the ordinary, most Americans would not be able to survive a couple months, much less a year.

    The WEALTHY wouldn’t even notice…

    2. They are only wealthy because of the unfair system that gives them advantages that you didn’t have

    A little bit of truth to this. There are investment opportunities and tax shelters that primarily benefit the wealthy (municipal bonds, LLP, LLC, Type ‘S’ Corps, Off-shore accounts, etc). Proper use of these greatly reduces their Adjusted Gross Income (which then skews the $$$ in the AGI tables). Everyone has access to these, but you need a substantial amount of wealth to take advantage of them.

    When you have substantial wealth to invest, you have access to investment advisors that can get you involved in things like IPO’s, and large returns on speculative investments. People like Bernard Madoff (Ok, that’s not the best example!! 🙂 ). And when they have loses on some of those speculative investments, they can write them off to reduce their taxes on other investment income.

    3. There are claims that the wealthy are riding on the backs of the poor

    A little bit of truth to this. The “average workers” ghet paid much less than Upper Management, the Executives, and the Board of Directors. The common explanation is these people have more knowledge and/or experience, and they are the ones taking the risks by investing their money in the businesses, and that’s true to a degree. But the “average workers” are also needed to make the companies a success, and they are getting a very small share of the wages/profits/fruits of the combined labor.

    A lot of information on Wikipedia.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Household_income_in_the_United_States

    About halfway down the page is this chart. It shows the disproportionate growth in income:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:United_States_Income_Distribution_1947-2007.svg

    4. The wealthy are evil people who won’t do anything to help anyone unless government steps in and forces them to

    I’m not sure I would agree that this is a common belief, but I agree it is incorrect.

    5. The poor pay a disproportionate percentage of the fruits of their labor

    I’m not sure what you mean by this, but I’ll take a stab at it. A little bit of truth to this, but there are a lot of factors involved.

    A very simple example:

    Lets just say that everyone lives the exact same lifestyle.
    If you earn $50,000, you pay $8600 in taxes and spend the remaining $41,400 on living expenses. Part of those expenses are other taxes – sales, gas, etc. You have noting left to invest.

    If you earn $100,000, you pay $21,700 in taxes and spend the $41,400 on living expenses. Part of those expenses are other taxes – sales, gas, etc. You have $36,900 left to invest. You do not pay other taxes on this money because you do not spend it.

    As your income goes up, you have more money leftover to invest, and you begin to build wealth.

    Because the poor spend all of their income, they pay a larger share of their income in consumption taxes (sales, gas). They also have noting left over to save/invest.

    6. The way to spur the economy is to take money from those rich capitalist sonsabitches and redistribute it to the poor

    I don’t agree with the redistribution of wealth thru tax policy, but see #3. If the “average workers” were paid a decent living wage, they would be able to spend more without going into credit card debt and taking out second mortgages. Like it or not, our economy has been driven by consumer spending for quite awhile now.

    And I’m not referring to the over-inflated mortgages many people got into in the last 8 years. That’s a different issue all together.

    7. The economy is revived from the bottom up, not the top down
    See #3 and #6. Our economy is driven from the top and the bottom (or actually the middle). The top provides the investments, the middle and lower classes provide the labor. Both are needed to create wealth. Both should share in the fruits of that labor. Not necessarily 100% equally.

    A little saying for this – a raising tide lifts all boats. When the middle and lower class are prosperous, the wealthy are even more prosperous.

    One of the many problems with the last 30 years, and the last 8 years in particular, is the bottom 80% of the population have seen almost flat wages (when adjusted for inflation). The top 1% have seen an increase of 400%.
    http://lanekenworthy.net/2008/03/09/the-best-inequality-graph/

    From 2000 to 2007, the median income of American households, when adjusted for inflation, fell by $324, according to the Commerce Department.
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/05/02/AR2009050202207.html?hpid=topnews

    Another graph showing household income distribution:

    http://www.visualizingeconomics.com/2006/11/05/2005-us-income-distribution/

    80% of US Households make less than $92,000 per year.
    95% of US Households make less than $166,000 per year.
    98% of US Households make less than $250,000 per year.

    The remaining 2% control the majority of the wealth.

    8. Reagan and his trickle down theory were wrong and flawed and worthless and failures

    See #3 and #6 and #7. The problem with trickle-down economics is that the wealthy have not allowed enough to trickle down.
    This is a graph called “Re-creating the Gap that gave us the Great Depression”.
    http://www.thenation.com/doc/20080630/extreme_inequality

    Be sure to check out the full-size chart. It shows the correlation between shrinking top marginal tax rates and the huge disparity in wealth and income

    The text is hard to read, but if you increase it to 200%, you can see right in the middle it says:

    In 1980, the last pre-Reagan year, families in the bottom 90 percent averaged $30,446 in income, after adjusting for inflation, $72 more than the $30,374 comparable families earned in 2006. The top 0.01 percent in 1980 took home an average $5.4 million, less than one-fifth the $29.6 million average income of the super-rich in 2006.

    So how does trickle-down economics work?

    Read the other text on the chart too. It’s a pretty chilling comparison of the unequal distribution of income just before the Great Depression to 2006…the NYSE and the DOW hit all time highs in October 2006, and lost 40-50% of their value by early 2009.

    9. Corporate taxes drive businesses over seas

    There are many issues involved in this:
    * cheap wages
    * lax labor laws
    * lax environmental laws

    Corporate taxes are a small part of the reason companies move over-seas. I’m not real familiar with the details of the tax laws, but the taxes vary depending on where the company is incorporated, headquartered, where production occurs, where sales occur, etc. And high corporate profits mean big bonuses for CEO’s and executives, and big dividends to stockholders. More income for the wealthy.

    I’m not advocating higher corporate taxes, but the issue is not as simple as you say.

    10. It seems to me that the top 1% of earners in this country pay 667 times as many dollars for the exact same services provided to the bottom 50%

    This isn’t a number to number comparison, but the top 0.01% averaged 997 times more income than the bottom 90%…

    Do you have the average income amounts to go along with the “Average Income Tax Paid Per Taxpayer in this Group” in your third chart?
    I’m looking for them but haven’t found anything obvious.

    ************************************

    I’m going to close with a second look at this chart. I hope you’ll enlarge it and read the text.

    The unequal wealth and income distribution that currently exists in the US is unsustainable. A society can not exist like this.

    So it’s either Obama and socialism, or tell the wealthy to get their heads out of their a$$es, pay the average worker a living wage, and then the wealthy can go back to making money by the bucket load.

    But stop blaming the poor for every problem in this country. They don’t have any power.

    The other part of this is my family’s story. Do you want to hear a first hand example of how wealth is created, how the wealthy operate, and what they think of the masses? Will you believe it?

    • nice post, Todd. I would like to hear your story.

    • USWeapon says:

      Todd,

      A couple of quick thoughts here as I have to head out to work. Excellent reply to the article. I don’t have time right now to go and look at all your sources. But this is exactly what i always hope for when I post an article. I know there are those that disagree with me. I just want them to provide the why and show me some information for me to look at, and then tear apart, lol.

      Is your perception that I blame the poor for everything in this country? I don’t feel that way so I am interested to hear if I come across as thinking so. I do feel that the poor are manipulated in this country for political gain. Obama did that well.

      I, of course, would be interested in your story. Would I believe it? Who knows. But I don’t have any reason to assume you would be lying about it.

    • Todd, I agree w/ most of your points and 1 or 2 I do not agree with. I agree that wages have not kept pace with the growth and profits that a lot of businesses experienced over the last 8 years. I see this as the main reason for the “Rich people and successful businesses are evil” attitude that dominated some peoples thinking in this past election.

      • TexasChem says:

        Rather than focusing on bringing wages up I wish there was some way to bring inflation down and increasing the value of the dollar.My father in law is 81 years old and tells me stories all the time how when he graduated from college how he started out making 50 cents an hour.Milk was 80 cents a gallon.Gasoline was 27 cents a gallon.Cost 3 cents to send a leter in the mail…etc.Said he was making “good money” and led a comfortable lifestyle back then.He is now worth millions having made it in the oil business here in Texas.As a capitalist nation cost=demand/supply so where and what has caused this equation to fail us?

  24. I find it hard to believe that everyone of voting age has a right to vote. A great many voters have the IQ of a house plant. To back my claim all anyone has to do is watch Jay Leno’s ” Jaywalking”. He asks simple questions, such as “Locate Canada on a map?”,What ocean borders California?, Who did the allies fight in WWII?. Many of the individuals are either in college or have graduated. Most questions could be answered by a 3rd grader. Yet these same house plants can vote someone to political office and have no idea what they have voted for or what they plan to do once elected to office. This is as bad as a congress voting for a bill without reading it. Stupidity is rampant!!!!!!!!

    • You are so very right. It is a shame that our children are not being taught geography and history as some of us were taught. Who said “those that do not learn from history are destined to repeat the same mistakes”? How can these people be expected to find Canada on a map when they need a GPS to find the bathroom in their home. These are the individuals that did not try to understand the importance of their vote in this last election. They were Utubed and Facebooked into believing that we were going to see miraculous changes. They were told that voting Republican was voting for Bush. They were brain washed into the mindset that anyone that had more than they did were evil and had to pay. Well, “change” has come and these same people will wake up soon to the fact that not only has their taxes increased, but their take home no longer covers the budget, due to the added on fees, surcharges and passed on to the consumer tax increases that businesses will be faced with. I think these individuals are both Stupid and Ignorant. Ignorant in that they have not been exposed to information that would help them make logical and common sense decisions and Stupid in that they have no desire to learn. This is what is scary too me. What kind of nation will our grand children grown up in.

  25. USWeapon says:

    Posting removed at request of commenter.

    • JayDickB says:

      Interesting, but what would be more interesting to me would be how you would “fix” the things you see wrong. Do you think Obama is on the right track on the domestic economy? Might not the “fixes” be worse than the weaknesses you see?

      • JayDickB,
        Identifying the problem is always “easier” than determining the correct fix (assuming you identify the problem correctly).

        The bailouts seemed necessary when they were started, but looking back they were rushed thru and many details were missed. The obvious example: Before AIG was bailed out, the bonuses should have been renegotiated. Without the bailout, AIG would have been bankrupt and the bonuses would have been gone…

        I think the stimulus was needed. The auto bailouts haven’t gone perfectly, but letting GM / Chrysler go thru a chapter 7 bankruptcy would be disastrous. Whether it would have been chapter 7 or 11 is debatable…

        The opposite approach would have been to do nothing and let AIG, Banks, and Auto companies go bankrupt. I think that would have led to a depression that would have dwarfed the Great Depression, and may have led to the complete collapse of society.

        Letting Lehman Brothers go bankrupt pretty much caused a panic on Wall Street (who would they let go bankrupt next?) and I think led to the necessity of bailing out/merging other banks and investment firms. Now my concern is that the Banks that were to big to fail before are getting even bigger…

        I think if we can get thru the next 6 months, and the government gets out of the private companies (which I think will happen), we’ll recover.

        Whether we’ve learned any lessons from this so we avoid the problem in the future is another issue…

    • Black Flag says:

      It is incredibly difficult to make the step from middle-class to the wealthy.

      If it was easy, everyone would do it.

      Because it is hard, few do.

  26. Black Flag says:

    Todd

    When I read your post, I see plenty of emotional misunderstandings of the wealthy.

    You don’t put all your eggs in one basket

    You called this dumb. Why?

    It is as much a reasonable investment strategy as another. In fact, it is the one I most agree with.

    Diversification requires far more eyes to watch. It means I have to trust the opinion of someone else to tell me if my investments are doing well. There is no way I can watch the multitude of companies.

    Instead, I’m a
    “…all eggs in one basket, and watch that basked very carefully…” investor. It makes more sense to me.

    But also all the little moves along the way that moved them forward – beating the competition, cutting costs, keeping wage and benefit costs down. They’re not mean or cruel people, but they are ruthless. That’s how you get ahead in this world.

    Ruthless? No. That implies cruelty.

    Doing ‘right’.

    Why should someone compensate another’s poor performance?

    Why should someone pay more for a good or service than they have to?

    Why should someone ask less for their service then they can demand?

    One way to understand wealth vs income is to answer this question: What would happen to you if for the next 12 months you had absolutely no income? You go about your normal life, go to work, etc, but you pay for everything out of your pocket/savings. No pay check. Car accident – no insurance – you pay. Go to the doctor – no health insurance – you pay (but you still pay all your premiums). Even assuming no major bills out of the ordinary, most Americans would not be able to survive a couple months, much less a year.
    The WEALTHY wouldn’t even notice…

    Damn right they notice!

    They are not wealthy because they have a lack of respect of earnings. The wealthy I know watch their pennies – they know how hard it is to make money, and are far less likely to throw it away wastefully.

    The inability for the ‘average’ guy to be unable to afford his own lifestyle is not the fault of the wealthy.

    Indeed, the ‘average’ guy should be asking the questions like – “why am I living check to check???”

    A wealthy man knows he cannot spend more then he consumes – if he does, it doesn’t matter how much money one has, it will be gone.

    It is incredibly difficult to make the step from middle-class to the wealthy. Brains and hard work help, but you need a big break to make the jump.

    No, you do not need a big break.

    You need to apply your brains, talent and hard work to prepare for the opportunity.

    If you’re not ready, it doesn’t matter how many ‘breaks’ you’ll get – they will pass you by.

    And that is the missing view of most people – they are waiting for their ‘big break’ and then they’ll start working. And, of course, those opportunities are walking past them daily.

    But once you’re there, it’s all about taking care of each other.

    You bet. But you don’t know why, do you?

    They’ve all earned it – and anyone playing with big dogs has to be a big dog. They didn’t get there by accident.

    It’s like Special Forces training. When you meet someone new, but you know they’ve succeeded through the same fight you’ve done – you know what type of guy he is right away.

    It’s also a matter of trust. People at a high level of success are very unlikely to waste it away gambling stupidly. They’re not going to throw away years of reputation by screwing another.

    An up-and-comer middle class guy is more likely to cheat and steal because the trivial amount of money is ‘a lot for them’.

    But when you’re talking about income, wealth, and taxes, it’s not as simple as “they earned it and should get to keep it”. Because none of them made it completely on their own.

    They did so.

    Put it this way, if you were in your Dad’s place, you couldn’t have done it.

    Have any of you had the opportunity to invest in an IPO? Investment opportunities like these go to the big Investment Banks (the ones that are failing and getting bailed out right now) and all their top customers. The only way for the average person to get involved is to know someone who gives them access, and that doesn’t happen very often.

    Not true.

    Go do it yourself.

    Go and work hard, make a unique business proposition, put years into the development and go public.

    The reason IPO’s tend to go to the wealthy is because the work required to manage a small-time investor is the same as a large investor.

    It is a matter of resource and time management. A meeting with a guy investing $10 million takes the same face-time as a guy investing $1,000.

    Believe me, if you want to pool 1000 people to invest $1,000 into an IPO, you’d find those IPO’s.

    I have about $2.5 million worth of stock in that bank. I get close to $70,000 worth of dividends payments each year. And all I did was have someone tell me about an investment opportunity. WTF? Does that really make sense?

    Yes, because you had to put up the funds in the past.

    The system is skewed to the advantage of the wealthy, and they will always make sure it stays that way…

    The system is not skewed to their advantage – that infers a ‘force’.

    Capital is merely the excess of wealth greater than consumption.

    Grasp that concept, and anyone can be wealthy.

    • Black Flag says:

      More on the return of investments….

      Many people get squirrelly when some tells them they invested a few grand, and months or years later, the investor has been getting, and continues to get, much more back in return.

      The concept that many people miss is the concept of time preference.

      Some people want something NOW and will pay a lot of money for it IN THE FUTURE.

      The meet people who want a lot IN THE FUTURE and are willing to give up something NOW.

      Investors have a time preference for the future.

      Consumers have a time preference for the now.

      By supplying the good/service (including money) to the consumer to satisfy their NOW demand, the Investor receives payment for that good PLUS the value of that good as it moves into the future PLUS the risk of that good not being available in your future.

      So, the consumer (some investment) needed your money NOW. For that, they were willing to pay a PREMIUM, in THE FUTURE, for the benefit of your money TODAY.

      You are receiving the value of the NOW demand.

      • Black Flag,
        I definitely agree most people do not understand how the “time value” of money works, and how delaying a major purchase or two for a few months can have a huge impact on your financial future, especially when that attitude is applied to many purchases over many years.

        Debt is a great tool for building wealth, when it is used correctly. But when it is used incorrectly, it is one of the greatest obstacles for building wealth.

    • Black Flag,
      Emotional? Ok maybe just a little. But I don’t think I have a grudge or anything against them. Still thinking about that…this is capitalism, it’s just how it works, but I don’t pretend it’s a complete or 100% correct description. Just one slice of it.

      I thought long and hard before I posted this. Wasn’t sure if I should, how it would sound, etc. Still not sure it was the right decision…

      “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket” is common investment advise. It limits your risk, but it also limits your opportunity for success. My Dad actually made the ‘bonehead’ comment with a little smile after the bank had done very well – it’s only boneheaded when you’re wrong. The important part being he made that investment with sound information, which as you point out is the most important part. Bad diversification is certainly not a good thing.

      The story about “The WEALTHY wouldn’t even notice”. You’re absolutely right they would notice – they watch their money closely. But the point was they would be able to maintain their lifestyle’s and it would not drastically alter their financial future.

      You give other Special Forces members the benefit of the doubt. Do you give an ordinary grunt that same benefit? Probably not, because they haven’t “earned it”. But not everyone gets the same opportunity to prove themselves, sometimes from missed opportunities, but sometimes because they don’t have that opportunity.

      You assume an “up-and-comer middle class guy is more likely to cheat and steal because the trivial amount of money is ‘a lot for them’.” That’s the kind of bias that keeps people down.

      You’re right, I probably wouldn’t have the same success as my Dad, for many reasons.

      • Black Flag says:

        Good points – thanks for responding

      • USWeapon says:

        No, he doesn’t give Special Forces guys the benefit of the doubt. But other Special Forces guys do. Those who have been there know what it takes to get there. So they know what others who have gotten there have done.

  27. Chris Devine says:

    A few things to ponder:

    Income taxes aren’t the only taxes. Wealthy individuals often hide their assets and use loopholes to reduce the amount of taxes they pay (e.g., sales tax).

    You quote charitable contribution figures but don’t take into account the role taxes play in encouraging donations. The fact that figures exist show that records are being kept. What purpose would those records serve other than to justify tax deductions?

    Regarding Reaganomics and the Clinton era ‘Welfare Reform’: read Barbara Ehrenreich’s book Nickel and Dimed to get an idea of what jobs were actually ‘created’ and how people survive on less-than-subsistence wages. Or if you like musicals watch this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gDgFiW2xtf0 or this http://www.theamericanrulingclass.org/home

    I don’t have any delusions about changing many minds in this forum. Agree with me or don’t. Just do me a favor and consider where you stand on the economic ladder and whether you feel like you’re climbing, descending or standing still.

    My $.02

    All the best,
    Chris

    • Chris Devine says:

      A few more things:

      Regarding inheritance taxes, why should the children of the rich reap benefits they didn’t earn? It seems that all this talk about pulling oneself up by one’s bootstraps only applies to those lacking a trust fund.

      Regarding the ‘one person, one vote’ argument suggesting that the lower classes hold a disproportionate amount of influence, have you ever looked at who lobbies congress? Take a look here: http://www.opensecrets.org/ . While each voter only gets one vote in an election, lobbyists and the special interests they represent spend million$ to influence the government every day (not just election day). You might be able to list a few token pieces of legislation as evidence for the tyranny of the lower class majority, but I guarantee that the majority of money given to both parties will show that corporate America is really holding the reins.

      You might also consider the fact that the top 10% owns 90% of America. It seems pretty fair to me that if you own 90% of something then you should be responsible for a considerable amount of its maintenance costs. And don’t go crying foul about rich people not fairly benefiting from social security, medicare, etc. Payroll taxes like these are capped at around $100,000. Every penny earned above that amount is exempt. This means that these taxes are regressive (i.e., the poor pay MORE than the rich).

    • Howdy Chris:

      Glad to see you up and about this morning. I would like to address a couple of your specifics but then focus on more fundamental issues. You see I find this whole discussion of “class” and “fairness” quite, well Hoakey. It is a contrived political debate based on a competition between differing philosophies. But we never discuss the underlying principles, only the superficial issues. In doing so we somehow lose track of reality. I guess that becomes the first victim of political rhetoric, from all sides.

      On the specifics, first of all the wealthy don’t hide assets. They move assets to places where they are protected from confiscation. They also create legal structures to protect those assets from confiscation. Furthermore, assets have no bearing on the discussion of “income taxes”. It is the income generated by those assets that is of concern to the Feds. If someone is truly hiding something subject to taxation that is fraud and is prosecutable.

      The Left uses the term “loopholes” the right uses “deductions” unless of course the target of your point is getting a deduction then it becomes a loophole. The truth is there are very few “loopholes” in the tax code. A “tax loophole” traditionaly meant an “unintended” consequence of tax law. Such loopholes are usually closed quickly once discovered. The other truth is that “deductions” are allowed by Congress or changes in the tax code. Applying the term loophole to a legally allowed deduction is obfuscation of reality in my opinion. It is used to foment envy and anger over something in one group against the other.

      Along these lines I would like to vent on one of my biggest pet peaves regarding this type of rhetoric. The use of “subsidy” to describe a legally allowed tax deduction. Every American gets a “deduction” yet it is only “corporations” and the “rich” who get tagged with the “subsidy” label. Again, this is theatrical politics at its worst. Lets look at the “subsidies” of “Big Oil” for example. The accelerated depreciation provided this industry is available to all industries. When the attacks were made on this one deduction everyone ignored the fact that the total dollar deduction was the same, it was only the recovery period that changed.

      Do corporations and other groups lobby for their postions and cookies. Absolutely. But attacking the lobbyist or those supporting them ignores the underlying fact that it is govts power that creates the demand. The constant attack on corporate favors also ignores the reality that we have a multitude of health, safety and environmental laws in this country that were all opposed by the business sector. If Corporations are all so powerful how did this happen? The most powerful lobby in D.C. is AARP. Hardly a big corporation. And of course we have the environmental lobby and the teachers union lobby, etc, etc. The fact is that every American is represented by one or more lobby groups in some way or another. Do they all have equal access or power? No! Do they all influence the outcome in someway? Yes!

      Now for the more general. You may recall I posted the question regarding what is “Fair”. This is again political rhetoric used by BOTH sides. Fair is a subjective term with no ethical base. Justice would be more applicable. Then we could debate the moral and ethical basis of “social justice” as opposed to “individual justice”. But this whole discussion of “fairness” is not supported at the base.

      My ethics would say that the govt has no place in deciding what is fair or not. It has a place in supporting justice. That requires “blind” and “objective” application, regardless of economic status.

      Quite frankly I don’t understand what any of the discussion about who owns what or how much, who makes what or how much, and who has how much wealth has anything to do with the real problems we face today. It has absolutely no bearing on my situation or that of my neighbors. And this whole discussion ignores one very big fact. The actual people in the upper income or wealth brackets are always changing. Some remain, but many do not. The railroader, copper barons, and timber barons of the past are gone. The steel titans are gone. Replaced by the dot.com and investment banker barons. And it will change again. Inhereted wealth doesn’t last long in the hands of the lazy or ill equiped.

      By the way, there is no way that 10% own 90% of America, because the Federal Govt owns about 21%. And please explain how Federal expenditures amount to “maintenance costs” for the wealth held by private individuals? You see there is an ethical base from which to support “progressive taxes” but this is not it. But first that would require identifying what expenditures are “just” and thus “fair”. If the wealthy are getting a disproportionate benefit then they should be paying more. Now the challenge is showing how they are getting more than I am.

      Just re-read your last post and had to add this. Payroll taxes are not “regressive” and they are not all capped. That is pure hype and you know it. Everyone pays the same rate and those who make more pay more, in total dollars. You know the cap was placed on Soc Sec because it was supposed to be a “trust fund”. The tax is actually a payment to the trust based on % of income. The Cap is there because the actuarial tables and payoff scheducle would not allow benefits to be collected beyond the cap rate. The reality is that Soc Sec has been modified and with medicare and medicaid we need to figure our how to fund it, or dump it. Guess which option that really leaves? If we lift the cap on Soc Sec it is an admission that it is a “social welfare” program. This has been taboo in this country but this conservative thinks it is time we call it what it has become, and deal with it.

      Enough for now. I started this 3 hours ago and got interrupted. So I’m sorry if the flow suddenly seems a little choppy. I look forward to your reasoned response.

      JAC

      • Chris Devine says:

        Using advantages (not readily available to all) that allow you to avoid paying taxes is what I consider unfair. Relying on only income tax statistics also provides an unfair advantage to the wealthy in this debate.

        When I talk about subsidies I am talking about money given to specific groups or individuals out of the government coffers (i.e., other people’s taxes). I am not talking about deductions. Furthermore, accelerated depreciation is not available to me. Corporations have all of the rights of individuals (except the 5th Amendment) but they can live forever and hold more influence than any citizen. Research grants and no-bid government contracts are subsidies.

        All of the environmental, safety, and labor laws are under constant attack by corporate America. Ever heard of the Wagner Act? How about the Taft-Hartley Act? Did you even look at the OpenSecrets link? Did you see who really spends the most?

        http://www.opensecrets.org/lobby/top.php?indexType=i
        http://www.opensecrets.org/lobby/top.php?indexType=s
        http://www.opensecrets.org/lobby/top.php?indexType=c

        Regarding fairness and justice and my philosophy:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Justice_as_fairness
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Rawls

        Regarding the constantly changing owners:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_American_Ruling_Class

        Regarding payroll taxes, I don’t think you understand the concept of a regressive tax. A regressive tax is one where the marginal tax rate of lower earners exceeds that of higher earners. If you make $100k then you pay 7% or $7,000. If you make $200k then you pay %3.5 or $7,000. If you make $2,000,000 then you pay 0.35% or $7,000. Understand?

        Who really is deluded enough to see Social Security et al. as anything but social welfare? What is wrong with taking care of the less fortunate? Isn’t that the Christian thing to do?

  28. Chris: Lets explore a little deeper.

    Using advantages (not readily available to all) that allow you to avoid paying taxes is what I consider unfair. BUT HOW FAR DO YOU GO WITH THIS? BUSINESSES GET TO DEDUCT ORDINARY EXPENSES BUT YOU AND I DON’T. IS THAT “UNFAIR”? ARE YOU SAYING THERE SHOULDN’T BE ANY DEDUCTIONS FOR VARIOUS INCOME TYPES? ARE YOU SUPPORTING A FLAT TAX RATE OR A FAIR TAX (SALES OR GST)?

    Relying on only income tax statistics also provides an unfair advantage to the wealthy in this debate. I SURE DON’T UNDERSTAND HOW USING INCOME TAX STATISTICS CAN GIVE AN ADVANTAGE WHEN DISCUSSING INCOME TAX. EVEN IF YOU ADD PAYROLL TAXES THEY ARE BASED ON “EARNED INCOME”.

    When I talk about subsidies I am talking about money given to specific groups or individuals out of the government coffers (i.e., other people’s taxes). I am not talking about deductions. Furthermore, accelerated depreciation is not available to me. I AM GLAD TO SEE YOU DON’T FALL IN WITH THE CROWD ON PORTRAYING DEDUCTIONS AS SUBSIDIES. HOWEVER, ACC. DEPRECIATION IS AVAILABLE TO ANYONE WHO HAS BUSINESS RELATED CAPITAL EXPENSES, NO MATTER HOW SMALL YOUR BUSINESS. DO YOU CONSIDER THIS AS UNFAIR BECAUSE IT IS NOT AVAILABLE TO TAXPAYERS WITHOUT A BUSINESS?

    Corporations have all of the rights of individuals (except the 5th Amendment) but they can live forever and hold more influence than any citizen. Research grants and no-bid government contracts are subsidies. I WILL CONCEDE AND AGREE THAT ANY GIVEN “LARGE” CORPORATION MAY HAVE MORE INFLUENCE ON A POLITICIAN THAN ANY GIVEN CITIZEN. I WILL SUBMIT THAT SOME INDIVIDUAL CITIZENS MAY HAVE MUCH MORE INFLUENCE THAN MANY CORPORATIONS ALSO. I AM NOT AWARE OF RESEARCH GRANTS BEING GIVEN TO FOR PROFIT COMPANIES. DOESN’T MEAN THEY AREN’T JUST I HAVE NEVER SEEN ANY. PLEASE PROVIDE EXAMPLES OF “NO BID CONTRACTS”. DON’T CONFUSE “WORK ORDERS” OR “TASK ORDERS” ISSUED UNDER PREVIOUSLY EXECUTED SERVICE CONTRACTS. THESE ORIGINAL CONTRACTS DO UNDERGO A COMPETITIVE PROCESS. I’M NOT SURE I WOULD CLASSIFY THESE AS SUBSIDIES IF THE GOVT IS RECEIVING THE SERVICES IT WANTS AT THE PRICE IT AGREED TO PAY. DOESN’T MEAN WE SHOULDN’T MONITOR FOR FRAUD AND ABUSE. JUST THAT WE SHOULDN’T BE SO QUICK TO CLASSIFY THINGS USING POLITICAL RHETORIC.

    All of the environmental, safety, and labor laws are under constant attack by corporate America. Ever heard of the Wagner Act? How about the Taft-Hartley Act? YOU ARE STILL IGNORING THE FACT THAT THESE LAWS WERE IMPLEMENTED. YOU CLAIMED THAT BIG CORPORATIONS RUN THE SHOW. IF THEY DID THESE LAWS WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN PASSED OR WOULD BE TOOTHLESS AT THIS POINT. BUT THEY STILL EXIST AND THEY STILL CAUSE SIGNIFICANT PROBLEMS FOR INDUSTRY AND THE ECONOMY. SO YOUR POSITION THAT THE AVERAGE PEOPLE HAVE NO POWER IS NOT SUPPORTED BY THESE EXAMPLES. OF COURSE THESE LAWS WERE ALL PUSHED BY LOBBYISTS CLAIMING TO REPRESENT THE PEOPLE, SUCH AS THE SIERRA CLUB.

    Did you even look at the OpenSecrets link? Did you see who really spends the most? I STATED THAT AARP IS THE MOST POWERFUL, NOT THAT IT SPENDS THE MOST. I USED TO BE IN THE BUSINESS CHRIS. MONEY SPENT AND POWER ARE NOT THE SAME. REAL POWER IN D.C. IS THE FEAR OF A MOBILIZED VOTING PUBLIC. THE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE JUST DOESN’T HAVE THAT. SO THEY TRY TO COMPENSATE WITH NUMBERS OF STAFF AND DOLLARS DONATED. AARP DOES HAVE THAT. AND OF COURSE THEY ALSO SPEND MONEY.

    Regarding fairness and justice and my philosophy: I KNOW YOUR VIEW ON SOCIAL JUSTICE, YOU REFERENCED BEFORE. STILL DOESN’T ADDRESS THE SUBJECTIVE NATURE OF FAIRNESS. AS YOU KNOW I DISAGREE WITH YOUR PHILOSOPHY.

    Regarding the constantly changing owners: I WILL CHECK OUT YOUR REFERENCED FILM BUT I DIDN’T MENTION “OWNERS” I WAS TALKING ABOUT THE TENDENCY BY MANY ON THE LEFT TO PORTRAY THE WEALTHY CLASS AS A CLASS IN THE HISTORICAL SENSE. AS SUCH IT WOULD BE STATIC AND DETERMINED BY BIRTH. DO WE HAVE RICH PEOPLE? YOU BET, AND I DON’T CARE IF THEY ARE RICH. MAYBE SOMEDAY I WILL BE TO. IF WE HAD REAL CLASSES I WOULD HAVE NO CHANCE. SINCE OUR FORM OF GOVT ELIMINATED CLASSES THEN WHY HAVE STATISTS TRIED SO HARD TO CREATE THEM IN THE MIND OF OUR CITIZENS? DO YOU THINK IT IS OUR EUROPEAN ROOTS OR THE INFLUENCE OF MARX?

    Regarding payroll taxes, I don’t think you understand the concept of a regressive tax. A regressive tax is one where the marginal tax rate of lower earners exceeds that of higher earners. If you make $100k then you pay 7% or $7,000. If you make $200k then you pay %3.5 or $7,000. If you make $2,000,000 then you pay 0.35% or $7,000. Understand? IF YOU WANT TO BE CONDESCENDING THEN SO CAN I, I DON’T THINK YOU UNDERSTAND THE CONCEPT OF A REGRESSIVE TAX EITHER. A REGRESSIVE TAX IS EITHER AN INCREASING “RATE” WITH DECREASING INCOME OR AN INCREASING AMOUNT WITH DECREASING INCOME. NIETHER EXISTS IN YOUR EXAMPLE. SOCIAL SECURITY TAX IS A FLAT TAX RATE AND APPLIES TO ALL INCOME LEVELS ON THE INCOME IT APPLIES TO. ITS NIETHER PROGRESSIVE NOR REGRESSIVE.
    TO USE THE NON-TAXED INCOME TO CREATE A PHONY LOWER MARGINAL RATE IS ABOUT AS DISHONEST AS IT COMES.

    OF COURSE THIS DOES RAISE THE QUESTION AS TO HOW A TAX SYSTEM THAT INCREASES THE TAX RATE, THUS INCREASING THE PUNITIVE EFFECT OF TAXATION, AS INCOME INCREASES CAN BE VIEWED AS “PROGRESSIVE”. I GUESS IT DOES MAKE SINCE IN THE CONTEXT OF THE PHILOSOPHY OF THE PROGRESSIVE MOVEMENT THAT ENACTED THE CONCEPT. THE MORE PUNITIVE THE MORE PROGRESSIVE.

    Who really is deluded enough to see Social Security et al. as anything but social welfare? QUITE A FEW FOLKS ARE APPARENTLY STILL DELUDED. DIDN’T YOU FOLLOW THE DEBATE WHEN BUSH JR. PROPOSED FIXING SOC SEC. THIS VERY ISSUE WAS RAISED. WHY DO YOU THINK SO MANY CITIZENS ARE TICKED ABOUT THE TRUST FUND BEING USED FOR GENERAL FUND EXPENDITURES. THEY VIEW IT AS A “TRUST FUND” AS DOES THE CBO, COMPTROLLER GENERAL AND TREASURY.

    What is wrong with taking care of the less fortunate? Isn’t that the Christian thing to do? NICE TRY. DID I SAY ANYWHERE THAT THE LESS FORTUNATE SHOULDN’T BE CARED FOR? BUT IN ANTICIPATION I WILL OFFER THAT CHARITY IS THE ANSWER HERE, NOT THE GOVT. AND CHRISTIANITY HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH IT, DOES IT?

    I WOULD APPRECIATE IT IF YOU DON’T TRY TO TALK DOWN TO ME CHRIS. I KNOW YOU HAVE ALOT OF EDUCATION AND MAY HAVE A HIGHER IQ THAN I DO, BUT IT IS NOT NECESSARY.

    THANKS
    JAC

    • Chris Devine says:

      First off, I apologize if you think I was being condescending. I stand by my definition of a regressive tax (it’s the same one I learned in an economics course where Social Security was used as the perfect example).

      I don’t think any tax structure that solely relies on purchases or consumption will ever be fair for the simple reason that poor people spend all of their money (ergo they will be taxed on every cent they earn). Wealthy individuals can save some or most of their money and avoid paying taxes on it (while earning more through savings accounts, CD’s, etc.).

      Regarding business expenses, I think that in many cases the deductions available to business owners (and not to others) create a system where personal expenses can be justified as whatever in order to reduce the tax liability. This is what I consider to be unfair.

      Regardless of the power wielded by the AARP, the scope of their issues seems pretty limited. I really don’t see them chiming in on the climate change or renewable energy debates.

      There are plenty of research grants available to corporations through federal agencies like the DoD, DoE, NASA, NIST, et al. There are also plenty of opportunities for contractors to pad their bills. Any time a product or service is invented or created as a result of these grants the proceeds should primarily go back to the US taxpayer, not into the pockets of the corporations whose research was subsidized. Furthermore, use of federal land and public airwaves for private profit should be done in such a way as to fairly compensate the citizens who own these domains.

      I’m really sorry if I pissed you off. I have a hard time understanding why people would defend a system that (for better or worse, principled or otherwise) disproportionally benefits business owners and wealthy people. Perhaps you see it differently.

      I disagree that charity is the answer because it can be fickle, requiring the needy to do something against their will in desperate times. I am in favor of a safety net that by law doesn’t discriminate.

      • USWeapon says:

        “I have a hard time understanding why people would defend a system that (for better or worse, principled or otherwise) disproportionally benefits business owners and wealthy people. Perhaps you see it differently.”

        I see it a bit differently. I see business owners and wealthy people as the ones who took the risks and did the work to become business owners and wealthy people. The silver spoon kids are a vastly miniscule number of cases. The rest earned their way to that position. If they are already paying the lion’s share, why do you want to punish them more? I have a hard time understanding why people would support a system where every man got what he earned, nothing more and nothing less.

        More importantly, what happens when they get tired of being punished unfairly (in their eyes, whether correct or not) and simply take their companies and their jobs elsewhere? Workers in India start getting paid better and more folks here are dependent on your form of welfare. Is that an accurate worry or is there a counter to that argument that you have?

        I am willing to have this debate and talk through some issues. I would submit, however, that the debate really comes down to underlying philosophies. Would you be willing to consider a joint post that would address this? If so you can email me and we can discuss it or I can give you my number and you can give me a shout.

    • Chris Devine says:

      Taft-Hartley was the backlash against the Wagner Act (aka the National Labor Relations Act). Organized labor made a few important advances with Wagner but they were rolled back when a more business friendly administration took control. The balance of power has always been in favor of moneyed interests.

      Taxes aren’t punishment. They are investments that go back into the system that made accumulation of wealth possible. If people keep taking without giving something back then they are setting up a massive swinging pendulum. Pay a little now or pay a whole lot later. Balance, that’s the key. Better schools instead of bigger prisons. Get my drift?

      • USWeapon says:

        In 20 years of politics that is the first time that this particular line of thinking has been put before me. I will have to ponder on it, but it seems to have some merit.

        • Actually US this is the rationalization I told everyone I heard from party leaders when I was the Liberal Democrat. “Its a small price to pay to keep them in the cities and leave us alone”.

          Remember now? That was my wake up moment. Left the Dem party and never, and I mean never, looked back.

          Its just dressed up a little prettier by Chris. But its still the same ugly philosophy.

  29. Chris: Apology accepted lets move on. And I will try also not to cross the line.

    I stand by my definition of a regressive tax. We are at an impass. I would like to ask you to think about the logic of the definition. If the a “progressive” tax is one where the rate increases as income increased then how can a flat rate be considered the opposite of an increasing rate. Only a decreasing rate would be opposite. I’m thinking some “socialist economist” got to create the definition you were taught.

    I don’t think any tax structure that solely relies on purchases or consumption will ever be fair for the simple reason that poor people spend all of their money. Have you studied the proposed Fair Tax?

    Regarding business expenses,…. This is what I consider to be unfair. Actually that would be fraud and could be prosecuted if discovered. So the system itself is fair in the hands of honest people and unfair in the hands of dishonest. But isn’t that the case for all laws?

    Regardless of the power wielded by the AARP, the scope of their issues seems pretty limited. I really don’t see them chiming in on the climate change or renewable energy debates. This is a false premise argument. Whether AARP lobbies on climate change or energy has nothing to do with the original point.

    There are plenty of research grants available to corporations through federal agencies like the DoD, DoE, NASA, NIST, et al. There are also plenty of opportunities for contractors to pad their bills. Are these grants offered without competition? I have competed for grants but the only non-competitive ones I have ever seen were legally required to go to non-profits, and usually only govt non-profits, including universities. What folks do with there bills has nothing to do with the discussion about equity in contracts. That is an administrative issue. Again, honest vs. dishonest is a legal matter, or at least it should be.

    Any time a product or service is invented or created as a result of these grants the proceeds should primarily go back to the US taxpayer, not into the pockets of the corporations whose research was subsidized. I actually don’t have a problem with this, depending on the nature of the contract or grant. My personal preference would be no more grants. If the govt wants something developed, the product is theirs. That is how my govt contracts worked and how my private contract worked.

    Furthermore, use of federal land and public airwaves for private profit should be done in such a way as to fairly compensate the citizens who own these domains. Why we have “public airways” is beyond me. The govt can keep what it needs and auction the rest and be done with it. Tax payers are paid for for-profit services or contracts (use) on Federal lands. You will see debates over “fair compensation” but these are usually caused by one side, usually the environmental groups, creating its own definition of “fair”.

    I have a hard time understanding why people would defend a system that (for better or worse, principled or otherwise) disproportionally benefits business owners and wealthy people. I do see it different. I see a system whose inequities are created primarily by govt’s attempt to regulate fairness or some other behaviour or outcome into the system. The mere fact that it gives different results is not a condemnation in itself. You can’t get the same results without exactly the same input. To regulate fairness is an oxymoron as it will always be unfair to the one you take from.

    I disagree that charity is the answer because it can be fickle, requiring the needy to do something against their will in desperate times. I have pointed out before that my wife was part of the FEMA team on Rita evac. She and others reported that charities out performed govt and red cross hands down. Charities carry little overhead. And what would someone have to do against their will?

    I am in favor of a safety net that by law doesn’t discriminate. Again, any law that attempts to provide a safety net by its very nature is discriminatory.

    I would also like to address your taxes and punishment comment. When I write my check every April it is punishment. Everyone I know feels the same. Most folks are willing to pay for reasonable “investments” that benefit everyone. That is much less than currently spent by our fed govt. Welfare, subsidies to artists, universities, and many many more are not investments. And how can you defend a position that the “system that made accumulation of wealth possible” when the system is constantly trying to take wealth away? You definitely have me confused on this concept.

    Regarding labor. Labor unions may discuss and execute strikes or other strategies against multiple businesses and with other unions. If two businesses discuss action against a union they can be subject to anti-trust violations. Unions may act together, businesses may not. Unions may strike and the business may not fire those on strike and replace them with others. Now how is it that the “moneyed” interests have the advantage in this particular instance?

    On the Union issue I am curious what your views are on the ethics of “government unions”.

    • Chris Devine says:

      I didn’t create the progressive/regressive terminology regarding taxes. Here’s the definition straight out of my college text book (written by Nobel prizewinner, Joseph Stiglitz):

      “Tax systems in which the rich pay a larger fraction of their income than the poor are said to be progressive, while those in which the poor pay a larger fraction of their income than the rich are called regressive. If rich people pay more taxes than the poor but not proportionally more, the tax system is still considered regressive.” (526, Principles of Microeconomics 2nd ed.)

      The rate is 7% for the first $100,000 earned. As you make more than $100,000 the effective rate decreases accordingly (see my above examples).

      You’re right about the fraud charge. However, the practicality of the matter is that investigation and enforcement of such fraud is itself expensive since the would-be targets presumably have attorneys and accountants adept at making such nuisances go away. The only ones who risk prosecution are the most egregious offenders, but most will continue to offend under-the-radar.

      The issues the AARP lobbies for do not affect all Americans in the same way that other lobbyist efforts do. That was my point and it is not irrelevant. I mentioned climate change and renewable energy as examples of policies affecting us all.

      Have you seen how much ranchers and oil companies pay for the use of federal land (I mean how much they actually pay, not how much the bill says)? If you consider this fair compensation, I don’t know how to respond. You can’t just auction off the airwaves once and for all. As technologies change the priorities of band allocation will change.

      If you want to argue for laissez-faire capitalism be my guest. Two things:

      1. If you think inequity is bad under our mixed economy wait until you see the disastrous results of an unchecked market. Capitalism might be efficient at allocating resources, but efficient isn’t the same as fair or just.

      2. How do you actually propose to switch over to such a system? Do you think this will improve our standing in the global economy or hurt it?

      Regarding charities, I was thinking along the lines of being forced to listen to a sermon while eating your free bowl of soup. It’s similar to the ‘free vacation’ for listening to a time-share presentation. Charity should be given based upon demonstrated need, not willingness to listen to someone else’s B.S.

      Please explain your assertion regarding “any law that attempts to provide a safety net.” I don’t understand what you’re trying to say.

      For wealth to be taken away it must first be accumulated. The stability of our economic system is a direct result of the government policies and oversight that serve to prevent fraud and abuse. Economic instability occurs when these laws are either non-existent or unenforced. It costs money to make and enforce these laws so those who benefit from them should be expected to pay accordingly. I don’t want to get into a long economic argument regarding marginal utility, the free-rider problem, etc., but I’ll gladly continue to explain myself if you want me to.

      Unions have nowhere near the influence you think they do. For starters many industries are not unionized. The ones that are like the automotive industry comprise a relatively small number of the work force. Wal*Mart is our countr’s largest employer and they are virulently anti-union. The power wielded by companies like Wal*Mart is several magnitudes greater than anything the labor movement can accomplish. Furthermore, anti-trust laws are meant to encourage competition and fair play in the market. Price-fixing is not the same thing as a minimum wage, safe working conditions, or guaranteed overtime pay.

      I was a government employee (GS) of the DoD. As such I was allowed to join a union but I was forced to sign a contract agreeing to never go on strike. It was a toothless union in most regards.

      • Chris: Sorry but was busy cleaning house today, or would have responded sooner.

        Re; definitions: I didn’t say you created the definition. But in my defence I offer you the Wiki:

        “A progressive tax is a tax by which the tax rate increases as the taxable amount increases.[1][2][3][4][5] “Progressive” describes a distribution effect on income or expenditure, referring to the way the rate progresses from low to high, where the average tax rate is less than the marginal tax rate.[6][7] It can be applied to individual taxes or to a tax system as a whole; a year, multi-year, or lifetime. Progressive taxes attempt to reduce the tax incidence of people with a lower ability-to-pay, as they shift the incidence increasingly to those with a higher ability-to-pay.

        The term is frequently applied in reference to personal income taxes, where people with more disposable income pay a higher percentage of that income in tax than do those with less income. It can also apply to adjustment of the tax base by using tax exemptions, tax credits, or selective taxation that would create progressive distributional effects. For example, a sales tax on luxury goods or the exemption of basic necessities may be described as having progressive effects as it increases a tax burden on high end consumption or decreases a tax burden on low end consumption respectively.[8][9][10] The opposite of a progressive tax is a regressive tax, where the tax rate decreases as the amount subject to taxation increases.[11][12][13][14] In between is a proportional tax, where the tax rate is fixed as the amount subject to taxation increases.[5] The opposite of proportional tax is fixed tax.”

        So as I suggested, Soc Sec is a “proportional tax” and neither progressive or regressive. It differs slightly in that it does not apply above a certain level but that doesn’t turn it into a “regressive tax”.

        I would like to address your comment regarding grazing fees and oil/gas leases on federal lands. I do know what the fees are and I would say you have nothing to complain about. You see grazing and grazing fee policies reflect political philosophies of “progressive movement” belief in central planning for “society benefit” (my quotes for emphasis). The situation you are unhappy with is a result of the govt system you support.

        Attempts at raising grazing fees fall into three categories. The govt and public that wants to maintain grazing for supposed “public interest”, the govt and public who want grazing stopped and simply use fees as a weapon of choice (emotional and fiscal) and those in govt and public who simply think it is underpriced. Very few fit category three, but if you do then we need to consider other factors. Fair market value is the only legitimate criteria. Without a bidding system the only way to determin FMV is by transaction comparisons. We do not have a bidding system for the political philosophy reasons I stated above (good for society/stable economy, etc etc). Establishing FMV is a real problem because there is not very much, if any, comparable grazing on private lands. Private land owners don’t impose the same levels of admin costs on the permittee as the govt does. For example, grazing permits require the permittee to sometimes construct and always maintain fences at his cost, maintain water improvements at his cost, and often maintain full time riders at his cost. None of these costs would be incurred on private pasture.

        Now the same problems exist for oil & gas. But they do have a bidding system so I don’t know how you could say they don’t go for FMV? Perhaps the price is depressed because the political again interferes with the market. For example, offering to many leases for bid at one time, to meet other “social” objectives.

        I am not sure what you refer to regarding differences between billed and paid prices for leases. I have never seen the govt settle for anything less than what they bill for, unless there are specific contract provisions.

        Bottom line on federal land fees is this. You can’t apply “capitalistic criteria” to a system that is not based on free market capitalism. Before the debate on price can occur we need to agree on what the goals are for the land’s use.

        Regarding laissez-faire capitalism, I call it free market capitalism, it is the only moral political/economic system available to man. A market without coersion from govt or others. Men trading with others as they deem fit and willing to accept. Yeah, that sounds just awful.

        At least this does get to the core philosophical difference between us. You see I do not require nor desire equal status or outcomes as some arbitrary measure of justice or fairness.

        An objective, as opposed to your subjective, measure of fair and just would exist in a system where men are free to decide on their own and are free to keep the fruits of their labor. Where their property, including money, can not be taken without their concent and given to others.

        And therein lies the answer to your question regarding social justice or fairness. Any system that takes from one, without their consent, and gives to another is NOT fair or just. Such a system claiming to imposte “justice” is in fact “unjust” by its very nature. It is an oxymoron.

        You ask two very good question in this regard. How do we make the switch and how would the world view it?

        We start with the education of our children and some adults. We need to re-establish an ethic based on freedom, liberty and its corollary free market capitalism. This includes the ethics and morality prohibiting the use of coersive force against innocent people. You are correct in your assumption that a moral system in the hands of immoral people will not end well. Although I am guessing it would right itself alot faster than we may realize. In the meantime we start drastically cutting federal govt involvement where it is not absolutely needed in commerce. Let State laws and the courts deal with much.

        Now how do you think the world would view a Nation that no longer used coersive force to impose its economic or political ambitions on others. A Nation of traders, the vast majority of which could be trusted as our grandfathers, where their “word is as good as gold”. Seems like they might respect that Nation and even enjoy dealing with its people.

        Your comment regarding Business/unions and anti-trust is not well informed I beleive. I know first hand that mutiple business owners/managers may not sit in a room or otherwise discuss setting wages or how to deal with unions. Yes unions are not as strong today but there are also broader socio/economic factors at work. Such as more small businesses and self-employed. Also, unions overreached and alienated alot of folks which has shown up in last 20 years. I am guessing business will overreach next and unions will again increase. My point is that this should be allowed to ebb and flow per natural means, without govt intervention or preference. To either side.

        You jumped around my question on govt unions. Do you think it ethical for the govt employees to be unionized? Govt has a differenct role and we believe it provides “essential” services. Yet we allow govt employees to strike or otherwise use coersion on the taxpayers. One Fed. employee union was able to get the Dem. Congress to prevent federal agencies from considering contracting to save taxpayer’s money. That was last year. Seems their power is greater than you think.

        And don’t forget teachers, garbage haulers, etc. These are also govt employees.

        • Chris Devine says:

          I was part of an A-76 study and ended up as an NJ instead of a GS civilian through a Workforce Acquisition Demo program. As far as I see it the government is not a business and should not be run in the same way. Trying to impose the ‘customer’ model on government agencies is a bad idea since the government is not a producer in the same sense as a manufacturer.

          I don’t think we’re ever going to agree on much because we have vastly different world-views. I don’t see the government as ‘them.’ I see the government as the apparatus entrusted with managing the affairs of citizens, not an opponent whose influence should be reduced.

          Furthermore, I’d say it’s a fair assessment that we are deriving our conclusions form different sources. I have no idea where you are getting your info from, but I’m pretty sure that I wouldn’t trust it. I’d also say it’s a safe assumption the reverse is true.

          Good luck with your free market crusade.

          • “Furthermore, I’d say it’s a fair assessment that we are deriving our conclusions form different sources. I have no idea where you are getting your info from, but I’m pretty sure that I wouldn’t trust it.”

            So does that mean that no matter what information I provide, regardless of source, would be viewed as suspect?

            My information regarding anti-trust and effectiveness of govt unions is first hand experience. As is my information regarding grazing fees on public lands. So I guess you can either accept my word or require me to start digging up all kinds of references. But that leads back to the question I just posed. Would facts or references really matter or would they just be suspect because I produced them and/or they support my statements?

            I enthusiastically accept your good wishes and hope you will join me once accomplished.

            JAC

      • P.S. Chris

        Your right about auctioning off the airwaves. We should give them away by a lottery system with every citizen in the US eligible for the lottery.

        If the govt needs more band width later they can pay for it, at Fair Market Value.

        There is absolutely no moral reason for the govt to hold ownership of the airwaves.

        I would think a strong Liberal would agree with this. No govt ownership then no govt censorship or coersion. Thats a truly Liberal position isn’t it?

        Hope your day went well.
        JAC

  30. Black Flag says:

    I hope you guys have email alert – I wish to comment here, but no time.

    “I’ll be back”

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