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View Diary: The rich really did get richer, while the rest of us ... didn't (74 comments)

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  •  How do you propose to do that? (3+ / 0-)
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    Balto, VClib, Sparhawk

    The federal government can't seize wealth, absent a conviction of a crime.  The 5th Amendment applies to rich people, too. This country is based on a principle that you have a right to the property you earn.

    The federal government can't even tax wealth without a constitutional amendment (like the 16th amendment was necessary to tax incomes).

    The Buffet Rule, which would impose an EFFECTIVE federal individual income tax rate of 30% on incomes starting at $1 million a year, would be the highest EFFECTIVE individual income tax rate we've ever had (at least since 1979, when the CBO began keeping that data).   See the SECOND chart here. And it raises less than $5 billion a year over the next 10 years.

    The solution is not "redistribution of wealth" -- there's not enough "wealth" in the .001% (the top 1% begins at two income households around $400,000 IIRC) to redistribute to   the other 99.999% of households to make much of an impact. It's a symbolic gesture, but that's all it is.  The solution is ways for people to earn more and earn their way into the middle class.  

    •  Tax and Spend. Cut war spending by 1/2. (1+ / 0-)
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      Habitat Vic

      Rebuild every school in America.  Double teacher's salaries.  Enforce regulations that promote level competition.  Eliminate monopolies.  Double-down on a New New Deal to overcome the raw deal we've been supporting for forty years.  Re-instate the draft, and make sure the rich serve fairly.  Create a GI Bill for today.  Don't exclude non-whites from housing benefits (a lot of Middle Class wealth was accumulated through real estate, from which non-whites were, in effect, excluded).  &c.

      (Force Cheney and Rumsfeld  and their painting monkey to find and return each of the billions in cash that went missing during their little War of Aggression.)

      I'm sure my Kos-kin can round this out to a good US super-size program of investment that promotes the Middle Class.  The rich will always take care of themselves.

      Vote rape. Vote torture. Vote War Crimes. Vote with the American top 1%.

      by Yellow Canary on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 08:45:05 AM PDT

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    •  There are a lot of things we can do... (1+ / 0-)
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      There are actually straight forward fixes if there was political will to do them.

      The government of France pays half per capita in medical cost than the U.S. government does. In spite of that, they have free health care for all and we have tens of thousands of preventable deaths every year due to lack of health care and more bankruptcies due to individual medical care debt than any other reason.  If we went to a universal health care, we should be able to have twice as good of a system as France does without raising taxes a nickle (after the initial cost for conversion).  

      Even if we didn't go all the way to universal healthcare, allowing medicare to negotiate drug prices and forcing pharmaceutical companies to create a drug better than an existing treatment as opposed to a sugar pill to earn a pattent would go a long way.  They could also test and promote successful home remedies and safe alternative treatments (along with legalizing marijauana) to lower costs.

      The government could eliminate the Social Security tax cap because it would just be fair, treat all income as earned income and tax every investment trade at 0.01% per trade.  

      The government could simply stop giving subsidies to prosperous industries who no longer need our assistence.  It could also withdrawl from all trade agreements that do not have provisions for worker safety, environmental protections and a minimum wage at least half of our federal minimum wage.  Tarriffs should be applied to any country not meeting these minimum standards.

      The defense department needs to be cut back to only the basic needs.  Stop buying weapons and aircraft and boats that we do not need or even want simply to appease lobbiests and congressional districts donors.  Target a spending reduction plan that focuses on manufacturing and process improvement that cuts an additional 2% each year from the defense budget over the next ten years.  All of that cost could be eliminated simply in waste elimination without lessoning our country's defense capabilities.  Start charging wealthy foreign countries we currently protect for that protection.

      Increase the staffing of the IRS and the SEC.  Each staff member collects more money than they cost the country so adding staff will actually reduce overall costs.  Sieze illegally offshored assetts that are currently being hidden to avoid taxes.  We know where it is and we kow who is hiding it so rather than giving them a tax holiday that evidence shows does not work, threaten seizure and arrest which we know does work.  Arrest criminals that break the law in high finance and seize their assets like we doe if someone is caught with a little bit of marajuana in their car.

      Do not subsidize religion and make believe charities of rich people.  Most charities in this country are set up as tax shelters and you have probably never even heard of them.  They are set up in complicated schemes devoted to keeping rich people from paying taxes.  Quit using tax dollars to subsidize these charities.  

      Give undocumented immigrants a pathway to citizenship so that mega-corporations will quit using them like slave labor.  Make the pathway steeper than those who came here legally, make them pay a penalty tax but give them rights and give them a clear path.  Make them pay 5% of their wages matched by their employer to give Americans a fair chance at the job.  This money can be used to cover the additional costs associated with increased undocumented workers.  This penalty should be eliminated after two years of staying away from legal troubles.  At that point, the undocumented worker would aquire a green card and start the documented process of becoming a legal citizen.  Deferments could be granted for family military service or extenuating circumstances.

      A huge infastructure bill using every dollar saved and from the increased revenue could practically eliminate the unemployment rate and the new jobs and the pent up demand would lead to record sales for corporation.  Everybody wins.  Competition for the best workers would increase wages and the snowball would grow the economy.  Even the inevitable inflation would help reduce the percentage of people's wages spent on current debt that is still way too high and reduce the wealth ratio by reducing the value of stagnated capital here and overseas.

      I could go on and on about prison recitivism, drug abuse, even abortion, crime and just about everything else.

      You see, there are solutions to all of the problems this country faces but the people with the money do not want to change the status quo because they are making a killing the way it is.

      P.S. You may argue about the technical merits of some of my suggestions here and we could have a wonderful, long debate about each one of them but the point is that there are things that would address the growing inequity in this country but the people who are reaping the benfits are also the ones buying campaigns so finding the solution is not the problem, it is finding a way to implement it.

      "Perhaps the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not YET sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favour..."

      by Buckeye Nut Schell on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 01:07:39 PM PDT

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      •  Not sure I go along with this: (1+ / 0-)
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        "Start charging wealthy foreign countries we currently protect for that protection."

        Otherwise I am for all of it.  Are you running for office or applying for a gov't job?  I'll vote for you!

        The Republicans are defunding, not defending, America.

        by DSPS owl on Sat Apr 27, 2013 at 05:49:32 PM PDT

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    •  before you suggest ways for (2+ / 0-)
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      jbsoul, JesseCW

      the neglected under- and middle class to "earn" their way into the middle class, I suggest for the privileged upper class to "to earn" their way out of their privileges, before they might lose them, because the system will crash.

      I better leave, this coffee talk is unbecoming to me, I just spit out my coffee, so frustrated do the talk make me.

    •  Of course the government can seize wealth! Pshaw. (2+ / 0-)
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      DSPS owl, JesseCW

      All you have to do is tax it. And there is plenty of it to tax.

      •  Federal government can't tax wealth (0+ / 0-)

        without apportioning it among the States.  The 16th Amendment was necessary for a federal income tax to be constitutional. That's a transactional tax -- it's a tax triggered by the transaction of money going from one person to another.  You'd need to pass a similar constitutional amendment for a federal wealth tax (i.e. a tax on property, including money, that someone has accumulated over the years).

        Just as an example, if someone has $10 million in the bank at on January 1, 2013, you can tax the income they get from  that $10 million (like the interest) in 2013.  You can't tax the $10 million.  

        •  At some point, all property changes hands. (1+ / 0-)
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          That's all you have to do. At that point, you tax. And depending on how you structure it, you can make it less taxing or more taxing depending on how and when it changes hands.

          •  That's an income tax. (0+ / 0-)

            And the Buffet Rule, which says that at certain income levels, the federal government takes 1/3 of all money that "changes hands" (regardless if it's earned income, capital gains income, or whatever) raises only about $4 billion a year over the next decade.  

            Even if you raised that up to taking half of all money that changes hands, you are talking about maybe $6 or $7 billion a year.

            My point is fine, go ahead pass the Buffet Rule or something like it.  It's little more than a symbolic gesture, because it doesn't raise enough money to actually DO anything much about the systematic problem.  

            •  Not at all. (2+ / 0-)
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              JesseCW, DrCoyle65

              We could impose a financial transactions tax. The United States imposed this tax on stock sales for 50 years. The minor tax that we collect now, the Section 31 fee, is .0034 and applies only to stocks. We could up and expand that to all sorts of things, especially derivatives. Right now, the SEC expects to levy a total of $845 million bucks of Section 31 fees on a total of $24.4 trillion worth of transactions. That's just for 2013. We could easily get that fee up to .1%, expand it beyond equities to include bonds and derivatives, and collect a trillion in the first year.

              Hello balanced budget.

              •  What's more, we can ramp the estate tax (0+ / 0-)

                up massively, and start destroying the various "estate planning" stunts used to avoid it.

                Only two things in life are certain, and that's why they ought to go together.

                "Paid Activist" is an oxymoron.

                by JesseCW on Sat Apr 27, 2013 at 08:59:52 PM PDT

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            •  I should add, (1+ / 0-)
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              that opponents of a tenth of a percent transactions tax argue that transactions would move offshore and then prove noncollectable. Bullshit. Almost all financial transactions these days occur electronically, making them extremely easy to collect. Furthermore, firms that do business in the U.S. or operate on U.S. securities, indices or derivatives can deemed "American" and then enforced appropriately. And criminal, not civil, penalties will ensure that U.S. nationals comply or face prison. Nor would it be difficult to use American power to get a treaty to make extradition of evaders easier.

    •  The Federal Government can tax anything it damn (0+ / 0-)

      well pleases, including a decision not to buy a corporate insurance product.

      That includes, but is not limited to, every stock or bond transaction or sale of precious metals.

      "Paid Activist" is an oxymoron.

      by JesseCW on Sat Apr 27, 2013 at 08:57:36 PM PDT

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