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View Diary: Give Me One Good Reason Why The Rich Should Pay Higher Taxes (214 comments)

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    •  The rich should pay the SAME percentage of (23+ / 0-)

      their income that the rest of us do. The problem is, they really don't even come close.

      Warren Buffett, the third-richest man in the world, has criticised the US tax system for allowing him to pay a lower rate than his secretary and his cleaner.
      Speaking at a $4,600-a-seat fundraiser in New York for Senator Hillary Clinton, Mr Buffett, who is worth an estimated $52 billion (£26 billion), said: "The 400 of us [here] pay a lower part of our income in taxes than our receptionists do, or our cleaning ladies, for that matter. If you’re in the luckiest 1 per cent of humanity, you owe it to the rest of humanity to think about the other 99 per cent."

      Mr Buffett said that he was taxed at 17.7 per cent on the $46 million he made last year, without trying to avoid paying higher taxes, while his secretary, who earned $60,000, was taxed at 30 per cent.

      Silence is consent.

      by Eileen B on Thu May 13, 2010 at 05:15:30 PM PDT

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      •  15% capital gains tax (7+ / 0-)

        Buffett makes most of his money on stocks.

        Cap Gains tax should be a sliding scale, increasing as profits increase, just like earned wages.

        How to fight the fascist right? Register people to vote.

        by shpilk on Thu May 13, 2010 at 06:12:33 PM PDT

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      •  Nonsense, this would only make (3+ / 0-)

        sense if the ultra-wealthy drew precisely the same benefits from our nation as we do.  They benefit disproportionately and therefore owe a disproportionate amount back in return.  Flat taxation only makes sense if you think abstractly and don't concretely look at degrees of benefit among different groups.  It's premised on the same myth as the idea that we live in a classless society.

      •  Theoretically, they do pay the same exact % (0+ / 0-)

        as the rest of us...on the lower marginal income tax brackets. Completely aside and apart from the fact that the rich often receive most of their income through capital gains, allowing them to pay a ridiculously low rate, or take advantage of shelters that others cannot, they do not pay income taxes at a higher rate than everyone else, on the income that everyone else makes. Yes, the marginal rate rises every time income goes a dollar above the top of a bracket, but the higher marginal rate only applies to that dollar. Someone being paid a million USD a year and I pay exactly the same taxes, in theory, on the amount of income that I make. That person will pay a higher tax rate on at least some of the remainder of their income, but that does not mean that person is being singled out unfairly. It is the privilege of the rich to pay a higher rate on the top end of their income, and anyone fortunate enough to become rich shares that privilege. At least, that's how it's supposed to work.

        My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right.
        --Carl Schurz, remarks in the Senate, February 29, 1872

        by leftist vegetarian patriot on Thu May 13, 2010 at 07:30:02 PM PDT

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        •  the mega wealthy that have money like Buffet (3+ / 0-)

          comes not from $ wages but from capital gains. Why do you think the CEO are being paid in stock options?

          Up to $100K you also pay SSA/Medicare taxes at 7.65% or whatever on top of your income. After that threshold that SSA tax goes away and you only owe income tax.

          Capital gains USED to be taxed at the same rate as income. Now it is not. It is what 15%, the equivalent of hte next to lowest tax bracket. Used ot be 35%, then lowered to 25%. THAT is what has created the pus of the financial gambling that still stinks.

          Anyone who has the power to make you believe absurdities has the power to make you commit injustices -- François-Marie Arouet

          by CA Berkeley WV on Thu May 13, 2010 at 08:11:34 PM PDT

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        •  Money is fungible (0+ / 0-)

          How many dollars can dance on the head of a bracket doesn't matter all that much.

          Unless you're talking total income taxes to total income, my first hour's wages compared to their first 10 seconds of salary might be an interesting comparison, but not because we pay equal rates of tax on them.

          It's 'redistribution' whether it happens before or after the money is made and whether it goes up to a small group or down to a larger one.

          by Into The Woods on Thu May 13, 2010 at 08:27:39 PM PDT

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          •  I think you missed my point (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Into The Woods

            which is not that they pay the same as us in income taxes (they don't), but that to claim that they are unfairly singled out to pay higher tax rates on their entire income (the exact claim too often made by their advocates and paid lapdogs of the punditocracy) is completely untrue. Even in those instances in which their income is not derived from capital gains, they only pay those higher rates on the top end of an income that billions around the globe would gladly be taxed on. But to read the columnists, you'd easily get the impression that a top marginal rate of 90% (such as we used to have), taxed the rich on 90% of their entire income. As CA Berkeley WV says above, they don't even get taxed as high as the rest of us in payroll taxes (for which incense will not soon be lacking on the golden altar of St. Ronnie).

            My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right.
            --Carl Schurz, remarks in the Senate, February 29, 1872

            by leftist vegetarian patriot on Thu May 13, 2010 at 10:55:16 PM PDT

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            •  Sorry. You are absolutely correct. (2+ / 0-)

              Just had that argument with someone claiming they paid over 50% of their gross income to fed, state or local.  Asked him to give me the formula of % that produced that result and he replied by using the highest marginal rates as if they applied to his entire income.  When corrected, he failed to respond.

              Yes.  Every time someone says "pays more than 1/2 of their income in taxes" we need to be all over them.

              My mistake in misinterpreting and thanks for coming back to correct me.  

              It's 'redistribution' whether it happens before or after the money is made and whether it goes up to a small group or down to a larger one.

              by Into The Woods on Fri May 14, 2010 at 01:19:31 PM PDT

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              •  I frequently think that blurring this distinction (0+ / 0-)

                is one of the greatest successes of the Right in the last century. I remember last month I heard a U.S. senator say something which indicated either a failure to understand marginal tax rates or blatant dishonesty.  I'd like to figure out some memorable way of framing the truth to counter this false argument, but as can be seen, I'm not there yet.

                My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right.
                --Carl Schurz, remarks in the Senate, February 29, 1872

                by leftist vegetarian patriot on Fri May 14, 2010 at 01:24:31 PM PDT

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              •  How do you respond to the charge that (0+ / 0-)

                the top 1% pay 40% of all taxes paid?

                •  If We Had More Income, We'd Pay More Taxes (0+ / 0-)

                  First, that statistic relates only to Federal Income Tax.  

                  While that segment of the taxes is significant, it is pretty common, even in what can be described as progressive states, for the working class and poor to pay a higher % of State and Local taxes and fees than the rich do.

                  Beyond that, you get into the very premise of a progressive income tax.  

                  Even allowing for the rich folks more pricey "necessities", if you compare the money left over after such necessities and call it disposable income, the rich pay a much lower percentage in taxes of their disposable income than do the less affluent.

                  Bottom line, if you or I have to pay an extra $1,000 in taxes, it's chewing into some basic budget items.

                  Where does the same level of sacrifice come for Donald Trump or Paris Hilton?


                  And given the pretty obvious fact that the growth of wealth in the past 20-30 years has been diverted disproportionately to the very wealthy, any time they want to divert some of it back to the rest of us, their overall tax liability will go down.

                  Until then, we'll try to make up on the back side what they've stolen from us on the front end.  

                  It's 'redistribution' whether it happens before or after the money is made and whether it goes up to a small group or down to a larger one.

                  by Into The Woods on Mon May 17, 2010 at 11:37:25 AM PDT

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      •  1/2 of Americans pay ZERO taxes (0+ / 0-)

        In America, only the upper middle class and the rich pay any income taxes. The middle and below pay ZERO taxes. 4 in 10 pay negative taxes.

        People who earn $60,000 pay almost nothing in taxes... certainly less than 17% -- the 30% is a complete fabrication.

        •  Wrong. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          I just checked my return. I will not divuge my income, but it's well below 60K. Of the federal income tax tax withheld, I'm getting about half back as a refund. I also pay state and city income taxes. Your comment is just plain wrong.

          "YOU SIR ARE A DISGRAC!!!" - from Hate mail-palooza, 2/27/10

          by Ahianne on Thu May 13, 2010 at 09:08:59 PM PDT

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        •  Shut up you moron. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Nina Katarina

          Do your own research before you regurgitate talking points.  See, greedy corporatists have figured out that spewing official-sounding malarky works politically because enough of you tax-hating sociopathic twits are too lazy to figure out they're lying to you.

        •  Sources? Sites? nt (0+ / 0-)

          It's 'redistribution' whether it happens before or after the money is made and whether it goes up to a small group or down to a larger one.

          by Into The Woods on Fri May 14, 2010 at 01:20:22 PM PDT

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    •  HELL YES! They should pay a higher tax rate becau (9+ / 0-)

      because I make 36k per year and probably pay more taxes than a millionaire.

      That trickle down shit is just that.

      I've got a client, living in a million dollar mansion, on a lake, with a guest house, in ritzy Winter Park, with a couple million dollars in rental property in Orlando and on the coast.  A boat with trailer and a beemer in the driveway.

      And she's crying poverty to me (who's supplementing my sporadic income with unemployment) over us doing work for her for $17fuckinghundred dollars.

      I'll bet I pay more in taxes than she does, because she gets all those loopholes to exploit. And we live in the same zip code.

      •  If businesses didn't (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        vacantlook, Into The Woods, DawnN

        offshore their production but actually created jobs, trickledown might make sense.  But the world is no longer remotely like this.  Either way I think they should pay more because of the disproportionate benefits they get from our country in terms of infrastructure, government access, military, and a skilled populace.  I'm all for tax breaks for those who actually create jobs with healthy wages and benefits, but the tax rates over all should still be higher.

    •  This is a great diary yet the (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tmo, Into The Woods, pyegar, DawnN

      title is extremely misleading.  I came in here expecting some reactionary screed on how higher taxes for the rich are misleading.  To add to your reasons, I think the most compelling reason is that the rich benefit more from our government that average people do.  They get a first rate infrastructure that allows them to engage in their trade, they get a military that (often unjustly) promotes their interests around the globe, they get an educated, skilled population to produce their goods and manage their services, and they get a government that tilts things in their favor.  In addition to these benefits they also cause more damage to the environment.  The tax rate for the ultra-wealthy should be extremely high.  I'm not even opposed to the 95% rate.  They should pay back to the society from which they have so deeply benefited.  Moreover, if there were a ceiling to their earnings they would be less profit driven and would perhaps practice a greater regard for society as a whole.

    •  Tipped for your UID (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Into The Woods

      Sondheim is always appropriate.

      "Conservative principles" are marketing props used by the Conservative Movement to achieve political power, not actual beliefs. -Glenn Greenwald

      by latts on Thu May 13, 2010 at 09:16:41 PM PDT

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