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Warren Buffett’s Tax Plan

We’re talking about billionaire Warren Buffet’s call for higher taxes on the rich.

Billionaire investor Warren Buffett, Chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, gestures in Omaha, Neb. (AP)

Billionaire investor Warren Buffett, Chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, gestures in Omaha, Neb. (AP)

Super investor Warren Buffet is one rich American. The “Oracle of Omaha.” Worth maybe $50 billion. Third richest man in the world.

And this month, Warren Buffet called for higher taxes for the rich. Right now. Higher taxes for Americans who make a million dollars a year. Even higher for those making ten million-plus.

And an end to special treatment for capital gains -– investment earnings. Treat them like regular workingman earnings, said Buffet. Stop coddling, he said, the rich. Should we do it?

This hour On Point: debating Warren Buffet’s call for higher taxes on the rich.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Stephen Moore, editorial board member and senior economics writer for the Wall Street Journal.

Robert Frank, professor of economics at Cornell University and contributor to the “Economic Scene” column in The New York Times.

James Stewart, pulitzer-prize winning reporter who writes the “Common Sense” column for the Business Day section of The New York Times.

From Tom’s Reading List

The New York Times “Our leaders have asked for “shared sacrifice.” But when they did the asking, they spared me. I checked with my mega-rich friends to learn what pain they were expecting. They, too, were left untouched.”

Wall Street Journal “Now that I’m 72 years old, I can look forward to paying a significant portion of my accumulated wealth in estate taxes to the federal government and, depending on the state I live in at the time, to that state government as well.”

The New York Times “Warren Buffett pays a lower tax rate than his secretary and the 19 other people who work in his office. He pays a much lower rate than I do, and, I suspect, lower than nearly everyone reading this column. So, no doubt, do a long list of American billionaires, including Stephen Schwarzman of Blackstone and the hedge fund king John Paulson.”

The Wall Street Journal “Barney Kilgore, the man who made the Wall Street Journal into a national publication, was once asked why so many rich people favored higher taxes. That’s easy, he replied. They already have their money.”

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  • AC

    darn. i’m too busy tomorrow to listen to this episode live, but i’m interested in this – other than quoted tag lines because of his fame, i really don’t know much about this man or his views….

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1439572620 Joe Lee

    I don’t begrudge people for being rich or for earning money. 

    What I do have an issue with is when people skew the rules to their favor.

    When evaluated on its own, it may not seem fair to raise taxes on someone just because they have money, but take a step back and you see that the big picture is that there is plenty of unfairness to go around. 

    With tons of money going into special interest lobbying for favorable subsidies, tax breaks, and relaxed regulation, the US is no longer a place where the idea of everyone having an equal opportunity for success applies. 

    Tax rates are only one part of what is wrong with our economy. We’re not going to fix things by just looking at one problem. But any solution will need to deal with taxes.  

    • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

      Joe: The problem is that “skewing” isn’t so simple. Rich people like Buffett and the Koch brothers (sorry Warren, don’t mean to use you in the same sentence as the devils) don’t write the rules but they contribute money to the people who do write the rules and that’s where the skewing comes in.

      So, cutting off the payola to Congress is the first step. Second step is revising the tax code. You can’t do step 2 without first doing step 1 because Congress will do the bidding of the highest contributor. The problem is, not enough of us understand this to put people in office who will cut off the gravy train.

  • Michiganjf

    WHY THE WEALTHY DO INDEED OWE THE REST:

    Every single dollar earned by the wealthy consumes at least some of the limited resources of this planet, or what one might call “planetary legacy.”
    Whether in paper resources, mineral, energy, rubber, asphalt, petroleum, water, LAND (which is highly limited), food for workers, etc…, resources of some sort are consumed for every dollar earned. Also, some degree of pollution is likely produced.
     Since this is the case and we live on a planet of limited resources, one must question why our society allows the wealthy to use up a disproprtional amount of “planetary legacy” for their own personal benefit.

    In other words, a very few are costing the vast majority of current and future generations quite a bit of their planetary legacy.
     They have no right to do this, EXCEPT that our society never gave much thought to what the wealthy really cost the rest of the world and future generations.

     Yes, entrepreneurship itself creates value, but just how much do all future and current generations on Earth owe a single entrepreneur? Should one entrepreneur be allowed to bleed the planet for tens of thousands, or even millions of times the resource cost of the average individual? Our society lets a single wealthy person do exactly that!
     My contention is that the wealthy owe the rest (current and future) due to the very fact that our society allows these few to amass so much unto themselves, for their own private and selfish benefit.

    If they are forced to pay back this debt to society in the form of higher proportional taxes, so be it.
     They SHOULD be forced to pay restitution for the disproportionate amount of limited resources they are allowed to consume, and tax is the easiest, most equitable way for them to do it.

    Even when paying increased taxes, the wealthy still amass wealth and enjoy its benefits beyond the wildest dreams of the vast majority of us.

     The wealthy in the U.S. have no legitimate basis for complaint, since our society is more fair to these individuals than nearly any other nation on Earth, despite what these individuals cost current and future generations in terms of “planetary legacy.”

     The wealthy in America will still have the best of all worlds, despite being asked to PAY THEIR FAIR SHARE, as per this simple, logical argument.

    • Gary

      How do we know which individuals have contributed most to society?  We know by looking at the income they’ve obtained by legal, voluntary exchange.  Society has decided that Bill Gates should have its money in exchange for something it values.  Bill Gates has improved the lives of millions, as evidenced by his wealth.
      The man on the corner begging has not improved society, as evidenced by his wealth.  HE is the one that has not contributed his fair share.  The rich are the last group of people to ask for additional contributions to society.    

      • kelty

        Who are you to judge – maybe that man begging on the corner is a vet who, from injuries sustained during his tour, can no longer function in society.

        Quit pointing the finger at the poorest among us to keep us from looking at the wealthy hiding behind you.

        • Gary

          I am not judging–millions of others make their judgments by voluntarily giving their money in exchange for goods or services.

  • Sage Creek

    The wealthy should think of it as a “social stability tax.” Their own insurance premium to support the police state which is the only part of the “government contract” that the conservatives believe in any more.

    • http://bookofzo.blogspot.com Joshua Hendrickson

      Except that regressives don’t want the govt to be in any business other than police/military (and moral legislation, if they’re also fundies). But they also think that even those things would be better off being privatized (and they are gradually becoming so).

      It’s useless trying to change their minds. Just as puritans are incensed by the notion that someone somewhere is having fun, regressives are outraged by the idea that any tiny bit of their wealth should go to someone who doesn’t deserve it as much as they think they themselves do (unless it’s a charitable donation for tax writeoff purposes). For them, it is not enough that they win; everyone else must lose.Let’s stop calling these people “conservatives.” They aren’t concerned with “conserving” anything but their personal property and the whole notion of personal property. They are reactionaries and regressives, forever looking back at the golden past of Hobbesian horror and Calvinist cruelty.

      (Hmm … Calvin and Hobbes … who knew?)

    • Anonymous

      @b335a7eca5107cfc63b60f9a78d8f51d:disqus Oliver Wendell Holmes said, “I willingly pay taxes; they are the price of civilization.” and “Taxes are the price we pay for civilization.”

      But the rich get even more from their taxes than the poor, which, alone, justifies their paying higher taxes. The ability to become rich is enhanced by a just and fair society; the current taxation system allows the established to buy tax benefits for themselves and not their competition, which, contrary to Stephen Moore’s claim (what in reality is NOT contrary to Stephen Moore’s claims?), builds a monopolistic system where the ability to become rich is diminished.

      For so much of business success, it is the luck of being in the right place at the right time that can be determinative. Where that is less the case, it is in the use of science to create that new product which then may or may not find funding for its development.

      There is a little understood bump in the road to successfully bringing a new invention to market, between the “easier” funding for basic research where the idea arises and the “easier” funding of the manufacturing steps and that is the proving to venture capitalists that it is the time for this product, etc. and that its development can be achieved in a relatively short time. The available funding on the path from idea to product in the marketplace looks like a bimodal frequency distribution; i.e., like the profile of a two-humped camel’s back.

  • bob

    If the upper incomes don’t like more taxes imposed on them, they can move to the countries where they have shipped all of the jobs. If it weren’t for the low-paid working middle class there would be far fewer wealthy people.

    • mary elizabeth

      If the billionaires do not want government imposed  tax increases,let them invest even a small portion of their money in impoverished areas to promote job training, improve schools and neighborhood, all measures that reduce crime and poverty and give hope.
      Each of the Wal-Mart family heirs are worth   18 billion dollars, a mindboggling  sum made possible by the masses lining up at their cash registers.  A portion of that fortune belongs to the society that enabled it.`
      Also, a single payer health system would take a huge burden off businessess aqnd communities and make us more competitive.
      China thrives, in part, because of their government subsidized industry, and social benefits.

  • Anonymous

    The country thrived under the tax rates at or above 90%. Regulation improved public and private safety. The country invested in science, technology, freeways and education spurring growth. Over the past 30 years, under lower taxes for the wealthy, investment in education and scientific development has dropped, poverty has increased and prosperity has fallen. Deregulation has lowered public safety. Deregulation and refusal to govern led to this economic mess.
    Now corporations have more influence than ever in politics as they have risen to the status of people: people without a pulse or the right to vote but with the right to directly influence political campaigns: the undead have more influence in Washington than individual citizens.  The power elite will seek to perpetuate the myth that trickle-down economics works, but the fact is that wealth trickles up. The amassment of wealth at the top, increase in poverty at the bottom and destruction of the middle class proves this.
    Our debt has grown under this rightwing rollback, arguably due to right wing initiatives: Voodoo economics was not the invention of Democrats. Our most recent surges in debt have been to keep the ship afloat: the Republicans drove the ship into the iceberg, not the Democrats. Let those who went to the party on Wall Street for decades pay to clean up the mess.
    The ludicrous 15% tax rate on capital gains only encourages gambling on Wall Street, not long term investment. The wild fluctuations of the stock market a over the past few weeks and oil prices over the past few years demonstrate that this tax policy only undermines stability and promotes the very uncertainty that the Right loves to harp on.
    It is time to reverse the course of our economic system, add some stability and start promoting growth domestically. It is time for the Speculator Class to stop slaughtering the milk cows and start feeding them.

  • Anonymous

    As I read the comments here I’m struck by the amount anger people have. One thing I think people should think about is most of the kind of wealth the Warren Buffet’ of the world have is from investing. Most if not all of their income is from dividends. They pay less than 17% tax on this and the FICA is capped at about $106,000. Warren Buffet’ idea is for people like him to pay more tax on their income. I’m all for that.

    The argument that this will stop growth and hiring seems kind of hollow.
    As during the Bush years the tax rate went down and hiring did not got up much. I also think people need to stop this propaganda about small busniess, which seems to be the republican swan song of late. They don’t’ care about small busniess and the proof is in how they have done nothing for them. 

    Corporations have been sitting on record profits and cash and are not hiring. So one has to ask what is going on here. I think it’s a jobs and growth issue myself, but don’t listen to me read Robert Reich.
    http://robertreich.org/post/9142270982

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paolo-Caruso/1778940602 Paolo Caruso

    Tax not just the super rich,  tax people with above $150,000 individual income.  This encompasses the protection racket known as the legal profession, LAWYERS  produces nothing, but ravages families and businesses of their wealth through a forced extortion and deliberate instigation of disputes which binds judges and their colleagues in this extortion known as the court system.

    Lawyers that make under this amount are typically public defenders or honest.

  • Paul from Boston

    Here are the numbers: the Bush Tax Cuts of 2001 decreased the income taxes of the highest tax payers, those in the 39.6% and 36% brackets, by 12% (to a maximum of 35% and 32% respectively).  Additionally, the law had an astonishing 47% cut in capital gain tax (28% > 15% mostly). No other taxpayer received >10% income tax cut.

    What would the psychological effect be of rectifying this unbalance. The wealthy can easily afford the change, and the tax system would become
    more democratic right away. Their thoughts?

    • Worried for the country(MA)

      One of the other effects of the Bush tax cuts is now the bottom 50% of tax paying adults pay no income tax.

      I don’t know what democratic ‘tax system’ means but it certainly isn’t a healthy system when only half are contributing.

      Also, the top 10% earners paid 71% of income taxes in 2008.  It appears you want their contribution to go up above 71%.  Is that also democratic?

      • Anonymous

        This argument is getting so old. Lets blame the poor for everything.
        Everyone pays FICA, state, and local taxes not to mention SS.
        Your argument is nonsense.  I’m sick and tired of this. The bottom 50% do not have any money! How is this an argument?

        • Worried for the country(MA)

          Old?  It is a recent phenomenon (since the Bush tax cuts) that the lower 50% pay no taxes.  Since you are fond of quotations, here is one from Benjamin Franklin:
          “When the people find that they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.”

          btw – I am sympathetic to Warren’s argument.  I don’t think Warren declared what he thinks the new rates should be so I’m not sure if I agree with him.  I would much prefer massive tax simplification which should accelerate real growth in the economy.  Paul Ryan proposed this and the debt commission also proposed this but it went nowhere.

          • Worried for the country(MA)

            btw- I am also sympathetic to the counter arguments made in the two WSJ articles that Tom linked above.

          • Anonymous

            Bush’s economic collapse also lowered the number of income taxpayers.

      • Anonymous

         I hear this bottom 50% argument ad nauseam. As mentioned they pay social security and medicare taxes which is a significant part of their wages. A good part of the social security tax finances a welfare benefit for the very poorest and disadvantaged. Yet $3 trillion in income that goes to the richest is exempt from social security since it exceeds the $108,000 limit or comes from unearned income.

        • Worried for the country(MA)

          Is SS revenue used to fund SS payments and to fund the SS trust fund or is it simply part of the general fund?

          Whenever debt, the $15T SS unfunded liability and SS reform is discussed the argument is always SS is a solvent (at least until 2025) and self contained system.  There is always push back against any reform to SS.

          You can’t have it both ways.

        • mark

          I think alot of people have to be reminded about how Social Security is supposed to work.  Before the Federal government starting raiding the Social security funds in the 1960′s, what a person and their employer contributed was what that person would have a right to when they retiredplus an allowance for inflation.  When people say that the rich should be contributing more for the poor, they completely change the fundamental way in which Social Security is supposed to work.  It was NOT setup to be an income redistribution system.  It was never supposed to be the government’s money.  The government was just supposed to be holding what was contributed in your name.  Then when you retired, you would begin to collect it back.  Why should wealthier people bail out a government that has literally stolen he funds?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paolo-Caruso/1778940602 Paolo Caruso

    Average working people who are stretched to the limit, including small business people,  cannot typically enjoy the windfalls of the non-producers and opportunists such as lawyer and financial people.  A person making $60,000 a year is unlikely to increase to six figures without a second job.

    Doctors as well benefit greatly through gouging patients and over-prescribing treatments charging medical insurance plans.  Doctors making more than $200,000 should be taxed heavily. 

    Beware of those proponents of the $250,000 floor,  they are protecting the lawyers and doctors racket.  A very large and powerful constituency that needs to be taxed heavily.

  • mark

    This should not be news to most people, but the US treasury took in a record amount of revenue in 2007.  That is in REAL dollars.  Meaning that after accounting for inflation, revenues were still higher then any year ever!  The tax rate reductions that took effect in 2003 were not the cause of our increased debt. The increased spending was the cause.  That is inarguable.

    • Anonymous

      You left out the fact that after 2007 when the economy went into a recession revenue went down due to less taxes being brought in on all levels of government. The housing crisis had a direct effect on a huge amount of local governments. Trying to pass this off as a spending only issue is not going to work.

      • mark

        Trying to pass what off as a spending issue?

    • Gregg

      You are absolutely correct but brace yourself because you are now a target for saying it. 

    • Anonymous

      Sure, you mean like spending on 2 unjustified wars and the lucrative Government Contracts that go along with them? Who does that help – oh yeah, more rich people. 

      • Gary

        Spending on wars creates prosperity according to Krugman.  We need another one.

  • Anonymous

    Great topic Tom.

    This topic has been a recurring issue for decades and if you do a quick search on the internet, the number of millionaires in the USA is just below 10 million.  There are over 300 million people in the USA, so millionaires account for about 3% of the population.  

    Based off this figure, chances are you won’t become a millionaire if you are a Democrat or Republican voter.  Can all Republican voters really be just 3% percent of the population? Clearly not.  So then, why is it that taxing the top 3% such a difficult political task when 97% of people are not in this elite group regardless of party?

    Something is not right with our representative system.  I don’t get it.  Could you please ask your guests this question?  Thanks.

    • Worried for the country(MA)

      You conflating income and wealth.

      One of the American dreams is anyone can get ahead. We understand high taxes create a barrier to getting ahead.  This has nothing to do with party affiliation. Also, most Americans don’t covet their neighbors stuff.  At least I hope so.

      • Anonymous

        The “American Dream” is now a farce – they only way to get ahead is to already have money and/or who you know in the upper wage earning categories – the average Joe is woefully neglected on his slide down the ladder. Or is he being pushed?

        • Worried for the country(MA)

          You are wrong (at least I hope you are) because if you are correct we are done.

          It is easy these days to be cynical when you see things like the Jeff Immelt (CEO of GE) and the head of the President’s “Council on Jobs and Competitiveness” announce that GE is investing $2B in a joint venture to create an airline business in China to compete with Boeing.  Now that is real leadership for creating US jobs.

          • TFRX

            CRM is right: Economic mobility is going down in this country. More than 30 or 50 years ago, selecting the right parents (like Trump and Gates have done, and have admitted to) determines how well off you can get.

            And cynical people all just woke up when Obama got elected, ignoring Dick “Halliburton” Cheney’s “I never made a single dollar off the government”?

            Your cynicism is pretty lopsided.

          • Worried for the country(MA)

            Cheney’s most infamous quote is:
            “Deficits don’t matter!”.
            Now that was scandalous.

    • Anonymous

      Because the majority of the members of congress are millionaires or better. One also has to account that lobbyist are also advocating for the top 3 to 10% of this class.

  • Gregg

    Kudos to On Point for having economist Stephen Moore on the show. He will be vilified relentlessly by commenters but I agree with his recent analysis of Buffet’s plan.

    When one looks at the current state of affairs, two things are painfully obvious. The problem is spending and not revenue. This is verified by Obama being poised to create more debt in less than one term than the big-spending Bush did in two. Incredible.

    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/2011/08/24/obama_to_break_bush039s_debt_record_in_12_the_time_262155.html

    The other undeniable truth is government cannot be trusted with yet more revenue. The “Stimulus” was money down a rat hole.

    http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/obama-touts-battery-powered-cars-michiga

    http://blogs.the-american-interest.com/wrm/2011/08/19/feeding-the-masses-on-unicorn-ribs/

  • mark

    There is one idea about taxation at the federal level that most of the members (Dems & GOP) of Congress, the president, and the president’s debt commision agree on.  Reduce the rates, broaden the base, and eliminate most if not all deductions.  That certainly makes sense.

    • Worried for the country(MA)

      It makes sense but I doubt ‘most’ agree otherwise it would have been done long ago.  Our complicated tax system gives power to lobbyists and powerful special interest groups.  There is great resistance toward dismantling our tax system.

      • mark

        When I say “most agree”, I am going by the rhetoric spoken by those people that I referenced, along with what was put on paper by the debt commission.  The resistance is there because of the fine points that would have to be debated.  Such as which deductions should be eliminated, what the rates should be reduced to.  When these things would be talked about, the demagoguery would be deafening.  Let’s remember, they are “politicians”, meaning that they are mostly concerned about the next election.

        • Worried for the country(MA)

          Of course you are correct.  They had to hide behind the commission to do any work and even then they were too cowardly to touch it.

          • TFRX

            Yeah, the commission never got a report out.

            Why don’t you ask one member of a deadlocked jury what the verdict should have been?

  • mark

    The irrational vitriol (crm65) is just that, irrational.  Taxation should not be done on the basis of vengence or “how much can we get” from someone just because they have it.  It’s about what we need to run an EFFICIENT government and about how many people should have a “skin in the game”.  To constantly play “class warfare” might feel good, but it gets us nowhere.

    • Anonymous

      Oh irrational huh? Haha, you make me laugh. How about this – why don’t you try to get out from under that rock and live in the real world. Efficient Government is one that helps ALL who live in the country, not just those with wealth. Everything that is currently happening in this country is the result of class-warfare – its just that it is against the Middle-class and working poor.

      • mark

        I think this maybe my last reply to you.  It is a waste of time to engage you because you seem not to be able to talk in specifics.  You try to make an argument by using cliched responses to what are real issues.

        Oh well, take care.  

        • Anonymous

          Right back at cha’, so long Mark!

  • Benjamin Cohen

    Elizabeth Warren for U.S. Senate

    Financial Problem in the U.S.?
    Let’s Investigate the Collapses of the “Three” Towers on 9/11
    We will realize that we invaded Afghanistan without doing our homework.
    http://www.AE911Truth.org

    Savings in dollars: 2.5 Trillion
    Understanding our National Guilt, Criminality and Stupidity: Priceless

  • Dpweber83

    “Should we do it?”

    Yes, yes we should.

    -dan
    Boston, MA

  • Mike Derhammer

    I could not agree more with Mr. Buffett.  I hold his opinions in high regard in respect to both the economy and morality.
    Add to this the end of corporate personhood and I think America will take a turn toward a much brighter and equitable future for all its citizens

  • Cime

    I could not agree more! Definitely! That’s what Obama should have done! Instead of his $250,000 or more! Obama was too low! Should have been much higher! 1 million or more! I think that’s where he made a mistake!

  • Charlie mc

    Can anyone help me find a book I’ve mentally misplaced. It was entitled something like “How Capitalism Lost Its Soul” by an author whose name escapes me? I came to hear about it on a Book Review program on a retape from 2007. The author’s name also escapes me but I recall it to be something like John Buel??? Sorry for the vagueness of this request but thanks for the help.

  • Ellen Dibble

    Apparently Buffett’s frame of reference extends to his staff, who, from listening to Charlie Rose, all make about $100,000.  The majority of us, the average of us, is about half of that.  So I credit his ideas for the “haves,” but not so much when he thinks of the rest of us.

  • Scott B, Jamestown NY

    Let’s make sure its for income and not, say, property. There are small farms all across America where it doesn’t take too many acres, buildings, or pieces of equipment can quickly add up to beyond a million dollars and they’re not swimming in money.  Also, in places like LA, NYC, etc, where a house can easily cost $1M, is not a sign of tremendous wealth.

  • Bill

    With the middle class declining in the US, either someone with money has to pay more to maintain what the US has been, or let the US transition to something more resembling 3rd world status.

  • Nancy

    It has been proven over the years that the wealthy DO NOT SPEND their tax breaks…they invest them. These tax breaks do not go back into the economy nor do they go into job creation.

    And tax breaks for the middle and lower class IS SPENT, therefore that money goes right back into the economy.

    It’s a no-brainer.

  • Jemimah Holbrook

    After I read the op-ed piece, I wrote Warren Buffett a letter thanking him for what he said.  I think we should all write to him and back him up…then Congress can see what THE PEOPLE want.  He did his part, now we need to do ours…WRITE to him, write to your representatives!  Do something other than bellyache!

    • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

      Don’t just write, elect people who will stop special interests (people with money, PACs, etc.) from donating and influencing Congress.

      It’s not just about fair taxation, it’s about taking the bribery money out of the political process so we can pass better taxation laws.

      No way Congress will pass laws cutting off their gravy train as long as the gravy train continues.

  • Freeman

    Tom;     OF COURSE I am with Mr. Buffett. Go all the way back to Ronald Reagan; The economy has paid dearly with this “trickle down” THEORY.

  • Joachim

    I hope you have invited the republican clowns Bohner and co to listen in and get some real prospective of what the country needs. It is disgusting that the Congress is still protecting the super rich while they have no shame to call for more taxes on the poor (Hatch). The next elections will correct this and all those on medicare should now know that if the elect republicans your social security is on the block while they push more money to rich. Change we need, from republican to a democratic congress that will do the right thing.

  • Ellen Dibble

    I have not heard Buffett specifically address the idea that the million-plus people are the job-creators.  I think a statistical analysis is called for.  It seems to me that maybe fake jobs that are designed to eventually go off-shore are created by the movers-and-shakers, but there is almost a law of nature that jobs rise from below, like the heat from a compost heap.  People who need help and know what is needed are people scraping together help from their children and siblings.  And if they succeed, eventually you have something substantial.  But THAT is the kind of growth that keeps us vital, it seems to me, in a growing economy.  

    And I don’t think the rich can help with that.  They can only make sure they don’t get in the way.

  • Scott B, Jamestown NY

    Study after study shows that the more money people make by basically making money with money on Wall St, the less they’re actually the “job creators” those would have you believe they are.

    • Anonymous

      If you knew anything about Wall Street, the stock market funds all non-privately owned Brick and mortar stores and factories.

      • BHA in Vermont

        Which has WHAT to do with income taxes? If I buy a share of stock from you, you pay 15% on your long term profit. How does that help a brick and mortar store?

        It doesn’t

  • Bill

    Why shouldn’t millionaires pay more to support the infrastructure that helped make them millionaires?

    • mark

      They do.

    • Anonymous

      They do pay more!  They pay 90% of the bill!

      • Thatsluke

        What?! Do share where you get your numbers!  Also we don’t tax wealth, we tax people’s earnings less deductible expenses.

      • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

        Again I ask… don’t they teach common sense in school anymore?

        First I don’t know where in hell you got that 90% number. Second I’m assuming you’re just misquoting those Right wing sources you get your info from and are really talking about the income tax. Even then I’ve never heard that 90% number. Third there are OTHER taxes that the non-rich pay… like payroll taxes. Those who make over about $106k don’t pay on that extra amount. Last how can you calculate what “paying the bill” is when we’re running a $1.4 TRILLION deficit. NO ONE is paying for that deficit… except our kids and grandkids.

        Please B, FOR ONCE, get your facts straight and try to use some common sense.  

  • BHA in Vermont

    Mr. Buffet is correct. Until the tax rate is 100%, there is money to be made in investments.

    And not only on those making a million or more a year. Go back to those making more than $250K.
     Paying 39% instead of 35% on the amount over $250K will not affect the life style of those people.

    The same is true of the “higher personal taxes will cost jobs” bull.
    NO business that is viable creates jobs based on the income of the owner. Jobs are created when there are buyers for a product or service that will result in a net profit to the business.

  • Tina

    I don’t want to neglect to say, Thank you, Warren Buffett!

  • Anonymous

    Tom, can you ask your guest how tax the rich went in NY state and CA?  If I recal correctly these states tried to tax the rich heavaly and the result was a small number of rich moving out of state and when the economy tanked, tax revenues fell through the floor because the rich don’t have a steady income. 

    Taxes should be spread among all earners that way when the economy is in boom or bust the tax revenues don’t fluctuate more than they have to.

  • Hugh in Stoneham

    Why is the issue framed as “Should the rich pay a higher % of their income?” Isn’t the question “Why should the rich pay a smaller % than everyone else?”

  • Billytrager

    We all need to feel it, why not let the Bush Tax cuts expire for all Americans and use the revenue raised for an infrastructure bank and try to get some people back to work.

  • Anonymous

    Isn’t it funny that Warren Buffet spent millions of dollars avoiding taxes and he complains that he is not taxed enough?  If he wasn’t a hypocrite, wouldn’t he spend 10K to do his taxes and not spend millions of dollars to find loopholes?

    • BHA in Vermont

      Get Real. People will use whatever breaks they can get, it is ‘good business’. What he is saying is GET RID OF the breaks for people who have NO NEED for those breaks and the tax system will be more fair.

      • Anonymous

        True, but only hypocrites complain they pay too little and pay Millions of dollars to find tax loopholes.  This is by definition a Hypocrite. 

  • Jemimah Holbrook

    Whoever’s talking now is just flat out lying.  Why didn’t you get Warren Buffett in on this conversation??

  • Anonymous

    Flat tax?  Next guest please . . .

  • HF

    The top tax rate started to drop in 1982 – 29 years ago.  Take the average of the unemployment rate over the last 29 years and the average of the 29 years before 1982.  The average is less than 1/10 percent different dspite the a top tax rate of 70 -90%.  Unemployment and top tax rate – not related. Please check my math.  

  • BHA in Vermont

    Moore is right about 1 thing, we need to start over with ZERO deductions for ANYTHING.
    He is WRONG about a flat tax. Someone making $1M should NOT be paying the same tax rate as someone making $20K

    • Anonymous

      Why shouldn’t everyone pay 20%?  Wouldn’t it only be fair if this was the case?

      • Anonymous

        Wouldn’t it be fair to pay everyone the same rate too?  Taxing everyone the same rate sounds COMUNIST!

        • BHA in Vermont

          Wrong. The communist method is: “From each according to their ability, to each according to their need”

      • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

        Gee B, don’t they teach common sense in school anymore? Isn’t it OBVIOUS why it would not be fair?????  The working poor barely make enough to cover living expenses while the middle class and the rich make MORE than enough to cover living expenses. THIS, in part, is the moral basis for a progressive income tax.  

      • Anonymous

        Let’s begin by requiring everyone to pay the same rate as the median-income wage earner, which is 15.2% of their GROSS INCOME FROM EVERY SOURCE, plus 10% of their taxable income from $0 to $8,500, plus 15% of taxable income over $8,500 to $34,500, plus 25% on taxable income over $34,500 to $69,675.  After a few years of being treated like a commoner, the wealthy will be begging for us to return to the rates that existed before the Bush tax cuts.

  • Middtenn

    I agree with Daniel Mitchell from the Cato Institute. Cut a check Mr. Buffett and pay then shut up. Higher taxes means more wasteful government spending.

    http://www.cato-at-liberty.org/warren-buffetts-fiscal-innumeracy/

  • Anonymous

    Isn’t it funny that Buffet asked for higher estate taxes and he avoided paying any estate tax by giving his wealth to the Gates Foundation?
     
    Hypocrite?

  • TFRX

    This Club for Growth guy thinks “the rates are too high” and “a flat tax” will do us well, and “there’s a consensus” forming on that.

    He needs to talk to more kinds of people.

    Also, “Tax rates are too high to generate the kinds of jobs we need (at this point in the business cycle)”.

    Uh, demand? Anybody?

    I don’t know how much I trust anyone with his track record who says “Let’s get rid of loopholes”. I want that to happen, but I think it’s just lip service from someone in his position.

  • Simon

    Stop the lie that lower tax creates jobs!!! And even if we don’t have a huge deficit, we still should raise the tax rates on the rich – so that we can lower the rates on the middle class. Why? Because the gap between the rich and rest is getting BIGGER AND BIGGER!!!

  • Tharen

    I’m always amazed at those who seem to have a knee-jerk, visceral reaction against anyone who is “wealthy.” There seems to be a belief by many–I’m sure exacerbated by the financial meltdown–that anyone who is doing well is a bad person who should be punished by paying more taxes to a government that is clearly dysfunctional. I just don’t understand this.

    Maybe I’m wrong, but I’ve never had the worldview that a person who achieves financial success should be punished. What is that–class envy? Why should a person who–say–took a chance on starting a business, created a new and/or better product or service, achieved success, and reaped the financial benefits be punished with higher taxes? THEY earned that income, it didn’t fall out of the sky magically or come from robbing invalid orphans.

    And by the way, I write this as someone who earns under 50K a year.

  • Gary

    Want to pay more taxes Mr. Buffet?  No one is stopping you.  Open up an account, and all of the liberals that want to pay more can deposit it in the account.  You can simply give “redistribute” it to the government. 

    Liberals:  No one is stopping you from giving your money away.  If Obama thinks he should pay more, fine by me.  Pay more.  

  • Ellen Dibble

    Probably the algorithms that churn profits out of risk-taking with the nose to the computer on Wall Street WOULD be all askew if the tax system changed.  People would not “play” the house on Wall Street if if were less geared to profit, more geared to growth.
        Can you change the game so the algorithms favor growth not profit?  Can the tax code do that?
         Apparently Warren Buffett does not know.  He showed his tax return to Charlie Rose as if someone else had put it together, as a gift to him.  He probably does not know the ways that the tax code can impact investment and Wall Street and wealth.
          His approach to investment is a lot more solid than the more bubble-like approach to bottom line that has caused us such trouble.

  • Ben

    Dispose of the Bush tax cuts…for everyone.
    Raise the rates on those making more than 250k incrementally so if you are making over 5million your rate is at least 75%.

    • Scott B, Jamestown NY

      I don’t think anyone should be paying more than half their income in taxes, but the uber-wealthy could certainly pay far more.  If you tax too high then you do drive them into hiding money elsewhere and then no one sees any revenue.

      • Ben

        They hide it already at the current rate. They don’t want to pay the tax at any rate.

  • Dan Nielsen

    Who deserves 100 times median income or more? Minimum wage should be set at 1/2 median income of the previous tax year based on a 2000 hour work year. If median income is $50,000 then this would equate to $12.50/hr. Median income does not include benefits which would raise minimum wage further based on this model. Personal tax should increase to limit wealthy to ~100 – 250 fold median income. We need incentives for jobs for example a one year social security exemption (or many other better ideas???). The main problems with the American economy is waste, feeling entitled induced laziness, concentration of wealth, and the rest of the world catching up and being treated with increasing economic equality. If we all put in 36 hours of real work a week and divided with some moral and value of work equivalency we would have much more than we all need.

  • Freeman

    Tom;  Why is the Obama Administration pressuring the New York Attorney General to “Backoff” from prosecuting those criminals on Wall Street. Part and parcel of your discussion.

  • BHA in Vermont

    Investment, except for IPOs is NOT providing ANYTHING other than paper money shifting between people with disposable income. OK, and jobs for stock brokers.

  • Anonymous

    When your guest talks about a FLAT TAX how FLAT does he mean?

    Utah has a “Flat Tax” where rich people effectively pay 4% and poor people pay the full 15% because deductions are allowed to continue.

    So how Flat is Flat?

    • Scott B, Jamestown NY

      A flat tax doesn’t work because a working class stiff trying to make ends meet is doing contortions to figure out what the tax is going to be on the things the family needs and make ends meet; where someone making a million dollars isn’t going to think twice about what the tax is on their new Mercedes or Guicci bag..

      • Anonymous

        I should note that I am not a fan of a flat tax but the guest recommended a flat tax so I want my question answered.

        The purpose of a flat tax is to create fairness.  And a flat tax is fine as long as the percentage is low (under 10%) an there are NO DEDUCTIONS AT ALL FOR ANYTHING. 

        The problem with the Utah Flat Tax is that it is NOT FAIR.  They did not whipe out the deduction system that existed in the progressive tax system and those deductions only benefit people who have deductions.

        It should not be the purpose of a tax system to change behavior.  Deductions cause citizens to find ways to game the system to lower their tax burden.  I would like to see that part of our system removed entirely.

  • Guest in MA

    I understand your guests point about having a tax code with low rates and high revenue. But what does he have to say about the difference of rates between the rich and the poor? Warren Buffet argues that even with EQUAL tax rates with the middle and lower class it would not upset investment which is what I believe.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paolo-Caruso/1778940602 Paolo Caruso

    The expert states ” if you raise taxes, investment capital will go offshore”.  

    How’s that for good’ol PATRIOTISM, while parents see their children to go off an get killed and maimed in CORPORATE WARS.  All this sports, porno and fast food making americans too stupid to see this hypocrisy.

    The wall street, oil company and AIPAC children should be fighting on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan.

  • Rorytn

    If you’re making more than 10 million a year, are you going to even notice? That’s just a gluttonous amount of money.

    They live here too, use our roads and live in our communities. Pay up!

  • Scott B, Jamestown NY

    Why do we have only 6 tax brackets, the highest of which tops out at a$350 a year in income?  Someone  making a $1M is in a vastly different category; and someone making tens and hundreds or millions, or even billions, of dollars can certainly afford to pay a rate a few points higher.

    No one is suggesting we go to 90% rate from back in the Eisenhower, but even to raise them to the Clinton era rates (remember when we had a surplus?), or even the rates under Reagan (who raised them on the rich).

    But a few points is going to mean what to the hedge fund manager makings billion upon billions of dollars?  Exactly what would they be cutting back on? Lear jets?  A few feet off the ginormous new yacht?

  • Thomas

    Revenue for the government is a function of the size of the economy. Tax rates are a red herring.

  • Jim

    Stephen Moore’s argument is bogus. He said he is not in favor of raising taxes on Billionaires, yet he favors a flat tax of 18%. Warren Buffet’s effective tax rate is only 14%, so the Moore plan would RAISE taxes on Buffet.

    Clearly Moore and his ilk know the flat tax will never be approve. They are just using it to obfuscate so nothing gets done.

  • James O

    Stephen Moore just mentioned that the rich pay the bulk of taxes in the US. I feel like this has been thoroughly de-bunked as false, but is a common talking point. Are we just talking about federal income tax? What about capital gains? Can you please ask him to clarify this?

  • Michael

    How does the “right” feel about enforced investiment into the US?
    Meaning that if you don’t invest (and can prove it on paper) that you’re getting the light tax treatment, but if you invest abroad, or just “save” the money, you get taxed higher?

  • dm

    The current tax code is ridiculous… how many pages?  I agree: get rid of the current tax code, go to a flat tax.  People don’t mind paying their fair share. 

  • annie

    Don’t raise the rates on income over a million, close the loopholes.

  • Michael Malyszko

    For there to be meaningful reform there needs to be a national teach-in about taxes and how they’re levied. The average guy doesn’t know the difference between payroll taxes and income taxes, so it’s difficult to counter the claim that “50% of the people don’t pay ANY income taxes.” That’s true, but since there’s a cap of $110,000 or so on Social Security tax, most middle class folks pay a much higher percentage of their incomes in taxes than the well-to-do.

  • Anonymous

    Here’s the solution: Warren Buffett for President.

    • Anonymous

      @ToyYoda:disqus Warren Buffet is obviously a better than average businessman, but that does not necessarily make him a great economist:

      http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/08/23/businessmen-and-macroeconomics/

      and READ the COMMENTS.

      Additionally, Warren Buffett is investing in the future of COAL, which will result in increased Global Warming (see his purchase of Northern Pacific rail road). Much of his profit will come from exporting Montana coal to China.

      And now he also wants to invest in oil extraction from Tar Sands, which will be the MAJOR tipping point from which there will be NO return on the human road to collapse of civilization and maybe even near or total extinction.

  • Ellen Dibble

    Is not creating a job an automatic tax break, without changing any tax code?  If I make XXX dollars and pay so-and-so XX dollars, then I pay less tax, and so-and-so pays taxes on the difference.
        Why doesn’t this matter when people talk about job-creators being discouraged and unwilling to create jobs because higher taxes make this undesirable?

  • Jenny from Cedar Rapids, Iowa

    Tom, would you ask your guests to comment on how the Christian right reconcile their loathe for taxes with Jesus’ call to give to the poor (e.g., if you have 2 coats, give away one; to whom much is given, much is expected)? Somehow the poor have been demonized and the rich are asked to contribute less.

  • Vermonter

    Every study I’ve seen indicate that over the last 40 years regardless of the upper marginal tax rate, the revenue generated has remained relatively flat.  High earners are able to adjust income, etc. to minimize their obligations.  Our tax code doesn’t work.  Possibly the ‘Fair Tax’ proposal is worth moving toward.

  • Steve from rhinelander wi.

    When I hear about a flat tax the proponats usually are talking of the income tax. I will support a flat tax when ALL taxes are included such as the payroll tax for S.S. and Medicare which the rich pay little compared to the rest of us.

  • jim

    To the conservatives:
    there is no hypocrisy for being a proud and patriotic American. there is a COST to living in a society. it is not FREE. is your lunch free? is your dinner free? ok, please pay your fair share.

  • Thatsluke

    We need to be careful about not allowing for deductions for ANYTHING because a lot of our non-profits get their funding this way.  What impact do you think that will have?

    • Anonymous

      We need to tax religious institutions.

      • Thatsluke

        I am okay with that, disband them for all I care.  What about arts organizations, public radio, etc.

        • Anonymous

          Ones that actually serve the public shouldn’t.  Ones that pay their officers obscene salaries and spend more than 20% of their budgets on fundraising should. 

        • TFRX

          For me it’s about political involvement and genuine non-profitness.

          Remember politicking from the pulpit for Bush in 2004? We had it in my state, a state many call “godless” and full of “communists”.

          And religiously-affiliated hospitals, especially the ones which pick and choose about treating women’s health, shouldn’t be subsidized to compete in a marketplace against full hospitals providing all legally available procedures. Make people take a religous oath to not provide abortions? Fine. But not with my tax subsidy.

  • BHA in Vermont

    The corporate taxes are paid by the CORPORATION not the INDIVIDUAL. Moore is an idiot.

    • Dan

      Correct on both points.  How about we include the income tax paid by the consumers who bought the products sold by the corporation.

  • Thatsluke

    Yes of course the highest wage earners should pay more taxes, this is Reagan’s doing taxes were gutted under him reduced number of brackets lower tax rates (nearly 40% for the highest wage earners in 8 years)

    The flat tax is the worst idea ever, especially if you aren’t going add anything to make it progressive.  You’ll take even more of
    the spending power at the bottom away.

    We all need to chip in to support the country that makes our upward mobility possible.  Those who have made it to the top aught to be happy to contribute.  Especially captial Gains taxes.

  • RAG

    Let’s make the Club for Growth happy and just give all the money to the billionaires now.  That way they won’t have to keep lobbying for policies to continue making the super-rich even richer.  On second thought, let’s just bring back the 90% tax bracket for the greedy SOBs.  It’s time to rein in the so-called free market and do something about the obscene disparity between the incomes of the robber barons and everyone else.

  • TFRX

    Ahhh, another “double taxation” feint.

    Corporations pay taxes. I’ll start worrying about that when Citizens United written out of existence.

    They’re like people but better. They get to campaign and donate more than people. They get big lobbyist money whoring for them. And they can’t be put into prison.

  • Ellen Dibble

    If a corporation is paying 35% in taxes, and then gives Buffett say $1,000 and Buffett pays $150 in capital gains taxes, I think he is not actually paying 50%, because the corporation is not complaining.  Why is that?  Maybe the corporate profits already have deducted what they pay in dividends?  Maybe they have already deducted that corporate jet?

    • Anonymous

      Any corporation that is paying 35% doesn’t have enough lawyers, accountants, and lobbyists on their payroll.

  • Charlie mc

    Eureka! My clouds parted and the book to be read is John Bogle’s “Battle for the Soul of Capitalism”. I’m very curious what Warren Buffet would say in his review of this book. To me, it clarifies much of the muddled thinking of the past 30 years, muddled? yes, but only to those who weren’t in on what was really going on in this country.

  • Jemimah Holbrook

    To Stephen Moore’s point: whether or not Warren Buffett is paying corporate taxes and gains taxes, he’s STILL making skads of dough and so will all the other people in business.  Stephen Moore is ridiculous and rude.

  • Dpweber83

    YES Tom, thank you for contesting the notion of voluntary tax payments.  That sort of “Come now…” is exactly why I tune in!

    -dan
    Boston, MA

  • Anonymous

    “Isn’t that nonsense?”  Great question Tom!

    • Dan

      Can I like this about 20 times?

  • BHA in Vermont

    Current caller is right, Moore is wrong. Yes the rich can and will ‘happily’ pay more tax IF they know that EVERYONE in the same situation will also pay more.

  • Call me Eric

    The idea that Buffet’s income is taxed twice seems
    dubious.  Corporations – as a separate entity –
    ought to pay a separate tax than the individuals
    who own them because the corporations are treated
    as individuals themselves.

    • CrackWilding

      Yes! My employer pays taxes, and then takes their earnings and pays me. And then I pay taxes on that money. And then when I spend that money, I pay taxes on it. And then the people I’ve given that money to pay taxes. My God, Mr. Moore, that’s quadruple taxation! Perhaps we should flag each dollar when it is taxed for the first time and then it can never be taxed again.

      In short, Steven Moore is full of it.

      • BHA in Vermont

        Not quite, your employer deducts the cost of your benefits (and all other costs of doing business) from gross income BEFORE calculating their taxes.

        I do agree with your last sentence :)

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1439572620 Joe Lee

      I agree. If we have decided that corporations are people and are entitled to rights and privileges that are bestowed upon people, then let’s not be hypocritical and exempt them from some of the obligations that people have like paying taxes. 

  • Bridget

    Can Mr. Moore be any more condescending to Tom and to the listeners? Geesh!

    • Joe

      He does work for the WSJ…..

  • BHA in Vermont

    The ‘justification’ are the bu11sh1t lines regarding the rich won’t invest if they have to pay more tax and won’t create jobs if they have to pay more taxes.

  • Ellen Dibble

    I think there were “advisory” evaluations by Standard & Poor’s that created algorithm-created wealth, created by short-selling and so on, using the computer-generated possibilities, and therefore some of us have seen wealth generated in ways that hurt the economy — a lot — and are not even paying their fair share in taxes.  One idea would be to catch the scoundrels and lock them up for four or five years per foreclosed household.  Or, in an “advisory” way, let their tax returns “make us whole.”  The anger might keep simmering until that happens.

  • Miles in Potsdam, NY

    Law of unintended consequences?  Has the low capital gains tax caused business decision makers to focus more on manipulating stock prices instead of producing goods and services?   How did low capital gains taxes contribute to the housing bubble.

    Also, if you want to “reward risk” you could look at the Workers Compensation rates.  Loggers, farmers and construction workers would
    pay less. 

  • Libralady

    If taxing Warren Buffet’s income as well as the corporation’s income is double taxation, then why is it not also double taxation to tax the income of every other person paid by the corporation?

  • Hugh in Stoneham

    Very few of the dollars in capital gains come from dividends (i.e. taxed profit by a corporation distributed to shareholders) most comes from speculative ownership THAT DOES NOT BENEFIT THE CORPORATION.

  • Tina

    Forgive me if I have my facts wrong, but aren’t oil and gas companies the recipients of major tax breaks?  WHY is the one guest celebrating that tax breaks for investing in wind and solar power was eliminated under earlier Republican administrations?  

    Did I “mis-hear”, or does he think we are just dumb?

    • Tina

      Sorry for the “mis-grammar”:  I should have said, “… solar power were eliminated”.  Thanks!

  • Yar

    Talking about taxes alone adds little to the understanding of our national transition and the generational civil war brewing. In the past 100 years we have transitioned from multi-generational agricultural society into an individualistic service centered society.  We live longer, and need more help from the community at large for our end of life care than ever before.  The purpose of money is to trade work over time, to earn enough in our productive phase of life to care for our old age.  The generational civil war that is brewing is that we don’t have the productivity today to trade the past decades of work by the boomers for services to care for them in their retirement.  We have made promises we don’t intend to keep. 
    If family doesn’t or can’t care for the elderly, educate the children, keep the food safe, manage the resources, then the community must do it and we must pay for it through taxation. 
    Do we really want to return to the agricultural society that we had?
    Nobody is looking at the big picture.

  • Tom Hyzy

    Tom Ashbrook is completely missing Stephen Moore’s point on the REAL tax rate Buffett is paying.  The corporations that Buffett owns through Berkshire Hathway pay 35% US Federal tax on their profits, which then form the basis of the dividends that company pays to Buffett.  The total amount of tax paid at both those levels is WAY more than the 17% Buffett quotes.  Please address Moore’s point!

    • Dpweber83

      “The total amount of tax paid at both those levels is WAY more than the 17% Buffett quotes.”

      So, let me get this straight: you think you know more about Warren Buffett’s balance sheets than Warren Buffett does?

      -dan
      Boston, MA

      • Tom Hyzy

        I may not know his balance sheet (although that isn’t really the relevant datum), but I do know how corporate and personal taxes work.  Corporations cannot pay dividends unless they have profits.  Those profits are taxed at 35%.  He then pays tax on the dividend at 15%.  That combined rate is 44.75%.  Whatever else he does on his personal return (charitable contributions, etc.) is a decision he makes personally, and he has to give that money away to get that benefit.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1439572620 Joe Lee

          Tax burden does not transfer across transactions, if you treat it that way, then we all pay a 100% tax rate. Just in your example the profits were taxed through probably sales tax and even the income taxes that the original consumers paid. 

    • BHA in Vermont

      Warren Buffet does NOT pay the 35% business tax. Berkshire Hathaway pays the $35% business tax. The vast majority of the income Mr. Buffet pays taxes on comes from securities he has held over 1 year. That is the 15% capital gains tax rate. If he held it less than 1 year, his tax rate would be much higher. Doesn’t take a genius to figure that out.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1439572620 Joe Lee

      This argument doesn’t hold water. You cannot treat taxes as something that is accumulated across transactions. If you start doing this, then you reduce every dollar in existence to being completely destroyed by the burden of taxation which is clearly untrue.

      Just think about it, if you treat tax burden as accumulative across transactions, the when you spend a dollar for a cup of coffee, then you may have say 5 cents paid to sales tax, then the remaining part goes to the corporation which pays maybe 20 cents in corporate taxes. It next goes to an employee in the form of pay who pays maybe another 20 cents in income tax who then spends it on something and has to start the cycle all over again until the original dollar disappears and we have an effective tax rate of 100% on everything.

    • Tina

      Hey, Since a corporation is a person, then we could say that the person/corporation is paying the 35%; Buffett, ALSO a person, is paying 17% on his individual income.  Those benefits that go to corporations because they get to count “as people” are plentiful enough, especially after Citizens United.  Have you ever tried to call, or leave a comment on the website of  a U.S. Senator or Congressperson who does NOT represent your district?  Their offices and websites are designed to NOT allow your comment to get thru (MOST are like this).  But a corporation has the money, staff, and now even the “freedom of speech” to send in lobbyists to influence these same out-of-their-district federal-level representatives.  Sure, we could join something or other as a private citizen to try to get clout outside our district, but it is so much harder and so much more expensive for individual citizens to achieve the power of speech that corporate lobbyists have.  We are lost in a Land of False Logic, and the one guest today is pushing to make things even worse!   

  • Dpweber83

    “A spending problem.”  -William (current caller)

    What do you want to cut, buddy?

    -dan
    Boston, MA

    • Ben

      Military budget  and 2 unnecessary wars come to mind….

  • Anonymous

    Just remember:

    “It only stands to reason that where there’s sacrifice, there’s someone collecting the sacrificial offerings. Where there’s service, there is someone being served. The man who speaks to you of sacrifice is speaking of slaves and masters, and intends to be the master.”
    –Ayn Rand

    What we should be talking about here is FAIRNESS, not just details of the tax code and the Republican “wish list” for tax cuts and special carve outs.

    When ALL taxes paid are considered, the rich DO NOT (repeat, NOT) pay more proportionally than the poor; see chart from Institute on Taxation & Economic Policy:

    http://www.itepnet.org/whopays3.pdf

    But Steven Moore is a glib cherry-picker when it comes to these kinds of arguments as he has so many “issues” to throw out to move the debate away from showing that his last comment is wrong.

  • BHA in Vermont

    No one is saying tax the rich more to get more money to spend. We are saying tax the rich more to decrease the DEFICIT we ALREADY HAVE. Until we have a balanced budget, taking in more is paying down the CURRENT debt.

  • Anonymous

    He just used the YOU FIRST argument.  hehehehe

    If you want to pay a higher tax rate… YOU FIRST!  Voluntarily pay more.

    You want to lower entitlements…  YOU FIRST!  Send back your Social Security Checks.  :)

    I *love* that argument!

  • Ellen Dibble

    The caller all excited about the government overspending should have heard Buffett on the issue.  He says he gets $30,000 a year from Social Security.  He says something should be done about the exploding government spending which is entitlements.  This is the part of “government” that is so explosive.  The government, it is us.  And cutting back on it is cutting us in “death panel” ways, or maybe something more helpful, like aiming the entitlements where it is needed.

  • Phil (Des Moines, IA)

    I’m tired of conservatives trotting out this argument that those who want to pay more tax should do so voluntarily and if they don’t they should shut up about raising tax rates. No one is interested in making symbolic drop-in-the-bucket contributions to raise revenue, but many would gladly pay more taxes in order to solve our problems.

  • Rob

    isn’t a big part of the problem the fact that we had a war without thinking about how to pay for it beforehand ?  two wars, in fact ?

  • Marla

    The argument made by the anti-tax group, that investors shouldn’t pay more because corporate taxes have already been paid, seems at odds with the argument by presidential candidates such as Mitt Romney that corporations are people. Even the Supreme Court took this stand by letting corporations donate to campaigns as people.

  • Jimpofic

    Stephen Moore apparently doesn’t understand the difference between capital gains and dividends.  A company can generate capital gains for its shareholders without having produced any taxable income.  His argument about “double taxation” is a bunch of hooey.

  • Scott B, Jamestown NY

    “Trickle down” has had over 30 years to make its case and it’s been shown it doesn’t happen.  Poeple making money with money only reinvest it in making more money with money, not creating jobs. Yet for some reason that money isn’t considered “income”. If you’re living off it, it’s income.

    “Don’t say it’s raining when you’re pissing down my back” – Skid Row

  • John Paul

    Regardless of the complexity of government and tax systems, it just seems fair for everyone to chip in where they can. 

    Also, it seems like Stephen Moore’s views are intensely jaded by his partisanship affiliations. When I start hearing partisan accusations in a open discussion I distrust the persons ability to logic clearly.

  • John

    Buffett could help the problem by stopping the use of public subsidies towards his private companies, i am sure that revenue could be used elsewhere like maybe JOBS.

  • Carrie

    My husband and I jumped into a new tax bracket for 2010 and ended up paying so much in taxes that we now feel like we’re making less money even though we’re making more. We make about $89,000 between the two of us. Is this considered rich? We are now completely crippled by taxes.

    • Scott B, Jamestown NY

      This is one reason why we need far more than 6 tax brackets in this country. 

    • TFRX

      “We now feel like we’re making less money even though we’re making more. We are now completely crippled by taxes.”

      What does your CPA say? You do have an accountant, right? I had things much better sussed out after mine explained things to me. And he wasn’t an expensive, “white-shoe” sort of CPA.

  • Frank Shaughnessy

    I’m in favor of Warren Buffett’s ideas that all Americans should share in the national sacrifice. But some rich will object and I have a solution. For them to stay at the Bush tax rates all they have to do is sign up with the US Army, Navy or Air Force, do six years and retain their lowere tax rate. But I would say the same should therefore be provided to the current soldiers, seamen and airmen. Since they pay the same as the rest of us the “troops” should get a permanent tax rate 5% lower than the national rate for what ever tax bracket they find themselves.

    Sure like any of that will work. A flat national tax, no corporate loopholes is the only way to go. Then we can reduce the IRS by half and save money as well as collect more.

    Frank Shaughnessy
    Palm Bay, Fl

  • Ellen Dibble

    What I heard on NPR is that the 15% capital gains tax was established when inflation was high, and people were getting COLA raises every year.  So those retired and living on capital gains were NOT getting automatic COLA’s income.  (In Social Security, maybe so, but not otherwise.)  That is why the lower rate, the 15%.  So about 20% benefit tax-wise was to make up for a cost-of-living increase due to inflation that would show up in costs, in rent and food, but would not show up in any salary, because instead they have capital gains — which apparently were considered to be pretty flat.

  • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

     Come on Tom… why aren’t you raising the painfully obvious point that since 1981 We The People have spent some $14 TRILLION on ourselves that we REFUSE TO PAY FOR!!!! It’s TO LATE to debate whether it was wisely spent or not…. THAT MONEY IS GONE!

    In that light OF COURSE we all need to pay higher taxes because much of that debt was created by IRRESPONSIBLE TAX CUTS.

  • Eric

    One thing I would like to have discussed is the cap on Social Security contributions (currently less than $150,000).  This makes the payroll tax actually regressive, not even flat.  Removing the cap would go a long way toward solving the “entitlements” mess.  Most people don’t ever see their Social Security tax go away so they don’t know the cap exists.

  • Bill

    We have low rates now – the complaint about high corporate tax rates is a red herring since corporations do not pay those high tax rates.

    So then, with these effectively low rates – why are corporations and back sitting on piles of cash and not investing?

    • Bill

      Typo – corporations and banks

  • John Mason

    What sense is there in the argument that the person who owns stock in Exxon is paying their corporate tax? When I buy Exxon gas, am I getting gasoline, or am I getting tax receipts? 

  • Anonymous

    How about we tax Wealth, not income.  I bet Buffet would hate this because it would make him actually pay more taxes.

    • Scott B, Jamestown NY

      Because “wealth” is made based on what you have total.  A small farmer can easily have over a million dollars in acreage and equipment, and not make a significant income.  So how would it be fair to tax that farmer at the same rate as Warren Buffet?

      • TFRX

        Yes, assets are tricky things; some are simply more liquid than others.

        It’s interesting that someone from Iowa has to be told that farmers can be “land rich” and “cash poor” at the same time.

    • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

      Just what is “wealth”? It’s an elusive number because we have a bizarre way of calculating it.  As I wrote a few days ago 1000 people own a Mickey Mantle baseball card that last sold for $900 but just sold for $1000. In the magic world of Wall Street accounting some $100,000 of new “wealth” was suddenly created… and all those card 1000 owners are $100 richer. That is until 10-20 or 30 of them try to cash in on that new $1000 price and the demand only supports an lower $800 price.  Oops, $200,000 of “wealth” suddenly disappeared.  Yes, this is a insane method to calculate anything yet it’s the basis for the concept of market capitalization and it allowed some 12 or so years ago a high stock priced AOL with few assets to buy out a low stock priced Time Warner with plenty of assets.   

    • Anonymous

      Thank you for making it clear you favor an estate tax.  I would never have expected that from you.

  • Markus

    As someone said, the rich don’t spend with their extra dough, they invest. They invest in new companies, old companies, our country through T-bills, etc. That said, we’re in a tough spot and “the rich” need to contribute more, but I’m amazed at how many people are falling over themselves to give more money to these jerks in government who put us into this spot.
     
    But a few things I’d love to see in parallel with higher rates:
     
    Our government’s need to show that they just won’t throw it away as they’ve been doing. Wars, illegal aliens, featherbedding for unions, all the rest.
    Stop categorizing all wealthy people as fat cat Wall Street types. People who start business take enormous chances, and most lose. These people need to be encouraged to take these chances and for good or bad, they’re incented by the prospect of making a ton of dough.

  • A Farkas

    The “slippery slope” argument is, quite frankly, asinine. To suggest that we shouldn’t fix the current problem because more problems will arise is defeatist and is the attitude that has put us in this situation to begin with. We need to “man up” as a country, as we have for the past 235 years, and tackle the issues that threaten our prosperity.

  • Steve in RI

    Conservatives these days, including your guest from the Club for Growth, argue that there should NEVER be any tax increases. This is of course just plain dumb, and until conservatives allow for the fact that sometimes taxes need to be raised, they do not deserve a place in this discussion. OF COURSE we should raise taxes on the wealthy. This is not class warfare, nor is it a punishment or disincentive to create wealth. Rather it is a simple fact that we need more revenue. It is also high time that this country got back to the notion that we should have a progressive tax structure, not a regressive one.  We are capitalists and should be proud of that, but we should also talk about equity and compassion in our society. The current debate misses these points.

  • Freeman

    Tom;    Hello; How does one drive ANY economy without  money ??
               No jobs, no money, no money, no purchase. Not really difficult !
               I would say you have a REALLY BIG problem when ” ONLY” the
               government or its rich employees are SPENDING.

  • Erin in Cedar Rapids IA

    The flat tax is such a joke.  If the average American’s median income is $50K, and 30% of their income goes to housing, that means that someone who makes $10MILLION per year is spending $3MILLION per year on their house?  I doubt it.

  • Scott B,Jamestown NY

    From what I’ve seen, protecting the rich from paying a little more taxes has only driven them deeper into their sense of entitlement. 

    Also, keep in mind that at the bottom of that money food-chain, the money they make is being made on the backs of people working way too hard for way too little.

    • Tina

      Scott!  Thank you!  You’ve just helped my brain understand why the Conservative use of the term, “entitlements” to describe Social Security, etc., makes my brain crawl!!!  It’s because it is the DEEP-SEATED SENSE OF ENTITLEMENT of the wealthy that is the ONLY “entitlement” we should be worried about!!!  People who paid into Social Security for all those years did nothing wrong, yet the RICH make it look like regular people are getting away with something!  And Social Security is ONLY in trouble because it got tapped into, right?!!  Perhaps the deduction from paychecks must be raised now, because there are so many more people now, AND, just how many workers are working BELOW the wages/salaries they should be making (with their Soc. Sec. contribution based on that figure) if the wealthy and corporation power-holders hadn’t reduced our job choices, options, and income so miserably?!!!  The Conservatives pass the blame to the workers, when it is Conservative/Big Business conduct that acts out of Selfish Entitlement!  Heck, they are even entitled to send our jobs off-shore so that people living on dividends don’t have to work, or work as hard!  This, folks, is Capitalism in its Pure Form.  I’m for a mixed-economy:  Social-Democracy, as in Scandinavia.  And please don’t tell me we are too mixed ethnically — talk about specious arguments!

  • kelly

    The taxes on the rich will not go up because people go into Congress to increase their own power and pocketbooks.

  • Matt

    I agree with Buffet.

    Who really pays taxes ???
     
    I’m sick of hearing the “talking mouths” state that over fifty percent of Americans pay no income tax!  Since Social Security tax is not meant for individual retirements, then what is happening to the 15+ percent (8% from you and 8% from your employer) of each American’s contribution (earning from one dollar up to $ 100,000) of their employment compensation to the government’s tax coffers.
     
    Even the poorest of employed Americans contribute 17 plus percent (15% Social Security plus 2% Medicare/Medicaid) of their before tax compensation to the tax coffers.  And the more fortunate amongst us pay an additional 25% (titled: income tax) as our earnings approach $100,000. 
     
    Just because the talking mouths label our tax burden under multiple titles, doesn’t mean that millionaires pay higher percentage in taxes than the average American.  Remember that millionaires do not pay any Social Security after their first hundred thousand dollars of employment compensation.  Also, millionaires pay only 15% on stock option compensation and investment income.
     
    The bottom line is that the stated 34% tax bracket that millionaires are subject to, is a joke.  The real percentages are well below that of someone earning less than $100,000.
     
    If over forty cents of every tax dollar goes to paying interest on government debt (Social Security fund being one of those creditors), has Social Security payouts exceeded 25% of the nations remaining spending?  I don’t think so, – - – maybe the info below will give us some insight where the money is really going!
     

    • Tina

      Matt, did you mean to include a Link?  You say, “maybe the info below will give us some insight”.  Thanks.

  • Peter B

    STewart is wrong on double taxation. The concervatives always play this stupid game of conflating and comingeling income streams between entities.

    This county needs to first and formost completely redo teh tax system and then institute a stepped income tax with a small national consuption tax.

  • YH

    The comment on how Warren Buffet is really effectively paying 40% on capital gains tax is crazy and I am disappointed that no one offer a rebuttal to that. By that logic, can’t one argue that small businesses are paying 50% (people spend taxable income and the small business is then also taxed)???

    What is to say corporations have to pay investors more dividends if they are taxed lower?  While there is no guarantee  small businesses will make more if people are taxed lower, there is plenty of evidence people general spend more with more disposable income.

  • Ellen Dibble

    People at the bottom should pay federal income taxes.  It gives them a voice, and makes clear to everybody including themselves, that Uncle Sam is not a Sugar Daddy, and that exploiting the government only hurts themselves (as taxpayers).  They don’t have to pay a lot, but they have to know they’re part of the equation.  Without that, it skews the sense of responsibility.  You end up asking not “what can I give,” but “What can I get away with.”  That’s pretty un-American.

    • Anonymous

      I’d agree if they were paid a living wage.

      • Ellen Dibble

        It seems to me that there are lots of benefits to people who are not earning a living wage.  There are food stamps, housing subsidies, sometimes medical services, on and on.  If there need to be more, then there need to be more.  But the less you make, the harder you need to be fighting to keep it fair, to make sure government money is spent wisely, all that.  The best watch-dogs to guarantee nobody “on top” is going to look at the safety net and say it is creating dependency — the best ones to protect that safety net are themselves.  They need to be on board to say that program is a waste of money; that agency is a waste of government resources.  In order to be able to lay it on the table that you are part of the “system,” I’m sure there’s a way to make the tax forms show that you too paid in.  It guarantees your participation.  No representation without taxation.  It works two ways.  It is a shame on society if you have people trying NOT to pay in.  And it is kind of our responsibility to see to it that they don’t kill themselves in order to do their part.  Right now, as has been pointed out, if you aren’t in a union, you might not have enough “voice” to be able to work and work where you can make a fair living.  This is too bad. It’s bad for the unions, whose competition the nonunionized are.  I can only think that in a time of great change in how we earn our livings and how many things “work,” all things are in flux, and we need all hands on deck, as members of the contributors, the rich as well as the poor.

  • Simon

    We absolutely don’t want everyone to earn or have same amount of wealth. But do we want to live in a society in which one person owns 10000 or 100000 or 1000000 or 10000000,… more than another? Should there be a threshold that we all agree is too high? Or does the right thinks the sky is the limit??

  • Charles A. Bowsher

    Stephen Moore is a liar.  Capital gains are not corporate income, they occur as a result of an increase in the value of a share of stock. As such they have never been taxed. I can not believe that all you smart people don’t call out these shills on this one.

    Try living at the bottom! It sucks! 

  • Weblizard

    How is it that we elect people to represent us in Congress on a majority-of-votes-wins process, polls show a majority of Americans feel we should raise taxes on the wealthy, YET those representatives refuse to raise taxes on the wealthy?
    So much for the “will of the people” the right-wingers love to rave about!

    • NathanD

      So the majority of Americans say “Steal someone else’s money and give it to me.”  How sad.   I’d say their representatives are rather honorable for resisting such an outrageous demand.  I have always taught my children that it is wrong to take something that doesn’t belong to them.  The income tax is an abomination; there are other, less immoral,  ways to raise revenue.

  • Ehdoss

    We, the Middle Class are the “Golden Goose”.  Despite what bull is fed to us millionaires could not maitain their lifestyle without Middle Class work and consent.  They invest my small savings and skim off the top.

    Only fools, the rich, or cons invest with taxes in mind.  I make a profit first, then worry about the taxes.  Funny thing, the more I make, the more taxes I pay.

    Why aren’t countries with no taxes the world leaders?  Mexico? Afghanistan? Sudan?  

  • Raymond17

    After the first $102K the rich people get a pay Raise, because they don’t have to contribute to Social Security.
     
    Talk in real dollars not percentages.  1% tax saving to Buffett is in the millions of dollars, 1% of my tax is in the thousands of dollars.

    Government spends every dollar it takes in, it doesn’t “save” or houde money. It buys services and products and puts people to work.

    • BHA in Vermont

      Not necessarily. The SS tax is paid only on wages, not income. You can have NO job, pay no SS tax and still make hundreds of thousands, or like Buffet hundreds of millions, a year.

  • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

    Come on Tom… one of the guests made a claim the Reagan years were just great. This is an Orwellian rewrite of history! In reality a deep recession began 6 months after Reagan took office with unemloyment reaching 10.8% by Dec 82. The average unemployment rate for 82 and 83 was over 9% 

  • Yar

    The wealthy made their wealth on the work of the bottom 50%!

    • Tharen

      Good grief…enough with the Karl Mark fantasies. Geez. Go out and meet a real businessperson who has struggled to get something going, reaped some of the rewards, paid workers’ salaries, benefits, etc., and THEN tell them they owe their wealth to the “bottom 50%”.

      That sort of comment sounds good and I’m sure makes you feel like you’re sticking up for the “little guy”, but it sounds like something a college freshman might say–without the benefit of Econ 101.

  • Charles A. Bowsher

    Moore, it is not a highly progressive tax system, it is a highly regressive income system!

  • BHA in Vermont

    If someone drops out of the top 1% they are still doing a WHOLE lot better than anyone in the lower 50%

  • thegreengrass

    If people have a problem with the bottom 50% paying very little federal income tax, why don’t the top 10% create the jobs to hire them?

  • Mike

    The fundamental question is not whether tax rates are high enough, but rather whether government is best able to spend that money.  The fact that Mr. Buffett chooses to give his money to the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation indicates that he thinks that government is not a capable manager of our national wealth.  The fact that he has a 50% deduction from death taxes on this gift means that OTHER AMERICANS are helping to subsidize his gift to Bill and Melinda’s foundation. 

    • TFRX

      “The fact that Mr. Buffett chooses to give his money to the Bill and
      Melinda Gates foundation indicates that he thinks that government is
      not a capable manager of our national wealth.”

      Wow. You have ESP or something? Maybe he has almost more money than God, and he wants some of it being spent overseas or on the one-off experimental programs that the Gates Foundation takes a risk on.

  • Thatsluke

    Median income in the U.S. is about $30,000.

  • Ellen Dibble

    The “elevator” effect the guest is referring to is likely to get rarer and rarer.  Twenty years ago career advisors were telling us you’d have three careers in a lifespan.  Those careers depend on ever greater training curves.  Technology is likely to have an accelerating rate of change, and moving from job A to job B is going to take greater planning, sometimes government participation.
        That, or we don’t have a mobilized workforce.
         The elevator will be a very costly feature in future, I think.

  • Jude

    Robert Frank’s revised tax system seems elegantly perfect.  

    Also, I am wondering if anyone sees a connection between lowering the capital gains tax and the short sightedness of wall street, where yearly profits for share holders matter more than the long term viability of the company.  If you are encouraged to sell because the tax rate is low any thing insiders can do to make the company look more profitable will be encouraged as well. Does that make sense?  Could someone flesh that out for me?JudeVT

  • John

    WBUR of Boston, how well do the people of Mass. feel of
    paying UBS 30million public dollars for infrastructure so they will not cut
    jobs in the announcement of their 1500 layoffs? Is this not considered bribery?
    The problem is that we are so out of touch on how to create growth we cut off
    our hand to save our arm. UBS is the last company in the world that needs a 30
    million subsidy. Taxes are only part of the problem.

  • Ehdoss

    As someone who makes far less than One Million per year, I am very sad that there were fewer Millionaires in 2009.  I’ll cry now.

  • Progressive

    Can we shift future taxes to current, so we can lower deficit, stimulate economy, increase tax base. Future rate would be lower, but base (hopefully) would be bigger.

  • guest

    Can we shift future taxes to current, so we can lower deficit, stimulate economy, increase tax base. Future rate would be lower, but base (hopefully) would be bigger.

  • Jack

    What is needed is campaign finance reform and stricter lobbying laws — to lessen the influence of corporations and the uber-rich over individuals and the middle class — but how are we going to get those changes when they have such a death grip on Congress?

  • Willis_s

    One of the guests on the show said that taxing the corporate profits then the capital gains is a double tax. That makes no sense. The profits mde by the company are taxed because of the way incorporation works. The money made by the corporation or company is considered income for the company. Therefore its taxed. Then the investor is paid. That’s their portion of the profit like a salary. Saying its double taxing is like saying taxing my boss for the money he makes then pays me with which I pay taxes on is double taxing.

  • mike

    Broadening the tax base will not increase revenue, it will rather force all of the electorate to think carefully about spending incremental dollars.  If 50% of the nation doesn’t share in the tax bill, they will not think twice before raising the taxes of others. 

  • TFRX

    Please let’s not discuss tax rates &c as if current income levels are set in stone. There is still great flux in the business cycle.

    The rich, by many accounts have recovered from the Great Recession. The remainder of us, not so much.

    • BHA in Vermont

      Yep, just wait out the stock market drop and they recover their paper loss. The people who lost their jobs do not recover by “waiting it out”.

  • Dbianco74

    When people cite how 50% of the country does not pay income taxes, shouldn’t there be some shame that our country has morphed into a place where over 50% of Americans don’t MAKE ENOUGH to HAVE TO PAY income taxes?

  • Frank

    Not more taxes more taxpayers create jobs.
    Have everyone including corporations pay a flat 10%
    Not more programs

    • BHA in Vermont

      So someone making $20K a year should pay $2K in taxes leaving $18K to ‘live’ on and someone making $200K should pay $20K leaving $180K to live on? Likewise someone making $2M should pay $200K leaving ‘only’ $1.8M to live on?

      Smell the coffee. Businesses are NOT creating jobs NOW when there is no market for their goods and services and they WON’T create jobs next week if you tax them at 10% when there is no market for their goods and services.

  • Susan Schneir

    Stephen Moore has the most convoluted twisted point of
    view, that beautifully reflects the owners’ of his paper. I pay capital gains
    tax, business tax saying that is a double dip, is the same as saying I should
    not pay personal tax, because I pay business tax. We all have to pay for the
    bad decisions of our government, wars, deregulation, etc. Stop duping the
    middle class.

  • Guest in MA

    Arguing that the top percentages are paying the most of the total tax revenue may be true, but what about the fact that the taxes they pay don’t affect their lively hood while with the middle and lower class taxes make a huge impact on their lives? If you make even over 1 million a year, you probably don’t have to worry about being able to afford what you want.

  • Diane

    The guest that claims Buffet is paying a higher than 17% tax rate because of the corporate tax rate should apply that circular logic to the middle incomes. 
    My paycheck comes for the taxed revenue of my company.  Does that mean I am really paying a tax rate even higher than the 24% rate I pay on my personal income?  By his logic, anyone working for a for profit business is double taxed.
    The undisputable fact is that the nation’s economy is hurting because the middle class, not the rich, are hurting.

    • BHA in Vermont

      No, your paycheck come from PRE tax income, you are a business expense deduction.

      Your last sentence is right on.

  • Charles A. Bowsher

    It has been class warfare for the last decade, the rich won. Let’s give them an appropriate trophy, confiscate all their wealth and start over!

  • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

    Tom read a comment I assume was on this board that the rich pay 71% of the income tax. What a disingenuous argument. It was BUSH and the GOP who bragged they were taking 5 MILLION taxpayers OFF the income tax rolls. Now the Right is pretending the rich are being soaked. A growing percentage of a shrinking tax pie is NOT the same as paying more in absolute dollars.

  • YankeeBoy

    Mr. Moore is either being disingenuous or outright dishonest when he asserts that Mr. Buffet should include the 35% tax rate that corporations paid on the dividends that were paid to him.  Why stop there?  Why not also include the taxes that the corporation’s customers paid on their income before they purchased the goods for which that corporation earned its income?  Why don’t we simply tally all the taxes that are leveled on each dollar as it passes through the economy?  
    Well, to ask those questions reveals how ridiculous Mr. Moore’s argument is.  Mr. Buffet’s point is that the tax on that dollar in HIS hands was only about 17% compared to others in his office who pay substantially more on that same dollar in their hands.I suppose only a senior editor at a Murdoch publication could argue against higher taxes for the rich.  Such do Mudoch’s minions fill their days when they are not defending his performance before the British parliament.  “Hacking” US style?

  • BHA in Vermont

    Current caller is right – the majority of the rich DO NOT CREATE JOBS with their after tax money.

  • Bob Gardner

    nothing is preventing hypocrites like Steve Moore from taking a voluntary pay cut down to below $21 K/yr and thus entering the low-tax paradise of the bottom 50%.

  • Vince Murfreesboro TN

    The issue isn’t taxes, its the influences and power of corporate interests in our gov’t structure. Corporations given the value of a human being is an example of the loss of democratic law in exchange for a corporate-oligarchy. Oh, and trickle-down is a fantasy like the lottery.

  • Rob (in NY)

    I admire Mr. Buffett as one of the Godfathers of value
    investing, but there is certain hypocrisy to his argument here.  

    In his NY Times and other editorials, Buffett proposes
    raising the top rate on personal income from about 35% to 40% (which is a tax
    Mr. Buffett generally  does pay because
    almost all of his income is in the form of capital gains or dividends) and a
    slight increase in the taxes on dividends and capital gains, which would have a
    slight impact on Buffett.  However,
    because most of Buffett’s wealth is in the form of unrealized capital gains,
    even increasing the capital gains rate would not really impact him too much.   Perhaps I missed it, but I have not read
    anything about Buffett proposing a wealth based tax.   In addition, Mr. Buffet’s actions speak far louder
    than his words in that he is legally transferring most of wealth to the Gates
    Foundation to avoid paying the estate tax, which is the one wealth based tax
    that we have in the US.  Hypocrisy
    anyone?      If Warren Buffett feels so
    strongly, he should leave his wealth to the US Treasury or allow his estate to
    pay estate taxes and they can use it to pay down about .00000001% of the US national
    debt.  

    By the way, I do not have a problem with certain revenue
    increases if they are accompanied with spending cuts, such as Simpson/Bowles,
    but I find Buffett’s arguments here a bit hypocritical given his actions.   

    • Rob (in NY)

      Typo.  Mr Buffett generally does not pay personal income tax at 35% or 40% without Bush tax cuts as most of his income is capital gains and most of his wealth is unrealized capital gains. 

  • Charles A. Bowsher

    Shut this liar up!

  • Webb Nichols

    If the issue is jobs, then no increase in revenue will lift the economy. There will remain fewer jobs in the United States than there are workers.
    7-9 percent permanent unemployment is predicted to remain a fact of life.

  • http://twitter.com/RealEstateCafe Bill Wendel

    Question: @WBUR /@OnPointRadio:disqus @OnPointRadio
    NYU Professor calls mortgage tax deduction “Ponzi scheme” http://read.bi/rhjO5H Does Buffett tax plan call for elimination or cap on luxury homes?
    bit.ly/TaxRE #realestate

  • John

    8 million jobs, Tom ask for sources

  • Dan

    Could someone explain simply why a return to the pre-Bush tax rates would be so bad? The ensuing tax cuts do not seem to have us more prosperous than in the Regan/Clinton times.

    • BHA in Vermont

      It does seem odd, doesn’t it, that the rates during the Reagan “lower taxes on the rich (doesn’t) trickle down” period are now too high for Republicans and the Tea Party.

      • Gregg

        More revenue is more revenue and the record was set in 2007.

        • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

          I knew you’d be back to your old tricks. See my response above. As for 07, and for the 100th time, NO ONE said tax cuts will always hold revenues down forever. What they do is set back the natural upward curve of revenue growth for 4-5 years. So of course they may eventually exceed the peak revenue under the old tax law. But what you continue to EVADE is what revenue was LOST from those tax cuts… or put another way what the OLD tax law would have brought in during that same year. And despite your claims Bush still was running a -342 BILLION deficit in 07.If you were really here for a honest debate as you claimed, you would have incorporated this rebuttal into your argument. That you’re here 24/7 ignoring the facts, posting and reposting right wing talking points calls your claim into question. In an honest debate people change their positions when shown their facts or logic is in error. 

          • nj

            Rush made him do it.

    • Gregg

      If that were to happen 6 million of the poorest who pay no taxes would be taxed at 15%. Everyone else (but the top bracket) would see a 3% hike. And the top wage earners would end up paying less of the overall bill despite the higher rate (up 4.6.%). Every American would have even less money in their pockets when times are rough enough. Even if more revenue was generated (doubtful in this economy) government would still spend it irresponsibly.

      I’ll let you decide if that’s bad or not.

      • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

         
        Whether it’s bad or not isn’t the question. The REAL issue you continue to EVADE is whether tax cuts are responsible when We The People are in debt… and it was close to $6 TRILLION when the first round of Bush tax cuts. Now that hole is about $14 trillion.

        You can delude yourself all you want that we can “grow” our way out of this… but we already saw what you claimed was a great rate of growth and revenue in 06-07. Yet what good did it do? Bush NEVER had a balanced budget let alone a surplus. In YOUR favorite year to cite… FY07… Bush was still  -342 BILLION in the hole and in the end he created over $5 TRILLION in new debt. Yup, those tax cuts really brought in tons of revenue.

  • Peter from Newton

    Mr. Moore, like all the anti-taxers, says the “rich” pay 71% of income taxes, totally disregarding Social Security, Medicare taxes.   But they ALWAYS include the COSTS of Soc Sec, Medicare, when demanding that government lower spending. 

    I’ll bet the non-rich pay 99%+ of Soc Sec, Medicare.

    The rich don’t need these entitlements, but how many of them send back the check?!?

    • Gregg

      “But they ALWAYS include the COSTS of Soc Sec, Medicare, when demanding that government lower spending.”

      Is that true? I’ve never hear that. As a matter of fact the drumbeat seems to be save Social Security and Medicare from their inevitable demise. 

  • Litekeep

    If we tax the rich in a progressive manner, doesn’t that stimulate the rich to produce more (which could stimulate the production of more jobs)?

    • BHA in Vermont

      Sure, why not :)
      If they have to pay an extra 3% on the amount over $250K, they SHOULD want to work harder to ‘recover’ that money. They would keep 69% of every extra dollar. No SS./medicare tax on that money unlike the extra dollar a low or middle income person makes at their second job.

       In fact they should create MORE jobs because that is how they make money, right? Well, no. :)

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QME6C6XTBAYFEJP2GYDH3VQEMU Beat

    Rockefellar’s Standard Oil was the maker of 7 Sisters. They’re the one should pay a lot of taxes. John D. Rockefellar and family should be paying more taxes. their net worth of $665 billion dollars

  • TFRX

    “The tax cuts of 2003 created 8 million jobs.” per guest.

    Is someone measuring “trough to crest” again? George W. Bush’s 8 years netted about 1 million jobs total.

    Something to remember when the monthly reports come in about the Obama admin.

  • Proser56

    Why don’t the the rich and super-rich try admitting that the reason they don’t want higher taxes us that they don’t want to give up the wealth and power and privilege that all that money gives them? Why don’t they admit their sudden concern about unemployment is that the paucity of demand prevents them from earning yet more power and privilege and wealth? Matt Proser, proser56@gmx.com

  • Philip

    Did Mr. Moore just claim that the Bush tax cuts were responsible for creating the housing bubble?  I’m not sure that is the best argument in defense of his position.

  • Bill in Nashville

    Has anyone done the math, based on what annual tax revenues would be – IF we had not had tax reform since the 70′s & 80′s?  Would we not have found that spending at it’s current pace would be within Federal budgets while maintaining (or even improving) our standard of living? 
    Wasn’t all the tax reform promoted by the wealthy, through lobby spending for personal or corporate interests? 

  • Mike

    What a disingenuous conversation on the air right now. Warren Buffett has advocated a tax on the super rich- those making more than one million per year, with an additional bracket for those earning more than ten million per year. The reality is that the discussion in Washington is to raise taxes on those making more than 250k. There is nothing progressive about failing to distinguish between 250k and 2.5M.

    • TFRX

      Yeah, but one takes what one can get. Otherwise we’d have to ask if our mainstream media and the right wing would actually deal rationally if, say, President Obama were to propose an additional marginal top tax rate to kick in at $1m or $2m.

      History tells us they (even the Club for “Growth”) put up the faker Joe The Plumber, and ran that lying unlicensed hack 24×7, on the subject of a 3% restoration of the marginal rate at $250k. Turns out he had to worry about getting a ~200k raise before worrying about the top marginal tax rate.

      Buffet is just saying things and making sense. He’s not trying to roll out a whole plan. (And the less said about right-wing Washington’s tax plans, the better.)

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1439572620 Joe Lee

      actually, I believe the discussion in Washington is really over whether increasing tax revenues should be a part of any possible solution at all. 

      There is nothing progressive about not distinguishing between any income range.

  • Ellen Dibble

    The guest is saying “the rich just save it.”
    Well, I don’t think so.  I think they feed that back into the economy, helping the solar farms, the R&D facilities, the builders of wind turbines, what have you.  And so that goes to jobs too.  Just as my buying an air conditioner does.  
       IF the wealthy put that money into an Roth IRA, they won’t pay taxes on that investment.
        

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1439572620 Joe Lee

      It’s not that the rich are putting their money into a savings account or a retirement account. When they are saving it, then they are doing so through complex investment products like CDOs and CDS products that had a direct hand in the collapse that got our economy into the situation we’re in right now. There are plenty of tax sheltered investment opportunities out there that are available for people who have large amounts of money to spare… and that’s not even the worst thing they do with their money.

      The worst thing that they do is that they pay to buy political influence that gives them these special tax loop-holes and shelters so they don’t have to pay taxes on them.

      Think about all the partisan think tanks out there. They are all funded by the rich who expect them all to shape the political climate to their own benefit.

    • BHA in Vermont

      Only if they invest in start up companies. Buying stock someone else already owns does ZERO for the economy except for the overpaid stock brokers.

  • Biscottiandtea

    Does Stephen Moore have no shame?  Philanthropy is not a substitute for civic obligations.  Those who have benefited most have the most obligation.  When you look at what percentage of the country’s wealth the superrich have tied up for themselves, it’s clear that they have undercontributed to the economy, and need to pay more.  The hardest working people are at the bottom of the economy, and they have a miniscule share of the national wealth.

  • Charles A. Bowsher

    If lower tax rates actually increased employment why didn’t Bush’s presidency create an excess of jobs!

  • Thatsluke

    We don’t have a volunteer army… people get paid to be in the army.

    • Thatsluke

      Might be a good way to reduce the size of it though, only volunteers please.  No more pay, patriots only apply!

      • Anonymous

        Only volunteers without pay? So who pays for their upkeep while they are away protecting your selfish behind?

        • BHA in Vermont

          I believe that comment was tongue in cheek

      • Anonymous

        They are patriots.  They didn’t join to make money.  You are confusing them with Black Water and Haliburton’s mercenaries.

    • Ellen Dibble

      If we had a draft, would there have been enough public support to undertake the invasion of Iraq?  
          Would we have thought more carefully about sending our troops into harms way if we thought everyone was equally at risk?
          And by the way, we didn’t think about the financial cost either. The home-front part of the war is still to be fought, that being the issue of how do we pay for it.
           So the issue of getting enough public support for that costly escapade was avoided in 2002 and 2003, both in terms of taxes and troops.
           It is apparently not getting any easier to get people on board for paying that debt — and this is AFTER the cost has already been incurred?  Is this like paying for yesteday’s wine and cheese?  No, it’s like paying for yesterday’s sunburn.  A tougher sell.

      • Gregg

        Even though Charlie Rangel tried to implement it, it was unnecessary. We had plenty of brave young Americans volunteering to do the heavy lifting. 

        I don’t want to get sidetracked but the war was going to have to be fought sooner or later. I believe Algore would have done the same thing if elected. A Democracy in the heart of the middle east is a good thing that makes the world a safer place. It has inspired the Arab Spring. 50 million people have been liberated in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    • Gregg

      There is no draft, they voluntarily enlist to put their lives on the line and serve our country.

  • John

    Send the corporations overseas if they choose to turn their backs on the American consumers and employees, disgusting how the rich made their miollions off the middle class and have forgotten their duty to return the agreement through investment.

  • Anonymous

    Moore is just using the republicans talking points to push through this notion that increasing taxes will stop job growth. Well there is not one shred of evidence whatsoever. The argument that Warren Buffet’ of the world should volunteer to pay more taxes is load of bunk. I’m being polite here. This man is the reason this nation is in the toilet. 

  • Clamdip

    He sure throwing around the hypocrisy label a lot.

    • Anonymous

      He sure is….

      If he were smart he would have just said…  YOU FIRST!  :) 

      The You First argument is less inflamitory than calling someone a hypocrit.  He must want to irritate people.

  • Me

    Stephen Moore…bought and paid for by Corporate America.

    • Gregg

      Early in this thread I gave kudos to On Point for having Moore and predicted he would be vilified. 10 likes so far on this one and he’s been called rude, hypocritical and all kinds of stuff elsewhere. He is a respected economist with a rational thesis. Why is anything other than the group think “stick it to the rich” argument treated this way by such supposed tolerant, open-minded, and civil commenters?

      • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

        How is reverting back to the Clinton era levels of taxation “sticking it to the rich”? I, on the other hand DO want to rich to pay back ALL the revenue plus interest that NEVER should have been given away by Bush… and now Obama. I think we should go back to Reagan’s 1981 ERTA top rate of 50% for 10-15 years.

      • Me

        The opinion of “respected economists” like Moore have led us to where we are at now: empty pockets, no jobs and hungry for both food and direction while rich equity managers make multimillion dollar additions to their beachfront mansions because the mansion as it currently stands ‘does not meet their needs”, corporations (I mean people) continue to offshore workers and money, and investment bankers use tarp money to speculate on other on the market, oil futures…you name it.

        I’m neither civil or tolerant so I say stick it to you too.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1439572620 Joe Lee

    Thank you Robert Frank for bringing data to this discussion, and thank you James Stewart for bringing scientific methodology to the table. 

    The problems of this country will be solved through methodical thought and analysis of data. 

    Rhetoric and dogma without any consideration of data will lead us nowhere.

  • Weblizard

    It’s not so much “trickle-down” as “tsunami-up”!

  • BHA in Vermont

    IF Buffet could pay off the national debt with a check, he might very well do it. BUT the debt is so huge you could take ALL the assets of the top 1% and we would till have a HUGE national debt.

  • Matt

    So let the BIG MONEY go elsewhere, they are not carrying their weight here anyway !  Where else in the world do they have better opportunity?

    • Ellen Dibble

      Pretty much, I’d agree.  If the rich would move to Switzerland, we’d have a much more equal playing field.  I’m thinking of the flea powder ad about “Ain’t no fleas on me,” thinking the raw wealth can just clear out, as far as I’m concerned.  They have pushed us around long enough.  

  • Anonymous

    Of course the top 10% pay a larger share of the total income tax received; they make more money! The same would be true in a flat tax system.  If I make $1M/year, and 9 of my neighbors make and average of $20,000.  With a flat tax rate of 20% I would pay $200,000, while my 9 neighbors would pay $36,000 total.  Using your guest’s logic I would be paying 85% of the taxes.

    The problem with our current system is that the middle class are paying a larger percentage of their income in taxes than the rich are.

    • BHA in Vermont

      Correct and it is important to use that phrasing: “paying a larger percentage of their income IN taxes”. Not “income taxes”
      Property tax, sales tax, SS tax, etc. The NON rich pay a MUCH higher percentage of their income in taxes just living every day.

      You can have the biggest estate in the city and make more money then everyone else in the city but your property tax RATE is the same as the unemployed person with the smallest hovel (there are some areas that have income sensitivity). That is a FLAT TAX.

  • Yar

    How many of the top 1% give to political campaigns?
    You get what you pay for!

  • Dan

    It seems to me that the reason the right are against higher revenues is that they want to prevent any more spending on social programs. Why then not mandate extra revenue can only go towards debt reduction?

  • Ellen Dibble

    The founding fathers, pledging our lives, our fortunes, our sacred honor.Tea Party, remember that?
    I just think it’s the algorithm-churned profits, where the rich can make money off of money, and more specifically make money off the students borrowing money to go to school, the sick people borrowing money to stay well, the start-up businesses borrowing money to get their feet on the ground — that creates ever greater inequality.  It creates an incredibly vibrant bottom, and silver-spoon-in-the-mouth upper crust that can’t see the other side of the tracks.

  • Tina

    This argument by the guest who says Buffet, et al, should just voluntarily pay more taxes:  this is just arguing to argue!  His argument is only words — Buffett is talking about a systemic change, this guy is only tit for tatting == specious argument — he’ll have people quoting him, tho, because that’s how things work nowadays.  This guy has no real understanding of various economic models, etc., he just uses words to argue — that will NOT help!    Thanks for argying back, Tom!  That IS what needed to be done!  Thanks!

    • Ellen Dibble

      Tina, I agree.  Buffett could pay all his money to the government and it wouldn’t regenerate our economic vitality.
          I am wondering if he owns a bunch of Treasury bonds, in effect owning American debt.  Apparently plenty of Americans are glad to have their money in American debt rather than in the stock market, betting on the government to get its act together faster than Wall Street does.
          It’s nice to know we trust our budget-making ability.  But I do wonder what the “very rich” think of this.  It is not investing in American growth.  It’s investing in a kind of hedge, US bonds.  That money could be going into new businesses, instead of to Bernanke et al.  
          I believe Buffett is encouraging because he is NOT hiding his money under the bed — i.e., not putting it into T bills.  
         But paying all that extra money in taxes would be like taking it OUT of businesses he is supporting and maintaining.
         The same cannot be said of all rich.  Or can it?  Can the Tax code determine this?

  • Mike from Rutland

    Yes, voluntarily contributing more taxes is admirable.  But expecting to make a dent in our national problem off the backs of those generous well-to-do folks who have a moral conscience and contribute MORE than required is ludicrous.  For those who are honest enough to pay extra for taxes, good for them and I applaud them.  But it needs to be mandatory to have those who are rich leeches (friends of Stephen Moore) pay up and have it make a difference.

    • TFRX

      Remind me not to go to a bar with Moore. He smacks of the fellow who goes to the bathroom when it’s his turn to buy.

  • Weblizard

    It never ceases to occur: they start crying “class war” when the non-wealthy start to fight back!

  • Sage Creek

    Obama did not spend 4 trillion on education and health care in 18 months.
    We are in debt because Bush/Cheney congress voted us 2 wars that we have been fighting for 10 years and the medicare drug benefit for seniors. These 3 policies are unfunded as, for the first time in history, congress also voted to lower taxes during wartime.
    The “super rich” got so because they were able to take advantage of living in a lawful stable society. Now, congress is looking to cut deeply into the base of our stable society as the USA faces this inevitable economic crunch.
    Why no taxes to pay for the neocon wars? The lower classes are already contributing to the war with their lives.
    The super rich enjoy the benefits and would lose the most if they don’t step up as WBuffett suggests (London Calling?).

  • Derek Hallquist

    Mr. Moore you are all the things wrong with our country.  You represent the polarizing attitudes that have handed my generation a mess.  You and your party’s greed, MASKED by conservative blabber, without honest facts, are in fact, the negatives that come with freedom of speech.   We have so much work to do and you are making it worse!   Its time to go to work and stop whining about who are, or who are not hypocrites!  Please, for the good of our country…stop talking!

  • thegreengrass

    @Dbianco74: Couldn’t agree more. The fact that we’re ok with that insane statistic is proof that we’re becoming a sham of a country.

  • Tedslee

    I have had the fortune of being in three different tax brackets in my 33 years of life and have always felt that a flat tax would be a simpler way to pay my share of running this country.  If there were a tax payer that wanted to contribute more allow for a line item towards a specific program.

    • BHA in Vermont

      Simpler yes, ‘fair’ absolutely not. Should someone living in poverty on $20K a year pay the same tax rate as someone making $1M?

      ZERO deductions, LOW tax rates, but still tiered based on income is simple AND fair.

      • TFRX

        Agreed, but it shouldn’t go without saying that it’s someone’s goal to have screwed up the tax system so that a “flat tax” “seems fair”.

  • Ellen Dibble

    Some rich people’s money goes to growth.  Some rich people’s money might as well go to buy bonds, buy American debt, T bills.  
        Some rich people’s money goes direct to taxes, does not pass go, does not invest and collect capital gains along the way.  
         Which is which?  If you’re talking millions and billions, maybe we need to discriminate?

    • Tina

      Hi, Ellen!  I don’t think that rich people are quite so passive when it comes to paying taxes.  Their tax accountants help them plan for how to get the most in tax benefits.  They might be advised, for instance, to “gang up” their charitable giving — giving generously in one year; nothing in the next — to play with tax brackets.  That’s the only plan I’ve heard about — there’s nothing illegal about it, I didn’t mean that.  I just think that the money that goes into federal coffers in the form of taxes was usually the minimum — arrived at by plan and with much help.  

  • WBC

    One of your guests mentioned that taxes on capital gains (and qualified dividends) should be taxed at a low rate (15%), because it has already been taxed via corporate taxes (double taxation of the same money).  However, your other guest didn’t bring up the retort to this.  The investor gets liability protection when he owns shares of a stock.  If you want to complain about double taxation, then go all the way and get rid of this liability protection too.  I wonder how many people would really want to be an owner of a multination coporation, if there house was at risk every time that coporation was being sued? 

    • denis

      I am not an economist so would someone explain how there is double taxation created by capital gains. It seems that the tax the corporation pays in on profits etc. [and the investor is rewarded with a dividend check that is taxed as income] while the capital gains tax is paid on the increased value of your investment at the time of sale.

      • Ellen Dibble

        I also wonder if someone could explain this from a corporate point of view.  If a company is not paying dividends, it would pay the 35%, I guess.  But why bother to go public, to start to accept investments and pay dividends on the big exchanges?  
            Do corporations that ARE public get to DEDUCT what they pay out in dividends?
            I believe Buffett was saying the companies that he owns are NOT publicly owned, and therefore profits are not divided into dividends.
            So …

        • BHA in Vermont

          Dividends paid are not deductible to the corporation AFAIK.

          And the answer to the question is: The corporation is a separate entity from its owners who have no legal liability. There is also no requirement that corporations pay dividends. People buy their IPOs hoping the company will do well (maybe pay a dividend) and they can sell the stock later to someone who thinks the company will increase in value and the stock will as well so they can sell the stock…… Not one dime of resold stock goes to benefit the company in any way.

          Kind of like a Ponzi scheme or housing bubble. Works great until no one thinks the ‘asset’ is worth what is asked, indeed it is overvalued. You just have to be ‘smart’ enough to know when it is too high and find that last unaware buyer  :)

          • TFRX

            Ponzi scheme?

            Last unaware buyer?

            Let’s unpack some of that: Stock options are worth more in a volatile market. No longer does an executive stay at a company for several years, shepherding it to better results in the marketplace, and then cash in a stock option.

            Pump and dump, baby. Pump and dump.

            And note how well that treats the riffraff who have index funds or other middle- and working-class “solid” investments based on long-term results.

          • Tina

            IF you see this, can you explain more about “pump and dump”?  Just WHAT kind of activities are included in these words?  Is this ultimately where companies are sold?  Is this when companies are sold to (darn! I just forgot the term! …. but those companies that buy loosing propositions and then break them up somehow)?  Can you explain more?  Thanks very much!

    • Modavations

      15% is long term rate,26%is short

  • CA

    Multiple variables affect our current economy.  There isn’t ‘one’ thing that’s going to fix it.
    We need a balanced approach with tax code changes (the tax code should be simplified) and increases on the wealthy, as well as spending cuts.  Those who make a lot of money will not suffer in any way with higher taxes.  Tax cuts that already exist have not generated more jobs.
    I am in the tax bracket that would pay more and I am happy to pay more.  I can afford it and my lifestyle will not be affected in any way.

     The argument to pay less taxes is selfish, self-indulgent and self-centered.  We have big bills that need to be paid – let’s pay them.   Knowing that we’d be paying them would make us all feel better and give a sense of stability.  A sense of stability will lead to more spending.  Spending creates jobs. 
    The middle class and the poor should not be burdened with more taxes or cutting social programs.  They CAN’T afford it.  Society gains nothing by making people poorer – it only creates more violent crime and people who have no hope of pulling their own weight.
    Spending cuts are needed but should be made in a rational manner, looking for efficiencies and cutting waste, not slash and burn. 

    Let’s get off ideology and get practical.

    CA

    • Tina

      CA, Thank you!  Please, would you consider either running for President OR sending your post to President Obama and asking him to say this entire thing out loud and often!  He stops at the “balanced approach” part, not explaining the total picture you’ve put into place so well!  I also believe that his staff should be putting some tax code change package options out there for people to consider — maybe 8 different plans, to start concrete brainstorming. 

  • Cabmanjohnny

    The rich are certainly different. They can afford to “buy” tax policy. I don’t see any big changes coming, just continued increases in the many little taxes and fees people like me pay.

    http://michael-hudson.com/2011/01/why-america-had-a-90-income-tax/

  • Kathy

    Mr. Moore’s comment about Mr. Buffet not calculating that he has “already” paid tax prior to personal capital gains assessments since the corporations which earn him money already having paid corporate taxes is misleading.  A person is not the same as the corporation in which he/she holds stock and receives a dividend any more than he/she is the same as the corporation from which he/she earns a wage.  Indeed, the law seems to treat corporations as “people” at many points.  Nice that Mr. Buffet’s companies create wealth to share with him and I hope they continue to do so, but the corporate responsibility for contributing to the common good does not count as his.   

  • Modavations

    Once again the host’s bias is apparent.S.Moore is referred to as an ultra conservative and the professor as neutral.Once again,the professor is an  leftist from Berkley,with no real world experience.As we”Free Enterprise”types donate to NPR,when will we see just one “laissez Faire”host.

    • Anonymous

      Ah yes the sweet smell of right wing victim-hood rears it’s head.

    • Gregg

      Good point. When was the last time you ever heard the phrase “Left-Wing Extremist”?

      • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

        Given the narrow political spectrum in the US pray tell WHAT is a left wing extremist? How many voices make the mainstream news or airwaves that call for the socialization of all industry? Single Payer is the closest we get and those advocates were largely marginalized. Single Payer never even came up for consideration when health care overhaul was being debated. Nor are advocates of reforming our dysfunctional political system to make it more democratic. In the US these “leftist” ideas pretty much remain in the realm of impermissible thought.

        What passes for the “Left” in the narrow political spectrum in the US are people like Paul Krugman who generally believe in free enterprise, health care might be the exception, but just want a return to more progressive tax rates like we saw under GOP presidents like Ike, Nixon, and Ford.

        I suspect that given how far the GOP as swung to the irrational right, even those GOP presidents might today be seen as “extreme leftists”.

        • Modavations

          P.Krugman had one job in the private sphere.He worked for Enron,excusing the embroglio

          • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

            I’m sure you wrote that thinking it was some devestating rebuttal to the points I made, but it was just more of your evasion.

        • nj

          Fox So-called News sez that Alan Colmes is a “hard-hitting liberal,” so i guess that’s pretty close to left-wing extremism. And they even let him on their network! So fair and balanced!

          Obama is a Socialist, so that’s another step closer. Maybe Michael Moore is the end of the spectrum these days.

  • Anonymous in midwest

    Volunteer army is not a group volunteering for no pay and robust benefits.  They may be enlisting for patriotic reasons or for lack of other jobs or for possibility of getting their US citizenship.  We respect their service, but it is not for free.  Some soldiers (not all) are getting $250K signing bonuses or higher and pay that exceeds most non-military federal workers.

    Silly person with silly argument about voluntary extra tax payments.  Mr. Buffet’s philanthropy dwarfs that of most Americans.

    Mr. Buffet’s ideas could easily be reached by a surtax on gross earnings in all areas foreign and domestic for corporations and on individuals. This approach pre-empts all deductions and depreciations as well as methods of parking monies and revenues in foreign accounts (so called off-shore accounts).  

    Put the best supercomputers to work to run the models. Let’s work to get savings rates up for the middle class and interest on those savings back to 4-5% or higher.  Did you see that white Americans as a group average $115,000 in net worth while black and Hispanic groups averaged less than $6,000 in net worth (PEW Center).  Tell me something is not horribly askew, Mr. Ashbrook.
    Additionally, heavy penalties for companies (Exxon, Google, Apple, Haliburton, etc.) for operating foreign “offices” clearly setup to evade the US tax system through sham off-shore offices, parking billions if not trillions overseas.  Any idea of tax forgiveness is revolting to this writer.  Aggressively closing the allowances that make this possible is needed.

  • Modavations

    The problem is not revenue,the govt. spends obscenely.Medicare loses 70bill.(12%) yealy, to waste and fraud.This is duplicated in every govt.program and there are zillions.To quote the Prez.there are 5 bureaus regulating Salmon and another 5, when they swim into salt water.

    • Anonymous in Midwest

      What income class is initiating the fraud?  Guessing it is not the low income people trying to stay well.  After all, how many motorized carts are needed to improve a patients strength, agility, and health?

      P.S.  Also, one-word (like in the Graduate)- “Canadian drug prescriptions.”  End the facade. 

    • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

      Thanks for FINALLY getting your numbers right. Does that mean you posted retractions on your older posts for saying number was $120 billion? Either way it’s obscene. And let’s not let Bush off the hook. He made investigating such fraud LESS of a priority just as he did auditing the rich for their tax cheating.

    • BHA in Vermont

      Streamlining the bureaucracy is not the same as cutting programs. Who is perpetrating that 12% fraud? It isn’t the government, it is greedy immoral people with a “I deserve more” mentality.

      We will now hear from someone who claims that is because not everyone is a Christian. Bring it on.

    • TFRX

      Your numbers are dodgy. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.

    • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

      M wrote: “Medicare loses 70bill.(12%) yealy, to waste and fraud.This is duplicated in every govt.program and there are zillions.”

      Let’s see… let’s do the math. If there are zillions of govt programs that each lose one dollar to waste and fraud…. my god!!! That’s ZILLIONS LOST!!!!

  • Modavations

    If tax rates were so high in the buccolic 50′s,how come all the moms could stay home and raise the kiddies.There were few families, where both parents were forced to work.

    • Anonymous

      I’ve said this before. Try to read a little. You seem to be one of these people who are so lazy that they can’t be bothered to do a little research. Look it up!

      • Modavations

        Graduated Newton North in 1969,then on to B.C..Try getting into B.C.!!!!!!!

        • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

          So what’s your claim here M? That you went to college makes you infallible and we must take all your unsubstantiated claims at face value ever after they are repeatedly proven untrue?  Ya, you probably do! If you want to be taken as credible, THEN TRY POSTING SERIOUS AND INTELLIGENT POSTS.  

          • Modavations

            Try getting into BC.

          • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

            Who gives a damn where you went to school. So what’s your game M? You’re implying you’re better than us yet NONE of that alleged education shows up in your posts. In fact you post like an 8th grader who only gets his news from Fox.

    • Ellen Dibble

      I wonder if the taxes in the 1950s were geared so that if you re-invested your profits you were not taxed.  I say this because I was there, and I remember presumably rather rich relatives with local businesses apparently forging ahead, building new “plant,” hiring new employees, all that.  On the other hand, I remember absolutely not buying anything extra, not penny candy, not cartons of milk at recess, on and on.  If it was cheaper to wait to get home for milk, people with any “class” waited.  It seemed the poor could have penny candy, but not those with any ownership interest in the local economy.  Those with ownership interests were apparently avoiding taxes by opening up new factories.

      • Tina

        Ellen, I think “buying” really escalated the more that television entered our homes.  When TV did enter, at first it was in black & white, as you remember, so, for me, it was no attraction — being outside playing was much more fun.  But then, about 1958, I think, the Mickey Mouse Club began, and with it tales of Spin & Marty, the Hardy Boys, etc.  What a great way for a shy girl to begin falling in love with boys, but I still forgot a lot to watch the show, because playing outside was where my friends were.  My parents — perhaps yours, too? — were raised during the Depression; in fact, it deeply affected my father’s family who lived over the store — a mortgaged building they shared with another tenant; so the bank demanded full payment of the mortgage the day after the Crash, but the other tenant couldn’t pay, so grandpop, who had saved enough to pay his half, also wound up on the street:  no job for him and his wife, no home for his family, the loss of jobs for their employees.  Decades later, my parents even moved the furniture that had been their parents’ furniture to Florida when they retired in 1987 (some furniture was acquired just after the Crash of 1929).  So, nothing much new, nothing much bought over my parent’s entire lifetime together, and that was pretty much my habit, too.  I remember going to Brown Bookstore and staring at a $4 book I wanted to buy, for weeks on end, in about 1978, wondering if I would finally give in and purchase it.  I did, at last, but after much holding back.  Come to the next generation, and when my child entered college, credit card applications were sitting on the desks there; so, she took out a credit card without telling her parents – parents who HAD tried to tell her about financial issues.  How much of the lure of that credit card was due to television realizing that even more stuff could be sold if stuff were marketed to those too young to really understand money and personal finance?!  I remember a day when I was watching television in the Sixth Grade, and an ad came on for a toothpaste, telling about bad breath.  I instantly became afraid that I had it, and, shy already, I would back away from everyone I knew, afraid I would offend.  How many Sixth Graders have bad breath, anyway?  The power of television marketing has only gotten stronger and MUCH of it is directed at those too young to really grasp the financial consequences of the purchases being suggested as necessities.  In about the Fourth Grade, the Tennessee Ernie Ford song, The Company Store, was always on the radio.  I loved hearing it, but I didn’t understand what the lyrics meant.  My mom explained how the factories used to pay workers in a form of currency that could only be exchanged at the Company Store, where, lo and behold, the currency was never worth quite enough, so people wound up in perpetual debt.  I understood her explanation.  But, our economy lured us on.  In my case, in trying to “downsize” and being defrauded, I wound up in a spiral far more costly than the taxes on my original house.  I fear that too many of our brightest minds are working on monetary schemes to make certain brackets of people rich; instead of on how to design and build new forms of energy, buildings, etc., etc., and then INVESTING IN THESE NEW FORMS, INDUSTRIES, ETC.  When money schemes can make money, why bother to try to design and build things and employ your neighbors?   

    • BHA in Vermont

      Because most people had only 1 car, didn’t ‘need’ 3 big screen TVs with hundreds of channels, boats, motor homes etc. We had 1 car, Dad made a plywood car top carrier and we went camping in a tent for 1 week a year. Our clothes were carried in wooden boxes he custom made to fit the carrier. No theme parks, no mega malls. ‘fun’ was playing in the yard or the park with friends.

      The more ‘stuff’ you ‘need’ the more money you need to pay for it.

    • Ellen Dibble

      One other thing.  in the bucolic 1950s, a tidal wave of young men were entering the workforce having fought overseas for a few years.  Plenty of women had been in the workforce doing the jobs that men had done in the past.  
         So the men come home, marry the women, take their jobs, and start families.
         Feminism hadn’t yet come along to say to women you’d be happier if you were not home all day.  But women’s work was changing.  “From break of day to setting sun, women’s work is never done.”  This was true before DDT could be used to kill all the bugs, when one spent the day microscopically sterilizing the household, fearing germs could kill the children, and with no defenses against bedbugs, lice, all sorts of things.  And this was before the age of the dishwasher, the laundromat, the dryer.  Clothes lines were all over the place, and every kitchen had food that was by no means “fast.”  Every vegetable was sliced by the woman of the house and the children, cheese was grated, etc., etc.  There were Wheaties, but I’m thinking oatmeal was cheaper, because it took longer to prepare but was more common.  Nowadays, a woman can purchase kitchen machinery that frees up time to work elsewhere.

      • Tina

        Ellen!  Excellent recollection!!  I’m sure you’d agree that there was another portrait from that time:  the Woman of Color who had to do all that in a White woman’s house while her own children were at home.

    • http://twitter.com/Jeanabella Jean

      The income in 50′s took care of the cost of living. One income did it. Incomes have not gone up in any significant way since then compared to the cost of living, except for the wealthy. Anyone with a chart of these basic numbers can see the real problem. People couldn’t keep up with cost of living and used their credit to stay afloat. We have to come to the realization that corp. don’t care about their workers for the most part, so workers really do need unions to help keep pay fair and corp. in line with what’s best for all. Mr. Moore who writes for WSJ doesn’t impress me with his reasoning. He compared percentages which do not explain the problem of the disparity between incomes of wealthy business owners and the people who work for a wage.
      Besides, he works for Murdoch, who has an agenda and it’s not biased for the wage earner.

  • Modavations

    When Prez.Clinton was first elected I heard him say, we will run deficits of 200bill.per annum,as far as the eye can see.Newt and the boys swept in,dropped the Cap.Gains taxes to 15% and viola!!!!!!!!

    • Anonymous

      Bringing those facts out of your back pocket?

      • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

        No, from the Orwellian Right Heritage Foundation!!!

        • Modavations

          I thought Orwell was a man of the left.

          • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

            More evasion M?

            D asked you where you get your “facts”.

          • Modavations

            Which one is in question?

    • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

      Thanks for another of your Orwellian rewrites of history!!! In reality the 1997 tax cut was small and DELAYED getting us to a surplus… and if not for Clinton’s VETO of more GOP irresponsible tax cuts in 98 and 99 WE WOULD NEVER HAVE A SURPLUS!  We KNOW what happened when the GOP entirely got its way under the Bush Junta. He ran on paying down debt then did EVERYTHING he could to sabotage debt paydown and create more debt. Why? Because the GOP had adopted a new strategy that deficits and debt would benefit them when they were in power and cripple the Dems when they were in power. As Grover Norquist said sabotaging revenue would make Dems govern like Republicans… by that he meant OLD style Republican who WERE fiscal conservatives.  

    • BHA in Vermont

      Then GWB got in office and the National debt skyrocketed under his unfunded wars and tax cuts.

  • Modavations

    Mr Buffet is not an honest player.When he made his “ad” claiming he paid less in taxes, then his secretary,he purposely failed to mention there are two taxation regimes.One on income and one on capital gains.He intimated he was given a nefarious ,special break.This stems from the guilt he and King Croeus feel.

    • Ellen Dibble

      He said to Charlie Rose that he supposes teachers and others — I forget, but he listed a range — give at least as much to our society as he does.  He said he happens to be wired for creating profit, and he likes doing this.  He does not think the economy is rewarding people according to their value to the economy.  
          From the high perspective of say the Congressional Budget Office, a high priestess of the economy might say that the creators of profit create more taxes and more jobs, and what has Buffett been smoking lately?  
          But I did not get the impression he feels guilty.  But he might feel guilty if he didn’t start speaking up and saying what he sees needs to happen.  He might feel guilty because the United States is part of the scenario that has allowed him to succeed.  That’s what he says.  And the United States cannot create the same opportunity in future if it doesn’t adjust itself.
          Just as Buffett keeps a watchful eye on his businesses to make sure they keep succeeding, so does he keep a watchful on the entire United States.  And he looks at the possibilities, as a good businessman does, and thinks, adjust this, adjust that, then it will be fine.
          So I pay attention.  I am part of one of his “interests,” in this sense.   Not bad, that.

      • BHA in Vermont

        True, if the US goes down the toilet, so does Warren Buffet’s ability to make money.

  • Modavations

    In Ma.there is a box on our tax returns that one ca check,that allows you to pay more taxes.In 10 years,seven people have signed up.Sen. Kerry,who tax dodges by buying his yachts in R.I.,did not sign up.

    • Tina

      Why do you think RI had lower taxes on yachts for awhile?!  Isn’t that a portrait of Capitalism?  By the way, many, many RIers objected to lower taxes on yachts, because they thought the rich were getting a break, whereas, RI should get full tax value on the sale.  Others said, we have great boatbuilders, and we need to help them sell their products, so we will compete with the boatbuilders in other states by offering a lower tax rate on the sale of RI yachts.  This goes back and forth in RI; I’m not sure where it is right now.  But, people in RI cross over into Mass (and CT) all the time for buying — sometimes just because that is where certain stores are located, and a Mass. town is the next town over from many RI towns, so why shouldn’t Kerry buy a boat from RI?  At least he bought an American-made boat!  So much of the stuff that we all buy is not American-made.  These arguments are too muddy for you to call Kerry a tax dodger!

  • Anonymous
  • Modavations

    As the first of the great tax cutters,JFK said,a rising sea lifts all boats.Get the economy cooking again and Adam Smith’s invisible hand,will efficiently,spread it around.

    • TFRX

      Great advice. I’ll remember that when the marginal rate is ~90%.

    • TomK in Boston

      JFK cut taxes when they were high. Cutting taxes from near all time lows, when the resulting deficit leads to screwing the middle class, is quite another matter. There is no connection whatsoever.

      The fact, as opposed the theory, is that a rising sea does not lift all boats. GDP has continued to grow as we have been cutting taxes since 1980. The rich have become super rich and the middle class has become poorer. 

      Buffett nailed it. Henry Block of H&R Block said the same. Creating a deficit by “coddling the rich” and screaming that medicare must be made into a groupon to fix the resulting deficit is naked class warfare.

      • BHA in Vermont

        JFK cut taxes when the debts of war were paid off.
        GWB cut taxes and started unfunded wars.

    • BHA in Vermont

      The economy will improve when more of the people who buy things – the poor and middle class – have jobs.

    • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

       If you so love the so-called JFK tax cuts… fine BRING THEM BACK!!! It was really LBJ who passed them. We’ve been through this before. Obviously these tax cuts STOPPED at 70% for the top rate. You’re pretending he would have kept on going.  

  • Modavations

    last year we spent 413 billion in interest on the debt.Next year it will be 457bill..The defense budget is only 550billion.If you on the left  really care for the down trodden,you’d pay off the debt and free up that obscene sum.

    • TFRX

      Except you’re in hysteria. But don’t let that stop you:

      “What matters about the debt isn’t the dollar amount per se, but how much it costs us to service it. And by that measure, the debt isn’t nearly as big a problem as it’s being made out to be.

      Yes, the federal debt has grown by nearly $3 trillion dollars in the past three years. And yes, the dollar amount of that debt is quite large (in excess of $14 trillion and headed toward $15 trillion should the ceiling be raised). But large numbers are not the problem. The U.S. has a large economy (slightly larger than that debt number). And, crucially, we have very low interest rates.

      Because of those low rates, the amount the U.S. government pays to service its debt is, relative to the size of the economy, less than it was paying throughout the boom years of the 1980s and 1990s and for most of the last decade. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that net interest on the debt (which is what the government pays to service it) would be $225 billion for fiscal year 2011. The latest figures put that a bit higher, so let’s call it $250 billion. That’s about 1.6% of American output, which is lower than at any point since the 1970s – except for 2003 through 2005, when it was closer to 1.4%.

      Under Ronald Reagan, George HW Bush, and Bill Clinton, payments on federal debt often got above 3% of GDP. Under Bush the second, payments were about where they are now. Yet suddenly, we are in a near collective hysteria.”

      (http://moneyland.time.com/2011/07/15/the-u-s-is-not-drowning-in-debt/?hpt=hp_t2)

      • BHA in Vermont

        Works for people too.
        1) Sell stock to buy a house when the market is down and either take a loss or pay tax if you still made a profit on it
        or
        2) Borrow at the lowest rates in history and let the market recover your paper losses.

        The second is a better choice at the monent

        • TFRX

          As I’ve said before, Sally Housecoat and Joe Lunchpail are suckers for the kitchen table budget talk meme, because they can’t borrow at low rates like gov’ts, because they haven’t had a raise since Hillary was First Lady, and every extra dollar they find on the ground goes to paying bills.

          Ergo governments shouldn’t borrow any more money, says the right wing.

          The remainder of your advice is spot on, however, for many people.

          • BHA in Vermont

            Yes, it does presume one has been lucky and/or prudent enough to have money they could invest over time. Buy the extra toy, the bigger house, go on that vacation cruise OR invest the money instead. We all have our balance points on those decisions.

            It is a whole different story for people who have had to ask: buy the medicine or the food?

    • Capyates

      At the end of the Clinton years, the argument was over how to spend the SURPLUS revenues. Those on the left pushed for repairing social security and paying down debt. Those on the right pushed for tax cuts, and under Bush got what they asked for. Look where we are now, as a direct result of the right cutiing taxes while entering into two wars and providing a huge unfunded perscription drugs program. The left may belive in “tax and spend”, but the right believes in “borrow and spend”. Time to pay the piper.

      • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

        The issue our friends on the Right here constantly evade is whether it’s fiscally irresponsible to pass tax cuts when We The People are in debt… close to $6 trillion back in 2001. But then the Orwellian Right logic they seem to use is deficts and debt created by tax cuts don’t matter.   

        • NathanD

          And the issue my liberal friends don’t want to talk about is the morality of the income tax itself.   If someone comes to my house and tries to rob me, I have a legal right to shoot. But when the IRS people come, I have to hand them the funds.  Stealing is wrong, no matter how you cut it.  Why do so many people accept government stealing when there are other ways to raise revenue, such as a consumption tax?  When we tax productivity, we bring the country to its knees.  Just look at things.   We need to stop this silliness and begin to tax consumption. 

          • Ellen Dibble

            I thought you were in favor or consumption — anything to get things bounding again.

          • NathanD

            The Fairtax — which eliminates corporate and personal income tax — would establish the US as an international tax haven.  You don’t think that would bring investors here and create jobs?  Furthermore, when drug barrons and other underworld figures — who of course pay no tax at present — want to buy something — anything — they will suddenly pas tax.  C’mon. Think this one through.    But there will always be those who care more about punishing the rich and successful than about growing the country. 

          • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

            How is reverting to the Clinton top tax rate “punishing the rich” when the original Bush tax cuts designed to favor the rich were fiscally IRRESPONSIBLE to begin with?
            Why were they irresponsible? Because We The People were about $6 TRILLION in debt… and those tax cuts PREVENTED DEBT PAYDOWN.  

          • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

            Uh? If you have a mortgage or a car payment you can PRETEND all your paycheck is “your money” but in reality some of it is your CREDITORS’ money. So if you refuse to pay your bills, is it “stealing” to repossess your car or home? Is not the power of the state behind the creditors in this case?  We The People are now $14+ trillion in debt… We spent $13 trillion on ourselves these last 30 years for which WE REFUSE TO PAY FOR.

            Now you can rationalize all you want that the situations are different, but the moral reality is that all that money is spent, it’s gone. It’s not going to be paid down with spending cuts or economic growth because much of that debt was created with irresponsible tax cuts. So who should pay for what WE spend on OURSELVES? Our kids? Grandkids? Please explain what your plan is? Or are you just another Free Lunch right winger?

          • NathanD

            If you look at my posts you will see that I support legislation in Congress that everyone seems afraid to confront.  It’s called Fairtax, a consumption tax designed to replace the income tax.  It’s complicated and nuanced, but you can read about it at fairtax.org.   I disagree with you when yoy say economic growth will not help pay down the debt.  It is the ONLY solution out there, and so our future tax policies absolutely must be oriented toward growth.  While income taxes may have a minimal effect on growth in good times (1950s), they are positively damaging in situations such as we are in now.  There is an alternative on the table; why will no one take it seriously?  Do you really believe that squeezing a few more dollars from the Buffetts and others will make a real difference?  C’mon.   As for creditors, well, when you borrow money to buy a car, of course you are expected to pay it back.  How is that stealing?  You could have decided not to buy the car.   Maybe I’m misunderstanding your point. 

          • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

            The so-called “fair tax” isn’t what the proponants claim it to be. That comes as no surprise given the Right wingers who are sponsoring it.

            http://www.factcheck.org/taxes/unspinning_the_fairtax.html

          • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

            ND wrote: “I disagree with you when yoy say economic growth will not help pay down the debt.  It is the ONLY solution out there, and so our future tax policies absolutely must be oriented toward growth.”

            I didn’t say growth would not help… OF COURSE IT WOULD HELP. A booming economy generates more tax revenue. What I said was it ALONE will not solve our problem. We need growth PLUS higher taxes and lower spending.

            ND wrote: “While income taxes may have a minimal effect on growth in good times (1950s), they are positively damaging in situations such as we are in now.”

            What situation? The collapse of the economy brought on by the Right and corporate Dems?

            ND wrote: “There is an alternative on the table; why will no one take it seriously?”

            Because your precious “fair” tax is a joke. I see all the right wing propaganda worked on you.

            ND wrote: “Do you really believe that squeezing a few more dollars from the Buffetts and others will make a real difference?  C’mon.”

            Of COURSE it will make a difference… about $70 billion a year. That’s just reverting to the old Clinton top tax rate. I’m for going all the way back to 1981… the top REAGAN tax rate of 50% for 10-15 years to recoup revenue that NEVER SHOULD HAVE BEEN LOST to irresponsible tax cuts designed to benefit the rich.

            ND wrote: “As for creditors, well, when you borrow money to buy a car, of course you are expected to pay it back.”

            Yet you’re here posting that taxation even to pay off The Peoples’ debt is stealing.

        • Ellen Dibble

          I think nobody is ever going to want to pay for the decade of the 2000s, the wars, the tax breaks, the Medicare D.  And it’s like trying to get people to pay for a war:  If Pearl Harbor is not ringing in your ears, it’s hard to persuade people.  Instead, you have good cop bad cop; the good cop says pay as you go; but the bad cop says now that the debt is incurred you’ll have to program it into your way of life for a while.  And we’ll pretend it’s not about the decade under Bush and its blimpiness.  We’ll pretend it’s about the baby boom and its sense of entitlement.  We’ll see how much they’ll give up.   Well, maybe, maybe.  But I think instead we’ll see someone using inflation (printed money?) to reduce the debt — and reduce the value of our savings while reducing the value of our owings.  How not?  Everyone is in total denial otherwise.

      • Modavations

        Except that the “tech.bubble burst.Nasdaq hit 4500ish and has barely hit 2500 since!!!!!!!!

      • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

        The Democrats also proposed a tax cut in the 2000 campaign. I believe it was $400 billion to Bush’s $1.4 trillion cut. BOTH proposals were fiscally irresponsible since when Bush took office We The People were already about $5.7 TRILLION in debt.

    • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

      I don’t know where in hell you get your defense numbers… and there’s no sense in asking since you never post your sources.  YES we need to pay down debt. But I bet you also believe in those Bush tax cuts WHICH SABOTAGED DEBT PAYDOWN.  This is what I mean when I refer to the fiscal schizophrenia on the Right.

      • Modavations

        Your thinking about the add-ons.I stick to my numbers,550bill.ish

        • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

          More evasion? I asked you a DIRECT question where you get your numbers and you refuse to answer saying you’re going to stick to your first number.  According to THE BUDGET FOR FISCAL YEAR 2012, HISTORICAL TABLES Table 3.1—OUTLAYS BY SUPERFUNCTION AND FUNCTION: 1940–2016  estimated defense outlays for 2011 are $768 billion not $550… but then when did you ever seem to care about the facts.

          Like with your misstating the Medicare fraud numbers by 50 billion, I’m sure you don’t mind being off by here by puny $218 billion. (side note, I’m not sure of the official defense numbers include costs for the occupation of Iran and Afghanistan.

          • Modavations

            Only a lefty would condone 70bill in fraud.

          • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

            If you can’t make a point without gross distortions M, you really haven’t made a point… have you Einstein? Just because I corrected you weeks back when you were using an inflated number doesn’t mean I “condone” the real number. Read my all my posts on the topic before making false accusations.  

        • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

          Reposting the wrong number doesn’t make it correct. You’re about $220 BILLION off.

        • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

          More evasion? I asked you a DIRECT question where you get your numbers and you refuse to answer saying you’re going to stick to your first number.  According to THE BUDGET FOR FISCAL YEAR 2012, HISTORICAL TABLES Table 3.1—OUTLAYS BY SUPERFUNCTION AND FUNCTION: 1940–2016  estimated defense outlays for 2011 are $768 billion not $550… but then when did you ever seem to care about the facts. Like with your misstating the Medicare fraud numbers by 50 billion, I’m sure you don’t mind being off by here by puny $218 billion. (side note, I’m not sure of the official defense numbers include costs for the occupation of Iran and Afghanistan.

      • Modavations

        You’re like a fly buzzing around my head.Go to off.of undersecretary of defense(or usa.gov).Look up the Green book,which is what the DOD requests.This is different from the addons.DOD request for 2010 was 533bill.with add ons-612bill in constant dollars.In current dollars with add-ons it was 712bill.Sorry I said 550billish!!!!!!

    • BHA in Vermont

      And your plan to pay off that debt would be …..?

      • Modavations

        5% cut yearly,across the board,for 5 years.At that point we’ll appraise the situation

  • Susan

    If
    Warren Buffett believes that not enough is being raised to cover the
    cost of government, then by all means he should contribute more. 
    But first he ought to he ask himself which of these costs are in fact
    permitted under our constitutions.  The cost of wars not declared by the US
    Congress?  The cost of schools where any of our
    governments, state or federal, are directly involved?  The
    Massachusetts Constitution limits government agents to encouraging
    the interests of Literature, Etc. so IF monies are to be allocated for education they can only be used for the encouragement of things related to the Interests of Literature, Etc., interests that arise naturally among the people.  Some of these are listed in Chapter V Section II of Part the Second of the Constitution
    of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, The Encouragement of Literature, Etc. 

  • Modavations

    The business of America is business.Get your hands off the neck of the geese that lay the golden eggs.Time for lunch,class dismissed.

    • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

      Class dismissed? Please quit pretending you have some intellectual superiority over the rest of us when all you do is post right wing talking points and never cite credible sources to back your claims.
       
      In reality you have nothing to teach and are incapable of learning.

    • Anonymous

      I’m starting to think that you are either a comedian and what you are posting is all part of a huge ruse, or that you are serious. If it is the latter you are falling into the abyss regurgitating nothing more than the latest propaganda one hears from the right wing radio shows and FOX news. It’s pretty amazing really.

      I do not have any trouble with people posting their points of view. Even if they are to right of Attila the Hun. However, in your case you are just doing the Conservative point of view a huge disservice by posting what amounts to nothing more than dribble served with a side of malice.     

      • Modavations

        When do we start burning the books

    • Gregg

      It would be really cool if someone challenged your facts instead of calling you names. People hate confidently stated opinions.

      • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

        So G, if a person repeatedly states confident opinions after being shown the facts are to the contrary, when does that turn from merely being misinformed into deliberately dishonesty?

    • Cerecere

      You should have stayed in the punctuation class a little longer.

    • Hidan

      holding on to the goose instead of letting it go gets one more golden eggs.

      You didn’t see Willie Wonka freeing all his did you?

  • P. D. Conley, Jr.

    This is to clarify the tax code change Ronald Reagan’s administration implemented. The biggest change was to yearly INCOME over $1 million, not holdings over $1 million.  Before Reagan, annual INCOME over $1 million was taxed at around 70%. If a person’s total annual income in 1980 was from a $1 million savings account, the 70% tax rate would not have applied because savings is not income. Only the interest paid on the savings would have qualified as INCOME, and that would have been well below $1 million. 

    In 1980, a person could have $20 – $25 million in savings and/or holdings before the 70% tax rate would have applied.  Today, with current savings rates at or below 2%, a person could have around $50 million in savings and/or holdings before the 70% would apply. Perhaps we should listen to Warren Buffet and restore the higher tax rates for the VERY wealthy. 

    • BHA in Vermont

      Say WHAT?

      When was there EVER a line item on the tax form that said “How much money do you have (use table B if over $20M)”?

    • Pierre Demers

      It is this change to the tax code that made it worth while for performers and executives to extort gradually higher salaries for “better than the next guy” and “or else”. This has resulted in performers earning up to 500 times more than the average worker yet the value of their contribution to the economy is far less. The money paid to these people comes from the economy some how. The payee spends less to pay other workers or pays a higher price for advertising and other services. In all case, it decreases money paid to workers who spend less and businesses have no market to hire or invest. Money paid to high salaried people return to the economy at a rate 6 to 10 times slower than money paid to the common worker thus the effect to the economy is 6 to ten times less for each dollar paid to these high salaried people.
      High salaries for doing nothing must go!

  • Pierre Demers

    Taxes will not solve our economic problem. Government can not generate private sector jobs with taxes no matter how high.
    One caller provided one fact that is the real problem. Years ago 1 % of the high earners collected 9 % of the wages and now 1% of the high wage earners collect 24% of the wages. This is three times what is used to be. Even if all this money was collected in taxes, it would not help.
    These salaries divert huge amounts of money from circulation. It is this circulation of money that is the economy. A dollar in the hands of a common worker will return to the economy 6 to 10 times faster than in the hands of these high salaried people thus the effect to the economy is that much greater. What that really means is that GDP has been hurt by a factor of 6. No wonder the economy crumbled and is not recovering. Business people who pay these obscene high salaries for relatively very little value contribtuted to the economy are hurting everyone because the money spent to pay these high salaries is removed from the salary pool that pays to the workers. Since they have no money they don’t spend, businesses have no market and don’t hire or invest. These high salaries for doing relatively nothing is what is hurting the economy. This must be controlled and yes, ultra high tax rates for ultra high salaries is one way yo control this aspect. We can not feel sorry that these people pay 70% of the taxes when they are paid 100 times more than the value of the services they provide.

    Pete Demers

    • Anonymous

      It’s a lot higher than that. In some cases CEO’s are paid from 100 to 300 times the lowest wage of a given company.

      • Modavations

        tock options,etc,. not salary

        • Pierre Demers

          All compensation exceeding $1 million for doing very little should be taxed to the hilt.

        • Pierre Demers

          Oh I forgot, investment income should not be highly taxed.

      • Modavations

        Stock options,etc,.Do you really think those #’s are salary.The CEOs should lose money when the stock loses,in my opinion.Your animus is misdirected.It should be to the crony-capitalist.Jeff Imelt-Obama.There’s the malfeasance

  • NathanD

    Unfortunately I had to miss the show today, but I’m sure I’ve heard it all before.   When are we going to start thinking out of the box?  If we simply scrapped the income tax altogether and moved to alternative sources of revenue (and there are solid alternatives out there if anyone would listen), we might accomplish big things. The income tax, and our method of enforcing it, is evil and immoral in so many ways that I am astounded at the number of people who defend it.  For goodness sake, how much longer can we argue about how much money to steal from one another? Is that really the best America can do? 

    • Ellen Dibble

      If you go to school and do not pay for it, who is doing the stealing?  If you drive on roads and do not pay for it, who is doing the stealing?  If you are using American dollars and American justice system for enforcing regularity, all that — if you do not pay your fair share, who is stealing?

      • NathanD

        Of course we have to pay for these things.  But not via an INCOME tax. 

        • Ellen Dibble

          How then?

          • NathanD

            I am a believer in the so-called Fairtax (although I hate its cutsie name). It is not regressive, as many people assume.

          • Ellen Dibble

            “Fair” seems to have a meaning that even a two-year-old understands.  I’m not sure the creators of the tax code would understand though.  You have to be pretty specific.  What the lobbyists and special interests view as fair is not the same as others’ view.  If you look for a growing economy you might not come up with the same thing as if you’re looking for a just or “fair” economy.
                Just saying you want fairness is not enough.  But good for you.

          • BHA in Vermont

            Under which the poor and middle class will pay an even larger percentage of their income in taxes and a larger percentage of the collected taxes. The relatively few people grossing $1M+ a year do not collectively buy 50 times as much ‘stuff’ as the tens of millions of people making $20K.

            Sorry, but ‘fair’ to me contains a component of ‘ability to pay’.

          • NathanD

            But the Fairtax legislation has a provision to exclude basic necessities, thereby reducing taxes on the poor significantly and in the extreme cases completely.  

          • Ellen Dibble

            There are plenty of win-win proposals by the wealthy in order to keep a bottom class “in line,” with all basic necessities provided but basically programmed.  Anything that can be provided in such a way as to produce a tax exemption for the wealthy, fine.  And this kind of approach straitjackets the underclass more and more, creates a bunch of robots who are not really even able to see the ways in which they are being hemmed in.  
               It is not an approach that guarantees opportunity.  It may allow you to live tax-free, but it only allows you to improve yourself by selling cocaine or whatever local people buy, and only allows you to escape from the reality of your constraints by the kind of self-abuse that continually reduces your usefulness as a creative and self-motivated human being.  I won’t say the tax-free way of life creates slaves, but it sure doesn’t create an all-American climber.

          • NathanD

            I profoundly disagree.   Who can climb any ladder when the IRS is always there to push you down a rung whenever you make progress?   If your objective is to deny people an ability to become rich, then yes, confiscate their money. How on earth this creates opportunity is beyond me.   My objective is to give people the freedom to prosper, and to encourage others to invest in America.  The income tax does neither.

          • Ellen Dibble

            Have you spent enough years among those for whom taxes are something other people pay?  They say it is “not worth it” to become middle class.  They are sort of scornful of people who pay taxes.  You look like you aren’t willing to play the system?  Where is your stash of stolen property?  Where is your pit bull to help act as your private police force, since everything done in your community is self-policed and goes by its own rules?  Earn taxable money?  You’ve got to be kidding.  We only do that here and there as much as is necessary to look legit.

          • NathanD

            Well, I appreciate your long thoughtful response.  You seem to demonstrate that govt programs linked to the income tax code are inherently flawed.  Get rid of the income tax, period. Then people wouldn’t have to worry about “taxable money”. 

          • Ellen Dibble

            The place where the IRS is there to crunch you is primarily those who make $45,000 or less — for individuals.  The structure which is said to be win-win began about 1975 with “affordable housing,” where you pay a third of your income for the apartment.  This third of your income is not going to an asset, toward home ownership, it is going directly to the developer — a developer who is getting a reduced rate on the loan and is allowed not to pay property taxes.  But the effect on the renter is that (a) you are not part of the rateable property-tax-paying public; (b) every $1,000 you earn you forfeit a third of it to your developer, thanks to Uncle Sam; and (c) you don’t get to set that money aside to buy your own house, or grow your own business, or what have you.  Builders in town all put up this kind of housing because they want the tax breaks, and actual economical housing is not built.  Wealth is not accrued by these people because they are effectively taxed 30 percent on every dollar UP TO $45,000.  The smart ones use that money to buy houses or move elsewhere/
               Apparently the tax-writing sorts thought this was win-win because they are doing the same thing with “Affordable Care,” and soon your insurance will also be taxed, in this case, at every increasing rates, up to about $45,000.  So unless you earn more than $45,000, not only do you owe all the usual taxes, your income is chopped into by those win-win solutions, benefiting the health insurers on the one hand and the developers on the other. I wouldn’t care so much if it were not the case that $45,000 is our dead center average income.  So that is just a huge drag on half of us.  Great to have health insurance, great to have housing that is more than we’d otherwise be able to afford.  But bad to be leashed like that, unable to go to ground and start to build our own wealth.

          • NathanD

            And hey, what’s wrong with win-win?   It seems you wouldn’t be happy to improve the lot of the lower and middle class unless the people at the top are brought down?  The world has had an experiment with communism.  Happily, America shunned that idea and remained a land of opportunity.  Yes, some people got rich.  So what?   If the FAIRTAX were to be adopted and lived up to its potential, we could all have our cake and eat it too.  What’s baffling to me is that people (such as Tom Ashbrook, alas) refuse to even enter into a debate on its merits.  

      • NathanD

        Also — beware of the phrase “fair share.”    What’s fair in one person’s eyes may be inherently unfair in another’s.   This kind of rhetoric does not advance any argument.  Why, for example, is a 39% marginal rate more fair than a 35% rate.  Would a 60% rate be more or less fair? 

        • Ellen Dibble

          You didn’t answer.  How, if not  income tax.
          I speak of fair share because it is the general view of the American public that we have been fleeced.  
           We have been fleeced by Wall Street, by S&P, by bankers of all stripes.
             AND we seem likely to be fleeced by the government too.  Look at what TARP paid to Wall Street?  And who is flourishing?  The  bankers.  The wealthy.  
             And who gets to pay?  The payers of income tax.
             Is this fair?
          Have you got a better solution?
          You said you had a better alternative.

          • NathanD

            How can anyone defend our income tax, which invades privacy, encourages people to cheat, costs hundreds of billions to administer, is riddled with corporate favoritism, etc. etc.?   Why are we not seriously debating the Fairtax — a consumption tax model which may not be perfect in its current formulation but which tries to address the urgent need to change the way we finance America.  

          • Ellen Dibble

            I would agree that our tax system needs adaptation, or we are all doomed.

  • Gerald Fnord

    Sometimes the arrangement of a society looks clearer from above if the observer is looking at more than his immediate self-interest.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_T5Z62VUKV2GDNXTKNPIXA45PHA Rob

    At what point would you be willing to change that assertion.  The regulations have continued to decrease along with the tax rates, and things get worse.  And please don’t say that Obama has increased them significantly.  He has not.  You would be lying, not stating an opinion.  There is a difference.  We have less jobs and the income disparity has increased.  The argument is the same as it was 30 years ago.  Just leave them alone and the rich will save us.  When will there be enough evidence for you to change your conclusion?  It appears that there is no empirical evidence whatsoever that goes into the current conservative argument.  If you are intelligent at all, you have to be able to consider that you might be wrong.  When would you be willing to consider that?   

  • Worried for the country(MA)

    Excellent show.  This topic will always be frustrating to most.  Both sides were well represented and that made for good listening.  I even heard some common ground.  Maybe there is some hope.

    I’d like to see a more detailed debate on tax simplification.  Everyone seems to agree on it (except the lobbyists and special interests).  Maybe we should start with Bolles-Simpson?  We should focus on policies for economic growth and not social justice.  Do the math.  We will raise way more tax money with economic growth vs. simply taxing the rich more.

    • TFRX

      Why is it “social justice” when people start making noise about fighting against the top-down class war? Does that make all the giveaways to the rich we’re trying to reverse “social injustice”?

      Look up “multiplier effect” before making such broad statements about where the government should stop / start either taxing /spending.

      • Worried for the country(MA)

        Interesting.  I never mentioned government spending but you respond to my comments about a more efficient tax system with suggestion to bone up on Keynesian government spending policies which many economists don’t believe work.

        So your contention is if we develop the ideal tax system that grows the economy the fastest it won’t help the middle class?  We should make it  inefficient by socking to to the rich for past injustices even at the expense of the middle class?  I suppose you won’t be happy until you see a 90% marginal rate.  Is there any tax rate that you feel goes too far?

        • TFRX

          Why is it labeled as “social justice” rather than “economic good sense” when people who aren’t rich interested in rebalancing the tax system?

          Is there any tax rate the right’s professionals won’t stop whining about as being too high?

          Is “socking it to the rich” meaning the marginal tax rates they suffered through while making money hand over fist under presidents from both parties, like Kennedy & Johnson, Reagan, and Clinton?

          Why talk about spending? Simple: Because right-wingers, many right here, can’t talk about government revenues without saying “It goes without saying that any extra dollar the government takes in in revenue will be wasted”. Every time the government stops or starts taxing a dollar, people may look at the effects and change what they do with that dollar. Every time the government stops or starts spending a dollar, it has effects beyond that. Otherwise rich people and corporations wouldn’t try to influence government spending and carve out little niche tax loopholes.

          The government is already social engineering, whether you like to think so or not.

          And we can start worrying about Bolles-Simpson when they approve a report. Otherwise you’re just asking one member of a hung jury if they thought the defendant was guilty.

    • TomK in Boston

      It’s true that economic growth is essential. The biggest drivers of the deficit are the recession/depression itself, the bush/obama tax cuts, and the unfunded wars (not “entitlements”). Recessions cause deficits regardless of any “big spending” because tax revenues fall and expenditures for things like unemployment ins increase.

      That’s trying to fix a deficit with austerity is suicidal. All this cutting is actually going to depress growth, increase unemployment, and increase the deficit. Bill Gross (PIMCO) says it, Morgan Stanley says it, most economists…here’s Goldman Sachs yesterday:

      “For 2012 we expect FISCAL RESTRAINT of about 1¼% of GDP. Given the zero bound, this adjustment could be expected to LOWER REAL GDP BY ALMOST 2% by 2014 — that is, shave off one percentage point off growth for two years.”

      FYI, “fiscal restraint” is all the budget cutting favored by Obama and the TeaOP. Do we really want to “LOWER REAL GDP BY ALMOST 2% by 2014″???

      Tax increases can also slow the economy. However when the rich and the corporations are richer than ever and sitting on piles of cash they are not using, raising taxes on them will have no effect, and will reduce the deficit. That’s what the right CLAIMS to be concerned about. However their real agenda is to transfer the wealth of the middle class to the top, so they can’t support even benign tax increases.

      • Ellen Dibble

        We should tax the cash they’re sitting on UNLESS they invest it in growth.  
        I should think this would be the default status quo.  If people invest in something, isn’t it deductible?  I build a new factory, I hire new people — all that; it’ll reduce my taxes.
            If we say we’ll raise your taxes UNLESS you make your money work for you — and for us — then maybe it’ll get motivated.

        • TomK in Boston

          Exactly. You don’t want to tax $ that would otherwise be invested in the USA. However taxing income that is not being invested (the wall st casino or factories in vietnam don’t count), and using the revenue to invest in the USA, adds net $ to the economy and promotes growth. Invest or pay tax is a good plan.

          The flip side is that the Obama/TeaOP budget cuts take $ out of the economy and will depress growth and increase the deficit. Austerity economics is suicidal.

        • Tina

          Ellen!  This idea sounds brilliant!  Is it an idea that is “out there in the world”, or did you think of it?!  Spread the idea to the President, please!  

      • Worried for the country(MA)

        Austerity?  Do you really think we have approached austerity?  Almost all the cuts in the recent debt deals are in the out years.

        Is it austerity when the First Lady can’t wait 4 hours to leave for a 10 day vacation with the President?  The extra caravan, jet flight, helicopter flight cost the taxpayers $100K.  Small potatoes but it shows there is no respect for the peoples money. 

        We’ve seen the number of federal employee making over $200K per year sky rocket over the last two years.  What if we had a graduated reduction of pay of every Federal employee:

        $200K+ -20%
        $150K-200K -15%
        $100K-$150K -10%
        $75K-100K -5%
        $0-75K -0%

        I don’t like the idea of balancing the budget on the backs of Federal workers but these are desperate times.  I doubt this kind of pay reduction would have much of an impact on GDP growth.

        I agree there is an irrational avoidance to raising any kind of tax.  However, I believe you could affect a small tax increase if you included it with true tax simplification but marginal rates will need to come down.  Even Tom Coburn agreed with this.

        There are some still issues with raising the capital gains rates.  It is double taxation for stock capital gains.  Here is scenario.   Let’s say you own a property for 30 years that value increased only by the rate of inflation.  You sell the property for “profit” but there is no profit in real terms.  Should that person be taxed on this phantom profit?

        If we can achieve tax simplification for individuals and corporations with lowered rates you probably will be able to safely treat capital gains the same as income if the rates are low enough.
         

        • TomK in Boston

          1. Markets look ahead. Austerity in the “out years”  tanks the economy today.
          2. With an economy at “stall speed” (Bill Gross, PIMCO), even a little austerity is enough to kick us over the edge, maybe even into Great Depression II.

          I don’t want pablum like “simplification” or “reform”, I want HIGHER TAXES and more progressivity at the upper regions.

          • NathanD

            And what exactly do you hope to gain with higher taxes and more progressivity, apart from feeling good about stealing from others?

          • Ellen Dibble

            If we were not being “stolen” from so much by paying taxes through the nose all the time, your case might have more clout.  But those things we are being taxed for, from the water at the tap to the air we breathe, the laws that mean I have a claim when I’m stolen from — all those things we have allowed ourselves to be “stolen from” in favor of since way back when our founding fathers pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor.  Tories were not up for that.  Instead, they were up for paying taxes to King George and the burgeoning British Empire.  But it only takes one Indian on the warpath to make us understand that we need to cooperate.  We don’t call that stealing.  We call that cooperating.  “Either we hang together, or we hang apart.”  More or less the same still obtains.  Our survival depends on our ability to set common goals and collaborate.

          • NathanD

            Agree completely about setting goals and cooperating.   But that doesn’t make the case for an income tax — which is stealing pure and simple — when alternatives exist.   Remember, our founding fathers were so opposed to an income tax that they expressly forbade it in our constitution.  It took 140 years, but our politicians finally succeeded in changing the constitution so that they could impose one. America’s saddest day, IMHO. 

          • Ellen Dibble

            I believe in 1776 we were more of an ownership society than a jobs society.  No W-2′s anywhere in sight.  Our economy is so far from what it was.  No superhighways.  Plenty of schoolmarms living in people’s attics.  Outhouses.  Horses.  Privateers patrolling the harbors.  I don’t know enough history to know how our current form of financing came about, but I would agree it needs reforming.  Why?  Likely the same reason the income tax came about.  A war to be paid for?  (The Civil War?)   Plenty of growing populace and growing employment out there in a burgeoning economy whose profits were NOT becoming part of the national wherewithal to take care of growing responsibilities.  A case of national need, and national mismatch between money generated and the fair share going into the national till.
                 How will we solve it this time?  It’s a VERY different time.

          • Tina

            Ellen, as you know, we were a Slave Economy until after the Civil War; very soon thereafter, a Jim Crow Economy prevailed until 1965.  The exploitation of African-Americans in the building of an economy for and by White Americans cannot be ignored in this discussion.  1965 is the year in which I sense a break in the underlying legalities of major American economic structures, rather than the FDR years, as the Conservatives do.  And, then, I’m only speaking in “legal” terms, not in terms of how life is really experienced.  

          • TomK in Boston

            Gee, you mean you’re not one of the gang screaming about the horrible ol’ deficit? One thing we’d gain is a smaller deficit, without having to give granny a groupon instead of guaranteed medicare. You DO know that one of the 3 primary drivers of the deficit is the Bush/Obama tax cuts, right? Another would be revenue to invest in the crumbling USA. Another would be an incentive for the rich and the corporations to invest instead of play the wall st casino.

            We’ve been cutting taxes since 1980. Can you point to any good results?

          • Worried for the country(MA)

            Tom, you are making the false assumption that all  Government spending has a positive economic effect.  Economists talk about a .4 multiplier for government spending.  I suspect that the $800B ‘stimulus’ could have been spent much more effectively. 

            Think of the value of the Hoover Dam.  That was a great investment and was government spending done wisely.

            What if we had used $60B of the $800B to build 15 GenIII+ nuclear power plants?  We would have created real jobs and have 60 years of carbon free cheap power.  We could certainly use cheaper power here in NE.

          • TomK in Boston

            Sure, Worried, we can screw up anything. But I am truly concerned about Great Depression II, and IMO anything is better than nothing at this crucial tipping point.

            BTW the 10-yr T-bond rate was recently 2.07%, lowest since Great Depression I. We can borrow to fix our infrastructure for practically nothing, and it’s a fixed rate! The right loves these false “family” analogies: “faced with a deficit, a family sitting ’round the kitchen table would cut spending, and so should the USA”, conveniently ignoring that the “family” can’t restore taxes to normal levels. Here’s a good analogy. If a family lived in a crumbling house, and they found they could borrow at 2.07% fixed rate for 10 years, what do you think they would do?

          • Worried for the country(MA)

            Unnecessary borrowing is a trap. The 1st flaw in you analogy is T-bonds are balloon payments and home mortgages are structured to pay principle on an amortized schedule.  It may seem like a good deal to borrow now but do you believe we will have the discipline to pay the balloon in 10 years?  What will interest rates be in 10 years?  If we are lucky they’ll be under 10%.  Then our interest burden will certainly exceed $1T per annum.  That’s $1T we won’t have to spend on true needs.  We are stealing from our children.

  • Wap

    The arguments for higher taxes on the rich seem confused between the difference between the taxes on individuals vs taxes on corporations. It is difficult to argue that raising taxes on rich individuals will hurt growth, but increasing taxes on corporations is more open to argument.

    • BHA in Vermont

      Good point and I don’t think anyone is suggesting raising taxes on corporations.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1381024333 Katie Castleberg Hatch

        mitt romney “corporations are people”, so, let’s tax as such

        • Ellen Dibble

          So when our mayor is running for reelection on having brought x, y, and z businesses to town and giving them property tax breaks for X, Z, and Z years, we should be telling her no, to treat them like individuals?  And we don’t give them long property tax breaks.  We might create zoning so as to make it easier for rich ones to locate here, but we would hope for more tax income, not less because of this, even if it means they have less in the way of resources to spend on Main Street.
             Corporations compete with corporations.
             Individuals compete with individuals.
              Businesses that file as individuals are not usually competing with Apple.

          • NathanD

            The point is that corporations do not eat or drink or send their children to college.  When you tax a corporation, the tax ultimately falls on INDIVIDUALS who now have less money to spend. These individuals can be shareholders who receive smaller dividends, they may be employees who don’t get as big a raise as they otherwise might have, or they may be consumers who now pay higher prices to compensate for the corporate tax.  Corporations can only be tax collectors; it is impossible for a corporation to pay any tax that does not ultimately affect an individual.   Why is this so hard for people to grasp?

          • Ellen Dibble

            It is the individuals who send their children to college, exactly. 
                What do the corporations do with their profits?  They pay dividends if they are public corporations, I suppose.  And they open a new plant in Cheng-du, if they are Apple.  And yes, they do have a way of extracting money from the rest of us individuals, if not by exactly taxing us, but by selling us things.
                And if we don’t buy those things, then we have voted with our feet against that particular sort of “taxation,” and the corporation has less profit.
                But if we do buy those products, accept their form of taxation, then they can pay those employees more, and do all sorts of things.  But it is our choice.  It is not enforced.

          • ThePope

            It goes beyond that Ellen. It’s quite like what I call the professional athlete tax. I don’t watch spectator sports at all. To me nothing could be dumber than watching someone else exercise, or getting excited about millionaires  who are from anywhere wearing a uniform that means nothing, playing games. Yet because of endorsements and advertising, almost everything I buy costs more because of these professional athletes. It is like a tax, like a pretax. How many inventions have been squelched because the inventor refused to give it all away to some greedy industrialist, until such time as it could be stolen legally? The difference being, we get nothing for such forms of pretax. Only the top percent wins from these things and we all pay. That someone could really believe that their work is worth tens of millions of dollars in compensation is just a delusion. But then, as I have said before: it has been scientifically proven that the most successful and happiest individuals are the most self-deluded. So don’t expect any problems to actually be solved by those at the top, because their primary investment is in their own self-deception, without which they would be exposed to the real sense and significance of their position as top predator (parasite).

          • Ellen Dibble

            The emperor has no clothes (again?)?
            And the pope — I’m guessing I know who else you might be.

          • OboBob

            It’s simplistic and wrong that is why. You are right about one thing though: it all comes down to individuals. That is why individuals should be fined, jailed, and in some cases executed, for what the corporations they control do, instead of a fine payed by the corporations, which as you point out amounts to no fine to anyone, because the cost is just passed on to the consumers.

          • NathanD

            Somehow I can’t get my head around the idea that the country will prosper if only we’d start executing CEOs. Sorry.

          • Modavations

            The ourveyors of peace!!!!

        • NathanD

          Fine, but please don’t complain when the price of your next lawn mower goes up to compensate for the higher tax that you and I, the people, will now be paying. 

    • Worried for the country(MA)

      The argument is many small businesses are filing as individuals.

    • Ellen Dibble

      I don’t know what corporations can deduct, whether they are private or financed by stock.  And I think there is a big difference between a corporation that is local, planning to stay local, paying local property taxes, paying local employees, and global corporate enterprises — which we can see try to be local at the same time as global, but so it goes.  
         The global corporations have international lawyers with sometimes adequate resources to manipulate laws and tax codes to their advantage.  I’m not sure this is a great idea.  I’d say cut them loose.  Don’t advantage them.  But pay close attention to making a tax code that enables rooted enterprises that flourish here.  
         I hope there are separate tax forms for global enterprises, not tying them down, but not making them competitors for the mom-and-pop pop-ups on Main Street.

  • Nharney

    I disagree with the comment from Tom said asking if we should increase the Capital Gains Tax on people earning $250k or $350k.  I sold investment properties for decades and I can’t tell you how many times clients wanted to sell, but wouldn’t when the Capital Gains rate was high.  This stops money from moving through the economy and the govt collects nothing. 

    • BHA in Vermont

      Every time they didn’t sell they lost the opportunity to make money and invest it in another property that would more quickly increase in value.

      If there is nothing better available, why would they NOT want to keep the producing asset they have in hand?

    • Ellen Dibble

      I call that churning, creating money that is taxable because it is changing hands.  
         But is this the way to run an economy?  
         If there is a good reason for changing hands, maybe.  If a manager turns into a drug addict and has no clue what to do next, let him sell the business.  If someone sells a business, say to an investor from Germany (I am thinking of examples), then the business ceases to be a local asset, rooted in mutual responsibilities and strengths.  The same might be said of the homes.  If the home is in a community because the homeowners are structurally integrated with the community’s needs and produce, then their continuing to reside there is important.
         Whether that house is churning out taxable profits for the realtor, for the bank, for Uncle Sam — is the way we’ve been running things.  But it is churning, not growth.

  • Anonymous

    The current conservative whine that Buffet should just pay more himself is no different than their tired argument that private charity and not taxes should support society. 

  • Pierre Demers

    I believe that Warren Buffett’s message is not to his fellow rich but to the republicans who think that lower taxes from the rich is the answer to our economic woes.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1381024333 Katie Castleberg Hatch

    a different approach to the tax code - 

    1. yesterday Pres. Obama announced ‘red tape’ cutting to help biz. 2. the biggest ‘red tape’ obstacle to businesses is the overly complex tax code. how much time, $$, resources are spent on understanding the code. what is the total $$ tax if that is included? is that productive $$ spent (aside from the accountants, sorry cpas :-)

    3. the republican and even  more the tea party agenda /mandate is to cut govt intrusion / regulation / bureaucracy – which is if you take this approach would make this a priority over the ‘do not raise taxes’ oath. they aren’t ‘raising taxes’ as part of this plan, that is a byproduct of cleaning up the tax code.

    ps – is the tax code a poll tax??
    the fact that the caveat of your callers is ‘i don’t understand the tax code’ is a ‘goes w/o saying statement’ shows what a major burnden the tax code is on all taxpayers. it seems like there could even be a lawsuit in that statement some how. — the govt passes a law (aka tax code) that we can’t understand w/o professional help? or, if they do on their own, they pay more $$… isn’t that kind of a poll tax type scenario? 

    • BHA in Vermont

      Even the professionals and IRS employees don’t understand it.
      It is worse than the sliced and diced subprime mortgages that “only those who created them can figure out how to unravel”

      Yes, we DO need a job killing bill. Call it the “One page, no deductions, graduated tax rate tax code” bill. Lots fewer IRS employees processing forms and trying to answer questions. Tons  fewer lawyers and accountants being paid to figure out how to get around their clients paying taxes.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1381024333 Katie Castleberg Hatch

        “yes we can?!”

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1381024333 Katie Castleberg Hatch

    one of the first things i was told in my accounting class at biz school was there are 2 different kinds of tax payers. 

    1. w-2 receivers
    2. everyone else

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1381024333 Katie Castleberg Hatch

    the double, tripple,…etc tax on revenue is a problem. 

    we do not do that for sales tax. we have resale numbers for that.

    if we eliminate that, we can repatriate billions of $$. if corp dividends are pretax disbursements, then they get taxed, if they are after tax- don’t tax them.

    we even tax social security income. – that is just bizzare

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1439572620 Joe Lee

      it is unreasonable to make a case for multiple taxation if the money has changed hands. 

      Tax burdens do not carry over across transaction boundaries. If this really were the case, then we would all be paying a 100% tax rate because, on sales taxes alone, any dollar received in income has gone through a practically infinite number of taxable transactions. Likewise, an argument can be made that any dollar you receive has already been taxed a near infinite number of times if you follow the transaction history of that dollar.

      The items that you have listed are more examples of how convoluted our tax code has become and is more a call for simplification of the tax code, which people have been advocating. However, it seems there is strong special interest opposition to such efforts because it would eliminate loop-holes to those who have a vested interest in keeping them open.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1381024333 Katie Castleberg Hatch

    tangent topic from caller’s analogy of volunteer tax payment to volunteer military

    Q what % of ‘voluntary’ military actually enlists b/c1. they need a job2. they want the ‘incentives’ like $$ to go back to schoolwhat does the word volunteer really mean if those enlisting are ‘over a barrel’ in this economy?

  • Woodsstock

    Productivity and a growth in GDP hinges upon a coherent and consistent tax code and public policy, even if that code/policy is a “bad one”.  We have neither coherence nor consistency in our tax code and public policy of the United States.  When we ask ourselves, “who is benefiting the most” or “who is being left out” we often forget that without consistent taxation and policies promoting productivity and job growth as it relates to a our understanding of the ground we’re fighting on, we are all lost.  Our biggest problem rests in the uncertainty our tax/public policies have created by the massive expansion of government, regulation (over and lack there of) and spending that will continue to unfold for the next five years.  Our corporate tax rate is the highest in the world.  “Where are the jobs” we ask.  We are in the middle of a financial recession.  “Why aren’t the banks lending, we ask.”  The language and actions of our policy makers have used toward business has made the job creation climate precarious and therefore, here we sit, talking about who should pay more taxes aid our economic recovery.  My feeling is that everyone, every citizen of this country should have to pay something.  It might help us all to consider the way those tax dollars are being spent.  Let’s reform the tax code from the bottom up.  Let’s put the well being of this country back into the hands of its citizens.  Let’s evolve or die trying.  It will come to that, one way or another.

  • Jerry Smetzer

    I like Warren Buffet.  Go Warren.  As long as rich individuals and corporations are allowed to sit on their wealth the rest of the economy, particularly people who work for a living, will suffer.

  • Jbryson

    Please someone talk about how from the end of World War II to the beginning of the 60s the highest marginal tax brackets were over 90%.  And yet this period of our history was the greastest peacetime expansion of our economy.  There is no economic harm in raising taxes on the super rich.

    • TomK in Boston

      That’s right. According to voodoo economics, the USA should have been a basket case in that period, when single-worker families were sending kids to college with no debt and buying summer homes. However our righties don’t deal with facts, it’s all ideology, like their refusal to face up to how the bush tax cuts led to job losses. Voodoo econ is a total failure in the real world. All it ever did was transfer wealth to the top – which is its real purpose.

      ps the “party line” on the 50s was that we were successful only because our competitors had suffered in WW2. On Buffett, the chorus is singing that “he should just write a check”. They don’t like the idea of a gvt of laws, they think the peons should be dependent upon the whims of the aristocrats.If you liked Buffett, check out Henry (“H&R Block) Bloch:http://www.fox4kc.com/news/wdaf-the-middle-class-should-be-furious-another-millionaire-says-20110817,0,7362562.story

  • Hugh from Ohio

    I am a government tax attorney. I agree that the rich do not pay enough.  However, Mr. Buffett is not being entirely truthful. His insurance companies will make greater profits as tax rates go up since insurance products are one way the ultra-wealthy avoid income and estate/gift taxation.

    The best way to increase the taxes for the ultra-wealthy would be to eliminate tax deductions and tax credits.  Serious consideration should be done to eliminate the special treatment for capital gains.  There is potential unfairness in this since capital gains represent income earned over time because of the graduated tax rates and the effects of inflation.  However, this unfairness could be reduced by having all gains from sales of property indexed against inflation and progressive tax rates (similar to the way the modified accelerated cost recovery system replaced the deduction for depreciation).

    We do not want to increase the taxes on people and businesses that are generating profits and income. We do want to increase taxes on people who are passive investors or who are investing their wealth more with a mind towards avoiding taxes than in generating income.

    • Ellen Dibble

      Capital gains, it seems to me, have less to do with inflation (“effects of inflation”) and more to do with the success or failure of the business being invested in.
           Therefore, “effects of inflation” are more an issue with those retirees whose Social Security would not inflate (or deflate) appropriately vis-a-vis the current economy.  In an economy such as under Jimmy Carter, where inflation was something like 10% a year, this was a huge impact on those trying to buy a lamp or a toaster for their first apartment.  It seems to me senior citizens already have that toaster and that lamp.  But I see where capital gains for the first say $20,000, above a base level of Social Security, and depending on whether they own a home and other assets — exempting that or favoring that tax-wise might make sense.    Means-tested capital gains taxation maybe.
          But I don’t follow how the unfairness of raising capital gains taxes could be mitigated by having “gains from sales of property indexed against inflation.”  It might help a select group of people with lots of property and tax attorneys to advise them.  
          Am I following you?

      • Roy Mac

        Actually, no.  You are completely misunderstanding the notion of capital gains and taxes on same.  Just google it; it’s well worth understanding the language of taxation if you’re going to make public comments on it.

    • NathanD

      In other words, add a few thousand more pages of tax code to the 70,000 already there. 

      • Ellen Dibble

        All slippery slopes are worth venturing onto.  They warn us off exactly because it is important.

      • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

        Did the income tax start off that way? Of course not. And you seriously believe your precious “fair” tax won’t soon also be filled with special interest loopholes?   

  • JamieLeeAmes

    Are their not any lions who have been hurt by the coercive criminal activity that took place in the financial industry and brought us to this? Are you all sheep? I personally was not hurt at all, quite the opposite in fact, but I can tell you this, if I lost my retirement because of the shenanigans at the ratings scams, and because of what Goldman Sachs and other plunderers of the real producers did, both in terms of the crony legislation that they passed, and their designed to fail CDO that they themselves bet against, they would not be safe anywhere.  These people deserve to be shot like the dogs they are. At the very least they should be stripped of all their wealth and exiled for life for what they did to this nation. However  their continual propaganda on all networks has been hard at work convincing the dupes of this nation that it is the people at the bottom, with no power, no wealth and no real recourse to the law that have screwed this country up, while the truth is that is they, the owners, the predators among us, who have screwed the pooch with their limitless selfishness and greed. Death to all of them. Grow some balls. Come home from a stupid war where you life was wagered for nothing and find this instead of the America that our ancestors have fought and died for? Show them what they deserve, in the streets, in their hidden enclaves of wealth, in their limos. Death to the real traitors, the owners and their political puppets.

    • Ellen Dibble

      I’d say let them forfeit their profits — tell them in an advisory way “You know who you are,” and stand by with the tar and feathers.  Partly because we don’t exactly know who they are.  Some of the profits in my own retirement funds are probably tainted by their shenanigans.  It’s all one pie.  But I think there is plenty of justifiable outrage, and I’m sure “they” would rather even things up via the tax code than bringing an end to law and order.  I don’t think you can identify the scoundrels.  Someone here posted that the laws are such that you can’t really get at the evil-doers; that is why they got away with it.  And nobody is going to say, here is my pal Joey, look at how he skimmed off billions, legally; feel free to shoot him down in the streets.
          A lot of our tax redistribution antics are an attempt to avoid coming to the frustrated expression of lots of misdirected or undirected rage.  Let them try to heal the situation, PLEASE.  And spare us the disorders.

      • JJJimmanyC

        Oh, we know exactly who they are, or at least were to start. An investigation into criminal activity (drugs and whores) and the threat of prison time in a real state facility where they will be someones date will cause these cowards to turn on one another with rapacious velocity.

        And I quote from a post of many weeks ago:

        “Wondering why your granny or you will have to pay for the excesses of the richest most powerful people in the world? Me too. Here is the list of the scumbags to date.

        This is a hit parade of the most heinous thieves and corrupters. Something that we can add to everyday. Any info we have as to were they live and where their yachts are docked would be helpfu. This is something that we can actually do to help those who will be the real doers.

        Effective ENEMIES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

        Alec Litowitz

        Alan Greenspan

        Donald Regan

        Henry Paulson

        George W. Bush

        William Clinton

        Lawrence Summers

        David Koch

        Charles Koch

        Robert Rubin

        Christopher Cox

        Loyd Blankfein

        John Thain

        Joe Cassano

        Angelo Mozoilo

        Philip Gramm

        Frank Raines

        Kathleen Corbet

        Richard Fuld

        Herbert Sandler

        Stanley O’Neal

        James Cayne

        Sandy Weil

        Lew Ranieri”

        • Carmine54

          I agree, the preposterous dignity that these a**holes display and with which they are treated should be destroyed. They should be treated as the priahs and opportunistic bas*ards they are. Shorn of all dignity and wealth and turned out on the streets without aid or friendship. But I think it is much more likely that their sponsers will pay huge sums for speaking engagements to reward them for the plunder they provided.

          • JJJimmanyC

            The very fact that any of these people can show their faces in public, let alone a speaking engagement, with out deathly fear for their lives, says it all, as far as the brain-washing of the public is concerned. People really believe that Reagan or Clinton was good for the economy. They just don’t have a clue as to what the real impact of the respective policies of these two puppets for  Goldman Sachs have brought about. And why should they, their owners are also the providers of their world-view. The only news show that is even close to a reality-check is a comedy show, and that indeed does say it all.

        • Ellen Dibble

          Don’t you hold culpable some of the business schools that encouraged the approach we find so abhorrent?  Not only business schools, but other reaches of higher education that sought to make an elite that sets itself apart and feeds off the “other.”  
              I don’t know exactly how your list was compiled.  For all I know it is the deans, the funders and founders of the business schools, and the professors.  Maybe not.  But I think greed and blindness have to be encouraged and pushed to get the kind of momentum we saw here, starting in the Reagan era.  Other times “animal spirits” were tied to a sense of dignity and responsibility.  Remember?

          • ThePope

            Well Ellen you could take a name, like the one at the top of the list, and google it. If you did you would find that this person was/is the head of Magnetar Financial out of Chicago and was personally responsible for more than fifty percent of the “designed to fail” CDOs that Goldman Sachs put together. He wanted them to be constructed in such a way that they retained their triple A ratings but were really toxic. He then sold them to his customers, which included many retirement funds, and then personally bet against them by purchasing Credit Default Swaps so that he would profit when they failed. So of course as the real value of these CDOs became apparent, their toxic nature did to, they failed taking your neighbors retirement fund value with them, undermining the entire world market with crap called shinola, but he became rich doing this. Very rich, by causing the economy to collapse. Not getting rich because it collapsed, but by causing it to collapse. I believe he was reprimanded for this, by some Congressman. Bad boy. Now go off to one of your homes and talk about the Class warfare with your criminal friends from Wall Street.

    • NathanD

      Of course criminals should be punished.  But not all wealthy people are criminals.  

      • Umomma

        And not all disabled people living on SSI are stupid and lazy or cheating the government, but they all are being punished for the crimes of the richest among us and the financial industry. And just to be clear, this is not crimes that are on the books, they wrote the books so of course their crimes are technically legal. To hell with the coercive maze they have created to cheat everyone who is not one of their club. They all deserve death, along with their spokes-models on Fox News, all of whom I would personally like to behead for their betrayal of the public trust.

        • NathanD

          And they’d probably like to have your head, too.   So sure, let’s have another civil war.    Are we really that barbaric? 

          • ConradDeitz

            It won’t be a civil war. It’s one percent against the rest of us. We could even beat them with pea shooters if the public woke up.

          • NathanD

            It might make you feel good to shoot all these guys, but I don’t understand how it will make anyone more prosperous.  

          • Ellen Dibble

            The idea of socialism/communism is that people who aren’t part of the system are parasites.  They are living off the toil of other people.  It is beginning to seem to some of us that there are people here who are parasites, living off the toil of the other people.  It is pretty easy to see that financial “services” are serving those at the top.  Unfortunately for the easy correction of this state of affairs, those same financial “services” are part of an almost requisite part of American life, “retirement,” with Social Security going only so far in creating a few decades that some people wait for all of about 45 years.  
                But the fact of nonproductive milking of various systems has created plenty of good besides the ability to plan a good retirement (or so one hopes).  It has created the ability of wealth to support growth and betterment from one developing country to another.
                The phrase that comes to mind is “Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.”
                But if you’re part of the bathwater being thrown overboard, you think in terms of violent overthrow, not prosperity forgone.
                I think that without the parasites we would be A LOT more prosperous.  The parasites, however, are integral to our system, and they have to be tamed, not destroyed.  IMHO.

          • NathanD

            Never be humble about your opinions.  They always deserve respect.  The point you make here is interesting. Your parasites are people at the top, presumably enriching themselves off the toil of others. Others would see parasites at the bottom, living off food stamps rather than going to work. Neither, of course, is desirable.  I would agree that our financial community needs stricter regulation.   Yet I can’t help but believe that if you removed the albatross of the income tax, enormous productive forces would be unleashed.   My argument is not against controlling financial irresponsibility; it is against using the income tax as the means of control. 

          • Ellen Dibble

            I agree that we have created a lot of parasites at the bottom, and see elsewhere in this thread for what I think should be done about it.  As for the parasites at the time, the income tax is not a means to do that, nor the FICA tax, so that leaves loopholes and capital gains.  You say a fair tax can do it too, which is apparently not an income tax.  
                I think no matter what way you do it, remember that the prosperity of the country, hope and a vision of the future, all that has to be part of it or people will do the equivalent of decamping to California’s Gold Rush, whatever offers itself.  
                Yes, I think probably the tax code will continue to be such that accountants will be in business for the foreseeable future.

          • ME2me2

            Make it simple, any individual (no matter what he calls himself legally) who has over ten million in assests — we should take half of his stuff, and use it for infrastructure, education, and social welfare, or else they can’t use our country anymore. Not our roads, airspace, air waves, natural gas, none  of it. If they are so greedy and short-sighted that owning five homes and a yacht are more important then hang them.

          • Redasrain

             Yeh we should just encourage all those homeless parasites to kill themselves. We could offer incentives, like enough drugs to do it with.

          • JJJimmanyC

            Don’t call crimes irresponsibility. It’s double speak. You like Reagan would like to unleash the might of unrestrained markets. Except that is exactly the direction that lead to all the criminal activity in the first place. Why don’t you watch Inside Job, at least then you will have some small idea of the level of corruption at work here, instead of being turned on you head like you are. You sound like an arrogant school-boy with your talk of living of food-stamps. Perhaps it would be better to have senior who were impoverished by moves at the top, after working all there lives, die from the contaminats in the unregulated Chinese dog food they could afford to eat?

          • NathanD

            There are laws to deal with criminals.  If they are not being enforced, that’s a separate issue.  Raising marginal income tax rates will hardly put an end to lawbreaking and corruption. 

          • URDum

            When the criminals make the laws, their crimes cannot be prosecuted. The common man thirsts for justice but the power elite have made the laws. What is it about that that you cannot understand. They made the laws to protect their own interests and profits, even though their activities are clearly criminal in every respect except when viewed through the scams they devised and push though our Congress of election whores. 

          • NathanD

            So why do we keep electing these people?

          • BlindingFlash

            Finally. . .
            Because it is their game with their rules and we all believe it.
            If this was not the case  Ralph Nader would have defeated Bush, like he did in any sane county (Santa Cruz) and none of this ruination would have  happened because he is not bought and paid for like all the Repubicans and Democrats, and not an idiot like the useful ones in the  Tea Party.

          • NathanD

            So in the end the fault lies with us voters, collectively.  We are naiive and gullible, and vote accordingly.  I concur 100%.   Now tell me: Why are we not smarter than that?

          • ConradDeitz
          • ConradDeitz

            When the “producers” in the financial industry understand  that cheating the  nation with financial scams means death, everyone will prosper. If you can’t see that you can’t see much. For instance the incredible crimes against the nation by the finance industry with brought us to he edge or ruin and then turned it into a slow motion ruin because we bailed them out, would never have happened. I venture to say that even a mind that deals exclusively in media generated illusions could see that much.

          • DanielHepler

            There is something you don’t understand Conrad. There are people and there are the people who live off of them. That’s how it’s been since the first hunter-gatherers settled down and began farming and some who still hunted started raiding them and demanding tribute to not destroy them.  Eventually these people who lived on other humans, became the royals and the tax collectors (the counts) then the bankers and the politicians.  You are their herds, they own you.  They may even own your genome. These “producers” would die, left to their own devices, because by now they are entirely parasitic. They believe to their very core that they are better than you and you are in your proper place of carping without recourse. The idea that you can wake up a person who has been conditioned over centuries to be submissive and not think for themselves by pointing out facts is just a dream. Why do you think that tyrants always kill the intellectuals when they take over. Because they are the only ones who can figure out what the tyrant is actually doing. Not what he is telling everyone he is doing through controlled or owned  media  outlets. Even John Steward acted like a little bitch when Rice  appeared on his show. I’m surprised she didn’t wear  a leather corset and have him naked with a gag. Same with Rumsfeld. He had him right there and instead of pining him to the wall, he ate out of his hand.

          • Ellen Dibble

            But that 1 percent has the wherewithal to enlist the Fourth Estate to lead a campaign to elect the representatives of that 1 percent, cleverly disguised as what they are not.

          • SimplyRedWhiteandBlue

             For some reason it’s not barbaric for these elitist scum to destroy everyone and anything that keeps them from getting a bigger yacht, but when a voice is raised against them, it’s barbaric.  Your  mind has been conquered by nonsense.

    • SomeoneOrSomething

      Yeah and that will happen, as soon as the idiots that think that socialism is what caused this situation, figure out that they are totally incorrect in their orientation.  Which will be never. They have been programmed that mom, home, and apple pie have been threatened by any move toward a sane financial policy. And even though they are so stupid that they continually vote and work for the billionaires against their own best interests, it is these brain dead idiots, who are armed and most likely to kill people (usually innocent school children who have nothing to do with anything).  If they ever figure out what is really going on, then the masters of the universe will have something to fear. Which will be never, because if they don’t like what they hear, they won’t believe it. And that is as far as their deliberations go, after that it’s all just picking and choosing of sound bites.

    • Anonymous

      Wow, some real revolutionary rhetoric here.
      While I agree with your anger I do not think sharping our pikes and looking to tar and feathering as way to deal with this.

      Mind you I do think we are living in a plutocracy and that part of me thinks the only way to get out of this mess lies somewhere in your realm.  

  • Modavations

    Wisconsin has now flipped from a 3.5 bill.ish deficit to a 400mill. surplus and they’re hiring teachers.I just peeked my head in for a second.Now play nicely kids.Nos vemos manana en la manana

    • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

      Have a credible source? I’m finding WI is projecting $1.6 Billion deficit for FY12

      http://www.cbpp.org/cms/?fa=view&id=711

       

      • Anonymous

        That is a very good and interesting link. Thanks.
        It should be noted that a lot of the highest levels of deficit are in red states. Texas is out in front with a 20% shortfall.

        • Modavations

          Worst slums,Democrat cities

          • Walker

            Worst states: the conservative South.

          • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

            More of your evasion M? You were AGAIN asked a DIRECT question and refuse to answer.

          • Modavations

            What’s the question?

          • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

            Too “taxing” to read the responses in the thread YOU started?

          • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

            Let the record show, your honor, that M REFUSED to post a credible source for his claim nor did he retract it.

    • Modavations

      Just heard Walker on Rush about 2:00ish

  • Jkc

    Stephen Moore is being disingenuous and rather a jackass when he says Buffet should just pay more if he wants to, otherwise he’s being hypocritical.  The point is for the tax system to be fair; no one wants to pay more than others, but most are willing to pay their “fair share”.  

        Obviously a sustainable budget requires a balance between revenues and expenditures;  Buffet’s 50 billion pales compared to the size of the Federal budget, so for him to unfairly pay more than others voluntarily would be a great gesture, but would not address any problems related to fairness of taxation or balancing revenues with spending.  

         It takes more than one person, and, how about that, A group of wealthy Americans — the Patriotic Millionaires for Fiscal Strength — has also asked for higher taxes for those who earn $1,000,000 in a year.  

        I don’t know how much Stephen Moore makes a year, but I suspect he fears being among those that might be asked to pay more.  How many jobs does he expect to create if we continue to have him pay lower taxes than others are expected to pay?   Does a senior economics writer create any jobs directly?  Has the WSJ cut jobs like many other newspapers? 

        So maybe he really thinks that only those rich people who directly have a hand in running a business that is in a position to add jobs should get these tax breaks.  Then the investing rich or the idle rich should pay more as giving them the tax breaks will not create jobs, anyway.

    • Rob (in NY)

      I believe Mr. Buffett is the one being disingenious as he complains about not paying enough in taxes and then proposes a series of tax reforms that would have very little impact on him personnally including:  

      1) Eliminate the Bush tax cuts on personal income over $200k for individuals ($250k married):   This would result in the top federal tax on personal income being taxed at close to 40% rather than 35% and would not impact Mr. Buffett  because most of his income is the form of dividends or capital gains, rather than ordinary income.

      2) Increase the capital gains/dividends rate from 15% to 20% or 25%.  This would have a small impact on Buffett, but not much as Buffett’s income is not that high.   Most of Buffett’s wealth is in the form of unrealized capital gains, which are not taxed until the underlying assets are sold.  Because Buffett generally does not sell most of the stakes in the companies he owns, most of  his perseonal wealth will never be taxed beyond the corporate taxes the companies he owns pay.  In addition, Mr. Buffett is using every legal tax planning maneuver in the books to transfer his wealth to the Gates Foundation and avoid paying the estate tax, which is the one tax the US has on wealth.    

      It amazes me that liberals can not understand the difference between income and wealth.

      • Ed

        It is fine with me if Buffet ends up giving all of his wealth to charity.  What a great argument for increasing the taxes on the wealthy – it encourages them to give more to charity.  Wonderful!

    • Ken

      Both Buffet and the first caller that said he would like to pay more in taxes but doesn’t do so because others aren’t forced to pay more are both hypocrites. What others pay has nothing to do with your personal actions. If Buffet doesn’t think the $7 million he pays is enough, then he can choose to pay more. If you don’t think what you pay is enough, then pay more. Not doing so because others aren’t going to pay more is like me saying I should exercise more but I’m not going to because all the other fat guys aren’t going to exercise more. It shouldn’t matter what others do, it’s about personal responsibility and action.

      And just how do you define “fair”? Isn’t it enough that Buffet pays $7 million in taxes–that’s a lot more than I pay. Does Warren Buffet really receive that much more in government services than I do? (And no I am not in the million dollar club). Is it really “fair” that not only does he actually pay far more taxes than I do, but you want him to pay a much higher percentage than the rest of us? That kind of thinking is based in jealousy. He has more stuff, ergo we should take more of his stuff so we can all be the same. I wonder, when you go to lunch with someone do you determine who is going to pay for the meal based on who makes more money?

      “Fair” is when you pay for yourself. When you pay more than your own way, you’re being generous.

      • Anonymous

        Warren Buffet pays more than you in taxes because he makes a lot more than you do. Unless you are in the top 2% of income in the nation I doubt you are anywhere near his income level.
        Even if you were a millionaire you would way off his income level.

        He’s not paying more taxes in percentage than you do. He’s paying less. Unless you are making all your income from dividends and investments you are paying about 33% in taxes to Mr. Buffet’ 17%.
        Don’t you get it? It’s not about how much he makes it’s about the percentage. Try, please try to get some idea on how this works.

        • Ken

          That’s my point exactly. You think your tax is a “percentage”. The tax you pay is the total dollar amount you pay. Why do you even speak of percentages? When you go to a grocery store what “percentage” do you pay? When you get gasoline, what “percentage” do you pay, and is it determined by your income? No, and neither should what one pays in taxes. You just want to punish someone with a higher “percentage” because they have more stuff than you. That’s not about being fair, that’s about being jealous and wanting to live off the back of someone else.

          Please, please try to live in the real world and understand that percentages aren’t dollars, and dollars are what you use to pay taxes.

          • Jkc

            To Ken:   WTF??    10 percent of $100 is $10, so percentages certainly can be dollars.  Like jeffe68 said “Try, please try to get some idea on how this works.”

          • Terry Tree Tree

            Is this gobeldey-goop supposed to be saying something meaningful?

          • Obobo

            Yeh it says that he can’t see beyond his own superficiality, because his own response would proceed form jealousy and hatred of work. Every statement is really a tell. It’s always the people who hate work the most who say that others are lazy shirkers. etc. Just like it’s always people who can’t help themselves who take up helping other as a career. Just like it’s people who don’t really value their own opinions that will be most vocal in voicing theirs, so that if by chance someone finds them meaningful then they will find themselves meaningful.
            Wow I feel like I just channeled R.D.Lang

      • Roy Mac

        The old Ayn Rand defense, huh?  GLWT.

      • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

        What does Buffett have to do with anything?

        The simple fact is We The People pissed away some $13.5 TRILLION on ourselves these past 30 years THAT WE REFUSE TO PAY FOR… and you’re here making excuses for all those million and billionaires who DON’T want to pay a dime extra in tax.  

        • Modavations

          457 bill. in interest on the debt, this year alone,is hardly not paying.

          • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

            Gee M, you claim to be so smart yet you don’t even know the difference between interest and principle????

            The last time any of the debt was paid down was during the Clinton era. It would not have happened if Newt got his way. Clinton vetoed 2 GOP tax cuts in 98 and 99. Not that it mattered… Bush made sure the debt would not be paid down with round after round of irresponsible tax cuts… which you no doubt support.  

          • Anonymous

            Smart? This guy thinks the nazis were socialist. 

      • Matthew

        Ken I was going through the posts and for some reason latched onto yours because it’s coherent but appears to me to be short cited.  The thing is, Buffet, and others, don’t make their own money.  They have many many workers who help them.  They use many more resources than any average person supporting this effort.  Personal responsibility is a component, but societal responsibility is also a factor.  I think Buffet sees that, but many others don’t which is why they make selfish choices.

  • Don

    One of Tom’s guests today claimed that the U.S. economy had its greatest record-setting boom period, perhaps in the history of this country, during the Reagan administration.  I wish he stuck to facts rather than Republican politics.

    Did he forget about WW II in addition to the Bill Clinton years when the economy was booming?  Reagan started off with a mild recession and then left us with a deficit while Bush-the-elder gave us a mixed economy.

    • ConradDeitz

      Bush/Clinton bull, if you had a brain you would know they both worked for the same masters, who continually divide and conquer the rest of us with the illusions of choice. Wake the frack up! The only possible deliverance from this quagmire at present seems to be the AmericaVotes, movement that is on every state ballot and in which everyone can participate in the choice of a candidate. Time to dump the Dem/Rep/TeaParty scam. 

    • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

      I posted on that this morning…

      One of the guests made a claim the Reagan years were just great. This is an Orwellian rewrite of history! In reality a deep recession began 6 months after Reagan took office with unemployment reaching 10.8% by Dec 82. The average unemployment rate for 82 and 83 was over 9%

      Yup… the Roaring 80s! ROTF

      • Modavations

        Wasn’t Orwell a leftist.Regan created 20mill. jobs and govt.receipts doubled.See Off.of sec.of defense(gov.org).Green Book DOD budget request for 2010 was 533bill.(with add ons 602bill in constant dollars,712 bill current dollars).I believe I said $550bill.ish.The discrepency is that I don’t go running for Google every two seconds,this stuff is all in my noggin.

        • Anonymous

          Well that explains it. You make it all up without checking anything.
          Like the Bunny said, what a maroon.

        • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

          What the hell are you babbling about M? If you want to respond to multiple posts PLEASE DO SO USING REPLY BUTTON IN THE POST YOU’RE RESPONDING TO. Don’t dump all your responses into one post. It just makes you look even more incoherent.

        • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

          Sorry G, citing gov.org isn’t a source if you expect to do our own research. AND IT’S NOT EVEN AN OFFICIAL GOVERNMENT SITE!!!

          http://network-tools.com/default.asp?prog=express&host=gov.org

  • Anonymous

    The very fact that a nincompoop like Stephen Moore is repeatedly trotted out by the never-raise-taxes/trickle-down faction as an expert on anything dealing with economics or taxation says a lot about the inability to make a rational defense of their position.

  • Modavations

    I leave you kids alone for half an hour and all I see is Hate Speech,threats of violence and inane name calling.Children,go stand in the corner

    • CSelcomEliot

      Seldom have I encountered a statement that is more oxymoronical than yours. You say others are name-calling but you have done nothing but your own name-calling as a rebuttal. As Bugs Bunny would say, “What a maroon.”

      • Anonymous

        I agree, what a maroon.  But this is from a guy who thinks that the nazis were socialist.

        • Modavations

          National Workers Socialist party

          • Holdingpattern

            They couldn’t have been lying and really be fascists huh?

          • Modavations

            1.Mao-20-40mill. murdered
            2.Stalin-10-20mill.murdered
            3.Hitler(national workers socialist party=NAZI)
            4.Pol Pot-3 mill.murdered(one third of the population)
            Common denominator=Leftists

          • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

            And pray tell just what does this have to do with taxes? Oh, that’s right… it’s another of M’s diversions.

          • Anonymous

            You don’t know anything. It is really amazing. Well I took the liberty to do what you could have done. I went to Wikipedia and this is what they have for nazis: They were right wing. It was form of socialism on one level, but it was a right wing form of it if one can believe in such a thing.

            Nazism was founded out of
            the current of the far-right and racist German völkisch nationalist
            movement and the violent anti-communist Freikorps
            paramilitary culture that fought against the uprisings of communist
            revolutionaries in post-World War I Germany.

            Nazism (Nationalsozialismus, National Socialism; alternatively spelled Naziism; historically also Hitlerism)was the ideology and practice of the Nazi Party and of Nazi Germany. It is a unique variety of fascism that incorporates biological racism and antisemitism.[

            Nazism was founded out of the current of the far-right and racist German völkisch nationalist movement and the violent anti-communist Freikorps paramilitary culture that fought against the uprisings of communist revolutionaries in post-World War I Germany. The ideology was created by Anton Drexler as a means to draw workers away from communism and into völkisch nationalism. Nazism presented itself as politically syncretic, incorporating policies, tactics and philosophies from right- and left-wing ideologies, though a majority of scholars identify it as a far right form of politics.

            Nazism believed in the supremacy of an Aryan master race over all other races. Nazis viewed the progress of humanity as depending on the Aryans and believed that it could maintain its dominance only if it retained its purity and instinct for self-preservation. They claimed that Jews were the greatest threat to the Aryan race.They considered Jews a parasitic race that attached itself to various ideologies and movements to secure its self-preservation, such as: capitalism, democracy, the Enlightenment, industrialization, liberalism, Marxism, parliamentary politics, and trade unionism. To maintain the purity and strength of the Aryan race, the Nazis sought to exterminate or impose exclusionary segregation upon “degenerate” and “asocial” groups that included: Jews, homosexuals, Romani, blacks, the physically and mentally handicapped, Jehovah’s Witnesses and political opponents.

            It officially promoted a form of right-wing socialism. This economic system rejected egalitarianism and instead supported a stratified economy with classes based on merit and talent, retaining private property, and promoted the creation of national solidarity that would transcend class distinction. The economy was to be subordinate to the goals of the political leadership of the state.
             

          • ThomsonBlue

            You fail to mention that the west stood by and watched Pol Pot murder. It was the People’s Republic of Vietnam that invaded and put an end to the bloodshed. Or does that complicate your simplistic knee-jerk world view? Or maybe as Ultrax is implying you are just a needy attention seeking troll?

          • Hidan

            Or how Indonesia did close to the same thing supported by the west around the same time. One would think Modavation would know since it was under Carter

          • at

            I did not know/remember that. Thanks

          • Ellen Dibble

            Modavations, one of the most useful perspectives I learned in government classes was that left meets right as they go towards the edge.  Think of a circle, and the diameter wraps around so that when you go way to the right, and have a sort of Big Brother (socialist/enable everybody) Police (retro/preserve the status quo), they meet and shake hands.  What’s the word?  Extreme right is re-something, which means turning backwards, but when you turn far back, to a totally controlling and protectionist state.  Mommy and Daddy are in charge.  That kind of state.  The Oldsters are in the driver’s seat.  That’s when you end up with a duplicate of the Socialist Eden.  Everyone is doing just what they are supposed to do, and the government is completely in charge and telling everyone what to do.  Both approaches pretend to offer the maximum in freedom and opportunity, but neither does.

          • Hidan

            Mao was no leftist
            Stalin was no leftist
            Hilter was no leftist
            Pol Pot was no leftist

            Egalitarianism? nope

            But wait

            Right-wing authoritarianism

            Authoritarian submission —CheckAuthoritarian aggression — a general aggressiveness directed
            against deviants, outgroups, and other people that are perceived to be
            targets according to established authorities. CheckConventionalism —Check
            Which Republican candidate did I take this one from

             “Our country desperately needs a mighty leader who
            will do what has to be done to destroy the radical new ways and
            sinfulness that are ruining us.”

          • Ellen Dibble

            Are you quoting Pol Pot or Sarah Palin?  I can’t believe I’m wondering this.  To me, “mighty leader” means autocracy.  We have enough on our plates power-wise with plutocrats, never mind the political autocrats.  
                Leadership, however, is another thing.  Remember that retrospectively we honor and nearly sanctify some of our leaders — Lincoln, FDR.  At the time, however, the way they pushed and shoved the nation was NOT appreciated.

          • Modavations

            They keep fooling me with those names.NAZI=national workers socialist party and all that talk about “People’s Republic of”…..Here’s the deal.There are two types in this world.Those who believe in the State and those who believe ibn the individual.All these  socialist parties start out with good iintentions,then mutate.As Orwell said in Animal Farm:All animals are equal,but some are more equal.That other fascist Mousillini(?) started as the editor for the Socialist paper “AvantI”,in Trento,I believe(nice town).The only “right wing”murderer I know of was General Pinochet..At any rate, that means 30,000 state homicides on the “right”and 100million on the “left”,but who’s counting.

          • Roy Mac

            And how do you react to the Christian Social Democrats?  You’re fluet in German, I take it…

        • Ellen Dibble

          Jeffe, I am beginning to identify two kind of maroons.  One kind is on a sort of bandwagon that is so self-confident that their conviction has become a contagion, and once on that bandwagon, everybody else is an ignoramus, ‘nough said.  I’m not trying to learn, just evangelize.  That’s the belief, and the watchword.
              The second kind of maroon posts here all sorts of questions and comes back after about a year having the whole situation sorted out, however that happens.  I think the second kind of maroon inherits a whole bunch of convictions, the lingua franca of a family’s deeply held convictions.  It comes without the complete instruction manual, and indeed our economic system is too complex to hand over to a 12-year-old, more or less.  So it is body language that is inherited, and that body language encapsulates a truth that might have been valid under Eisenhower, and somehow people left it at that, a credo.  And I have a huge respect for somebody trying to fit together the pieces.  You should have heard me at about age 20 — or actually I didn’t have any position at all for decades.  But challenging certain inherited givens is an honorable undertaking, if not especially honored within that family.

      • Modavations

        Check all the calls for violence!!!!And that from the purveyors of Peace

      • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

        You’re obviously not familiar with M’s posts here… unsubstianted claims, frequent contradictions, and lots of PKB.  

  • Bobl1234

    As a practical matter, we have to go beyond whether to raise taxes per Mr. Buffett, and figure out how to actually do it.

  • Ellen Dibble

    If the taxes are structured right, people can be motivated to invest rather than sit on their profits.  If they are taxed on what is under the mattress but not taxed when they’re hiring people and building factories, then it seems to me money would come out of those mattresses, and the factories would go up, and the people would be hired.  It would be in everybody’s self-interest to start feeding the economy once again.  So tax the bejeezus out of everyone with enough wherewithal to redirect their wherewithal into something productive.
        Nathan thinks such taxation would make everyone go into hibernation, if I understand him correctly.
        I refer him to the 1950s.

    • NathanD

      How about if they are just not taxed, period.  You’re talking about adding more complication to an already grotesque tax code in order to engineer production.  Good luck with that.  I say remove the burden of taxation on income, and many good things will happen.   I think this course is inevitable, but I fear  it will take a real financial catastrophe before people will smarten up.   I know my opinion is not widely shared.  Sigh.  

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1439572620 Joe Lee

        People have been calling for simplifying the grotesque tax code for ages, but there is no political will to do so. There are too many special interests that pour money into lobbying to keep tax credits and special exemptions that any attempts to actually eliminate a lot of the complicating cruft runs into a wall of campaign funding leverage.

        Also, if you look at the economic data dating back over the last 30 years, there is very little correlation between tax rates and economic growth [1]. 

        It may seem intuitive that having lower tax rates would give more money for people to use in productive ways, but the data is inconclusive at best.

        We need as a nation need to start looking at the data and thinking in a logical and methodical way on how to handle our economic issues. Blindly charging in with things that just sound good will not do any good, and may very likely make things worse.

        [1] http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/post/tax-rates-and-economic-growth-in-one-graph/2011/05/19/AGLaxJeH_blog.html

        • NathanD

          I believe the income tax needs to be replaced with a consumption tax, and there is a coherent piece of legislation languishing in Congress that would do just that.  All this talk of whether cap gains should be taxed at 15% or 28%, or whether Buffett’s peers should ante up, or whether Obama’s $250K millionaires should pay their “fair share,” is just so much drivel.  Our problems are larger than that.  What’s required is out-of-box thinking, and the Fairtax proposal (fairtax.org) is an honest effort to wipe the slate and start over.   Maybe it’s not perfect, but it’s a sensible idea that deserves attention.  Why it doesn’t get any is a great mystery to me. 

      • Ellen Dibble

        So tax just the corporations?  Maybe.  But the rest of us would start to hang on for a wild sleigh ride hanging onto the benevolence of those animal spirits.

        • NathanD

          I never said tax the corporations.  I said no income tax, period.   Not on corporations, not on individuals.   A person’s income should be a private matter.  We raise revenue by taxing what people spend, above and beyond necessities.  If you’d rather not pay the tax on that big double-door refrigerator, then buy a single-door model instead.  

          • Ellen Dibble

            People point out over and over that people with incomes over a certain level are not making decisions on the basis of is this a little more or a little less.  They probably outsource the refrigerator decision.  But most of the consumption is done by those earning UNDER a certain level.  Above a certain level, the additional money is used for example to loan out to those UNDER that amount, whether for building their businesses or enhancing their skill-set or whatever else.  But there is a limit to the number of shoes one can use, even with a big imagination.
                And I don’t know what you mean about no income tax on corporations.  I think they have profits, not income.  They don’t act like people.  If they buy health insurance, it is for employees, not for the post-office box in Bermuda.   It’s very different.  Planning for retirement?  Not your friendly corporation.  No such thing as planned obsolescence for your local corporation.  The idea is to grow bigger than any giant, to grow fruitful and multiply in greater than human scale.   

          • Ellen Dibble

            Maybe corporate employees could be given the legal right to cede their individuality for tax purposes to the corporation, and the corporation could then “count” as X many individuals. 
                Talk about making the tax code complex….

          • Ellen Dibble

            The point is if someone who has “everything I need” is not purchasing things (and therefore not being taxed, in your plan), that is the nonperforming money that needs to be mobilized to energize and refuel our economy.  If I am not mobilizing my money, how is it helping anyone?  If I just have it in T-bills or whatever, which is safe but nonproductive.
                Wouldn’t you want to encourage getting that money back in circulation?

          • Terry Tree Tree

            Another FAILED policy!   The GREEDY rich don’t buy that much, get tax breaks when they do, and don’t employ enough people for a living wage, to make it happen.  Another six-hundred year policy to maybe?

      • Ellen Dibble

        It seems to me your opinion is so widely shared that it may get voted into the presidency next November.  Sigh.
           As noted by others, an opinion is not the same as actual data and experience.  I think we could vote a hundred percent that we would like to have more money.  That is, those of us earning under $60,000.  I believe happiness studies have shown that below that amount, the shortfall in income does make people more unhappy; above that amount, additional income does not increase happiness.

        • NathanD

          For the record, I don’t see anything to cheer in the current crop of Republican candidates.  I wish there were someone who believed, as I do, in improving the life of us all, both above and below $60K.   For my part,  I think a radical change in the way we raise revenue would go a long way to accomplishing that.  

      • Terry Tree Tree

        Ten years of that FAILED policy, of less taxes on the rich, is ENOUGH to prove it failed, most miserably!   Evidently, it would take six hundred years of no taxes on the rich, for it to work!

      • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

        Your opinion glorifying the so-called “fair tax” is not widely shared because most people SEE THROUGH the bogus right wing claims made for it. Just because you don’t, is no reflection on the rest of us.

  • Kristy

    Tom~  what a hot topic!  I tried to call in but the lines were busy for a while. 
    I was just wondering if you’d ever seen the documentary “Born Rich” by Jamie Johnson–one of the heirs to the Johnson and Johnson fortune?  It is EXCELLENT!  And he feels the way Warren does.  How comforting to know all the billionaires aren’t self centered.  Thank you

    • at

      That was an insightful doc. Especially since all the rich kids who were being interviewed were trying to put on their least offensive public face (except for one) However despite appearances I can assure you that all of these people are completely surrounded by sycophants and have not even a nominal notion of reality. An even more interesting doc. by the same Johnson kid is The One Percent.

      Other significant documentaries  that can either be seen piecemeal on Youtube or downloaded in their entirety from a P2P network via torrent like
      https://torrentz.eu/verified?f=Inside+Job

      are:

      Inside Job (by far the best documentary that explains what happened to the economy and who did it)

      The Drug War (the last white hope)

      All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace

      The Century of the Self.

      If someone simply watches these documentaries with some degree of comprehension and checks their facts it would go a long way toward dispelling the illusions perpetrated upon the public by a fourth estate that is now as much a whore house as Congress.

      • SoVatsKnewWitU

        Yes, thank you Fox New for doing for journalism what professional wrestling did for athletics.

        I can just see all the zombized somnambulant mouth-breathers subconsciously wicking up the deviated zeitgeist that underlies all the broadcasts on fox, while the play with themselves and try to look up the skirts of the bowhead whores who work for the company that made it’s inroads into journalism by showing naked titties on page three. 

        • Terry Tree Tree

          While I agree with your sentiments, and observations, I request you use the language somewhere more appropriate.

      • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

        I also highly recommend Client 9… about Eliot Spitzer. The Wall Street scams he was uncovering will make you sick…

  • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

    THE MORAL BASIS FOR PROGRESSIVE TAXATION

    What’s a killer idea for a product or service worth in an impoverished 3ed or 4th world nation without the infrastructure to exploit it? Probably nothing. The Right fails, or pretends not to understand that good ideas, free choice, and markets alone do NOT make people wealthy. In reality for an inventor to exploit an idea requires the infrastructure built up by previous generations. It requires a stable currency, a legal infrastructure of contract and patent law, a functional court system to enforce those laws. It requires an educational infrastructure that can produce an educated workforce with the skills needed in the inventor’s area. To exploit an idea there has to be a public health infrastructure for clean water, air, a vaccinated public to prevent pandemics. It requires a scientific and technological base of research that can be built upon. Often someone gets rich for only providing one last piece in a puzzle worked on by others for years. It requires a nation secure behind its defense infrastructure, and domestic tranquility provided by law enforcement infrastructure. It requires physical investments be safe behind a fire fighting infrastructure. It requires an infrastructure of highways, sea ports, and airports for transportation of raw goods and parts to a factory and to bring finished goods to market. A good idea in an impoverished 3ed world nation won’t make someone rich, but it will here in the US because previous generations have paid taxes and built up this nation’s infrastructure. Yet Libertarians and the far Right seem to believe no one should feel there is much of a debt to society for that opportunity even if it’s the rich who arguably most exploit those public resources. If there is a MORAL BASIS for progressive taxation it’s the above. That’s one reason I’ve long believed the income tax should be renamed the Opportunity Tax.

    • Modavations

      Jesus Cristo.Who is going to read all that?.Half of us have ADHD.Now Where the hell was I………..

      • Obobo

        Obviously everyone’ attention span is not as short as yours.

      • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

         ADHD… of course!

        Thanks M, now we finally have an explanation for your dismally short posts; your inability to remember anything about punctuation and grammar; your inability to get your facts straight, and your being too distracted to do any real research to back up your claims. It also explains why when challenged you can’t even remember about what. All that alleged BC education for naught.

  • Modavations

    Would some please explain to Ultrax that Orwell was a Lefty.

    • Ellen Dibble

      Orwell who wrote about the curse of living under the constant eye of “Big Brother” (aka USSR)?   
          What are you talking about?

      • Anonymous

        You can criticize the USSR and still be a lefty. Orwell also wrote “The road to Wigan pier” which explores Orwell’s ideas about anarchism. 

        • Ellen Dibble

          To me, the communism of the China of Mao Tse-Tung on the 1960s and 1970s, and the communism of the USSR from about 1923 to about 1983 was extreme left, and as such pretty close to extreme right, in effect if not in proclaimed ideology, that is, authoritarian, propagandistic, over-confident, depending on a kind of sheep, and a kind of near-worship of the ruling class, however that elite is defined.
              Left, when it is not extreme, seems very very different now than it was when I began to hear it discussed, which was at the time of President Johnson’s Great Society.  (How did he manage to come out of Texas with that ideology anyway.)   The idea was to use government to rectify things, to recognize what does not work and use what power the government has to get things to work.  He strong-armed the civil rights act into reality, right?  He was using what I’d call rightish tactics for leftish aims.  
              I mean, what we call left and right seems to be one more plaything for campaign managers to redefine.  We tend to call evangelical Christians “right,” but I think of the religious instincts of Americans as pure left, good Samaritan and egalitarian in most ways.  So.  I don’t know.  If someone is using this thread to learn the difference between right and left in the year 2011, I’d say find me one of either.  Obama is sure not left.  The Republican field seems plain unhinged.  Anyone left standing in that field is left, right?

          • CartonStrauss

            Really Ellen? I think every tyrant and two-bit wanna be tyrant called themselves communists to get into power. I think the Soviets were the end of any chance of communism in Russia. Look at Communist China, today they are fascists, but they still call themselves Communists. We were happy to label any popular uprising communist in order to fund intervention. Communists, then Drug Dealers, then Terrorists, it just goes on and on. It’s just a scam used to fleece a public that will sacrifice anything, including hard won freedoms, when they feel threatened. It’s just diversion from the real threats that come from the Insiders. 

          • Ellen Dibble

            Who are these “insiders”?  You mean in China?  Or here?  I think we used to label things Communist and we would knee-jerk whatever it was, even before it materialized.  Nowadays, some of that persists, but a lot of people forget what was actually on the other side of the Iron Curtain.  (Or maybe we didn’t know that well, but we were plenty able to shun them.)

        • JasonBLack

          Is it worth reading?

    • CosgroLamonte

      What is a Lefty?  What does it mean to be a “lefty”?

      • Anonymous

        Look up Joseph McCarthy and the House Un-Americans Activities Committee. Interesting to note, Roy Cohn was chief counsel and 27-year-old Robert F. Kennedy was an assistant counsel to the subcommittee. Roy Cohn became famous latter from Studio 54 and he died of aids. Life is complicated.

    • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

      For crying out loud M, you’ve been here long enough to know how to respond to someone else’s post. As for Orwell, it DOESN’T MATTER IF HE WAS LEFT OR RIGHT…
       
      The term Orwellian is just an adjective… it simply deals with methods used to manipulate, deceive, and control people used in his works… most notably Animal Farm and 1984.
       
      Getting’ it yet?
       
      Didn’t think so

      • Anonymous

        He’s a troll. I think it’s time to ignore this guy. We are collectively feeding into his weirdness. I suppose by using the word “collectively” this guy will now be calling me a leftist.  Well I did have a few real communist in my family back in the 60′s. They were from Poland however and not Americans. So I guess I’m guilty by proxy…

        • Gregg

          “He’s a troll. I think it’s time to ignore this guy. We are collectively feeding into his weirdness.”

          That’s the same conclusion and approach I take with ulTRAX.

          • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

            Gee G, I must be getting under your skin.
             
            Perhaps if I posted short nonsensical and inflammatory posts making unsubstantiated claims designed only to “troll” for responses, you might have a case. But instead I tend to post long, reasoned, posts and cite credible sources to back up what I say.
            So please don’t confuse me with Moda, Branstand, Zing, or the others room-temp IQers who robotically regurgitate any slop the Orwellian Right feeds them. I’d include you in that group except you write longer posts.

          • ThePope

            True that.

  • Roy Mac

    Stephen Moore is the kind of talent Murdoch has at the WSJ?  Moore agrues that Warren Buffett doesn’t know what he’s talking about?

    Tom, where do you FIND these ignorant dickheads?

    • Conner44

      My dickhead is offended by your remark

  • MYemailbox

    I suggest that all employee’s of NewCorp (Fox) like the guy from the Wall Street Journal, be excluded from any future shows. They are just propagandists that must follow the party line and not real objective experts in any sense of the term.

    • JJJimmanyC

      I wonder when The Wall Street Journal will start showing naked titties on page three?

  • Hidan

    How funny is this Stephen Moore talks about how our Corporate taxes are so high as opposed to Europe. But I bet dollar to dime that if we talked about Europe Universal health care he be the first to cry socialism. Even funnier when Tom pointed out that many of those Corporations don’t pay taxes.

    Than we have people on the comment thread complain about how 50% don’t pay taxes, of course excluding the taxes those 50% actually pay or excluding that some in that 50% are ultra rich. Than they go on about how those people should pay more and to balance that 50% not paying lower taxes on the rich.

    Okay, okay so the poster here and the Republicans that spout such nonsenses want to raise taxes on those 50% than? But nearly every republican as sign a pledge to not raise taxes”EVER” so on one hand these poster and Kamikaze republicans cry about those 50% of people not paying taxes, yet have no intentions of raising taxes on that 50%.

    Why aren’t these poster voting democrats who the repbulican claims will raise taxes on everyone? therefore reducing that 50% of Americans not paying taxes. Republicans have stated time and time again the democrats want to raise everyone’s taxes, and Republican have stated time and time again that the republicans wish to cut taxes. Wouldn’t cutting taxes mean those 50% not paying already would increase?

  • Anonymous

    Its always those at the top who are the first to cry class warfare, because  they are the only ones fighting. 

  • Paula Stockbridge

    Let’s not forget that the tax system is basically a philanthropic entity, for the good of all, and the corporations are set up for the good of themselves.  When the rich get taxed above what they think is comfortable for them, they just move themselves and/or their operations offshore.  Switzerland has become a tax haven for corporations.  If we want to keep our corporations and collect taxes from them, we have to give incentives.  This is a complex problem that I can’t even begin to think that a simple layperson can solve

    • Ellen Dibble

      IT’s international law.  If the international lawyers can’t sort it out at the next G-20 or IMF meeting or however they do it, I hope the corporations who care to do so move to Switzerland and let us compete like with like, leaving international law and taxation to the Global Transnation, whatever you want to call it.
          We did pretty well before and we’ll do well again, but just as the nonprofits don’t compete with for-profits, let the global entities have their own set of rules and their play on the appropriate ballfield, taxwise.  How many local businesses do we want to see ruined by corporations whose perspective includes people with state health care and incomes a fraction of ours.  Haven’t we become dependent ENOUGH not only on foreign oil but on corporations with global footprints that can pull the rug out from under us?  Businesses used to be rooted, answerable, proud to employ and proud to produce tax income for this country.
          We may not understand this, and I’m sure campaign financiers don’t especially want us to understand it, but we are likely better off the more we can disentangle ourselves from dependence on entities of such scope.  When supermarkets are not bringing in the lettuce and potatoes, due to strikes or shortages, we’ll rely on local food.  Let the global interests be IN ADDITION to all-American, not instead of.

  • Hidan

    Why no call for War Bonds? Cut defense to at least the top two countries other than the U.S. combine and allow all those Patriot Americans to make the difference

  • Paulastockbridge

    I think Ken is trying to get across that what the taxes pay for should be flat fees, not percentages.  But corporations by far use more of the roads getting their goods to market, and the mere weight of the trucks tears up the roads.  That’s just one area.  Then there is the pollution that has to be cleaned up from manufacturing.  I’m sure there are a lot more things to take into consideration, thus raising the taxes on the corporations, ergo a higher percentage to be paid.  Let’s face it, big corporations use big services, not to mention fire, police, OSHA et al.

    • Anonymous

      And they get the majority share of tax breaks on the federal and state level.

  • ET

    Tom,
    When one of your guests spouts dogmatic bullshit and changes the subject rather than answering the questions (for instance Mr. Moore throughout this broadcast), it would be really great if you would press him on it, stay on him like a pack of wolves chasing a moose through winter snow (the deep winter snow of his clouded mind), grapple with him like a hungry boa constrictor, wrapping your coils around his feeble arguments and not letting go, rather than switching to a listener call or a station break.  Or if you have to do the latter, if you returned to the subject after the break. 

    • http://anEclecticMind.com Maria

      Thanks for making this point. I came here specifically to say much the same thing. Moore was pushing a conservative agenda, spouting opinions not based in fact. He insulted a caller! There is no place for a “guest” like that on public radio.

  • Deborah

    For those not as evolved as Buffet, why don’t we propose a tax program such as Buffet proposes and earmark the revenue for a Jobs Program that has their names attached.  We can even reward the incentive with a bridge, canal, roads etc. in their name.  That would be an incentive.  No conservative would be happy seeing only Buffet bridges, etc.  popping up all over the place. Let’s make new bridges, etc. the riches’ absolute reward.  

    One doesn’t usually have hindsight, but we have it via taxation.  Every time taxes have been lowered the debt rises.  Dems raise taxes and the standard of living goes up. Republicans lower the taxes and debt does up and own standard of living goes down.  This has been true since the Depression.

  • Gregg

    Obama in one term will add more to the debt than Bush did is two. It’s unpatriotic. Don’t take my word for it ask candidate Obama.

     http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1kuTG19Cu_Q&feature=player_embedded

    • Ellen Dibble

      Let’s see, what would Bush do if he were the person to step into Obama’s place in January 2009?  Would he have cut taxes further?  Would the debt have gone down then and jobs have flooded back in?  
         I’m trying to imagine the alternative course, the Republican course — although to tell the truth, it seems Obama took a mostly Republican course.  

      • Gregg

        I believe speculation is just that but I’m game. I think it’s easier to speculate what Bush would not have done. I don’t think he would have implemented anything close to Obamacare which is the real problem our economy faces. I don’t think he would have proposed an $830 billion “stimulus” bill. I don’t think he would have engaged in Quantitative Easing. I don’t think he would have spent the paid back TARP money elsewhere. I don’t think he would have made GM manufacture the failed Volt nor subsidize buyers with tax money. I see no indication he would have cut taxes as the only ones I know who advocated that are Obama’s bipartisan (and ignored) debt commission.

  • Pritish

    One of the guests mentioned that Buffet pays 35% + 17% in taxes (though this 35% stuff is wrong). By that argument, most of the middle class people pay 33% + 7% (payroll tax) + 9% (real estate tax) + 6% (sales tax) equating to around 55% in taxes. Then there are other taxes too but we are not going to count that. To top it off, since most of the people have retirement investments in corporate firms, we too end up paying that 35% tax on the corporate income. Assuming that the companies make 8% of their revenue as income, 35% equates to about 4% additional. Assuming that the retirement savings are 5 times the income, 4% of savings actually becomes 20% of the persons income. Essentially, the average Joe is paying around 75% of their income in taxes.

    I am sure the guest is only willing to look at numbers that favor his arguments and dumb ones at that too.

    • Ed

      Yes, and I am sure he knows enough economics be aware that this argument is complete bullshit but effective at confusing the issue.  Fact is, every time money changes owner the tax rate has to be reset or you get nonsense.  If you follow a dollar back through all previous transactions then you conclude that every dollar is taxed at an infinite rate.

      • Conner44

        Ed I am liking you more and more. 

    • Sonny

      I believe Moore is the name of the person you are talking about.  Besides his confusion with 35% corporate tax and 15% Capital gains tax, he made the crazy remark that Buffet should voluntarily pay a billion more in taxes to make up for many greedy rich people who do  not want to pay their fair share. 

  • Kevin

    “Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires.” –John Steinbeck

    So perfectly distills the rationale behind why people who aren’t rich continue to vote against their own best interests.
    It makes no sense for a man or woman making, say, $40,000 a year to be against an increase in capital gains tax rates and the income tax rates for those with exorbitant incomes.

    • Anonymous

      One of the great questions

      “Why do men fight for their servitude as stubbornly as though it were their salvation?”
      -Spinoza

    • at

      That’s why it’s called the American Dream. They are lost in a dream.

    • TFRX

      Boffo! and, where was this during the “quotations” show?

       

  • Gregg

    The vitriol is amazing but typical. I thought about cutting and pasting some of the comments about Stephen Moore, Fox News and Rush Limbaugh but they are just too vile. The hate must be spoon fed because there is no way to come to these conclusions through objective reasoning.

    • Anonymous

      I don’t have to use over the top vitriol about Stephan Moore or Limbaugh. Do you know why? Because Limbaugh is so vile and over the top he does not even deserve to be given any fair treatment.
      Moore was a republican talking head. Enough said. If you support this kind of right wing ideology I feel sorry for you. It’s hardly the kind of conservative talking points one would hear from William Buckley.  

      • Gregg

        Thank you.

        • Anonymous

          Your welcome. I take it you support the extreme vitriol of Limbaugh?
          I for one do not think he’s anything more than a snake oil salesman.

          • Gregg

            You are entitled to the opinion given to you by others who have never listened either. BTW, Buckley loved him. 

          • Anonymous

            I’ve listened to Limbaugh enough to know I think he’s a vile media personality. I’ve heard Buckley interviewed on Charlie Rose and he had a few negative things to say about the kind right wing radio that Limbaugh represents. You like him I gather. Well each to their own.

          • Kevin

            It’s vitriolic to make fact-based arguments supported by empirical evidence. 

            Aside from my inability to comprehend the greediness inherent in a person who claws for and seeks to hoard every last penny earned (from a country that makes it possible for him or her to earn a comfortable living), what really gets me is the inability–or refusal–to analyze and determine whether their way of governing works.

            –Deregulation contributed to the financial collapse: Fact.
            –The deficit ballooned as a result of tax cuts and two wars paid for with borrowed money: Fact.
            –A Federal Government cannot govern effectively if those who run it are of the belief that it essentially shouldn’t exist (or, at minimum, that it shouldn’t use its powers to stabilize and improve the economy): Fact (and, also, a sign of hypocrisy: Why be a senator if you don’t believe the institution should exist?)

            It is not opinion to point out that Supply-Side Economics did not pan out when put into practice (hey, it’s kind of how communism looks good on paper but doesn’t work in practice!). Or that corporate malfeasance is not, in fact, self-correcting. 

            It’s as though every proponent of unrestrained Free Market Capitalism wants to be a protege of Gordon Gekko (GREED IS GOOD!). But when the real-life Gordon Gekko (Warren Buffett) says his piece, they clap their hands to their ears and throw a temper tantrum.

          • Gregg

            That’s a hoot! But your “facts” are not facts they are easily disproved talking points.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            Excellent analysis!

          • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

            I listen to Orwellan Right Radio all the time. Your notion that they are fair and balanced in the face of vicious “liberal media” is just more proof you’re not here for honest debate as you claim. You’re only here 24/7 to post right wing talking points.

          • nj

            Upon discovering that Limbaugh had anointed himself the successor to William F. Buckley Jr., WFB’s son Christopher retorted, “Rush, I knew William F. Buckley, Jr. William F. Buckley, Jr. was a father of mine. Rush, you’re no William F. Buckley, Jr.”
            http://www.amconmag.com/article/2009/feb/23/00006/

          • JJJimmanyC

            I used to listen to Rush. I will never forget the time he had his grandfather on, who he apparently idolized and his grandfather said, and I quote: “We Lymbachs have never been one’s for strutting around in front of people and puffing ourselves up.” And Rush, with his godlike powers of perception didn’t even realize that his own granddad had just painted him for the fool he was (and is). If you want to get rich in America these days being a sycophant for the one percent is a good way to go. Rush has championed the idea that the the poor, and powerless are responsible for many of our problems. YOu have to be a fool to believe that and not see through it.

          • Gregg

            Rush Sr. was a great man and was interviewed by Rush III on his 100th birthday. Terrific show! Another great show was on April Fools day when he came out advocating raising taxes on the poor. Awesome!

            One of the hallmarks of Rush is his humility. Another is his compassion.

          • Gregg

            Speaking of Christopher Buckley, he voted for Obama.

            Rush anointed himself squat and bowed at the alter of Buckley. 

  • Ed

    So, why doesn’t Buffet voluntarily pay more in taxes?  Because he knows that if he does that, then you can bet that some Congressmen will say, “See we don’t need to raise taxes on the rich, they will do it voluntarily if they feel it is right for them.”  Then it just won’t happen.  But, Buffet knows that not enough billionaires will do the same and the needed revenue will not be raised.

    • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

      When We The People are now $14.5 TRILLION in debt… why is Buffett’s behavior the issue and not the politicians who created this mess?????  You’re falling for a diversionary issue created by the Right designed to take your attention from how their irresponsible tax cuts and deregulation imploded the economy and create crippling debt…

      • RawContour

        Right on again my friend.  I think someone like you could eventually figure out how to explain this to the people who have been fooled into acting and voting against their and the nation’s best interests.

    • Kevin

      Your first sentence had me thinking you were about to launch a tirade against Buffett, but I’m glad to see that you instead make an excellent point in support of Buffett’s stance. 

      If somebody WERE to ask (as a rebuttal to Buffett), “Why doesn’t Buffett voluntarily pay more in taxes?” My answer would be, “He’s been more philanthropic with his resources than God, and bettered the lives of more people, to boot.” 

      Buffett could just sit on a private island for the rest of his days counting money and having twelve-way orgies with supermodels, but he instead devotes his time to things like calling attention to the inequities and fallacies plaguing America’s version of capitalism.

      I would ask any rabidly anti-tax folks who read this post to pause for a moment and ask themselves this question: What does Warren Buffett have to gain by lobbying for an increase in how much we tax rich people? Why would he lie about his own experience and understanding of markets? He doesn’t need to! He’s all set! The only reason he would have for writing that op-ed would be to impart his knowledge of the facts that he, as one of the savviest businessman in history, has witnessed over his decades as a prominent investor. If he claims that increased taxes have never deterred him, or his fellow wealthy associates, from investing, from working hard for a profit, from creating jobs, WHO ARE YOU TO CHALLENGE THAT? Unless you’re sitting there with millions of dollars invested in the markets, with hopes to be taxed at only 15% on the gains from those investments, or unless you’re earning $500,000 a year, then give it up already! Get rid of this delusion that “someday you could be a millionaire, and damned if the gummint should get its greedy paws on it.” It’s counter to your best interests!

      I could go on for hours, but what’s the point? You can’t change the minds of people who are brainwashed into the flawed–and verifiably so, based on the last 30 years of deregulation and unfunded tax cuts–belief that there is never a good time for tax increases. I don’t like paying taxes as much as the next guy, but dammit I live in the greatest country in the world, and am more than willing to pay for the privilege. Some might call that patriotic.

      • Terry Tree Tree

        Well put, and accurate!!

  • Sonny

    I find it hard to believe that Moore would ask Buffet to voluntarily pay an additional billion dollars.  Who does Moore represent?  The super rich are not greedy.  

    • nj

      It’s pretty obvious who he represents.

      http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Stephen_Moore

      Moore is also an American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) “scholar” as of 2011.[1] On August 4th, 2011, he spoke at a Shell Oil-sponsored plenary session of the 38th Annual ALEC Meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana, along with fellow ALEC “scholar” Arthur B. Laffer.[2]Moore also participated in the 2011 ALEC Annual Meeting, speaking on a panel on corporate taxes in front of the Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force.[3]

    • Terry Tree Tree

      How can you say the super-rich are not greedy??  They paid less taxes, got tax cuts, and want more tax cuts, but want to end the tax cuts for people paying Social Security taxes.  They robo-sign foreclosures, to steal houses faster.   They ‘bundled’ risky mortgages and somehow said that 20 risky mortgages equal 20 AAA+ mortgages.  Then they bought an evaluation from the rating agencies that agreed with them.  The next step was to scam and fraud others into buying these ‘bundled’ AAA+ fraud mortgages, thereby making themselves richer, by fraud and other crimes!
          Sounds pretty greedy to me!!   Sounds criminal, and immoral to me!!

  • NPRnewbie

    It is wishful thinking to blame the rich and hope that increasing taxes on the rich will bail us out. If we went back to the tax rates under Clinton, that would still only cover about 20% of the deficit. We have a spending problem, not a tax revenue problem.

    I am disapointed in Buffet, and in the show tonight. People who understand economics know that real growth in the standard of living comes with increases in productivity. Productivity increases come from long term investments in productive capital equipment, technology, and in human capital, that is, education and training. Real, sustainabe increases in the economy don’t from from spending. All the talk about taxing the rich so others can spend it, whether the givernment, or those who rely on the government for subsidies, miss the basic point that spending increases don’t increase the GDP. All that is does is redistribute wealth, without growing the size of the pie. We should be focused on making the pie bigger, not fighting over who gets what share. Further, the answer to the income disparity is not wealth redistribution. We should address the root causes, disparities in education, and some of the other issues related to poverty. Over the long term, that will change the distribution of of wealth.

    It is not sustainable to rely on a very small percentage of the population to pay an overwhelming majority of taxes.

    • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

      Thanks for your thoughtful and creative regurgitation of standard right wing talking points.

      Yes we have a spending problem… WE’RE IN A GODDAMN RECESSION AND WHO ELSE BUT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT IS GOING TO PROP UP THE ECONOMY?

      But we ALSO HAVE A REVENUE PROBLEM. Some of the shortfall is because we’re in a recession. But remember that Bush passed his irresponsible tax cut when We The People were already about $6 TRILLION in debt. Bush so slashed that in constant dollars, revenues only exceeded Clinton’s last year in 2 of his 8 years.  

      Given that reality, that anyone can claim there’s no revenue problem is just drinking the Orwellian Right Kool Aid.   

      • NPRnewbie

        I never said we don’t have a revenue problem. It’s just that the expense problem is 4 or 5 times as large as the revenue problem, and the spending “stimulus” is short term and not well thought out. Also, I never defended Bush; you jumped to that conclusion erroneously. He over spent as well. I agree with you that Washington is blame. Politicians are losing the moral authority to tax with their irresponsible, uninformed spending and legislation.

        BTW, You don’t need to shout with all caps. I can tell you are angry without the all caps.

        • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

          NPR writes “We have a spending problem, not a tax revenue problem.”NPR later writes: “I never said we don’t have a revenue problem.” Sure, whatever you say.  BTW, I’m not “shouting” when I selectively use caps.  SHOUTING IS USING NOTHING BUT CAPS!!!!! I selectively use caps for emphasis because there’s no easy way on this board to do bold type without resorting to HTML.

    • Kevin

      Watch this Daily Show clip and tell me that Jon Stewart is wrong. It’s only like 5 minutes of your time:

      http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/thu-august-18-2011/world-of-class-warfare—the-poor-s-free-ride-is-over

      • Me354608

        Saw that, totally cool and real. Like someone  said, the fact that the only reality check on the news is a comedy show says it all.

    • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

      So after admitting that perhaps “20%” of the deficit problem is caused by the Bush tax cuts on the rich… how can you then claim we should IGNORE that 20% and instead just focus on spending cuts?

      As for taxing the rich so others can spend it… what about the simple fact that since 1981 We The People pissed away some $13.5 TRILLION on ourselves and we REFUSE TO PAY FOR IT! So who will? Bush in 2000 ran on paying down debt, then once installed in office did everything he could to create MORE debt… in large part with tax cuts for the rich.

      So why in your opinion is simply REVERSING this clearly irresponsible Bush policy now off the table for you? Enquiring minds want to know!

      • NPRnewbie

        Sorry I didn’t make myself clear. My point was tax increases alone won’t bail us out. Bush’s problem was massive spending on wars. Tax cuts exacerbated the problem, but his real failure was out of control spending. We simply can’t afford everything we want. We need long term ivestments that will increase productivity, not short term “stimulus”.

        Buffet voted with his money. He chose to give his money away rather than pay it to the government as estate taxes. He doesn’t trust the government to invest his money either.

        • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

           
          So reverting to the old Clinton tax rate is now NOT off the table?

          Yes, clearly Bush and the GOP spent like madmen. But there’s a context here that you might not know. Bush in 2000 ran on PAYING DOWN DEBT… the tax cut was secondary. A press release said

          “The bottom line is clear: Governor Bush’s plan takes care of Social Security first, provides America’s working families with a tax break, and does it all within the context of a balanced budget,”
          http://romcache.tripod.com/bush2000.pdf 

          Given Bush broke his word and instead gave the rich a massive tax break when We The People were already about $6 TRILLION in debt, why is just reverting to the old Clinton tax level enough? That does NOTHING to recoup the revenue lost during the last decade to tax cuts that should NEVER have been passed. At what point do we say ENOUGH with these fiscally irresponsible policies of the Right and not just end them but UNDO THE DAMAGE? I personally favor reverting to Reagan’s 1981 ERTA top tax rate of 50% for 10-15 years to recoup that lost revenue. All that’s not to say I don’t also favor spending cuts and entitlement reforms. After all, we have a $14.5 trillion hole to dig ourselves out of… and despite what the Right says, their insistence   that there be no new revenue proves they are NOT serious. Why? Increasing debt is their political weapon of choice.

        • Judy Trammell

          I agree that tax increases alone won’t bail us out, but if they could reduce our deficit by 20% isn’t that a great start? Wouldn’t that improve consumer confidence and give most of the world much more confidence in the US economy? 
          As for stimulus money, didn’t much of it go to the states and get used to keep from laying people off or fund infrastructure projects? How was that bad? The ones who have done nothing with stimulus dollars are the banks that were bailed out & are holding the money rather than using it to help people out! 
          Regarding Buffet voting with his money – he is not proposing to give tax money to the government for investment, he is simply asking that wealthy people pay their fair share! Investment in job retraining workers & better education takes money, why can’t the wealthy help more? They are certainly more able to afford it than 98% of us,

      • JoJORoho

        Wait a minute. Aren’t you forgetting that the oil revenues from Iraq not only payed for the war and reconstruction of Iraq, but brought stability to the region and a new age of low oil prices, that caused the whole darn pie to grow bigger, thereby causing an age of prosperity where it was almost impossible to recruit new persons into the armed services, necessitating a continuation of the oil boy’s policies by robots and drones without any human supervisors. And you all know where that lead. He said to let you know he’d be back.

    • SillyBuoy

      You can talk endlessly about what the cure for the problem is without
      once addressing the reason the problem came about in the first place.
      That being the underhanded manipulation of a system by the use of money
      and power to subvert the freedoms and economic vitality of everyone else
      to the advantage of a few families. As George Carlin pointed out, there
      doesn’t have to be an actual conspiracy by the power elite against
      everyone else — it just works out that way naturally, they belong to
      the same clubs, and dock their yachts at the same islands, and marry
      each others families and socialize exclusively only with each other, and
      conscienclessly allow their hired guns to pursue the expansion of their
      wealth at the expense of everyone else. They have the same interests,
      increasing their position at you expense and having you foot the bill.
      They only play to win. If they win, they are happy but will expect more
      in the future. If they loose you will pay and they will expect you to
      protect their interests while they ruin you. It was the concentration of
      wealth and power into too few hands, brought about by the same people
      who profited most from it by the manipulation of our legal system and
      the brainwashing of the general public by their total ownership of all
      mass media, and most of the internet. This allowed these lucky few to
      set up a system that lead to our present cycle of problems.  I could
      take you points apart one by one, believe me. Like your conclusion that

      . . .”We should address the root causes, disparities in education, and some of
      the other issues related to poverty. Over the long term, that will
      change the distribution of of wealth.”. . .

      I understand why you think this.  If you become useful to them they may
      pay you a higher salary.  Unless there are too many educated people,
      then you education will not bring as much on the job market. Or maybe
      you actually expect to someday actually receive your pension, Of course
      if you are educated you may start a business yourself. Unfortunately
      they are not lending right now, especially to someone who will try to
      compete with their interests in China.

      You want to address the root causes? Make it impossible for the wanna-be
      rich, like your typical millionaire congressman to ruin our country
      because of their distorted values.

      You want to get to the real root causes?

      Better than that you want to cure it? Do you know what the lynch pin that holds their house of delusions together?

      Simple. . . lots of the folks who share here could tell you what the
      lynch pin is. Cure everything in one blow. Funny though, you don’t
      mention this lynch pin once in your little litany. Makes me think that
      maybe you missed something, or maybe you are another person like M. who
      needs to teach the world common sense. Teach us that the whole pie needs
      to expand, I mean the universe is expanding so it should be possible
      right? And just because one percent of the people get more than half of
      the pie and then percent get all most all of it, and fifty percent of
      the population get a whole two percent of the pie. You know, it’s
      probably those people selfishly withholding that two percent that keeps
      the whole darn pie from getting bigger. It sure keeps the people that
      own almost everything from going out and buying the twenty million US
      made Buicks Lacrosses we need to turn this thing around. Then the only
      US car that is actually made in the US (at least last time I checked)
      will be, being made. And you want us to actually make things don’t you.
      What kind of car do you own? I hope it’s at least a Honda which contains
      85% US parts. Oh, the root lynch pin, I almost forgot. It’s so unsexy
      that it’s easy to forget. The girls with the short skirts on Fox, never
      talk about it so I never think about it.

      It’s good old campaign finance reform (the real kind) where there are no
      donations allowed at all by anybody. No professional political workers,
      no commercial, just the facts, a public debate and free air time on all
      the networks.

      It will take a violent revolution to bring about real campaign finance reform. Because your owners don’t want that. It will make your vote actually count, and cause too much democracy.
      In fact I have it on good authority that the bought and paid for Supreme Courts next move is to give Corporations the vote. The will have super-votes that count as a million votes each. For every billion dollars in assets or twenty five hundred dollars in value bribes they get to cast one super-vote. In the case of a disparity between the super-votes and the old votes the super-votes will take precidents, just like the do now, only it will be out in the open, in our faces, A new chapter in open government. Sort of like the objective coverage given by the embedded reporters in Iraq.                                                                      

    • Ed

      Well, if going from 35% to 39.6% solves 20% of the problem, then going to 44.2% will solve 40% of the problem.  Increasing capital gains taxes to the same level as income would solve the whole problem.   If we don’t do it now, we will do even more later.  The Baby Boomers have just begun to retire.  Production goes up, but salaries don’t, and the number of jobs no longer increases because efficiency goes up faster.  Cut all of the fat, take entitlements down  to the bare minimum necessary to prevent revolution, we still need this revenue to last long enough to figure out and implement a totally new system of economics.

      • Terry Tree Tree

        WOW!  I agree with Ed! ?  Is this the same Ed that rants in favor of Catholics?  That WOULD be strange!

  • Mark

    Warren Buffet is clearly right, and he knows infinitely more — I mean “infinite” literally — than the knee-jerk conservatives spouting vitriol not just here, but in the voting booth, to the great detriment of the world (not just the country — and I mean world literally).  People just don’t have a clue that an enclave world for the rich is being created on the back of the middle class, a world of $47,000-a-day resorts.  Yes, the rich are different.  We have mde them so

  • Mark

    And BTW — regarding Moore asking why Buffet doesn’t voluntarily pay a billion to the US Treasury.  Do your due diligence before going on-air, Moore (not that it would change your spew).  Buffet’s editorial mentioned the Giving Pledge (not to be confused with the Norquist Pledge, of course).  Look it up.  Mr. Buffet plans to GIVE AWAY 99% of his wealth.  That’s a pretty respectable form of self-taxation, and I’m sure that much of it will indeed help cover things that U.S. losses in fair revenues WON”T be covering, thanks to your boss Murdoch and others

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1439572620 Joe Lee

    damn, these comments have grown ugly. I feel like Diogenes with a lantern while reading through them.

    People being trolls, stop it! (you know who you are)
    People feeding the trolls, stop it! (you also know who you are)

    With the economy in such dire straits, we need to keep a level head if we ever hope to find a viable long term solution. Debate is only productive when it is done in a thoughtful way with arguments that are supported by evidence and data instead of just speculation and rhetoric. There is plenty to debate without resorting to name calling.

    Let’s keep an open mind and try to be civil to each other.

    • Modavations

      I can’t forget the day they had the story about M.Bachman.Someone made repeated statements about her need for a sex toy.Not one,I repeat,not one of NPR’s liberated ladies, said a word.Only some kind hearted ,andf offended old man,came to her rescue

      • BlixTheDim-but_cute-goblin

        I know right, these lefties are such hypocrites when it comes to anything that they say or do. If they just admitted their greed and viscous nature I would have a lot more respect for them. Plus they don’t stand a chance as long as we have omnipresent geniuses like you to zap them with your high powered and insightful commentary. Like what did they have to say about the horrible things that probably happen places and stuff, huh? You are smart and they are dumb. You should keep jabbing pins into them. I know they hate it. It’s so easy to bait these lefties. You don’t even have to make sense. In your brilliance you have proved time and time again that you can spew word salad that is just a congolomoration of oxymorons and nosequitours and it will just piss them all off. They actually even think that you are serious. They are putty in your hands, keep up the good work. You have gained he guys upstairs attention and I wouldn’t be surprised if an offer soon follows.

      • Terry Tree Tree

        Thanks, Moda.   I don’t know that I am the old man you were referring to, as I hope others objected to the off-topic, and offensive comments.  I have heard a lot of Mrs. Bachmann that I disagree with, but defend her right to say it. 
            If Anthony Weiner had been the subject, something like this would have been more appropriate!

      • Terry Tree Tree

        Thanks, Moda.   I don’t know that I am the old man you were referring to, as I hope others objected to the off-topic, and offensive comments.  I have heard a lot of Mrs. Bachmann that I disagree with, but defend her right to say it. 
            If Anthony Weiner had been the subject, something like this would have been more appropriate!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brennan-Moriarty/100000655771831 Brennan Moriarty

    Money for Moral [normalcy] causes, is the foundation of America and the west/old worlds. If the super powerful and all their moral supporters was quantified away from ambiguity and indeed cultural trechery and unsolved confusion[!], we would civilize rights and solve wrongs.
    Higher taxes won’t make [health care] diseases nor poverty go away, only quantitative policy*/normalcy will systematically solve/PREVENT our problems; Then and only then will equality/HAPPINESS materialize.
    *policy of geo-normalcy Quantified! will enable the compassion, but ambiguity is the geo-obstacle, to post-manifest pre-destiny. {$oul-U-tion}

  • Ellen Dibble

    On trolls.  If there some Olympian perch where the perfect debate were conducted, then we would not be functioning usefully in a democracy.  We might be functioning usefully if were the SCOTUS, Supreme Court, or some other body rising above democratic politics and analyzing the parts.
        But this is a democracy, and people with all sorts of backgrounds and capacities are part of the decision-making process.  Part but not all.  They may have to persuade the watercooler at work, or the neighborhood e-mail network, or the carpool, or the women in the daycare pool, on and on and on.   What is the saying about 7 degrees of separation?  Or eight degrees?  The objective is surely not to create the perfect, targeted debate, although that might lurk between the lions, as the children say.  The objective is a little more like a sport, where hitting it out of the park might be a nice score on your record, but it isn’t actually happening in Congress.  It’s shadow-dancing, and plenty of the shadows are telling talking points.  I suppose our congressmen, addressing townhall gatherings, also find plenty of talking points hurled at them.  It’s part of democracy.  I’m sure there are secret covens where people of compatible disposition sort out all the best answers to everything, but it doesn’t matter, unless that coven happens to be a bunch of empowered tyrants.

    • PaxtonQuigley

      I think it is six degrees. It’s amazing actually. I think the theory is that you are related to everyone on earth by six degrees of separation or less. I was amazed to find out that the person who I apprenticed with as a glassblower was the son of the French ambassador to Nazi Germany and as a child he met Adolph in a reception line. That makes me one degree from Hitler, and anybody who knows me, two degrees from him. I bet among the people who use this forum their are one or more who are that close with Churchill. Or who knows who. I used to in the mid sixties I used to buy hash from Albert Einstein’s nephew, so  I am one away from him too. I bet there are people here with one or two degrees from the most unlikely personages.

      • Ellen Dibble

        Oh, six degrees?  And that theory was cooked up Before The Internet:  BTI.  Nowadays, who knows what happens.  It seems to me some of our questions, some of arguments, some of our ways of saying things, some of our ways of confronting each other or building on ideas together, some of that percolates up every day. Even I can see it, and I don’t scan very broadly.  But I feel a resonance, maybe in what the BBC decides to address or how to address it, maybe in what a Saturday joke show manages to use to make an audience laugh, every which way.  How can it not?  People are like monkeys; we see things, pick up on things, try things out.  You can’t demand that a particular point is picked up whole like a baby by a pelican in the Netherlands (or is it a flamingo?) and delivered as a newborn at the feet of the chairman of the relevant committee, or to the judges on the relevant courts.  Nope.  It doesn’t work like that.  But it works.

  • Kevin

    http://www.dailyfinance.com/2011/08/24/why-taxing-the-rich-is-good-for-america/
    Great article on dailyfinance.com. Came out today, discusses the frenzy caused by Buffett’s op-ed.

    Why Taxing the Rich Is Good for America

  • Eb3design

    I agree with Buffet, but I think we need to start over in regards to Tax Laws.  We need trash the INCOME TAX program, start a Flat Tax (25% Cap). For every man women and corporation.  I still believe in deductions, but as incentives for reducing the burden on the Government.  1. MORTGAGE INTEREST (for Primary Home only with a cap). 2. EDUCATION (with a cap, but a better educated population is better for or of us). 3. HEALTHCARE (eliminating HCFSA, I would even include Rehab and maybe even Gym membership) 4. CHILD (I will give for 1 child to promote slower population growth and unlimited for adopted US children) 5. PRIMARY CAREGIVER (saves healthcare).  6. CHARITY.  7. TAX PREP.  8. FOR ANYONE WHO CREATES A JOB (Rich, Small business owner, corporation – if they can prove it, I’m happy to pay them.   I might add more for ENERGY SAVINGS and REVITALIZATION PROGRAMS.
     
    This won’t help Congress, because if we all pay 45% of our income, we would only just break even. So then we need to set a limit on spending (I say it cannot be more than what was taken in, with the flexibility for emergencies (disaster, economic down turn and war), but we need to fix Social Security (no more than you pay in + interest, start age adjust with life expectancy & eliminate Medicare and roll it into comprehensive catastrophic Healthcare. 

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Some pretty good ideas in your comment!

  • Judy Trammell

    BRAVO for Mr Buffet! Whatever happened to “To whom much is given, much is expected?” Speaking as someone who used to be comfortably upper middle class, my husband & I are now barely hanging on. We have 3 college degrees between us (our BAs are in Biology & Math) and we lost our 401 funds within 7 yrs of the stock market crash after 9/11. If our income had ever exceeded even $250,000, we would have been glad to have paid more taxes. Why can’t the tea party people understand that many of the budget costs they are demanding will lead to more people losing their jobs! We MUST have increased revenue as well as cuts, and why has no one addressed retraining displaced workers? Regarding companies hiring more people, this will not happen until people start buying again. That is really difficult to do if you are afraid of losing your job, losing your social security or having to pay more for health insurance!
        I really resent hearing “no new taxes” supporters claiming that we who depend on social security & medicare to just survive, will just have to learn to live without these “goodies”! Have any of THEM ever tried to live well on social security & medicare? I don’t see any members of Congress volunteering to give up their retirement benefits or government paid healthcare!

  • Modavations

    Two weeks ago they did a story on M.Bachman.Someone left repeated entries about her need for a “sex toy”.Not one of NPR’s Liberated Women took offense.

    • BlixTheDim

      I know right, these lefties are such hypocrites when it comes to
      anything that they say or do. If they just admitted their greed and
      viscous nature I would have a lot more respect for them. Plus they don’t
      stand a chance as long as we have omnipresent geniuses like you to zap
      them with your high powered and insightful commentary. Like what did
      they have to say about the horrible things that probably happen places
      and stuff, huh? You are smart and they are dumb. You should keep jabbing
      pins into them. I know they hate it. It’s so easy to bait these
      lefties. You don’t even have to make sense. In your brilliance you have
      proved time and time again that you can spew word salad that is just a
      congolomoration of oxymorons and nosequitours and it will just piss them
      all off. They actually even think that you are serious. They are putty
      in your hands, keep up the good work. You have gained he guys upstairs
      attention and I wouldn’t be surprised if an offer soon follows. 

      • Modavations

        If you don’t hear from me for a few weeks,it doesn’t mean I don’t care.The “censors”have banished me to the “Phantom Zone”,three times.I’m about due.

        • Terry Tree Tree

          I hope it doesn’t happen.  I may not agree with you much, but, I don’t want you, or anyone not being grossly antisocial, to be banned.  I got it for over a week, with NO explaination, and did not like it! 

      • Anonymous

        Oh you two are so smart. So inelegant. The question is what have you proven? That you can post crap and get away with it. That you can wind people up and then sit in your underwear and snicker and the “lefties” feeling all so superior. I’ve got news for you sparky, you folks act like a couple immature kids. The type who sit in back of a class and make jokes and then fail. That last  post were you say your cute says it all. 
        Both of you are legions in your own minds. Kind of sad really.

        • Gregg

          Okay seriously Jeffe, I took Blix’s comment as satirical and in opposition to Modavations’. Did I miss it or are you a bit defensive?

          You really don’t have much room to complain.

          “sit in your underwear and snicker”
          “I’ve got news for you sparky”
          “Immature wankers”

          I’m a first amendment guy and hope no one is banned. There indeed does seem to be a partial reversal of that policy. However, if it were to be consistently applied then you are in the same boat.

          • Anonymous

            How am I in the same boat. Calling someone a wanker when they are is not offensive. If I called them an idiot or worse that would be crossing a line. You think calling someone sparky is bad?

            Look I’m not going to debate this person as as far as I’m concerned they seem to think being acting like a troll is funny. It’s immature, period.  When you go on and on about people being lefties and do so in a way that is meant to insult people it’s kind of silly. Not knowing enough about history to think that the nazis were socialist is just adding to the notion that this person is: 1: trying to be a comedian, or 2: They are serious and are showing how little they know about anything.  I’m inclined to think it’s a bit of both. 

          • Modavations

            Mao-20-40mill.murdered
            Stalin-10-20mill.murdered
            Hitler-2-5mill.murdered
            Pol Pot-3mill.mutrered
            common denominator-all leftists.
            I guess what so confuses me is that they keep calling themselves things like National Workers Socialist Party,or People’s Republic of….Sort of like you calling yourself a Democrat,no socialist,no liberal,no progressive.It’s very confusing.

            Here’s the deal.there are two types in this world.Those who believe in the State and those who have faith in the individual.These socialist movements start with good intentions,but mutate.Sort of like Orwell’s Animal Farm:all animals are equal,but some more then others.By the way Mousilini ,who you call a fascist,started as head of Trento’s socialist newspaper,Avanti.
                  The only Right Wing murderer I know was Gen.Pinochet,so basically 100 mill.murdered by the “left and 10-30,000 by the “right”,but who’s counting

          • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

            Again M proves he don’t know what “on-topic” means.

          • Ippus

            Hitler was not a leftist (a conveniently ambiguous and misleading term), he was a fascist, arguably a right-wing problem.  He was not a socialist in any way.

            Also, Godwin’s Law.  You lose.

          • Modavations

            Gregg my bro,in the same boat!!!!!

          • Terry Tree Tree

            One of the few times I agree with Gregg.  His whole post this time! 

    • Ellen Dibble

      Sometimes it’s best to ignore things, not blow it up into a “court case.”  If people try to get attention and gum up the works, don’t rise to the bait.  However, if there is a useful conversation going on, and the effect of the individual is to derail that conversation, that ruins an important tool of democracy, freedom to debate.  
          There is a verbal equivalent to physical disruption, and sometimes on this thread we try to work out new ways to keep what is good rolling, and sideline the car that is speeding or weaving or what not.

      • Modavations

        After 10 days of the Anthony Weener disaster and calls of where is NOW,the organiztion said,”we remain quiet because he votes the right way”.

        • Ellen Dibble

          Why is it that you’ve lost your credibility with me?  Cite, please.

          • Modavations

            Your excuses were similar to the ones given by Now,N.Y…It was on CNN’s on line service.Just goggle it.I hardly expect an ideologue to believe me.

          • Ellen Dibble

            Actually, I want to believe you.  I want to believe all of the people who post here.  And in this particular instance, I’m wondering if NOW had the perspective that I had which was frankly rather dismissive.  Technology (the internet) is changing faster than our ability to figure out the best way to use it.  Crossed with something like boys-will-be-boys.  Personally, I don’t know where the ethical line ought to go in Congress, or in a particular represented constituency.   It seems to me in the olden days we (people in general) used to sit on photocopiers and copy our behinds.  Teehee.  It didn’t rise to the level of overweighing our abilities to perform our jobs, but we didn’t expect to be distributed on the nightly news.  
                So I’m curious how NOW was expressing this.

          • Modavations

            Dear lady,my point is that poltics trumps womens rights and that you are hypocrites.

          • Modavations

            Hi Ellen,
                   That was a bit much.I appologize

          • Ellen Dibble

            Thank you for that.

          • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

            Get a clue M, if you can. It’s not up to US to research what YOU claim. I would think that someone who CLAIM to be some wiz and went on to a decent college MIGHT have learned something about writing and the value of citations. But then maybe all your college years were really spent as a janitor.  

    • Terry Tree Tree

      This man did!  I felt it had no place in the discussion!

  • BlixTheDimpledButCuteGoblin

    Sorry I went to bed — answer yourself — I’m sure you have a lot of practice.

  • BlixTheReallyCuteGoblin

    And I will pray that you find the inner strength to give up tweeking. Amen

  • BlixTheTruthfulAndCuteGoblin

    And I am really, really, cute.  Did I mention that?

  • JR Getsinger

    Transcript?

  • http://MichaelJAlan.wordpress.com MichaelJAlan

    Debating federal taxes is a distraction. Mechanisms that transfer
    wealth to our plutocracy are the real problems: lose your house hospital bills,
    exorbitant insurance, usurious finance charges, $50,000/year tuition, illiquid
    real estate – these need fixing. Tax the wealthy at 99% and our institutions
    will still suck every available resource from the general population. Don’t
    measure tax as percent of income – measure it as a percent of disposable income
    after basic food, housing, medical care, education expenses. On that basis most
    of the country pays more than they have and the privileged carry a vanishing
    fraction of the burden.

  • Modavations

    Welcome NPR Newbie.I’m afraid the genteel NPR of yore,is a fading memory.I offer two diagnosis’(?).They are either frustrated youngsters venting,or “book burners”,scared to death of different world views

  • Jmc

    5 billion into BOFA, enabling a spoiled bratt, at l;east confidence is restored once again for the industry executives, what a oxymoron

    • Modavations

      In my opinion it’s a good buy.I own it.The stocks off 50%,but the company,in my opinion is solvent.I admit,I’m no threat on Wall Street,though.

      • Jmc

        It is a good buy, I just wish he could use his influence to change the culture of these companies instead of being in it for strict capital gain.

        • Modavations

          I find the guy disengenuous(?).He made that T.V. intimating he paid a lower percentage in taxes then his secretary.He purposely ommited that there are two tax regimes,”cap.gains” and income tax.If his profits were paid as income tax it would be at 35%.I think he and King Croeus feel guilty,but he is a great philanthropist

  • Daniel1949

    I didn’t read all the comments here so I apologize if this has been posted.
    Why are we debating this non-issue. Mr. Buffet and the wealthy will always be able to do whatever they want with their extra money. As a lifelong employee of non-profits I would like to see them be encouraged to give more to help others than be forced to give it to Washington as a tax. The Feds take 20% of tax funds for administration and then dole the rest out with restrictions that make it hard to serve the people that need it. We could do so much more if it came to us directly with fewer restrictions.

    • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

      Dan wrote: “The Feds take 20% of tax funds for administration and then dole the rest out with restrictions that make it hard to serve the people that need it.”

      20%? Are you going to back that up? I believe Medicare operates on a 2-3% administrative overhead. 

    • Ed

      What better way is there to encourage the well-to-do to give to charity than to raise their tax rates?

      • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

        If Bush KNEW we were $6 trillion in debt when he pushed for tax cuts he KNEW would not just end debt paydown but create MORE debt… then why shouldn’t we now try to RECOUP that revenue that should never been lost to Bush’s irresponsible tax cuts? Higher taxes isn’t enforced charity, it PAYING OUR BILLS! 

        • Modavations

          The cuts led to massive amounts pouring into the Treasury.The hacks spent the profit and more and thus the deficits.The Dems.know all this and that’s why they kept the rates in place

  • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

    There are a few key questions here that are going unasked. What’s the MORAL justification for anyone getting a huge tax break for capital gains when working people have to pay a higher tax rate for the same income? And why are we subsidizing the insane speculation that brought our economy to its knees back in 08?

  • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

    OK, the intro to this story is Buffett wants capital gains taxed like regular income. Sure… that’s a no brainer, unless you’re a Republican desperate to protect the poor oppressed rich. We know the numbers for raising the tax rate for regular income from 35% to 39.6%… about $70 billion a year. But what revenue would be generated by raising the capital gains tax from 15% to that same top Clinton era 39.6%? Obviously not everybody would pay that top rate.  
    Has this ever been scored by the CBO?  

    • Modavations

      I believe the top cap.gains tax under Clinton,was 28%

  • Paperwings2003

    We need a graduated income tax with people making a million dollars a year paying more taxes than people who make $250,000 a year! $250,000 a year used to be a lot of money but it isn’t anymore with food, housing, college, etc costs being what they are. Whether people make the money via stocks and bonds, rent, income, etc shouldn’t matter in the least.

  • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

    There’s another unasked question that neither political party really wants to raise… and that’s WHO should pay off the debt created by OUR generation? Up until 1981 the collective national debt was under a trillion. But Since Reagan in these past 30 years We The People have pissed away some $13.5 TRILLION on ourselves that WE REFUSED TO TAX OURSELVES FOR. It’s too late to debate whether that money was wisely spent or not… it’s GONE. Interest alone during Bush’s 8 years totaled $2.9 TRILLION. While the GOP on occasion talks about debt, without dealing with Bush’s irresponsible tax cuts, it’s just hot air. Bush2 ran on paying down debt then once in power did everything he could to create more. Paul Ryan’s revenue neutral roadmap wants to pass our debt off to the future generations allowing us to keep what we stole from future generations. What’s been happening before our eyes is the biggest intergenerational theft in history. Do we hear anything from the Democrats on this issue? Nope. It seems the positions of BOTH our political parties are grotesquely immoral.    

  • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

    There’s a bug in these forums that sometimes keeps an old post at the top of the list. A few days ago Modavations made ANOTHER of his unsubstainted claims that the defense budget was $550 billion. When challanged he presented no source but instead wrote:  

    Your thinking about the add-ons.I stick to my numbers,550bill.ish

    To which I responded:

    More evasion? I asked you a DIRECT question where you get your numbers and you refuse to answer saying you’re going to stick to your first number.  According to THE BUDGET FOR FISCAL YEAR 2012, HISTORICAL TABLES Table 3.1—OUTLAYS BY SUPERFUNCTION AND FUNCTION: 1940–2016  estimated defense outlays for 2011 are $768 billion not $550… but then when did you ever seem to care about the facts.

    Like with your misstating the Medicare fraud numbers by $50 billion, I’m sure you don’t mind being off by here by puny $218 billion. (side note, I’m not sure of the official defense numbers include costs for the occupation of Iran and Afghanistan. show more show less

    • Modavations

      For the second time, google Office Undersecretary of defense and note “green book”request 2010.It was 533bill..This is what the DOD requested.The add-ons come from Herr Kerry,Frank,etc.,securing extra funds for Raytheon and GE, to make jet engines that no one wants.That’s not the point.I was trying to point out that that the 413bill.interest on the debt is frigging astronomical.The point with Medicare is that 12% is lost in fraud and theft and that this is repeated in the zillions of govt.programs.

      • Terry Tree Tree

        One of the few times that I have agreed with Moda.  Without the corporate theft, scams, government waste, Management golden parachutes for managers that bankrupt companies, fraud against the government, energy company frauds, predatory financial practices, banking fraud, exorbitant interest charges,  fraud in general, and ALL other forms of organized crime in the U.S., we could ALL live better, on 10% of what is required now!!

    • Modavations

      With the wars it’s 900bill.ish.Again,these are the add-ons,but you miss my thrust

  • JakenAnnie

    the fellow from the WSJ asserted that buffet avoided mentioning the 35% corporate tax paid by the corporation prior to Buffet’s getting his dividend income upon which he paid a mere 15%.  thus the WSJ guy says the tax is not 15% but rather closer the 40-50%.  I guess one can look at it that way if it fits one’s argument.  However consider the following: 
    I pay say 30% on my wage income and keep the rest.  Then I buy groceries and the grocer pays tax on the profits from that purchase.  Then the grocer buys clothes and tailor pay’s tax on that.  Using that methodology the actual tax paid by the tailor is close to 100%!

    A corporation pays its own taxes for very good reasons.  it chooses to be a corporation for liability protection and financing benefits.  Taxes are not much of a factor in a publically traded context.

  • JakenAnnie

    another point that the WSJ guy misses – If my tax is cut or even eliminated – this is not going to cause me to hire anyone.  What is going to cause me to hire someone is if there is a demand for the product of the new employee’s labor.
    And it seems to me that putting more money into the hands of the well to do is just going to be saved whereas the poor will spend every dime.

  • JakenAnnie

    And the WSJ guy faulting the “hypocrite left” for not volunteering taxes is merely a conversation stopping third grade type remark.  No one is going to volunteer tax if no one else is going to pay the extra also.  Duh…but if everyone pays it then that would be fine. 
    I may be a litter bug, but if there is a law saying everyone must avoid littering then I am a big supporter of it.  I may want to use oil based paint on my home but if the law says I must use more expensive latex paint, and if (most) people follow this law, then I am happy to do so – and likely the cost of the latex paint will come down.

  • ThePlayChannel Unique Games

    Most rich people have made money not just because they work hard, but because they skim the value from the rest who work for them. Money is a proxy for power, and of course, those who are already rich want even more – which is why they pay flunkies like the WSJ to write propaganda as to why they need to pay less taxes. In our country, taxes is how the rich return some of what they owe to the rest of us for our underpaid labor.

  • Slipstream

    Stephen Moore, a senior economist, seems to think that taxes should be voluntary, and that the government should be run like a charity or something along those lines.  I hope he was kidding around.  And the other guy, I think it was Stewart, who tried to explain why raising taxes on the rich would not lead to job growth, but ended up making an effective argument for the other view.  Funny show.

    • CRose

      Yeah – I kind of think that Stephen Moore was in somebody’s pockets. It kind of disturbs me that he’s a senior economist!

  • Tshates

    To stimulate jobs we have to stimulate spending. If government spending is off the table, then we should reduce taxes on those making less – they will SPEND a disproportionate share of their take home earnings on the goods and services that drive the economy. I agree with Warren Buffett that the weathy should do more, a la noblesse oblige.

  • Jennifer Hamilton

    I’ve heard that Warren Buffett has not paid taxes since 2002, from another source 2005. Could this be accurate? Please help me set the record straight. Thanks.

  • Elisa’s Custom Creations

    Since it’s a fact that small businesses and
    especially startups create the most jobs, wouldn’t Warren Buffett’s billions be more
    effective in funding start-ups?

    • CRose

      Ooh Great Idea! I hope that he gets this :D I bet he could pick a successful start-up too.

  • CRose

    Wow! sorry I’m always getting to these things late, but this was an absolutely fabulous show. Thank you Tom, for keeping on interjecting when that one guest of yours just kept on repeating the “hypocrite” line. Thanks for getting together people with these different points of views. I feel like I do have a better understanding of the issue on the whole after hearing them discuss (though I still think that the person who was calling the wealthy hypocrites was speaking for a special interest and not serious in his argument). 

  • http://www.squidoo.com/finlandiagroup Onni Salmela

    I agree to CRose this is really a fabulous article,All people know warren buffet and in some advice we learn.

  • http://www.noriskinvestor.com/ John Abraham

    his plan seems as wired if i ask who is this warren buffets? now!! thanks for sharing the post here with us.Tax Deed.

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ONPOINT
TODAY
Jul 29, 2014
The U.S. Senate is seen on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, July 16, 2014. (AP)

The “Do-Nothing” Congress just days before August recess. We’ll look at the causes and costs to the country of D.C. paralysis.

Jul 29, 2014
This April 28, 2010 file photo, shows the Colstrip Steam Electric Station, a coal-fired power plant in Colstrip, Mont. Colstrip figures to be a target in recently released draft rules from the Environmental Protection Agency that call for reducing Montana emissions 21 percent from recent levels by 2030. (AP)

A new sci-fi history looks back on climate change from the year 2393.

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Jul 28, 2014
U.S. Secretary of War Newton D. Baker watches as wounded American soldiers arrive at an American hospital near the front during World War I. (AP Photo)

Marking the one hundredth anniversary of the start of World War One. We’ll look at lessons learned and our uneasy peace right now.

 
Jul 28, 2014
This June 4, 2014 photo shows a Walgreens retail store in Boston. Walgreen Co. _ which bills itself as “America’s premier pharmacy” _ is among many companies considering combining operations with foreign businesses to trim their tax bills. (AP)

American companies bailing out on America. They call it inversion. Is it desertion?

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
This 15-Year-Old Caller Is Really Disappointed With Congress
Tuesday, Jul 29, 2014

In which a 15-year-old caller from Nashville expertly and elegantly analyzes our bickering, mostly ineffective 113th Congress.

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Our Week In The Web: July 25, 2014
Friday, Jul 25, 2014

Why the key to web victory is often taking a break and looking around, and more pie for your viewing (not eating) pleasure.

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The Art Of The American Pie: Recipes
Friday, Jul 25, 2014

In the odd chance that our pie hour this week made you hungry — how could it not, right? — we asked our piemaking guests for some of their favorite pie recipes. Enjoy!

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