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View Diary: This is What Terrifies Conservatives (248 comments)

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  •  That's not what I'm saying (0+ / 0-)

    Nobody said that the message needs to be "$300,000 isn't a lot of money."  Anybody at that income level knows it's a lot more money than most people have.  What I am saying is that some of the rhetoric about "the rich" -- that they are parasites, leeching off the backs of hardworking people, who don't deserve what they make - is less persuasive when talking to a young person who hopes to get to that point.

    I'm saying that the message that some on the left use to support higher taxes on the rich -- they don't "deserve" the money, it's not really theirs, they really didn't earn it, they aren't like the rest of us, they are just evil heartless monsters -- is not persuasive when you are talking about this group to people who aspire to join that group.  

    There are certainly arguments to be made for a progressive tax system -- I support a progressive tax system, and I've made the arguments for such as system myself.  It's just that if you define "the rich" at two income AGI of $250,000 and up, those aren't the messages that are persuasive.  

    Where people miss the mark is that things like "the Buffet rule" will resonate with this group.  This group does not -- and knows they never will -- make enough to get most of their income through capital gains.  They understand the unfairness of the Buffet rule.  That can be used with this group. But you don't win when you lump THEM in with Warren Buffet.  They (1) already pay higher taxes than Warren Buffet's secretary, they (2) don't have all the shelters (capital gains rates) Warren Buffet has, and (3) they don't make his money.

    •  My better exmple... (4+ / 0-)

      Higher incomes should pay higher taxes because they receive more benefits from government.

      There is an old saw about 'The law prevents both the rich man and the poor man for stealing bread'  usually used to point out how unfair it is to the poor man.

      That same law against stealing, 'protects the rich man and homeless man equally in their possessions' -- something clearly the rich man receives a greater benefit from.

      So sthe rich man should pay more, for his greater benefit.

      We have no desire to offend you -- unless you are a twit!

      by ScrewySquirrel on Tue Feb 28, 2012 at 12:27:05 PM PST

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      •  I don't buy this either (0+ / 0-)
        Higher incomes should pay higher taxes because they receive more benefits from government.
        Dollar for dollar, a family making AGI $300,000, paying (under the AMT) $78,000 in federal income tax, does not get more in "benefits" per dollar spent than a person that pays $0 in federal income tax, or even a family that pays $1000 in federal income tax.  There may be some small instances when that couple uses more federal services than the lower income couple (like, say, they drive two cars on the interstate, but that upper income family does not use 78 times the federal government services that the family paying $1000 does.  That argument -- that the rich get more from the federal government -- makes no sense at all.  In fact, those on the right use the exact same argument -- and actually quantify numbers -- to show that (in their view) the rich get far, far, far less in benefits per dollar spent than the poor.   You ought to look at that link before you make "the rich benefit more from government" argument.  And as for well, they make more money off that interstate -- we never value things like that. We don't charge a rich person 10 times more for a computer than a poor person because the rich person is going to use it to make more money.

        The better argument for a progressive tax structure in my view has to do with who has the most disposable income and making sure that the tax burden comes out of only disposable income and not from necessities.  But that's an entirely different diary.  

        •  you miss my point... (3+ / 0-)

          The benefits gained tend to be far more intangible than just miles driven on the highway.

          a slightly better example.  A family making $300,000 a year has far more possessions, of far higher value, than a family that only makes $50,000.

          Both families receive protections in the form of police, firemen, the FBI, the Army and Navy, paid for with their taxes.  Fear each thing protected by all this for the family making $50K a year, the family making $300K has 4-6 higher value things, getting a far greater benefit for the same tax dollars. If this broke down somehow, the richer man would be the one more worried about a mob taking his things away.  They have more property to protect with the same property rights, thus a greater benefit from the same laws.  

          Most such benefit is far more intangible than this example, but works much the same way -- greater wealth will always equal greater opportunities, and thus greater benefits  

          We have no desire to offend you -- unless you are a twit!

          by ScrewySquirrel on Tue Feb 28, 2012 at 01:00:33 PM PST

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          •  That's not how we value things in this country (0+ / 0-)

            Let's say Best Buy is selling laptops.  Two people each pay $600 for a laptop.  The poor guy is going to use it to look for a job paying $30,000 a year.  The rich guy is going to use his laptop to make some deal that garners him $1 million.  Do we say that the rich guy got more for his $600 than the poor guy?  Of course not -- each paid $600, and each got a $600 laptop.  We don't say that the rich guy got more for his $600 because he used it to do something else.  Your argument would mean that, for the same laptop, Best Buy ought to charge the rich guy a whole lot more for the laptop than the poor guy, because the rich guy will use it to make more money that the poor guy  will.

            You could make the same argument for any good or service. Should a cab driver charge Bill Gates 1000 times more for a cab ride from the airport to his office than he would charge a low level Microsoft employee for the same service because, say, Bill Gates was on his phone making a business deal during the ride?  Your argument would mean yes.

            We don't value goods or services that way in this country.  We value the good or service that is provided and based on what I take the good or service and use it to do.  

            I support a progressive income tax, but that argument makes absolutely no sense to me.  The rich pay more in taxes because they have more money.  The don't "get" more from the federal government than the poor do -- they aren't supposed to "get" more from the federal government than the poor do.  The poor need it and they don't.  

            •  If they went to Best Buy (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              coffeetalk, ssgbryan, NoMoreLies

              There's a good chance that neither of them walked out with a $600 laptop because even if it was in the online system, it still wouldn't be in the actual inventory in the store...

              How does the Republican Congress sit down with all the butthurt over taxing the wealthy?

              by athenap on Tue Feb 28, 2012 at 04:42:09 PM PST

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            •  The rich get more from govt because they get (0+ / 0-)

              more out of a legal system that protects intellectual assets, property, and non-wage income. Plus money buys a better legal defense. Just ask who usually wins legal cases, and why large corporations and the rich get away with proportionally smaller punishments than the non rich. For example, if OJ Simpson had not been a rich athlete, he would be so far back in jail they would have to pump air into him.

              Rich also benefit from vast quantities of economic activities and favors in the tax code sponsored by government that aren't available to the typical middle or lower class working stiff.

              Trickle Down Economics 101: They get the golden parachute, we get the golden shower.

              by NoMoreLies on Tue Feb 28, 2012 at 06:57:39 PM PST

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        •  AGI of $300K (3+ / 0-)

          is more than gross income of $300k,  before it was $150K they could aspire to.  How far is this bar going to move.

          And but for the intransigence of Republicans the ATM would be fixed.

          So richer than 98% of the world's population isn't rich.  Its a perjorative to call these people who garner more money, more wealth and more security than the vast majority of people on earth, rich.    We should all be so lucky to be disparaged in such a way.

          It is one thing to argue the rates need to be significantly more progressive as you approach a  million or more of income, it is another to pretend that tax policy should be written because people in some cities don't feel rich enough.  And before anyone says NYC! NYC!, remember that the median income in that city is still around $60K, so lots of people manage to live somehow in NYC on less than $300k a year AGI.

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