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  Let's deal with some facts. The richest one percent of Americans are paying taxes that are too low--and Republicans are pushing budget proposals that would shovel even more money into the hands of the wealthiest Americans. Here are the facts.

  Citizens for Tax Justice has released a series of studies in the past 10 days that paint a clear picture. Let's start with the phony argument that the richest Americans pay a hugely disproportionate level of taxes compared to the rest of us. Nonsense:

CTJ estimates that the share of total taxes (federal state and local taxes) paid by taxpayers in each income group is quite similar to the share of total income received by each income group in 2008.

The total federal, state and local effective tax rate for the richest one percent of Americans (30.9 percent) is only slightly higher than the average effective tax rate for the remaining 99 percent of Americans (29.4 percent).

From the middle-income ranges upward, total effective tax rates are virtually flat across income groups.

  The mantra is wrong for many reasons including:

Claims that the richest one percent are paying far more than their fair share usually focus only on one type of federal tax paid (the federal income tax) while ignoring other regressive federal taxes, like the payroll tax, which is more significant for most taxpayers. They also ignore state and local taxes, which tend to tax low- and middle-income families more heavily than well-off families.

  What this actual evidence demonstrates--you can look at the tables in the study to see the data--is that our tax system is not very progressive...duh. Indeed, as I have argued, the rates on the top one percent should be raised far higher than what the president is proposing (he wants to return the top rate to the Clinton era 39.5 percent, which is quite modest).

  And the Republican proposal? You gotta love the audacity of greed. As CJT shows (and detailed charts at this link back up the info):

Comparing the income tax proposals in the House GOP plan to the income tax proposals in the House Democratic plan in 2010, we find that:

Over a third of taxpayers, mostly low- and middle-income families, would pay more in taxes under the House GOP plan than they would under the House Democratic plan in 2010.

The richest one percent of taxpayers would pay $75,000 less, on average, in income taxes under the House GOP plan than they would under the Democratic plan in 2010.

The income tax proposals in the House GOP plan, which is presented as a fiscally responsible alternative to the Democratic plan, would cost over $225 billion more than the Democratic plan’s income tax policies in 2010 alone.

  So, here's the bottom line, stripped of all the rhetoric, the facts are: most Americans will pay higher taxes under the Republican proposals than the Democratic proposals. Republican tax proposals will cost MORE to taxpayers then the Democratic proposals. And the richest Americans will pocket more money if Republican tax proposals are adopted.

  Those are the facts.

Originally posted to Tasini on Wed Apr 15, 2009 at 05:57 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  How hard are the Democrats fighting back? N/A (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ddriscoll, TomP, chrome327

    I voted with my feet. Good Bye and Good Luck America!!

    by shann on Wed Apr 15, 2009 at 06:05:14 AM PDT

  •  where are your facts (0+ / 0-)

    First, you mention you have them, but dont put them in your argument.  

    Second, there is no doubt about the amount of taxes I paid last year.  (If you kept your receipts and deducted sales tax you would the information as well).

    The simple truth is, most of us pay more in taxes than all of our other bills combined. (federal, medicare, medicade, SSN, sales, property, gas, state, county, city, electric, heating, phone, cell)  We are taxed on everything we do 24 hours a day.

    You can use the argument of "valuation of taxes in ratio to income generated" and thats legit.  However, there is no debate about how the Federal Tax is generated and today just about 1/2 of the population pays no federal tax while the top 10% of wage earners ($150,000) are paying almost all of the taxes.  

    This is a zero sum game.  I can not go out and raise more income because the government wants more of my money.  If the GOV steals my money, I have less to buy or invest with.  It really is simple.

    •  Here ya go... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      chrome327

      he did provide a link but some people are too lazy to click the little mouse button.  Try it, it's not so hard:

      http://www.ctj.org/...

      "The truth shall set you free - but first it'll piss you off." Gloria Steinem

      Iraq Moratorium

      by One Pissed Off Liberal on Wed Apr 15, 2009 at 06:41:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You know, it's debatable whether (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Samulayo

        SS taxes should be essentially lumped together with income taxes.  SS taxes were not meant to be an income tax, and were not sold to the country as such. SS taxes were sold as a "you get what you pay for" system, with your taxes being based on what you earn (up to a point), and your return when you retire being based on what you earn (up to a point).  There are some workers (public school teachers here in Louisiana, for example), who don't pay SS taxes and don't get SS benefits when they retire because they have their own retirement system. The reason that SS taxes stop on $102,000 (or whatever it its) in income is that the benefits calculation also stops at that same level.  Theoretically, under the way that SS was sold to the country and is viewed by most (espcially seniors) now, if you raise the cap for taxation purposes, you'd also have to raise the cap for caculation of benefits.  If you don't, you'd change the nature of the system.  

        That concept is important precisely because the nature of the SS system is what engenders its widespread support.  Talk to any senior; they will say that they are entitled to their SS benefits because "I only want what I paid for."  If you divorce the basis for the tax from the basis for the calculation of benefits, you would erode that "I'm only getting what I paid for" notion.  It then becomes easier for opponents of SS to paint it as a "welfare" program, and it becomes easier for oppoents to erode the support for the program.  

  •  I think that the rich should pay more (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    coffeetalk

    but I also disagree with some people here who want the rich to pay 80% and 90% tax rates either. There's a mentality here among a small minority that, if a person makes "too much money", "too much money" being anything above $250K, that person should have no problem giving up more than half of his income to the IRS. I don't agree with that either.

    •  Do you understand the progressive income tax (4+ / 0-)

      system?

      Do you understand that half of families (mostly two wage earners) make under 50,000?

      The compassion for the lower rich around here floors me.  50% of all income over 250,000 is hardly confiscatory.

      What did FDR know?  He just created the modern American middle class.

      "What we've seen the last few days is nothing less than the final verdict on an economic philosophy that has completely failed." -- Barack Obama

      by TomP on Wed Apr 15, 2009 at 06:28:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well (0+ / 0-)

        The one problem that people here don't realize is that $250K in places like NY and DC isn't as much as some of you think. Now $250K in rural OK is much different. At the very least there should be some locality adjustment in computing tax rates.

        I make $75K and live in a big city. Maybe I make more than half of America's families. But I have student loans and other bills to pay back. After I give 40% of my income to taxes I have around $45K to live on annually. In a place like my city that's not a lot of money when rent is around $1000, I have student loans of around $600 to pay back, and so forth.

        •  Oh give me a break. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          chrome327

          My heart does not bleed for those making over 250 in NYC.  Even at 50% for income over 250, they do fine.

          At least you have a job and make a good income.  Many people have no jobs.

          "What we've seen the last few days is nothing less than the final verdict on an economic philosophy that has completely failed." -- Barack Obama

          by TomP on Wed Apr 15, 2009 at 07:14:00 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  And see this is why it is hard to have a rational (0+ / 0-)

            debate on taxes. Some of you think that anyone making above an arbitrarily set amount of money is "rich" and somehow should have no problem giving up a significant part of his income without any regard to the cost of living or other issues.

            Honestly some of you think that those who make "a lot of money" somehow don't deserve it and should give it up in taxes because somehow they weren't worthy of it to begin with. I guess that the heart surgeon who makes $500K to $1 million a year, even though he may have a lot of expenses to keep his practice going, should have no problem giving up all of his income (90%) above 250K.

            But when I said the $250K figure I was factoring in a family with two kids. With $250K, when you factor in the taxes, it's not as much as you think.

      •  Well, at some point a very high marginal tax rate (0+ / 0-)

        on what you call the "lower rich" becomes counterproductive.

        Take a surgeon, for example, who makes, say, $600,000 a year.   Say he does that seeing 300 patients, and employs two nurses, and two administrative assistants (accounting, paperwork).  If you tax him at a 90% rate (an extreme example) for all income above $250,000, then from say June until the end of the year, he is (if he lives in a state with a state income tax as well) working for nothing. Only a fool would spend six months of the year working for nothing, and I think it's a pretty safe bet that the surgeon is no fool.  He'd much, much, much have the time off than work for nothing.  So, he either takes half the year off, and limits his salary to about $250,000, or, more likely, what he does is cut his patients from 300 to 150, work mornings only, lay off one nurse and one administrative assistant.  Either way, the government is not getting much from him on that 90% tax rate.  Nobody is going to put themselves in a position of working for nothing -- i.e. a situation where the federal and state government takes virtually every cent you work for.

        Now, will he do that kind of thing with a marginal tax rate of about 40% (where Obama wants to take it)?  No.  50%?  Probably not.  But the higher you go, the more likely you are to push people like that into cutting back on their work and laying off employees, and getting diminishing returns on that 90%.  

        The real problem here, I think, is that even if you put a very high rate (like 70%) on the top 1% earners (which is household AGI of about $389,000 and above), there would not be enough revenue there to pay for the deficits we'll have over the next several years.  There are only about 1.3 million filers in that top 1%.   See here.  If you limit that very high 70% rate to the really rich -- say AGI (two incomes) over $1 million -- there are far, far, fewer of those households -- maybe 150,000?  Either way, not nearly enough money there.  Tax increases are going to have to go below that $250,000 level.  

        •  What? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          chrome327

          No one is taxing anyone at a 90% rate.  Besides, maybe we need to pay surgeons less?  

          The idea that people should be paid $600,000 a year is flawed.

          I disagree that there is enough money from taxing the ultra rich.

          is that even if you put a very high rate (like 70%) on the top 1% earners (which is household AGI of about $389,000 and above), there would not be enough revenue there to pay for the deficits we'll have over the next several years.  There are only about 1.3 million filers in that top 1%.   See here.  If you limit that very high 70% rate to the really rich -- say AGI (two incomes) over $1 million -- there are far, far, fewer of those households -- maybe 150,000?  Either way, not nearly enough money there.  

          It is not number of filers; it is amount of income.

          But on a deperr point, the knee jerk defenses of the highly paid shows so much.

          What about the poor?  What about the jobless.

          My heart does not bleed for people making 600,000.

          "What we've seen the last few days is nothing less than the final verdict on an economic philosophy that has completely failed." -- Barack Obama

          by TomP on Wed Apr 15, 2009 at 07:35:04 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Well, it appears that you and I (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Samulayo

            have differing views of the purpose of the federal income tax system.  I view the money that people earn as their own property, and tax in derogation of those property rights, and thus taxation should be viewed as a "necessary evil" and a tool used for funding the necessary aspects of federal government.  Progressive taxation is absolutely necessary because people at higher income levels have more disposable income, i.e., a tax will not take food off the table for them the way it does for people at lower income levels.  They are more able to fund those necessary elements of government, which is why they should pay a higher percentage of their income.  But tax dollars are still the taking of someone's property and thus must be spent sparingly and spent well.  

            I often get the impression that some here view the tax system as a way of leveling off incomes, or making incomes "fairer" -- of making sure that some people don't earn too much money.  This appears to me to be your view based on the fact that you don't seem to address marginal tax rates in terms of how much money they will raise, but instead in terms of how they will limit income.  Under that view, the revenue raised is not as important as the notion that it is not "fair" for some people to earn so much more money than others, and thus the tax system should be used to make income levels more "fair."  If that is true, then we are talking past each other and, of course, won't ever come to any agreement.

            .  

            •  Check out Thomas Jefferson... (0+ / 0-)

              At some point some people are getting out of the system way more value than they are adding and the more they can do that then the more they can demand and even guarantee getting even more... imagine  being a small group that can demand ever larger raises from where they work... beyond what they are worth after a while till they are choking off the economic well being of their company... in the larger sense it is choking the whole society and reshaping it to suit the ultra rich... that is what our ancestors fled to go to the new world... the super rich then were the feudal aristocracies.. that ran or controlled everything.

              Monopolies of power and remuneration...

              Jefferson basically agreed with Paine's private property approach. From a letter to Madison:

                 "Another means of silently lessening the inequality of property is to exempt all from taxation below a certain point, and to tax the higher portions of property in geometrical progression as they rise. Whenever there is in any country, uncultivated lands and unemployed poor, it is clear that the laws of property have been so far extended as to violate natural right."

              Jefferson was also in favor of the Bill of Rights including an explicit right against monopolies. It's pretty clear that many of the founders did not consider the 'rights' limited to negative rights, as many modern-day libertarians claim.

              updating his sentiments we find it looks like the tax rates we used to have in better times with a stronger middle class.

              Pogo & Murphy's Law, every time. Also "Trust but verify" - St. Ronnie

              by IreGyre on Wed Apr 15, 2009 at 09:31:40 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Some professions--like being a complicated (0+ / 0-)

            surgeon--require years of training and significant investments in terms of student loans. It requires years of careful study and residency. I don't know how long it necessarily takes a surgeon to complete medical school, residency, internships, and other training before finally being able to go on his/her own; but, at the very least, you're looking at 5-10 years before that doctor can practice. And if you start a college program at age 18 a person is giving up 10-12 of income to beocme a doctor.

            And here is the crux of the debate. You don't think that people should be making $600K--or what other arbitrary level of income that you and the others decide. What you seem to be advocating is for a maximum wage. I just don't agree with that.

        •  If his accountant is worth anything... (0+ / 0-)

          after expenses and if his business is structured properly... there is not a whole lot of taxable income left above 250k to pay extra tax on... so the surgeon is not doing all that badly ... unless you mean he is getting 600k net not gross after all his expenses... if the 600 is net before taxes he is still going to have to live on @ 400k for a year...

          And if 600k is his net after expenses and before taxes I think his income is the result of some sort of rigging of his value in his line of work; somehow is charging beyond what the market can bear in an artificially created, leveraged semi-monopoly with insurance companies working the other side of the equation to game the system and pump up cash flows...

          At some point the other 99% of the public must have a say on allowing the incentives and rewards in our society not to be controlled and dictated by the other 1% whether they are financial voodoo men, CEO's milking Corporations and stockholders or successful Hollywood plastic surgeons... Since they seem to be valued most in our system because they ensure that they are "valued" most...it just means we are in an oligarchy where the rich "know best" and we have to do what they say pay them what they demand... because they can make us... or we have little or no choice. No different in the end than a form or organized crime... where offers demands are made that can't be refused. In this kind of society choice is for the few not the many.

          I like the taxes like they were under Eisenhower... or if you don't like that then under Nixon and if you still don't like that then a return to the taxes we had under Reagan would still be better for our economy and our Democracy... and help restore a vigorous, prosperous middle class.

          Pogo & Murphy's Law, every time. Also "Trust but verify" - St. Ronnie

          by IreGyre on Wed Apr 15, 2009 at 09:23:44 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Well, (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    IreGyre, chrome327, MinistryOfTruth

    the republican party pretty much bases their ethics on money to begin with.
       That part in the bible, 'where Christ drives the money-lenders from the temple'-this is where the Religious Right stumbled. They interpreted that as meaning that Christ provided "limo service." I can see where this would be an eay mix-up for them.

    "Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from a religious conviction." --Blaise Pascal

    by lyvwyr101 on Wed Apr 15, 2009 at 06:46:03 AM PDT

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