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On "Your Money" on CNN today, there was a debate about the surcharge on those with high incomes to pay for health care reform.  Of course there was a wealthy person against it, and we have heard a lot of that, while usually the ones for it are those who do not make enough for the tax to hit them. I fall into that category.  

The interesting part included a descendent of Oscar Meyer who is wealthy and is volunteering to pay it and is  advocating that it is fair for the rich to pay 1% on income above $350,000 and capping out at 5.4% on incomes of $1 million or more.  He said that these same people have been benefitting from the Bush tax cuts for the rich and that it is fair to help with the health insurance crisis and talked about a petition that wealthy people are signing in support of it.  If I were fortunate enough to make that much, I would gladly pay more taxes so that evenyone could be insured at an affordable rate.  Here is the website:

I also find it interesting and fair since our country has had much higher tax rates for the rich in previous years--
The 70s and 80s--up to 70%!  In the 50s and early 60s--as high as 91% and 92%.  I think adding 5.4% to an existing rate of 35% is not the end of the world, especially since people at that level of income have accountants who help bring down the taxable income to much lower amounts.  The opponent said that doing so would make us like France, and we are much richer than they are.  This same person would likely rant about our deficit and talk about how poor we are.  He wants some PEOPLE to be rich, himself included, even to the detriment of the country and its other citizens.

Heck, even on my $50,000 income, I would willingly pay another 1% if everyone could be covered.  How do I know that I or someone I love won't be the next to suffer from a pre-existing condition and become uninsurable?  

As a teacher (and every teacher I know does this), I willingly spend my own money for things that benefit my class and "loan" money to kids who have no lunch money.  There are programs for free lunches, but some families do not qualify and yet don't always send money with the students for lunch every day.  I know the scammers who just want money for candy in the machines, but there are also kids who have parents in the hospital, etc. who just don't have it sometimes.  We buy items we don't really want or need for school fund raisers and/or donate to school activities.  

We do this because it is the right thing to do.  I know many on this site who make much less than $350,000 also contribute much to endeavors that are good for the people of the country and do it with a smile.  It is nice to see some wealthy people wanting to do the right thing also.  It would be nice to have some of them appear at President Obama's press conference and stand up for the good of the country.

Originally posted to not this time on Sat Jul 18, 2009 at 10:59 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I'm with you - 6-figure combined income here and (6+ / 0-)

    we'd gladly 1% pay more in federal taxes to help provide universal health care and 1% more in state taxes to help improve public education.

    We are dead-set against further increases in sales taxes and would welcome additional sin taxes on soft drinks, alcohol, and tobacco products, as well as luxury taxes on new vehicles that aren't fuel-efficient and low-emissions.

    The Tyranny of the Minority - WHY did 60 become the new 51?

    by 1BQ on Sat Jul 18, 2009 at 11:40:02 AM PDT

  •  I'm like you (4+ / 0-)

    I'm a teacher, I make less than $50k, and I'd pay 1%.
    (What I wouldn't support, however, is 100% estate taxes to pay for health care, which is what someone suggested in another diary today.)
    Thank you for the links and quotes.

  •  My thoughts on taxes (0+ / 0-)

    while I think that there needs to be a progressive tax system, and that the rich need to pay a higher percentage of their income than the poor, I think there is some moral upper limit to what percentage of earned income a person should have to pay. For me, 50% of money that someone gets up every day and goes to work to earn is about my upper limit.  

    Yes, household incomes over $350,000 mean that the (usually) two people working are doing very very very well.  Yes, it's usually professional couples in that range.  Yes, they should pay a higher percentage of their income than, say, teachers.  But, on the other hand, they are not like a descendant of Oscar Meyer -- more often than not, they have worked, and are working, to earn that money.  In the case of a doctor, for example, he/she has gone to years of post-graduate school, and has gone into deep debt, to be in a position to earn that money, and he/she gets up every day and works to earn that money.  Yes, a good doctor -- espeically, for example, a surgeon -- can earn $500,000 or more.  But still, given what he/she has sacrificed to get there, given the fact that he/she is still working (and many doctors work long hours to earn that), for me, 50% of their earned income is about the upper moral limit.  I'd never be for the 70% or higher rates on earned income that some people favor.  

    •  Well (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      You also forgot to mention that those doctors also have to pay malpractice insurance, salaries for their support staff, rent for their office space, and other expenses. So even then, while they may be making $500K, they're not filthy rich either. They may be very well off, but they aren't fully loaded either. Also, if you factor in that those making $350K are likely to be in places like LA, NYC, DC, and other major big cities where the cost of living is very high, they're as "rich" as some people here make them out to be.

      For me the highest rate that I think is reasonable is 50%. Anything else borders on wealth confiscation. What it seems to be is that there are some people here who just resent those who make lots of money or who have worked hard to get where they are to be making that amount of money because they think that they don't deserve their income. They seem to think that once a person's income reaches an arbirtary point where they "make too much money", they should have no problem forking 91% of every dollar above to the IRS. I just don't agree with that.

      I agree that the rich should pay more, but I don't anyone should have to fork over 91% of one's income above a certain point

      •  I appreciate the comments (0+ / 0-)

        about doctors, since my son has just graduated from med school and has started practicing.  I truly know of the sacrifices doctors make to get there; while his friends were getting married, having children, buying houses, and having fun, he was studying most of the time, was stressed all of the time, and taking on more debt.  I helped him financially as much as I could, but there was no way that I could pay it all.  

        When doctors enter the profession, they usually owe the amount of a mortgage or more in student loans.  He is in his 30s and is just getting started, so I definitely wouldn't want him to be body slammed by a high tax rate.  The good news is that lenders tend to give low % rates on loans for cars and houses to future doctors, not out of any humanity I'm sure, but probably because they smell the future money that may be there and want to get their hands on it.

        When I quoted the 70% and 91% rates in the past, I wasn't advocating that we go to them now.  It is just that people who are making over a million act like another 5.4% of that will bankrupt them.  I would hope they would look at it as a charity contribution with no deductions and no big event connected with it.  It could be their contribution to society given in a quiet, humble way and we would all know they gave it.  I agree that 50% is a reasonable amount and that there should be a difference between earned income and inherited money.  

        I just don't understand why some people don't realize that they have a much better tax situation than they did in the past and certainly the last eight years have been good for them, and realize that it is time to kick in for the common good.  

        •  Doctors owe more than that (0+ / 0-)

          Most doctors leave medical school owing probably $200-$300K (that also includes undergraduate debts). On top of that, depending on what they specialize, they also have to do internships and residencies. They probably aren't making "doctors' salaries" until they are well into their 30s. So a very high tax rate would hurt them.

          What type of doctor is he?

          •  He is an (0+ / 0-)

            anesthesiologist.  He actually wanted to be a surgeon, but it would have been more years and more money.  He likes the surgical field and decided during his rotations that anesthesia was a good fit.  He has a wife and baby now and they are still paying school loans.  

            Thank those of you who were understanding of a doctor's sacrifices without my stating that my son was one.  

            I just hope that there is a public option available so that any person can take advantage of health care.

            •  That is a necessary speciality but one (0+ / 0-)

              thing that I've noticed about anesthesiologists is that they don't take insurance. Anytime that I've had an operation they've charged me a lot more than I expected to pay since they have usually not been connected to any insurance companies.

              •  I haven't had that experience, (0+ / 0-)

                but I haven't had a lot of surgery, either.  He and a group of other docs have formed a professional group with centralized office support.  I will ask him if they take insurance.  I am thinking they do; most around here do and I just assumed they do.  

  •  I think that the absolute most that someone (0+ / 0-)

    should pay is around 40-45% and I wouldn't have that kick in until around $500K for a single person and $1 million for couple. I don't think that we should have tax rates nearing 91%; that amounts to wealth confiscation. Anything above 50% is unreasonable to me.

  •  I'm with you (0+ / 0-)

    I would gladly pay higher taxes to ensure nobody in this country had to worry about getting sick.  I'm not rich by any means, but at the same time I am doing far better than many, and I welcome opportunities to make a difference when I can.  I donated a significant amount to a friend who requires surgery her insurance refuses to pay for, and make ongoing donations to another friend who suffered a catastrophic stroke while self-employed and uninsured.

    I want to live in a society where we all take care of each other, and it seems to me that one way to make that happen is for those of us who enjoy abundance beyond our needs to contribute in the form of higher taxes to ensure a minimum standard of living for all of us.

  •  You can always pay more (0+ / 0-)

    I don't tell this to my tax clients, because I don't want them throwing things at me, but the government is happy to accept extra tax payments. So if you're feeling like you should be paying more, you can always pay extra.

    •  But can you tell them how to use it? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      not this time

      I would really hate to pay them more and have it help buy another F-22.

    •  I wouldn't want my "more" (0+ / 0-)

      to be used to let someone with a lot of income to pay "less."  I am just saying that I don't understand the anger at paying a small amout of one's income to help the nation.  I have had a child in a children's hospital and looked around and see how hard it is for some families.  For many, it will be a challenge that will be ongoing for years.  

      If there was a check mark on the income tax return to pay more, ensuring that it would go to health care (much like the donation for campaigns or the donation to the elderly for utilities on my utility bill) I would do it.  In fact, I think that would be a good idea for those who make under $250,000.  Since President Obama promised not to raise those taxes, there could be a voluntary donation on the income tax form.

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