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The uproar and reaction against Obama's plan for a modest surtax on the top 1% of earners, to help fund health care reform is totally baffling to me. What am I missing?

When the Obama administration suggested that perhaps a modest surtax on America’s top 1 percent of the wealthiest individuals might be a way to pay for health care might have thought that Lenin himself had risen from his tomb to again attack Capitalism.  Indeed, the proposal was so modest, so benign, and so fair that the strong negative response baffled me. What am I missing here?

To recall, what was suggested (though there were variations) was 1-5% surtax on only the top 1 percent earners.  Roughly this involved folks earning from about $350,000 (a starting 1%  surtax); to those in the top .01% whose average incomes were $5.6 million; and those in the top .001% whose average incomes were $25.7 million annually (all figures from 2005 statistics).  It was estimated that the modest surtaxes on these wealthy and super wealthy groups could raise about $500 Billion, or about half the estimated cost so that all Americans could have accessible, affordable health care!  But, it was not to be – the hue and cry that any taxes, or the mention of taxes, or even the thought of any more taxes, was forbidden, frightful and unattainable.  What am I missing here?

In March 2006 Forbes reported there were 793 Billionaires in the US with combined net worth of $2.6 trillion. In March 2007 Forbes reported 946 billionaires in the US with combined net worth of $3.5 trillion. That is a 1-year increase of 19% in the number of billionaires and an increase of 35% in their net worth.  Presumably, many of this group was in the top .001% of income as well; and a 5% surtax on an average income of $25 million would be an extra $1.25 million in taxes. With at least several thousand million dollars left in their bank accounts, and more coming in daily, I cannot see how surtax could affect their lifestyle even minutely.  The enlightened super wealthy, like Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, have come to that very conclusion.   For those in the lower group of the top 1 percent (those in say the $350,000 bracket), the 1% surtax would reduce their incomes by a measly $3500. They too, could manage quite nicely with the remaining income.  Meanwhile every American man, woman and child would have the health care and medical treatment a great country should offer, as is common in all other industrialized nations.  So, what am I missing here?

Now, I am going to print some very bad words – so send the kids out of the room: income redistribution!  That’s pretty much what a lot of this is about, and de facto, part of what taxes do.  Taxing the wealthy to help the less fortunate.  In the most recent figures, the top 1 percent of Americans own about 42% of the wealth in our country; the next 19 percent own about 50% -- that leaves about 8% for the entire lower 80% of all Americans.  What is most pathetic about the rejection of placing a modest tax on the very wealthiest among us, is that such a tiny amount  redistributed from top to the bottom, would make such a significant improvement in our country’s health, wellness, and ethical governance.

Regarding income distribution (as differentiated from "wealth"), Americans have the highest income inequality in the industialized world, and over the past 20–30 years Americans have also experienced the greatest increase in income inequality among rich nations. Between 1979 and 2005, the mean after-tax income for the top 1% increased by 176%, compared to an increase of 69% for the top quintile overall; 21% for the third quintile, 17% for the second quintile and 6% for the bottom quintile. Conservatives rail against adding taxes, and point out that the top brackets already pay most of the taxes. Of course they do -- the poorest among us have little or no money!  As bank robber Willie Sutton said when asked why he robs banks, replied: "because that’s where the money is." What am I missing here?

Moreover, a small surtax would address one of the most egregious examples of greed in our country in a way that would help preserve Capitalism and its principals.  That is the obscene bonuses recently paid to Wall St. executives – the bonuses that virtually all Americans abhor and criticize.  Nine banks who received TARP money gave employees $5.33 Billion in bonuses in 2008.  Over 4800 of these banking executives received more than $1 million each!  While Congress is swiftly trying to cap such outrageous actions, wouldn’t it be a simpler, easier, more useful way to stifle this behavior by just taxing  these excessive payments, and returning money to the Treasury for deficit reduction, or again, to fund health care. It creates a natural disincentive to pay obscene compensation amounts; and, it is a better way than government meddling in private sector compensation. What am I missing here?

If my logic is so strong, and yet I seem to be missing the point, perhaps I should explore why there is such resistance to the surtax idea. Maybe it is because I fail to understand those who oppose it. So, who are they?  Well, first among them are those ideologues who live and die by promoting Capitalism as a strictly laissez faire economic system – any taxation is undesirable, and the less the better.   Then there are those who see government as an enemy and have no compunction against funding it with as little as possible – perhaps to see it fail.  Finally it is a well known fact that it is the wealthy and super wealthy who heavily fund political campaigns – and taxing that group scares the politicians of both parties as elections come due.  In our political system, unfortunately, money talks...and big money talks the loudest.  I understand that maybe I am not missing a thing!

Originally posted to myles spicer on Tue Aug 04, 2009 at 07:11 AM PDT.


Should we have a surtax on top incomes to help fund health care reform?

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Comment Preferences

  •  good diary. If I may add a point... (12+ / 0-)

    payroll tax, which funds Social Security, is only paid on the first $100,000 or so of income. So if you make less than $100,000, you pay a higher percentage of your income for that tax. And that tax is 6%. I say they're still getting off lucky.

    Then they'll raise their hands, Sayin' we'll meet all your demands, But we'll shout from the bow your days are numbered.

    by gooners on Tue Aug 04, 2009 at 07:22:26 AM PDT

  •  republicans (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    myboo, Toon, QuestionAuthority, moonpal

    most republicans are like loyal serfs.  Even know the lords keep them living in squalor, for some reason they remain loyal.

    (regarding the bank mess) They want to cure the patient but not deal with the disease.

    by dark daze on Tue Aug 04, 2009 at 07:25:38 AM PDT

  •  Rather, We Need Proper Progressive Taxation (6+ / 0-)

    As we proved repeatedly is a national security measure that's needed to keep the top end from turning the economy into a casino and driving the United States to cause global depressions in the aftermath, as we have now done twice after severe top end tax cutting.

    We'd have money for single payer if we restored proper income and estate taxation, and the entire rest of the economy would settle down and go back to a broad range of ordinarily profitable moderate-growth-producing business.

    Personally I don't think the 50% top marginal rates of Europe are high enough to be safe, but that'd be the minimum final negotiating line in the sand for me.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Tue Aug 04, 2009 at 07:30:07 AM PDT

    •  90% top rate during Ike's presidency (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      grndrush, Toon, QuestionAuthority

      didn't seem to destroy the country. And let us please note that capital gains were taxed at the same rates as earned income. Forward to the past!

      Wake up to find out that you are the eyes of the world.

      by kafkananda on Tue Aug 04, 2009 at 07:40:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That rate was on AGI that would amount (0+ / 0-)

        to $2.2 million a year in today's dollars.  And there were so many deductions (remember, the basic definition of AGI was changed in 1986) that very few people even at that level paid anywhere near that kind of tax. So, it really is a false comparison to say, for example, impose those kinds of top marginal rates on today's top 1%.  

        And, of course, the Kennedy tax cuts did, in the view of many, spur the economic growth of the 1960's.  It is at least arguable that significant cuts in the top marginal rates can, under some circumstances, help economic growth.  

        I think it's undeniable that top marginal rates have some effect on the economy.  The question is where the magic tipping point is -- what percent of GDP can you take in taxes before there is a detrimental effect.  

        •  That economic analysis misses the broader (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          effects of having a super rich elite running the show. Outlawing billionaires is about saving our democracy, our planet, our freedoms and our souls.

          Wake up to find out that you are the eyes of the world.

          by kafkananda on Tue Aug 04, 2009 at 08:30:08 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Outlawing billionaires is one thing (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            (although philosophically I am opposed to a federal government putting a cap on wealth or income, as some would propose). That may address those very few Wall Street types that make that kind of money.  But it does not get us the kind of revenue we are going to need, because there really aren't that many billionaires around.  And, since you certainly aren't going to confiscate all, or even most, of their wealth (realistically, that's just not going to happen), putting another 10% or even 20% on the top marginal rates for those making over, say, $10 million a year just doesn't raise the kind of revenue that will be needed.  There just aren't enough of those types.  Last year, there were just 141,000 returns with AGI over about $2 million, which is where Eisenhower's 90% rate would fall today (although we don't have the deductions that the top taxpayers did then, so the 90% rate should probably be on even higher income to be comparable).  

            My point was that raising the marginal rates on the top 5%, or even the top 1%, is not affecting billionaires.  Those households are, for the most part, two-income families, often of two working professionals.  So, when most people talk about raising the top marginal rates on "the rich," depending on how you define that, you are taking more money from people who (1) generally put in a lot in terms of education, etc. (like doctors) to get to that level; and (2) people who go to work every day to earn that money.  It's more than just Paris Hilton types.  And it's for those people -- who get up every day and work for what they earn, like a surgeon, for example -- I think that there's some kind of moral cap on what they should have to pay in income taxes.  

            •  For one. (0+ / 0-)

              As for those that generally "put in a lot in terms of education", I say lets make education free so that every person in the country has the opportunity to put in as much as they want towards an education. Then let the fight for career slots really begin.

              Secondly, how can you put a "moral cap" on what people should pay in taxes and not a 'moral minimum' to assure people aren't suffering and dying? Where should the morality lie?

              To whom it may concern. Waterboarding is torture. Torture is illegal. Sincerely, A. No Brainer.

              by Pescadero Bill on Tue Aug 04, 2009 at 08:57:18 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  The problem with that is (0+ / 0-)

                that the U.S. government spends money on a whole lot more than keeping people from dying.  

                I absolutely think the government should function as a safety net of last resort, providing food, shelter, and basic medical care to protect human life.  The question is how to do that?  Who should get the safety net (I think progressives and conservatives disagree on that -- see the whole "deserving poor" notion)?  And how should that safety net be provided?  

                And if the federal government can't function by taking half of everything that some people work for, then it needs to learn to live within its means.  Like maybe start with not bailing out Wall Street.  And, there's a whole lot more that went into that stimulus package, for example, than a safety net for those in need.  

                I think it's a matter of how you look at the federal government spending.  Do you say, this is our wish list, this is what we think we should have, now let's get the money to pay for it somewhere?  Or do you say, this is the money we've got to work with, here are our priorities, what can we do without?  

              •  On the Frontline documentary (0+ / 0-)

                about how other countries address health care, one country (I can't remember which one) makes medical school free in return for the smaller income they make under their system.

                I can't go through it now, but here is the link.  You can watch the whole thing through, or choose individual countries.


            •  I appreciate your comments. (0+ / 0-)

              I'm not any economist so it's all black magic to me. :-) Whatever new tax policies evolve, we need to have a clear(er) idea of what's what and it's great to hear the many understandings available here on DailyKos. Even on the bottom scales it makes sense to me to have a way of contributing into the government to show unity, buy-in, responsibility and generate self respect.

              I thought that Ron Paul touched on a very interesting point when he equated paying for health care by reigning in the Military Industrial Complex. Let the rich keep their money, let people have their health care, just stop being a vicious bully nation. The webs of ordinary people (my father was among them) who work in the MIC are held hostage by the uncertainties of shifting patterns of spending in these peacefully trending times. Something like this, so widespread, is much harder to quantify and analyze than tax rates.

              Wake up to find out that you are the eyes of the world.

              by kafkananda on Tue Aug 04, 2009 at 09:14:35 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  From what I've learned, tax cuts never spurred (0+ / 0-)

          the economy.

          Government spending as a form of wealth redistribution does. In the 60's it was the bloating of the MIC and space programs combined with the new incredibly effective marketing machine known as the television. Got people to spend, spend, spend.

          If anything, the tax cuts started the practice of government operating from dept.

          At least that was my take on it.

          And as for your closing paragraph, we're talking progressive income tax. Not overall taxes on all the aspects that make up the GPD.

          What people have to realize is that tax collection from the wealthy guarantees that money will be circulated back in to the economy, rather then tied up in various and growing array of financial instruments.

          It's a fact that when the wealthy get hold of money, they tend to hold on to it and take it out of reach of some 80% of the rest of us.

          There comes a wealth tipping point that some reach when they have enough money to hire people to assure they'll always have money, and will almost always increase that money. That's what progressive taxes were meant to counteract and assure it doesn't all get tied up by the wealthy.

          To whom it may concern. Waterboarding is torture. Torture is illegal. Sincerely, A. No Brainer.

          by Pescadero Bill on Tue Aug 04, 2009 at 08:50:00 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Actually, I think there's a disagreement (0+ / 0-)

            in this country over the purpose of the federal income tax.  Yes, many here believe that one of its main functions is to even out wealth, to assure that the rich don't get too rich.  But others in this country believe that the purpose of the federal income tax is to raise the revenue necessary to fund the government, not to enact social policy by trying to limit wealth.  

            That's why, during the debate, Obama's answer on that capital gains question spurred so much buzz among some.  Remember when the premise of the question was, if an increase in capital gains rates would not result in more income (yes, I know that many debate the premise, but that's what was asked), would you still raise capital gains rates?  His answer was yes, because of fairness.  I think there's a good segment of the country (clearly not on this site, of course) that thinks the federal government should use income taxes to raise necessary revenue, and that's it.

            So when you make statements like  "That's what progressive taxes were meant to counteract and assure it doesn't all get tied up by the wealthy," please recongize that not everybody in this country agrees with you.  In fact, I'd be curious to see what percentage of this country agrees with that view.  I think it's one of the fundamental debates this country is going to have over the next decade.  

            •  My bad. Progressive taxes weren't "meant" to (0+ / 0-)


              But that's what they do.

              To whom it may concern. Waterboarding is torture. Torture is illegal. Sincerely, A. No Brainer.

              by Pescadero Bill on Tue Aug 04, 2009 at 09:03:08 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Well, the real question, I think, is (0+ / 0-)

                how progressive is progressive enough?  

                Income taxes (even before the Bush tax cuts expire) are already progressive.  (See my post below for a link and statistics.)  The question is, is that progressive enough, or too much?  How much of the income tax burden should the top 1% bear?  The top 5%?  That's all a matter of opinion, which is why the country has this debate every so often.  

          •  And as for this (0+ / 0-)

            Government spending as a form of wealth redistribution does. In the 60's it was the bloating of the MIC and space programs combined with the new incredibly effective marketing machine known as the television. Got people to spend, spend, spend.

            If anything, the tax cuts started the practice of government operating from dept.

            At least that was my take on it.

            That's the problem with economics -- there's no "control" in a vaccuum, so it's hard to tell what causes economic growth.  Certainly, the Kennedy tax cuts were followed by a period of economic growth, and the Reagan tax cuts were followed by a period of economic growth.  (And, of course, the Clinton tax increases were followed by a period of economic growth.) I'm not sure that there are any economists who agree with your view of what caused the economic growth in the 60's -- do you have a cite, or is that just your opinion?  

            •  I can cite. But then you'd probably (0+ / 0-)

              just post your counter cites. And I really don't have time to argue this.

              The only point I'm trying to make is that the wealthy always have the advantage of gaining more wealth. Historically the natural tendency of wealth patterns has been those with the most money have the power to dominate others and win and control more and more wealth.

              The only counter balance to that and means of preventing and interrupting that pattern is a progressive tax policy. It was the main lesson of the New Deal era.

              Any other tax policy that strives to balance the burden between the wealthy and the middle/poor classes will eventually lead to the current upward wealth distribution pattern we are seeing today.

              That to me seems a point that can't be denied.

              To whom it may concern. Waterboarding is torture. Torture is illegal. Sincerely, A. No Brainer.

              by Pescadero Bill on Tue Aug 04, 2009 at 09:23:36 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Minnesota (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Pescadero Bill

            In my state (Minnesota) there has been absolutley no correlation between taxes and economic development. We were most prosperous when we were considered a high tax state. Our present governor is a "no tax" proponent, and now we actually LAG other midwest states in growth and economic development.

            •  To me there's no debate. (0+ / 0-)

              Well funded government spurs economic growth. And the only way to assure the government is well funded is through a progressive tax policy.

              Depression is the status quo economic cycle for the poor. And an abyss many middle class families are constantly on the edge of.

              The tax burden to fund the government must lie with the wealthy.

              To whom it may concern. Waterboarding is torture. Torture is illegal. Sincerely, A. No Brainer.

              by Pescadero Bill on Tue Aug 04, 2009 at 09:41:47 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  plus shelters (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Not mentioned either is the numerous shelters the wealthy enjoy.  Income in the form of municipal bond interest is tax free federally; and not taxable in most states for residents.

  •  When a Republlican (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Toon, QuestionAuthority

    says "tax" he's talking about the income tax. In toto the lower 80% of us ppay a hell of a lot more in taxes than they do because we pay many more kinds  of tax. Gooners posted part of the reason.

    "If I pay a man enough money to buy my car, he'll buy my car." Henry Ford

    by johnmorris on Tue Aug 04, 2009 at 07:31:02 AM PDT

  •  Also, recurring themes (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kafkananda, QuestionAuthority

    From the likes of Limbaugh etc.

    Don't tax the rich more, or middle- and lower-class workers will lose their jobs!!


    Don't tax the rich more, because YOU want to be rich one day, don't you?  You want higher taxes?  Of course not!!

    Irrationality x (Fear + Greed) = Republicanism

  •  What are you missing? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kafkananda, Toon, QuestionAuthority

    That universal health insurance is a national moral commitment.  If universal health insurance is a national moral commitment, shouldn't everyone be required to contribute?

    I think a better idea is to cap the employer exclusion at $6,000 for an individual and $16,000 for a family.  That's a tiny tax increase for recent college grads and middle-class families in high cost-of-living areas and for people with gold-plated plans in low cost-of-living areas.  This also lowers health care costs, and raises about the same amount of money as the millionaire tax.

  •  Ban the Billionaires! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Why don't we have an upper limit on total wealth? We need to define the financial playing field much more wisely. All our sports games have 'out-of-bounds', why not the financial game? If applied equally, then what's the big deal?

    Great diary. To answer your question, what you are missing is that you are not living a life of brain dead bogus talking points. Which puts you at variance with much of America.

    Wake up to find out that you are the eyes of the world.

    by kafkananda on Tue Aug 04, 2009 at 07:51:42 AM PDT

  •  A surtax (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    won't hurt the economy at all. In the past the US economy grew at a faster pace with higher tax rates than the last 25 years with lower tax rates. The Reagan tax cuts did nothing for the economy except  causing huge deficits. When Clinton raised the tax rate on the very rich in 1993, the deficits decreased while the economy grew at a faster rate than under Reagan and both Bushes.

    •  and raising the minimum wage (0+ / 0-)

      does not seem to have destroyed the Miracle Recovery as of yet, either.
      Of course, a week ago, we were told repeatedly that many Very Serious People were...concerned about just that, in spite of multiple studies of multiple instances where increases in the insulting Serf Wage had no negative impact.

      Next week in the astroturf media; how any minor perceived discomfort among the overlords means your children will burn in hell (and it will be your fault, commie!)

      The Republican Party will never die until there is a new political home for racists.

      by kamarvt on Tue Aug 04, 2009 at 08:51:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  important to distinguish between wealth and (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gary Norton, kafkananda, Toon

    income, doing so could help win over some in the smaller business community.  Wealth is all the assets you own, income is what you could spend on yourself.

    Suppose someone starts a business and works hard at it. The business does well and grows every year, profits go into expanding the business while the owner takes home a small salary.

    After some years the business could be worth millions, and thus the owner be a millionaire in terms of wealth, yet they may have never paid themselves more than a modest amount.

    That's not too unusual in smaller businesses. I worked at a company that had gross sales of some $30 million a year, yet the owner had a salary of no more then $100,000.

    Now income tax does only tax income, inheritance tax is a tax on wealth. But many on the Left say 'wealth' when talking about raising income related taxes, and 'wealth' to many in the business community means all their assets.  This generates an emotional reaction that can outweigh rational thinking on the subject.

    So emphasis "income", and mention those big bonuses; I suspect this will sit better with those small time entrepreneurs, many of whom are not happy seeing those big payouts.

  •  First of all, "surtax" is a stupid way of (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    selling what would actually be the addition of a new bracket at the top of the income scale.

    Most people misunderstand what a marginal tax bracket is, and therefore grossly overestimate the effect of a tax increase on an income earner at a given level.

    In fact, unless we're talking about different proposals, your numbers are exaggerated as well.  For example, you say:

    For those in the lower group of the top 1 percent (those in say the $350,000 bracket), the 1% surtax would reduce their incomes by a measly $3500.

    Actually, if the new bracket starts at $350,000, then someone making exactly $350,000 would see no increase.  Someone making $360,000 would see the 1% increase only on income earned above $350,000 -- so 1% of 10,000 ($100).  And so on.

    Perhaps someone is proposing a true "surtax" that isn't graduated -- but no serious analyst would ever do that, because it would be dead on arrival.

    I hated Lou Dobbs before it was cool.

    by cardinal on Tue Aug 04, 2009 at 08:06:12 AM PDT

    •  This unclarity you point to is all too common. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      It's just too easy to lie with statistics falsely applied. And how many of us know enough to tell the where the lie is?

      Wake up to find out that you are the eyes of the world.

      by kafkananda on Tue Aug 04, 2009 at 08:38:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I am all for taxing cigarettes. (0+ / 0-)

      They serve no positive purpose.  I get upset when my allergy meds (over the counter) are rationed because people make meth out of one of the ingredients, but then cigarettes, which have no medicinal value at all and kill people, are readily available.  

  •  Actually, I think it's a question (0+ / 0-)

    of how many time to go to the well.  

    The income tax on top earners already is rising to Clinton levels, when the Bush tax cuts expire.  That is already figured in the deficit.  That is what Obama said he would do during the campaign, and he said he would "only" raise top marginal rates back to the Clinton levels.  

    So, now he's going to go back on that campaign pledge, and the question is when to do it, and how much.  As Geithner and Summers said this weekend, once the recession ends, we are going to be faced with huge deficits, and a significant tax increase will be required to deal with that.  That's going to have to fall on everybody, of course, but I suspect the burden will fall more on the top 5%.  The alternative to a signficant income tax increase on everybody is a VAT, which as Greenspan said Sunday is the only thing that really raises the kind of significant revenue that will be needed.

    So, given that looming and significant tax increase, do you go again to only "the rich" to fund health care?  That's the question.  The philosophical issue is just how progressive the tax system should be.  It is already (even without these upcoming increases, even before the Bush tax cuts expire,
    progressive, in that the top 1% have 23% of the income and pay 40% of the income taxes, the top 5% have 37% of the income and pay 60% of the income taxes, and the top 10% have 48% of the income and pay 70% of the income taxes.  Significant tax increases may not be an issue for the Bill Gates and Warren Buffets of the world, but to a two-income family in New York, where two working professionals each take home $130,000 or so, three signficant tax increases (Bush tax cuts expire, to pay for the deficit, and to fund health care) will be an issue.  For these two-income families, with two (for example) working professionals, I think there is a moral cap to income taxes, and I'd put that somewhere around 50%.  I think that people who work for a living every day ought to be able to keep half of what they earn.  In New York, of course, when you add in state income taxes, they are already there.  

    Sometimes I think people here use the knee jerk "tax the rich" as a solution for all problems, the way conservatives use tax cuts as a solution for all problems.  That's easy to say, of course, because for many, "tax the rich" means "let somebody else pay for it."  But people need to remember that we're not talking only about the uber-rich (there are not enough of them to get the kind of revenue we'll need), and (unless you really reject capitalism, the way some here do), there really is some kind of moral limitation (in my mind) to how much of the money people work for every day that should be taken by the government. And, then again, there are some areas like universal health care, where if the country wants that, everybody should be willing to make SOME sacrifice.  The rich should sacrifice more, of course, but everybody should be chipping in some.  

    •  I have to wonder (0+ / 0-)

      when I hear people say "Some families are struggling on $250,000 a year."  If they are struggling, what the hell do they think the underlings are doing?  

      The wealthy are screaming now, but were awfully quiet when given tax cuts by Bush.  They didn't think that was unfair.

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