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I have never asked this before of my fellow kossacks (kosovars? kosovians?) but I’d like you to please put this on the rec list, because I think the debate is a good thing. I usually don’t make it (in fact, never) because I’m a crank and I know it. I’ve never deserved to make it, but for once I’m putting forth a serious idea that merits discussion – at least I’d like to think so.

I am sick and tired of the whole "Liberals want to tax you to death" meme that the Republicants put out there. I am sick and tired of the whole thing, so I’m going to give you all the same response I’ve always used to shut up my friends who are Republicans – paying taxes is patriotic.

Are you in the Military? No? Then how do you serve your country? If you don’t put your life on the line the way you do it is through your taxes. That’s the way it is for the most of us. I’m perfectly happy to pay my taxes to get the government we need. It supports the country and helps support my fellow citizen who may not have it as good as I do. It helps support the good things that government can do. It’s what makes it all work.

Republicants like to put the whole "My country, right or wrong" when they’re leading, and oppose anything that costs money when they’re not. Well, that’s Greed, not Patriotism, and I question theirs.

Taxes are mom, apple pie, and the flag in concrete form. We may not always agree on how the money gets spent, but the fact is that because I will never be in the military this is the best way I can show support for my fellow American. I’ve done it with both Republicans and Democrats in the White House and Congress, and I will continue to do so no matter the party in control.

Because I believe in patriotism, and this is how I show it.

I believe that people serving in the military (not contractors nor the President) should be exempt from income taxes for the moneys they earn from the military – including pensions. The rest of us should pay the taxes – they put their lives on the line and we put up the monies.

I’m a liberal. I’m not rich but I’d like to be. And I’m an American – I pay my taxes because I believe in America, and this is how I show it.

Taxes aren’t a burden. It’s patriotism.

So Republicants, I’m calling you out on this. I say you’re not patriots, just greedy – you don’t want to pay a fair share. Yes, people who are rich pay more taxes as a percentage – that’s patriotism and that’s the service your country calls upon you to make. I pay my taxes, and I want my government to do great things. If you don’t, then I’m calling your patriotism into question. You want to rumble, bring it the hell on.

Update: obviously, I didn't make the rec list. Serves me right for trying, neh? ^_^

Funny how no one discussed my idea of reducing the taxes of those who serve in the armed forces to zero for their military income...

Originally posted to Animeraider on Sun Mar 01, 2009 at 05:59 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Good luck with that argument. (0+ / 0-)

    Most of the conservatives I know have a problem with the amount and where the money goes.

    I've been looking for a good argument I can send my boyfriend that explains the good economics behind spending versus tax cuts to help get out of the recession.

    "I won" -- President Obama in response to why he's not including more Republican ideas in his economic stimulus plan.

    by AUBoy2007 on Sun Mar 01, 2009 at 06:10:00 PM PST

    •  The economic argument comes down to this (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AUBoy2007, auditor, bluegrass50

      cutting taxes doesn't work because in this environment, people will take that money and squirrel it away, they won't spend it, which is what this economy desperately needs.

      Its a bit like treating hypothermia. You need to get the blood flowing again.  Spending is like applying heat.  Cutting taxes is like giving food with no heat and hoping for the best.

      •  That's a good track to take. Thanks. (0+ / 0-)

        I'm hoping I can also find some authorities who say similar things.

        "I won" -- President Obama in response to why he's not including more Republican ideas in his economic stimulus plan.

        by AUBoy2007 on Sun Mar 01, 2009 at 06:22:04 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  but Working Poor may spend Permanent Tax Cut (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        That's why I believe that the Dems should embrace a PERMANENT exemption on the first US$ 30K in income from the FICA (aka Working) Tax.  

        That would be equivalent to about US$ 1,900 in incremental yearly income.

        Of course, for social security benefit purposes, it would be as if the individual did contribute the money to the SS trust fund.

        Moreover, the tax cut would not apply to any HH with income that exceeded US$ 250K a year.

        Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project.

        by PatriciaVa on Sun Mar 01, 2009 at 06:35:01 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Don't mess with Social Security (4+ / 0-)

          It's fine the way it is. Give rebates from the general fund to the working poor, but everybody pays FICA and those who qualify benefit from it.

          You give the Rs the chance to label SS a welfare program when you divorce benefits from contributions. Play with the general fund and leave FICA alone.

          Ignorance isn't exactly bliss but some things are better known when they are unknown to start with and pieced together on the way. - WineRev

          by Clem Yeobright on Sun Mar 01, 2009 at 07:11:17 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Spending taxes on projects that make us more (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      samddobermann, grayday101, notrouble

      productive or more energy efficient, or at the very least keeps it in our borders, is better than giving money to the wealthy so they can buy another Rolex, diamonds from South Africa, Porsche, BMW, Mercedes, a Cayman condo, etc., all of which does nothing for our economy and increases our trade deficit.  

      A politician thinks of the next election - a statesman of the next generation. - James Freeman Clarke

      by jdl51 on Sun Mar 01, 2009 at 06:38:27 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Here are several approaches (7+ / 0-)

      "Taxes" and "government" are euphemisms for the Middle Class.  

      The issue of course is not taxes, but concentrated wealth and gets distilled neatly into the whole supply-side versus demand-side argument of economics.  

      The Right Wing Conservative Elite are motivated towards ever greater concentrations of wealth and power. Central to this is the issue of taxes, because progressive taxes policy help to reverse concentration of wealth.

      The Republican argument toward taxes is cost based: A rich person cost the state no more than a poor person, therefore, they should not have to pay more taxes.  

      The counter argument to that should be 'benefits' based. If I benefit more from society, I should have to pay more taxes to society.  

      Consider, Bill Gates. He made his fortune mass marketing Software. Software requires consumption requires, at the very least, a literate in not well educated, population. where would Bill Gates be if this country didn't have universal education. Everyone pays taxes into education, but it hardly seems unfair if Bill Gates pay a little more tax because (1) he can and (2) he's benefited immensely from everyone else having been educated.  

      The issue is actually far more rooted in fundamentals than even that example suggest.  The fact is, your boy friend lives in a society where you can accumulate wealth - because its laws respect property rights.  The wealthy benefit more from that more than anyone else, yet history proves that time and again, that the wealthy have undermined society and governments throughout history to the point that those societies have collapsed, in sudden and epic fashion.  

      Why is concentrated wealth a problem?

      Concentrated wealth has brought epic collapse throughout history, to wit: Ancient Egypt's New Kingdom, (Western) Roman Empire (See Economic Historian and Nobel Laureate Douglas C. North's "Structure and Change in Economic History" pages 100-115), Pre-Islamic Mecca (Islam was, in part, a reaction to concentrated wealth), Byzantine Empire (aka Eastern Roman Empire, at issue, is the Empire before 1071 battle of Manzikurt where it lost its heartland, Anatolia, to the Turks),  Medieval Japan, Hapsburg Spain, Bourbon France, Romanov Russia, Manchu China and then Nationalist China,  Coolidge/Hoover America (triggering the Great Depression, the Rise of Hitler, WWII, the holocaust and 120 million deaths) , and Reagan/Bush America (its the fundamental cause of the current meltdown).  

      The latter two are brought to you courtesy of the Republican party.

      The Roman case, as laid out by North is illustrative of the whole.  In Rome wealth was concentrated. The wealthy and powerful used their influence to avoid paying taxes (also the commercial economy disappeared).  While the Roman legion still had a tactical edge over their adversaries, they edge had thinned some and so the empire needed to field a larger Army.  Despite controling all the resources of Western Civilization (back when Western Civilization included the western half of the Middle East, Egypt and all of North Africa) the empire was over run by landless, shiftless, nomads and a 500 year dark age ensued.  

      To underscore the point, the same thing happened in Medieval Japan, except, being an island state, Japan simply collapsed (balkanized) into a two hundred year dark age.  In that case, the Emperor didn't have the resources to police and incarcerate criminals.  The elites eventually bought their own protection, until the protectors realized they could confiscate the elites estates for themselves.

      In both those cases, the amazing thing is that the people with the most to lose from the collapse of a state that recognized property rights, the wealthy and the powerful, were the very ones who refused to pay to perpetuate the state. As Warren Buffet has said "What we learn from history is that we don't learn from history."

      One reason this is a continuing problem has to do with the supply vs. demand paradigm.  Supply side represents concentrated wealth. The theory is that rich people will invest and build factories creating more and better paying jobs.  There are two problems with that: (1) in reality, nobody builds a factory if there is no demand and (2) the economy is 2/3rds consumption (i.e. demand) so supply side policies are essentially pushing on a string.  

      Concentrated wealth is a continuing problem because of the nature of wealth building. If I am a member of the Supply-side rich and I have $1 million, I want to get to $10 million so I don't have to work for a living. If I have $10 million, I want to get to $100 million, so I can have a residences in London, Paris, Cannes, New York, Los Angeles, Hawaii and a jet plane to get me there, and so on.  

      To climb that mountain, I use my money to make money. Maybe I sell you a slice of bread.  The profit I make from that sale goes into building my estate - but that profit also represents money taken from the demand-side of society's ledger and placed on the supply-side of society's ledger. Over time as the supply-side rich achieve their goals, money concentrates (the old rich get richer, poor get poorer paradigm) until eventually you get to the "concentrated wealth crunch" where there are too many rich and too few tax receipts to keep society stable.  

      To avoid societal collapse the problem has to be forestalled. There are only a few ways to do that. The first one is through progressive tax policy.

      Our founding father's understood this problem and they believed that they pretty much solved it through democracy.  The founding generation were predominantly Calvinist and they attempted to build a Calvinist Commonwealth (thus, both Massachesuets and Virginia (among other states) are stylized as 'commonwealths'.  

      As Calvinist they were pro-wealth accumulation but vehemently against inherited wealth. (To them, wealth accumulated in this life was a signal of ones salvation in the next life as well as contribution to the community (commonwealth). I make a billion dollars, I benefit, after I'm gone, my progeny basically have to build their own salvation and therefore their own wealth.  

      This wasn't meant to be too hard (they intended commonwealth, not 'uncommonwealth' and common squalor).

      They created a nation based upon one principle: free contract, and they believed that Democracy would keep the bargaining field level in contract negotiations, allowing all well meaning earnests people to build their own wealth through their own efforts.  

      In a society based upon free contract, bargaining power is everything. Everything that goes on around us, from advertising on TV, to personal greetings, to politics in Washington are all about individuals or groups of individuals trying to enhance their bargaining power.

      Our founding father's felt that they leveled the playing field upon which bargaining takes place through democracy.  And for the next 80 years the United States had the broadest distribution of wealth in the history of the world - even with 3 million people subject to slavery.  In 1860 we went to war to address that, and yet, despite the success in that war, 25 years after it's end the U.S. had the most concentrated wealth in its history, creating the class of supply-side rich that dominates the Republican party.

      What our founding fathers  failed to anticipate was the corporation. A corporation is an institutional arrangement that is an ownership collective. As a collective, it has tremendous bargaining power advantages over individuals.  This created concentrated wealth and extensive squalor. It eventually lead to the Great Depression, which remedied that problem with Industrial unions. From the Great Depression through 1973, increases in GNP were matched by increases in the median wage.  

      Since 1973 the median wage has not changed, even though the GNP has more than doubled (indeed nearly trippled). That means that year in and year out trillions of dollars flowed to the top 1% of the United States.  

      Concentrated wealth is like standing up in a canoe: it's prone to sudden collapse. When you arrive at Supply-side saturation, demand becomes soft, triggering deflationary recessions and stock bubbles.

      Stock bubbles occurs because all that money set aside for investment for the Supply-side rich can't find good returns because demand is too soft.  No one builds a widget factory because there is no demand. So if one area of the economy shows decent returns, say in new technology, all the investment money floods that one area creating a bubble. Meanwhile the supply side rich start lending money to the people's who's wages are soft and declining to help them bridge bad times and maintain their families life styles.  Eventually, when the bridge doesn't make it to the other shore, the collapse in demand leads to the collapse in the financial system. This happened in both 1929 and in the current era.  

      In fact in 2001, we had signs of supply-side saturation: deflationary recession and stock bubbles. It was high time for demand-side policies. What did Bush do? He pored the coals on the supply-side policies.  He then used cheap borrowed money from China to cover his tracks to prop up demand and currency deflation to establish some form of inflation.  

      The idea that civilization can't collapse is just plain wrong. We know what causes it. Wealthy people wanting to concentrate wealth and power.  

      Notice I didn't say wealth people wanting more wealth is bad. It's not.  From 1940 to 1973 we allowed wages to go up with GNP, they went up extraordinarily - demand-side economics allows not only the poor to get richer, but the rich to get richer too. That's the really good news.  

      In essence there is no excuse, other than cravenness, for supply-side policies (90% of the time, supply-side policies actually are a remedy for structural, systematic inflation).  

      As Franklin Roosevelt said during his 2nd inaugural address: "We've always have known that unheaded greed was bad morally, we now also know that it's bad economic policy" (paraphrased from memory)

      The problem with all of this analysis, is that it can't be reduced to a catchy buzz fraze of sound bite.  

      Wealthy republicans know all of this. They still don't care. That's why they are called "The Wrecking Crew." What they want to make sure is that the general population knows none of this.  

      Hopefully your boy friend is more sophisticated than that.  


      In 2001

      •  Here's where the dispute is (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        auditor, VClib

        with sane conservatives.  

        First, as to the notion that we price service on an "benefits" is out of sync with how we value things.  Consider the heart surgeon ($500,000 a year) and the insurance salesman ($50,000) who go to Home Depo to buy a ream of paper for their office computers.  By your logic, Home Depo should charge the heart surgeon 10 times more for the same ream of paper purchased at the exact same location at the exact same time, because the heart surgeon is going to "benefit more" (i.e., earn more money) using that ream of paper than the insurance salesman is.  We just don't vary the value of a product or a service based on the income of the purchaser. There is an argument that marginal rates should be progressive, but it is because a much higher percent of the income of the middle class is used for necessities -- they have less disposable income.  

        As to the "wealth is concentrated at the top"  -- that goes to the heart of the fundamental dispute between progressives and sane conservatives.  Sane conservatives believe the the tax code should be used to raise the revenues necessary to pay for (their narrow list) of the functions of government -- defense, infrastructure, those kinds of things. That, in their view, is the only role of income taxes -- to raise the revenue necessary for government to function. Conservatives do not believe that the role of the tax code is to redistribute wealth in a more equiatable way.  Progressives do.  Difference in philosophy.  

        •  Home Depot doesn't sell property rights (0+ / 0-)

          Furthermore, home depot is mass marketing.  

          The government is selling property right protection. That has a value to all people I suppose, but the more wealth you have, the more you will want, i.e. demand, property rights.  

          At some point, poor people could care less.  The subsistence level farmer in central Gaul before the fall of the Roman empire hardly was aware that the empire had fallen.  Perhaps the only difference was he had a new master set of overlords. In fact, the subsistence level farmer doesn't even need property rights.  So he has no money to pay, and even if he does, there is no point in paying.  

          In fact the Wealthy are just being greedy. They want maximum property rights, and maximum property and they don't want to have to pay for it - or pay for it at discount prices like one would get at home depot.  

          In regard to the difference in philosophy, I would argue where you stand depends upon where you sit.  If you are wealthy you think Goverment is good for only defense and road building.  

          As I said, taxes and goverment are euphamism for the middle class. A large middle class exist only where governmental policy strives to achieve it.  There is no spontendious large middle class countries, nor has there ever.  Tax policy is how they get there.  

          The fundemental difference in philosophy is that the rich republicans want to concentrate wealth and  power and that means shaving some wealth from the middle class (the poor have none to surrender)

          Like the culture wars, all conservative arguments are meant to confuse and distort people from the core issue. The real culture wars were ended by our founding generation in 1791 with the passage of the bill of rights.  The current culture war is just a proxy for class war invented by the rich to get middle and working class people to feel sorry for the rich and surrender first their vote and later their property to the rich.

          •  To complete my arguement (0+ / 0-)

            The home depot is a false comparison. Home Depot is in the business of mass merchandising.  

            I walked into a furniture store just to browse.  First, it wasn't in a poor neighborhood. The salesman first gauges my interest. Then she starts to throw in incentives. A great salesman once told me all sales come down to an emotion. At some point, I decide I want to buy an item. The minute the salesman figures out I've turned the emotional switch in buying, the incentives suddenly quit coming forth. I plead for this little extra and that little extra and she says she's sorry but she can't.  

            The price of all items are a matter of supply and demand. When demand is weak, the price goes down. When demand is high the price goes up.

            Property rights are not in demand for the poor. That's why theft rates are high in poor neighborhoods. Property rights are everything for the rich, that's why they live in gated communities.

            If we are going to use a market mechanism, let's not forget the value and demand for property rights is greater for the Rich than for the poor. Those few societies that have gone communist where ones where the masses were so poor that the notion of property rights was an abstraction for most of them.  

      •  Nice argument - this should be a diary (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        You should consider adding a few supporting links and publishing this as a diary itself. Thanks for sharing this!

        "I know they're gearing up for a fight as we speak. My message to them is this: So am I." - President Barack Obama

        by Pacific NW Mark on Sun Mar 01, 2009 at 08:54:57 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I'm not sure it's quite that simple (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Justanothernyer, batgirl71

    the heart of the argument comes down to what you do with those taxes.  If you like what's being done with tax money, you're right.  If not, then.....

    Good government is patriotic I agree.  Unfortunately, there have been times when Democrats lost sight of that.

    There's the rub.

  •  you miss very one important point (6+ / 0-)

    Republicans are patriotic so long as someone else goes to war and pays taxes

  •  Please always be careful (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    to remind folks that "taxes" include payroll taxes and all those fees (licenses, etc) that the states have had to raise to counter the Feds refusal to pay for what they mandate.

  •  Well, here's your problem rght here (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    VClib, eXtina

    – you don’t want to pay a fair share.

    What's a "fair share" for the top 10% of household AGI? (That's about $109,000 -- often two incomes).  20%? 30? 40?  50?  60? What about the top 5% -- AGI about $154,000 and up?  What about the top 2% -- about AGI $389,000?  

    Everybody -- even conservatives -- agrees that they need to pay taxes.  The disagreement is (1) how much is a "fair share" and (2) what kinds of things should federal income taxes pay for (conservatives have a much more limited view of what the federal government should do than progressives).  

    •  All-In Tax Burden should be Point of Departure (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      oregonj, notrouble

      We must do a better job of considering the entire tax burden in calculating "fair share".

      Not just federal income taxes, but the FICA (aka Working Tax), property tax, sales tax, drivers license renewal tax, et al.

      In my opinion, NO HH earning less than US$ 250K or less should pay more in taxes.  In fact, I'd say that HHs earning less than US$ 250K pay FAR more than their fair share.

      That should be our point of departure.

      Under no circumstances should we increase ANY (sales, license, property, Working (aka FICA) taxes on that demo.

      Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project.

      by PatriciaVa on Sun Mar 01, 2009 at 06:31:22 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Absolutely, Republicans always deceive (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        notrouble, batgirl71

        by only counting some taxes, but invariably leaving out the employee and employer shares of FICA and Medicare.  This is a regressive tax: it phases out about 150k or so.

        Make sure when you argue that you always include "do your figures included social security taxes and medicare taxes which are now indistinguishable  from income taxes?

        I wish every Democrat wold bring this up? Republican arguments about who pays taxes are outright LIES!

        "Anyone who believes exponential growth can go on forever in a finite world is either a madman or an economist."

        by oregonj on Sun Mar 01, 2009 at 06:37:43 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  What's a fair share (3+ / 0-)

        for a doctor, for a lawyer, or for two lawyers, two architects, a small business owner, two bank middle managers, the kind of people who (1) are in that top 2% (household AGI of $250,000 and up) and (2) still have to go to work every day to earn that money?  What's a "fair share" for them?  I think that's where the disagreement is.  Obama says that it is "fair" to take about 40% of what they work for in taxes.  Some here want much higher -- up to 90%.  Some conservatives think that when you get closer to taking 50% of what somebody has to work to earn, that's the top end of "fair share."  

        That's the problem.  Everybody agrees these people should pay a "fair share."  The problem is that everybody defines "fair share" differently.  

        •  Would U be Open to Excise Tax? (0+ / 0-)

          In Singapore, you buy a car that retails for US$ 60K in the US, you'd have to pay an additional US$ 60K excise tax.

          Would u be open to such a tax here?

          It's either something like that, or continue financing our ever growing deficit via Treasury sales, at ever increasing rates.

          Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project.

          by PatriciaVa on Sun Mar 01, 2009 at 07:13:34 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Please note you are discussing marginal rates. (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mcfly, MmeVoltaire, sd4david, PatriciaVa

          Otherwise, your analysis is very distorted.

          Ignorance isn't exactly bliss but some things are better known when they are unknown to start with and pieced together on the way. - WineRev

          by Clem Yeobright on Sun Mar 01, 2009 at 07:14:36 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Sorry, I am discussing marginal rates (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Clem Yeobright

            So, again, hypothetically, let's say you have two lawyers, each making $200,000.  Then the top marginal rate applies to the wor they do during the last third or so of the year.

            What's a fair top marginal rate for the income they earn during that last part of the year?  

            •  CoffeeTalk, Open to Excise Taxes? (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Clem Yeobright

              CoffeeTalk, would u be open to excise taxes on luxury items.

              Works in Singapore, why not in the USA.

              Depending on the product, you pay as much as 150% of the retail price in taxes.

              Don't want to pay?  Don't buy.

              It's either something like that, some type of asset tax, or increased deficit spending.

              We can't continue to target middle-class HHs earning less than US$ 250K a year.  Those HHs are already Way OverTaxed.

              And if there are certain government programs you want to see eliminated, what are they?

              Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project.

              by PatriciaVa on Sun Mar 01, 2009 at 07:24:36 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Well, it doesn't matter (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                what I'm open to, does it?

                But I'll answer anyway, I'm "open" to all sorts of ideas.  The devil is always in the details.  I have no problem taxing luxury items in principle.  Frankly, I'm happier in principle with excise taxes than with very high income taxes. I believe in prinicple that higher taxes on something have a tendency to discourage the thing taxed. (As I recall, many believe that the huge taxes on cigarettes played just as big a role in decreasing smoking as did the education efforts). A tax on the consumption side is going to discourage consumption -- and we should become much less of a consumption society than we are.  

                There are always unitended consequences, of course, if it is not done right.  If the tax is significant, you are probably going to repress the thing taxed. And that always has a bad effect on somebody.  If people stop buying BMW's, that's going to hurt the workers at that BMW plant outside of Birmingham, Alabama (I think that's where it is).  If people stop buying yachts, the workers at Trinity shipyard here in New Orleans, where yachts are made, are going to suffer. That's not enough to keep from doing it, but it's something to keep in mind.  It's always a matter of choices, isn't it?.  

                A wealth tax -- an "asset tax" -- would be unconstitutional under Article I, section 8.  (It took the 16th amendment to authorize an income tax.) You'd need a constitutional amendment -- 3/4 of the states.  Not gonna happen.  

                •  Then brace UrSelf for Inflation (0+ / 0-)

                  Don't see President Obama increasing the tax burden on HHs earning less than US$ 250K.

                  Not much more we can get from increases in marginal rates.

                  Conservatives don't want excise taxes, and an asset tax seems to be unconstitutional.

                  Yet, even Conservatives agree that government must play a larger role in the life of working and middle-class Americans.

                  That leaves monetization as the way out.

                  And the 10-year Treasury yielding at least 7.50% within three years.

                  Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project.

                  by PatriciaVa on Sun Mar 01, 2009 at 07:42:39 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  This is where I think you are wrong (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    Yet, even Conservatives agree that government must play a larger role in the life of working and middle-class Americans.

                    No conservative I know believes this.  All the conservatives I know believe that government should play less of a role in the lives of all Americans.  And that's what I'm hearing from those "sane" conservatives on the talking heads shows.  That's the whole "smaller government" thing.  

                    Actually, I think that the disagreement over how big a role the government should play in our economy is one of the fundamental disagreements between progressives and conservatives.  

                    •  Yeah Repubs want it in the bedroom and Dems (0+ / 0-)

                      want it to help people to get medical care.

                      Republicans want it to mandate teaching religion in science class and mandated prayers in schools and to fight wars of conquest and provide more and more highways. Dems want to see fixed roads and bridges that stay up.

                      Republicans want drill baby drill and allow oil companies to use the country without taxes and Dems want to invest in newer means of transportation and energy production.

                      Republicans like to use the court system to delay and obfuscate as Exxon has done with the Valdez fines and Enron companies use to enforce contracts that they rigged.

                      Republicans like to use congress to write laws to ratify their positions such as tax loopholes like the Rick Warren whole income deduction, but unfortunately Dems do too.

                      We are in a time where it is risky NOT to change. Barack Obama 7-30-08

                      by samddobermann on Mon Mar 02, 2009 at 01:20:11 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

            •  Income tax rates should jump 8-10% (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              at the FICA cap. Right now, I take home more from an October check than from a July check - that's stupid.

              Ignorance isn't exactly bliss but some things are better known when they are unknown to start with and pieced together on the way. - WineRev

              by Clem Yeobright on Sun Mar 01, 2009 at 07:32:25 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  Fair Share? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          auditor, LithiumCola

          As someone who makes more than $250K - I can tell you the present tax rules are unconscionable!  You can easily set up a business LLC as long as there is income.  With that business income comes enormous "Business" deductions:  from depreciations to "business expenses" (the latter of which can include cars and airplanes which are completely deductible as long as you can prove a reasonable fraction of use is business related).  In the end you can do exactly what Dick Cheney does/did, pay $1M in taxes on a $10M income (2006).  Last year I paid 15% on LLC income.  Plus there are the FICA/Medicare arguments for folks in my income bracket as discussed in this tread above.  My guess is that a 40% tax bracket will place folks like me into the 20-30% tax bracket after deductions ... which is clearly more fair.  The other option is a flat tax.  However, in the present economy that upheaval would likely only further unhinge the credit market.  First fix the downward spiral – then reorganize the tax code completely!

    •  Fair Share: In a Nutshell (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      The reason the wealthy need to pay more taxes is because MORE RESOURCES are spent on them. This is something  I wish better writers than I would address.

      Our military spends a great deal of money.  Does "protecting American interests" really help the little guy in the street?  The new exit ramp off the highway that goes to the new IKEA or mall? IKEA shareholders don't pay for that--we do.

      All the money the CIA pissed away installing and propping up the Shah, Trujillo, and the like, did that help the little guy on the street?

      Even in matters of REAL national defense, where we seek to protect against an invasion, who loses most if we get bombed or taken over?  Your minimum-wage renter or the guy who owns his apartment building?

      I'm so sick of the welfare-queen meme:  so many departments in the US exist to dispense and further corporate welfare. OK, keep the departments, but don't expect me to pay for them out of my taxes.

      The rich should pay more because they GET more from the US government. They have more property and interests at stake than the average joe. It's a no-brainer.

      •  I don't understand that at all (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        how does the country "spend more on the military" for a doctor than for a police officer? How does a doctor "get more" from the U.S. miliatary than does a police officer?  What the doctor and the police officer "get" is exactly the same thing.  They get the same military. They get the same interstate highway system.  

        Yes, the doctor makes a lot more money.  But that doesn't mean that he benefits more from the military.  The effect of the military is the exact same for the doctor and for the police officer.  

        •  The wealthy have more to protect (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          The doctor's home and business investments, protected from invasion, are worth more--he has more to lose. Therefore it is more in his interest to have a strong military.  This especially has to do with what the US does overseas. Most of us can readily admit that the bulk of what the US military and CIA have done for the past fifty years has been more about American business than American safety.

          If you have a business or business investments, the odds are greater that you benefitted from this kind of activity than someone who does not. You know about corporate welfare--all the money that gets spent to pump up US businesses overseas.

          Or this kind of thing, which I copied from TPM--it'll take a lot of people on food stamps to equal just this one instance:


          n a lengthy and detailed investigative report, the Associated Press reveals today that the New Hamshire GOP senator funneled federal earmarks to a defunct Granite State air-force base, despite the fact that he and his brother had lucrative real estate investments there.

          The key details:
          Gregg, R-N.H., personally has invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in Cyrus Gregg's office projects at the Pease International Tradeport, a Portsmouth business park built at the defunct Pease Air Force Base, once home to nuclear bombers. Judd Gregg has collected at least $240,017 to $651,801 from his investments there, Senate records show, while helping arrange at least $66 million in federal aid for the former base.
          So let's lay out what we know here.

          66 million? This is one thing I've never heard about. Read Kitty Kelly's bio of The Bushes--brilliant. You'll see how govt bends over backwards to distribute largesse to big and not-so-big business.

          •  By that logic, then (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            If a doctor goes to Home Depot to buy a ream of computer paper for use in his office, he should pay more for that ream of paper than should an insurance salesman, because the doctor is going to use that paper to make a lot more money than the insurance salesman is. Or if I have an office building with two office spaces that are exactly alike, and one is rented to an insurance salesman making $50,000, and one is rented to a doctor making $500,000, I should be able to charge the doctor 10 times more for the exact same office, because he uses it to make more money.  We just don't value things in our society that way.  We don't vary the value of the exact same good or service based on how much money the consumer has.    

  •  "I like to pay taxes - with them ...." (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I buy civilization.

    Like Holmes, start with that premise.

    (An alternative quote is: Taxes are what we pay for civilized society, including the chance to insure.

    Which obviously places the tax-cut / no to taxes crowd squarely in the "yes to anarchy" corner.

    Where we all knew they belonged to start with.

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

    beat you to the punch on this one -- on this exact issue about two years ago.

    His argument about framing presented this idea too.  It's been made before as well in the vein of Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes dictum that "taxes are the price of civilization".

    As far as the GOP arguments go:
    1a. "It's redistribution of the wealth"!
    1b. Who says that wealth redistribution only comes through the tax code?  When some a--holes decided a few years ago to expand trade without providing additional security for workers, many blue collar workers effectively found their wages redistributed in the name of cheap goods.  A lot of other ways too that law can be used to redistributed wealth short of the tax code (e.g. bankruptcy law).

    2a. It's generational theft!
    2b. Too late for that one GOP.  A generation of debt will remain unpaid by the time every single a--hole in the GOP congressional delegation leaves the face of the earth in a few decades.  At this stage what's another $10 trillion?

    Bottom line is that they destroyed the public trust.  The only ones who are still on board at this stage are the 30 percenters who will be with the GOP until the bitter end.

  •  Bar argument (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LithiumCola, notrouble

    To me ... I boil it down to this - and this never gets me anywhere either, but it usually leads to some agreement ...

    - Gov't needs $x dollars to operate

    - It has to come from somewhere

    - How can we most fairly divvy up where it should come from?

    Rebuttals come in two related forms:

    1. We don't need gov't to spend as much as it does
    1. You give people more of their money, especially the top earners, and they will re-invest it back

    The response to those are:

    1. This is a valid debate to have - let's have it. Name the SPECIFIC thing you don't want to spend money on.  Also, in my opinion, private corporations waste more money from the gov't - so that's where I usually go with that discussion
    1. This is a myth, because it sounds good. Debunked. However, good luck getting a conservative to believe this.

    the most comprehensive college hockey resource

    by AdamW on Sun Mar 01, 2009 at 06:46:53 PM PST

    •  I should mention as well ... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      samddobermann, notrouble

      ... that I usually say - "well, if less taxes means more revenue, then why not just eliminate taxes entirely" ... at which point the conservative says "oh, well obviously not entirely" ... so there goes the logic of their argument.

      And then I say - OK, so we agree people should be taxed, and we're just debating what the fair tax rates should be for each group, right?  OK - let's have that debate - and stop throwing in vacuous arguments like "socialism" etc..

      I try to boil it down to the essence that way.

      the most comprehensive college hockey resource

      by AdamW on Sun Mar 01, 2009 at 06:48:42 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Tax argument (4+ / 0-)

    Was framed by Obama during the campaign. 95 percent of Americans got a tax cut. Period

  •  We are willing to pay for our spending priorities (0+ / 0-)

    with our taxes. I would say that compares rather favorably with Republicans simply putting their spending priorities on the nation's credit card, also known as the deficit.

    The other thing liberals need to accept, I think, is that for a large percentage of the population, we will never win that argument. Oh well, sometimes we have to settle for just being and doing right.

  •  I'll bite (3+ / 0-)

    Having just finished this years taxes and owing a lot of money for taxes, I feel like an expert:-O

    Starting with the Estate Tax.  It is important that all the money doesn't end up in the hands of a few families.  Once they get all the money then they can buy the government and have too much power.

    Money begets money. The more money you have, the more you can earn from it.

    Couples with a taxable income of $16,700 are taxed 10% or $1,670.   These people are the working poor.

    Over 50% of taxpaying families earn less than $26,000.  Those who earn a high family income should think about what a burden taxes are on those 50%.  Taxes from them, comes out of essential money.  Money they need for daycare, gas, utilities and health care.

  •  No way (0+ / 0-)

    It depends who you're talking to. If it's a reasonable Republican, your argument might be compelling. If you're talking to a movement conservative, nothing you can say will have an impact. These people are nihilists, really. They don't believe in government, period. Their guru is Grover "drown government in the bathtub" Norquist. There's no way to persuade them, and it's a waste of time to try. Just mock them by reminding them that the president they hate is giving them a tax cut AND making the government they loathe function better, and watch the tears well up in their hate-filled eyes.

    The Bush Family: 0 for 4 in Wisconsin

    by Korkenzieher on Sun Mar 01, 2009 at 07:35:56 PM PST

    •  Paying taxes IS patriotic... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Taxes are how we fund the government, including the troops that we all support.  This is a winning argument, I think, that really should be exploited.

      Of course, if you're talking to true-believer movement conservatives, just laugh at them.  They hate the government and they hate taxes; you won't change their minds.

      But if you're talking to someone who is reasonable, and you want to go into greater detail, know that the chief argument against higher income taxes is that they supposedly affect the economy negatively by reducing the amount of economic activity.  Accordingly, they argue that cutting income taxes on businesses causes businesses to hire more people and that cutting capital gains rates provides an incentive for businesses to increase capital expenditures.*  However, income taxes really don't have that much of an effect on the volume of economic activity at all---nowhere near as much as they would have you believe.

      For example, changing income tax rates does not change the number of employees a company would hire if it seeks to maximize its profits.  Income taxes are levied on profits, not revenues, and wages, etc., are pre-tax expenses.  So if, say, hiring a fourth employee is profitable but hiring a fifth employee is not profitable today, raising income taxes, all else being equal, will reduce the after-tax profit that the fourth employee provides but it will not make the employee unprofitable, so there's no reason to cut employment.  Similarly, cutting taxes will increase the after-tax profit provided by the fourth employee but, all else being equal, it won't make the fifth employee profitable, so there's no reason to increase employment.  (A similar analysis applies to changes in capital gains rates as they affect capital expenditures; just substitute capital for labor.  In other words, changing capital gains tax rates do not directly influence whether a capital investment will be profitable or not, so changes in capital gains rates, all else being equal, will not affect the quantity of capital investment a business makes.)


      * These seem to be the chief arguments put forward today.  They differ somewhat from the original arguments advocates of supply-side economics put forward in the 1970s and 1980s.  It would take a diary, or really several diaries, to refute all of the claims made regarding the effects of income taxes and tax cuts.  Rest assured, all of the claims can be refuted.

    •  If the Republican agrees with the Norquist quote (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      and wants to drown "government" in the bathtub, point out that "government" includes our military.  What kind of un-American are you to want to drown our soldiers in the bathtub?

      "Goverment" includes law enforcement and fire departments.  Again, you would have to be some kind of anti-American Muslin to want to drown our police and firefighters in the bathtub.

      Tell them you don't associate with America-haters and walk away.

      You gotta give 'em hope. - Harvey Milk

      by abrauer on Sun Mar 01, 2009 at 08:58:14 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  A Moderate Republican view (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I would like to see the govt. spend less on educating students that cannot learn. Does this seem cruel? Maybe. But if my town spends $10,000 per student to educate and $50,000 on special needs students that will NEVER speak, never mind learn or contribute to society by paying taxes later, that is poorly spent tax dollars.

    When I attend state college and the student next to me would submit a writing exercise that had one punctuation mark over 1 and a half pages, sending him to college for free is a waste of money.

    Farm subsidies to large businesses to eliminate productivity or competition is a waste of money.

    Airport security. HUGE waste of money. Do I feel any more safe no. Do I feel more inconvenienced? Yes. Three people to check my boarding pass as I wander through the thirty foot maze. Serious waste of money.

    Military bases in Europe and Japan. Close them. Let them pick up the tab of defense. I'm tired of being the planet's police force.

    Take that money and provide a better transportation system. Better highways.

    Regarding taxation levels. I would like to see us approach a flat tax system that has a taxation threshold where if you make less than X you pay no taxes. There is room for some progressive increase in tax rate but minimal. By eliminating deductions the wealthy have less areas to hide income. But the flat tax comes with a huge price. A lot of people are employed by the IRS and H&R Block just to service our horrible tax structure. There would be no need for them so they would be out of work. (And this is why the flat tax is unworkable)

    Just a start.

    •  Someone who would put 1 punctuation (0+ / 0-)

      mark over 1 1/2 pages shouldn't be in college anyway, as a matter of admissions policy.

      I didn't know any states still subsidized 100% of the cost of college.

      Space. It seems to go on and on forever. But then you get to the end and a gorilla starts throwing barrels at you. -- Fry, Futurama

      by LithiumCola on Sun Mar 01, 2009 at 07:54:49 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  CT doesn't subsidize most (0+ / 0-)

        My education wasn't subsidized, his was. It was program instituted to get inner city kids in college. Unfortunately the only guideline to get in was being from Hartford. So there were deserving students and then there was the guy in my English 101 class. If there were guidelines less students would get in. But money would not be wasted on those that don't have the necessary skills to succeed.

        •  Well, I'm all for teaching (0+ / 0-)

          people how to write minimally well.  I don't think college is the place for that.  Making the professor waste his or her time, and the other students' time, teaching a college student how to write, just isn't the best use of everyone's time.

          I would think high schools should be doing that.  Of course, how to increase the quality of education at high schools is a whole other discussion.

          Space. It seems to go on and on forever. But then you get to the end and a gorilla starts throwing barrels at you. -- Fry, Futurama

          by LithiumCola on Sun Mar 01, 2009 at 08:06:42 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  "We are all in this together". (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    That should be the message of the liberal left and to the Republican anti-tax extremists.  

    It is unpatriotic to profit off and build a national economy based on war and the instruments of war.  It is unpatriotic to profit off the rapine of natural resources and the diminution of the environment.  And it is unpatriotic to create a fake economy for personal enrichment at the cost of others.

    It is patriotic to rebuild a sustainable national economy that will serve future generations of Americans and bring back our country's greatness, not in a way that beats others over the head, but in a way that attracts future generations to its wisdom and bounty.

    Fortunately, for all my many disagreements with Obama, this is the message in not so many words his administration puts out.  

    Because my life doesn't need to be an educational experience for someone else. (-6.62, -6.26)

    by AndyS In Colorado on Sun Mar 01, 2009 at 07:52:58 PM PST

  •  Try some of these ideas (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The problem with "tax" is that to a Republican, a tax is the same thing as theft - their money is being taken  from them and spent on people who don't deserve it and on things they don't believe in. That's how they view taxes, so convincing them otherwise ain't gonna fly.

    Try hitting them with the "club" instead.

    Mess with their minds a little by reframing what's going on. Tell them you belong to a buyers club, an organization where people pool their money so they can get volume discounts and together invest in things none of them could buy alone. Better yet, it's non-profit so it really cuts down on overhead.

    Sure they have to pay some people to run the thing, but their salaries are really reasonable, especially when compared to, um, investment bankers let's say. Oh, and the top management has to go before the club members every few years and justify whether or not they get to keep their jobs.

    Now it's not perfect. For one thing it can be hard for all of the club members to agree on what they want, and sometimes the club management has to be thrown out because they screw up. Truth to tell, there are some club members who want to embezzle, corrupt, and otherwise exploit the club for their own interests ahead of everyone else - but what can you do? People can be like that - that's why the club really has to have rules and live by them to work right. The club is still a pretty good deal compared with some, all in all.

    Walmart for example may have really good prices on some stuff, but the quality isn't always great and neither is the selection. And, you can't really do much about replacing the Walton family if you don't like the job they're doing. Besides, Walmart can't possibly offer the kinds of things this club can.

    You know, things like roads, schools, bridges, fire protection, security from the local level all the way up to international and more. Hell, the club was instrumental at winning World War II, bringing electricity to people in the middle of nowhere, providing people for the first time ever some guarantee of a secure old age, and it even put men on the moon.

    Now club dues are NOT voluntary - but the club can and does do things to allow for how much money people have to spare. Some don't have any, so they get a break - and they still get access to what the club provides including some special deals to help them get to the point where they can pony up a share of dues money. Those who have more, pay more - or at least they should, because if the club didn't exist they likely wouldn't be able to hang on to what they have. (And they probably wouldn't have been able to get it in the first place without the club.)

    Dues are what make it all work, and because the club is run as a non-profit, it can deal with things the commercial sector can't, like public interest, the common good, fairness, and justice. Stuff like that.  It can temporarily run at a loss when that's in the best interest of the club members, and plan for years ahead, not just the next quarter. It's pretty amazing when you think about it.

    Dues may not be voluntary, but membership in the club is; in fact there are plenty of people out there who undergo great risks and real suffering to try to join the club. Some of the membership isn't happy about that, but then those same people are generally not happy about a lot of things. As long as there are still people fighting to to get in, the club must be doing something right.

    Truth to tell, the club is a bit of mess right now. The previous bunch of managers really screwed things up, and played favorites big time. That's why a majority of the club membership voted them out because they wanted things run differently. The club is going to have to change the dues structure to finance the clean up, and to help club members who got pretty badly served. It may be rough for a while, but the club has been around for a couple of centuries now and these things will pass.

    That is, as long as those who want the full benefits and privileges of club membership are ready and willing to pay their fair share of dues. Because that's how it works.

    "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

    by xaxnar on Sun Mar 01, 2009 at 08:10:14 PM PST

  •  Start with Warren Buffet, who has a lower (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    samddobermann, The Wonder Moron

    tax rate than his secretary by virtue of his wealth.

    Then appeal to the golden years of the 1950s...every conservative's dream era...before reminding them that the top marginal rate was 91%.  That highly progressive structure discouraged the absurd CEO benefit packages we see today, and it helped company heads be a bit more interested in the long-term growth of their firm, rather than their own short-term gain.

    Dubya's legacy: 25 million really pissed Iraqis...50 million shoes

    by skrekk on Sun Mar 01, 2009 at 08:47:56 PM PST

  •  I'm tired of the word liberal (0+ / 0-)

    We need a change. It's this endless argument of liberals and conservatives. How are Republicans conservative?

    Are Democrats liberal with everything?

  •  So we should pay no taxes? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    No? Ok, then how much should we pay in taxes? Should we pay what we paid under Reagan? Well, aren't you saying then that Reagan left taxes too high? How about under Bush I? Then he left taxes too high also? And so did Bush II? At some point, you agree, that we need to pay some amount and cutting below that would not work, right? What is that amount?
    How do you feel about huge deficits and wasteful spending? Interesting. Of course, studies show that when we make the tax rates too low, not only deficits increase, but so does wasteful spending. People are happy to spend on things they want if they dont have to pay for them right away. Tell me that I have to pay at least for some of the cost now and I spend more...conservatively. And I thought you said you were a conservative?
    The optimal, lowest possible, tax rate for low deficits and conservative spending is 19%. Higher than the rate right now. Should we still cut taxes?

  •  Here is the difference in a nutshell. (0+ / 0-)

    Conservatives only want to spend money on what they individually want; on what they see and value.

    Democrats want to spend money on things that benefit them and other people.

    Example: Older Repubs hate to pay taxes for schools. Neither they or their kids are in school. Dems understand that we all benefit from all kids being in school for the good of society.

    Most Dems are opposed to war, however only a tiny percent want to do away with the Department of Defense. For decades I have heard of Repubs saying we should do away with the Dept of education.

    Republicans only want the government to spend money on what is important to them whereas Dems understand that in a Democracy other peoples wants and choices have some legitimacy and claim on the public fisc.

    We are in a time where it is risky NOT to change. Barack Obama 7-30-08

    by samddobermann on Mon Mar 02, 2009 at 01:55:02 AM PST

  •  Great Justice (0+ / 0-)

    I believe that people serving in the military (not contractors nor the President) should be exempt from income taxes for the moneys they earn from the military – including pensions. The rest of us should pay the taxes – they put their lives on the line and we put up the monies.

      As a veteren (not recieving a pension), I think this would be a step in the right direction. Joe Biden touched on the "patriotic" aspect of paying ones taxes during the election. I voted the other way, but that message resonated with me. I was always "Honest" with my taxes, now I don't take deductions that I'm entitled to.

      Our citizenships are held so cheap, most never do anything but enrich themselves. This trend is especially obnoxious from the Right, who claim that they are the "Patriots", yet wouldn't know the differences between a Soldier , Marine , Sailor and an Airman.

      Everyone wants the American party , no one wants to set up or clean up, but they sure do want to party.

    My opinions are based on my personal experiances and observations, Thus they are subject to change as I continue to experiance and observe.

    by Theodwulf on Mon Mar 02, 2009 at 02:24:24 AM PST

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