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View Diary: Morning Feature: Low Taxes: Pennywise and Pound Foolish? (155 comments)

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  •  I'm not saying... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NoMoreLies, mommaK, BYw

    ...outwant2 should not have a nice house or a nice car. I'm saying he should live within his means.

    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average household in the top quintile (which outwant2 falls into) spends about 61 percent of its income. For outwant2, that would mean annual spending of about $70,000. He's spending nearly twice that much.

    Likewise, financial experts say your home loan should be 2.5 times your net income. Based on outwant2's property tax figure, he's spent nearly twice that on a house.

    You say:

    You are telling him that he should be happy to forgo a nice house and car for his family so as to pay for services for someone else.  That he should be happy that he is working to pay for "social services" for somebody else, perhaps somebody who made bad decisions and therefore is now in a not so great situation.

    Uh, did it ever occur to you that perhaps outwant2 is "now in a not so great situation" tax-wise because he "made bad decisions?"

    Your comment seems based on the conservative meme that people who have money have it because they worked hard for it, whereas people who are poor and need "social services" are in that situation because they're lazy and make "bad decisions." Baloney.

    And I would also point out, we're not just talking "social services," i.e. services which benefit the poor. In Florida, we're seeing cutbacks in schools, in police and fire services and, in a story I saw on the TV news yesterday, in lifeguards at our beaches. These, sir, are not the "social services" conservatives like to rant about. These are essential services for everyone.

    •  Gee, I thought it was an American (0+ / 0-)

      meme that, generally, people in the top 10% of AGI household income (2 incomes, $108,000 and up) are there because they are working hard.  

      I don't necessarily buy into the conservative meme completely, but I also don't buy into the progressive meme completely.  I think both sides overgeneralize and, in doing so, give ammunition to the other side.  

      Yes, there are exceptions -- like inherited wealth.  But I think it's insulting to people to say, you and your spouse together have made it into the top 10% of incomes ($108,000) because you're "lucky."  Yes, we all have some good breaks and bad breaks in our lives.  But most people I know who are in that income level have worked very hard to get there.  They really resent the notion that they didn't "work for it."  

      On the bottom level of income earners, it is absolutely true that there are some people their through no real fault of their own.  It is also true that there are some people there entirely because of decisions they made.  Many, I suspect, are there because of a combination of the circumstances in which they find themsleves plus the decisions they've made.  By the way, I think part of the problem is how you define "decisions they've made."  Is dropping out of school as a teenager a "decision you've made"?  I suspect conservatives and progressives would answer that differently.  

      The conservative meme that "everybody can make it if you work hard enough" is too absolute and therefore wrong.  Not "everybody" can.  A better meme would be hard work can go a long way toward bettering your circumstances, and has helped many people build a better life.  The progressive meme that people who earn a lot of money don't "deserve it" or are there because they are "lucky" is just as wrong as the conservative meme.  

      In the same vein, I've found that conservatives tend to "demonize" too many lower income people.  On the other hand, my experience has been that progressives tend to ignore that very real feeling that some lower income people could do more to  better their own situation if they make better choices in life.  

      •  Once again, you miss my point (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        NoMoreLies, mofembot, mommaK, BYw, NCrissieB

        I never said outwant2 didn't work hard to get where he is. And no, I don't resent people with money, even people like Paris Hilton who's only conception of "work" is a stunt she did for a reality TV show.

        I do resent people in the top 10 percent who moan about how much they pay in taxes to take care of underserving "lazy" people. It seems clear to me that outwant2 is paying a high chunk of change in taxes because he made a conscious decision to buy a more expensive home than he could really afford, and to otherwise spend much more money than he has.

        Let me clarify something. I strongly believe that the 10.25 percent sales tax outwant2 is paying in wherever in Illinois he lives is unconscionably high. But frankly, I have more sympathy with someone making $15,000 a year who's struggling to pay such an exorbitant sales tax than someone like outwant2 who's making $115,000 a year.

        Finally, I would point out that people at the bottom of the income ladder often stay there not because they make deliberate choices which keep them there, but because the choices available to them often force them to stay there. Escape from such circumstances is possible, but the system is rigged to prevent it.

        If you want to know what informs my view of this subject, you need to read two books: Barbara Ehrenreich's Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America and David Cay Johnston's Perfectly Legal: The Covert Campaign to Rig Our Tax System to Benefit the Super Rich -- and Cheat Everyone Else.

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