More Taxes for the filthy stinking rich.

Barbara - posted on 09/08/2010 ( 36 moms have responded )

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So, that major tax cut that Bush gave the wealthiest people in America is about to expire. Should they reinstitute it? What do you think?

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Sara - posted on 09/10/2010

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Carol G., I disagree with your assertion that letting the tax cuts expire would hurt small businesses. If, as proposed, the Bush tax cuts are allowed to expire for the highest earners, the vast majority of small businesses will be unaffected. Less than 2 percent of tax returns reporting small-business income are filed by taxpayers in the top two income brackets -- individuals earning more than about $170,000 a year and families earning more than about $210,000 a year.

And just as most small businesses aren't owned by people in the top income brackets, most people in the top income brackets don't rely mainly on small-business income: According to the Tax Policy Center, such proceeds make up a majority of income for about 40 percent of households in the top income bracket and a third of households in the second-highest bracket. If the objective is to help small businesses, continuing the Bush tax cuts on high-income taxpayers isn't the way to go -- it would miss more than 98 percent of small-business owners and would primarily help people who don't make most of their money off those businesses. So while the business owner you cited as an example in your post may be affected, that situation is clearly not the norm.

Johnny - posted on 09/09/2010

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Raping the American people? Kelly, really? That's actually pretty offensive. I guess you don't drive on the roads, cross any bridges, rely on any dams to stop flooding, or aren't being kept safe by the troops at home and overseas. What would you propose cutting next? Fixing broken down bridges so they don't fall into rivers killing people or health care for injured veterans? I'm just guessing you wouldn't want the government to stop buying new fighter jets or building more prisons?

Johnny - posted on 09/14/2010

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I am posting this entire OP-ED from today's Times in response to Carol's post. I'm too tired to break it down, but I think it clearly outlines the problems with that kind of thinking. The wealth is not trickling down. Trickle-down economic policies have been in place for more than 20 years, and the wealth divide has simply grown. America is now at the point where it's citizens are so deeply in debt and struggling that they can not afford to spend money on all the consumer goods that would be required to re-start the economy the way things are set up now. Full-scale change to no-growth or slow-growth economics is the only way to create a lasting reasonable standard of living.



We can keep wishing and hoping for a powerful economic recovery to pull the U.S. out of its doldrums, but I wouldn’t count on it. Ordinary American families no longer have the purchasing power to build a strong recovery and keep it going.





A Recovery’s Long Odds

Bob Herbert



Americans are not being honest with themselves about the structural changes in the economy that have bestowed fabulous wealth on a tiny sliver at the top, while undermining the living standards of the middle class and absolutely crushing the poor. Neither the Democrats nor the Republicans have a viable strategy for reversing this dreadful state of affairs. (There is no evidence the G.O.P. even wants to.)



Robert Reich, in his new book, “Aftershock,” gives us one of the clearest explanations to date of what has happened — how the United States went from what he calls “the Great Prosperity” of 1947 to 1975 to the Great Recession that has hobbled the U.S. economy and darkened the future of younger Americans.



He gives the Obama administration and the Federal Reserve credit for moving quickly in terms of fiscal and monetary policies to prevent the economic crash of 2008 from driving the U.S. into a second great depression. “But,” he writes, “we did not learn the larger lesson of the 1930s: that when the distribution of income gets too far out of whack, the economy needs to be reorganized so the broad middle class has enough buying power to rejuvenate the economy over the longer term.”



The middle class is finally on its knees. Jobs are scarce and good jobs even scarcer. Government and corporate policies have been whacking working Americans every which way for the past three or four decades. While globalization and technological wizardry were wreaking employment havoc, the movers and shakers in government and in the board rooms of the great corporations were embracing privatization and deregulation with the fervor of fanatics. The safety net was shredded, unions were brutally attacked and demonized, employment training and jobs programs were eliminated, higher education costs skyrocketed, and the nation’s infrastructure, a key to long-term industrial and economic health, deteriorated.



It’s a wonder matters aren’t worse.



While all this was happening, working people, including those in the vast middle class, coped as best they could. Women went into the paid work force in droves. Many workers increased their hours or took on second and third jobs. Savings were drained and debt of every imaginable kind — from credit cards to mortgages to student loans — exploded.



With those coping mechanisms now exhausted, it’s painfully obvious that the economy has failed working Americans.



There was plenty of growth, but the economic benefits went overwhelmingly — and unfairly — to those already at the top. Mr. Reich cites the work of analysts who have tracked the increasing share of national income that has gone to the top 1 percent of earners since the 1970s, when their share was 8 percent to 9 percent. In the 1980s, it rose to 10 percent to 14 percent. In the late-’90s, it was 15 percent to 19 percent. In 2005, it passed 21 percent. By 2007, the last year for which complete data are available, the richest 1 percent were taking more than 23 percent of all income.



The richest one-tenth of 1 percent, representing just 13,000 households, took in more than 11 percent of total income in 2007.




That does not leave enough spending power with the rest of the population to sustain a flourishing economy. This is a point emphasized in “Aftershock.” Mr. Reich, a former labor secretary in the Clinton administration, writes: “The wages of the typical American hardly increased in the three decades leading up to the Crash of 2008, considering inflation. In the 2000s, they actually dropped.”



A male worker earning the median wage in 2007 earned less than the median wage, adjusted for inflation, of a male worker 30 years earlier. A typical son, in other words, is earning less than his dad did at the same age.



This is what has happened with ordinary workers as the wealth at the top has soared into the stratosphere.



With so much of the middle class and the rest of working America tapped out, there is not enough consumer demand for the goods and services that the U.S. economy is capable of producing. Without that demand, there are precious few prospects for a robust recovery.



If matters stay the same, with working people perpetually struggling in an environment of ever-increasing economic insecurity and inequality, the very stability of the society will be undermined.



The U.S. economy needs to be rebalanced so that the benefits are shared more widely, more equitably. There are many ways to do this, but what is most important right now is to recognize this central fact, to focus on it and to begin seriously considering the most constructive options.




If spending more is not an option, and saving & thriftiness will not stimulate the economy, there must be some other options.

Jenny - posted on 09/09/2010

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Let 'em expire. The country needs cash, like pronto.

Yes, they need to cut spending too. First major cut, the bloated homeland security bureau. Second major cut, military spending.

Third way to raise cash. Tax religious buildings. Start with the Mormons. They run their church like a business, better pay taxes like one. Oh wait, most businesses don't pay much taxes so they are =)

Isobel - posted on 09/16/2010

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oh...and about trickle down economics...ever noticed that it only ever works in one direction...sure, if they get charged more, they charge you more, but if they get a discount or a break, just how often do you think that they pass that savings on to you???

I hate capitalism. I had a woman try to tell me the other day that the people who run a company have a RESPONSIBILITY to make sure that they Stockholders made the most money possible, that there are actually laws in place to insure that they take NOTHING ELSE into consideration...and yes, I understand why those rules exist...

but it doesn't make them right. Bills should be paid, and overhead taken out BEFORE the profit is calculated...not after.

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Kate CP - posted on 09/17/2010

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We survived the 1980's. Back then, the economic program was called "trickle down." That actually meant they were pissing on you. How the whole theory goes was this: "We have all the money. If we drop some, it's yours. Go for it."

-Bill Maher

Tanya - posted on 09/17/2010

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Did anyone see Clinton on the Daily Show?
He said he would be willing to pay the extra tax.
I miss him.

Tanya - posted on 09/16/2010

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I think that a lot of it has to do with how they have pulled the wool over our eyes. I know people that are so far in debt they can't even get a loan for a house and they are against the tax increase and not for profit health care.

Its so odd. Now do I honestly think that I am entitled to their money no. I do think that they should have to pay a fair share just like everyone else.

Pamela - posted on 09/16/2010

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Dumb luck and getting born into a wealthy family. Most wealth is what we called ascribed - meaning you're born into it.

Johnny - posted on 09/16/2010

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Yeah, it is pretty crazy here. That second house you posted, Tanya, would easily sell for $2 million here in Vancouver and minimum $1 million in the farther out suburbs.

I find it so crazy the arguments the rich make to not get taxed. It is absurd. It is like they think they somehow deserve a gilded throne and every other hard working person out there deserves a pile of hay. Contrary to the ignorant popular belief, hard work and perseverance do not generally make you super rich. They may improve your situation, but dumb luck generally brings great wealth.

Tanya - posted on 09/16/2010

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Yeah I forget how expensive housing is in Canada. When we were looking for this house I would watch all the real estate show and every time they were in Canada I couldn't believe it.

Yeah we should give the rich the 1% tax increase

Pamela - posted on 09/16/2010

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Pretty houses in SC. Here in Duluth $ 500,000 homes will get you a pretty plush place too. We have a 3- bedroom traditional Colonial. 1 bath (and let's talk about how fun that is with 2 teenagers) and just under 1 acre of land. We're thinking about raising hens for eggs.
But I think taxing the wealthy is a reasonable proposition.

LaCi - posted on 09/16/2010

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I'm happy to live in an area where houses are cheap.

I think my thoughts on taxing the wealthy are obvious. So I won't bother.

Johnny - posted on 09/15/2010

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Wow. $175,000 for a house in 2006???? You couldn't by a studio apartment within a 2 hour drive of Vancouver for that. A 3 bedroom townhouse across the street from us just went on the market for $539,000 and it needs work.

Sara - posted on 09/15/2010

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I don't know, I've always thought one day someone will be out in the desert and find a big box of money, then shout to the sky "Trickle down, it worked!".

Pamela - posted on 09/15/2010

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Ouch. Our first house cost $27,000 in 1993. Of course it was not in an up and coming neighborhood; it was in a small northern town. Our second home was $175,000 in 2006 here in Duluth MN.

And "trickle down" economics was utter bs, brought to us by the very very wealthy.

Isobel - posted on 09/15/2010

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a starter here in Toronto starts at $500 in an "up and coming" neighbourhood.



maybe a one bedroom condo in the 300s

Jenny - posted on 09/14/2010

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Carol's post nicely illustrates why trickle down economics is a false dichotomy. It is just a marketing term to give more money to rich people. Money creates money. The people with all the money will continue to collect a greater percentage. The system is broken.



Tanya, I freakin wish. My starter house was $315K.

Pamela - posted on 09/13/2010

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I keep hearing folks talking about cutting taxes and stop spending - letting the tax cuts expire would do just that because tax cuts actually cost money...something politicians seem reluctant to point out.

Carol - posted on 09/09/2010

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It's missleading. The taxes are not just for the rich, it's a trickle down economics. If my grocer is taxed more, I will pay more for my food (I'm not rich, but I will pay more now). If companies are taxes to the roof, they just move countries, don't spend any money in this country (are not taxed any, because their products and services are done overseas). None of these "rich" people will invest and spend a penny here, meaning that the economy will not get stimulated.
Let's not be fooled by what the title tells you. $300,000 represents a small business income sometimes and they still have to pay tons of taxes. These small business go bankrupt, you and I lose our jobs from working for them and we are unemployed. Since the "Golden Goose" (or filthy tinking rich that are called in this article) will not be generating more money into the coffins of the government, you and I cannot collect unemployment anymore. We need to get the bigger picture here, there's no such thing as a FREE lunch (Hillary Clinton just said that as well).
This guy I know has a couple of businesses in town. He provides all the food for a couple of shelters in the area. She has donated a couple of vans for the Nursing Home in town who needed to transport their elderly and he opens the doors of his business to people who don't have a place to go on Thanskgiving and Christmas. He would be conisidered a "Filthy Stinking Rich" according to his income. Now, just think about where he will need to cut corners to pay for the increase on his taxes. FOOD FOR THOUGHT!

Katherine - posted on 09/09/2010

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Not going in his favor, I must say. I'm surprised because he's usually pretty dead on about things, not so wishy washy.

Dana - posted on 09/09/2010

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Katherine, I was under the impression that he was going to let them expire but, that video sure sounds shady. It's so annoying when a politician won't give a straight freaking answer. It sounds like he's leaning towards letting them expire, he just won't freaking say it. Ugh.

Tanya - posted on 09/09/2010

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With the U.S. budget deficit this year running close to the record $413 billion that was set in 2004 and projected to hit a record $486 billion next year, lawmakers are looking to plug holes in the U.S. tax code and generate more revenues.

Yeah those tax cut helped

Tanya - posted on 09/09/2010

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Should they reinstitute it? No
I think it is silly to give rich people a tax break.
As for people making 300.00 a year just being comfortable thats funny. They make twice what the average house costs. I guess if I made that much I wouldn't care about health care or public schools either. At least now I know where you are coming from.

300,000 could buy my house 5 time over. HAHA

Barbara - posted on 09/09/2010

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True, taxes will increase for the very top two percent of the American people, but they will still be paying less than they have typically paid in taxes throughout history. The major increase is for people who make over a million dollars a year. That's a very small percentage of the whole country, and I think they can spare it. These are people who definitely do not make the majority of their money from small business. The argument that they will have to fire people to come up with the money is simply untrue.

Kelly - posted on 09/09/2010

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Hmmmm..... Maybe if the government stopped SPENDING money, they wouldn't need to continue to rape the American people. As far as allowing people to keep the money THEY earn? Seems like a no brainer to me. People that make $300,000 a year are probably comfortable for the most part, but they are in no way "ultra rich". As far as overseas investing, we need to look at the tax policies that are harming American businesses.

Johnny - posted on 09/08/2010

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Oh definitely. At a time of great financial hardship on the government, when most investment $$ are going overseas instead of staying at home, the right thing to do would be to allow the richest people to keep more of their money and allow the country to sink deeper into debt and cut more and more services. Right.

Morons!

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