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Time For A Better Tax System?

John Harwood in for Tom Ashbrook

On the eve of the tax filing deadline, we ask the question on everyone’s mind: Is this the best tax system we can come up with?

Dressed as the Statue of Liberty, Sonia Joaquin holds a sign to remind passing motorists that Thursday is the deadline for taxes in Tigard, Ore. on Thursday, April 15, 2010. (AP)

Dressed as the Statue of Liberty, Sonia Joaquin holds a sign to remind passing motorists that Thursday is the deadline for taxes in Tigard, Ore. on Thursday, April 15, 2010. (AP)

You’ve got until tomorrow to file your 2011 tax return. It’s a chore for everyone – and for many, a nightmare of complexity and uncertainty. Are we stuck with this 70,000 page tax code forever? Or is Washington finally going to give us a fairer and simpler one? President Obama says millionaires – like him and Mitt Romney — need to pay more.

But Romney says any tax increase would hurt our economy. Would lower rates for business create more jobs?

Up next On Point: The policy, and politics, of creating a new tax system.

-John Harwood

Guests

Margaret Collins, covers personal finance stories for Bloomberg News and Bloomberg Businessweek.

Neera Tanden, president of the Center for American Progress

Steve Bell, senior director of economic policy at the Bipartisan Policy Center

From The Reading List

Yahoo Finance “President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, paid a 20.5 percent federal tax rate on $789,674 in adjusted gross income for 2011, according to tax returns released today by the White House.”

New York Times “Taxpayers of all incomes would pay higher taxes. The Tax Policy Center says those in the bottom 20 percent, making about $8,500 a year on average, would pay 9.4 percent of their income in all federal taxes. This amounts to about 13 percentage points more than they do today (now they get a net credit). The average federal tax for those in the top 20 percent — families making $214,000 a year — would rise to 34.5 percent from 22.9 percent.”

Reuters “Republican Mitt Romney, looking for a boost in his presidential campaign, proposed an overhaul of the tax system on Wednesday that he said would cut Americans’ tax rates by 20 percent and limit deductions for the wealthy.”

 Los Angeles Times “Both candidates claim they want “tax reform,” but when they say those words, they’re really talking about other things.”

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  • Yar

    No, it is the best tax system money can buy!  We have a tax system purchased with campaign contributions.  To think people donate to political campaigns without expecting something in return is quite naive.  Either the donors are stupid or we are.  We can get into partisan politics and fight over who is more corrupt in their tax plan, or we can work together to demand a cleanup of the mess our current tax policy has created.  I would start by threatening to throw out every member of the US house.  All 435 seats are up for election this year.  The pledge I would like to see each house member take: is to not take one dime, other than their federal salary, while in office.  I would like each member to agree not to trade any stocks or invest in any mutual fund, bank or make any investments while in office.  If we elected average income people, this type of pledge wouldn’t be a big deal.  We have the power to be the change we desire.  We can register enough people to win any election.  Social media and elbow grease can change our country back to a democratic society.  Who thinks this is worth working on?

    • Scott

      Okay, but add prayer, put all 100 Senates seats up as well. 
      Tax must be.  Income-based tax is excessively intrusive and non-productive.  So this form must be dropped.  Per-capita tax, the form first given in our constitution, could be admininistered with reasonable justice.  That doesn’t mean it would be easy.  It is a better framework but would not solve all our social woes.  Per capita is simpler and at least as fair as income-based.  Per capita puts the burden on state and local entities to appropriate tax.  We could vote for people we truly know and trust to judge who is so poor that tax is beyond their means.  Spending cuts would still be necessary.  Dropping the Federal Reserve System would be first.  Read The Creature from Jeckyll Island.  Weaning us from Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid would be another step.  We need our hearts and minds changed to reach out to each other and to not be grasping when we have our basic needs met.  Pray for hope and for God’s mercy and that we trust in that mercy.
      P.S.  The idea of zero military operations unless we have two third congressional approval seems good.
      P.P.S.  I still haven’t thought of a better idea than the Year of Jubilee (Read God’s laws to Moses.) to prevent the disproportionate accumulation of wealth (land) by one family and having it passed on indefinitely by inheritance.

      • Yar

        I would like to have an economic discussion on the year of jubilee. I believe it was put into practice to prevent revolution that seem to occur every time things get to far out of economic balance. Jubilee is much less destructive than revolution.
        After citizens take the house, the senate will start serving the people. I expect there is a better potential leader in your Sunday School class than in your congressional delegation. I don’t want a theocracy. Believers can and should practice separation of Church and State.
        When the people lead, the leaders will follow, eventually.

  • Michiganjf

    NO FLAT TAX !!!!!!!

    The only fair system is a graduated system where individuals pay a progressively higher tax rate the higher their income.

    Get rid of all the loopholes the wealthy have bought themselves in the current system.

    • William

      But what about the 48 percent or so that don’t pay any federal income tax?

      • Chris B

        The great majority of them, including the ones who are lucky enough to be employed, don’t pay any income tax because they’re too dirt poor to be required to, not because they’re ducking it.

        • Gregg

          Employment is not a matter of luck.

          • RolloMartins

            Often, it is not (a matter of luck). And then again, it is often a matter of luck. Luck, it seems, has a lot to do with a person’s success. To state that someone’s advancement is always a triumph, a paddling against the current is to dismiss the many that simply sail with the prevailing and lucky winds.

          • Gregg

            Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            There’s TEN jobs open, for EACH citizen that is out of work? 
               In the area that the banksters left them with an upside-down mortgage?
               EVERYBODY that is out of work, has been trained in the few jobs that ARE open?

          • Terry Tree Tree

            WHY didn’t YOU get the gigs that you get NOW, when you were a ‘starving artist’?  Did NO one that had LESS talent get BETTER gigs than you?

          • Gregg

            Talent has little to do with gigs. 

          • Terry Tree Tree

            Luck?

          • Gregg

            Nor luck.

          • Anonymous

            So you would take the luck-of-the-draw on who your parents would be and where in the world you were born, what race, etc.?

            You were likely LUCKY in your “choice” of parents, both in the genes they provided you and the environment that they gave you.

            Some parents raise children in poor areas of the country, but it takes a pair of parents that are more exceptional than the average. And the school system, if it does not reach out to you at some stage of your education path, you could easily drift along with your peers and not rise or even be able to rise to what you could have with the “advantages” that wealthier parents provide.

            Then you might grow up in Kentucky, I believe, where a museum was just built to show that the earth is either 6,000 or at most 10,000 years old and that dinosaurs lived with your ancestors, that science does not mean much, etc. With that kind of culture surrounding you, i suspect that it would be the really rare child who would grow up to be the next Einstein or cancer cure developing doctor.

            A number of states, under the urging of ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) are urging that climate change denial courses be taught [showing the Koch Industries and other fossil fuel sources of funding]. How will the scientists and engineers be developed to help bring the necessary solutions to mitigate for the otherwise growing CO2 emissions?

          • Scott

            Empirical science, that is, using the scientific method, does not work for non-repeatable events such as the history of the earth.  Check out the Institute for Creation Research.

        • William

          Not really. Family of four making 40k a year would could get EIC of 5k. 40k is not exactly poor.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            If they work for a Catholic, or other church-run BUSINESS, they have to buy DECENT health-care on their own?

          • TFRX

            Then where was the hue and cry for the Lucky Duckies to have skin in the game during the last decade? What’s the big gottadoitthisveryminute about doing this during a time when this strata’s income hasn’t recovered from a recession?

      • Victor Vito

        How much water can you milk from a stone?  How much do you think you can get from the guy who is in the 3rd percentile from the bottom?  By the way, aren’t you guilty of class warfare from your response?

        • Gregg

          How about instead of assuming poor people are incapable, we lift them up and expect excellence, integrity and work ethic. Those traits are free but they pay great dividends. We need more taxpayers paying less taxes instead of the inverse.

          • RolloMartins

            I personally have managed a multimillion dollar retail business. Those I’ve hired on the bottom of the income scale have been routinely (not all, but most) the hardest working. So give up on this shibboleth of “work ethic.” It’s insulting and stupid.

          • Gregg

            What exactly is it you inferred from my comment? I insulted no one. Are those hardworking low wage employees doomed to stay low wage employees? Doesn’t their hard work ever pay off and move them up the ladder?  I would not work for you.

          • aj

            BAM!

          • Hidan

             Like your post assumes that poor people don’t have integrity and work ethic and must be lifted up?

            Name a  republican advocating raising taxes on the Poor and Middle Class.

          • aj

            SMACK!

          • Gregg

            Mr. Vito’s comment to which I replied made the assumption that those at the bottom were helpless victims with no upward mobility. That’s not true.

          • Gregg

            I don’t know of any Republicans advocating raising taxes on anyone. But anybody advocating letting the Bush tax cuts expire is, big time. The poor and the middle class would be decimated by such action.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            By CUTTING taxes on the rich, taxes, fees, and fines ARE raised on the poor and middle-class!
               CHECK into it!  It HAS been done, since the Bush Tax Cuts!

          • Gregg

            The taxes were cut for every single American not just the rich. The poor got the better end of the deal.

          • Anonymous

            No Way!!

          • Anonymous

            That’s not what he said at all.

            Read it again. It’s the nanny state that assumes the poor are incapable.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            THAT would take training, like in the schools that are under attack, being cut financially, getting competition from for-profits, that then go out of business, leaving the students WORSE-OFF!!

          • Anonymous

            School funding has more than doubled, inflation factored in, over the past 40 years, and the results are not good.

            So where are these attacks, if funding is constantly going up?

            http://a2.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/182894_10100539150180594_8377576_71209127_7907890_n.jpg

            Most liberal arguments seem to be based on second-hand rumors.

      • Hidan

         Now which republican is advocating raising taxes on that 48%? 

        The flat tax is a backdoor tax spike on the poor and middle class. Why don’t the republicans such admit that there want to raise taxes on the poor and middle class instead of bribing people with more tax-cuts at the same time finding ways to increase there taxes?

        • Hidan

           “just admit that they want to raise taxes on the poor and middle class instead of bribing the above with more tax-cuts at the same time finding ways to increase there taxes”

        • William

          Who said being poor or middle class means you don’t pay any federal income tax? What income level is considered poor? The problem with letting so many people get away with not paying their fair share or having skin in the game is they figure out they can vote for the guy that will give them more free stuff because they don’t pay for it.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            The 1%, and the corporations that pay little or NO tax, have money to ‘buy’ tax cuts for themselves!
               The poor, and lower working class, CANNOT afford to spend money to compete for the attention of lawmakers!

          • William

            I would say the poor are doing very well at getting the attention of too many lawmakers. Nearly 50 years of failed great society programs with trillions of wealth transfer programs have proved the poor have people listening.

          • Anonymous

             Before the Great Society, poverty was dropping at 1% per year. Since then, pretty much a flatline, and now its going back up.

            But this is what we need the taxpayers money for, and lowering those taxes is “irresponsible”.

          • Anonymous

            And by the top 1% paying no taxes, I’m sure you meant to say that they pay 34% of all the taxes paid in the US.

            http://ntu.org/tax-basics/who-pays-income-taxes.html

            And above you said they top 1% made 75% of all the income, and should therefore pay 75% of the taxes.

            But they make about 34% of the income, and pay about 34% of the taxes – you should be thrilled at this.

            But I’m guessing that whatever they pay, you would want them to pay more.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            YOU just said that 48% pay NO Federal Income Tax?

      • Terry Tree Tree

        What about the top 1%, that pay FAR less percentage than the average worker.
           What about the top 5%, that has a LOT of people that HIDE their money overseas, or in other places, to keep from paying their taxes?
           What about MILLIONAIRES AND BILLIONAIRES, that WHINE about paying taxes, at LOWER rates, with so MANY deductions?
           Are YOU one of those that have so much money, that amassing MORE is your guiding principal?

        • William

          Well, the IRS reports the upper income pays the majority of the federal income tax. The AMT was dreamed up some 40 years ago to “snare” anyone that does not pay. That program has not worked out as well as people thought it would. If you look at the complex paperwork involved in doing taxes would it not be better to lower the rate and eliminate the deductions or loopholes in the entire system? Certainly elimination of the “Double Irish” tax trick that companies like Google used is a great idea.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            If the 1% gets 75% of the money, WHY SHOULDN’T they pay the majority of the income tax?  They SHOULD be paying over 75% of the income tax!

          • William

            Does the 1% “get” the money or “earn” the money? Which brings up the issue why so many people are not earning more money?

          • Anonymous

            75%…

            You just made that number up.

            The top 1% of US earners makes around 34%, so you were off by more than twice.

            But you also miss the point that who the top 1% is changes from year to year.

      • TFRX

        Why didn’t GWB advocate making these Lucky Duckies have skin in the game during a 5-year “expansion” when median income went nowhere?

        What’s the big deal about this except as a hack talking point?

        • William

          Didn’t GW take millions of people off the federal income rolls?

          • Terry Tree Tree

            Blame a ‘compassionate’, ‘conservative’, ‘Christian’, Republican, for making it 48% NOT paying Income Tax?

          • William

            Bush’s mistake was thinking he could get the Liberals to like him if he acted like one. His big spending, another entitlement program for seniors, Liberals still hate him.

  • 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

    • Anonymous

      You’re ignorance of economics is startling.

  • Andrew

    While I am philosophically opposed to any income tax, I would see a flat tax as the lesser of two evils. Our current system (as influenced by those on the right as well as the left) does more to influence behavior than to actually raise revenue for the government. 

  • AC

    i would like to see a tax system based primarily on usage.
    If you live in the middle of nowhere, infrastructure to support & maintain you should cost more –
    if you drive a car with bad gas mileage, your gas should cost more -
    road miles should be tracked and paid accordingly – commercial vehicles slightly more since they cause the most wear/tear
    you should pay for waste clean up by the pound, ton if you are a commercial business
    I still can’t see the ‘fairness’ in charging more to rich people just because; there has to be a reason.
    I mean 80k x .15= 12k; 1M x .15 = 150k. If they just happen to be rich but it’s just a family, why should they pay more? But everyone should pay ‘something’, if you want to live in a civilized society – it costs.
    I am confused by these reports of people who pay NO tax, who are they? why?

    • Hidan

       Like Alaskans a paying more in taxes  than folks from Mass? Interesting to note is the states that are Hardcore Red are often the states that not only pay the least about of taxes but get far more than they pay the government.  To break it down the states politicians who preach about boot strap policies and beliefs are the same states receiving other taxpayers $

      http://reason.com/archives/2011/07/14/the-redblue-paradox

      When you compare the 50 laboratories of democracy after sorting them based on how their citizens voted in November 2008, only 10 Democratic-voting states are net recipients of federal subsidies, as opposed to 22 Republican states. Only one red state (Texas) is a net payer of federal taxes, as opposed to 16 blue states. One blue state (Rhode Island) pays as much as it gets.

      • AC

        i can’t read your link – it’s grayed out? In any case, I’m just wondering out loud here, I realize my idea is too simple a model, I don’t really know all the variables involved. I believe you on the takers; I worked a study recently with a Southern man complaining about govt taxes/spending/existence – when I asked him if he took the subsidies he said yes. I told him that marred his integrity but he didn’t seem to care…

        • Terrybrewster

          HYPOCRICY?  By a Southern man, that took the subsidies?  Wanted others to be denied?

          • AC

            i think it’s more like the scam artist who justify their actions by the conclusion “hey, if they’re stupid enough to give it to me…..”

          • Gregg

            Excellent!

        • Gregg

          I get your concept but disagree. for instance, if one drives a gas guzzler they already are paying more taxes and they benefit everyone.

          • AC

            maybe, but I consider those 2 diff classes of ‘goods’. you only need to buy/pay the tax on the car once. Gas is a totally diff animal, as the show the other day showed…

  • Victor Vito

    Is this the best tax system we could have?  Of course not.  Are we capable of creating something better?  Of course not.

    Any re-creation of our tax system will favor those with the most influence, and by definition will be worse than what we already have.

    As long as the rich bitch about our tax system, we are probably best advised to leave it alone.

  • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

    Instead of a complete overhaul, which would get messed up as badly as Obama’s healthcare overhaul*, why not do it incrementally, one loophole at a time?

    Get rid of subsidies to the oil companies

    Get rid of subsidies to farmers for not growing crops

    Pass the Buffett Rule

    Raise the ceiling on capital gains taxes

    Tax every trade $1 (to slow down algorithmic trading)

    If we just did those three things it would go a long way to reducing the debt and keeping it simple would make it tougher for those who are against these things to fog the proposed legislation with misinformation.

    Once these things are in place, then we can go further. To tackle the whole thing will lead to a healthcare-like disaster.

    *I’m for Medicare for everyone so while I support Obama I did not and do not support the complexity of the new healthcare law, especially since the primary beneficiary of it is insurance companies.

    • William

      Why does Google, Intel, MSFT, Amazon, need tax subsidies? They have much higher profit margins than the oil companies.  Why raise the capital gains taxes? Should we not encourage investing and savings by lower cg taxes?

      • Terry Tree Tree

        WHY do you think money making money should be taxed less than people risking their lives and health to make money?

        • William

          Risking their lives? rather dramatic assessment of normal working Americans. The problem with taxing people’s cg is is discourages saving and investing for emergenices and retirement. Now if you want the government to fund your retirement years, which some people want, that would be a great deal. However, most people realize the government is not going to be there and you better save and invest for those “golden years”.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            I can name SEVERAL occupations that people risk their lives to do, or even go to do! 
              WHY do you think money making money is RISKIER, or MORE IMPORTANT? 
              WHO would you call on to get you out of being trapped in a car that you wrecked, an INVESTOR, that ‘risked’ his money, or a Fire-Fighter, Paramedic, or other Emergency Services Personnel that RISK their lives?

          • William

            So what does your entry have to do with investing? A guy becomes a cop, fireman because he wants too and knows the risk. If you want to discourage this type of career pay them less or raise their taxes and see how many people with do it. It is the same with investing. You want to discourage it, raise taxes.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      SOME GOOD IDEAS!  MANY could be added!

    • Anonymous

      Agree with you on all the subsidies, but the Buffet rule is a shell game, and your taxes on investments will hurt the one part of the economy that actually produces long term growth.

      In the long term the subsidies are not enough to make a major impact on the debt, and the Buffet rule would bring in enough to balance the federal budget for less than half an hour. It’s for show.

      But your financial tax changes would hurt the economy, and reduce the amount of money actually brought in in taxes, and wind up increasing the debt.

      You cannot begin to tackle the debt without focusing on Entitlements and the Military.

      Everything else is trivia.

  • Gregg

    President Obama is hiring 5000+ new IRS agents to enforce the mandate in Obamacare. That’s the wrong direction. There is a lot of talk about ending “loopholes” but no one will do it. For one thing like “Fair share”, “loopholes” is way to vague. Buy a volt, get a loophole, use solar get a loophole. Another thing is confusing tax breaks with subsidies or tax credits with tax cuts. It’s all a mess. I like the “Fair Tax” but 9-9-9, a flat tax, the Simpson/Bowles plan or Ryan’s proposal will be better than what we have now.

    • RolloMartins

      The number is more like 1000, and many are hired to give out tax *credits*. (This from PolitiFact.)

      • Gregg

        Obama requested 5100 for his 2012 budget. However, no one took his budget seriously and it went down in flames. During the campaign it was estimated 16,000 would be needed.

        • Hidan

           16000?? any non rightwing sources to prove such?

          • Gregg

            I think Michelle Bachman said it. 

  • Yar

    Who earns the value that funds our government?  The income taxpayer or the low wage worker who pays no income tax?  I believe it is really the low wage worker. Why, because they work for the employer who ends up paying taxes.  How much value can you really accumulate without utilizing  the labor of others?  Think of the wealthy as tax collectors from the rest of the country.  What has happened over the last three decades is the wealthy have kept extracting wealth from our labor, only they have passed less of that collected wealth on to the government.  Just like in biblical times the tax collectors have become corrupt.  Why is it so difficult for a rich man to enter into the gates of justice?  Some things money can’t buy.  Who pay taxes? Everyone who works producing something of value.

  • Hidan

      Bipartisan Policy Center

    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Bipartisan_Policy_Center

    http://original.antiwar.com/giraldi/2012/02/15/bipartisan-support-for-world-war-iii/

    Philip Giraldi, the former CIA officer, comments on BPC:

    I’m concerned with what’s in America’s interests – which is what really puts me on the other side of the barricades from Makovsky and Rubin.
    Covert operations invariably involve deception: front groups that aren’t what they appear to be, hidden interests that masquerade under false pretexts, and ostensibly “respectable” individuals who serve purposes other than those announced. This is what the Bipartisan Policy Center is all about.

    The BPC claims to be bipartisan because it includes both Democrats and Republicans, but that does not mean that it is objective.
    This text is emphasized
    The BPC has plush offices on Eye Street in Washington, a sizable staff, and a number of important people on its masthead. It might be churlish to ask where its money comes from, but I would hate to embarrass someone as self-important as former senator and governor Charles Robb. The fact is that groups like BPC do a major disservice to the people of the United States because they promote themselves as nonpartisan and free of any particular political agenda when they are anything but. Their claimed objectivity is clearly a fiction, as they have been calling for military action against Iran for years, citing nonexistent threats and even speculating on the state of a nuclear program that does not exist.

    • aj

      Another example that comes to mind. Former congresswoman Jane Harman, who was wiretaps by the FBI recorded her saying she would “waddle in” and use her influence to get the charges dropped on alleged AIPAC espionage conspirators.

      She didn’t have to, because Obama and Eric Holder’s Justice Dept. were all to happy to drop the charges in service to the Nation…. the Nation of Israel that is.

      At the same time, that mosque in Texas got 25yrs in Federal penitentiary for sending donations to the people of Gaza who had just slaughtered in ‘Operation Cast Lead’.

      Now Jane Harman is head of the Woodrow Wilson Institute a “bipartisan” center.

      Mrs Greenspan a.k.a. Andrea Mitchell a self-availed defender of Zionist colonization, has Jane Harman on her show frequently to discuss foreign policy issues. MSNBC a voice of the Left? Not exactly.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      HYPOCRICY IN BIPARTISAN GROUPS??  Who would have guessed? 

  • Anonymous

    Our tax system has evolved over many years under the to be corrupted by special interests in the past decade like I can’t remember. We know what many of the problems are. We know how to correct them. The real problem is political will and corruption of the political system.

    Corporations contributions to Federal tax revenue as a percentage of GDP have fallen under these policies with loopholes and subsidies galore penned into law by their congressman whom they hold under retainer.

    Look at just who really want a new tax system: the people
    complaining the loudest are the ones who are able to take advantage of financial engineering such that they pay at a lower tax rate than Warren Buffet’s secretary.

    In the words of Ronald Reagan That’s not fair. -  “We’re going to close the unproductive tax loopholes that allow some of the truly wealthy to avoid paying their fair share. In theory, some of those loopholes were understandable, but in practice they sometimes made it possible for millionaires to pay nothing, while a bus driver was paying ten percent of his salary, and that’s crazy… Do you think the millionaire ought to pay more in taxes than the bus driver or less?” 

    When I here tax overhaul, I always hear the promise made that everyone will pay lower taxes! Well, didn’t your mama tell you that if it sounds too good to be true, it is!!!

    Creating a completely new system will introduce a host of
    unknown new problems and deepen our national debt and thus weaken our nation further. This is madness!

  • Anonymous

    Want to fix the system?  Go ahead!  Congress is listening!

    http://splitwise.com/taxes/#/brackets/0|196|353|432|479|543/9.7|14.9|24.6|27.7|32.6|39.0/params/1|1|1|0|1|15
     

  • Terry Tree Tree

    BIG SURPRISE!!! 

    Paul Ryan, who wants to guide our Economy, is GUIDED by the Roman Child-Raping and Child-Abusing church??
       If Ryan had ANY morals, wouldn’t he be trying to clean up his own ‘MORAL COMPASS’? 
       Catholics have NO problem with their ‘leaders’ raping children and abusing children? 
       If priests’ VICTIMS ever open up to you about the problems RAPE causes them, you’d see that this is a serious problem.
       How much can you trust a prominent member of these rapists, to fix the tax system equitably, when he hasn’t worked to make his own ‘religious guidance’ to straighten up?

    • Hidan

      Funny that Ryan’s plan adds to the debt and his prized loop hole cuts are left vague. It’s like when republican chide the democrats for saying “we have to pass it to know what’s in it” the Republicans are doing the same thing

    • Gregg

       That’s just weird dude.

      • Terry Tree Tree

        Ryan, Santorum, and Gingrich ARE members of the Catholic church?  They claim that their ‘faith’ guides them?  WHICH of them has LOUDLY and CONSISTENTLY spoke out AGAINST the Catholic church for their crimes against humanity?  Catholic priests have raped and abused children, ALL over the world? 
           WHY is that weird?

        • Gregg

          Because it has nothing to do with them personally or with the economy.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            They get their ‘guidance’ and ‘morals’ from their ‘religion’?

          • Anonymous

            Let’s run with your logic.

            You’re an atheist right.

            Hitler and Stalin were atheists.

            How can you be trusted to do anything if you are guided by the same principles that guide them?

            Are you left-handed?

            Charles Manson was left-handed.

            And one could do this all day.

    • Anonymous

      Because governments have never had rapists in them.

      Never committed atrocities. No genocides there.

      You really think that Catholics were not bothered by the abuse scandals… how thick are you? You think they don’t think it’s a serious problem?

      You’re argument is pure ad hominem.

      You want to justify theft to support an organization that does far worse.

  • Adks12020

    Time for a Better Tax System? Simple answer. Yes. Unfortunately it doesn’t seem there will be a simple solution.  I’m looking forward to this conversation.

  • Still Here

    It’s not the tax system, it’s the spending system!  Everybody pays too much tax!  Our spending system rewards bureaucracy building and redundancy. 

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Multi-Billion Dollar Corporations, that pay NO taxes, are paying TOO much?  HOW?  They benefit from the taxes of others!

      • Still Here

        They pay taxes; state income tax, sales tax, payroll tax, property tax, foreign versions of all taxes … and user fees up the wahzoo. 

        You don’t know what you’re talking about.

        • aj

          Oh Baloney. Go jump in a lake. Its 90 degrees in Central Park and its only April!

          Carbon Tax! Carbon Tax! Carbon Tax!

          • Anonymous

             If that makes you feel better, because even seriously leftist scientists don’t really believe that a carbon tax would have a noticeable effect.

  • aj

    If Congress were to adjourn for the remainder of the year. Meaning go home and campaign, and not gavel back in until January, after the election and a new Congress is inaugruated.

    If they did that, the CBO fiscal projections would be more budget-balanced than if they passed and signed into law Bowles-Simpson let alone the Ryan-plan.

    This is by virtue of the Bush tax cuts expiring January 1. How come none of you know this simple fact. Because the Mainstream Media is the most corrupt treasonous racket in the history of the Nation. And when the Revolution comes, I say they should be the first to be put on the tumbrils.

    Long Live Maximilian Robespierre!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Still Here

      Moreover, the payroll tax cut and extended unemployment benefits would expire automatically.  You’d also have the sequestration of spending resulting from the debt ceiling agreement.  All in, $670 billion of potential deficit reduction; but also a big headwind for the economy.

      • aj

        Thanks for the assist. Sincerely.

        • Still Here

          Bernanke has called it a “massive fiscal cliff.”  I only know this because of msm coverage.

          • aj

            Oh Baloney. ‘Off with their heads!’

            P.S. If your concerned about the effects on the economy, stop whining about the deficits.

          • Still Here

            I’m not.
            It will be willful ignorance to not be aware of what 2013 brings fiscally.

    • Scott

      aj, I hurt for you.  No such revolution would help our society.  A few strong survivors of the riots would feel some pleasure for a while.  Christian martyrs and Ghandi are better models.

    • Anonymous

      Nothing has been more deleterious to the concepts of human liberty than the French revolution. They threw off a monarchy, then created a government without limits of any kind.

  • Anonymous

    It’s all about the special interest. The GOP or the regressive party, has signed a no tax document that was penned by Grover Norquist, which seems to me to be a the height of absurdity and a slap in the face of the Constitution that these legislators have sworn to uphold. Given the reality of the party of “no” and the party of ”were working on it, but…” the US citizenry does not seem to stand a chance. Unless you are in the top 10% of the wealthy class in the nation you are pretty much screwed.What gets me is how huge corporations, GE for example, have lobbied and used every loophole in the system to pay almost no tax at all and yet if it was not for the US being a nation with decent roads, a strong middle class, police and fire departments, they would never have been able to become the huge multinational they are now. I see and hear people on the right talk about patriotism all the time. How is it even remotely patriotic for a corporation to do everything in it’s power to not pay taxes in the country that is the very reason they are successful. I never hear this mentioned, not once. And for those who are against taxes on any level, I say the same thing. Are you even aware of what taxes have done? Is there waste, yes, that’s an issue I’m also concerned with.But without a federal government project such as the Grand Coolie and the Hoover dams nor the interstate highway system.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Alliegance to Grover Norquist OVER-RIDES alliegance to the country, and the people they took an oath to serve?

      • Anonymous

        Yes, this pledge overrides anything ability to work with Democrats on tax issues other than cutting them.

        • Gregg

          The pledge is not about cutting taxes, it’s about not raising them.

        • Anonymous

          So a politician is dishonest if he keeps a promise?

          Liberal morality is so funny.

    • Anonymous

      Seriously, look up Bastiat’s Broken Window Fallacy, because you exemplify it to a T. It’s all about the seen and the unseen.

      You talk about the middle class, but the middle class is not helped, but rather hurt by income taxes. It’s through business, not government, that people can reach the middle class.

      You talk about police and fire departments – but these are local and state functions – and have nothing to do with the federal government.

      If government had not taken the resources to build those dams or roads, other things would have been done with them.

      Roads can be built privately, and done with higher quality, at a lower cost.

      The people who ratified the Constitution would rank the non-binding pledge to Grover Norquist at the bottom of their list of things that bother them Constitutionally. The idea that an income tax exists would piss them off. So would the scale of the federal government, which has thrown off all ideas of being limited by the Constitution. So don’t talk about slapping in the face of the Constitution – because that’s what you’re side is doing -repeatedly.

  • Ed in VT

    I think tax reform should include simplification. Suppose we could find a way to require that every member of Congress complete his/her own tax return, by hand, without a computer. I bet then we’d see significant simplification!

    • Still Here

      The CPA lobby would be against it, and it could cost hundreds of thousands of jobs.

      • Anonymous

         Don’t forget the inherent subsidies for lawyers.

    • Gregg

      I agree.

    • Hidan

      Simplification of the tax code creates even more abuse and loopholes.  The line is if it doesn’t say you can’t due it than it’s legal”

      Majority of contracts State or Private aren’t simple for a reason. Specification prevents cheating and abuse(at least reduces it).

      For example,

      A family bought a summer home and rents it out for 2 weeks of the year at 5000(2500 per week) and stays there for 2 weeks of the year. The family claimed that because it rented the house out for 5000(2500 per week) they were losing 10000 per month for 11 months claiming a 110000 loss even know the family had no intentions of renting the rest of the 11 months. 

      Real story btw.

      • Gregg

        Perfect Hidan, thanks! It’s just like saying since taxes were cut we are loosing money.

    • NSDow

      Where’s the “LOVE IT” button?

  • Chadbcarlson101

    The president and Congress will not seriously consider a new tax code, because it would take the power of manipulating the electorate, and the tax accountants on K street, out of their sphere.

    • Still Here

      Don’t forget the scores of lobbyists paid by 501c3s and 6s.

      • AC

        not all lobbists are bad tho. Lately I keep thinking about this old french film ‘ridicule’….

  • Still Here

    I’d prefer a consumption-based tax system on non-staples that encourages savings and investment.  Our current tax system encourages wasteful consumption and penalizes savings and investment. 

    • AC

      that is interesting. I ike that non-taxing savings, but there’s prob a need for defing limits on that one….I have a similar simple ‘pay as you go’ model, but I’m sure there are more complex issues guiding taxes that i may be unaware of.

    • William

      I liked those All Savers Certificates we had back in the early 1980′s.  That was a great idea for small investors and I wish they would bring them back.

  • aj

    Considering its mid-April and its 90 degrees in Central Park right now. Will the Carbon tax with Dividend reimbursed to 90% of us get a mention?

    • Worried for the country(MA)

       Nope.  Because it is a scam.

      • aj

        What’s a scam? That you’ll get it reimbursed in a dividend from the IRS? It’s all about free market incentives. For our grandkids’ grandkids.
         
        So I guess your ‘Worried for the country’ but not Worried for the planet? Where is the sense in that?
         
        Since you are clearly a Republican, what will it take for you to cross the aisle and sign on to the Carbon tax and dividend?
         
        P.S. Do you Like your own posts? That is so lame.my opinion

        • Terry Tree Tree

          WITHOUT a planet, there can be NO country!
             IF the rest of the planet was dangerously polluted, WHY do people think THEY would be safe from it?

  • Sam Walworth

    Why on earth is IRA restricted to 5k for a salaried person and even worse, why is it NOT allowed (no tax benefits) for anyone who gets 401k benefit from the workplace.

    This just doesnt make sense, else please enlighten me

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    How about a simple set of steps–thirty percent, twenty, ten, and zero?  Insert the minimum income level to move up into the next level as seems appropriate, and tax the whole income at one rate, rather than part at one rate and part at another.

  • Worried for the country(MA)

    The tax code is over 72,000 pages.  It has to go.

  • Jim

     sorry, but i like our current tax system. i do NOT like the flat tax. A progressive tax system would only help our society grow. a flat tax would create an elite society full of Forbes, Bushes, and Romneys. Do you think they care of the middle and working class folks… in your dreams… and keep dreaming you will be one of them.

  • Anonymous

    We won’t have tax reform until we address the social policies inherent in the tax system.  Mortgage deductions that encourages home buying and the housing industry, state an local tax deduction that help equalize taxes nationwide.  Medical expense deductions, charitable donations, etc.

  • Still Here

    Why does the government feel it knows how to spend your money better than you do? 

    • Steve

      Because they have so much practice

    • TomK in Boston

      How’s your army and highway system coming along?

      • Anonymous

        The National Weather Service, the Department of Disease Control, Health and Welfare are also a few departments I feel are kind of necessary.

        I guess we can do away with the NWS and hope for the best. One can always just look out side and get a personal weather report. Of course if you live in a tornado area that might not work so well. 

        • Anonymous

          Because there is no way that anyone not in government could ever predict the weather?

          Weather technology can only be funded through extortion?

          Seriously? Nobody would voluntarily want weather forecasting without a government bureaucracy?

          • Anonymous

            You are clearly an extremist. Extortion? Taxes are not extortion. Your premise is flawed beyond reason.
            You are clearly not able to parse what is good about government agencies and what is not. To even respond that we do not need a National Weather Service is beyond the pale of stupidity.

          • Anonymous

            Taxes are obviously extortive. They are monies collected with the threat of violence behind them. If you don’t pay them, you will be visited by men with guns who will demand payment.

            You are unable to imagine that any function currently done by government could happen any other way. Clearly, there is a market for weather information.

            But your arguments are nothing but assumptions and insults, with absolutely nothing to back them up. “Cause I said so,” is a really poor argument. I would expect such arguments from a fifth or sixth grader, do you fit in that category?

          • Anonymous

            When I read statements such as yours I’m of two minds.
            Should I bother to engage with someone who holds what I consider to be extremist view points. I think you proved my point. I should have not bothered. What’s insulting is your entire tone from the get go. That you post such inane stuff and then are surprised some people might find what you post to be wanting? Please.

            First off I know plenty of people who have not payed their taxes on time and some whom have been fined and have taken years to clear up the mess. Not once has anyone from the IRS with a gun ever been dispatched to their door step.

            That you would use words such as “cause I said so” which point to your complete lack of having any ability to comprehend what I wrote. You seem to think that the NWS should not exist. I do not. I see this and other Federal government agencies as necessary in regards to the safety of the nation.

            As to backing up my comment that we need the NWS, well
            last week the Mid West was hit with about 100 tornado’s.
            Lives were saved.

            You are right I can’t see how this service could be done by a private concern. You know why? There’s no profit in it.
            It’s the part of government, which is there to help with the health and safety of the nation. Is it perfect, no, nothing is. Is there room for improvement? Yes. do I wish for this kind of thing to be privatized? No.

          • Anonymous

            When I read statements such as yours, I’m of the opinion that you have bought a great deal of propaganda. I don’t per se blame you, because our public education system instills exactly the message that you parrot – that the private economy is full of wicked exploiters, and that we are lucky to have such wise selfless angels in government to protect us from them. Then, you, who loves this message so much, gets your news from NPR, the easy listening non-threatening government-funded propaganda source. Funny that at one point the motto of the left was, “Question Authority” – except I suppose if that authority is the Federal Government, the Federal Reserve, etc., etc.

            I comprehend what you say, in that I can see it for what it is. And it is natural for you to think that anyone who disagrees with you is an “extremist”, anyone whose ideas don’t fall between Hillary Clinton and Mitt Romney would probably seem like an extremist to you.

            You then give a convoluted anecdote about “Not once has anyone from the IRS with a gun ever been dispatched to their door step.” – as if this in some way proves that nothing of the sort occurs. You cannot be this naive, or probably you can.

            You seem to think that all the functions performed by government could be performed any other way. I am not in any way against the predicting of weather, but rather
            against the government unconstitutionally spending money for that
            purpose.You cannot seem to imagine that the weather could not be predicted privately, and you think there is no profit in it. I know, it takes a lot of imagination to think that someone could make money by perhaps charging a fee for the weather, or selling ad space or sponsorships for weather. It is not that complicated a business model.

            Look at the areas of modern American life that people are the most dissatisfied with, and you will invariably find strong government intervention in those areas.

            I disagree, and while you say that lives were saved, I wonder how many more lives could be saved with a private system, where innovation is more highly valued than political connection.

            You call me extremist, because I feel that free people acting without coercion making voluntary agreements can do better than the agents of a bureaucracy with a monopoly on the use of force.

      • Still Here

        I appreciate your army of strawmen. 

  • TFRX

    Can I get NPR to promise not to whore “tax freedom day” this year?

    It doesn’t mean anything except to the exact average American, if it means anything at all, and corporations just love the idea of riffraff getting angry about it given their real tax rates.

  • Anonymous

    Good one.  Republicans raising taxes.

  • Erin in Iowa

    Why is earned income taxed higher than unearned income? It’s income right? It spends right? Someone wrote them a check and they cashed it right? People who work for their money shouldn’t have to pay higher taxes.

    • Scott

      Part of it may be due to FDR’s reported purpose for instituting Social Security back in the 1930′s.

  • Gilscottheron

     all for a new Buffet rule except my Buffet rule is a little bit different than Obama’s I would eliminate taxpayer bailouts where Warren Buffet pawns off all the loses in his banks on to the backs of hard working American Middle class. or the sweetheart bailout deal  that passed billions to Warren buffet for the bailout of Goldman Sachs  or the bailout of 160 billion to GHE that t Buffet bought into while Obams Job czar closes plants here in the us to ship the jobs to China GE  gee wiz bend us over nad put Santorum on our bum.

  • Apollo11junkie

    As long as money continues to corrupt politics, it’s a fox/chicken scenario which won’t change from within. Besides, the more important issue is the income crisis, not this tax inconvenience for the rich.

  • Gilscottheron

    look a the conressmen who bought into Buffets company a week before they bailed him out A number of Senators and Congressmen were buying and selling Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway stock before, during and after they passed the bailout, including Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE), Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO). Others were buying Goldman Sachs’ stock at the same time, including Rep. John Boehner (R-OH), Sen. Jeff Binghaman (D-NM) and Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL).

    Warren Buffet has made billions sucking up Taxpayer bailout moneys it was his Moodys rating agency the declared the housing CDS’s  AAA turns out they were worthless but did Buffett take the losses heck no.
    Gramps dumped the bad assets held by his banks Wells Fargo Us Bank corp etc onto the taxpayers lap forcing us to carry his garbage.

    Warren Buffetts railroad is the beneficiary of the anti pipeline sentiment his purchase of the Railroad that carries the Canadian oil sands crude  to the Refineries in LA.  Warren Buffet does not give a rats patoot about the taxpayers whom he has raped for his own benefit.

    Buffet Bailed out Goldman Sachs demanding  a 10%  dividend and preferred stock payout on his terms after
    dishing off stock to the insiders in congress they voted to bailout Goldman with the cash flowing through to Warren Buffett.  Buffets investment in GE who was give a 160 billion dollar bailout was again rewarded with more flow through capital while NBC flogged the end of the world and forced through the 700 billion dollar bailout. Obamas JOB  Czar Jeff Imelt recently closed a 100 year old X-ray machine plant in Wisconsin and sent all the jobs to a new plant in China.

    But lets please tax  the rich. because it keeps our eyes off the tax payer theft that our Leaders like Obama are allowing.  When Bush held the door open for these thefts  the press made a stink now that Obama is the doorman  they seem to look the other way.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      ALL the things you listed are CRIMINALLY IMMORAL, and SHOULD be criminal!
          I was NOT aware of Buffet’s involvment in the corrupt Moody’s, NOR Golden Sacks (Goldman Sachs), NOR the other corrupt (if substantiated) things you raised.

  • Jnbraider

    No mention so far of payroll taxes.

    • Gregg

      The payroll tax cut should be called the “acceleration of the demise of social security act”.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=507593666 Josh DeYoung

    Taxes are too Low! lets do the hard work now to make our future brighter. If America actually worked together we could do great things, but everyone is trying so hard to get their own that this county will wind-up cannibalizing itself!

    • Anonymous

      America can work together voluntarily, without government guns involved. That’s the way we do work together. That’s how we make our future brighter.

      Raising taxes and increasing spending will lead to the cannibalizing death. It is a recipe for poverty.

  • Bocaratso

    Vinnie needs to know Romney would eliminate second home deductions for the wealthy… according to NBC:
    ‘http://firstread.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/04/16/11225309-first-thoughts-romneys-own-hot-mic-moment?lite

  • Kelly

    Look, the Bush tax cuts were implemented when we had a surplus. Twelve years down the pike, we have a massive deficit. It’s time to raise the taxes until we attain a balance again. I think the tax arrangement could be considered fluid and changeable. In good times and with a surplus, taxes can go down. Now we have to go back seems like a no brainer to me.  

  • Tracey

    As an immigrant who has had the experience of paying taxes in three different countries, the US tax system is definitely less efficient than should be.

    But my comment is really about means testing the rates at which we tax. Means testing is taxing people by what percentage category of the wealthy they fall into. This means it moves with inflation and also adjusts more readily with a fluctuating economy. So instead of taxing a house sale based upon it’s cash value it would be taxed at the scale it falls into based upon market conditions; i.e. it falls into the top ten percentile of the market.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      INTERESTING CONCEPT!

  • Kelly

    Don’t forget that moving overseas is no answer. US citizens are taxed on their universal income. Clearly, this does not apply to corporate earnings, but it should.

  • Ellen Dibble

    Is it true you can move to London and avoid paying American taxes?  Maybe you’d do better to move to Tahiti?  But what about citizenship?

    • Montmartre

      You have to give up citizenship and the rights that go along with it.  We know that you don’t want the responsibilities of citizenship.

  • Terry Tree Tree

    At a 50% tax rate, if you make $2 Million, you KEEP $1 Million.  If you make $4 Million, you KEEP $2 Million.  POOR WHINERS!

    • aj

      Make it 70% and the we the poor will stop whining. Oh…I know…I know “class warfare” right? Warfare, Ha! You ain’t seen nothing yet.

      • Terry Tree Tree

        I’m for trying the 50%, starting at $1 Million, with NO deductions, for five years, to see how it works.

        • aj

          50% at 1million and 70% at 10milliom. What do you think?

      • Anonymous

        What exactly do you mean by “! You ain’t seen nothing yet.”?

    • Anonymous

      The mafia could not have said it any better.

  • Steve Mitchell

    As a small business owner, what I don’t get is why do my employees even need to file taxes. I tell the IRS exactly how much they earn and pay their portion every month. Every April 15th, the IRS should just mail my employees a statement and a chance to refute it. It’s my responsibility to stay compliant, not theirs. If they earn money outside of work, yes they have to report it. If they have some massive deduction, well that’s what the statement is for…but really it’s a tax on income, not subtracting as many deductions as possible. Perhaps lower the rates to make up for removing deductions and keeping the tax true to it’s definition.

  • Tim Harbold

    Irving Berlin”  “I came to this country from Russia and look what’s happened to me. This country has been wonderful to me.  I love this country.  I love to pay taxes.”    Berlin’s song “I Paid My Income Tax” is featured on a new CD from Oakton Recordings.  YouTube audio is available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vM4_z2FF9xAYou can also find it with a YouTube search of “I Paid My Income Tax Today.”

  • TomK in Boston

    Geez, another false discussion.

    Bemoaning our tax system is like confusing a machine with how you choose to use it. It’s like running a powerful car at 10mph and thinking that lousy car is slow, or setting the thermostat at 50 degrees and thinking the heater is no good because you’re cold.

    We have a fine system but THE RATES ARE TOO LOW AND TOO FLAT!!!! Years of class warfare have shifted the tax structure so the top rates are way too low and the elite don’t pay nearly enough. That’s why we have 3′rd-world inequality. We are in one of the lowest tax environments since 1929. We don’t need “reform”, we need to simply turn up the dial. WE NEED HIGHER RATES. 

    Our system is supposed to be a progressive income tax. Now the top rate maxes out at a historically low 35% at few $100 K, which is ridiculous. The rate should keep increasing through the stratosphere, with the rate on $10mil higher than the rate on $1 mil, etc. with a top rate of 60-70%.

    Far worse, with the break on capital gains, the effective rate actually drops at the highest levels. What a joke! Wonder why we have a deficit, huh?

    Tax dividends and cap gains as ordinary income, crank up the top rates, bring back the estate tax, and we’ll be fine. No need for “reform” or a new system, just twiddle the dials.

    • Anonymous

      Except that taxes hurt the economy in general, and this in turn hurts the poor. If you hate the poor, by all means, raise those tax rates.

      We have a deficit because we spend too much. Not because of any imagined tax cuts.

      In FY2000, we spent $2.0 trillion. FY2011 we spent $3.6 trillion. We do not have a revenue problem – we have a spending problem.

      If you can’t see that doubling your spending will create deficits, then there’s not much that can be done for you.

  • Andy Addleman

    Why is there no discussion about the Fair Tax?

  • BHA in Vermont

    What *I* want is a FAIR tax system without all the loopholes.
    Get rid of ALL deductions for EVERYTHING. The instructions would be less than 1/2 page. The people with the most income can’t hide their money under this plan as they do now.

    Set a low but graduated tax rate. Someone making $21M on their blind trust SHOULD pay a higher tax rate than people who work for a living.

    • Anonymous

      Would it really be bad if someone making $21M paid the same Tax rate as someone making $50K.  Why isn’t everyones fair share an equal percentage of their income? like 15%?

  • Joe

    Whenever someone argues for a particular tax break or against a particular tax, I always want to ask them which tax they would raise instead.  No matter what size government you envision, eliminating one tax requires getting revenue from somewhere else.  It’s easy to just say “get rid of the ‘death tax’ but harder if you have to say where you’d make up the revenue.

  • Charlie W

    I hear the argument that corporations simply pass on taxes to consumers.   But they seem to be justified in passing on 100′s of millions of executive and board salaries, political contributions.  All those costs get passed through but are acceptable???

  • Lifobryan

    Thankfully, the Republicans are working on ways to help us send our money directly to the wealthy, without having to funnel it through the government first …

  • Andy Addleman

    Please discuss the Fair Tax system. It fixes all of the issues that people are bringing up. 

  • Brownduncan

    Mr. Harwood, Please note: while my wife and I don’t m ind paying taxes, we feel we are taxed-to-death, and we are very concerned with where the taxes [money] are spent.  To this point, if the wealthier pay more in taxes, where will the money be allocated? More waste? More government?

    • Gregg

      That’s exactly where it will go.

    • TFRX

      we feel we are taxed-to-death

      What does your tax accountant say?

      • Still Here

        Just wait, you’re taxed after death as well.

  • Gregg

    No tax system will support unlimited spending for anything the government chooses to spend it on.

    • Anonymous

      When was the last time you saw a report on government waste, whether it’s the GAO’s reports on redundant programs, Tom Coburn’s annual Wastebook reports, SEC personnel spending 8 hours a day looking at porn on their computers, NIH grants to study prostitution in China, or myriad other reports of waste, and the government made a change to fix the problem?  Never.  Much of government spending is wasteful and out of control.

      • Gregg

        It would be like giving crack to a crack head and expecting something in return.

      • aj

        George W. Bush’s MMS (Dept of Interior) sniffing blow with courtesans out in Denver, provided for free of charge by Exxon, Getty, etc.

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

        The BIGGEST waste of money in the federal government is INTEREST on the debt. During Bush’s 8 years we pissed away 2.9 TRILLION just on interest and it bought the American People NOTHING. So why did the GOP push through those irresponsible tax cuts in 01?

  • Montmartre

    Every conservative commentator always ties tax increases with the need for entitlement reform of cuts in social security and medicare.  Maybe there should be change there, I am not an expert,but one entitlement reform I would like to see is a real limit on the ability of the executive branch to lead us into wars and foolish military adventurism.  No president and this hand picked military leaders should be allowed to lead us into costly wars, that are financed by borrowing, with a Congress that is too cowardly to declare war and pass the tax structure to pay for it.  This could amount to real savings for this country.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ellery-Tuck/100000121509965 Ellery Tuck

    So far, everyone has not discussed the elephant in the room, which is the basic fact that over the past 45 years, the rich have now accumulated over 40% of all the wealth of this nation. It used to be 8% back in 1969.
    Tax cuts for corporatate America, and the rich does not create jobs, only more accumulations of wealth.  It has added almost 50% of our current national debt.  It has allowed the rich to increase their income by 275%,while the 98% has suffered a 10% income loss.

    The only way to spur on more job creations, and investment in the US is to force the rich and Corporate America to do so, Increase their basic tax rates, back to rates during Clinton, and then offer tax credits to all who invest in jobs, environment, manufacturing, investmenst.  Only then will you see real job creation.  Instead, all we have seen is wealth accumulations by the top 2%.

    • William

      I would like to see a return to the Clinton tax rates and the Clinton spending rates. Could you endorse both?

  • JMC

    caller nailed it

  • AC

    hmmm. these same proportion arguments are starting to seem reasonable….i guess….still feels funny to me tho….

    • JMC

      the proportional approach should have an escalator on % paid in comparison to debt to income ratio. at a minimum the millionaire should pay the same rate as the six figure and below individual. I do think that 25% is much more of hit to the six figure earner than to the millionaire, hence the escalator rate.

  • Andy Addleman

    OMG, everyone is talking about the details of the Fair Tax but won’t call it by name!  
    http://www.fairtax.org/site/PageServer

    • Anonymous

      Looks like it’s regressive to me.

  • jon brown

    The reason for a simplified, progressive tax code is that the wealthiest individuals are blessed to live in the free and democratic country in which we live. Citizenship is a privilege, not a birthright and everyone should pay their fair share. The United States enables people to make money and keep it. So for those that benefit the most from the system, it is in their interest to keep it running fairly.

    • Gregg

      “Fair share” is meaningless. 

  • WW_ph15

    Republicans say that billions from the wealthy doesn’t amount to much, but when it’s billions from social programs that are the safety net, those same billions are considered the way to reduce the debt!

  • aj

    Well said Ben.

  • Bonnie

    I believe in a graduated income tax that has higher rates for the wealthy.  We have that – on paper.  In reality the wealthy make their money from capital gains.  It seems like the low rate of tax on capital gains is what is skewing the effective tax rate of the wealthy.  What if capital gains were taxed at the same rate as income?  Would that put a dent in the deficit?  

    • aj

      Yes, and historically that is how it has always been. But we’re in the twilight zone now, and there is not a chance that cap gains will increased to income rates. It would make too much sense. Democrats and Republicans alike are rotted to the core.

      • Gregg

        Eliminate cap gains altogether and watch the economy thrive. 

        • aj

          You sound like Jack and the Beanstock with his magic beans. LOL

          • Gregg

            I have a lot of company.

          • aj

            I don’t think so.

          • Gregg

            Not so much in the Bronx but it’s a big country.

          • aj

            What do you think a nationwide poll would suggest ont bringing Romney’s tax rate to 0%?

            It just occurred to me. That was Newt’s tax plan wasn’t it?

            When is he gonna give the big ‘I’m a loser’ speech? lol

            Does he know Santorum already dropped out. Maybe you should shoot him an email or something,

            P.S. Ron Paul 2012

          • Gregg

            Marginal tax rates are one thing, capital gains another. I know Herman Cain advocated their elimination but I’
            m not sure about the others. I’m pretty sure Newt was for it too.

  • Tncanoeguy

    Corporations are in the business of creating profit, not jobs.  If having fewer employees means more profit they will do that.  

    • Anonymous

      Quite true.  As a shareholder and officer in my company, my main objective is to increase the share price of our stock.

    • Gregg

      Absolutely, as they should. But expansion means more profit and requires more employees.

      • Terry Tree Tree

        Just like more profit means more jobs?  THAT depends.

      • Anonymous

        Except in the real world.  Are you totally unaware of recent unprecedented corporate profits and the contemporaneous failure of those profit centers to add employees? 

        • Gregg

          With the highest corporate tax in the world, Obamacare, a gazillion new oppressive regulations, a war on energy, trillion dollar deficits causing our our credit rating to be lowered, threats of onerous taxation and anemic growth as a result of all of it, it’s no surprise.

          • Anonymous

            All shibboleths and bogeymen.   The facts are that lack of demand  is why businesses don’t expand.  And that lack of demand is primarily due to unhealthy concentration of income and buying power. 

  • Colmroge

    That last caller should not have had a ‘quick comment’ in closing to his comments before the show ended.
    His points could be the subject of an entire show!!

  • WW_ph15

    Tie the tax breaks for the wealthy and corporations to their creating actual, permanent, jobs. Then we’ll see who the real “job creators” are.

  • Anonymous

    I’ll never understand how anyone can consider the  idea of progressive income tax rates to be “fair.”  There is no other facet of our lives in which we would consider it reasonable to expect people who earn more to have to pay more. I don’t think many of us would expect a person who makes twenty times as much as us to have to pay twenty times as much for a product or service, nor do I think we’d expect that person to pay a higher sales tax rate for these things. We’d not expect them to pay twenty times as much for  curbside trash pick-up or a drivers license. I think we’d agree their property tax rate should be based on the value of their property, not their income. What is it about income, above all other considerations, that makes us believe it fair to demand a higher percentage?                         Many will claim that those who have or make more owe more in a just society. That’s a common argument with which anyone can reasonably agree or disagree. It’s more a matter of personal philosophy than universal truth. I could very easily say they’re wrong, and I could not be disproved, because it’s nothing more than opinion. Besides, proponents of this philosophy always choose to conveniently ignore the fact that the wealthy DO pay more. A lot more. The fact that the percentage of their income paid in taxes is not significantly higher is irrelevant. More money is more money, period. If we had a flat federal income tax rate of 10%, and I made twenty million dollars, my tax bill would be two million dollars. If you made one hundred thousand dollars, your tax bill would be ten thousand dollars. By what form of “New Age Mathematics” is two million dollars not one million, nine hundred ninety thousand more than ten thousand dollars? I’d have a lot more respect for the proponents of progressive taxation if they’d simply admit that it’s just a convenient way to get a bunch of money for the government, rather than pretending that paying thousands and even millions more in taxes isn’t paying enough.  

    • aj

      Because Karl Marx said so! LOL

    • Gregg

      I agree.

    • William

      All very good points!

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Please examine your math problem in your next-to-last paragraph?

      • aj

        lol

        • Terry Tree Tree

          I lol’ed at myself, when I saw that it was MY mistake!

      • Anonymous

         No math problem there.

        • Terry Tree Tree

          MY mistake!  My apology!

    • Anonymous

      Because 10% of one’s income is harder for one person to pay than for the other. 

      If you take 10 percent from the person who makes 50 thousand, you’re taking away a lot more in terms of necessities and quality of life etc. than if you take 10% away from someone making 10 million. The former is maybe giving up better health, food, heating or what have you while the latter is giving up an extra vacation home.

      It’s also a tool to redistribute money from the top to the lower classes. In unfettered capitalistic markets, after a while you end up with almost all money and power at the top due to things like capital advantage. It then collapses and the cycle starts over again. To slow this down or to even prevent it, you need a slow, steady way to continually redistribute wealth either with government or some other method to mitigate capital advantage (free education for example).

      • Anonymous

         At last. An honest man. Your the first person I’ve seen on this forum who called it what it is. A “redistribution of wealth.”

      • Anonymous

         In my comment below I referred to you as the “first person.” I misspoke. I’ve seen many refer to it as “redistribution of wealth.” What I meant to say was you’re the first apparent supporter of the philosophy that I’ve seen refer to it as such.

  • W Bradford

    Dont we just have to decide what taxpayers are willing to pay for ?    The Fairness thing is real.. and valid…  but how come so little talk about what we want and need to pay for..  carrier groups.. wars.. scams on all levels in social security and medicare and medicaid…  more and more for education to so so many students that have little desire except to get out of school……    and at the bottom line is a world where billions of people live on so little moneys, while here its often only about getting and having more and more.  

  • Ellen Blanchette

    I think the point the last caller was making was misunderstood, judging by the comments of applauding him on making good returns on his retirement fund. I think he was trying to show how the corporations keep their profits high and continue to pay dividends to stock holders by laying off workers in order to cut expenditures against profits. Which is what they’ve been doing since the 80s. This philosophy has created a great deal of instability in the economy because jobs everywhere are at risk forever, no one can feel safe, good work is never rewarded unless you are an executive. And then good work is not what it used to be. The entire culture has been turned on its head. People’s lives are a mess. No one ever knows when the next economic crises will happen, in what industry, and now, we see it is in the entire economy where at least in the past is was confined to one, like the tech bubble, the housing bubble, the savings and loan collapse, the junk bond crisis, and on and on. There was a time when our economy was designed to support families and workers, and a good company was one that looked out for the workers and the community. What happened to that?

    • aj

      Very well said. You articulated my sentiment precisely.

      What happened? On November 4th, 1980. The American people voted for death, rather than the tough medicine they didn’t want to stomach. my opinion

    • William

      What is wrong with rewarding the shareholders? They took/take the risk to invest their money so it makes sense they receive the greatest rewards. There was a time when government and society looked favorablely at companies and the business community. But now it seems as they are portrayed as “evil big oil, big pharma, big insurance, etc..etc…” rather than the people that took risk, hired people, paid taxes etc..

      • Anonymous

        There is nothing wrong with it, but its not the only factor that should influence the company. In business schools they used to teach that responsibility to the community, nation and your workers was just as important as the shareholder,  but obviously that is no more.

        • William

          Well…it’s their money and without it there would be no company. These people take the risk so natually they are going to have a major say in how their money is being spent.

      • Terry Tree Tree

        Risking money in an investment is WORSE than risking your life and health to get to work, and doing work HOW?   Poor WHINING investors?

        • Anonymous

          Where do you think the money for investments comes from?

    • Anonymous

      Bain Capital is one thing that happened.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      MANY top executives have been REWARDED for bankrupting the company, causing workers to be out of jobs, and a HOST of bad effects to society!
         WHY??

      • William

        Does this poor type of manager exist in government too? Overspending, waste, corruption, failed programs? And the people running them get rewarded with more money, promotions etc.?..ever happen in government?

        • Anonymous

          Of course it does.  Ever heard of FUBAR and SNAFU?

  • Anonymous Libertarian

    1.  I’m tired of hearing about “fairness”; life is unfair, grow up and get over it!  If you’re over age 13 “unfair” has no place in your vocabulary.
    2.  If governments want to encourage something, they subsidize it; if they want to discourage something, they tax it.  Government wants to encourage business development and investment so they subsidize it by giving preferential tax treatment to realized capital gains.  That the wealthy (however you choose to define them) are the ones who most enjoy this tax preference is secondary to the real benefit to society:  A robust and growing economy.  Be careful what you wish for:  Diminish or remove this preference and be prepared for the economic repercussions.
    3.  If Warren Buffett, Barack Obama, et al feel they’re not being taxed enough, they have a simple and non-intrusive-to-the-rest-of-society option:  Write a dontation check to Uncle Sam!  I’m sure he’d gladly accept their generosity!  This might also encourage the concept of government-as-a-charity to be extended — Uncle Sam might pitch his programs to the wealthy for their contributions, rather than pitching them to each other via lobbyists.  Wealth liberals can donate to social wlefare programs and wealthy conservatives can donate to the department of defense, for example.

    • Anonymous

      One problem with your argument. The economy has not grown much has it. Corporations have made record profits and yet the average working stiff has seen none if it.
      Wages, adjusted for inflation have been pretty flat for the past 30 years. Capital gains have done nothing for the economy in terms of real economic growth. Then you use threats and to absurd idea of writing a check to the US treasury. It’s not about individuals writing checks.
      It’s about a tax system that is not working very well.
      Of course libertarians believe in such nonsense as the gold standard and if they had their way hardly any taxes at all.
      In your own words: be careful for what you wish for…

    • WW_ph15

       If this country is going to continue going to war wherever and whenever, it’s going to have to pay the piper. The medical costs of all the wounded should be included in this cost. The wealthy don’t have to go and fight but they certainly reap the benefits of oil and protection. And one thing no one ever mentions in these discussions, everything costs more than it did 30, 40, 50 years ago. You can’t get the government of yesterday for the same price today.

    • Anonymous

      It’s not about fairness.  It’s about how taxes are levied and promoting a functioning economy.. 

      Your ideas have been the law for several decades and the clear result has been unprecedented and growing inequality in income and asset accumulation between the top and everyone else, the very antithesis of a robust and growing economy.

      It’s really very simple: Governments levy taxes on the tax base.  And all the increase in that tax base, if we’re talking income taxes, has been at the very top end, a lot in non-W-2 income.  So that’s what gets taxed.  Would you exempt 100 new mansions built in your city from your local property tax base because you don’t want to “punish” those with the wherewithal to build them?  No, you would levy against the added tax base.

      And the next person who refuse to make more money because their marginal tax rate on that additional income will be higher will be the first one in history.

    • Still Here

      A sensible response.  Thanks for posting.

      • Anonymous

        On the contrary, it’s utter nonsense in every respect.

        • Gregg

           I especially like #1.

          • Still Here

            Exactly!  That really gets the whining going.

        • Anonymous

          Nice comeback. Worthy of a 9 year old.

  • TomK in Boston

    The top rates are too low!!!!! Look at top rates over time.

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/e/e5/MarginalIncomeTax.svg/400px-MarginalIncomeTax.svg.png

    It’s actually much worse because of the special treatment of dividends and cap gains. A more realistic graph would have us below the 1929 rates now.

    Forget about “reform”, RAISE THE RATES!!! Why aren’t the “deficit hawks” outraged by our ultra-low top rates?

    • William

      Why not just lower spending to reduce the debt? It does not take any changes in the tax laws which are difficult to get passed.

      • Gregg

        Unfortunately spending cuts are even harder to get passed. 

        • William

          Not really. Just cut spending by 20 percent across the board and then promise to increase spending in 2025 etc….and never do it. It works all the time in Washington.

          • Gregg

            Quite true, good point but you’ve got it backwards. 

          • Anonymous

            In Washington, you riase taxes today and promise to spend less in 10 years! LOL

          • Anonymous

            The last year that spending was actually dramatically cut in Washington was 1946. Not a coincidence that this was the year that saw the biggest growth in the private sector in US history.

            Spending never goes down, as all the “cuts” that the politicians talk about are made against what they call the “baseline” that assumes automatic growth. So “cuts” are in reality just spending increases that are smaller than previously projected.

      • Anonymous

        Because spending cuts wont be enough.
        It’s that simple.

        • William

          Sure it will work.

          • Anonymous

            No, it wont. Cuts alone will not work.
            It’s pretty clear you’re not really willing to deal with the reality of the situation that our nation is in.

        • Gregg

          Of course they would if they caused the economy to grow. We have $trillion+ deficits as far as the eye can see. We are spending 100% of GDP. There is no way to tax our way to prosperity.

          • TomK in Boston

            100% pure voodoo econ talking point, unchanged since 1980, unconcerned with evidence. 

            There is no evidence that additional tax cuts when rates are already ultra-low do anything but redistribute more wealth to the top. That’s the world we’re living in. We’ve been cutting since 1980 and for the middle class, we sure haven’t “cut” our way to prosperity.

            The great period for the middle class was the 50s and 60s. That was a high tax period. Deal with the reality.

          • Anonymous

            Nice talking point, but the facts are every time tax rates were lowered, increased tax receipts occurred!  This is evidence that penalizing people for making money actually, and I am shocked (SARCASM), discourages them from making money! LOL

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

            More Orwellian nonsense. First tax revenues tend to increase because of population and inflation.

            Big tax cuts knock the growth curve back some years but that doesn’t mean because revenues start to grow again, that there was no loss in revenue.  

          • Anonymous

             Seriously, you keep using the work “Orwellian”, but their is no better word to describe your thinking than “Orwellian”.

            It really suits you to a T.

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

            The Bush tax rates are SO low that in constant dollars only 140 billion was raised above Clinton’s last year in the past ELEVEN years. That means 9 of the past 11 years revenues have been BELOW FY2000 levels.

          • Anonymous

            By that logic, I could say that none of Clinton’s years were above FY2007 levels, in constant dollars. Or for that matter none of Clinton’s years were about FY2006 levels, in constant dollars.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            “We’ve CUT it ten times, and it STILL isn’t long enough!”

          • Terry Tree Tree

            We’ve cut taxes on the rich ten times, and there is STILL a budget shortage?

          • Anonymous

            Maybe, just maybe it’s because SPENDING HAS DOUBLED.

          • Gregg

            Who said anything about cutting taxes?

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

            Let’s see… Caine, Ryan, Romney….

          • Anonymous

            I never said that. Did I.
            If one is to use the Simpson Bowles report it calls for both tax increases and cuts. 

            So if tax cuts cause the economy to grow, where is the growth from the Bush tax cuts? There was little growth during the Bush years.
            By your comment there should have been a fair amount of growth.

            We have record levels of corporate gains and not to much in the economy, which is also not backing up your thesis. 

          • Gregg

            Revenue increased over a half trillion dollars after the tax cuts and the unemployment rate went down. The Clinton recession was shallow and we survived 9/11 without a total economic collapse. The tax cuts worked. So I don’t understand the question.

            “So if tax cuts cause the economy to grow, where is the growth from the Bush tax cuts? 

          • Anonymous

            Rubbish. The tax cuts worked? Then how does one account for the tepid growth in the 8 years Bush was in office.

          • Gregg

            What part of a half trillion $ increase in revenue and a falling unemployment rate is rubbish? Why was the Clinton recession so shallow? Why didn’t 9/11 collapse the economy?

          • Anonymous

            Why would the economy collapse from the the 9/11 event? It did take serious hit, but I do not see how this event has much baring on the idea that tax cuts will help deal with the deficit and the debt. You are not being very honest here and frankly I’m not it’s worth even trying to go on here.
             

          • Gregg

            I don’t blame you, given the revenue increase and unemployment decrease,
            for giving up. BTW the WTC was the financial center of the universe.

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

            More of Greggg’s rewrites of history. There was NO “Clinton” recession. If there was a recession if started UNDER BUSH.

          • Gregg

             http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/chatterbox/2009/05/bill_clintons_classy_moment.html

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

            More of Gregggg’s Orwellian rewrite of history. Bush was proposing his irresponsible tax cuts 19 MONTHS before 911.  

          • Gregg

             http://supertart.com/priceofteainchina/index.php

        • Anonymous

          They will obviously not be enough if you never actually cut anything.

      • TomK in Boston

        Because we need gvt spending to have a developed nation instead of a medieval aristocracy. I WANT gvt retirement programs, infrastructure, R&D, the military (not at its current absurd level) etc…all the things gvt does better then the private sector.

        • Gregg

          And we can’t do that with $2 trillion annually? I understand we are down about $400 billion since 2007 when that tax cuts had fully kicked in, but still 2 tril ought to be enough.

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

            With 16 TRILLION in debt… why is $2 trillion “enough” revenue? Because simpleton’s like big round numbers?

        • William

          Well..to what extent? Why buy a Rolex when a Swatch will do?

        • Anonymous

          Were we a developed nation in 2000, when we spent about half of what we do today?

  • Bob

    Any change needs to capture tax from underground economy income whether criminal or just off the books.

    • Gregg

      A consumption based system would do that.

      • TomK in Boston

        Yeah, great, nice class warfare. The poorer you are, the more of your income you spend, so you get to pay a higher tax rate. 

        • Gregg

          It’s just an unassailable observation.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            TomK just assailed it.

          • aj

            BOOM!

          • Gregg

            Hey Batman, do you think a consumption based tax system would, “capture tax from underground economy income whether criminal or just off the books” or not?

          • aj

            I can’t stop LOL long enough to even understand what you guys are talking about.

          • Gregg

            ZAP!

      • NSDow

        You’re right, Greg. It would. Especially if “victimless crimes” were taken off the books…. so the goods purchased in these transactions could be taxed.

    • Scott

      Totalitarian.

  • Moonglow2

    Here’s the point:  Investment income is taxed at a lower rate.  THis is because IT HAS ALREADY BEEN TAXED AS ORDINARY INCOME. Because Mitt Romney has a lot of investment income, his tax rate looks lower.  My tax rate is pretty low as well, even though I am small–wait, maybe “invisible”– potatoes compared to Mitt Romney.  This is also because I have investment income.  Many would consider me to be barely middle class. Yet I benefit from this system as well. 

    • Anonymous

      You only pay tax on your gain, which  HAS NOT BEEN TAXED AT ALL.

      Mitt Romney pays a lower rate because hardly any of his income is subject to the 15.3% payroll taxes and much of it is taxed at capital gains rates, which are much lower than ordinary income tax rates at higher incomes.

      • Worried for the country(MA)

         Are you suggesting investment income should be subjected to the payroll tax?

        • Terry Tree Tree

          YES!

  • Gregg

    David Axelrod nailed it on Fox News Sunday, we sure don’t want to stay on the road we’re on.

    Do Americans want “an economy that produces a growing middle class and
    gives people a chance to get ahead and their kids a chance to get
    ahead?” Or do they want to continue down “the road we’re on”?

    • Worried for the country(MA)

       Ooops!!!

    • Still Here

      I hope he gets his wish!

  • Mike B

    Well, we have a system so complex that even the high profile filers (and Harvard lawyers) like Obama and Romney can’t file their own taxes.

    This fact, and not their rates, should make the headlines.

    I spend 1 week (my Spring Break) every year on taxes. And I feel I am average: a college professor with a few rental properties.

    There is often a booklet, worksheet, and a need to look at past year returns just to fill out one line on one form. (I got a 17 dollar rebate for a few hours work on an energy rebate for example)

    The compliance costs have become the burden of the silent majority of Americans.

    I am actually scaling back my earnings  and economic activity to avoid the complexity (as well as the phase outs, higher rates, and AMT).

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

    I got no problems with my tax. I actually got $4,000 bucks for my refund. whooppie dooo

    • Gregg

       How much did you pay in?

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

        I hired Mitt Romney’s tax preparer.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/PQOCSU3NJ5J6SSQBEM5YBFCPZY Jason__A

    Get ready for the VAT….

    • Still Here

      Yes, but as an additional tax, not as a substitute.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/PQOCSU3NJ5J6SSQBEM5YBFCPZY Jason__A

        Time will tell….

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

      We can’t have Value Added Tax if we have Sales tax.

  • Mike B

    The guy with 500K in 5 stocks mentioned this amount was in a retirement account (this is what I heard), yet both commentators wanted him paying his fair share?

    Are they advocating suspending tax deferral for 401K/403b or the IRA?

    Based on his age, this fellow may not even have enough to cover his retirement (according to many financial experts, a low seven figure amount may be closer to the norm for many Americans).

    Hence, by implication, are they advocating to more defined benefits (despite these being underfunded across the public and private sector nationwide). 

    Overall, these were not very knowledgeable tax policy talking heads. They focused on broad political themes and not specific IRS code provisions and neither painted a picture of proper incentives for economic growth in my opinion.

    I would guess from their discussion that neither has an academic or professional credential in taxation nor has prepared a more than routine return in their life, but all the highly qualified people are probably working on others’ returns this time of year.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Defined Benefit Plans are UNDER-funded, because company executives that agreed to them, DID NOT properly fund them!  They gave THEMSELVES big raises, and benefit raises, though!  Isn’t that THEFT, in YOUR book?
         The agreement was to have a Defined Benefit Plan, which was to be FUNDED, because of the agreement!  Did the executives make it PLAIN to those in the fund, that those executives were NOT going to fund the plan?

      • Anonymous

        And the government would never do that…

  • Southernwoman

    Why are conservatives allowed to say that there are a lot of working people at the bottom who “don’t pay any taxes?”  I am sure there are some, but those who work pay roughly 14% in Social Security and Medicare taxes. Yet when it comes to paying benefits these are the “costs” that will bankrupt the country.  The Social Security trust fund was used to “balance” budgets in the past, but now that the funds must  be paid back they are the cause of the deficits.

    Our real problem is that not enough people are working – and paying SS and income taxes.  Corporations are achieving unprecedented rates of productivity by squeezing workers to do more with less, but the productivity gains are used to swell the share of the economy that goes to the rich! 

    Amazing that the liberals don’t say more about these issues…

    • aj

      You just said it for us Ma’am.

    • Anonymous

      A lot of liberals do.  Unfortunately there aren’t very many of them in Congress or the White House where words can be put into action.

      • aj

        Southernwoman for President!

      • Anonymous

        You had like 70 years in power. If you haven’t fixed it by now?

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/PQOCSU3NJ5J6SSQBEM5YBFCPZY Jason__A

      I agree with you and would add two points:

      1. By every measure, except CEO compensation, bonuses and corporate profits, the US is in DECLINE.

      2. Never ending wars, thanks to the criminal George Bush et al, are bankrupting the Nation, but the Republicans are blind to it because of lobbyist payoffs.

    • Anonymous

      Our real problem is that these programs exist at all. They are underfunded by over $100 trillion. That’s over twice the GDP of the entire planet.

      They are unsustainable.

      • Terry Tree Tree

        Money has been ‘borrowed’ from Social Security, for decades!  IF ‘conservatives’ had paid it BACK, with the Budget Surplus ‘W’ claimed in 2000, SS would be FINE!  Instead, they gave tax cuts for the rich, and a little to the non-rich?  ‘Conservative’?  OF WHAT?

        • Anonymous

          No, it wouldn’t. It’s a demographic problem. We are living longer, and having fewer children. More recipients, and fewer workers to support them.

          The tax cuts for the rich are generously in billions, the social security and medicare gap is in the tens of trillions.

          It’s like thinking an umbrella will stop a flood.

  • aj

    Mitt: ” We’re going to eliminate the Department of Housing and Urban Development when I am President. Mark my word.

    18 hours later

    Mitt: “We’re going to keep the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and that’s the way it is.”

    Final answer Willard? Phone a friend maybe?
    Embarrasing.

    • aj

      Mitt might not be living la vida loca with his Presidential entourage in Colombia if elected like Barry, but he sure does lie a lot.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/PQOCSU3NJ5J6SSQBEM5YBFCPZY Jason__A

        Mr. Plastic Romney will say whatever he thinks that  the audience du jour wants to hear. Instead of hearing that fool in person he should just do You Tube videos on any subject, and with him taking both a for and against positions on each issue. And the hapless listener can play the version they think best, because this man is as robotic, two faced, and artficial as they come.

        • aj

          I like that. Speaking of youtube. See if this one moves you.

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0UjsXo9l6I8

          Remember, we not all thugs, ‘but everybody from New York got a little bit of thug in em’. Peace

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/PQOCSU3NJ5J6SSQBEM5YBFCPZY Jason__A

            Sry, not my kind of music…  I am an ’80s hits guy…

          • aj

            Of course I did, but Disqus gave me no room to respond.     

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/PQOCSU3NJ5J6SSQBEM5YBFCPZY Jason__A

            Figured you did, just checking to be sure. peace

          • aj

            It was a good answer by the way. Thanks

            How bout this one?
            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gHDbv7ZPCE0

          • Gregg
          • aj

            “Oh Yeah!” Now that is an old school classic. A Sam Cooke original circa 1962.

            Dude that is such a great record, out of all the songs in the jukebox, you picked a gem.

            Though I’m not as familiar with Percy Sledge, I know he did ‘When a man loves a woman’.

            But Sam Cooke is an absolute legend. Tell me, did you ever see the movie Ali. It has one of the best opening film scenes of all time, and it features Sam cooke’s Feel it & Bring it on home. Here it is…
            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TqYXhGS4FF4
              

          • Gregg

            I haven’t seen Ali but now I’ve seen the first 8 minutes. Thanks.

            I’m glad you liked the video.

        • Gregg
          • http://profile.yahoo.com/PQOCSU3NJ5J6SSQBEM5YBFCPZY Jason__A

            But nobody can lie and change positions like Willard..the zillonaire…

          • Worried for the country(MA)

             Keep telling yourself that — if it makes you feel better.

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/PQOCSU3NJ5J6SSQBEM5YBFCPZY Jason__A

            I tell myself the TRUTH, you should try it. And DO remember this excahnge on Jan 20 2013. On Jan. 21, 2013 the question of the day will be: Romney WHO??

          • Gregg

            You say “zillionaire” like it’s a bad thing.

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/PQOCSU3NJ5J6SSQBEM5YBFCPZY Jason__A

            In Romney’s VULTURE CAPITALISM, it is a bad thing. He is nothing more than a legal thief.

          • Anonymous

            Legal thief would be a pretty good description of government.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            ESPECIALLY the ‘conservatives’, Bush, Cheney, and Criminal Cronies?

          • Anonymous

            Please don’t take my lack of naming names as an exhonoration of any one. The republicans and democrats agree more than they disagree – they are two wings of the same bird of prey.

          • Anonymous

            Obama claimed he was going to balance the budget.

            In 2008 he was asked, ”
            If elected, would you balance the budget? If you answered yes, how soon would you do it?”

            And he said,

            “I am committed to restoring fiscal discipline and reforming our current budget and tax system. The most important first step we can take on that path is to restore pay-as-you-go spending rules so that we do not dig ourselves into deeper debt. My priorities will not increase the deficit. I will pay for each of the investments I call for by either cutting other spending or finding new revenue sources. If in the end I can’t find enough offsets to fund all of my priorities, I will prioritize them. I will protect the tax cuts for the middle class, but I will repeal the unnecessary tax cuts for oil and gas companies and for the wealthiest Americans.”

            And yet he has cut no spending whatsoever, and increased the debt from $10 trillion to $16 trillion.

            Clearly, his stated position above has changed.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            ‘W’ campaigned on the promise that he would “Make the Budget Surplus BIGGER!”  EIGHT years later, WAS it BIGGER?
               ‘W’ campaigned for tax cuts for the rich, to “CREATE jobs”!  Did the Job Market INCREASE, in ‘W’s EIGHT years?  EXCLUDING the millitary and ‘contractors’ involved in the wars he committed us to?
               ‘W’ said each war would be a short war?  SLAM DUNK?
               ‘W’ said the COSTS of the Iraq war would be paid from Iraqi oil money!  WHY do WE pay ANY?  $TRILLIONS?
              FAR MORE!

          • Anonymous

            Bush and Obama have had very similar presidencies.

            But they love that you think they are really two different teams.

          • Guest

            did obama know bush would destroy the economy?

          • Anonymous

            Nice non-sequiter answer.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/PQOCSU3NJ5J6SSQBEM5YBFCPZY Jason__A

      Message from Sat received man…thanks…LBGT community it is. What is preferred term for your community?

      • aj

        The Birthplace of Hip Hop. Never sleepin N Y. So nice they named it twice.

        Is you feelin that? LOL

        • http://profile.yahoo.com/PQOCSU3NJ5J6SSQBEM5YBFCPZY Jason__A

          too funny

  • Innerwindows

    RE Vinnie’s comment: does he really think the wealthy people he says employ him will cut back on the services they receive if the pay more taxes?

    • Anonymous

      In his world, yes. It’s clear that this chap is repeating the falsehoods he hears on Fox. It’s a shame, but there you go.

      • Lil ole me

        Do you think he is a real person?

  • Anonymous

    Steve Bell is full of it. He said we don’t want “envy”. It isn’t envy you tool it’s patent unfairness.

    • Anonymous

      God I hate this effing show. Such trite soundbite journalism.

    • Gregg

      It’s envy.

      • Still Here

        Oh, it’s definitely envy!  We got a mountain of credit card debt of envy.

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

    The Mystery Class Warrior once said: “We’re going to close the unproductive tax loopholes that have allowed some of the truly wealthy to avoid paying their fair share. In theory, some of those loopholes were understandable, but in practice they sometimes made it possible for millionaires to pay nothing, while a bus driver was paying 10 percent of his salary, and that’s crazy. It’s time we stopped it.””What we’re trying to move against is institutionalized unfairness. We want to see that everyone pays their fair share, and no one gets a free ride. Our reasons? It’s good for society when we all know that no one is manipulating the system to their advantage because they’re rich and powerful. But it’s also good for society when everyone pays something, that everyone makes a contribution.”

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

    According to the Right… if anyone objects their class warfare in behalf of the rich against everyone else… it’s “envy”. So at what point do these right wingers EVER find wealth distribution unfair? When 1% of the population owns 50% of the wealth? 60%? 70%? 80%? 90%? 95%? Or are they so enthralled with what they believe is some morally desirable economic system of voluntary associations and choices, they NEVER find wealth or income inequality unfair?  

    • TomK in Boston

      If 1% had ALL the income, they’d think it was unfair for them to pay all the income taxes.
       It’s impossible to have a rational discussion. We can’t simply decide what we want as a nation and adjust the tax code to support it. We can’t say “We have a deficit, we desperately need X Y and Z, the top rate is the lowest it has been since 1929, maybe we should increase it.” That’s too sane. According to them, that would be “envy” and “class warfare”. They have their scripts down pat, like old time communists.Their definition of class warfare is like a mugger charging a victim with assault for resisting.All you have to do is look at the health of the middle class vs the tax rates to give the lie to the voodoo about the wonders of tax cuts. We’ve been cutting taxes since 1980. If they were right about the magic of tax cuts, we’d be in the midst of a fab econ boom. We’re not, they’re wrong.

      • Gregg

         What is the problem with the income gap?

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

          I have NO problems with an income gap. I WANT people motivated to work hard and do their best. I just believe we need to protect our economy so a family can get by with a single bread earner yet still buy a home, raise kids, and send them to college…  and I don’t believe that all who are rich should be.
          If someone comes up with a perpetual motion machine that solves the world’s energy problems or a cure for cancer or better yet… a cure for right wing stupidity… more power to them! Do I want some economic parasite to get rich sucking money from our wallets at the gas pump? What do you think Greggy? If someone comes up with a perpetual motion machine that solves the world’s energy problems or a cure for cancer or better yet… a cure for right wing stupidity… more power to them! Do I want some economic parasite to get rich sucking money from our wallets at the gas pump? What do you think Greggy?  But that being said, I’d KNOW that nothing the most brilliant mind could devise was not built on the intellectual progress and social investments of others. So I have NO problems with a strongly progressive income tax.

          • Anonymous

            And you don’t see how government makes these problems worse?

            You don’t see that it’s inflation that’s sucking people dry at the gas pump?

            How inflation benefits some at the expense of others?

            Of course you don’t, you’re too busy worshipping the state to even begin to admit that it may have a flaw.

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

            Government has plenty of flaws and one is allowing bloodsucking parasites into the commodity markets. It’s YOU who are blind to the flaws in the market. 

          • Anonymous

            You could have at least attempted an intelligent response. Maybe tried to answer a question or two?

            Do you not see that the parasites NEED the government for their very survival?

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

          BTW Greggy… you’re EVADING the question. Here… let me post it again:

          “So at what point do these right wingers EVER find wealth distribution unfair? When 1% of the population owns 50% of the wealth? 60%? 70%? 80%? 90%? 95%? ”

          • Gregg

            Wealth is not distributed although it is often redistributed. False premise, stupid question.

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

            More evasion? OF COURSE we can determine wealth distribution just as we can determine income distribution. .

          • Anonymous

            No, we can’t as – wealth is created, not distributed.

            You build your propaganda on false premises.

  • TomK in Boston

    Here is our top tax rate over time. It does not include W’s giveaway on cap gains and dividends. If that was included, the current rates are lower than they were in 1929.

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/e/e5/MarginalIncomeTax.svg/400px-MarginalIncomeTax.svg.png

    We’ve been cutting taxes since 1980 and they are low, low, low! If you don’t like the results we’re getting, the popular definition of insanity would be to try more tax cuts, and sanity would be raising taxes.

    • aj

      This is 21st century America TomK. Sanity is so passe.

      We just finished the hottest March in recorded history. Today is Monday April 16 2012, the 27th day of spring, and the temperature in Central Park was a cool 90* Fahrenheit. (record)

      Carbon tax? We don’t need no stinking carbon tax.

      We’re Americans! God is on our side, so why not go for broke? Put the charts away TomK and come and have some Kool-Aid.

      • TomK in Boston

        I hear you, aj.

        Someone on NPR was talking to a biologist about the disappearing arctic ice t’other day and he just took it as a given that it was due to all the CO2 we’re producing, the interviewer went along, and they actually had a discussion based on science. All I could think of was that the same interviewer talking to one of the wingnuts would also go along with the lie that human-caused global warming is an unproven hoax. The corporate media are not helping us get the truth out.

        • Anonymous

          Wait a minute, someone on the government’s radio station would be in favor of a scientific conclusion that is a ready-made excuse for an increase in the size and scope of government.

          I for one, am shocked.

      • Gregg

        We had frost last week here in NC. Brrrr.

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

          Gee… frost in April!!!!!  We must be heading to a new Ice Age!!!

          • Gregg

            Nah, it’s just weather. But speaking of ice ages, what made them go away? It couldn’t have been Republicans.

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

            I know you’ve evaded this question before… but say global warming IS based in natural cycles. Does than mean we’re scott free and can enjoy the rising seas or farm the Yukon? Or does it mean we may HAVE to overcompensate by cutting greenhouses gases to protect our investment in coastal cities and our current agricultural zones?

            Enquiring minds want to know… but we also know the political right… shills for the fossil fuel industry, will never be honest.
              

          • Gregg

            I can’t hear you, I have my tractor idling in the yard.

          • Still Here

            Nice!  You wouldn’t want the cab to be too cold when you go out to plow the North 40.

          • Confused

            Who said anything about farming the Yukon? Is that supposed to be a joke? 

    • Anonymous

      TomK, don’t focus on the rates – the rates don’t matter.

      Focus on what was actually paid to our wise overlords in Washington.

      http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/taxfacts/displayafact.cfm?Docid=200

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

    The Right plays a dishonest and cynical game when it comes to taxes. Bush2 bragged about removing 5 million off the income tax roles, then later the Right complains that there are too many people NOT paying their fair share and it’s unfair to the rich who are left paying a bigger share of the remaining, but SMALLER, tax pie.

    So if that’s their logic, the only thing that can make the tax code fair for these poor oppressed rich folks who benefited the most from tax cuts DESIGNED to benefit them… is to cut their taxes even further!!!!

    It’s the same kind of warped logic the Right uses when it tries to drag down wages and living standards of workers though free trade and a war against unions…. then complains that unionized public sector workers are living high on the hog, so THEIR wages need to be cut.

     
     

    • Gregg

      Once again you start with a false premise. The right doesn’t complain about the poor not paying enough. They merely point out after relentless attacks that the rich already ARE paying their “fair share” and the Bush tax cuts were not just for the rich. It’s the left who advocates raising taxes on the poor by letting the cuts expire. The right does not advocate raising taxes on the poor. They aren’t even advocating cutting taxes at all outside the umbrella of a total overhaul. You’re making it all up.

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

        Do you EVER intend to be intellectually honest about what the Right is doing? Didn’t think so… which AGAIN raises the issue why are you even here 24/7 peddling distortions and often blatent untruths?

         
        You never heard all the right wing complaints that perhaps 46% of workers pay no taxes? Of course that’s suppose to mean just no income tax, but the Orwellian Right will conflate the two if it suits their purposes.

        http://content.usatoday.com/communities/theoval/post/2011/09/obama-team-disputes-fox-news-over-tax-burden/1  

        • Gregg

          From your link smartypants:

          “As we mentioned yesterday, Fox News Sunday
          host Chris Wallace asked White House senior adviser David Plouffe about
          Obama’s statements that the wealthy aren’t paying their fair share of
          taxes.

          As I said, it’s not a complaint nor is it a call for tax cuts (Liar), it’s a truthful refutation of an attack that the rich are not paying their “fair share”, whatever that means. As I said. Quit while your behind.

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

            Pray tell Herr Goebelles, what IS a fair share of taxation when We The People are close to $16 TRILLION in debt? Put another way… we’ve pissed away $15 TRILLION on ourselves the past 30 years that WE REFUSED TO TAX OURSELVES FOR?

             

            So who should pay? You seem to believe ANYONE BUT US. You supported Bush2′s sabotaging of debt paydown in 01, and now even with debt $10 TRILLION higher, all you can do is demand pity for the oppressed rich that are still paying HALF of what they were after the so-called JFK tax cuts.

            I ask AGAIN, why do you even bother plaguing these forums with your Orwellian Right blather? Are you a paid shill or are your just an obsessed fool? Enquiring minds want to know.   

          • Gregg

            Say it: “I was wrong”. This is easy money.

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

            As expected… more evasion from Herr Gregggg.

          • Gregg

             Say it.

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

            See above!

          • Anonymous

            Yeah, cause those Nazis were big free marketeers, who were in favor of limited government, and they were wary of a central authority…

            Or on second thought – they agreed with you on all of those points.

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

            Sorry for not getting back. Feel free to play dumb if you want Greggg.

            Considering you only get your “info” from right wing sources, it seems you’re oblivious to the arguments they are making.

            And that’s the purpose of putting out those stats. The Right sweeps under the table it’s own role in kicking people off the tax roles hoping to create more debt, then complains about so many being tax deadbeats. It reduces the tax base then claims the rich are being soaked because they pay a bigger percentage of what’s left EVEN IF THEY PAY LESS IN ABSOLUTE DOLLARS. Here’s a perfect example of far right wing opinion.

            “Rich Already Pay More Than Their Share”

            http://www.newsmax.com/WayneAllynRoot/rich-share-taxes-Obama/2011/09/26/id/412311

            Does the Right also complain the poor aren’t paying enough taxes? OF COURSE! Rick Perry last August:

            We’re dismayed at the injustice that nearly half of all Americans don’t even pay any income tax. And you know the liberals out there are saying that we need to pay more. We are indignant about leaders who do not listen and spend money faster than they can print it.”

            http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2011/08/15/295713/perry-tax-the-poor/

            Now say it Greggg.. YOU were wrong.

          • Gregg

            That’s a hoot dude! Your first link buttresses my point nicely, thanks.

            Who is Rick Perry and how’s that working out?

          • Confused

            The guy made his points that there are some in the GOP complaining the wealthy pay too much and the poor not enough. Why are you deflecting? It doesn’t matter if Perry bombed out or not. He reflects the views of many in the GOP.

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

            Greggg never concedes.

          • Anonymous

             Because the right does not claim that the “poor” don’t pay enough in taxes, they worry that when more people are net takers from government as opposed to net payers, there will be nothing left to stop the leviathan of government from taking whatever it wants.

        • Anonymous

          If it makes you feel better, we also oppose all the other taxes that 46% is paying as well.

      • Terry Tree Tree

        They KEEP saying that 50% DO NOT pay taxes!  THAT’S saying the poor are NOT paying enough!
           Deferred-funded wars, and tax cuts for the rich, EQUALS tax increases on the poor and middle-class!

        • Gregg

          NO TTT, it’s stating a simple fact that blows the notion of “fair share” out of the water. No one but Democrats are talking about raising taxes on the poor.

  • aj

    This song’s for you America. R.I.P.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IzEZARmNEdw

  • NSDow

    I can think of another group of working people who pay no federal
    taxes…. Those who deal in illicit drugs, gambling, prostitution, etc. I wonder
    how much the deficit could be reduced if they could be taxed. I wish someone on
    Capitol Hill was willing to do the math on that.

    • Anonymous

      There’s too much money to lose in enforcing these liberty-infringing laws to worry about tax money.

  • Gregg

    I was talking to a doctor friend whose tax bill was so high (about $75,000) his wife (an RN) is going to work in his office and they will have to fire someone. Conversely, if his taxes were cut in half he would hire additional help.He is fully prepared to retire if Obamacare survives and he tells me he’s not alone.

    • Mark J

      I suspect the bigger issue for your doctor friend is the escalating cost of liability insurance, and the low reimbursement rates for Medicare patients. Not to mention that mountains of red tape they must work through (and additional staff they must pay) to manage the claim process with private insurance claims for patients. But that doesn’t sell as well as “my taxes are too high.” The AMA and the FIRE sector are very good at scratching one another’s back. 

      • Gregg

        True enough Mark J. The expensive implementation of Obamacare has begun despite it’s shakey Constitutional status. Tort reform was not addressed at all and the cost of liability insurance reflects that. That’s why he’s ready to retire before signing on.

        His tax bill is a result of his change in status. He went from an employee to a partner. His salary did not change but his benefits did. They are taxed as income. Now that he is an employer with a much higher tax burden, which BTW will get worse if Obama has his way, he has to make tough decisions that will cost at least one job.

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

          Let’s all cry a river for Greggggg’s alleged friend.

          • Gregg

            He’ll be fine. I don’t make stuff up. His name is Gary.

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

             Gregggg you’re here all the time “making stuff up”… peddling Orwellian Right fairy tales that tax cuts for the rich cost us nothing, that the Iraq war was wonderful, that Newt was responsible for the Clinton Surplus. You’re so determined to peddle these distortions and often outright lies you’re here nearly 24/7. You repeat your distortions and often outright lies even in the face of overwhelming proof you’re wrong. I  question your motives for being here and I don’t believe a word that comes out of your pen.
             

          • Gregg

            “Overwhelming imaginary proof”

          • Anonymous

            His imaginary proof ignores two economic boom-bust cycles, and assumes that tax revenues would have stayed at Clinton’s highest level without the tax cuts – even though Clinton only got to that level once, and Bush exceeded it in 2007.

            He ignores so many other factors to make his assumptions – and ignores the fact that tax rates do not equate with tax revenues.

            He also ignores the 20% rule.

          • Anonymous

            Totalitarians like you only cry for themselves.

            They only care about themselves, and only pretend to care about others when it suits there needs.

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

            No Einstein… unlike you I want OUR generation to PAY for what we pissed away on ourselves.

            But then that sort of morality just doesn’t have a place in your perfect Libertarian paradise… does it?  

          • Anonymous

            I didn’t piss away anything.

            Paying your own way is certainly part of the libertarian philosophy… And the lack of that philosophy is the cause of our problems.

            We don’t need 90% of what the government is spending this money on, and raising tax rates will do nothing to solve this.

            My generation did not create the medicare program, and will wind up paying far more into social security than we will ever receive.

            So lose the higher than though attitude, as it just shows off how ignorant you really are, and makes you look like a serious shill for the people who really are living off the sweat of the people.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Sounds like one of those doctors that married his nurse?
         IF he’s making enough to have $75,000 in taxes, he makes enough to hire someone, or live without the nineteenth Caddilac and the third yacht!

      • Gregg

         No, that’s not him.

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

       I know you take us for fools, but give us a break Gregggy. What would this alleged friend of yours have done under Reagan’s 81-86 50% top tax bracket?  Ya ya… it’s always in our interest to cut taxes for the rich. Yet if you listen to the Orwellian Right “JFK’s” tax cut down to 70% was the best thing since toilet paper yet now 35 or 39.6%, if s/he’s in that bracket, is a hardship? ROTF  I neither believe you nor do I shed any tears for your alleged friend. But feel free to keep peddling your sob stories about the “poor” rich.  

      • Gregg

        My friend and I live in the present.

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

          Why do I always suspect you’ll find “a friend” to make some far right ideological point?

          • Gregg

            He’s a Democrat.

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

            Hey, and I have TWO friends named Gary and they want an end to the irresponsible Bush tax cuts!

      • Anonymous

        The person he would have hired would not have been rich – but you don’t care about them, do you.

        They didn’t need that job.

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

          You’re ignoring the historical fact that the economy didn’t collapse with a 70-90% top tax rate.  
          Of course what happened then was the rich decided to REINVEST that excess income in whatever company they were involved in… instead of paying those high tax rates.  Let’s see, in those high tax years the economy and ordinary workers did pretty well… the cumulative deficit before 1981 was less than a trillion… and that to you is an example of a immoral and dysfunctional economy? Ya, probably.  An political/economic system isn’t “moral” unless the morally superior rich can milk it leaving most behind.   

          • Anonymous

            When the top tax rate was 70-90% nobody actually paid it. It was so full of loopholes that any good accountant could work around.

            So they actually did reinvest, and yes, this is why economic growth occured. It’s really the only way economic growth can occur – through investment in machines, technologies, and new ideas that make the average worker more productive.

            But the big difference between then and now is the sheer size of government.

            It has doubled and doubled again over the decades. So that might have a little to do with the increase in the debt.

            Tax receipts, as you can see in the below link, have hovered around 18% of GDP since World War II.

    • Sam Walworth

       and how much is our “poor” doctor friend’s taxable income for the year 2011?

      • Gregg

         I don’t know but it’s not enough to hire.

        • Sam Walworth

           Seriously??

          You precisely know how much is their effective Federal Taxes for the Y2011, and you never asked them how much did they make?

          If you dont, then please do us and yourself a favor and ask how much they really made??

          Secondly, If I were you, I would have asked them to change their tax accountant, as being a small business owner, there are so many deductions they are missing out.

          • Gregg

            It’s not good manners to ask people their income and it’s really not the point I was making. I did advise they fire their accountant though. The subject of taxes was raised by me because it’s tax time and I’ve been at it for days. Thats when he told me his accountant underestimated his quarterly payments to the tune of $29K.

            My point Sam, is taxes have unintended consequences. Remember Clinton’s yacht tax which brought in no extra revenue and nearly ruined the industry? Or people fleeing New York when they implemented the wealth tax?

        • Confused

          so hiring someone isn’t a deductible business expense?

           

    • Terry Tree Tree

      $75,000 is 30% of OVER $200,000?  15% of OVER $500,000?  With ALL the deductions, and other tax-dodges available to him, he’s WHINING?  NOT got 14 Caddilacs?

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

      So if your “friend” paid NO taxes… he could “hire” TWO people! 

      I ask AGAIN…. what would this alleged friend of yours have done under Reagan’s 1981-86 top tax rate of 50%?

      Isn’t this the period that the Right claims had fantastic economic growth?   

  • Mark J

    “Fairness” is a relative thing, obviously. But the notion that someone making $1,000,000 is sacrificing more if they pay 20% or 28% than is someone making $40,000. The tax that the former is paying primarily affects discretionary income. The tax that the latter pays is coming right out of the income that would otherwise go for basic needs like food and medical care.

    So asking the wealthy to pay a comparable percentage to someone in the lower middle class, to me, seems more than reasonable. Perhaps Romney will wait to buy one more year to buy his wife that second “Caddy.”

    • Mark J

       Meant to say “But the notion that someone making $1,000,000 is sacrificing more if they pay 20% or 28% than is someone making $40,000 is ludicrous on its face.”

  • Andy

    Part of the reason Obama and Romney have low tax rates is their charitable contributions, which reduce their taxable income. I didn’t hear any comments that charity reduces the tax rate for these
    generous donors.

    • Scott

      Charitable donations are another complication we can avoid by dumping income-based tax and going per capita.
      What if we vehemently oppose the so-called charity to which a so-called generous person is giving?

      • Anonymous

        What if I object vehemently to the unconstitutional ways my tax money is being spent?

        • Scott

          You, like I, constitutionally write our congress reps, tell our friends, use the mass media as we are able, and pray.
          Conscientious objection (non-co-operation)is an option, too.

          • Anonymous

            So if the government violates the constitution flagrantly and repeatedly (the document by which it claims any legitimacy at all), the only course of action remaining is a letter or prayer?

            King George would have loved subjects such as these.

  • Gregg

    The latest waste of time “the Buffet rule” just failed in the Senate.

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

      Yes the Buffet Rule is more an educational tool than sound economic policy. It shows just how crazed the GOP is these days.If we want to undo the fiscal damage caused by the irresponsible Bush tax cuts that have cost us now perhaps 3 trillion in lost revenue, we need to 1: let them EXPIRE…. and 2: to make up for that revenue that never should have been lost we need to up the top tax rate back to Reagan’s ERTA level of 50% for 10-15 years. The Right loved those tax rates then… so why not now!

      • Anonymous

         Again with the intellectual dishonesty.

        They liked them better than the 70% rates they were paying before.

        To put it more clearly, a person who is being mugged 7 days out of 10 would prefer to be mugged only every other day.

        However they would probably much prefer not being mugged at all.

        We’d all really be much better off if we were to return to the Reagan era spending levels – spending about half of what we do now – for 10-15 years.

        Raising tax rates to Reagan era levels would have a marginal at best effect. But cutting spending in half actually would make a difference.

        If you actually gave a damn about the debt, other than pretending to so you can keep the gravy train rolling, you’d be on board with this.

  • Withe

    I ask that the language used in the discourse is accurate and factual — not emotive. Please let’s distigiuish ‘tax rate’ and ‘total tax’. 15% tax on $1M income is $150,000……….. 20% tax on $30K is $6K. So, the millionarire is paying 25 times the total amount of income tax as the person making $30K. Is it fair to pay 25 more than a fellow citizen ? Even without exceptions for minimum income, one could argue that the millionarire is not using 25 times as much of the services from the government. If that person has been successful then they have earned the right to have more discretionary income. I’m not rich but it seems to me illogical to claim otherwise and a case of success envy. Either way, let’s not use the wording “pay less tax” — if the Left wish to make the point then emphasise the tax rate….  accepting that the total tax is higher. That’s a matter of opinion — that the millionarire pays more tax is not.

    • Sara

      I agree, however, any income, high or low is made by the support of others at other incomes. In our extremely intricate capitalist society, any millionare is making money because they are part of this system. All income from this society of ours should be taxed at same rate.

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

      W asked: “Is it fair to pay 25 more than a fellow citizen?”

      Sure. Do you really believe anyone makes all their money on their own? Hell, without government MONEY would not exist. Just one quick example, where would someone like Bill Gates be without the government protecting intellectual property rights? The Right has so discredited the role the public sector play in helping bootstrap the economy, many seem to believe it serves no positive function.  

      • Anonymous

        This is just false. Money always occurs naturally, and can do so just fine without the involvement of the state.

        There is no example in history of a fiat paper money coming into existance except by the basis of some form of commodity money, or by replacing some other currency that was itself originated as a commodity money.

        Murray Rothbard’s “History of Money and Banking” covers this in much more detail.

        It is not the right that has discredited the role that government plays in the economy, it is the government that has done that.

        But accepting that protecting private property rights is one of the few arguably legitimate roles of government, the United States government was able to do so for the majority of its history without an income tax of any kind.

        For most of US History, federal government spending was less than 3%, it now around 25%, and rising.

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

          Hoping to be taken seriously, N wrote… “But accepting that protecting private property rights is one of the few arguably legitimate roles of government, the United States government was able to do so for the majority of its history without an income tax of any kind.”

          And suddenly you’re a constitutional scholar? Seems you have a problem with the Constitution itself. Check out the Preamble and Article 1, Sec 8 which says:

          “The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States;…”  

          Since you don’t believe this power of taxation is legitimate, let me know how your proposed amendment to abolish this power is coming along. Or do you intend a Libertarian coup? 

          • Gregg

             “Since you don’t believe this power of taxation is legitimate, let me
            know how your proposed amendment to abolish this power is coming along.”

            Is it impossible for you to restrain from telling people what they think? Nuwriter’s point went right over your head. Hint: It has NOTHING to do with the legitimacy of taxation. You’re reply is a non-sequitur on steroids.

          • Anonymous

            All of his arguments are non-sequiter. I seriously doubt his comprehesion skills, but rather he seems to parrot off copied remarks in response to buzzwords.

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

             
            Nu is pretty clear that he’s diminishing the OTHER legitimate roles of government and complaining that if HIS view of legitimate government could be accomplished with 3% GDP spending, then for it to have jumped to 25% through a new income tax is somehow illegitimate or unconstitutional… even if OTHER clearly legitimate roles of government may require it. His complaint is with the Constitution that states those other legitimate roles of government… not me. Gettin’ it yet Einstein?

          • Anonymous

            You’re logic seems to suggest that if I pass an amendment for an income tax, ANYTHING that I would like to pay for through that tax is now a legitimate role for government.

            I am more along the lines that the Constitutional ones for government are the ones EXPRESSLY DELEGATED in the Constitution, and the people who ratified the Constitution were assured that this was the case. For that government to be legitimate, it must be limited to the terms on which it was created.

            Most of what government does is outside of what is delegated to it by the Constitution – but you are blind to that, as you are the sucker of sucker for government propaganda.

          • Anonymous

            So you have read article 1, section 8, which expressly lists the powers of government, and miss that the vast majority of what the Federal Government is unconstitutional?

            But nowhere did I say that the govenrment can’t collect taxes, I said that for the majority of our history, there was no income tax at all. None.

            Or did you not read what you were copying?

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

            Your post was not just about taxes and their percentage of the GDP but a comment about the “legitimate” roles of government. Inherent in your anti-government screed is that if through the democratic process government under its constitutional powers creates a new income tax to provide for an evolving view of the “general welfare” clause then somehow it’s not legitimate.

          • Anonymous

            The General Welfare clause does not grant the federal government any power, but rather is a description of the powers delegated in the rest of the constitution.

            Yes, the Constitution was amended to allow for an income tax. But it was never amended to allow for the creation of an insurance program, or to pay people’s medical bills, or to create undemocratically appointed administrative bodies whose decrees have the force of law.

            Not that you would even entertain the idea that government should have any limits on its power.

        • Terry Tree Tree

          Money grows on trees?
              Not only are you a nuwriter, but you are evidently new to this world!   Born yesterday?

          • Anonymous

            Did not at all say that. The system we have now has money effectively “growing on trees” in the Federal Reserve system.

            Really, learn some reading comprehension it would do you well.

            Commodity money, on which our money was based until Nixon, has its roots not in government, but in the barter system as a medium of exchange.

            Usually this evolved into gold and/or silver, but it always had value as something other than just as a medium of exchange.

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

      W wrote: “I’m not rich but it seems to me illogical to claim otherwise and a case of success envy.”  It’s amusing… or is it scandalous, that the GOP which has been waging class warfare in BEHALF of the rich, tries blunt criticism of its actions by accusing others of class warfare.
      Is there a moral basis for progressive taxation? See my post above.  

  • Mahaperu

    Why can we send a human on the moon, decode the DNA but cannot make a simple tax system. I think we should immediately have a project to have a tax such that the tax book is no more than 10 pages thats it. They could crowdsource it as well.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      GOOD IDEA!!

  • Mahaperu

    We should not simplify this tax code. This tax code should be scrapped and start with a blank slate no more than 10 pages.

  • Sara

    The middle class buying power is what drives the economy. The best advancement in civilization, economywise, has been the increase of wealth distribution to more people. The more ‘few people’ who have more money to invest, is not the power behind capitalism. We should not be afraid to tax income on investment at the same rate as any other types of income. Keep the middle class alive and hire.back our teachers and policemen!

    • Anonymous

      Again, this is just economic ignorance.

      Investment is exactly the power behind capitalism. Investment makes the economy more productive – allows for the technology, research, and equipment that make each worker more productive. Taxing that makes everyone poorer. If you really wanted to increase the amount of wealth to a greater number of people, you would be seeking to eliminate the IRS, shrink government, and increase investment.

      Buying power is meaningless if there is nothing for the middle class to buy. Increasing the productive capacity of the economy gives everyone more buying power.

      We spend more on education than we ever have, and the results have not been good. You say “hire back” our teachers, as if there has been some great reduction in their number. This is a fallacy. Class sizes are going down, we don’t need as many teachers as we used to.

      We have too many police officers in this country, enforcing too many laws. We don’t need nearly 1 million officers.

      We need people acting as to meet the demands of the people, not the corrupt whims of the government.  

      • Terry Tree Tree

        Investing in CEOs that bankrupt a company, is NEEDED WHY?
          MANY states have enacted, or TRIED to enact RAISING the number of students in K-12 classrooms to 40 students!  HOW does that equal MORE teachers?

        • Anonymous

          The government spends more on education than it ever has, around triple what it did 40 years ago, adjusted for inflation.

          How has this worked out?

          If a company bankrupts itself paying a CEO, it goes out of business, and will be replaces by a wiser company.

          If a school system fails to spend its money wisely, or fails to meet the needs of its students – it will be rewarded with more money.

          Which incentive structure is better?

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

        We await real world examples of your corporate Libertarian paradise. Hey, I have another rule for success… the world would be just dandy if we all just got along!!   

        • Anonymous

          Because you statism is working great so far.

      • Sara

        Dont know if anyone is going to read this, but for what it’s worth:

        What really made me laugh was “buying power is meaningless if there is nothing for the middle class to buy”….  You think, for example, if we have more gadgets and new video games that people have invested to make a profit, that somehow this increases the wealth of society as a whole?  There will always be things to buy, because we all need shelter, food, and water to survive. 

        We also need government, because not every person who can afford to do so, is not going to pay for waste water treatment in their town.   Investment is not the power behind capitalism, because even if you invest, if no one can buy what you created, then no revenue for anyone is made!  It is the purchasing power of the people, and the fact that companies compete for this power, is the real beauty of Capitalism. For reference compare this to what you learned about the middle ages etc, and why we are so much more privileged as a species to be living in this day and age…. Which is also to say that investment and research is also vital!   What Im referring to is the lower tax rate on Capital gains, which should be corrected.  It is still income. 

        Agreed, too many people in prison.  = help those in poverty get out of it

        Agreed – education isnt work = not sure why, but class sizes have gone up.  I think, just as an instinct, that we should be focused on more local solutions, instead of countrywide fixes.

        Also, I dont agree with “flat” tax. 
        http://jaredbernsteinblog.com/what%E2%80%99s-fair-five-or-six-principles-of-tax-fairness/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+JaredBernstein+%28Jared+Bernstein%29 

        • Anonymous

          I think you’ve misread what I’ve written.

          Creating makework jobs, as undemanded new teachers and police, for the sake of creating buying power makes that buying power meaningless. It does nothing to create wealth for the society at large, and rather distorts the economy by taking resources from where they are demanded to where the political class may think they should be demanded.

          If you want to reduce poverty and reduce the prison population, end the drug war and pull back the Great Society’s War on Poverty. These may be well meaning, but both have failed. The drug war is a war on liberty, and the war on poverty has only succeeded in bringing to a halt the steady drop in poverty that was occurring before its enactment.

          As for teacehers, I feel that they are a wonderful thing, but our education system is ghastly. Education “cuts” are things of myth, as eduction spending has skyrocketed over the past 40 years, to disastrous effects.

          But

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

        Nu wrote: “Buying power is meaningless if there is nothing for the middle class to buy.”

        Leaving aside the other numerous logical flaws in your post, you’ve just repealed the law of supply of demand and asserted demand will NOT generate supply?   

        • Anonymous

          No, it isn’t because again, you took one line out of context. Taking money from people who produce things to give it to an ever increasing segment of the population that produces nothing will not lead to greater prosperity.

          I seriously doubt your comprehension skills, as you are really good at arguing with your favorite strawman, but you always respond to a part of the argument out of context – never to the whole.

          Do you not see how an ever-increasing public sector cannot be supported by an ever-shrinking private sector?

  • JR

    Thanks, Steve Bell, for trying to screw the GenX middle class by suggesting that the mortgage interest deduction be eliminated. We have no job security, social security crumbling, 1% savings interest rate, home prices thru the roof, and you want to take away one of our last government benefits. Go ahead, make us the whipping post.

  • Emcourtney

    The people need jobs and the government needs revenue; the tariff addresses both needs.  Any tax revision must involve a re-thinking of the tariff.  Yes, it is protectionist, and yes, it degrades market efficiency; but so what.  To the common man what does it matter if the market is sub-optimal.  What matters is quality of life and some semblance of an equitable society.  If the congress would tax all incoming cargos at the standard tariff rate, thats column two on the HTSUS, and then raise those taxes regularly we would see a flood of jobs repatriating to the US with a corresponding rise in wages and quality of life for the working class.

    • Anonymous

      Seriously, you need to read Henry Hazlitt’s “Economics in One Lesson”

      Tarriffs hurt the economy. They help some producers, but hurt the economy at large. They reduce the amount of goods available in the economy – on what planet does that help the quality of life.

      You want to create jobs, cut regulation, eliminate tarriffs, cut government spending.

      We do not need to be spending 40% of the GDP on government.

      • Terry Tree Tree

        Golly Gee, we NEED MORE melanine in our milk, dangerous chemicals in our wallboard, and cheap knick-knacks?  But, we NEED LESS jobs for the citizens of this country?

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

          Nuwriter is blind to the superficial nature of free market theory which focuses on monetary transaction and free choice in the market and s/he IGNORES the very real but hidden economic realities OUTSIDE the market… costs like pollution and how it degrades personal health and property, poor worker safety, etc. In a dog eat dog economy “producers” seek to EVADE those costs and shove them onto innocent third parties… which you MIGHT think any TRUE Libertarian would decry… at least they would if they truly believed in the principle that freedom is the ability to do anything without hurting others. In that respect I’m probably MORE a Libertarian than Nu who seems nothing more than a shill for unregulated corporate power.   Also, the market only responds to people with money. It’s a different realm than democracy where a person has a vote for merely being a citizen. These new corporate “libertarians” have no use for democracy.

          • Anonymous

            I’m blind to nothing, and you are the biggest government propaganda sucker on Earth.

            Let’s take OSHA, which claims to have led to an increase in worker safety, but that safety is increasing at exactly the same rate as it was increasing BEFORE OSHA was created.

            As for pollution, actually read this – http://mises.org/daily/2120.

            Your externalities are not actually outside the market.

            As for the rest of your tripe, look at this field of strawmen.

            You talk about evading costs and shoving them on innocent third parties, and I give to you exhibit A – the bailouts. That seems to be a government feature. Why is it that statists always blame the results of government interventions on “market failures”.

            You think I’m a shill for corporate power, and that’s just crap. But the best way to combat corporate power is to subject corporations to market forces, and get rid of the crony capitalism that we currently have, where corporations use government to limit competition. Competition is a good thing – that’s what protects workers and consumers far better than governments.

            I have a use for limited constitutional government, and we certainly don’t have one of those.

        • Anonymous

          Government cannot create jobs, it can only shift them from the productive, voluntary economy to the coercive state one – but it never creates as many as were destroyed. Look up Frederic Bastiat’s Broken Window Fallacy, which your thinking exempflies.

          As for the idea that government keeps our food safe, that’s just propaganda. The business owner ALWAYS has a bigger stake in food safety, and more knowledge of the product than does the regulator.

  • Sara

    Why isnt the joke from the movie ‘independance day’ when asked about the funding for a secret space program, the official jokes, well do you really think it cost 100$ for a hammer? ….isnt this part of the convo too?

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

    OF COURSE THERE’S A REVENUE PROBLEM!

    The Orwellian Right tries to convince their faithful, and ever gullible, base that there’s NO revenue problem. All our budget problems are due to spending. Certainly spending to keep the economy afloat after the GOP imploded the economy is expensive. And in a recession and a weak economy… revenues are down. But just how much did the irresponsible Bush tax cuts cost the US?

    The first number below is the fiscal year. The second number is revenue in CONSTANT DOLLARS… ie inflation adjusted to 2005. The third number is a simple projection of the revenue LOSS for each year BELOW Clinton’s last year. Even this simplest analysis… projecting FLAT revenue growth into the Bush years, the Bush tax cuts were SO draconian that even this simple exercise shows there was about $1.205 TRILLION loss in revenue over Bush’s 8 years. In reality, because revenue should have been GROWING from population/economic growth, the REAL revenue loss is perhaps closer to $2.5 trillion. Numbers below are in the billions.

    2000 = 2,310.0 CLINTON’S LAST FULL YEAR IN OFFICE

    2001 = 2,215.3 = -94.7  first Bush tax cuts

    2002 = 2,028.6 = -281.4

    2003 = 1,901.1 = -408.9

    2004 = 1,949.5 = -360.5

    2005 = 2,153.6 = -156.4

    2006 = 2,324.1 = +14.1

    2007 = 2,414.0 = +104

    2008 = 2,288.5 = -21.5

    2009 = 1,898.3 = -411.7

    2010 = 1,919.0 = -391.

    We can leave to another time the questions of the utter CONTEMPT the Orwellian Right and their shills here have for those they hopes to deceive… as well of the gullibility of those on the Right that eat up even the most blatant lies without question.

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

      Sorry… source for numbers above was Table 1.3—SUMMARY OF RECEIPTS, OUTLAYS, AND SURPLUSES OR DEFICITS ( ) IN CURRENT DOLLARS, CONSTANT (FY 2005) DOLLARS

      THE BUDGET FOR FISCAL YEAR 2012, HISTORICAL TABLES

      • Anonymous

         The left hand column is from the above source.

        The +/- column is a fantasy arbitrary number used to deceive the reader into seeing increases as losses, and obfuscating reality.

        If we judge every Bush year by Clinton’s best year, it looks like he comes out $2.5 trillion behind.

        However, if we did the reverse, and judged every Clinton year against Bush’s best year, it looks like he comes out $4.3 trillion in the hole.

        And this is how the left lies with statistics.

    • Gregg

      It’s pretty cool how revenue spiked after 2003 when the tax rates were lowered. Then it plummeted after Dems took congress. Thanks for posting. How about posting spending? Or are you of the mind there is but one variable?

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

         I’m not responsible for your delusions, hallucinations, or inability to read simple tables.
        You already know your pathetic defense of the irresponsible Bush tax cuts is laughable. In inflation corrected dollars 2003, 20004, and even 2005 revenues were still BELOW Clinton’s last year. Yet no matter how much debt we have or how much revenues drop, you consider it “proof” that tax cuts are blessings from above. Which raises the obvious question… and no doubt one you’ll ignore or evade… just HOW low do revenues have to drop due to irresponsible tax cuts that even you will object? You already know your pathetic defense of the irresponsible Bush tax cuts is laughable. In inflation corrected dollars 2003, 20004, and even 2005 revenues were still BELOW Clinton’s last year. Yet no matter how much debt we have or how much revenues drop, you consider it “proof” that tax cuts are blessings from above. Which raises the obvious question… and no doubt one you’ll ignore or evade… just HOW low do revenues have to drop due to irresponsible tax cuts that even you will object?  Don’t bother answering. You’ll just make a bigger arse of yourself.

        • Gregg

          The table confirms my comment, period, end of story.

          “Or are you of the mind there is but one variable?”

          I’ll take your response as a yes.

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

            In the mind of Herr Goebelles… as is true with the Orwellian Right in general… LOWER revenues after irresponsible tax cuts is “PROOF” of a revenue boom!!!!!!

            Gee Greggggg… why didn’t you just say so!!!!! 

          • Gregg

            Revenues went down only in the imaginary OMB column you swear by. I was sticking with the real, verifiable, undeniable actual numbers written plainly in table 1.3. They went up.

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

            Gee… also in Table 1.3, in Bush’s eight years, Bush’s revenue numbers in inflation corrected dollars were about 1.3 TRILLION lower than if we had Clinton’s FY00 level for those same 8 years. I posted those numbers in this forum. 

            As I said… to the Orwellian Right LOWER revenues after irresponsible tax cuts = a revenue boom. You denied it and even as you proved my point.

            Are there any Right wingers out there with intellectual integrity?    

          • Gregg

            Show me the column and make your case without the word “if”.

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

            And now Gregggg pretends that tax cuts NEVER lose revenue. Yup… FREE LUNCH FOR ALL!!!

          • Gregg

            You’re hilarious!

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

            That’s the only argument you use… since we can’t know precisely what irresponsible tax cuts cost, we need never discuss lost revenue. POOF! There is NO lost revenue… it only “grows” again later as it crawls out of the revenue hole.  

          • Anonymous

            Yet Clinton only had the FY2000 numbers once.

            Using your math, he was half a trillion behind by that point.

            How dare you talk about intellectual integrity as you spin outright deceptions like this one?

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

            Gee Greggggg… I await your considered opinion why economists should NEVER correct for inflation… that it’s an illegitimate economic concept.

            Oh, I know!!!! It’s because correcting for inflation ALWAYS disproves your bogus claim irresponsible tax cuts create  revenue booms.

            Why didn’t you just say so!!!  

          • Anonymous

            You think Goebbles was a small-government libertarian, or maybe somebody, like you, who thought that maybe, just maybe, if the state had enough power it could solve all the worlds problems?

        • Anonymous

          And yet by 2007, in inflation adjusted dollars, tax revenues were higher than they were in any of Clinton’s years. Higher than any year in US history. Was there some tax rate increase in 2006 that I missed?

          I love your arrogance, and the fact that you ignore these facts on your own source material.

          You talk about tax revenues dropping, but ignore the fact that those revenue have INCREASED in each of the past three years.

          How do you find a dropping trend in increases? I want you to answer, as I am looking forward to you making “a bigger arse of yourself”

      • Terry Tree Tree

        The ‘W’ admin. kept the $TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS WARS, OFF the millitary budget, for HOW long.  ‘W’ announced THAT himself!  I never heard exactly when those costs were actually added into the budget?

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

        Gee… did the Dems REPEAL those irresponsible Bush tax cuts? If there were revenue losses beyond those due to the irresponsible Bush tax cuts, it’s for other reasons…

        Again, you’re using the faulty “logic” you always use. If revenue EVER start to go up again after irresponsible GOP tax cuts… you claim that’s “proof” they cost us nothing even if those revenues might be hundreds of billions LOWER than what the old tax rates might have raised.

    • Anonymous

      All taxation is loss of revenue, as all of it will be wasted.

      Tax cuts cannot be draconian.

      But the bigger problem is spending. That is NEVER cut, except by fuzzy math that works off of reductions in projected growth.

      That’s the problem.

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

        All taxation is a loss of revenue?

        Pray tell, were the taxes used to create the internet on which you’re free to spread your anti-government rants wasted?

        Are there any intelligent right wingers out there?

         

        • Anonymous

          The idea that government created the internet we are using is based in a lot of bad history.

          But more important… Are you just going to keep ignoring the runaway spending of government altogether.

          Even without the Bush tax cuts, spending has doubled, and this is unsustainable. At least acknowledge this much – nobody can be this big a shill for the government. Can you?

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

            The one doing an Orwellian rewrite of history isn’t I. But I’m well aware that once the government handed it over, the investments came from the private sector. That doesn’t change the fact that the internet STARTED AS A GOVT PROJECT.

            As for spending, do you think I’m happy about it? I’m a goddamn defecit/debt hawk. It’s people like Gregggggg that love irresponsible tax cuts no matter how they sabotage debt paydown or how much additional debt they create.

          • Anonymous

            The problem you seem to have is that you lack the comprehension that we don’t have a revenue problem. Revenue has historically ranged around 18% since World War II, no matter what the rates have been.

            You cannot blame the debt on “tax cuts”, it’s downright deceptive, and forgives the larcenous spending.

            Yet when pressed, you come out against “general spending”, without any specific thing whatsoever that you’d cut. Amazingly, this strategy NEVER seems to result in a reduction in the size of government. And when anyone suggests cuts, you’re side claims poverty and that we’d have to cut teachers and roads and police – and always the mountain of bureaucracy that actually drives the spending is ignored.

            So c’mon, what would you cut?

    • Anonymous

      Your math is such propaganda, and so out of touch with reality.

      If there was no dot com bust, or 9/11, or housing bubble – neither of which was caused by Bush or Clinton, and if the price of oil hadn’t increased 10 fold…

      AND IF WE ASSUME THAT THE INCREASE OF 1999-2000 (Clinton’s highest – by far) would have been continued if the tax cuts had not occurred, and measure all the Bush years against that baseline.

      And you want to use that logic to insist on confiscating more of the people’s hard earned money – and you have the balls call anyone else Orwellian?!?!?!

      And even with your fantasy what if scenario, the debt would still be at over $12 trillion and growing.

      Clearly, the problem is spending. Only the greatest suckers of suckers, those hungry for propaganda, who enjoy want to be fooled could come to any other conclusion.

  • J Mattick

    Why do you give out a phone number to call during your show when that number does not work (1-800-423-8255 = useless).  Your discussion about tax laws is laughable.  I’m 68 years old, I’ve been hearing this discussion for not years, but decades!  Nothing about this will EVER change because tax Laws are a MECHANISM for rich fat cats to benefit, via the tax law changes organized by their LOBBYISTS.  IT IS A MECHANISM, that will NEVER be surrendered by those in power!     

    • Gregg

      I was listening to On Point one night and they were discussing civility which I found incredible given the Bush/Cheney hatefest we had just survived. I called, no go. That’s when I learned the show I was listening to was not live. 

    • Terry Tree Tree

      The show is originally broadcast at 10:00 A.M., Eastern Daylight time.
         The phone lines have worked, when I tried, and sometimes sucessfully called in.  There are a LOT of callers, usually.

  • J Mattick

    One further thing.  If the tax law were to be changed, let’s say a flat tax, how could the influential be rewarded by their “representatives”.  That’s right, IT COULDN’T HAPPEN!  END OF DISCUSSION! 

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

    WHAT’S THE MORAL BASIS FOR 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.

    Getting rich 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 killer 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. When working well, the public and private sectors bootstrap each other to greater levels of prosperity. 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 and investments. We’re supposed to believe we owe everything to the rich who must be coddled lest they not throw their blessings our way.

    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… maybe THEN the Right will finally understand the purpose of a strongly progressive tax system.

    • Anonymous

      Free markets do make people wealthy.

      And all of the things you claim government can do were done without a national income tax. And all of them could and have been done better by the private sector.

      We are not rich because we have great roads.

      We are rich because of the hard work and investment in capital of the private sector.

      A strongly progressive tax system saps the capital investment that makes economic growth possible.

      All it really does is fuel a parasitic state, and make the economically ignorant really happy with themselves.

      The below link explains this in great detail.

      http://mises.org/daily/3087

      • Gregg

        You and your link make way too much sense for uLTRAX. Mises is a great site, thanks.

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

          There goes Gregggg, ever brown-nosing, seeking allies, pretending to respect your message when he’s about a much a libertarian as I am. For instance he LOVED Bush’s illegal war of aggression on Iraq.

          • Gregg

            America is on my side, I don’t need no stinkin’ allies…nuwriter’s most excellent comments aside.

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

            ROTF… I seem to remember back in 2000 a majority of those who voted were AGAINST the irresponsible Bush tax cuts.

            As for brown-nosing with other right wingers… even the resident Village Idiot, … you do it all the time. I’ve yet to see you correct his lies and distortions even once. But then the two of you are in the L&D business.

          • Anonymous

            I’m sorry, but you want to find the Village Idiot, check your name tag. You want lies and deception, well, you do a lot of that as well.

            Gallup Poll, January
            5-7, 2001, showed that over half — 52% — of Americans favor
            Bush’s tax plan.

            So you seem to remember incorrectly.

            Another poll showed that, “six in 10
            Americans (63%) consider the amount of federal income tax they pay
            to be too much, 33% think it is about right and almost no one (1%)
            thinks they are paying too little.” (April 7-9 2000)

            So question for you ulTRAX, how much extra did you pay on your income tax this year? Did you increase your own taxes voluntarily?

            I await your lies and deception.

          • Anonymous

            And when did I say that I loved the war In Iraq?

            C’mon show me where I said that?

            You should try reading what I’ve actually written, not imagining things you’d wish I’d written to better suit your argument.

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

            PKB Nu?  Take some goddamn responsibility. READ MY POST AGAIN.

          • Anonymous

            Hardly.

            And you’re evading again – where did I say I loved the War in Iraq?

            Either provide some proof, or admit your error.

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

        Ah gee… Mises! I’m screwed now. How can common sense ever compete against eternal wisdom handed down on a slab from… Austria?

        Pray tell… and just where has this idealized economic system ever worked?

        • Anonymous

          Sorry, it was unfair for me to expect you to think outside your tiny totalitarian bubble.

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

            I see you evaded my longer post to respond to my joke post. But pray tell… where has your system ever worked?

             The one who is the totalitarian isn’t me. I don’t believe that those with money should make all the decisions. YOU are the one who has no use for a democratic counterweight to wealth.  And it seems YOU are the one that has no use for the principle: “Liberty consists in the freedom to do everything which injures no one else; hence the exercise of the natural rights of each man has no limits except those which assure to the other members of the society the enjoyment of the same rights. These limits can only be determined by law.” because YOU are so enamored with what seems to be a perfect market system you refuse to dig deeper to see if there are hidden, but just as real, economic realities and transactions the market ignores or buries. Just because I want there to be democratic means to bring these costs INTO the market to prevent those without the means to protect themselves to protect their own health and property, hardly means I’m a totalitarian. But thanks for providing another comic book example of what makes today’s Libertarians nothing but corporate shills.  

          • Anonymous

            You really are the totalitarian, as you believe that the people with the guns should make all the decisions.

            Then you have a go at your strawman again. You seem to think that I am in favor of fraud or theft – and this is just patently false. But you miss the obvious point that 99.9% of government regulation has nothing to do with either of those.

            I disagree only that “these limits can only be determined by law” – because this assumes that the laws themselves will not be used by some to advantage themselves at the expense of others – but of course this is what most of our laws do.

            Libertarians are corporate shills? This is why libertarians opposed the bailouts, and the use of government by corporations to benefit themselves at the expense of their competitors and the public.

            This is why libertarians oppose the Federal Reserve, which enriches the wealthiest at the expense of the poor.

            The funny thing is that progressives make themselves out to be against corporatism, and then do exactly those things that the corporations would want them to do.

            Whether you like it or not, it’s your side that is the corporate shill.

        • Anonymous

          The US did manage to have a great deal of growth when government spending was at 3% of GDP, and their was no income tax. So one really doesn’t have to go that far for a passable example.

          Mises doesn’t have to compete with common sense – he was common sense. To shovel what you are and call that common sense is the height of self-delusion.

          You think you have this balanced view, and you are on NPR and quoting ThinkProgress.

          You exist in a very tiny statist box.

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

        As a extreme Libertarian your ideological blinders blind you to some simple facts that the US was, and other developed nations are, quite prosperous EVEN WITH HIGHLY PROGRESSIVE TAXES… and democratic controls of government. 

        As I asked in another post, what is a brilliant person with a killer idea worth in an impoverished nation? Probably nothing since there’s no infrastructure to exploit that idea.

        When working correctly, the public and private sectors create a symbiotic relationship: they bootstrap each other to high levels of prosperity.

        The public sector taxes the private sector to create needed infrastructure, from an educated workforce, to physical infrastructure like roads, ports and airports, to a legal infrastructure to protect intellectual property rights, contract law etc, to a public health infrastructure to prevent pandemics, etc. The private sector then exploits those infrastructures to drive progress and the general economy.

        Radical Libertarianism seeks to destroy what has worked historically based on what? A tightly knit and internally consistent THEORY that has never really been tried? Sorry Nu… I have no place for your economic religion.

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

            Nu wrote: “A strongly progressive tax system saps the capital investment that makes economic growth possible.”  ike when the top tax rate was 70-90? I seem to recall the economy doing pretty well in the 50′s and 60′s. Perhaps a high top tax rate does the opposite of what you claim: forces the rich to reinvest instead of going on a speculative gambling spree and destabilizing the economy.

          • Anonymous

            Except that in the 1950′s NOBODY PAID THOSE RATES.

            Take a look at this http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/taxfacts/displayafact.cfm?Docid=200

            If you’re honest, you’ll notice something – tax receipts were just as high (as a percentage of GDP) in 1954 with your confiscatory 90% rate as they were in 2007, with the Bush tax cuts in place.

            You recall the economy being strong in the 1950′s, but the growth was only 2.4% per year, and JFK used the economy against Nixon in the 1960 election.

            The speculation you decry is caused by artificial credit, and the implied bailouts of the Federal Reserve. People are always more careful with their own money, and much less careful if someone tells them that any losses will be taken care of.

        • Anonymous

          I’m sorry, but all of this is propaganda.

          The private sector does roads better than the public sector does. Even socialist France is coming to this realization.

          The voluntary interactions of free people always work more efficiently than threats of violence.

          And more to the point, I don’t care what you have time for.

  • TomK in Boston

    To listen to the righties, you wouldn’t know that we’ve been cutting taxes for 32 years and now have the top rate at the lowest since 1929. You’d think they were proposing a fresh new idea, instead of a proven dismal failure. 

    Someone asked “it it fair to pay 25 more than a fellow citizen?” I agree, that is unfair! If you’re making 33x more (as in the example) you should be paying way more than 33x more in a progressive system! 25x more is an unfair sweetheart deal to the elite. Geez Louise, what is the problem? It’s the tax RATE that matters.

    I’m really sick of hearing of how much the 1% pays. Guess what, their share of the total income is soaring because of class warfare voodoo econ, so of course they will be paying more taxes even if their rates are absurdly low. Anyone who talks about all the taxes the romney-types pay without mentioning the income they have and the RATE has either been conned or is trying to con you.

    • Gregg

      “…and now have the top rate at the lowest since 1929.”

      FALSE!!!

      • Terry Tree Tree

        When was the top rate LOWER?
           Considering ALL the loopholes and deductions?

        • Gregg

           28% under Reagan.

          • Anonymous

             But that was coupled with taxing income from all sources at the same rate.  With so much income at the top end coming from cap gains and other non-ordinary income, the rate for those at the top truly has never been lower.

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

            Gregggg needs to play stupid else he could never deny reality. But you should have qualified your statement that the rate for the rich includes that ultra low 15% capital gains rate… which brings us to “effective rates” rather than an actual bracket.  

          • Anonymous

            You realize, don’t you that capital gains have already been taxed at least twice before the capital gains tax is extorted?

            Personal income tax was paid on the original income before it was invested. The company with which it was invested paid corporate income tax on it- and then if anything is left, you want it taxed again

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

            Nonsense. If you can’t make a point without gross distortions, you haven’t made a point, have you Nu?

            Not ALL capital gains are taxed twice. Perhaps stock dividends might be.

          • Anonymous

            Are you even going to attempt logical intelligent rebuttals, or are you content to stick with the elementary school style, “Is not” line of debate?

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

             The effective individual income tax rate for the top 1% dropped from 24.2% in 2000 to 19.3% in 2005. Gregg pretends that if revenues EVER start to rise again after irresponsible tax cuts, that’s “proof” they didn’t lose any revenue. He justifies this Orwellian view because he insists we must NEVER compare the lower revenues to what the older, and higher, tax rates could have brought in. Gregg simply dismisses that such an analysis is REQUIRED when tax bills are considered.

            http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/taxfacts/displayafact.cfm?Docid=456

          • Gregg

            Get current dude, revenues are in the crapper since Obama.

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

            TRANSLATION From Orwellian To English: Because of a combinaton of irresponsible Bush tax cuts AND Bush driving the economy into the toilet, revenues are low.

            Why didn’t you just say so Greggg?

          • Anonymous

            Bush didn’t wreck the economy. He didn’t help. But the Federal Reserve blew up the bubble with its artificial credit creation, and the federal government’s housing policies directed the bubble.

            And the bailouts and stimulus have prevented a recovery.

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

            Yup, the private sector had nothing to do with crashing the economy. Not in your fantasyland.

          • TomK in Boston

            I’ve posted the top rate chart several times and explained that if the Bush rates on dividends and cap gains were included in the effective rate, it is now the lowest. The 1% are now paying lower rates than they were in 1929 or reagan-era. Deal with it.

            And, so what if it is lowest or near lowest? The substantive point is that we are in a historically low tax period, so the people bemoaning the deficit should be demanding tax hikes instead of yet more cuts to add to the a series of cuts.

          • Gregg

            The long term Capital gains rate is 35%, it was 28% under Reagan. The short term rate goes up next year. There was no AMT during Reagan and conversely there was no expanded EIC. I don’t think your argument holds up even if I assume you erred by saying “top rate”.

          • TomK in Boston

            GREGG! For those in the top bracket for ordinary income, the long term CG rate is 15%, and the “qualified dividend” rate is 15%. That’s why so many is the super rich pay in the vicinity of – would you believe – 15%! Much lower than Reagan, and lower than what they paid in 1929.

            BTW Reagan was practical enough so that, when he put taxes too low and the deficit spiked, he raised them. Can you imagine, actually making a mid-course correction, reversing something that was leading to bad results? Reagan was far too reasonable to win a TeaOP primary.

            LTCG and dividend rates are SUPPOSED to go up next year. They should, but I’m sure not gonna say they WILL with our anti-tax hysteria.

          • Gregg

            It’s the short term rate that is now 35% not the long term. I have land I bought in ’86 and I can’t afford to sell it with a 35% hit. Sorry for the confusion. And if you want to look beyond marginal rates to cap gains and other taxes then I’d point out the gas tax has doubled since Reagan. Obama nearly tripled the cigarette tax. There’s a new tanning tax and a host of other new taxes. I dispute your claim. It’s just not true.

            “…we’ve been cutting taxes for 32 years and now have the top rate at the lowest since 1929″

          • Anonymous

             Yes, it is.
            They are about or akin to the period before the 29 crash. That was also a period of high income inequality. You might want to look up the Great Depression and it’s causes.

            If not, then maybe you should stop commenting on subjects you seem to know nothing about.

          • Anonymous

            You might want to, as income disparity is around all the time all over the world – why are we not in constant depression then?

            The 29 crash was caused by artificial credit creation. The Great Depression was caused by government attempts to fix the recession and remake society.

            You don’t seem to mind commenting on subjects you know nothing about.

          • Gregg

            Reagan cut Capital gains taxes when he cut marginal rates. Am I wrong? If you are talking about 1987, they rose from 20% to 28%, still lower than 35%.

          • Gregg

            I should correct myself, there was a AMT during Reagan but Clinton raised it in 1993. It’s just another tax that’s higher now than before.

          • Anonymous

            Tax revenue in 2007 (AFTER the tax cuts) was the highest in US history.

            What the rate is, and what people actually pay are not always the same thing – and referring to the top marginal rate is foolish.

            Revenues go down as the economy does, so that was the reason for the sharp decline in tax revenues.

            But spending has consistently increased. That’s the problem, we have out-of-control spending

            There is no tax rate that will make up a $1.2 trillion deficit.

            As for “yet more cuts to add to the a series of cuts.” – this is just a lie that insults the intelligence of anyone with a brain.

            In 2000, the Federal Government spent $2 trillion. This year they are projected to spend $3.2 trillion. On what planet is that a cut?!?!?

          • Gregg

            Don’t take my word for it, scroll down and look at the link TomK provided but evidently did not look at.

          • TomK in Boston

            Do you receive or are you transmit only?

          • Gregg

            Sorry, it’s stall cleaning day. I replied below. 

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

            And your peddling all your spare horsesh*t here? LOL

          • Gregg

            I can’t tell you how many times I’ve played concerts with hundreds (or thousands) of screaming fans and was shoveling poop the next day. It builds character and keeps me real.

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

            Oddly, your idea of being “real” has little to do with respecting reality.g

          • Anonymous

            Doesn’t stop you.

    • Anonymous

      You’re the one being conned.

      These figures are adjusted for inflation.

      In 1980, the federal government had an income of $1.2 trillion.

      In 2011, the federal government collected $1.9 trillion, down from an all-time high of $2.4 trillion in 2007.

      So from 1980 to 2007, federal income doubles, and you want to call this thirty years of tax cuts?

      In that same time, inflation-adjusted spending went from $1.3 trillion to $3.1 trillion.

      If revenue doubles, and spending triples, how can anyone not on the federal payroll deny that we have a revenue problem?

      As to your point about “now have the top rate at the lowest since 1929.” – this is just demonstrably false. From 1988 to 1991 it was lower than the current 35% every year. But it’s better than that, as you want to talk about dismal failures, then you bring up 1929.

      The top rate in 1929 was 24%, and you seem to imply that that rate caused the crash. But you seem to suggest that raising those top rates would help the economy.

      But that’s just what they did in 1930, when the top rate went up to 25%, which is a minor change, but for 1931 it went up to 63%. By 1936 they’d gotten it up to 79%.

      Clearly raising taxes on the wealthy does not lead to economic prosperity, or can you describe that in any way other than “dismal failure”?

  • Anonymous

    People paying their “fair share” is non-sequiter at this point.

    Federal spending has doubled over the past decade. There is no way that tax revenue can keep up with that. It’s impossible.

    No matter what the rates are, history has shown us that you cannot bring more than 20% of GDP in via the income tax. Rates have gone up and down over the years, but receipts have been constant within a range of a few percent up or down – and these fluctuations are more tied to the business cycle than they are to the tax rates.

    The tax code needs to be simplified, or better yet abolished.

    But the imminent problem is spending. We cannot continue spending at this rate causing a collapse.

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

      You’re so filled with your pie-in-the-sky nonsense, you can’t see the forest for the trees. So even if we got to a balanced budget through spending cuts alone… that would still leave a $16 trillion debt.

      So, pray tell, what is the “fair” level of taxation when it was OUR generation who pissed away $15 TRILLION on ourselves the past 30 years and REFUSED to tax ourselves for it? Or are you just another Free Lunch right winger that hopes to dump OUR debt on our kids and grandkids?

      • Anonymous

        You’re funny.

        You want to blame the deficit on libertarians, who have been opposing all of your beloved spending for generations. Sort of disinegnious, don’t you think?

        Clearly, you statists have gotten us into a mess that will lead the country to default. It’s going to happen, and you’re the one with the pie-in-the sky if you think any different. Forget about the $16 trillion debt, which is dwarfed by the $100+ trillion that medicare, medicaid and social security are underfunded by.

        It is not the private sector that has amassed this debt, it’s the government. Blaming the private sector for the actions of our wise overlords in Washington is naive at best.

        We cannot tax our way to a balanced budget if we refuse to cut spending. It’s a fools errand.

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

          Lame evasion. WHERE did I blame libertarians for the debt? But you have no qualms about blaming me when I’m a deficit/debt hawk? GFYS Nu.

          So I ask AGAIN… So even if we got to a balanced budget through spending cuts alone… that would still leave a $16 trillion debt.

          So, pray tell, what is the “fair” level of taxation when it was OUR generation who pissed away $15 TRILLION on ourselves the past 30 years and REFUSED to tax ourselves for it? Or are you just another Free Lunch right winger that hopes to dump OUR debt on our kids and grandkids?  

          So far your answer seens to indicate you want to take NO responsibility for that debt. It’s not “your” falut. Gee… IT’S NOT MY FAULT EITHER. I wanted debt paydown back 01 just as I want it once the economy crawls out of the hole the GOP created with banking degregulation probably favored by many Libertarians.  

          • Anonymous

             “So, pray tell, what is the “fair” level of taxation when it was OUR
            generation who pissed away $15 TRILLION on ourselves the past 30 years
            and REFUSED to tax ourselves for it?”

            I’m guessing you were including me in “OUR”.

            It was not “our generation” that pissed away $15 trillion – unless you are in your 70s, and then perhaps you did it.

            The tax cut was at best a drop in the bucket. Raising tax rates to the pre-Bush levels is not guaranteed to bring in dramatically more income. But cutting spending to even Clinton-era levels would be a good start. The scales don’t match up. The amount of money brought in went down a little after the tax cuts, but this was as much to do with the recession that hit that year as the tax cuts – by 2006 the Federal Government brought in more in taxes (inflation adjusted) than it did before the tax cuts. The drop in revenue from 2008/2009 had much more to do with the economic collapse than it did with any tax cut.

            The Laffer Curve is by no means perfect, but it bears mentioning. If you want to raise revenue, raising rates is not usually the best way to go about it.

            Banking deregulation had ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH THE BANKING COLLAPSE. Repealing one clause of Glass-Steagal (during the Clinton administration) that had nothing to do with the selling of housing-backed securities. There was a mountain of new regulation during the period in question, and there were 115 agencies regulating the financial sector, all of whom thought the situation was fine before the collapse.

            The new Dodd-Frank bill also doesn’t mention housing-backed securities. It does create a mountain of new regulation that will only serve to help the established banking system at the expense of smaller banks.

            The collapse was actually caused by the Federal Reserve printing money, and giving banks and lenders the assurance that they could keep profits, but if thing went badly – they would be bailed out. This was called “the Greenspan Put”, and created the moral hazard that the left loves to think was caused by “greed”, “deregulation”, or for the Keynesians “animal spirits”.

            The other culprits were the Federal Government pushing the idea that everyone should own a home, the Community Reinvestment Act, and Fanny and Freddie buying up every loan they could get their hands on.

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

          Where’s Gregg who INVENTS reasons to blast me for “telling others what they think” and avoids doing the same to Nu who was WAY over the top in accusing me of:  “You want to blame the deficit on libertarians, who have been opposing all of your beloved spending for generations. Sort of disinegnious, don’t you think?”  Oh, this is Gregg’s other mode of brown nosing… never criticizing anyone he thinks will be an ally.

          • Anonymous

            I suppose when reason and logic fail, going back to your old personal attack is all you have left.

  • MM

    I realize it depends on one’s perspective, but there are, in my opinion, too many tax benefits which encourage tax payers (businesses and individuals) to make otherwise poor choices.  

  • Captain Augustus

    I really enjoy John Harwood hosting the show.  Good discussion.

  • TomK in Boston

    Seems etchasketch is mocking the Buffet rule for only bringing in $41 bil. Now what is his own plan? Shall we see consistency – LOL.

    “There are two important numbers to keep in mind when it comes to Romney’s tax plan: $480 billion and $900 billion. The former is how much the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center reckons his plan would add to the deficit in 2015 alone in a world where the Bush tax cuts continue; the latter is the same for a world where the Bush tax cuts expire … ”

    Not to worry, deficit hawks, Etcha will compensate with new revs by eliminating the home mtg deduction for second homes for incomes over $200K. Now, as Jason Kwak explains, “the home mortgage deduction was worth $22 billion to households making over $200,000 in 2009. Even if half of that was attributable to second houses—and the actual figure is certainly less—that gives you $11 billion. The deduction for state and local income taxes was worth $20 billion for those same households. So together you get a total of $31 billion.”

    So there we have some nice fresh voodoo from Etcha. Complain that $41 bil is useless, propose cuts that increase the deficit by $480 bil or $900 bil, and offset them with $31 bil, which apparently now is not useless. And, amazingly, sell this c**p to those concerned about the deficit. What a crazy time.

  • Gregg

    A record number of people renounce their citizenship mainly because of taxes.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/04/16/us-usa-citizen-renounce-idUSBRE83F0UF20120416

    • Sam Walworth

       This is seriously one of the biggest nonsensical law we have.

      As far as I recall, none of the other industrialized nation does require it.

      • Gregg

        I agree.

    • TomK in Boston

      Hey, some of us love the USA and some of us don’t, anyone is free to leave. 

      It’s really good thinking, leaving rich white boy low tax paradise for all those high tax socialist states in the rest of the world. At least the leavers won’t have to worry about health care.

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

      How many renounced their citizenship when the top tax rate was 36.9%, 50%, 70% or 90%

      But they’re doing so now when capital gains are a paltry 15% and the top rate is 35%

      It can’t be the tax rates LOL

      Actually the number isn’t that large.  

      • Gregg

        “That’s a record number since the Internal Revenue Service began publishing a list of those who renounced in 1998.”

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

          I read the article… seems most people are leaving under the low Bush tax rates.  
           

          • Terry Tree Tree

            They know that the TOO low tax rates, will cause the demise of the U.S., and want to get out, BEFORE the RUSH?

          • Sam Walworth

             Tree,

            Issue is not the Tax Rate, its the Tax Law that is the main issue.

            Any other country (Germany, UK, Australia, Canada, Ireland) do NOT force you to file their Income Tax for any year if you live outside that nation for more than 6 months.

            Contrary to that, USA regardless of your domicile nation, you have to file the income tax every year on your Worldwide income.

            And if you make some decent money (above 250k USD equivalent outside USA) then the complications are high and even an honest mistake can cost you thousands in penalty.

            Hence to avoid the hassle most well to do US citizens give up their citizenship after establishing domicile in a foreign nation.

          • Anonymous

            How did the country manage to survive for the majority of its history without any income tax at all?

          • ulTRAX

            Yet you also are on record AGAINST import tariffs which were crucial in building our economy.

          • Anonymous

            These are by no means contradictory views.

            Tariffs were by no means “crucial in building our economy”.

            Tariffs cannot be a net benefit to the economy.

            I quote Henry Hazlitt’s Economics in One Lesson, “The art of economics consists in looking not merely at the immediate but
            at the longer effects of any act or policy; it consists in tracing the
            consequences of that policy not merely for one group but for all groups.”

            This is a lesson you really, really need to learn.

            Tariffs are a positive good for some in the economy, but a negative for everyone else, who now must pay a higher price for that good. A steel tariff may help the producers of steel, but will hurt anyone who must now pay a higher price for anything that contains steel. Tariffs destroy competition, and it is competition that increases the quality of goods and decreases their price.

            If tariffs help economic growth, then why did the Smoot-Hawley Tariff have such a disastrous effect when it was passed?

          • Anonymous

            So raising their rates would help?

            How much extortion is acceptable to you?

            What branch of the government do you work for?

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

            I ask you AGAIN… and expect more evasion: what is the “fair” level of taxation when it was OUR generation who pissed away $15 TRILLION on ourselves the past 30 years and REFUSED to tax ourselves for it?

            Or are you just another Free Lunch right winger that hopes to dump OUR debt on our kids and grandkids with more pro-rich tax schemes?

          • ulTRAX

            AGAIN Nu avoids this question.

          • Anonymous

            I’ve answered this question repeatedly, but don’t you look like quite the hypocrite as you ignore three of my questions.

            But I’ll repeat myself, as your lies cannot be ground into the dirt enough…

            Raising taxes will not bring in anywhere near the level of revenue needed to balance the budget. Tax rates since World War II have fluctuated greatly, yet in all that time, there seems to be a natural limit on revenue at around 20% of GDP, only once have revenues exceeded that mark.

            Want citation, http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/taxfacts/displayafact.cfm?Docid=200

            Contrast that with spending. Since World War II, spending has exceed 20% of GDP 28 times.

            So it’s clear that rates do not correspond to revenue.

            But what should be clear to all, and why any objective person should doubt your sincerity about “dumping debt on OUR kids” is that you don’t even consider serious spending cuts.

            28 to 1.

            That should tell you something – but it doesn’t seem to.

            You cannot begin to address the problem with addressing spending – and you don’t. Arguing about tax rates is shuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic.

            Even if we had matched the greatest year for Federal Receipts in US History in 2011, we still would have had a deficit of $700 billion.

            The fact is that the debt was not caused by a lack of taxation, but by out of control spending.

            This is not opinion, but self-evident fact.

            So I ask, what trillion are you going to cut?

      • Sam Walworth

         I think you misinterpreted the article.

        Most US Citizens who live outside USA denounce not because tax rates are high, its because its a serious criminal offense, if you dont file it every year and there are so many twists in the law that, many a times even an innocent (hidden) mistake can cost you severe penalties.

        Hence to avoid that complication or the violation of the tax rule, people find more attractive to give up the citizenship.

        Tax rates are much lower in the US than almost any other industrialized nation.

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

          I didn’t misunderstand the article. Whenever Gregg posts anything, his intent is to spin it to make some right wing talking point. I was just countering.

    • Zero

      I know lots of rich people who moved to Mexico when Clinton raised their taxes, and moved back when Bush lowered them 3%.

      • Gregg

         So if the intent was to raise revenue, it failed.

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

          What the hell you talkin’ about???? When Clinton raised taxes the revenues came in so fast the CBO had to constantly correct its low revenue projections… and this is even before FY98 when that small cap gains tax cut went through.  YOU KNOW THIS! We debated this last year and I present all the numbers and source. Now you’re back spewing the same right wing lies that tax hikes can not being in revenue?

          I took Zero’s post as a joke.   

          • Anonymous

            This is just another outright lie.

            And I put your question to you. What the hell are you talking about.

            Federal Revenues did go up during the Clinton years, but not dramatically so. And this had far more to do with an economic boom that led to the dot com bust than anything else.

            You also seem to forget that Clinton was able to get NAFTA passed – and this was the biggest tax CUT in the history of the world. This spurred the economic growth that allowed the government to collect more revenue.

            The other factors that led to this boom were the end of the Cold War. The price of a barrel oil was 1/10 of what it is today. The technology sector also spurred growth. These were all good things, but none of them were caused by Clinton or tax hikes.

            Rather, Clinton’s tax hikes slowed economic growth. It was only 3.3% per year (coupled with a slight decrease in real wages). The Capital Gains cut you vilify helped the economy – economic growth went up a full percent to 4.4%, and real wages rose by 1.7%. And what was the impact on revenues, they went up again in 1999, and were at their highest level of his Presidency in 2000.

            But your idea that tax rates=income is torpedoed entirely by Bush’s second term. The greatest increase in Federal Revenue in US History occured in 2005, and the year with the highest federal revenues overall was 2006.

            This is not to credit Bush in any way, but to suggest that factors other than the tax rate determine the level of Federal income.

          • ulTRAX

            AGAIN no sources?

            Seems the only sources you ever cite are nutty Libertarian ones.

            All your empty right wing nonsense about the Clinton years has been dealt with time and again in these forums.  

          • Anonymous

            So which is it, either I have no sources, or I have ones that you dismiss as being libertarian with a meaningless epithet?

            Yes, I use some research from the Heritage Foundation (http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2011/09/setting-the-tax-record-straight-clinton-hikes-slowed-growth-bush-cuts-promoted-recovery#_ftn5)

            But they get their numbers from the IRS and the Bureau of Labor Statistics – and those are hardly libertarian.

            It’s so funny that you think I’m an ideologue, but man that suits you to a T.

            Joe Biden could say that the sky is plaid and you be accusing anyone who disagreed of being extremists involved in Orwellian schemes to discredit him – and you would look no more ridiculous than you do right now.

          • ulTRAX

             Let me see if I understand your intellectual pathology. All I favor is a return to New Deal regulations, paying down debt, getting Wall Street back to productive activities and eliminating destructive speculation… something we know worked… while you favor some extreme economic theory pretends to offer maximum liberty when in reality it’s a tyranny of money, and you accuse ME of being the ideologue? Are there any intelligent right wingers out there?  
            Didn’t think so.

          • nuwriter

            So you favor the repeal of the tens of thousand of pages of new regulation passed since the New Deal. That’s a fairly good trade, one clause of Glass-Steagal (which had nothing to do with the economic collapse), in exchange for a reduction in the massive regulatory state which has increased exponentially since then. I’d make that deal.

            That would go a long way towards fixing what’s wrong with Wall Street. Getting rid of the Federal Reserve would do a whole lot more, but baby steps I suppose.

            And you are still pathologically incapable of grasping the concept of regulatory capture, and of the fact that it is government that creates moral hazard.

            You still think that the government which caused the problem is in the best position to fix it, so yeah, you’re an ideologue. You still miss the concept of risk as a natural regulator. You still can’t grasp the notion that creating credit out of thin air might have an effect on the economy.

            Funny that you call me an extremist, and then keep going back to a concept that Karl Marx proffered. No extremism there.

            Clearly the 100+  million murdered by Marxists were sent to there deaths by people in the “middle of the road”.

          • ulTRAX

             Oh wow… Heritage! Now there’s an objective source LOL. You claim there are other factors in the economy besides tax rates yet point to “research” that only recognizes tax rates? It must be a tough job at Heritage being a professional propagandist trying to make the case that Bush’s tax cuts were responsible. (Let’s sweep under the rug that he sabotaged debt paydown even though he RAN on paying down debt.)  Sure, given enough “real” numbers, one can be selective enough and with some added spin, make any case they want.   Since you’re clearly clearly uneducated and so awed by such lame statistical tricks, I suggest the book Lying With Statistics. It has pictures, so don’t worry… you won’t be bored.  

          • nuwriter

             Lying with statistics, yep, that pretty much sums up your argument.

          • ulTRAX

            Joe Biden? So Einstein, what makes you think I’m a Dem?

          • ulTRAX

            I don’t know if I have time for a rebuttal for every point Nu claims. After all, it take twice as much effort to actually do research than it does to make an empty claim.

            First, even though 2005 showed some revenue rebound, revenues in inflation corrected dollars were still BELOW Clinton’s FY2000…

            2,153.6 billion to 2,310.0

            Bush doesn’t exceed Clinton’s best year for SIX YEARS.

            Only in the mind of an Orwellian Right winger is SIX years of depressed revenue a “revenue boom”.

            Bush revenues were so low that they exceed Clinton’s last year in only 2 of Bush’s 8 years… and then only total about 140 billion.

            Source: table 1.3 THE BUDGET FOR FISCAL YEAR 2012, HISTORICAL TABLES table 1.3 THE BUDGET FOR FISCAL YEAR 2012, HISTORICAL TABLES Bush doesn’t exceed Clinton’s best year for SIX YEARS. Only in the mind of an Orwellian Right winger is SIX years of depressed revenue a “revenue boom”. Bush revenues were so low that they exceed Clinton’s last year in only 2 of Bush’s 8 years… and then only total about 140 billion. Source: table 1.3 THE BUDGET FOR FISCAL YEAR 2012, HISTORICAL TABLES THE BUDGET FOR FISCAL YEAR 2012, HISTORICAL TABLES 
             

             

          • Anonymous

            You keep using the word Orwellian to describe those who disagree with you. But nothing is more Orwellian than the pro-government line you are spewing.

            It’s almost funny how self-deluded you are to think that anyone but you is being Orwellian – and twisting facts to benefit the state – I’m sorry, but your emperor is wearing no clothes.

            I never said that FY2005 was higher than FY2000, I said that FY2006 was – which it was.

            Bush’s revenues were lower because the dot com bubble that benefited Clinton’s second term went bust.

            You cannot call repeating your twisted math rebuttal, it’s just bad math – and it lacks any connection with cause-and-effect reality – it’s just taken in a shallow vacuum.

          • ulTRAX

            Gee… after SIX YEARS of depressed revenue BUsh finally exceeds Clinton’s last year in constant dollars by about 14 billion and you consider that proof tax cuts create revenue booms?

            Only in the mind of an Orwellian Right winger is SIX YEARS of depressed revenue a “revenue boom”.

          • nuwriter

            Because absolutely nothing relevant happened in 2001?

            And no major changes were happening in the world from 1990-92?

            Why do you insist on comparing Clinton’s last year (post Capital Gains cut) to all of Bush’s years.

            I suppose it’s just as fair to say that “Only an Orwellian leftist could see a 3 trillion increase in legal plunder of the private sector over an 8 year period as
            a tax cut.”

            Which way do you think the government would want us to look at the issue?

          • ulTRAX

            Nu: “You keep using the word Orwellian to describe those who disagree with you.”

            No, I use the term Orwellian for those who abuse math or logic to claim Black = White or that LOWER revenue = a revenue boom, or that if the rich get a masive tax cut = rich are being soaked.

            Gettin’ it yet Einstein?  Didn’t think so

          • nuwriter

            You are one funny guy. I love when I’m debating someone with the economic sense of a walnut, and he tries to insult my intelligence. I can think of no greater compliment.

            And I get that you don’t understand the word Orwellian,
            you miss entirely the big-government connection altogether.

            Again, your strawman argument is getting tiresome.

            You pick Clinton’s highest year, and compare it to all of Bush’s years. That’s cherry picking. Then you ignore all historical context.

            2414 is higher than 2310.

            Clinton’s 8 years during, Federal Revenue’s totaled $14 trillion, during Bush’s 8 years, federal revenues totaled $17 trillion. Where again is this lower revenue you speak of?

            And you do this as a means of arguing FOR the expansion of state power.

            That’s Orwellian.

          • ulTRAX

            NU: “Rather, Clinton’s tax hikes slowed economic growth. It was only 3.3% per year…”

            Empty claim. If tax cuts stimulated economic activity we’d see fantastic GDP growth in the BUsh2 years. In fact we see a paltry 2.0% average GDP growth over his 8 years… that despite some 5 TRILLION in deficit spending.  

            http://www.bea.gov/scb/pdf/2012/04%20April/D%20pages/0412dpg_c.pdf

          • Anonymous

            Your claims are the empty ones. Again, you attempt to compare apples to oranges.

            The economic scenarios facing Clinton and Bush were different.

            Your claim is that raising taxes helps the economy, and that I’ve clearly disproved above.

            You seem to think that tax rates are the only thing that has any impact on the economy, and that’s just patently false. Tax cuts help the economy, but they cannot overcome the power of the Federal Reserve-created boom-bust cycle.

            Deficit spending HURTS the economy.

          • ulTRAX

             
            Yup… when proven wrong, you just wave your magic Libertarian wand and dismiss inconvenient facts. You’re claiming a principle that tax slows growth and tax cuts increases growth. But when we look at two recent examples, we see the opposite. So you toss that out the window and resort to plan B without ever admitting your evidence for the first claim doesn’t exist. SURE, other factors affect revenues. But if tax rates are too low then they’ll fail to capture enough revenue. Case in point… the Bush2 years. Tax rates were so low that even in his BEST years, he only managed to collect 140 billion more in constant 2005 dollars than Clinton’s last year. So how do we pay down debt? Oh that’s right… you always ignore that question.

          • nuwriter

            The next time you prove anyone wrong will be the first.

            You miss the other end of the Laffer curve, if you raise taxes too high, again, you will collect less revenue.

            You ignore the main fact of Clinton’s presidency, that NAFTA was in effect, the greatest tax cut in the history of the world. When compared to that, his tax increase didn’t hurt quite so bad. Then you ignore the fact that federal revenues went UP after the 1998 capital gains tax cut.

            Even when presented with evidence, you prove that you are never more comfortable than with your head buried in the sand; and you don’t even attempt to explain why taking people’s money would make them more prosperous.

            The burden is on you to prove that raising tax rates will increase revenue, and you have not shown that. I have shown that there is a limit on how much revenue can be collected in taxes, and shown that that level of revenue will not come close to balancing the budget.

            So how do we pay down the debt you ask, if you’re such a big Clinton fan, maybe we could try cutting spending to Clinton-era levels. We should go much further, but it would be a good start.

            Let’s just say we get Clinton’s FY2000 level of revenue – 20.6% of GDP, the highest since 1945, with our current level of spending of 24.1% of GDP, we’d still see a deficit of 3.5% of GPD – how are you going to balance the budget and pay down the debt when you’re losing 3.5% of GDP?

            We need to cut spending across the board. We need to cut the military, privatize social security, and abolish medicare.
            To attempt to balance the budget without touching those items is impossible.

          • ulTRAX

            Nu writes: “Federal Revenues did go up during the Clinton years, but not dramatically so. And this had far more to do with an economic boom that led to the dot com bust than anything else.”

            The revenue boom started way before 1998 when that small capital gains tax cut went through. The CBO was under-estimating revenues even in 94… before Newt’s spending cuts went into effect in FY96.

            Here is a comparison of 1993 CBO projections (baseline) for the 1993 Clinton tax bill… and actual revenues. I hope this displays well… the first is the CBO September 1993 Baseline, the second line are Actual Receipts  1994   1995  1996   1997
            1,244 1,332 1,403 1,472 
            1,259 1,352 1,453 1,579

            The CBO was predicting revenue increases but they UNDERESTIMATED revenues in those 5 years by $366 BILLION. They were 107 billion off just for 1997 alone. 

            Source: CBO’s PROJECTING FEDERAL TAX  REVENUES AND THE EFFECT OF CHANGES IN TAX LAW  December 1998 TABLE 17.
            http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/10xx/doc1049/taxrev.pdf

          • ulTRAX

            I could go on debunking your empty claims. But you can come up with them faster than I can refute them… and this is, after all, a dead forum. In the end all you do is asset plausible expanations without proving them. For instance you assert tax hikes slow the economy and tax cuts speed but it’s just an empty assertion and history doesn’t show any such pattern even in the last 20 years. It shows THE OPPOSITE! So with so mcuh working against you, you really have to make wild claims to keep your Orwellian Right fantasy seem plausible.

          • Anonymous

            You could go on ignoring what I’ve said and beating up your strawman with your one-chart shell game, and not getting the point of my argument.

            So here goes again.

            “This is not to credit Bush in any way, but to suggest that factors other
            than the tax rate determine the level of Federal income.”

            Or let’s simplify that one…
            “factors other
            than the tax rate determine the level of Federal income”

            Maybe if I repeat it again,

            “factors other
            than the tax rate determine the level of Federal income”

            “factors other
            than the tax rate determine the level of Federal income”

            Or perhaps you’ll get it this time…

            “factors other
            than the tax rate determine the level of Federal income”

            You want to take tax rates in vacuums, and ignore all other historical factors.

            I’d leave you alone, but your statist thinking is exactly that which is bankrupting the country, and your lies must be countered with reason.

            Not that I expect you to understand any of this, as you are a lost cause. But the trouble with people like you is that impressionable people see your lies, and if they hear them enough, they become sheep like you, incapable of independent thought and subject to fall victim to every fallacy and bit of government propaganda going.

    • Anonymous

      Yeah, 2000 out tens of thousands who don’t.
      The rules should be reformed, you don’t pay any Federal on the first 96K, but the forms are out of control.

  • crt

    I would like to know what every ones effective tax rate is. If you contribute to a 401K and have health insurance through your employer you get a huge tax break.

     The whole argument that Neera is that the goverment is not there to solve problems, no, it is there to make you feel better.  Stop with all the nonsense on both side and fix our tax structure. We vote these people in not to take polls, which btw ask people if they want others to pay higher taxes and they say yes! what is that of course they say yes..  But we vote these people in to be adults and fix real problems not make us feel better.

  • Pastato

    Talk about fairness in the tax code! John Harwood announced one guest was a Republican and the other a Democrat. But while the Republican gentleman was articulate, clear, and well-spoken, the Democrat lady was not. That’s not fair!!!

  • Drew You Too

    Where was the discussion on the inefficiency inherent in the IRS, Tax Accountants, Tax Attorneys, CPAs, etc. in the Industry? Should taxation even be an Industry? I’ve heard no mention of the fact that only forty to fifty cents of each dollar paid reaches it’s destination. When you add up the expense of all agencies and agents/individuals involved in assesment, collection, and legislation, only half of what is being paid ends it’s journey as actual revenue. What do these agencies/businesses create or produce?

    Parasites.

    A TRUE Flat (Consumption Based) Tax is the only reasonable option. It would have to replace ALL taxes currently being piled on the average American. If you combine Federal Income Tax, State Income Tax, State sales Tax, Property Tax, Luxury Tax, Excise Tax, Advalorum Tax, etc., the average American is currently paying conservatively fifty percent of their income out in some form of Tax. Many people are working from January First till June or July just to pay some form of tax. The extent to which we’ve ignored the current level of Taxation without (adequate) Representation is beyond disturbing, it’s criminal.

    And fairness, of course it’s becoming a dirty word. It will soon (if it hasn’t already) join the likes of Charity, Equality, and Humanity. Forget about what (you perceive) is fair. All we need to realize is that if EVERYONE does better it will drive the economy.

    Ponder This:

    Thirty percent of a $30,000.00 income is $9,000.00 which leaves $21,000.00. That’s $21,000 for food, shelter, healthcare, clothing, transportation, etc.. A family will be FORCED to spend 100% of that remaining income on NECESSITIES. Not only will it all be spent, everything it is used to purchase will involve additional taxation.

    Thirty percent of a $100,000.00 income is $30,000.00 which leaves $70,000.00. That $70,000.00 will (likely) cover a family’s base needs and in addition provide for some savings and investment if desires are kept in check.

    Thirty percent of a $1,000,000.00 income is $300,000.00 which leaves $700,000.00.  That $700,000.00 should provide for ALL needs, most desires, and some serious savings and investment.

    Thirty percent of a $100,000,000.00 income is $30,000,000.00 which leaves $70,000,000.00. ALL needs and desires are provided for. Opportunities to invest and acquire counsel that will further reduce tax burdens are nearly limitless. Ridiculous.

    The people who most need bread are starving while those who need nothing are tossing unopened loaves in the garbage on a bi-minutely basis. I guess that’s “fair” though, right?

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

    It’s amusing that the Right believes to be simple, a tax code must be a “flat tax”…. yet it would also be easy to create a simple, and more fair, PROGRESSIVE tax… which is not to say it would be easy to pass.
     

  • chad

    A missed opportunity. There was little to no discussion about proposed alternatives to the current tax code, including the Fair Tax and the Flat Tax. The disussion should have been titled, “Paying Your Fair Share.”

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

      So, pray tell, what is the “fair” level of taxation when it was OUR generation who pissed away $15 TRILLION on ourselves the past 30 years and REFUSED to tax ourselves for it?

      Or are you just another Free Lunch right winger that hopes to dump OUR debt on our kids and grandkids with right wing tax schemes that favor the rich even more?

  • sy2502

    As a part of the middle class, I’d like to see more fairness in taxation across the board, and that includes both seeing the rich pay as much as me, but also fixing the fact that 50% of the population doesn’t pay federal income tax, which wasn’t mentioned at all in the program (unless I missed it). 
    And while we discuss fairness, I believe we should remove tax breaks for having children. Frankly, I think parents should take the majority of the cost for sending their children to school. Why should the rest of society pay for your kids?

  • Zero

    Oh, we could have a strong economy if we are technical and listened to a consensus of economists…but that would require us to be “unfair.”  Damned be the economy if we can’t tax fairly. 

    • Anonymous

       If you were to line up all the Keynesian economists in the world, end-to-end… that would be okay.

  • Zero

    Amongst G20 nations, America has the second lowest individual taxes.  Japan has slightly lower taxes, but the wage gap is like a 10:1 ratio…whereas, America’s wage gap is something like 349:1.

    Japan is able to pull off a flatter tax code because labor representation is strong. Understand? Let me spell it out for the republicans:because wealth is spread out relatively evenly, taxation can have a relatively even tax code that will still generate lots of revenue because everyone has enough money to pay taxes.

    If you propose a regressive tax code during times of financial inequality, you are going to hurt demand and weaken revenue.  

    If you don’t have strong labor, you need high taxes on the rich.  America does not necessarily need both.   

    • Anonymous

      Japan’s high levels of government spending have wrecked their economy.

      Let me spell put this for you, massive wealth gaps are caused in one of two ways – and one of them is a good thing.

      Either, the massively wealthy have created some good or service that the masses of people like and benefit from. This is the economic means.

      Or by some advantage gained over one’s competitors through some form of government intervention. This is the political means.

      We need to encourage the economic means, and remove the political means, and the tax code is not the place for this. Often the tax code is used as a means of the political class to benefit established business at the expense of new competitors – what you propose will domjust that.

      The solution is shrinking government, not in expanding its corrupting power.

      • _B_

         There are a few assumptions you make that don’t fly:

        1)  “Either, the massively wealthy have created some good or service that the
        masses of people like and benefit from.This is the economic means.”
          > This is SOMETIMES the case, but by no means always. By no means have the “massively wealthy” created “some good or service that the
        masses of people like and benefit from.” The finaincial industry is prime example, and the shareholder vote AGAINST the pay package of CEO V. Pandit demonstrates this.

        2) “Or by some advantage gained over one’s competitors through some form of government intervention. This is the political means.”
          > While I agree that collusion and/or “capture” of government by business occurs, how does smaller government necessarily avoid this? Business interests can capture “smaller government” as well as it can “bigger government”; it doesn’t matter.

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

          Nu claims he wants a system of free choices through an unregulated market system. He’s not thinking it through because ultimately what he’s advocating for tyranny of money… those with the money make the decisions and those without have no voice. In such a system money doesn’t just doesn’t rule in the market, but will eventually extend to all other aspects of life. In the process Nu shows his contempt for democracy where people have a voice for no other reason than they are citizens. It comes as no surprise that the protectors of wealth on the Right prefer the former and has no use for the latter. 

          • Anonymous

            You are the one on the stump for tyranny.

            You are the one with contempt for the individuals right to make his or her own decisions.

            You are the one who wants a government so large that it will extend its rule into every corner of people’s lives.

            I have no contempt for democracy, I have a contempt for statism, and centralized authority, and for goose-stepping propagandists such as yourself.

          • ulTRAX

            I must have hit a sore spot since you completely evaded the main points in my post.

            I happen to subscribe to the principle best summarized in the Rights Of Man: “Liberty consists in the freedom to do everything which injures no one else; hence the exercise of the natural rights of each man has no limits except those which assure to the other members of the society the enjoyment of the same rights. These limits can only be determined by law.”

            Feel free to call that Libertarian principle “tyranny” if you want. But then it’s not as if you have any credibility.    

          • Anonymous

            What points, it’s all propaganda – no substance whatsoever.

            You have no grasp of the free market, and call it “unregulated”, even though it has clearly defined inherent rules.

            I nowhere referred to the principal of non-interference as being tyranny. You, who are looking to interfere whenever and wherever possible are truly engaging in Orwellian doublespeak.

            You talk of the tyranny of money – but that is of course, a fallacy, and can only exist with the conspiracy of government. In the free market, people can only acquire money by satisfying some consumer need – so your tyranny would be the tyranny of customer service. You need to accept a lot of false premises in order to believe this nonsense, which works well for you – because there has not yet been an economic fallacy yet that you don’t bite on hook, line and sinker.

          • ulTRAX

            Nu wrote: “I nowhere referred to the principal of non-interference as being tyranny. You, who are looking to interfere whenever and wherever possible are truly engaging in Orwellian doublespeak.”

            Just because your radical economic ideology IGNORES economic realities outside your precious market doesn’t mean they don’t exist. When the market allows corporations to escape those costs, ethical corporations WILL be at a competitive disadvantage. One might believe that Libertarians would absolutely be in FAVOR of protecting innocent third parties. But we see from your posts, you’re so consumed with what you believe to be a perfect ideology, you’re blind to its victims. But then that’s because you favor a tyranny of money. How goddamn noble.  

          • ulTRAX

            Nu wrote: “You, who are looking to interfere whenever and wherever possible…”

            I’d ask you for examples, but we know all you’re good for is wild, but empty claims.

        • ulTRAX

          Nu’s world is an utterly naive one. In his dystopian dog eat dog economic system, where any savings might give one’s company a competitive advantage, or make another company fail… he seem to think an employer won’t feel  pressures to pay less, skimp on safety, cut benefits, cheat on pollution controls, get rid of organized labor, etc. In such a system the ETHICAL employer is at a market disadvantage unless ALL employers are forced to pay the same costs.

           
          In Nu’s world the real world life and death pressures of the market MIGHT be overcome if working for some ethical employer becomes so desirable, workers “choose” to leave the ruthless ones… and thus place labor market pressure on the less ethical employers to reform. Alternatively, the system might be reformed if wage earners/consumers, despite their wages are driven down by ruthless competition, “choose” to buy from just ethical, but more expensive, companies.

          In both cases Libertarians might claim “free choice” is the highest value… even if it’s at a disadvantage to make the system more humane. And if the “market” for ethical and humane employers fails to get market support… oh well. That’s the end of any moral discussion for Libertarian since there’s no more “moral” decision maker than the market itself… no matter how amoral it is.
           
          Welcome to Any Rand’s “Objectivism”.

          • Anonymous

            You have such a 6th grade understanding of economics. It has nothing to do with reality, and everything to do with propaganda.

            Why, when less than 3% of labor was unionized in the 19th century, did wages rise consistently, and do so much faster than they did in much more heavily unionized Europe?

            Organized labor helps some workers at the expense of others. Their biggest enemy is not the employer – but rather non-union labor.

            Competition for labor increases the price of labor – and it is in the employer’s best interests to keep the best workers.

            If it were in the employer’s best interests to skimp on safety, and if only the government can keep workers safe, then why has the rate of workplace accidents fallen at the exact same rate after the creation of OSHA as it did before?

            If business could force everyone to work for the minimum wage, then why do only 5% of Americans actually work for that amount?

            If the free market has a such a poor record on pollution, then why are the most polluted places on Earth in areas with the highest levels of government involvement in the economy?

            It’s just how ignorant you are of how business works that I find amusing.

            You seem to think that ownership, labor and capital have disparate goals – and this nihilistic view just is not the case.

            You cannot fathom that low pay and poor working conditions would have costs for a business.

            You think that only an employer’s ethics dictate how they treat their workers – but market forces help workers.

            Government interventions hurt workers. Unions hurt workers. Your ignorance hurts workers.

            Spare me your false moralizing, as you cause suffering and unemployment while you champion theft and violence to stroke your own ego.

          • ulTRAX

            Yawn… lots of claims, no legitimate sources to claims. But your general gist is that business alone will find a way to provide good pay, safe working conditions, and not pollute. If that were the case then business would not try to escape those costs by exporting jobs to the third world.It was democratic OVERSIGHT that forced those reforms on business, not your magic market.

          • Anonymous

            Your passionate fetish for statist propaganda is becoming tiresome. I notice that you don’t source in your rebuttal either.

            The first child labor laws weren’t passed until the 1930′s – long after child labor was prevalent.

            In the quarter century before the creation of OSHA, the decline in the frequency of workplace fatalities was 70% greater than it was in the quarter century after the creation of OSHA (Source – “Abolishing OSHA, Knieser and Leeth, 1995)

            So OSHA takes credit for making workplaces safer, but they have slowed the rate at which they have been made safer.

            And this is typical.

            So yeah, competition will force business to provide good pay and good working conditions – but I like how you left out the mechanism by which this happens.

            You have so much faith in regulators, and seem to live in a fantasy world where the regulator will care more about the employee than the person who is dependent on having the employee be productive for the survival of their business.

            And businesses are exporting costs to get away from the needless regulation (like OSHA) that makes their business unprofitable.

            You have absolutely no concept of the natural limits of the market, and no realization at all of the limitations on the effectiveness of government.

            I’m not sure if it’s more your ignorance of history, or your lemming-like worship of government that stops you from understanding it, but it’s probably both.

          • ulTRAX

            NUu claims: “The first child labor laws weren’t passed until the 1930′s – long after child labor was prevalent.”And you claimI’m posting “statist propaganda”?Gee… so child labor was ended by LAW not by the market? The anti-child labor movement goes back perhaps to 1832 and nationally took root in 04 with the formation of thehttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Child_Labor_CommitteeThey visited my town to document the conditions of children working in factories. The first attempt to pass a national law was in 1916. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keating-Owen_ActIt was overturned by the USSC.Since you have NO use for democratic control of business practices, I await your amusing attempts to show how market would have  abolished child labor.  

          • nuwriter

            Child labor does not occur as a result of bad parents, or greedy businessmen in top hats carrying sacks of money with dollar signs on them.

            It happens because families need that income to survive. In per-industrial economies all children are expected to work. The alternative is starvation. This is because the economy is just not productive enough to support them without their labor.

            But the increased production of the industrial revolution allowed the economy to produce more goods with less labor. This then allows families to produce enough income to sustain themselves WITHOUT the income of the child.

            So from beginning of time to 1880, child labor fell from nearly 100 percent to 32% for boys and 12% for girls.

            By 1900, it was down to 26% for boys and 6% for girls.

            By 1930, before the first real child labor law hit the books, it was down to 6% for boys, and 3% for girls – the vast majority of which were working on farms.

            Source –
            US Census, complied by Robert Whaples, Wake Forest University.

            http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:eklD9ipok1kJ:eh.net/encyclopedia/article/whaples.childlabor&hl=en&client=firefox-a&gl=us&prmd=imvns&strip=1

            So the free market
            mechanisms described above wiped out over 93% of child labor, and nearly all non-farm child labor – and you want to give the law credit for all of it.

            That law probably did more harm than good, as during the depression, it’s quite likely that those families could have used the extra income from the labor of a 15-year-old.

            Again, what a shill for government you are.

          • ulTRAX

            Nu writes: “In the quarter century before the creation of OSHA, the decline in the frequency of workplace fatalities was 70% greater than it was in the quarter century after the creation of OSHA.”

            TRANSLATION: in the UNIONIZED 25 years before OSHA, worker safety increased. and in your warpped mind, this was the free market at work? ROTF

            And so what if the “rate” slowed. Who even knows what that means. The rate after 1945 might have shown the greatest increases because it was the first chance after the Depression and WWII that unions got to flex their muscle… but more government help was needed.

            Figures don’t lie, but liars can figure.

            So what was the rate of worker safety improvement between 1920 and 1945?   
             

          • nuwriter

            Unions weren’t flexing their muscle during the Depression?

            Does the Wagner Act ring a bell, or the fact that it was softened by Taft-Hartley shortly after the wrar mean anythign to you.

            Union membership was swelling greatly in the 1930′s, as the Wagner Act (among others) gave unions many new powers to coerce membership.

            In the period from 1935 to 1940, Union membership tripled,  from 3.5 million to 10.2 million – http://history.eserver.org/us-labor-law.txt

            You’re really just throwing propaganda against the wall now.

            Union membership has been decreasing as a percentage of the workforce rather consistently since the 1950′s.

            http://www.workinglife.org/wiki/Union+Membership:+Overall+%281948-2004%29

            So that clearly does not explain away the reduction.

            So go ahead liar, figure!

            figure!waht  in workplace injuries.

            So
            So

          • ulTRAX

            Yup, unions NEVER demanded safer work places.

          • ulTRAX

            Nu writes: “So OSHA takes credit for making workplaces safer, but they have slowed the rate at which they have been made safer.
            And this is typical.”

            The above is Orwellian for  OSHA made the workplace safer, and that’s PROOF it doesn’t work and wasn’t needed.

            Gee Nu, why didn’t you just say so!  

          • nuwriter

            I love how you in your twisted mind are able to see an argument against a government agency with control over people’s private property to be “Orwellian”.

            The fact that this particular government agency has made no impact on its primary purpose (like most state agencies) is not enough to dissuade you in any way.

            The fact that workplace safety was increasing before OSHA, and had not dramatically increased since its creation might be enough to make an objective person at least ask a question or two. But not for someone who worships at the altar of the state.

             

            aht t

          • ulTRAX

            Can’t even keep track of your own nonsense? First  OSHA didn’t match workplace safety of the 25 years before it came in to being. Now it just does NOTHING!

          • ulTRAX

            Nu writes: “So yeah, competition will force business to provide good pay and good working conditions – but I like how you left out the mechanism by which this happens.”

            You are clueless. I covered what an ethical employer might do above. Don’t blame me if you have reading comprehension problems.

            What you write MIGHT happen. But it’s only one dynamic in a competitive market. Employers might just as easily exploit workers knowing there are others to take their place if they quit. Only a market propagandist would claim otherwise.

             

          • nuwriter

            This is reality, not a Dickens novel.

            Let’s say an employer tried that – how effective would that company be with such a high rate of turnover?

            Would that company be able to compete with its competitors – whose more experienced workers would clearly be more skillful and effective.

            Only a propagandist for the state with absolutely no clue as to how to manage people, run a business, or really of how human beings in the real world interact would have this view – and what do you know, this describes you perfectly.

            Clearly, you think in the language of government, where force and coercion replace the voluntary interactions of compensation and cooperation that occur when people put down the guns and negotiate freely.

            I don’t expect you to comprehend this.

          • ulTRAX

            MAnother of your half truth arguments.. 

          • ulTRAX

            Nu just can’t help vomit free market propaganda: “You seem to think that ownership, labor and capital have disparate goals – and this nihilistic view just is not the case.”

            On rare occasions you MAY be correct. But a corporation exists to make a profit for shareholders and cutting labor/benefit costs helps them do that. Your childish notion that labor and management sing kumbaya together is so naive it didn’t deserve a response.   

          • nuwriter

            Again, you miss the point – I’m shocked.

            They don’t have to sing kumbaya together – they have mutual goals.

            You miss entirely the completely selfish motives that lead to this.

            Happy workers are more productive, workers are a scarce good, and competition for the best workers will motivate the company to meet their demands according to their ability to pay – this helps the business make a profit.

            But in your cartoonish us and them business model, where everybody is out to screw everybody else at all times – which is an extremely immature and disconnected philosophy.

          • ulTRAX

             The one being cartoonish is you positing another of your half-truths that if you have a plausible mode of cooperation between workers and management, then that MUST be the reality for all!

            It’s as simpleminded and naive as if I claimed workers and management can NEVER get along.   Clearly BOTH scenarios can happen. Which is the more likely one? Given the dynamics of a dog-eat-dog economic system… probably not your pie in the sky fairy tale.

          • nuwriter

            I never said it was reality for all, you illiterate.

            I am starting to seriously doubt your comprehension skills. You see the words, but you don’t seem to respond to them in the context of sentences.

            I said that it benefits both to work together towards common goals.

            Companies with good labor relations will have an advantage over companies with bad labor relations… duh.

            This will invariably add to the labor costs of the second business, and it will eventually have to change or fail.

            You somehow miss that the competition you call “Dog-Eat-Dog” is also a competition for workers.

            Employers that treat their employees badly will suffer economically.

            And thus the market works.

            And no, I don’t expect you to understand such basic concepts.

             basic .concepts.

            works.

          • ulTRAX

            Nu: “Employers that treat their employees badly will suffer economically.
            And thus the market works.”

            Another half truth argument your pretend applies to all companies.

          • ulTRAX

            Nu: “You think that only an employer’s ethics dictate how they treat their workers – but market forces help workers.”   Sure market forces work to benefit unions in SOME specific instances… labor shortages, or collective bargaining. But if there is excess labor and no collective bargaining, then those forces easily work AGAINST labor. Again, your tenuous grasp on real economics… reality in general, is frightening.

          • nuwriter

            Funny how you consistently exemplify what you accuse me of.

            And again you ignore, “The Lesson”

            Unions and collective bargaining in the short term for some workers, but they are only good for those workers at the expense of excluded workers, and in the long term they even hurt the unionized workers, as in the case of the US Auto Industry, which has been nearly destroyed by unions.

            Unions protect the least-skilled workers, at the expense of the most skilled.

            And how do unions acheive this – through violence – to quote Henry George, “Those who tell you of trades-unions bent on raising wages by moral suasion alone are like people who tell you of tigers that live on oranges.”

            This article, http://www.thefreemanonline.org/columns/unions-and-violence/ goes into far more detail.

            And Union membership is no longer voluntary, as a result of the Wagner and Taft-Hartley Acts. If the union wins one vote, then everyone must join the union or find a new job.

          • ulTRAX

            Nu: “If the free market has a such a poor record on pollution, then why are the most polluted places on Earth in areas with the highest levels of government involvement in the economy?”

             First of all, you’re providing no proof of your claim. But if you’re suggesting governments might also cut corners if they act like unregulated corporations… yes that might be true. Unlike corporations these governments are probably not motivated by increased profits but political pressures to increase production.   Of course there’s not much evidence that corporations care about the environment on their own and we saw that here in the US. If though some magical market mechanism they did care about the environment, worker’s safety, pay, or benefits, so many WOULD NOT FLEE TO CHINA TO AVOID THESE COSTS!  They’d simply have stayed here in the US.   Reality does bite, doesn’t it Einstein!

          • nuwriter

             You have no clue about reality, you believe whatever the statist propaganda tells you to believe.

            As to back up the idea that places with huge controlling governments have higher pollution, I submit this, http://www.livescience.com/4226-world-10-polluted-places.html

            There are a number of other sources for stuff like this, but I’m sick of trying to correct what years of wasted education failed to give you.

            You seem to think that political pressure to produce is somehow
            better than the profit motive. Producing for political pressure leads to
            shortages, whereas producing for profit leads you to produce things
            that people actually want. The political pressure in the Soviet Union
            led them to try to pad their figures by producing concrete, while the US
            was producing computers.

            A great deal of research has shown that as countries become wealthier, they’re desire for cleaner surroundings also increases. It’s called the Environmental Kuznets Curve.

            http://www9.georgetown.edu/faculty/aml6/pdfs&zips/PalgraveEKC.pdf

            And no, I don’t expect you to understand it.

            Clean surroundings are an economic good. People value them – and the market deals with this nicely, as it is in the best interests of a business to develop a good reputation in such matters.

            As for last bit of propaganda, how sad is it that it is easier to start a business in the People’s Republic of China than it is here. Why do we need to have 80,000 pages of Federal Regulation, over and above constitutionally passed laws, and not including state regulations and laws, or local regulations and laws – many of which are contradictory.

            Again, though, you show your absolute misunderstanding of economics, and attempt to apply morality where morality does not apply. Economics is about the wise use of resources, and spending millions more to appease the regulatory state does not make economic sense. Again, you fall into the economic fallacy of the seen and the unseen. Companies that can produce goods more cheaply overseas are doing an economic benefit by reducing the cost of that good for the American consumer.

            If I can buy a product for half of what I used to pay for it, then I have the other half of my money to spend on other things. This is one way economic growth happens, and I am wealthier than I was before.

            In addition to this, they free up American workers for other more skilled labor. At one point in history, just about everyone was a farmer, but technological improvements that made farming more efficient reduced the need for farmers, and freed up those former farmers to do other things, and produce goods that would previously not have existed.

            Your line of reasoning would condemn this as putting farmers out of work, as that is the immediate “seen”, but it ignores the “unseen” benefit of the new products those newly freed up workers could then create.

            But it is here again that the regulatory state, which favors established business over new entrants causes trouble.

            Regulation makes it unprofitable to start the new businesses that spur economic growth. So we have lost the seen, but we now lose the unseen as well.

            Long-term unemployment is a creation of government. In a free economy, labor is limited, and there are always more things that people want. Everyone might like the services of a chauffeur and a personal chef, but there are not the resources in the economy to provide these things. The other impediment is unemployment insurance. When you pay people not to work, it is hardly surprising that they will not work. Leisure is an economic good that people value. The minimum wage also is an impediment to employment – especially among the least skilled and least experienced of workers. This limits the range on which labor and business can reach mutually agreeable terms, and has led to a dramatic increase in teenage unemployment. These kids living at home who need experience more than they need a slightly larger paycheck.

            All of these things go together to create unemployment, and they make everyone poorer.

          • ulTRAX

            Nu claims: “Clean surroundings are an economic good. People value them – and the market deals with this nicely, as it is in the best interests of a business to develop a good reputation in such matters.”

            Again, you’re using a half, perhaps a quarter truth and claiming it represents all of reality.

            Yes, at some point SOME companies might realize that once the environment is cleaned up… a city that has socially desirable attributes like parks, good schools, a decent transportation infrastructure, those might be good selling points to get SOME employees to move there and work for them.

            But that’s ignoring the role of the public sector in forcing companies to clean up their externalities or making public investments.

            But if your market mechanism worked to do all this, then we would not have had such polluted cities in the past before EPA or the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts. I remember how the local factories belched out black smoke, how the air my area was polluted, and how bad the water was 40-50 years ago… not just because the local towns dumped sewage into the rivers but local factories treated the rivers like sewers to carry away the by-products of production.

            You’re determined to attribute to the market things the market will rarely, if ever, do on its own. Again, left to its own, to maximize profits most companies will try to escape the full costs of its production, pay less, and skimp on benefits. It takes government to force employers to include those costs in the price of doing business and once that levels the playing field… companies will then compete in that new economic framework. But if we create a competitive dog-eat-dog system, then companies will always be looking for an escape hatch like free trade where they can escape those costs and bring their products back to a high retail profit nation like ours.

            Your view of economics is naïve beyond belief.

          • nuwriter

            The biggest polluter on the planet is the Federal Government, so looking to them to enforce environmental standards is a bit naive. That you think that these regulations will be enforced uniformly is even more naive.

            You ignore how being a good steward of one’s local environment is good for business, how companies with reputations for being good stewards will have a competitive advantage.

            You have such a shallow understanding of how business works. You ignore completely the positive effects of satisfied, well-taken care of employees.

            Yes, companies want to maximize profits, but just cutting costs will not do that.

            I love that you think my economics is naive. That’s really funny, because your lack of any economic understanding is shown by your  half- Charles Dickens, half-Karl Marx perspective. It’s the same sort of propaganda that one would expect to find in a 6th grade textbook, because it only looks at issues from one perspective.

            You seem completely unable to see the business world from the perspective of the business owner.

            It’s fantasy, and it just shows how sheltered you must truly be.

            The competitive “dog-eat-dog” system is
            a good thing, that forces producers to be efficient and cater to their customers, to provide both the best product, and the lowest price.

            But you, toady for the regulatory state, always in favor of more regulation, are oblivious to the concept of regulatory capture.

            How businesses use government regulation to stifle competition. These regulations are not in place to protect the public – the market does that – but rather to protect the established firms from competition.

            It was businesses themselves in the 1920′s that were clamoring for the government to get involved to protect them from competition. That’s where the regulatory state comes from. It was dressed up nice to fool stupid rubes like you.

          • ulTRAX

            Let me guess… NO company that pollutes has any competitive advantage?

        • Anonymous

           1. The financial industry is an example of political entrepreneurship. There is a great deal of government involvement in that industry, and all of it is intended to limit competition. You have attempted to give a contrary example, but have instead given evidence in favor.

          2. A small government that is limited by the Constitution would be barred from the sorts of regulations that favor one actor over another. Business interests could indeed capture such a government, but what good would it do them if that government was limited in the scope of its powers?

          • ulTRAX

             Hoping to be taken seriously, Nu makes another baseless claim: “A small government that is limited by the Constitution would be barred from the sorts of regulations that favor one actor over another.”NOT if that government was created with promoting the General Welfare as one of its main goals. It isn’t neutral when say an “entrepreneur” is selling kiddie porn as opposed to selling bread. Of COURSE it has the power to stop activities that are not in the public interest. Of if it decides that it will create a insurance fund like FDIC to add stability to the banking sector, it can decide that reckless speculation will NOT be covered with that insurance.   

          • nuwriter

            I love how your ignorance of the Constitution shines through in your condescension. It’s always fun to watch the dumb guy who thinks he’s brilliant make an ass of himself.

            The general welfare clause does not grant the government any additional powers, but rather is there to limit and describe the manner in which the delegated powers are to be used.

            Clearly, if the general welfare clause allows the Federal Government to do whatever it thinks is best, there would be no need for delegating powers to it. But the Federal Government was set up with limited, delegated powers, and this was backed up by the 9th and 10th amendments.

            James Madison in Federalist #41, “It has been urged and echoed, that the
            power “to
            lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises, to pay the debts,
            and
            provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United
            States,”
            amounts to an unlimited commission to exercise every power which may be
            alleged
            to be necessary for the common defense or general welfare. No stronger
            proof
            could be given of the distress under which these writers labor for
            objections,
            than their stooping to such a misconstruction.”

            You read the clause exactly backwards – the General Welfare clause would prohibit such regulation. Madison, The guy who wrote the clause disagrees with you, but nice try. You’ve read it exactly the way your the government wants you to read it. Should it be surprising that the government would read it to give them the greatest possible power.

            The FDIC doesn’t add stability to the banking sector – it does encourages banks to take risks, and removes the diligence of investors in banks. Rather the FDIC removes stability by encouraging moral hazard. The FDIC leads to reckless speculation.

            The Federal Government has, Constitutionally, only the power to act in the perceived public interest in accordance with the powers delegated by Article 1, Section 8.

            All other powers are left to the states.

            Please show me which clause allows for the government to create an insurance program?

            And rather than waste your time with the phrase “commerce clause”, just read this http://www.bu.edu/rbarnett/Original.htm#II before you make a fool of yourself AGAIN.

            The commerce clause allows the Congress, “To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes.” – by your reading of it, you should have no trouble with congress regulating commerce inside France, per se. Would anything stop us from setting up an FDIC for France?

            I realize fully that the idea of diffuse power will cause you to break out in hives, and I might as well be speaking a foreign language when I tell you that government power is limited. I also know that quoting James Madison will make me an “extremist” in your mind.

          • ulTRAX

            Hoping to be taken seriously, Nu writes: “The Federal Government has, Constitutionally, only the power to act in the perceived public interest in accordance with the powers delegated by Article 1, Section 8.”

            Who’s rewriting the Constitution now? If the powers were limited to the specifically enumerated ones, there’d be no need for vague clauses like “common defense” or “general welfare”. The latter is there for a reason whether you like it or not because it goes BEYOND the other specifically enumerated powers in Art 1. Under your “logic” the Constitution is prohibited from building roads except for use by the post office. Madison, who probably knows a bit more about the Constitution than either of us, was pushing for funding lighthouses and hospitals for disabled seamen in the First Congress.

          • nuwriter

            Again, you lack any understanding of the nature of the Constitution.

            As for who’s rewriting the Constitution – that you would be you and your totalitarian friends.

            The preamble to the Constitution does not grant the Federal Government any power whatsoever.

            It is an overall description of the aims of the document.

            The specific powers are to be found in Article 1, Section 8.

            If the government could just do whatever it wanted, then why did they waste their time listing off powers in the first place.

            Fun that you saw Madison’s name, but didn’t read, or just plain ignored what he actually said.

            I love how you malignant idiots can’t seem to read the 10th amendment, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor
            prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively,
            or to the people.”

            Thomas Jefferson called the 10th Amendment the “Cornerstone of the Constitution”.

            The Constitution sets up limited, separated powers, the people and the states have all the powers not delegated to the Federal Government.

            The Constitution can’t build any roads (it’s a document, not people). The Federal Government is limited in its road-building powers; that function is clearly left to the states. I realize that to the centrist mind, only the Federal Government can do anything – but this is clearly not the case.

            Lighthouses would be in following with the original meaning of “commerce”.

            Whether you like it or not, a government with specific powers was what the ratifiers were sold, and what they agreed to.

            When the State of Virginia ratified the Constitution, they included this understanding in their ratification resolution of 1788, “the People of Virginia declare and make known that the powers granted under the Constitution
            being derived from the People of the United States may be resumed by
            them whensoever the same shall be perverted to their injury or
            oppression and that every power not granted thereby remains with them
            and at their will: that therefore no right of any denomination can be
            cancelled abridged restrained or modified by the Congress by the Senate
            or House of Representatives acting in any Capacity by the President or
            any Department or Officer of the United States except in those instances
            in which power is given by the Constitution for those purposes”

            You are correct, in that the Federal Government has totally ignored this – but you then have the nerve to claim that the people should pay higher taxes to cover unconstitutional actions of the government.

            I love the “hoping to be taken seriously bit by the way”, makes you seem even more desperate and pathetic than you already did.

            I’m sorry, but you are getting you don’t have a leg to stand on here, and I’m sure you will continue to try to use bluster to hide that fact.

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

        Perhaps we need government intervention so people don’t get rich from non-productive activities. Speculation deprives productive activities of capital.

        • Anonymous

          No, speculation provides productive activities with capital. People – when they are investing their own money (without implicit government bailouts) are much more likely to do the research. But when they make bad decisions – they lose their capital, and it goes to someone else. When you know that their is a risk, you are much more careful.

          Government spending is precisely the method that people in non-productive activities use to get wealthy, and it is what deprives productive activities of capital.

          The speculation that you should be angry about is that done with artificial credit from the Federal Reserve that causes inflation, and is done with the knowledge that any profit made can be kept, but any losses will be socialized.

          Can you not see how this type of government intervention would be harmful to the economy?

          The market punishes those who use resources unwisely – the government rewards them.

          • ulTRAX

             You’re such a crazed ideologue you just assume ANYTHING that happens in the market is desirable and productive. After all, for Rand there was no more legitimate morality than what parties voluntarily agree to.   So regardless of how much speculation produces NO economic value except to speculators and may even bring down the economy, to you ALL speculation is productive.  Are there any intelligent right wingers out there?

          • Anonymous

            Again, your rebuttal is comprised of insults, “because I said so”, and more insults.

            So rather than put together a reasoned reply, just ignore it and repeat yourself.

            So stop dodging the pertinent question – what branch of government do you work for?

          • ulTRAX

            Thanks for AGAIN demonstrating that the best you can do is make empty claims and expect your words to be accepted as if handed down on a slab.

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

    IS STARVE THE BEAST TERASON?

    Just what is Grover Norquist’s strategy of “Starve The Beast”? It was once a fringe far Right wing strategy to use fiscal irresponsibility as a political weapon. The GOP would rack up debt with irresponsible tax cuts and reckless spending to benefit their wealthy and corporate constituency. And and when the political pendulum shifted and the Democrats took power, that new debt would restrain them.
    Eventually this strategy of fiscal irresponsibility would create a financial crisis where the GOP could go in for the kill… trying to weakn or abolish Democratic programs they knew could never get voters to weaken or kill through the ballot box.

    Starve The Beast is now the mainstream in the GOP with the vast majority of GOP representatives and senators having signed Grover Norquist’s pledge to pursue this strategy.

    Given Starve The Beast calls for the willful sabotaging of government revenues and the creation of massive debt, it is a deliberate attack on the fiscal health of government and affects government’s ability deal with emergencies.
    At what point does this strategy cross the line into treason? Has it already?

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

      Duh… TREASON…

      always was a sloppy self-editor!

    • nuwriter

      Willfully ignoring the Constitution is Treason. That’s why we have a debt crisis.

      Refusing to raise taxes to pay for unconstitutional acts is not treason.

      • ulTRAX

        So let me see if I understand your psychosis. SPENDING for what you might consider unconstitutional is fine. TAXING to pay for it, is what’s unconstitutional?

        So by your “logic” Bush2 need not find in the Constitution the power to invade a nation that did not threaten us… but should we ever tax ourselves to pay for that illegal war…. THAT’S unconstitutional?

        Are there any intelligent Right wingers out there?

         

        • nuwriter

          Your lack of simple comprehension is baffling. Your limitations truly are limitless.

          I never said that spending for unconstitutional acts was fine. That’s exactly what I was speaking out against! If you had the reading skills of a 10-year-old you’d have seen that.

          I never said I was in favor of the wars, and not in favor of Clinton’s intervention without congressional authorization in Bosnia, or Obama’s intervention in Libya, also without Congressional authorization.

          Again, you are stumped by simple concepts, and such a liar.

          You again seem to imply that I was in favor of either war. You keep wanting to play party politics, and I’m sorry, but that’s dishonest.

          It’s not about the (R), or the (D) after a politician’s name. It’s about what they are actually doing. If you’d get your head out of your rear, you’d see that the two parties aren’t all that different. Bush’s No Child Left Behind and Medicare Part D were progressive policies, that you would love if Clinton or Obama had passed them.

          The problem with Bush was not the minor tax cut, it was the massive spending increase.

          I’ve been talking about Unconstitutional spending the whole time. How have you missed that? – Because it’s much easier for you to argue with a strawman than with me.

          Again, we have a debt crisis because of spending on Unconstitutional Acts.

          And I await your statist non-sequiter rantings.

  • ulTRAX

     
    As the response column width decreases, it’s pointless to keep responding below.
     

     
    Your problem Nu is you live in a world of half-truths. If SOME employers treat employee well, in your mind ALL employers must do so. You just sweep under the very real dynamics of the market that encourage employers to treat employees badly…  or pathological employers who exploit their employers regardless. If SOME speculation is useful to the greater society then ALL speculation is beneficial… you just define away all the harmful speculation. I could go on since it seems all your claims are based on such half-truths.
     

     
    I understand the differences. I understand the dynamics of the market are NOT always healthy and there needs to be democratic control. You call that tyranny. Yet you have nothing but contempt for democratic oversight of corporations We The People license and shower with special privileges like limited liability and bankrupcy protection… and instead favor a market where those with money rule. You favor a tyranny of Big Money.. the conquest of property over people.  You’re so consumed with your Libertarian dementia, it’s a religion to you and because of that you’re blind to the failings of the market.  

    • ulTRAX

       Another of Nu’s half truths is if some employers believe a decent environment free of pollution can attract good employees, then that’s PROOF the market can be trusted to clean up pollution. If I suggest that historically the freedom to pollute  gave employers a market advantage, he just calls me naive. They would never do that! The government is the biggest polluter. Nu believes in magical market forces from which nothing but goodness can flow. He refuses to believe market forces can EVER do harm… employers would NEVER find a competitive advantage in polluting, treating workers badly, skimping on safety, or cutting pay and benefits. If we disagree, he accuses us of being naïve. Nu pretends to value freedom, but we only have to scratch the surface to see he demands strict ideological conformity reminiscent of Mao or Pol Pot. How do we conform to his fairy tale? The same way he does: We must ignore the history and the real world, and posit scenarios from a few instances and apply them to the rest of the world. Nu has no interested in the real world. He’s an evangelist for an radical economic religion.  

      • nuwriter

        There’s a competitive advantage in having unhappy employees? Do you happen to know any, um, people?

        You by the way, don’t deny that that Government is the biggest polluter.

        You somehow ignore voluntary interaction, and the fact that people acting in their own best interest is the best protection for freedom.

        You think that Mao and Pol Pot were free market extremists? You think they were small government types. You think they valued the free market? Or do you think they thought that the market was wicked, and that they were clever enough to make things right?
         
        I’m sorry, but your beliefs and theirs are perfectly in step. Those guys are on your team.

        It’s not enough that government fails, and fails, and fails again, it’s that dupes like you cheer it as it does so. If only it had more money, it would fix everything.

        Yeah, that’s naive. It’s the same naivete that typified the crowds cheering Hitler, or lining Stalin’s tank parade routes.

        But you’ve learned nothing.

        • ulTRAX

          Ever delusional, Nu writes: “There’s a competitive advantage in having unhappy employees? Do you happen to know any, um, people?”

          I’ve met PLENTY of people who were not in the least happy with their employer. Count me as one of them.

          Again you’re back to your “argument by half truth”. Just because SOME employers are decent… either inherently or because they believe is gives them a market advantage, hardly means that ALL employers are decent. To believe that is to deny the real world. An employer can just as easily feel pressured by competition from less decent employers… domestic or foreign, and join them in exploiting workers, cutting pay and benefits etc.

          That your Free Market Utopianism is blind to the real world comes as no surprise.

           

          • nuwriter

            You would be so much better off if you had any comprehension skills.

            I NEVER said that all employers are decent. Never once said that. I said that employers have an incentive to treat their employees well, and that those who do would have an advantage. Those that treat their employees well will have a competitive advantage.

            But government intervention is not the answer, as government interventions make things worse. Government mandates make health care much more expensive, and hide the true costs. Corporate taxes reduce employee compensation. Government interventions in the market give the wrong incentives, and stress political connection over serving the consumer. Interventions quell competition and cost the economy billions – they make the economy less productive and in turn make the average worker poorer. The government created Federal Reserve fuels the business cycle. Government anti-poverty programs have spent trillions and have brought the trend of falling poverty that was in effect prior to their enactment to a halt. Government safety regulations don’t make people safer.

            And you want to blame all of this on the people. If only their rulers had more power, they’d be so much better off. But you want to give the arsonist more matches – give more power to those who have failed.

            Your employer is probably not thrilled with you either, because you are a liar, and you have the comprehension skills of a rabbit.

            I would suggest if you are unhappy at work, that you find yourself a new job, and stop waiting for someone else to do it for you.

            You accuse me of utopianism, but that’s again really much more your area. I don’t think that people are perfect, and it is for this reason that I distrust government. Somehow you think that people in government are selfless geniuses that will solve all our problems if only we give them more money and more power. That’s naive.

            But who is really exploiting workers – the employer who pays them, or the government who expropriates a high percentage of their income? Uses those funds to restrict their actions and control their lives?

          • ulTRAX

            I’ve been self-employed for the past 20 years or so.

            Your notion that all employers want happy workers remains a fairy tale concocted by free market utopians such as yourself who clearly are out of touch with the reality of the workplace. But feel free to remain a deluded evangalist. I have no more time to piss away debating a nutcase who’s become so rabid their main argument is accusing me of being a liar. FOAH 

          • nuwriter

            My main argument is not that you are a liar.

            You are a liar in the ways you misstate my arguments. And here you do so again.

            I wonder if you are reading what I am writing at all, or just picking out a few key words and going back to the propaganda playbook.

            Once again, you say that I have a notion that all employers want happy workers. I never once said that. They have an economic incentive to do so, as happy workers are more productive – but I never said that all of them do.

            You would think that my stating that, “I NEVER said that all employers are decent.” in the second paragraph above would make an impression, but you are fairly thick. But you come right back with the gem that , “Your notion that all employers want happy workers”. Seriously I am now feeling bad that I compared your comprehension skills to that of a rabbit – as that is an insult to rabbits.

            I have had enough of your propaganda and your ad hominem insults. I am tired of your misstating my arguments to suit your totalitarianism.

            I am tired of your ignorance, of economics, of the Constitution, of history, of human interaction, of simple math, of statistics, just to name a few.

            I am tired of your cheer-leading for the corruption of the state. Tired of your excuses for tyranny.

          • ulTRAX

            So now the argument moves to what you didn’t say? You posit employers find an advantage in happy workers. I say that might be true in SOME cases but other employers just as easily find an advantage in exploiting and abusing workers. I’d argue that historically that’s probably more the case. I was covering BOTH bases, and you accused me of ignorance because I didn’t just believe only your scenario mattered.  Sorry Nu, you’re just too intellectually dishonest and too crazed and ideologue to have to have any intelligent discussion with.

          • nuwriter

            It’s not my problem that you lack comprehension skills, that you intentionally misrepresent my arguments.

            You cannot be involved in an intelligent discussion, as you bring nothing to the discussion but fallacies, fabrications and obfuscations.

            I accuse you of ignorance because you willfully ignore facts, I accuse you of lying when you lie, and of propagandizing when you do that too.

            You do all three quite often.

            I also really find it rich when you project your own flaws onto me. “Intellectually dishonest” is one of your best tricks, as you often try to change what I’ve said, and accused me of views I don’t hold. “Crazed ideologue”, well, again, that’s you in a nutshell, your defense of the tyrannical nature of the state is worthy lf Pravda, or for that matter, NPR.

    • nuwriter

      Again, you could not be more self-deluded, and again you go to war with a strawman. Your problem is that you call what I say half-truths, but since you are unable or unwilling to consider the entire truth, a half truth is all you are capable of seeing. Then you respond with propaganda and lies.

      I have never argued that people in the free market are perfect – far from it. I have argued that in the free market, but that companies acting in the best interests of the public will be more competitive. Companies without government must succeed by satisfying the wants and needs of their customers. People in this system can only get wealthy by helping their fellow man.

      But you in your quasi-Marxism can’t quite see that. The statist thinks like a thief, and assumes that everyone steals.

      You seem to think the state will solve all our problems.

      You seem to think the people and the state are the same thing, and this is exactly what the state want you to think.

      How has that worked out. How many millions need to be murdered by your heroes? Because that is what the state brings – murder, theft and death.

      You miss, because you want to, that all the “market failings” you cry about are CAUSED BY GOVERNMENT INTERVENTIONS! Every single one.

      And for this, you suggest more government intervention.

      And you accuse the Free Market of Tyranny. Nice try at misdirection.

      The Federal Government spends 25% of GDP, and Governments in total spend over 40% of GDP. Now with a straight face tell me about the tyranny of money – there’s the money.

      The Federal Reserve can create money out of thin air, and give it first to those it favors – thus devaluing the money held by everyone else.

      Tell me again about the tyranny of money?

      I have really had enough of your totalitarian nonsense. I am tired of you trying to make a moral case for theft. You are the lowest of the low, and I can describe you in no other way than a sufferer of Stockholm Syndrome – or in case you are a government worker – then trying to justify the fact that you are paid by theft.

      But I leave you with the Tale of the Slave, by Robert Nozick – philosopher from Harvard.

      Consider the following sequence of cases, which we shall call
      the Tale of the Slave, and imagine it is about you.

      1. There is a slave completely at the mercy of his brutal
      master’s whims. He often is cruelly beaten, called out in
      the middle of the night, and so on.
      2. The master is kindlier and beats the slave only for
      stated infractions of his rules (not fulfilling the work quota,
      and so on). He gives the slave some free time.
      The master has a group of slaves, and he decides how
      things are to be allocated among them on nice grounds, taking into
      account their needs, merit, and so on.
      3. The master allows his slaves four days on their own
      and requires them to work only three days a week on his
      land. The rest of the time is their own.
      4. The master allows his slaves to go off and work in the
      city (or anywhere they wish) for wages. He requires only
      that they send back to him three-sevenths of their wages. He
      also retains the power to recall them to the plantation if some
      emergency threatens his land; and to raise or lower the
      three-sevenths amount required to be turned over to him. He
      further retains the right to restrict the slaves from
      participating in certain dangerous activities that threaten his
      financial return, for example, mountain climbing, cigarette
      smoking.
      5. The master allows all of his 10,000 slaves, except
      you, to vote, and the joint decision is made by all of them.
      There is open discussion, and so forth, among them, and they have
      the power to determine to what uses to put whatever percentage of
      your (and their) earnings they decide to take; what activities
      legitimately may be forbidden to you, and so on.

      6. Let us pause in this sequence of cases to take stock. If the
      master contracts this transfer of power so that he cannot
      withdraw it, you have a change of master. You now have 10,000
      masters instead of just one; rather you have one 10,000-headed
      master. Perhaps the 10,000 even will be kindlier than the
      benevolent master in case 2. Still, they are your
      master. However, still more can be done. A kindly single master
      (as in case 2) might allow his slave(s) to speak up and try to
      persuade him to make a certain decision. The 10,000-headed monster
      can do this also.

      7. Though still not having the vote, you are at liberty (and are
      given the right) to enter into the discussions of the 10,000, to
      try to persuade them to adopt various policies and to treat you
      and themselves in a certain way. They then go off to vote to
      decide upon policies covering the vast range of their
      powers.
      8. In appreciation of your useful contributions to discussion,
      the 10,000 allow you to vote if they are deadlocked; they commit
      themselves to this procedure. After the discussion you mark your
      vote on a slip of paper, and they go off and vote. In the
      eventuality that they divide evenly on some issue, 5,000 for and
      5,000 against, they look at your ballot and count it in. This
      has never yet happened; they have never yet had occasion to open
      your ballot. (A single master also might commit himself to
      letting his slave decide any issue concerning him about which
      he, the master, was absolutely indifferent.)
      9.They throw your vote in with theirs. If they are exactly
      tied your vote carries the issue. Otherwise it makes no difference
      to the electoral outcome.

      The question is: which transition from case 1 to case 9 made it
      no longer the tale of a slave?

      • ulTRAX

        Nu writes: “But you in your quasi-Marxism can’t quite see that. The statist thinks like a thief, and assumes that everyone steals. You seem to think the state will solve all our problems.”

        If you can’t make a point without gross distortions, you haven’t made a point… have you Fluffy?

        You’re so lost in your Free Market Utopian fairy tales you actually believe that anyone who’s pretty mainstream in knowing unregulated markets can be themselves oppressive and exploitative … and anyone who favors democratic oversight of the economy… is a Marxist or is advocating statist tyranny. Gee, that’s quite the accusation to level against the two major US political parties these past 60-70 years. But then WTF do you care. Your fairy tales trump commonsense, right!

        Sorry Nu, you’re not here demonstrating any economic truths. All you’re demonstrating is how the road to Hell is paved with those susceptible to destructive ideologies presented in a convincing manor  as to have plausible answers for everything. Sure… free market ideology is such an intellectual trap. You fell for it… I didn’t. But feel free to keep drinking the Kool Aid and claiming intellectual infallibility over us mere mortals.

        • nuwriter

          Unregulated Free Markets are not oppressive or exploitative. Only with the help of government can this occur.

          In every economic exchange, both sides believe that they are getting the better side of the deal, otherwise the trade does not occur.

          Interfering with this, as government does, always has negative consequences, and leads to exploitation and oppression.

          As for the concept of “democratic oversight of the economy”, this is inherently unjust. If one person and another person willfully choose to do business, the state has no business except in the case of theft, fraud or coercion. That is not the current state of affairs. And the kicker is that the vast majority of the oversight of the economy is not done “democratically”, but rather by unelected administrators – whose whims are given the power of law.

          I’ve made a number of points. You haven’t. Your rebuttals have been vapid at best, and dishonest at worst. You just repeat fallacy after fallacy, then pat yourself on the back for your cleverness.

          You are the one falling for the intellectual trap, and your Kool Aid mustache gives you away.

          You think you have common sense, but you are just another lemming race toward the shore.

          You are clearly advocating the tyranny of the state, just dressing it up nicely. The mafia should have such P.R.

  • Dan Nielsen

    Equitable Income
    Tax

    by Dan Nielsen

    http://slidesha.re/JQB1Gv

    http://www.slideshare.net/DanNielsen14/equitable-income-tax
    (link stopped working on 5-2-2012)

    http://www.linkedin.com/in/dannielsen14
    (view full profile, Applications – Equitable Income Tax)

     

    Statement of
    Purpose:

    To inspire more equitable policies which encourage fair
    incentives and rewards, job creation and economic development.

     

    Background:

    - The US has
    an increasing wealth disparity and national debt.

    - The top 1% earn up to 10,000 times median income and up
    to 1,000 times the income of doctors and the President.

    - The top income tax bracket has been as high as 92%
    (1951-1952) and as low as 24% (1928).

    - The first (bottom) income tax bracket has been as high
    as 23% (1943-1944) and as low as 0% (1923).

     

    Proposed Ideas:

    - Federal income tax of 10% up to median income
    ($27,500).

    - Above median income, federal income tax increases 10%
    each 500% increase in income and is capped at 49% tax:

    Federal income tax = 6.213 • ln(income) +
    [-6.213 • ln(median income) + 10]

    - Combine capital gains and all other sources of revenue
    as personal income (taxed 10 – 49% as shown above).

    - Lower business tax to a flat rate of 20%.

     

    National Health Care Revenue Plan:

    - All US citizens
    pay 10% of income for national health care.

    - Health care
    benefits increase with higher health care premiums.

    - Eliminate
    incentives for unnecessary procedures and costs.

    - Create
    incentives for efficiency, cost cutting and preventative health.

    - Make US
    businesses more competitive internationally by removing employee health care
    costs.

     

    Conclusions:

    - Combine capital gains and all other sources of revenue
    as personal income taxed 10% up to median income, then increasing 10% each 500%
    increase in income and capped at 49% tax:

    Federal income tax = 6.213 • ln(income) +
    [-6.213 • ln(median income) + 10]

    - Create conditions for job growth by removing health
    care costs and lowering business tax to a flat rate of 20%.

    - All US citizens pay 10% of income for national health
    care.

    - A more equitable distribution of wealth will increase
    consumer demand, worker motivation, innovation, human health and economic
    growth.

    - Increased economic opportunity will minimize crime and
    welfare.
     

  • FredP11

    why are individuals treated differently than companies?  If an individual works in a field and earns 1 dollar and in doing so requires an apple costing 50 cents in order to sustane his productivity for the day, he has really only made 50 cents.  Yet the government will want to tax the entire dollar.  If a company had machine that produced 1 dollar in revenue, and cost 50 cents in fuel, the company would only have to report 50 cents in revenue.  This is wrong.  EVERY dollar anyone spends to earn a living should be an exspense JUST LIKE a corporation.  Everyone should be his or her own company.  People have to pay for their own upkeep, (cloths, shelter, fuel, transportation etc.) to earn money for the government.  The least the government could do is allow individuals to exspense the individuals costs in their efforts to earn this money for the government.

  • FredP11

    What did GE pay in taxes?  They earned money correct?

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