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   This is why it was so important to put profit over safety, which resulted in the deaths of 29 miners at a Massey coal mine and hundreds and hundreds of safety code violations before that.

    Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship was paid $17.8 million last year, "a $6.8 million raise over 2008 and almost double his compensation package in 2007. Blankenship also has a deferred compensation package valued at $27.2 million at the end of last year."

   The graph below proves that "Trickle Down" supply side economics ala President Reagan is pure bullsh*t. When the rich get richer everyone else gets poorer, and since the super rich are now richer than ever we should tax the hell out of them.

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  More below the fold.

   During the Bush/GOP years of 2000-2006 the richest 1-5% in America made ALL THE MONEY while the other 99-95% saw their jobs disappear and their wages stagnate in the face of an ever rising cost of living. The decade lasting from 2000-2009 should NOT be called the lost decade, it should be called the stolen decade.

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statistics from 2005

Under a Progressive Tax System we could lower taxes for EVERYONE making below a million a year if only we would tax the rich according to their wealth.

Some rough ideas on numbers.

1,000,000 +     =  43%
2,000,000 +     =  45%
5,000,000 +     =  45%
10,000,000 +    =  47%
20,000,000 +    =  49%
50,000,000 +    =  53%
100,000,000 +   =  60%
1,000,000,000 + =  75%

   Admittedly, I am no tax expert, and if millionaire Neil Cavuto wants to debate me on the matter, I will, and I will win. Do you know why? Because the facts are on MY side. America had it's strongest, largest middle class back in the late 1950's when the top tax bracket was at 90%. At 75%, my top tax bracket seems more than fair.

   And I wonder what side of the debate millionaire pundits like Neil Cavuto and Larry Kudlow will take?

   Now, I know what you are thinking, which is "How will billionaires ever survive on a mere quarter billion a year after taxes?"

   My thoughts to those billionaires, "Let them eat cake!"

   At $250,000+ per year an individual who faces a 3% tax hike is by no means oppressed. The fact that millionaires and billionaires are supposed to pay the same rate is the thing that should drive the $250k-$999,999 crowd up the wall!

   But make no mistake, the $250k-$999,999 crowd are NOT the problem. These people are NOT the private jet and butler crowd. They earn around 5 times the average income, They are NOT the problem.

   The problem is the CEO class that makes 500 times the average income. It is the greed that demands bigger and bigger dividends no matter what. These people WILL NOT SUFFER if higher taxes drop their income from 500x the average to 499x or 400x the average income after taxes. Don Blankenship will NOT suffer if he makes 12 million a year after taxes instead of 13 million.

   And maybe, just maybe, the economy would do better if lots of coal miners made a little more and Don Blankenship made a little less. Maybe coal billionaire David Koch can afford a bigger tax cut so Main St America doesn't shrivel up and starve to death in the winter. It's hard to buy coal energy when you are being kicked out of your home.

   In my honest opinion, we need new tax brackets for millionaires and billionaires, and we need them starting YESTERDAY. We need to take away the incentive for the CEO/shareholder class to rob the hell out of the working class for profit. Until we do that, the exploitation of the working class will continue unabated and the death spiral of what used to be the middle class will get worse and worse.

Taxed Enough Already? Though Fox News viewers don't know it, 95% of us got income tax CUTS. I think that is great, but I don't think that is enough. If you REALLY want to take the incentive to rob investors or skirt safety regulations away from the CEO class of the super rich tax them until their freakin eyes bleed. If they are going to scream socialist at you no matter what you do you might as well. It's not like the super rich could freak out any more than they already are. It seems to me that the super rich have WAY too much money to lobby Congress with when they aren't outsourcing your job and pulling down HUGE salaries while crashing the economy into the ground.

    I say we give the millionaires something to really cry about, and, knowing how whiny and over-privileged they are, a tax increase of a few percentage points should do just the trick.

And remember, when rich people tell you about Free Trade and Economic Freedom, they mean the better to eat you with

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    You can follow me on Twitter @JesseLaGreca


    Crossposted at

Originally posted to MinistryOfTruth on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 05:07 PM PDT.


Should we set new tax brackets for Millionaires and Billionaires?

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  •  Tips for Progressive Taxation (462+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JekyllnHyde, Alumbrados, Angie in WA State, Sylv, boydog, TXdem, catdevotee, decisivemoment, grollen, deben, Geenius at Wrok, mndan, mattman, DebtorsPrison, karlpk, wu ming, hyperstation, ChurchofBruce, eeff, movie buff, azale, the good witch, RFK Lives, SallyCat, Sandigurl, Jerome a Paris, pacific city, HighSticking, ssgbryan, bara, opinionated, Zinman, Athenian, cyberKosFan, SamSinister, Cassandra77, MD patriot, SoCalJayhawk, grassroot, ask, Morague, wanderindiana, itsmitch, nargel, Miss Blue, dchill, PeteZerria, Terre, splashy, antirove, wader, Lilyvt, scorpiorising, psnyder, pat bunny, goobop, churchylafemme, HeyMikey, Nemagaiq, penguins4peace, hazzcon, Greg in TN, RebeccaG, riverlover, Gator Keyfitz, Oaktown Girl, bwintx, zett, side pocket, Kitsap River, Vicky, CanYouBeAngryAndStillDream, bablhous, rambler american, slapshoe, Josiah Bartlett, TexMex, lalo456987, Gowrie Gal, Big Tex, Brecht, rapala, drofx, kbman, maybeeso in michigan, bloomer 101, historys mysteries, marina, 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JL, agoner, blue aardvark, innereye, RockyMtnLib, blackjackal, That Korean Guy, Sunspots, KingofSpades, Ezekial 23 20, MikeBoyScout, RLMiller, bleedingheartliberal218, Proleft, jaebone, ParkRanger, MichaelNY, PrometheusUnbound, too young to give up, nandssmith, Dakit, anthony21, livingthedream, pantherq, James Robinson, nutbutter, wolfie1818, JTinDC, StonyB, Hookah, halful, wordfiddler, toilpress, nellgwen, The Lone Apple, drgonzoo, J Brunner Fan, colonel ingus, FloridaSNMOM

    And to the millionaires I have this to say, in the words of Stephen Tyler "Take that Grey Poupon, my friend, and shove it up your ass!"

    I work for PeanutButterPAC, join us and help fight for Progress!

    by MinistryOfTruth on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 05:07:40 PM PDT

  •  Excellent diary, but Poe says (26+ / 0-)

    you need to change the title. :)

    'Course, I just made fun of a pasty white guy, so what the hell do I know? :P

    Lack of preparation on your part does not constitute an emergency on mine.

    by Colorado is the Shiznit on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 05:11:14 PM PDT

  •  We will raise their taxes only to help them out. (39+ / 0-)

    Look, capital is only works if there is a market.  To build a market you need to raise up the poor and stabilize the middle class.  To do this you need to invest in infrastructure, education and the welfare of the people.  To make these kinds of investments you need revenues.  To get revenues you need to tax those with money.
    So to help the poor billionaires make more money we must tax them.

    •  so true, (12+ / 0-)

      if it were up to me I would stop the fica (social security)after the present number (I think it is $106,000) and start it up again at $1,000,000(ala Al Franken). That would solve the social security problem forever. After anything over $2,000,000 I would jack the marginal rate up to 90% with generous tax shelter for investments in wind,solar, public transit,worker heavy industries etc. The repugs said that the tax cut would result in more investment in job creating industries but the only jobs they created were for MBAs to make risky financial instruments that has nearly destroyed our economy. I would also substantially raise the capital gains rates on stocks and real estate which would become substantially lower as time progresses . This will stop the stock and housing bubbles that results in the churning(buying and selling quickly) of these investments. This is the truck driver solution(as I am) and will never happen

      In every moment of every day we only have two choices. Act out of fear or act out of love

      by Jlukes on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 05:45:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Greed is good . . . if it's enlightened greed (6+ / 0-)

      I'm a liberal because I'm selfish as all hell.

      Only thing is, my version of selfish is bigger picture, and longer term.  

      I want to live somewhere with less crime and strong economy (pay for education), where I won't get TB or other stuff from the poor (public health care), where my food is safe (strong FDA) - etcetera.

      So I agree: tax the rich, for their own damn good.

    •  I'm a lost opportunty... (4+ / 0-)

      My participation in this economy has been minuscule.

      I participated more in this economy and created more wealth through actual real work at age 18, right out of high school, than I did in 2009.

      The billionaires are counting on people like me to consume and participate in the economy.

      Well, like Marx and Smith both (in their own way) said, a weak worker is a weak consumer.

      I'm a very weak worker. As a result, I don't consume. Nor do I invest. There are millions like me, and each one of us is a lost opportunity...None of us is creating the wealth/social improvement/art/etc. we could under a better economy.

      It is curious to see the periodical disuse and perishing of means and machinery, which were introduced with loud laudation a few years or centuries before. -RWE

      by Gravedugger on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 09:08:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  seems to me that (24+ / 0-)

    minimum wage needs to be either tied to total remuneration of the highest paid employee and/or owner or a set hourly wage, whichever is greater.

  •  The families should sue him too! (3+ / 0-)
    •  i'm not a lawyer... (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      VClib, Dirtandiron, sboucher, MichaelNY

      but i think they can only sue the corporation, not him personally.  i really, really, really hope that i'm wrong.

      I didn't get Jack from Abramoff...I'm not a Republican!

      by nonnie9999 on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 05:39:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  nonnie you are sort of right (5+ / 0-)

        While I am sure that the Massey CEO will be named as an individual defendant in many lawsuits, it would take an unusual set of facts for the Massey D&O insurance, and all of the Massey assets, to not be in a position to insulate the CEO from personal financial liability.

        "let's talk about that"

        by VClib on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 05:43:08 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  thanks for that clarification, vclib (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          i hope a smart lawyer finds a way to take everything he owns.  

          I didn't get Jack from Abramoff...I'm not a Republican!

          by nonnie9999 on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 05:45:48 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  He can be sheltered from financial (3+ / 0-)

          but not criminal liability, I would assume.

          New favorite put-down: S/he's as dumb as a flock of Sarah Palins

          by sleipner on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 05:47:52 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Criminal liability would require... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            VClib, Dismalest Scientist

            ...a pretty extraordinary burden of proof.

            It would require demonstration that Blankenship's individual acts were actually illegal (which, to my knowledge, isn't true).

            I don't think it's likely that he could be held personally criminally liable for any of the deaths.

            Call Congress and demand 2 Senators, 1 VOTING Rep, and full home rule for DC citizens. Anything less is un-American.

            by mistersite on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 05:55:16 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  More likely than (0+ / 0-)

              you might imagine.

              Past criminal charges

              Blankenship's habit of micro-managing goes a long way in proving criminal culpability.  

              Massey attorney Robert Luskin has already worked out a deal with federal prosecutors.  The company pleaded guilty to 10 criminal charges, including one felony, and agreed to pay $2.5 million in criminal fines. If you missed it, a more detailed story on the plea deal is here, and the documents involved are here and here.

              But Luskin and Aracoma’s other lawyers, Mark Heath and Neva Lusk, filed a sentencing memorandum, anyway. And it is a fascinating document. I’ve posted it here if you’re interested in reading it yourself.

              The long and short of it?

              Massey lawyers admit Aracoma’s guilt in the 10 criminal charges outlined in the plea agreement. But they go to great length to still paint the company in a positive light:

              "Fear not the path of truth for the lack of people walking on it." Robert F. Kennedy

              by enough already on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 11:24:51 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  troll alerts (0+ / 0-)

            just south of you

            ps. I love your sig :-)

            The American Television and Newspaper Mainstream Media = Private, For Profit Corporate Information Service Monopoly

            by o the umanity on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 07:20:13 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  When people talk about the 1950's. (14+ / 0-)

    America had it's strongest, largest middle class back in the late 1950's

    They forget to talk about the almost 20 years of consumers world wide not being able to buy stuff. From the start of the depression to the end of WWII people were unable to buy the stuff they needed or wanted. Not to mention the USA was the only industrial country left standing. We had little to no competition. No wonder we had a strong economy. Once the other countries stood up industrially, we have seen stiffer competition and a downward trend of our middle class.

    "No man deserves to be praised for his goodness unless he has strength of character to be wicked." La Rochefoucald

    by Void Indigo on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 05:16:15 PM PDT

  •  Blankfein has him beat (6+ / 0-)

    All Other Compensation $262,657
    Exercisable Options 627,899
    Exercisable Values $42,276,755
    Unexercisable Options 531,332
    Total Value of Options $42,276,755
    Total Number of Options 1,159,231
    Total Annual Cash Compensation $600,000
    Total Short Term Compensation $600,000
    Other Long Term Compensation $262,657
    Total Calculated Compensation $862,657

    ~War is Peace~Freedom is Slavery~Ignorance is Strength~ George Orwell "1984"

    by Kristina40 on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 05:16:20 PM PDT

  •  I'm for a Flat Tax. (20+ / 0-)

    A flat 90% on all income above $1M/yr.  No deductions, no exemptions, no tax havens.

    And no whatever tax for anyone earning less than twice the minimum wage.

    "We live in a world in which lemonade is made with artificial ingredients and furniture polish is made with real lemons." Alfred E. Neuman

    by penguins4peace on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 05:16:31 PM PDT

  •  Fix Social Security (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cassandra77, penguins4peace

    NO... not the way some people talk about "fixing" it. What I'm talking about is kinda reversing how it works now. Now, the amount you get per month once you retire is based on how much you made while working... basically the more you made then, the more you get now. I propose we reverse that, at least for those people who now make over a certain amount on other retirement/investment income.

    Example: If you're now making, say, $150K a year off your nice retirement benefits, and would otherwise ALSO be getting $30K a year in Social Security, a good chunk of that Social Security you would no longer get. Instead some poor old man or woman who is now living on a TOTAL of $10K a year, all of it Social Security, would have that amount doubled, thanks to the generosity of the rich retiree.

    Oh, but here's the problem: Can we rely on the generosity of rich and upper-middle class retirees? Will they be willing to give up some of their income to help some other elderly person now living in poverty?... Not holding my breath.

    "Any dictator would admire the uniformity and obedience of the U.S. media." -- Noam Chomsky

    by ratmach on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 05:18:18 PM PDT

    •  I strongly disagree. (16+ / 0-)

      I think that it is very, very important to NEVER make Social Security and Medicare, and any future single payer health care needs based. This country has a nasty habit of sneering at the poor and demonizing needs based benefits. If we let SS become needs tested in any way, we open the door to future nibbling at the limits used and the benefit levels granted.

      Please, anything but this.

      "Except for the few...we take home to experiment."
      - Tom Lehrer, "Poisoning Pigeons in the Park"

      by davewill on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 05:41:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Ok, then at least make it voluntary (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Once you're getting SS, each year you get a form asking if you want them to withhold X% of your benefits to go into a fund that's divided up and dispersed to retired people making under $Y per year. I know most people wouldn't do that, but some surely would... and that would help a little, no?

        "Any dictator would admire the uniformity and obedience of the U.S. media." -- Noam Chomsky

        by ratmach on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 07:23:19 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I suppose if a couple hundred of the uber-rich (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          actually did that, the $600,000 or so garnereed might be good to defray the costs of administering the check box.

          Honestly, even if you did take the benefits away from the richest 1% of retirees, it just wouldn't be enough to really matter.

          "Pay me enough to be taxed, and I'll pay taxes."
          - Ezekial 23 20, responding to complaint about too many people NOT paying taxes.

          by davewill on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 07:51:47 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Actually I wasn't talking about only... (0+ / 0-)

            ... the "uber-rich". I was talking about everyone getting to decide what they wanna do. If everyone making over, say, $100K/yr in non-SS retirement were to give up maybe $10K/yr of their SS, then that would make all the difference in the world. Of course most people WOULDN'T be willing to do that ("It's MINE!"), but maybe enough would to makd SOME difference. Sorta like the check-box on tax (and other) forms asking if you want to donate a few dollars for whatever. Why nobody wants to try something like that for Social Security, something that could potentially help elderly people living in poverty, is beyond me. Actually, I take that back... this is basically a GREED-BASED country, so I don't know why I'm surprised.

            "Any dictator would admire the uniformity and obedience of the U.S. media." -- Noam Chomsky

            by ratmach on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 12:37:31 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Please make Social Security/Self Employment Tax (6+ / 0-)


      I'm self employed and every dollar I make up to $106,800 gets an extra 15.3% "Self employment" tax added to the freaking income tax.   It's the most regressive tax imaginable.

      •  Actually you are just having to shoulder (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        the burden that the employer would have had to pay if you were a regular employee. And I'm sure you're seeing many tax benefits from being self-employed.

        No sympathy here.

        "Except for the few...we take home to experiment."
        - Tom Lehrer, "Poisoning Pigeons in the Park"

        by davewill on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 05:49:19 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Any benefits disappear when you have to pay (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          NoMoreLies, debedb, Gravedugger, davewill

          for your own health insurance.
          It's actually an additional 7.65% when you calculate the ss and medicare.  So, you start out, before income taxes, paying 15.3% of your income.
          Tack on just another 20%, and you're up there at
          35%.  If your gross income is only $25,000 and you are single, it ends up being a shit load.  Subtract the close to 30% of that you'll pay for health insurance, and voila, you are living the high life.
          oh, but i digress...........

          "It's not just the premiums - It's those high deductibles and out-of-pockets."

          by Cassandra77 on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 06:39:58 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I've been there. (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Cassandra77, NoMoreLies, debedb, lightfoot

            As an engineer, I've hung out my own shingle several times. I had to charge rates that took all of that into account. I was mostly pointing out that his complaints about self-employment tax was a bit much.

            Health insurance was always a big mess, and I think we'd all agree that fixing it would do the most for small (and very small) businesses.

            "Except for the few...we take home to experiment."
            - Tom Lehrer, "Poisoning Pigeons in the Park"

            by davewill on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 07:20:21 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Oh, and if you were only netting $25,000 (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            NoMoreLies, debedb

            any taxes or expenses were likely to be killing you.

            "Except for the few...we take home to experiment."
            - Tom Lehrer, "Poisoning Pigeons in the Park"

            by davewill on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 07:30:20 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Agreed! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        At least raise the cap into the stratosphere.

  •  I see Oliver Stone has an update of "Wall Street" (14+ / 0-)

    coming out, with Michael Douglas in his Gordon Gecko role (after prison). His "greed is good," backed up by Reagan, was the ethic that got us into this mess. I've read that many tea baggers, who of course are not in the millionaire category, think that someday they might be, so they don't want the high tax rates. Dream on, the CEOs love it when you do.  

    stay together / learn the flowers / go light - Gary Snyder

    by Mother Mags on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 05:18:38 PM PDT

  •  We should, but it won't happen (16+ / 0-)

    because the rich own everything in this country, including the two main political parties.

    Until that changes, we will never see those kinds of taxes.

    Ohio progressives: support Jennifer Brunner for Senate!

    by ppl can fly on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 05:20:01 PM PDT

  •  Yes yes yes, BUT... (17+ / 0-)

    you forgot that the top tax rates are only the top marginal tax rates. Someone making a billion a year in income is probably making most of it in capital gains anyway, which is the REAL reason that cutting the capital gains tax is the Republican perennial, but if they were getting that wealth in non-capital gains income, they're only taxed at the top rate for the money in the top bracket. The money they made in the next bracket down is paid at the next lower level. And so on.

    Incidentally, here's a diary I did a while back that shows the top brackets and top rates over time, adjusted for inflation to 2008 dollars.

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

    by leftist vegetarian patriot on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 05:22:20 PM PDT

    •  Awesome link! (6+ / 0-)

      You should consider republishing it

      I work for PeanutButterPAC, join us and help fight for Progress!

      by MinistryOfTruth on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 05:27:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Uh (0+ / 0-)

      If you make a billion dollars a year (in income, not capital gains) more than 99.9% of it is getting taxed at the top marginal rate...

      •  If you make a billion a year, you have it stashed (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Leap Year

        somewhere so it doesn't get taxed.

        It's not just a zip code, it's an attitude.

        by sboucher on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 08:55:46 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  That's true under present tax law (0+ / 0-)

        but not under the notional tax rates proposed in the diary, where the top rate (75%) only kicks in after the first billion and the second highest (60%) would apply to $900M of earned income, and the third highest (53%) applies to $50M of income and so on.

        The problem with our current tax structure is not really that our top marginal rate is too low for the lower end of the top bracket, it is that we have too few tax brackets. We should have several brackets above the current top. A huge improvement off the bat would be creating additional tax brackets with higher rates above the existing brackets. Were we to do that, it would even be possible to lower taxes substantially on the lower tax brackets.

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

        by leftist vegetarian patriot on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 08:48:16 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  This is what I question (0+ / 0-)

          Were we to do that, it would even be possible to lower taxes substantially on the lower tax brackets

          I just haven't seen any empirical data that suggests this is correct.  To the contrary, even a substantial tax increase on those households making, say, over $1 million a year (and you're not going to get anybody to go much over 50% on that group), and maybe an increase to 60% or 70% on super incomes (say over $10 million a year) is not going to generate the additional $800 billion to $1 trillion a year we're going to need over the next ten years to bring the deficit down to manageable levels. (Remember, repeal of the Bush tax cuts on those over $250,000 are already figured in to the 10 year projected deficits, as is a substantial -- and, some say, unrealistic, growth in GDP.)

          As a practical matter, I strongly suspect that Obama's defict commission is going to recommend not only signficant tax increases on the top 1% -- and very likely some additional tax brackets as some here advocate -- but also some kind of increased tax burden on those households under $250,000.  Because there are so many more people at those lower income levels, that's where a lot of the money is.  Not individually, of course, but collectively.  A small percentage increase on that group is going to get you signficant amounts of revenue because there are so many people in that group.  

          •  Not really (0+ / 0-)

            We already don't tax the income of the poor, although of course they pay other taxes. You can't squeeze money out of them without increasing costs in other parts of the system. The great majority of the wealth in the nation is held by the top 10% (people in the top 1% own as much as those in the bottom 90%), and at least as recently as 2007, fully half of the income in the nation is earned by the top decile as well. Even more striking, as of 2007, the top percentile of earners (top 1%) earned 23.5% of all earnings and the top 0.01% of earners (representing about 15,000 families) received over 6% of all earned income.


            Also, a truly great book that lays this out clearly is Sam Pizzigati's Greed and Good, which can be read online.

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

            by leftist vegetarian patriot on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 09:50:47 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Capital gains and other passive income streams (5+ / 0-)

      should be taxed at the same marginal rate as ordinary wages and profits of the same amount. It is fundamentally unfair that money made from sweat or intellect is taxed at a higher rate than money made off of money, where all the profiteer has to do is sit by the pool and watch the dividend checks come in. At the very least, capital gains held less than 5 years should be taxed at ordinary income rates, and a financial transaction tax of 0.25 percent of the traded amount should be applied to trades of financial instruments including stocks, bonds, derivatives, credit default swaps, and hedge funds. Time to cut the financial sector, which has done very little to create things we can see, feel or touch in our everyday lives, and has in fact been detrimental to Main Street, down to size.

      "Trickle down economics 101: They get the golden parachute, we get the golden shower"

      by NoMoreLies on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 06:34:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  pfeh (0+ / 0-)

        It is fundamentally unfair that money made from sweat or intellect is taxed at a higher rate than money made off of money

        Because no capital gains are a result of sweat and intellect. Because none are the result of creating a new venture and risking a whole lot. No, it's just a feudal rentier image in your mind.


        •  If you work, you risk something just by (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          leftist vegetarian patriot

          going to work especially if you are in a dangerous occupation such as coal mining. And your excess value is siphoned off by the owner. What benefits and "investment" in improving the lives of the non-wealthy and our environment have resulted from years of free-for all gambling in financial markets, leveraged buy outs that destroy companies. The majority of the money actually goes to financial paper rather than something that might actually provide a broad based benefit. The history of the past 30 years proves that taxing capital at a lower rate than wages discourages investment in real infrastructure and encourages reckless speculation, cheap labor and outsourcing.

          And, if you lose your shirt due to risking your money, you don't have to pay taxes. I would have no problem paying the same tax on a an investment gain that a wage earner or corporation pays on the equivalent amount of wages or profits.

          If you really want to encourage investing in improving the lives of ordinary Americans, perhaps you might consider taxing the capital gain of investing in enterprises that provide products and jobs that actually improve the lives of ordinary Americans at a lower rate, but tax derivatives, hedge funds, CDOs and other feudalist rentier instruments at a higher rate.

          "Trickle down economics 101: They get the golden parachute, we get the golden shower"

          by NoMoreLies on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 10:09:55 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Hedge fundies. leveraged buyout financiers (3+ / 0-)

          commodities futures traders, and derivatives mavens are about as far from creative entrepreneurs trying to bring a useful or innovative widget or service to society as toxic waste is to potable water.

          "Trickle down economics 101: They get the golden parachute, we get the golden shower"

          by NoMoreLies on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 10:21:17 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  not quite (0+ / 0-)

            Don't lump all things together here. Some things are under short-term cap gains tax, which is not what startups are about. Commodities exchange serves a useful purpose in itself. In fact, so do other exchanges, arbitrage is useful. Just because it should be regulated doesn't mean it should be taxed into oblivion.

            And I've yet to see a coherent argument against (other than "politically hard to implement")

            •  There's a BIG difference between (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              "taxed into oblivion" and raising capital gains taxes closer to par with regular income tax.

              This year, the top long-term capital-gains tax rate on sales of stocks, bonds, mutual-fund shares and other securities typically is only 15% and that is also the top rate for most corporate dividends.

              Long-term capital gains on sales of art and other collectibles are taxed at a top rate of 28%.

              The top income tax rate is, I believe, 35%. I can see some merit in taxing certain types of capital gains at a lower rate, but 20% lower? Wouldn't a top capital gains tax rate of 25-30% do the job just as well for those types of investments we'd like to stimulate? And then, as NoMoreLies said above, there are some types of capital gains that it would seem equitable to tax at higher rates. I'd prefer to see those taxed as regular income, myself.

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

              by leftist vegetarian patriot on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 11:14:17 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  I regret that I have but only One tip I can (7+ / 0-)

    give to this diary.

  •  Intemperately put, and missing somewhat. (12+ / 0-)

    What we need is to fairly tax capital gains, that is, to tax them at the same rates as wages.  

    There's no reason to put wages at a sin tax level as if a person who works for a living is a social ill to be taxed until his job can be offshored.

    There's no reason to tax long term gains at fifteen percent.  None.  It simply makes the code complex, opaque, and regressive.

  •  Reduce the deficit: tax the rich n/t (6+ / 0-)

    Obama is a tool; and I mean that in the nicest way.

    by hoipolloi on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 05:25:29 PM PDT

  •  I'd suggest (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cassandra77, NoMoreLies, thethinveil

    A lower tax on real producers, and only if they produce using American workers. On the other hand, the rent seekers should be taxed until their hair flames up, then just a little bit more.

    Do Pavlov's dogs chase Schroedinger's cat?

    by corwin on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 05:26:17 PM PDT

  •  This is the essence of everything. (3+ / 0-)

    100% agree.

  •  I remain convinced that if we could only do (7+ / 0-)

    one thing in trying to fix our economic woes, this would be the thing to do. It stifles competition. The smartest among our business leaders used become entrepreneurs. Why? Because the income tax rates made that the only real way to become rich. A CEO could do well, but he couldn't become a multi-millionaire just from his compensation package.

    Oh, and those lower-paid CEOs weren't trying to rape their companies for every penny in leveraged buyouts, either. Why, you say? Because taxes would have eaten that payday. They were more interested in keeping their jobs and their retirement packages intact. Which was much better for the shareholders and the economy.

    "Except for the few...we take home to experiment."
    - Tom Lehrer, "Poisoning Pigeons in the Park"

    by davewill on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 05:29:53 PM PDT

  •  Damn ingrates had it higher under Raygun (9+ / 0-)

    and they still bitch.  
    You had me when you said tax till their eyes bled.
    The not only want something for nothing ..they want nothing for everyone but them.

  •  I like the idea of 100% (3+ / 0-)

    on anything over a set limit, say, 10 million? Why the hell does anyone need more than that? If they don't like it, let them move to India, or China or somewhere else and see how they like it and see how much they make without their buddies in the boardroom.

    •  Not necessary. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      clinging to hope

      And it might not even pass Constitutional muster. It would stop being a tax and start being a simple taking. As you can see from the graph, a top tax rate from 75-90% will do just fine.

      "Except for the few...we take home to experiment."
      - Tom Lehrer, "Poisoning Pigeons in the Park"

      by davewill on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 05:42:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  "the $250k-$999,999 crowd" (7+ / 0-)

    Ironically, in my opinion, these account for a LOT of the tea party anger. not the guys with signs on the streets, but their sympathizers in arm chairs who will donate to the Repubs.

    This is the most scared crowd there is. They live a great lifestyle, but not quite enough to have no worries. And with very little cushion if they lose their jobs and those two kids in private school start looking VERY expensive. And the $1 mill mortgage.

    It is very sad indeed that if the ultra wealthy were taxed properly, these folks would be much better off. But they cannot see that, not at all. So they attack the exact wrong people.

    It is one great big clusterf*ck.

  •  When the GoldmanSachs genius walks off with (5+ / 0-)

    $3 BILLION----and doesn't get touched:  Hell yes---raise those rates!!!!!

  •  too much is too much (5+ / 0-)

    I am amazed at human nature how the rich never can get rich enough to stop being greedy for more.

    No matter how rich these wealthy get, there always seems to be the next level of greed.

    More money can't fill the void of empty lives that only care about getting richer.  

    __Fascist official- "Are you responsible for this painting?" (pointing to Guernica) __Picasso- "No...... You are."

    by crystal eyes on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 05:35:45 PM PDT

  •  blankenship needs the extra money... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greeseyparrot, MinistryOfTruth

    he's got judges on the payroll...

    larger version

    I didn't get Jack from Abramoff...I'm not a Republican!

    by nonnie9999 on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 05:36:32 PM PDT

  •  The USA is still a very rich nation, (12+ / 0-)

    and would have no trouble at all paying for single-payer health care, increasing safety nets for those who need it, even without lowering military spending by $0.01.  The problem is simply that the US is severely under-taxed, and those taxes there are are regressive (disproportionately affect the poor, while giving the rich a free ride).

    I don't know how stupid you have to be to be a teabaggin' sort, demanding proper gov't control of immigration, increased military spending, and don't forget to keep your filthy gov't hands off their medicare, and all the while bitch and moan about taxes and compare paying their ridiculously low taxes to being raped.  Seriously, they're giving 4 year-olds serious competition in the selfish rotten spoiled brat department.

    This comment was brought to you by Goldman-Sachs: Our clients' interests always come first.

    by Kingsmeg on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 05:36:33 PM PDT

    •  The $$$ Is There (4+ / 0-)

      Wake up all you middle class wage serf tea baggers!  Whine whine whine, social security is stolen, inflation will kill us all, they can't stop spending.

      The money is there, what's missing are the balls to take it back!  At it's peak, there was over $500 trillion of value in the mortgage backed paper pyramid, yet $10 trillion debt is sooooooo awful!

      •  Seriously. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JohnnySacks, mochajava13, sboucher

        We have so little money to fund infrastructure and eductation, and we mysteriously have all these TRILLIONS of dollars to pump into the war machine?

        The law has no special dispensation for crimes that might be "too disturbing" to prosecute. - Chris Floyd

        by felldestroyed on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 06:45:51 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The Pentagon Untouchables (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          At least if we had spent the wealth of an entire generation on something actually useful, there would be more to show for it than a bunch of obsolete real life GI Joe action adventure toys.  Possibly some energy independence, a couple thousand or more MRI machines, some nationwide rail corridors, on and on.

          Yes, the Boston Big Dig highway project might have some major overruns, waste, corruption, and criticism, but in the end, thousands were employed and tens of thousands will benefit every day for decades.  Besides, any overruns are dwarfed by military spending waste (and in the case of the V22 Osprey program, the human costs were less).

  •  I was thinking about this today. (4+ / 0-)

    The answer Obama (and any other D) should have at the ready when asked about raising taxes is: "I see no problem with raising taxes for those earning more than 250k a year. Not only that, they will only be paying x dollars more a year, which really isn't much for someone earning 250k. It's only the people who are earning far more whose taxes will rise appreciably, and these are people who earn more in a year than most people in the US will see in their lifetimes. Again, these are people who can afford to pay more in order to see that the US is properly defended, that its roads are passable, that its children are taught what they need to thrive in today's world."

    •  Not to mention (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mecki, Leap Year, lightfoot, mochajava13

      that they are making good profits because of the good job the government does taking care of the country, making sure it runs well enough for them to be able to make the money.  That is what ticks me off the most when people bitch about taxes and helping the least amoung us.  If we don't do that we will have desperate and prevelant crime, disease and lots of people sitting in rocking chairs picking lint off a blanket.  Transportation nightmares, dilapidated cities and food shortages.  Why would they want a country like that?  They certainly would not make much money, that's for sure.

      •  Because the rich (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        will never see that.  They'd spend their money making private roads, with private little villages that the rest of us can't touch.  And getting all the food and water that they like.

        We have to end this whole entitlement culture that a lot of people have.

    •  There are too many stupid people (3+ / 0-)

      earning 250k a year, apparently, who don't understand the concept of 'marginal tax rates', and assume they'll be taxed that bracket rate on all their income, I guess.

      I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken. - Oliver Cromwell

      by Ezekial 23 20 on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 06:30:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Tax the everloving shit (25+ / 0-)

    Out of anyone making 7 or 8 figures a year.

    You don't need to live like that. You don't need tens of millions of dollars a year to live even luxuriously in this country.

    I believe anyone who busts their ass to earn their millions deserves to have them. The "American Dream" is the rags-to-riches story where any Joe (the Plumber?) can work his way out of the proverbial gutter and into a mansion.

    We have the freedom and capability to do such a thing in this country, and I don't begrudge anyone for it.

    But there is no reason why anyone with that kind of wealth cannot pay more in taxes. A lot more.

    You make $1,000,000 a year? You should pay a shit load more than I do at barely $20,000 a year.

    You make $10,000,000 a year? You should pay a shit load more than Mr. Paltry $1M a year.

    And so on and so forth, exponentially onward.

    Cry me a fucking river because your tax liability would be more than my entire annual salary.

    I really don't give a shit. Absolutely do not.

    Tax them till they turn blue. That would help Main Street out a whole lot, doncha think?

    •  Tipped for "Ever Loving Shit" (12+ / 0-)

      and an excellent comment!


      Image Hosting by

      I work for PeanutButterPAC, join us and help fight for Progress!

      by MinistryOfTruth on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 05:54:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I bet you'd feel different if you made as much (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Cassandra77, thethinveil, graessrj

      as they do.  Everything changes when you make that much money. It's like those that win the lottery.  They say they'll keep working.  Right.  

      Eat recycled food. It's good for the environment and OK for you.

      by thestructureguy on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 05:56:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Nope (9+ / 0-)

        In 2000 I paid 1.4 MILLION in income tax. That was an unusual year, but I'm all for more taxes on the rich. And I whole heartedly agree with him. Not all us rich people are soul-sucking bastards, er, Republicans.

        Wal*Mart isn't the root of all evil but you can buy the plastic, cadmium-tainted, Chinese knock-off of it there for $4.27

        by ontheleftcoast on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 06:07:41 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  And how much extra did you send in? The IRS (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          will take more money than you owe.  

          Eat recycled food. It's good for the environment and OK for you.

          by thestructureguy on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 08:10:13 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Are you going to address (0+ / 0-)

            the fact that ontheleftcoast rebutted your point?

            "....Money speaks for money, the Devil for his own... Who comes to speak for the skin and the bone?"

            by LeftOverAmerica on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 09:36:52 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I did by asking how much extra did he (0+ / 0-)

              send in.  He didn't say he paid the 1.4 out of the goodness of his heart.  Had to pay it.  That's the law.  But he could've sent in more.  I'm sure it wasn't equal to 90 percent.  I would be impressed if he now said he'd send in more to make it equal to 90 percent. I'm sure the IRS would take it.  

              Eat recycled food. It's good for the environment and OK for you.

              by thestructureguy on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 10:51:21 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Sorry, i meant (0+ / 0-)

                'why didn't you address the point of his post directly, rather than replying with a dodge'

                Read the exchange again. If you want to reply to ontheleftcoast's rebuttal directly, i'd be interested in reading what you have to say. If you reread the exchange and still want to claim that you've already addressed his point directly, then you will be - in my personal opinion - completely full of shit, and i won't be interested in reading further.

                I was just curious as to your thoughts on the subject after your suggestion that "I bet you'd feel different if you made as much as they do. Everything changes when you make that much money." was so clearly refuted.

                "....Money speaks for money, the Devil for his own... Who comes to speak for the skin and the bone?"

                by LeftOverAmerica on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 11:29:31 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  So..... (0+ / 0-)

                .....I'm guessing that's a 'no', then?

                Don't blame you a bit... It was a silly comment, and i wouldn't want to defend it either.

                "....Money speaks for money, the Devil for his own... Who comes to speak for the skin and the bone?"

                by LeftOverAmerica on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 07:16:50 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  Not just no but "hell no" (5+ / 0-)

        I often fantasize about winning a huge-ass lottery, something like $100M+ and then thinking about all the ways I would give it away.

        I want to make as much money as I can, I want to make enough so that I never have to worry about bills...that my children never worry about being without anything that they need.

        I want to be able to never worry about money. Ever. I don't need to have a whole ton of money but still.

        The idea that the minute any one of us who are screaming for proverbial blood would change our minds the minute we got a little money is pretty shitty.

        I want the Dream. And part of the Dream is paying taxes. Death and taxes are certainties in life, and I intend to willingly fulfill at least part of that.

        •  Like I said. All the lotto winners say the same (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          thing.  It's noble but it doesn't work that way. Of course you might be the one of the exceptions. We all like to think we are. If you win please let me know.  I always wanted a Ferrari.  

          Eat recycled food. It's good for the environment and OK for you.

          by thestructureguy on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 08:12:57 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Hell yes. (7+ / 0-)

      I say if you're a single person and you 'need' that much money a year to live, you seriously need to reevaluate your standard of living.

      If I can do it on less than 35k a year - especially considering the number of prescriptions I have to take monthly and having 3 pets - surely they can.

      These people drive me into a fucking apoplectic rage.

      Neither rich nor dumb enough to vote Republican.

      by Lyme on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 06:06:42 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's really none of your fucking business (7+ / 0-)

        how people "need" to live.

        •  I beg your pardon. (4+ / 0-)

          If you "need" to live lavishly, so lavishly that you think 50 million a year isn't enough, and you vote for Republicans because they protect your precious money with their policies, and there's a lot of "yous" resulting in a Congress will not pass equitable income distribution laws, and we are still having people in America living in grinding poverty, and we are still having middle income people going bankrupt paying medical bills, then, sir, it certainly is my fucking business how people "need" to live. I'm making it my fucking business.

          Power to the people.

          Kick apart the structures.

          by ceebee7 on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 08:01:45 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Who gets to define "lavish"? (6+ / 0-)

            And what are "equitable income distribution laws"? That sounds an awful lot like taking money from a person who earned it and giving it to someone who didn't earn it.

            That's called stealing.

            Wasn't the author of the diary railing against stealing? Let's check:

            In my honest opinion, we need new tax brackets for millionaires and billionaires, and we need them starting YESTERDAY. We need to take away the incentive for the CEO/shareholder class to rob the hell out of the working class for profit. Until we do that, the exploitation of the working class will continue unabated and the death spiral of what used to be the middle class will get worse and worse.

            When you take something that doesn't belong to you, it's called stealing. If you do it at the point of a gun, it's robbery.

            Taxation is done by force; a person fears the penalty more than they value the property being confiscated. Therefore, a person who is being taxed is being robbed.

            Why is it wrong for billionaires to rob us, but it's fine for the government to do the same thing?

            •  Cost externalization... (3+ / 0-)

              Well, billionaires are often profiting from externalizing costs onto society. Either tax the companies for externalizing the costs, or tax the profit made from externalizing those costs.

              A progressive tax isn't stealing. The diarist says:

              In my honest opinion, we need new tax brackets for millionaires and billionaires, and we need them starting YESTERDAY.

              New tax brackets isn't stealing, it is merely progressive.

              It is curious to see the periodical disuse and perishing of means and machinery, which were introduced with loud laudation a few years or centuries before. -RWE

              by Gravedugger on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 09:29:33 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Why is it wrong to profit? (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Pozzo, VClib

                If you come up with a good idea, why shouldn't you profit from it? A lot of rich people got that way by providing some good or service that other people wanted. That isn't stealing. If people value their money more than they value the good or service someone is selling, they keep their money. That's why "Cop Rock" only lasted a few episodes. No one watched it.

                Steve Jobs runs Apple. Apple produces products that people want. Why shouldn't Mr. Jobs profit from that? I hate Apple products, and thankfully Mr. Jobs has never forced me to purchase any. It's my choice to buy an iPad or not. T
                That eBay guy came up with a good idea for an internet flea market. Lots of people have used eBay to sell their crap to other people who wanted it. Why shouldn't eBay guy profit from it? How about the guy who invented the portable defibrillator? That guy (or gal) deserves to profit from his idea, and it saves lives to boot.

                If somebody figured out that some chemical in chicken poop reversed aging, you can bet that 1) The inventor of the chicken poop fountain of youth formula would become rich and 2)The price of chicken poop would probably go up. Doesn't Chicken Poop Fountain of Youth Developer guy deserve to profit from his discovery?

                •  Maybe the OP says... (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  NoMoreLies, mochajava13

                  Maybe someone above is advocating the wholesale taking of profit. I'm not.

                  I'm just advocating for progressively taxing it.

                  You mention two interesting companies:

                  Ebay is no longer a company of ideas (except for maybe Paypal X). The idea has been profited from to the extent possible. Ebay now relies on their dominant market position for profit, not the original idea.

                  In fact, Ebay's only recent innovations have to do with vertical and horizontal integration designed to lock other players out of that market.

                  Apple does the same thing: hardware/software lock-ins vertically integrated with a wholly owned market (iTunes/App store).

                  But at least Apple still innovates. At least there are new ideas.

                  Anyway, I don't advocate a taking, just a progressive tax.

                  It is curious to see the periodical disuse and perishing of means and machinery, which were introduced with loud laudation a few years or centuries before. -RWE

                  by Gravedugger on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 09:52:22 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Because no one individual (0+ / 0-)

                  actually turns their idea into reality.  It takes a team of people to do that, and that team also deserves some of the share of the pie.  Right now, they aren't getting that share.  Steve Jobs and his team of designers may come up with an idea, but they are not the ones who are actually producing millions of ipods and iphones.

                •  You missed Gravedugger's point (0+ / 0-)

                  which was

                  Well, billionaires are often profiting from externalizing costs onto society

                  These people who "come up with a good idea" are certainly entitled to a profit, but often they neglect to consider that the environment in which they've come up with their good idea is funded by the tax dollars of regular working people who pay disproportionately for all the things that the businessperson is taking advantage of.

                  I imagine the entrepreneur does not worry excessively about how he might move from place to place because of our excellent system of roads and bridges.  He also does not worry about being stopped by highwaymen, or about his house being robbed or burning down while he's away from it.

                  If he's ever had to go to a hospital, ever used a library, ever attended a public school or a tax-funded college (or wishes to hire people who have)....

                  The list goes on and on.  Working schmoes may pay up to 50% of their income in order to provide these things, which are all necessary to him implementing his "good idea".  Is it fair that he contribute 5%?

            •  Because we VOTE (0+ / 0-)

              and if a majority vote for something, it is a society imposing a burden on itself.  

              Sorry, but the idea that any one individual "earned" over a million a year rings false to me.  Sounds an awful lot like social Darwinism.  The working poor work for a living, and aren't paid enough.

              •  Voting (0+ / 0-)

                The majority was against TARP, against the stimulus bill, and against the health care bill. But all of those things still passed. So the majority didn't impose a burden on themselves, it was thrust upon them unwillingly.

                A person earns what someone is willing to pay. If Paramount is willing to pay Tom Cruise 20 million dollars to pretend to be someone else, he earned it. No one is willing to pay Paulie Shore that much. And with good reason.

                How do you define "enough"? What would be "enough" for a "working poor" person to earn? Should a guy flipping burgers earn as much as an auto mechanic? Should a security guard earn as much as a police officer?  

                •  People should have a living wage (0+ / 0-)

                  they don't now.  In other words, enough for food, shelter, water, clothing, education, other necessities, and a little left over for some non-necessities.  

                  Sorry, but Tom Cruise doesn't deserve to earn that much.  No one individual is worth that much more than another.  We need a cap on how much more one individual can make when compared to the poorest in our society.

                  •  Who gets to decide? (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    Who gets to be the arbiter of what constitutes a "fair wage"? You know, that kind of thing has been tried before. They tried it in the Soviet Union, they tried it in China, they tried it in North Korea, in Cuba, in Vietnam. But somehow, telling everyone how much was "fair" didn't translate into better lives for anyone. It just made everyone equally miserable.

                    China's rapid economic growth has come from the free market, not from some wise government agency dictating what's "fair."

                    I personally don't care much for Tom Cruise. But a lot of people will pay 8 bucks a pop to watch him for a couple of hours. As long as his films make a profit, he's worth that much. The profits his films bring in help employ all the technical people who make movies, the people who work at the movie theaters, and so on. If we say, Tom Cruise, you are only allowed to earn 25 bucks an hour making your movies, he'll stop making movies. Then all the people his movies are supporting are out of a job.

                    How many blockbuster films came out of the old Soviet Union? While MGM was producing a film a week, how many were being produced in Moscow? Placing a cap on how much a person can be compensated for their work just creates an incentive not to work. It doesn't help poor people at all.

                  •  Cruise deserves to earn (0+ / 0-)

                    Whatever an emplmoyer is willing to pay him. Now, I think he hasn't been in a film worth watching in years, not counting his cameo in Tropic Thunder, but we have no right to say how much he can earn. We do have a right and an obligation to tax him to make sure he pays his share, but What is that share?

            •  Them's some nice Republican talking points there (0+ / 0-)

              Always interesting to see points straight from the Republican playbook presented here in the comment threads with a straight face.

              "The government needs to spend its money on more important things, such as anti-tobacco programs, pro-tobacco programs, killing wild donkeys, and Israel."

              by Lost Left Coaster on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 07:23:44 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Service charge. (0+ / 0-)

              If you want to call it stealing, we'll just institute a nice big service charge for enforcing their fine print contracts, protecting their asses from hungry people who'd like to take what they have by force, etc.

              The rich benefit the most from society's legal and law enforcement structures.  They should pay a hefty price for it.

              "Capitalism is irresponsibility organized into a system." -- Emil Brunner

              by goinsouth on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 08:44:02 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Contracts are voluntary (0+ / 0-)

                When a person enters into a contract, it is his (or her) duty to read the contract and understand the terms before agreeing to it. Don't blame one side because the other side didn't read.

                I would submit that government benefits most from society's legal and law enforcement structures. Ever notice that most lawmakers are lawyers?

                •  Why don't you go live in 1880? (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Marja E

                  Back then, 10 year-olds were entering into "voluntary" contracts to mine coal.  It was their choice, of course.  Risk their lives underground or starve above it.  Just tell 'em to read that fine print.

                  If you like the law of the jungle, let's do it.  Get rid of the cops and militias that protect the capitalists' property, and we'll just have at it.

                  Oh, but that isn't what you libertarians mean, is it?  You like to have the government around to protect your holy private property and the sanctity of your one-sided contracts, concepts you like to enshrine in the language of religion as if they are ordained by some god.

                  Don't pretend you want to get rid of government when what you really mean is that government is only there to protect the rich.

                  Maybe you Ayn Rand acolytes need to read some Emma Goldman.

                  The deterrent influence of law on the lazy man is too absurd to merit consideration. If society were only relieved of the waste and expense of keeping a lazy class, and the equally great expense of the paraphernalia of protection this lazy class requires, the social tables would contain an abundance for all, including even the occasional lazy individual. Besides, it is well to consider that laziness results either from special privileges, or physical and mental abnormalities. Our present insane system of production fosters both, and the most astounding phenomenon is that people should want to work at all now. Anarchism aims to strip labor of its deadening, dulling aspect, of its gloom and compulsion. It aims to make work an instrument of joy, of strength, of color, of real harmony, so that the poorest sort of a man should find in work both recreation and hope.

                  To achieve such an arrangement of life, government, with its unjust, arbitrary, repressive measures, must be done away with. At best it has but imposed one single mode of life upon all, without regard to individual and social variations and needs. In destroying government and statutory laws, Anarchism proposes to rescue the self-respect and independence of the individual from all restraint and invasion by authority. Only in freedom can man grow to his full stature. Only in freedom will he learn to think and move, and give the very best in him. Only in freedom will he realize the true force of the social bonds which knit men together, and which are the true foundation of a normal social life.

                  Don't like government?  Quit being a hypocrite and become an anarchist.

                  "Capitalism is irresponsibility organized into a system." -- Emil Brunner

                  by goinsouth on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 09:12:31 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Actually no, (0+ / 0-)

                    It's quite a leap from "people should read contracts before signing them" to "Quit being a hypocrite and become an anarchist"

                    I think that's called "moving the goal posts". It's also an ad hominem attack, since you're attacking me and not the bit about contracts. You don't think people should read and understand contracts before they sign them? How about congressional bills? Should Congress read the "fine print" on the bills they write, or just go ahead and pass them and see what's in them later?

                    First of all, this is not 1880. Reaching back 130 is quite a stretch. A minor can't enter into a legal contract today, so making them mine coal is really moot, isn't it? But it is emotionally compelling. Poor little coal-mining kids. (Minor Miners!) We aren't in 1880 anymore, so let's deal with the present.

                    But back to my original point that government benefits from laws at the expense of the people. If the government creates an entitlement, and the people become dependent on that entitlement, the lawmakers in power are pretty much guaranteed a job. Who is going to vote out the guys driving the Gravy Train? Obviously no one, since incumbents tend to get reelected almost all the time. They can also use the laws to confiscate resources. Look no farther than Kelo Vs. City of New London. Pfizer could not have taken that lady's home without help from the people who were supposed to be protecting her. Power and influence conspired to rob that lady of her home.  

                    It's also why there are so many lobbyists. The only reason they are there is because their lobbying works, and the reason it works is because the government has way too much power. Laws that treat one person different than another, like the one you proposed, (having rich people pay more for law enforcement than non-rich people)undermine the rule of law and and more likely to bring about anarchy than my proposal.

                    •  Who needs government? (0+ / 0-)

                      I'm ready to get rid of it.

                      Will it bother you if there are no courts and cops to enforce your contracts?

                      It won't bother me.

                      Will you like it when my neighbors and I decide to shut down your fast food joint because your food is poisoning our kids?

                      Won't bother me.

                      Is it OK with you when my pals and I notice that you have three cars and we don't have any, so we hot wire two of yours to directly redistribute the wealth?

                      My guess is that you're all in favor of government as long as it protects the privileged.  What offends you are those rare occasions when government does something that benefits those other than the elites.

                      Tell me this.  I assume you're a big fan of Capitalism.  How can Capitalism survive for one day without government to enforce property rights?  And for whose benefit does such a government operate?

                      This is quite funny:

                      Laws that treat one person different than another, like the one you proposed, (having rich people pay more for law enforcement than non-rich people)undermine the rule of law and and more likely to bring about anarchy than my proposal.

                      Let me give you a nifty little quote delivered by a Wobbly put on trial for exercising his right of free speech.  He explains quite well why governments exist:

                      I have seen you , Judge Sloane, and others of your kind send them to prison because they dared to infringe upon the sacred rights of property.  You have become blind and deaf to the rights of man to pursue life and happiness, and you have crushed those rights so that the sacred right of property shall be preserved.  Then you tell me to respect the law.  I do not.  I did violate the law, as I will violate every one of your laws and still come before you and say, "To hell with your courts."

                      "Capitalism is irresponsibility organized into a system." -- Emil Brunner

                      by goinsouth on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 11:30:50 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Capitalism (0+ / 0-)

                        You're right. Property rights are essential for capitalism to work. When it is allowed to work freely, Capitalism does more good for more people than any other system.

                        Take, for example, Korea. In the north, the entire country is controlled by one guy. Property rights are probably not high on the list there. People routinely starve there.

                        South Korea isn't all that far away, yet the country enjoys a much higher standard of living. At least some of this disparity is due to South Korea's participation in capitalism, and their respect for property rights.

                        There are a lot of other examples just like that one. China comes to mind. Free enterprise has lifted millions of Chinese out of poverty, something that 50 years of communism failed to do.

                        That doesn't make captialism some kind economic Utopia, of course. Just as centrally planned economies can result in abuses of power, free-market systems can do the same thing, especially when government collusion creates opportunities for the law to be applied arbitrarily (as was the case in Kelo Vs. New London).

                        •  Truth in advertising. (0+ / 0-)

                          Libertarianism is not about freedom unless the definition of freedom is confined to the ability of the Capitalist to exploit labor, cheat consumers and destroy the environment.

                          Libertarianism is about property.  Libertarianism is the servant of Capitalism.  And Libertarianism will quickly discard human freedom if necessary to meet the demands of Capitalists.

                          "Capitalism is irresponsibility organized into a system." -- Emil Brunner

                          by goinsouth on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 01:40:14 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Jobs? (0+ / 0-)

                            Cheat consumers? Exploit labor? Where on Earth did that come from? Have you noticed that no one's driving a Yugo? That's because it was a crappy car. Yugo got a bad reputation, and went out of business. It's not in a company's interest to cheat people. A company will be the most successful when the customer is satisfied with his purchase. That way, they'll become a repeat customer when it's time to make another purchase.

                            It certainly wasn't libertarians who gave the banks billions of dollars. And it wasn't libertarians who borrowed almost a trillion dollars to get people working again. Both of these things were done by "progressives" in order to fix the economy. The primary driver of the economy?


                            But here's the kicker: taking billions of dollars out of the private sector and allowing government to allocate those resources instead did nothing to improve the unemployment rates. People are still out of work, despite the massive spending and crushing debt we've been saddled with. If you want, we'll throw in two wars too. Those, as you know, are also being waged by the government.

                            So if the capitalists are exploiting all the workers in our country, who would you say is exploiting the workers in North Korea? Or how about Cuba? You see, there just aren't that many communist regimes to choose from anymore, because most of them have failed. Funny thing, though...the free-market countries have managed to hang on. China, India, Brazil, Japan, The United States (for now) are all still in business. Why do you suppose that is, since capitalism is so bad and other systems are so good?

        •  Yes, it is (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          because people need certain things, that are considered basic human rights, like food, shelter, water, and access to health care.  

          When the wealthy aren't contributing enough to society, forcing the poor to stretch to help others in need and forcing government to pick up the tab, then it is my business, as a member of a democratic society, to figure out why it is that the rich just can't seem to make do with just a bit less.

          We as a society seem to have forgotten some of the lessons of the French Revolution.

    •  Bullshit (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      burrow owl, Pozzo, Shifty18, graessrj

      You don't need to live like that. You don't need tens of millions of dollars a year to live even luxuriously in this country.

      If I earned it, it's mine. I will do whatever the eff I want to with it. Pay my accountant and light my cigars if I want to.  I am dead serious, too.  

      I yam what I yam. And that's all what I yam.

      by SpamNunn on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 06:16:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Here's the sad thing (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NoMoreLies, Lost Left Coaster

      We don't live in that rags-to-riches society anymore.  Our society is far less mobile than other societies are.  The wealth in our society is becoming inherited, and the wealthy are giving their children huge advantages that the rest of us can't grasp.  Elite K-12 institutions feed their students into top tier schools, regardless of their achievements in school.  (GW Bush is an example of this.)

  •  is it fair to only tax 1/2 of America? (5+ / 0-)

    Shouldn't every one pitch in something?

    Tax the rich sounds good until you realize that 47% of Americans pay ZERO federal tax. Do we really want a country where almost 1/2 of Americans lives off the labor of the other half?

    I do not.

    After all, those who make above $50K, do not use any more government services than those who make less. Why should they be the only ones to pay for these services?

    It always seems that those who pay nothing (or less than nothing) are the loudest voices for raising taxes on those of us who do pay.

    Taxes need to be fair for all, not just the poor.

    •  Fix the income gap, and there will be less poor. (15+ / 0-)

      That percentage would go down if we fixed our tax rates as outlined.

      "Except for the few...we take home to experiment."
      - Tom Lehrer, "Poisoning Pigeons in the Park"

      by davewill on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 05:44:01 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Aw, gee, thanks for the scary vision of (7+ / 0-)

      of lower middle class folks paying nothing in taxes while the ultrawealthy shoulder the "burden."

      But let's try it just to see what happens, mkkay?

    •  Because these very wealthy people promoted the (12+ / 0-)

      war, got paid off mightliy, wheile the lower economic level were overrepresented their cost in term of damaged lives, so pardon me if I don't shed tears for the wealthy and demand that they pony up for the bulk of the phoney baloney war in Iraq

      Slow thinkers - keep right

      by Dave the Wave on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 05:51:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  That's very misleading. For one, the statistics (7+ / 0-)

      used are dubious, i.e., stating that 47% of households equal 71 million people.  Also, it doesn't say why, such as the many people making 50K or less who end up paying no tax because of legal tax deductions and credits, the same used by the rich only on a much larger and more advantageous scale.  

      "Peace cannot be achieved by force. It can only be achieved by understanding" Albert Einstein

      by BigAlinWashSt on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 05:55:01 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Are you crazy? (23+ / 0-)

      Or just uninformed?  The reason the rich get rich is because the huge middle class pays to keep the roads and transportation lanes open and running well.  They keep crime down to a managable level by paying for all law enforcement.  They provide workers who have the education to work.  The top 5% is using this country like a dish rag and complaining while they wring it out.  At least the poor spend every cent keeping the economy humming even those loads on welfare.  The rich take their profits off shore where they don't do a thing for this economy or the country.  Tax the wealthy, they are getting off scot free now.

      •  I love the way Matt Taibbi (6+ / 0-)

        addresses exactly this point, in a rebuttal to an inane David Brooks column:

        Most of the work in this world completely sucks balls and the only reward most people get for their work is just barely enough money to survive, if that. The 95% of people out there who spend all day long shoveling the dogshit of life for subsistence wages are basically keeping things running just well enough so that David Brooks, me and the rest of that lucky 5% of mostly college-educated yuppies can live embarrassingly rewarding and interesting lives in which society throws gobs of money at us for pushing ideas around on paper (frequently, not even good ideas) and taking mutual-admiration-society business lunches in London and Paris and Las Vegas with our overpaid peers.

    •  Wow, Right Wing talking point (23+ / 0-)

      hook, line, and sinker on daily kos.

      That 47% figure is 100% BULLSHIT

      The 47 percent number is not wrong. The stimulus programs of the last two years — the first one signed by President George W. Bush, the second and larger one by President Obama — have increased the number of households that receive enough of a tax credit to wipe out their federal income tax liability.

      But the modifiers here — federal and income — are important. Income taxes aren’t the only kind of federal taxes that people pay. There are also payroll taxes and investment taxes, among others. And, of course, people pay state and local taxes, too.

      Even if the discussion is restricted to federal taxes (for which the statistics are better), a vast majority of households end up paying federal taxes. Congressional Budget Office data suggests that, at most, about 10 percent of all households pay no net federal taxes. The number 10 is obviously a lot smaller than 47.

      The reason is that poor families generally pay more in payroll taxes than they receive through benefits like the Earned Income Tax Credit. It’s not just poor families for whom the payroll tax is a big deal, either. About three-quarters of all American households pay more in payroll taxes, which go toward Medicare and Social Security, than in income taxes.

      Focusing on the statistical middle class — the middle 20 percent of households, as ranked by income — underlines this point. Households in this group made $35,400 to $52,100 in 2006, the last year for which the Congressional Budget Office has released data. That would describe a household with one full-time worker earning about $17 to $25 an hour. Such hourly pay is typical for firefighters, preschool teachers, computer support specialists, farmers, members of the clergy, mail carriers, secretaries and truck drivers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

      Taking into account both taxes and tax credits, the average household in this group paid a total income tax rate of just 3 percent. A good number of people, in fact, paid no net income taxes. They are among the alleged free riders.

      But the picture starts to change when you look not just at income taxes but at all taxes. This average household would have paid 0.8 percent of its income in corporate taxes (through the stocks it owned), 0.9 percent in gas and other federal excise taxes, and 9.5 percent in payroll taxes. Add these up, and the family’s total federal tax rate was 14.2 percent.

    •  hmm (17+ / 0-)

      Are you serious?

      You're suggesting that the poor aren't paying their fair share?

      Are you aware that the working poor pay all sorts of taxes (taxes that are a much higher percentage of their earnings)? States have 'em now too!

      It always seems like greedy pricks are always the ones that complain loudest about paying taxes, when the rest of us are a broken leg away from fucking HOMELESSNESS.

      "fair"...Like it's some sort of goddamn intellectual exercise

      You really want to have a debate with the working poor about what is and isn't fucking fair??

      Those poor, poor upper middle class people. Oh, how they suffer.

      As always, we in the underclass are failing to do our part. If only we could make more than minimum wage, then perhaps we could contribute appropriately.

      Shame on us. Please consider this my personal apology, Yellow Catering Van.

      "....Money speaks for money, the Devil for his own... Who comes to speak for the skin and the bone?"

      by LeftOverAmerica on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 06:07:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Pay me enough to be taxed, and I'll pay taxes. (17+ / 0-)

      That's pretty straightforward.  If half the country wasn't on crap wages, they'd pay taxes.

      I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken. - Oliver Cromwell

      by Ezekial 23 20 on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 06:08:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  While I agree that everybody (4+ / 0-)

      should pay into the system, I think it may be incorrect to say that people who make more money don't use more government services than people making less. When Tax money is used for roads, the roads subsidize the cost of doing business. I use the roads to make money. The company I work for makes money off of me. If the company and by extension, the CEO and BoD, make more off of my labor than I do, they are effectively getting a better return on their taxes than I am.

      One could argue that Capitalism, which is supported and enforced by the Government, by definition guarantees that the people who own the industries use more government services than those who do not. Better Roads allow for longer commutes. People willing to commute longer translates into an enlarged labor pool. An increased supply of labor decreases wages. Decreased wages, if the demand for the good being produced is unaffected, translates into more revenue for the Company, and by extension the CEO and BoD, et cetera. My wages go down and the CEO's income goes up.

      I think.

      I completely agree with the point of everyone paying in. And some notion of fairness. However what I call fair, some would call tyranny.

      For Example. I have no children. Why Do I pay for schools? And why does someone making the same amount as me, but with a child, pay less taxes than me?

    •  You're missing all the other taxes (20+ / 0-)

      that fall primarily on the poor and middle class.  FICA and self-employment taxes mean nothing to the very wealthy, but they cut deeply into the incomes of many at the bottom.  Sales taxes and personal property taxes and all sorts of fees fall disproportionately on the poor.  Overall, our total tax system is actually regressive, not progressive.

      The super-wealthy want those in the middle to pay enough and to be angry enough about taxes that they will support tax cuts that actually only help the super-wealthy.  If you're angry about the suffering poor not paying federal income taxes, you are sending your anger in the wrong direction (but you are doing exactly what the super-wealthy elites want you to do).

      Civil marriage is a civil right.

      by UU VIEW on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 06:12:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Regressive? (0+ / 0-)

        I'm a little at a loss at how a country without a federal sales tax is regressive compared to say, most of the Europe, where goods have a 20% VAT on them.

        Income tax brackets aren't that different between most of Europe and here.  Look at most of Europe and you'll see the top income tax rate is only a couple of percentage points more than the US at best.

    •  You should go (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      read the comments attached to the laughable story you linked us to...Lots of people there agree with you. Ah, the company we keep....

      "....Money speaks for money, the Devil for his own... Who comes to speak for the skin and the bone?"

      by LeftOverAmerica on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 06:27:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Being someone who does pay federal income tax, (9+ / 0-)

      the fact that somebody who doesn't make as much as me has to pay bupkis doesn't bother me at all. Part of being a responsible adult is doing your bit to make your community better.

    •  They pay little to no Federal income taxes (10+ / 0-)

      because their incomes are so pathetically low. Count me among that group. However, many of them still pay regressive taxes, including sales, payroll taxes, state income taxes, fees payable to government, and property taxes (even if you are a renter, you still pay that indirectly as the landlord factors property tax in as a cost). So quit your whining; nearly everyone pays taxes. My family might not have any federal tax liability; but when you factor in sales, property, payroll, self-employment tax, and state income tax, taxes still eat up close to 25% of our gross income, while someone in the Forbes 400 undoubtedly pays less than that in terms of percentage of their income.

      Federal income tax is only one tax among many. Quit the right-wing meme quoted from Fox News Lite (CNN) that most Americans pay no tax. It's a crock.

      "Trickle down economics 101: They get the golden parachute, we get the golden shower"

      by NoMoreLies on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 06:49:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  To be fair (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Gravedugger, Predictor

      you have to add "income" to that statistic.

      Of course, income taxes don't tell the whole story. Workers are also subject to payroll taxes, which support Social Security and Medicare.

      When considering federal income taxes in combination with payroll taxes, the percent of households with a net liability of zero or less is estimated to be 24% this year, according to the Tax Policy Center's estimates.

      Ceiling Cat rules....srsly.

      by side pocket on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 06:59:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  You're parroting a talking point. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      These people still pay payroll taxes, sales taxes, property taxes, and so on.

      See this informative breakdown for details.

    •  No, zero federal INCOME tax. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Of course, income taxes don't tell the whole story. Workers are also subject to payroll taxes, which support Social Security and Medicare.

      Other than that, is it fair that households with no income pay no income tax?  Pretty much.

    •  That's quite a leap (4+ / 0-)

      to get from

      47% of Americans pay ZERO federal tax.


      almost 1/2 of Americans lives off the labor of the other half?

      So somehow not making enough income to pay federal income tax means you are living off the labor of others? Really? The guy who busses dishes at the local pub is "living off the labor of others"?

      Looks more like the poor schmuck is being exploited by those making enough to pay some of that federal income tax, rather than the other way round.

      Pay him a living wage for his labor, and he'll be paying those FEDERAL INCOME TAXES too.

      Sheesh. Don't these guys ever think through their talking points?

      "The problems of incompetent, corrupt, corporatist government are incompetence, corruption and corporatism, not government." Jerome a Paris

      by Orinoco on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 07:48:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  He's pretty much correct. (0+ / 1-)
        Recommended by:
        Hidden by:

        SS and Medicare taxes are eventually paid back to the recipient.  State and local taxes only pay for the state and local government functions.

        If you're paying less federal income tax than the per capita expenditure of the federal government, then, yes, you are living off the labor of others, either current (or in the case of deficits) future taxpayers.

        •  That is nonsense. (0+ / 0-)

          If only you would apply that same style of logic to what the wealthy take vs what they are taxed.

          There is no comparison between the percentage of income paid by the poor and that paid by the well off. The only reason to frame the issue as you have done is to cast those that work the hardest for the least return as the villains in the equation.

          Without the exploitation-wage labor provided by the lower classes, the wealthy would have NOTHING. Without the infrastructure paid for by the poor at the state level the wealthy would have NOTHING. Those that pay the MOST are "living off the labor of others", are they?

          Fuck you too, and fuck your elitist republican bullshit.

          "....Money speaks for money, the Devil for his own... Who comes to speak for the skin and the bone?"

          by LeftOverAmerica on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 11:09:01 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  So what you are saying (0+ / 0-)

          is that the law, in its majesty, forbids the rich and poor alike from sleeping under bridges.

          "The problems of incompetent, corrupt, corporatist government are incompetence, corruption and corporatism, not government." Jerome a Paris

          by Orinoco on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 04:36:37 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Mr. Catering Van (0+ / 0-)

      When you look at all of the other taxes that people pay (sales, property, gas, etc.), consider what percent of a persons' income goes to taxes?  Certainly the poor have a FAR higher tax percentage, and burden, if you consider that.

    •  thats the point the POOR pay MORE taxes! (0+ / 0-)

      If you include local and state taxes, the poorer you are the HIGHER taxes you pay as a percentage of your income!

      I'm already against the next war!

      by casamurphy on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 08:15:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Fuck you. I don't say that lightly. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I paid no federal income tax in 2009.

      However, I did pay federal tax. Let me quote you:

      Tax the rich sounds good until you realize that 47% of Americans pay ZERO federal tax. Do we really want a country where almost 1/2 of Americans lives off the labor of the other half?

      I paid many hundreds of dollars in federal taxes. They just happened to be self-employment taxes. 15.3% of my income. Paid to the federal government. Mooch? Fuck you.

      I worked my ass off in 2009, looking for work, working as much as I could when I could find it, and teaching myself some skills that will be useful when the economy recovers.

      Despite all that, I didn't make enough to pay income tax. You think I lived off the labor of the 'other half'? Fuck you. I labored as much as I could last year. Blame me if you want. Call me a mooch, but I would have GLADLY worked more if the work were available.

      In my field, I will be making more than $50K in a couple years. Everything picked up in January, and this year I will gladly pay income taxes. I will never think of those not paying income tax as mooches, because I was there, and not by choice.

      It is curious to see the periodical disuse and perishing of means and machinery, which were introduced with loud laudation a few years or centuries before. -RWE

      by Gravedugger on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 09:43:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  That's federal taxes (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      enough already, NoMoreLies

      not the fairly regressive state and local ones.  And the 47% of Americans that don't pay income taxes aren't living off the labor of others; many are actually, oh, you know, working for a living.

      Here's the main issue.  People who are working, and making less than a certain amount, aren't less hard working than people who make more.  They just aren't.  Yet, somehow, we have structured our society that it is completely possible for an individual to be working two or more jobs and still not be making a living wage.  We have a huge income gap in this nation, based on some screwed up sense of who "deserves" a higher income.  It's just that - screwed up.  We need to get rid of this sense of entitlement and provide a living wage for everyone.

    •  Is it fair that only 1/3 of businesses pay? (0+ / 0-)

      2/3 of US businesses pay no income tax, and 68% of foreign businesses pay no income tax.  This is not because they are too poor to pay it, but because they've found ways around it.

      so 50% of working Americans are too poor to pay taxes.....

      And which group is it that you're choosing to pick on?


    •  Excuse me? (0+ / 0-)

      You couldn't be more wrong here:

      After all, those who make above $50K, do not use any more government services than those who make less. Why should they be the only ones to pay for these services?

      Um, yes, they do. Have you ever heard of corporate welfare? Subsidies to corporate farms? Entire wars waged to ensure access to fossil fuels? Regulatory capture? Tax breaks for the wealthy? Oh my gods, the list goes on and on and on.

      Rich people get so much more out of this government than poor people do. So much more.

      And you're lying when you say that "47% of Americans pay ZERO federal tax." Are payroll taxes not federal? That is news to me. The answer is, of course, that these Americans do not pay federal INCOME tax, while paying many other federal taxes, and for the most part, they simply do not earn enough money to pay federal income taxes. You may not have noticed this in your penthouse or wherever the fuck you live, but we just had this little thing called a "recession" (look it up) and it made a lot of people very very fucking poor or unemployed. So yeah, they don't pay federal income tax. If you think they're so fucking lucky then you should volunteer maybe to train incomes with them.

      "The government needs to spend its money on more important things, such as anti-tobacco programs, pro-tobacco programs, killing wild donkeys, and Israel."

      by Lost Left Coaster on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 07:31:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  is it fair that 50% don't make enough to pay tax (0+ / 0-)

      you have it backwards, is it fair that half of Americans don't make enough to pay even the minimum tax? Poor people would love to make enough to pay taxes but all the money has been directed upwards by tax policies. A living wage act would correct that sad stat.

  •  The Right-Wing gives wealth a bad name. Check out (3+ / 0-)


    Resist corporate serfdom.

    by Mayfly on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 05:48:30 PM PDT

  •  Eat the rich. They got it we want it. My fair (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tobendaro, Lyme, MinistryOfTruth

    share is there income.  

    Eat recycled food. It's good for the environment and OK for you.

    by thestructureguy on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 05:48:33 PM PDT

  •  It would be great if Markos, as a member of (6+ / 0-)

    the rich, would lead the charge on this.  Excellent diary.

    Markos, step up!

  •  The strategy of the super-rich (15+ / 0-)

    has been and continues to be:

    1.  Allow or support taxes that fall on the poor and middle class (FICA taxes, sales taxes, car tags, various fees, "flat" income taxes, and so on).  Anything that is as regressive as possible and that affects most Americans.
    1. Rile up anger about taxes among the poor and middle class, who are in fact the ones who are most hurt by the taxes they pay.  Media owned by the super-rich are very useful for this phase.
    1. Use that anger about taxes to elect "anti-tax" politicians and enact tax cuts for the wealthy (on the grounds that they "pay the most taxes" or "create jobs", or just by giving tiny cuts at lower levels while the wealthy get huge cuts).  This increases the wealth gap and the relative power of the wealthy few.
    1. Repeat the cycle.  The poor and middle class who get manipulated by this cycle end up being the dupes of the very wealthy.

    The end game is serfdom or effective slavery for the many and an aristocracy of enormous inherited or corporate wealth for the very few.  The only other way out is for the poor and middle class to wake up to what is going on and vote accordingly.  But we have the media and plenty of other forces working against us.  Our greatest allies are any truly independent media (such as Daily Kos), along with those wealthy individuals who get the picture and who don't want to be the creators of a world of serfdom and aristocracy.

    Civil marriage is a civil right.

    by UU VIEW on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 05:50:54 PM PDT

  •  Tipped and recced for the title alone!!! (3+ / 0-)

    She nourishes us; that which we put into the ground she returns to us. Big Thunder

    by Winter Rabbit on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 05:50:54 PM PDT

  •  dirty F*cking hippies tho..... (11+ / 0-)

    Were right. :)

    I am more of a second wave hippie myself.

    A Creative Revolution- - To revolt within society in order to make it a little better- Krishnamurti

    by pale cold on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 05:51:45 PM PDT

  •  The Capitalist always get their cut. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    It only makes sense to tax the shit out of the ultra-rich if we are willing to disallow the Huge monopoly-like businesses they run. I think we start by ultra-regulating all businesses/companies that employ over some number, maybe 5k, maybe more maybe less people.

    Without additional measures, the Rich will just pass that tax down to the laborers upon whom's back the business already depends.

    •  Not so much. (5+ / 0-)

      Remember this is an individual income tax. It's going to hit the CEOs and others that are currently pulling all of the "pump and dump", leveraged buyouts, and so forth to try and create a big payday from nothing.

      There isn't a way to pass it down to workers because it isn't a business expense. In fact, it will HELP businesses by making billion dollar golden parachutes impractical.

      "Except for the few...we take home to experiment."
      - Tom Lehrer, "Poisoning Pigeons in the Park"

      by davewill on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 06:02:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  One advantage of progressive taxation (7+ / 0-)

    that keeps going up is that it rewards making $1M / year for several years in a row over making one big payoff while you run your company into the ground.

    Of course, if you're a hedge fund you want that one big payoff, because you'll have dumped the stock on insider information well before the Enron-style debacle.

    In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; but in practice, there always is a difference. - Yogi Berra

    by blue aardvark on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 05:52:42 PM PDT

  •  I don't pay taxes but I want the rich to pay more (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CharlieHipHop, Kickemout

    so I can enjoy my life more.

    Eat recycled food. It's good for the environment and OK for you.

    by thestructureguy on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 05:53:11 PM PDT

  •  Hey, MoT--why are you resorting to truth (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DruidQueen, MinistryOfTruth

    all of the sudden?

    Pareto Principle: 20% of the people do 80% of the work.

    by jeff in nyc on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 05:53:26 PM PDT

  •  Point of information (6+ / 0-)

    Under Eisenhower, there were a lot of brackets, but there were also a lot of ways to hide income from the taxman.

    So saying there was a 90% tax bracket is slightly wrong because almost no income was taxed at that rate.

    In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; but in practice, there always is a difference. - Yogi Berra

    by blue aardvark on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 05:54:09 PM PDT

    •  But the loopholes haven't disappeared. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Cassandra77, Nailbanger

      Also, those "loopholes" were actually important to lots and lots of public works projects (tax-free bonds) and charitable organizations.

      "Except for the few...we take home to experiment."
      - Tom Lehrer, "Poisoning Pigeons in the Park"

      by davewill on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 06:15:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Those loopholes have *all* been closed. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        You don't know anything about the tax code, and that's fine, but don't pretend that you do.

        •  The loopholes are the preferential (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          treatment of passive income (money made on money) over wage income, offshoring of money, and being able to create shell companies to hide profits. Despite the loopholes, in the 1950s, the richest Americans paid an effective federal income tax rate around 50 percent. They now pay 17 percent or less.

          "Trickle down economics 101: They get the golden parachute, we get the golden shower"

          by NoMoreLies on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 06:59:15 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  That's not true, at all. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Most of our manufacturing jobs have disappeared because taxation. There are still plenty of cheats on the books, and the tens of thousands 'tax accountants' who helped facilitate this theft.

          And that's what it is: theft.

          Bribe some politicians to pass laws for tax breaks, and then hire some fancy lawyers .. I KNOW these people, I live in the same community as these asshats.

          It's you who is talking out of school.

        •  You sound like one of the "flat tax" guys. (0+ / 0-)

          Those guys believe that they can "get rid of loopholes" and that will make up for getting rid of the progressive tax rates. Reagan said much the same when he "tax reformed" us and got rid of the highest brackets. Sure he DID get rid of a lot of loopholes, but far from all of them. Plus a lot have since been added since and the rich never stopped illegal but winked at tax evasion, either. Reagan et al, claimed we would be getting just as much tax from the rich after reform, but it wasn't so. The deficit got so bad, even Reagan ended up raising rates again. Of course, when he did, it had the result of shifting the tax burden down the economic ladder, since he didn't add the eliminated brackets back.

          The rich still pay less than the published rates, which was the point of my post. Better to put the "progressive" back in our tax system, and give them tax breaks we want them to have. The ones that create jobs here in the US and support our charities and public works.

          "Pay me enough to be taxed, and I'll pay taxes."
          - Ezekial 23 20, responding to complaint about too many people NOT paying taxes.

          by davewill on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 10:26:41 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  One sentence nailed it. (4+ / 0-)

    The fact that millionaires and billionaires are supposed to pay the same rate is the thing that should drive the $250k-$999,999 crowd up the wall!

    Absolutely right, because those people have no excuse for not knowing the math.  And an underling who licks their superior's damp places is contemptible.

    People are fungible. You can have them here or there. - Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, responding

    by peterborocanuck on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 05:56:48 PM PDT

  •  Recced as soon as I saw the title! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueoasis, MinistryOfTruth

    But the rest is good, too.  Tax the rich and the corporate, and get 'em on their property, too, not just their income.

    "Americans are a wonderful people: They will always do the right thing--after exhausting every other possible alternative."--Winston Churchill

    by keikekaze on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 05:59:54 PM PDT

  •  Why only tax income? (3+ / 0-)

    Why not tax wealth?

  •  With Goldman Sachs bonuses (6+ / 0-)

    the government could build a lot of new schools, fix some highways, create new jobs.  Forget the "trickle-down" nonsense.  Put the criminals in jail and confiscate their fortunes.  I always like the Robin Hood story.  

  •  Actually, their eyes WON'T bleed, (6+ / 0-)

    and that's the point.

    We prospered as a nation with 90% marginal tax rates.  The middle class and the American dream grew.  The rich did just fine in those days, too.  

    We have been destroying the middle class, causing enormous national debt, and sapping our general prosperity as a nation ever since we severely cut the taxes that fell primarily on the very wealthy: high marginal rate income taxes, capital gains and investment income taxes, corporate taxes, and estate taxes.  These are the taxes they hate.  They don't mind taxes that fall on the poor and the middle class (in fact, they find those useful).

    Yet ironically, even the rich will ultimately be better off if they pay the taxes some of them hate so much, and if we have a more equitable, more prosperous and more peaceful nation as a result.  I don't hate the rich, not at all.  I just hate greed and lies.  Supply-side trickle-down economics was always complete bunk, and most of the right-wing propaganda about taxes is nothing but greed and lies.

    Civil marriage is a civil right.

    by UU VIEW on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 06:05:07 PM PDT

  •  Thank you for this. My only quibble is that th (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Badabing, Ezekial 23 20

    top rate should be at least 90%.  The hedge fund managers that made $3billion+ on the mortgage mess.  f'rinstance

    Laws are like cobwebs, which may catch small flies, but let wasps and hornets break through. Jonathan Swift

    by maybeeso in michigan on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 06:05:20 PM PDT

  •  California's income tax tiers = all you need to (8+ / 0-)

    know about why our budget is fucked up six ways to Six Flags: a single person making $950K pays the same rate, 10.505%, as a person making $50K. (Source - PDF)

    If you're in the same bracket as eMeg or iCarly, you'll like this: a single person making $1B, or even $10B, pays the same rate, 11.605%, as a person making a measly $1M.

    Nevertheless, the Rs keep telling us that the wealth is leaving the state because of our "high" tax rates.

    It may be true that AZ, TX, and FL don't have a state income tax. But having lived in another tax-free state, WA, I can tell you I paid out the wazoo in sales tax, property tax, vehicle license fees, and an excise tax on the sale of my house (PDF).

    The problem with these, as opposed to a progressive income tax, is that the sales tax is a fixed rate based on locale, the property tax is a fixed rate based on locale, the excise tax is a fixed rate based on locale, and the vehicle license fee is based on the value of the vehicle. Since "locale" is at the county or city level, as opposed to a neighborhood level, poor and lower middle class people often pay the same rate as the rich (with a few exceptions, of course). In other words, only the license fee assesses wealthy residents a higher "rate" (assuming, of course, that the rich drive newer and more expensive vehicles). The others revenue generators assess the poor at the same rate as the rich.

    In other words, "soak the poor"!

    "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag, carrying a cross." - Sinclair Lewis

    by 1BQ on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 06:06:49 PM PDT

  •  tax cuts for the rich do not create jobs (8+ / 0-)

    I think we have proven that one and for all, now what are these people waiting their asses.

  •  Eisenhower's socialist 91% top rate (3+ / 0-)

    and it was on income over $250K.

    Today the richest pay a rate of just over 16% average since most of their income is capital gains!


  •  Very Simple: Role the tax laws back to (4+ / 0-)

    the pre-Reagan days.

    Very simple, but politically hard to pull off as the idiots who are called "Tea Baggers" won't get it, and will bitch and moan.  Of course the media will give them 24/7 coverage with their caterwauling, as it wouldn't be in their interests to have those tax laws in place either.

    As for the Democrats in the House and Senate:  The Democrats will run the other directions if push comes to shove as well, as they also now know who butters their bread.

    "Try not to become a man of success, but rather to become a man of value." ~ Albert Einstein

    by LamontCranston on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 06:14:05 PM PDT

  •  Demagoguery always makes the Rec List. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Red Sox

    I yam what I yam. And that's all what I yam.

    by SpamNunn on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 06:14:09 PM PDT

  •  Put the fear of god into them (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NoMoreLies, tonyahky, MinistryOfTruth

    Someone needs to do it. I am sick of these rich people who get the poorer people to be against tax raises for people making millions and billions, because somehow the construction worker with only a high school diploma somehow thinks one day he might be in that tax bracket.

    How fucking selfish and greedy. How fucking evil that the ultrarich have helped this stupidly hopeful wish fester because it serves THEM.

    These people who make more in a day than I will in a year and then bitch, moan, and scream about how taxing them is unfair and will leave them destitute... I don't want their eyes bleeding, I want them pissing their pants.

    Ram goddamn tax raises for anyone making over 1mil a year through congress and into law. I don't care if the rich and their puppet Republican 'representatives' throw goddamn temper tantrums any more.

    Eat the rich indeed. They've gotten too big for their britches and they need to be reminded and have the serious FEAR OF GOD put into them that we little people outnumber them and they've milked and bilked us for so long that we're sick of them.

    Neither rich nor dumb enough to vote Republican.

    by Lyme on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 06:14:54 PM PDT

  •  And how is it this is possible? (9+ / 0-)

    GE, Exxon Paid No U.S. Income Taxes in '09

    So much for trickle down theory of the less regulation, the more a company earns, the more profit they may, the more tax is paid.

    So these companies paid no tax, yet how many of them benefit from the altruism of the US government in terms of spending?

    Those folks who are trying to get in the way of progress - let me tell you, I'm just getting started. I don't quit. I'm not tired; I'm just getting started.

    by Unenergy on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 06:15:33 PM PDT

  •  Amen!! (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lyme, aseth, pyegar, sboucher

    And make US corporations pay their fair share too!!  Make GE pay taxes!  GE will pay NO taxes for 2009. Unbelievable!!

    If the people lead, the leaders will follow.

    by Mz Kleen on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 06:16:27 PM PDT

  •  no, it won't solve the debt (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sparhawk, Pozzo, Red Sox

    we can not raise several trillion dollars just through some income tax on some rich americans

    also, many doctors have $500,000 plus in debt, they have been in constant 80-hour education from college to their fellowship, and at around 30 finally start making a decent wage, and you want them to be unable to have a middle class existence

    •  And they were forced (0+ / 0-)

      to take out 500k in debt?  Someone held a gun to their head?

      Or did they do it simply because they knew that if they played their cards right, they could make 500k a year, like our local dermatologist does?

      I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken. - Oliver Cromwell

      by Ezekial 23 20 on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 06:27:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Uh, wrong. (6+ / 0-)

      $139,517 – According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, the average educational debt of indebted graduates of the class of 2007.


      You're off by, oh, $360k. And it took me all of 30 seconds google searching to find this info. Do some goddamn research before spouting unsubstantiated claims.

      And we may not pay off the debt by finally taxing the ultra-rich, but I guarantee you it'll HELP A WHOLE LOT.

      Neither rich nor dumb enough to vote Republican.

      by Lyme on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 06:31:42 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  numbers are skewed (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        it only takes a few doctors from rich families who have zero debt to drive down the other numbers

        something like 15% according to that study had zero debt

        its simple math, take the four years of a top-rate biology program at a university, then four years of medical school expenses, then five-plus years of making $30,000 to live in a city working 80-120 hours a week while you have massive interest building up

        All expenses included, you easily run into hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt, and skyrocketing interest

        of course, you did a google search, without actually talking to a doctor about his/her call

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

          There's no way that 'a few doctors from rich families' would drive down the average that much. And every other study I found had similar numbers.

          From other searching, medical school costs, per year, anywhere from $10k to $28k on average. Even at the higher end of that range, a doctor would have to be in school for over 17 years to accrue a debt of $500k. Oh, and that's not to mention that most get some sort of financial aid. Gee, it's simple math indeed.

          And if so many of these doctors start making a 'decent wage' around 30, as you stated, that means they spent as many as 12 years or so in school, which is still less than it'd require to build up that sort of debt.

          And considering I live around $30k a year, let me tell you, the world's smallest violin plays for these poor widdle doctors who will soon be making at least thrice what I make.

          Neither rich nor dumb enough to vote Republican.

          by Lyme on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 08:30:43 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Why begrudge doctors (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Sparhawk, Red Sox, isabelle hayes

            whatever they earn---and most of them do earn it.  At least they're doing some good for humankind.  Why not instead get angry about the obscene amounts of money paid to bank executives, sports figures, corporate executives, movie moguls and so-called entertainers like Tom Cruise and Lady GaGa?    

          •  10k for medical school, hilarious (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Sparhawk, Red Sox

            you must know all these hard-working ER doctors who have told you "only cost me 40k to go to medical school, and im using it to rip off people"

            you hate doctors, i get it

            some people are smarter and work harder than you, deal with it

          •  Well, I only have one close friend who is an MD (0+ / 0-)

            and he's staring down $300k+ in loans. He doesn't come from a family that was able to help him pay for med school, and between the cost of tuition, lab fees, books, living expenses, etc., he's going to be in debt for a long time.

            I have another friend who is a dentist and had to turn down practices that he would have liked to work in because they didn't pay enough for him to pay down his debt and not acquire new (consumer) debt.

    •  Health care reform (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      snazzzybird, isabelle hayes

      Included debt reform for students.

      There is no reason that Doctors couldn't get special treatment for education loans, and any other profession that you want to mention.

      The point is really do we want to have an uber rich class, who are continually playing us against each other, while keeping our wages low to make more profits for themselves?

      He's not talking about anyone with a "middle class existence".

      Economic Left/Right: -7.38 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -7.33 . "If you can find money to kill people, you can find money to help people"

      by wrights on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 03:24:40 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  That is well and good but we need to do (8+ / 0-)

    a few other things as well:

    1. Initiate further legal actions and investigations against the executives of the major financial houses and hedge funds
    1. Coordinate these activities with other major countries so the SOB's have nowhere to run
    1. As suits and other action are undertaken, do what they did to Martha Stewart; attach their assets, cancel their passports, launch global investigations of all their dealings
    1. Don't hesitate to take personal assets and imprison the people when they are found guilty.

    To the teabaggers "May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen." Sam Adams

    by shigeru on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 06:19:43 PM PDT

  •  Not only a way to balance resources but also (7+ / 0-)


    The huge monetary advantage of the uber rich also gives them the ability to shape public policy through lobbyists, think-tanks and election funding.

    Take the two millionaire GOP women seeking office in California:  Meg Whitman (former EBay president) and Carly Fiorina (former HP CEO).  With their outsized compensation packages, not only could they (in Fiorina's case) run a company into the ground and bank millions, now that they want to run for office, they have huge financial advantages over their opponents.

    Buying office is nothing new - we should, however, make it as difficult as possible.

  •  I'm ambivalent (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sparhawk, burrow owl

    I think the wealthiest Americans should be paying more than they do.  But a 90% tax rate?  I know it was that high during Eisenhower's terms, but that just strikes me as ludicrous and unfair.  Probably not a popular opinion on this thread - it's how I feel though.

    •  Okay, fair enough. Let me ask you something (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      would you rather live on 75% of 25,000 a year or 10% of million a year?

      Life can only be understood in reverse / But must be lived forwards - Mustaine

      by zett on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 07:57:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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

        Like duh.

        - Fools and dupes abound and wisdom is the subordinate of naked greed. What a country!

        by Dave925 on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 08:22:13 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I was responding to the poster's claim of (0+ / 0-)

          unfairness and trying to get him/her to think of the actual real world unfairness.

          Taxing somebody at 90% who's rich as hell is not going to make it hard for them to live in comfort. But right now people who make way less pay enough in taxes to make it hard for them to live in comfort. I was inviting the poster to stand in the shoes of the lower income people instead of worrying about unfairness to rich people.

          Life can only be understood in reverse / But must be lived forwards - Mustaine

          by zett on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 07:46:41 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  It's 90% on income at the top bracket. (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dave925, zett, NoMoreLies, shigeru, ozsea1

      They get to keep the lower levels of income.

      Marginal tax rates are based upon tiers. Like everyone else, their lower levels of income will be taxed as a reduced rate. If one makes over a million dollars a year, for them to get taxed at almost the same rate I do [which is almost true at my current income level] is obscene to the extreme.

  •  Since you brought up Free Trade, (4+ / 0-)

    are you as disappointed as I am that Free Trade is not one of the campaign promises Obama has broken?

  •  I voted socialism (6+ / 0-)

    But the military taught me how completely awesome socialism is.  Hell, I make less than $150K and never bitch about my tax bill.  Community costs money.

  •  Jeeeez Louize (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Clues, NoMoreLies, Lyme, MinistryOfTruth

    How many 25k sq ft houses does one need?  2 million dollar yachts?  Excessive amount of sports cars?  $30k parties??

    Well you can't Legislate a conscience. Rules are made, and crooks will find the loopholes.

    So, we need to tax the crap out of them, until they learn how to become better people.  :)  

    My old boss is in jail now.  Could not be a better place for that guy.

    I still giggle remembering on New Years Eve, he said "you all work the full day".  It was dead and no need for everyone to be there.  The call person would have been fine for our dept.  Oh yeah he had the $10,000.00 shower curtain. I hope prison is pretty.

  •  The Wealth Income Distribution Graph is great (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    environmentalist, isabelle hayes


    The title is a little, um, hyperbolic and violent, though.

    I could give a flying crap about the political process. We're an entertainment company. --Glenn Beck

    by foxsucks81 on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 06:39:03 PM PDT

  •  Now, repeat after me, kids! (6+ / 0-)


    What have Steve Forbes and Rupert Murdoch produced besides financial empires built on misery and exploitation?

    The law has no special dispensation for crimes that might be "too disturbing" to prosecute. - Chris Floyd

    by felldestroyed on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 06:39:25 PM PDT

  •  The argument I've heard from the dark side is.... (9+ / 0-)

    ...but the rich will leave us! Then, they will go to....uh.....let's see Europe is Socialist.....Australia is too hot...China...yech, they eat little black lobsters.....Iceland, no, that won't work......I know, Mexico!!! No, that won't work.

    If you hate government, don't run for office.

    by Bensdad on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 06:40:34 PM PDT

    •  OMG yaaa this silly argument makes me crazy!! (4+ / 0-)

      "If we keep taxing them, they will leave".. So I say "where to?" Then I get the argument they will "NOT CARE ANYMORE" "and abandon their riches".  HAHAHAHAHAHA!  omg..ya think??   oh yea they are gonna wake up that morning and say "I hate this taxing America and I'm moving to ..uhm.. eh.. A HUT" and then the poor will die off because the rich don't care anymore.  Yaa and golden eggs will be falling from our butts.. like rich people are moving to huts to avoid paying some tax.  jeeeeeze. pleeze..

  •  It's self defense (5+ / 0-)

    Some people are too dangerous to have that much  money - Blankenship is all the evidence any rational person needs.

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

    by xaxnar on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 06:41:02 PM PDT

  •  PERKS (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    zett, PsychoSavannah

    My parents were young adults in the 50s...upwardly mobile, so to speak. And I remember we always had to save money BUT my dad would get new perks every car (that he could buy himself for a couple hundred after two years), swim clubs, racquet clubs, skating rinks, and even a trip to or two for the whole family. The companies that hired my dad always bought our house from us if it didn't sell in 30 days. Those were only the ones I knew about. I'm sure there were other ones that my parents enjoyed alone.

    So I was watching Mad Men and remembering all the perks my Dad got and realized that those perks...untaxable...probably kept a lot of people working. Today you and more money. And you invest it to make more money. No jobs are created and nothing gets invented and our American car industry has gone down the drain.

    I am all for rewarding hard work and I kinda am against "punishing" people for being successful. On the other hand, going back to how it REALLY was...where upwardly mobile executive took perks instead of cash might actually create a better "trickle down" effect.

  •  Hang out with a group of CEO's (8+ / 0-)

    and you will want to tax them to hell. They have become a deluded sub-culture who think they are superior and therefore entitled to their massive salaries, packages, parachutes, etc ad nauseum.  Obviously there are rare exceptions to this rule, but the CEO syndrome is real and similar to the MD god-syndrome.  I just wish these fuckers would get off their ego tripping so maybe a nice high tax rate courtesy of the real owners will bring them back to reality.  

    •  It's true (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dave925, Ice Blue, quotemstr

      They honestly believe that, since the free market decides everything, having more money means you're a better person, because the market values you more. It makes me sick.

      •  My dad thinks this way. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        zett, Ice Blue

        It's depressing. If you have more money clearly that means you're a better person and you worked HARDER for it. No leeway for unexpected problems or circumstances.

        Neither rich nor dumb enough to vote Republican.

        by Lyme on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 06:57:32 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  and the simple truth is (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Ice Blue, quotemstr, sboucher

          none of the CEO's I've done biz with are very impressive, certainly not deserving of astronomical incomes.  Most of them thought they were impressive but it was undeserved. When CEO's get together it is truly sickening because they have little intimations and jargon for their specialness. It's a big pile of delusional crap, tell your dad from me.

          •  So? (0+ / 0-)

            Maybe it's because I'm utterly exhausted tonight, but I've been doing some thinking: why bother fighting these guys? Victories for Liberté, égalité, and  fraternité will be fleeting. Control of the media will ensure that the right ratchets the country closer and closer to the old aristocratic model that dominated most of history.

            Now, considering that you only live once, why not ingratiate yourself with the once-and-future ruling class, and consequently lead a good, comfortable life? The alternative is to stress and mock and complain and eventually lose. Why tilt at windmills when you could be living like a prince?

            Yeah, sure, the direction of the country is very troubling. But as far as our individual actions go, we might as well do what's best for ourselves for our short lives.

            •  Because (5+ / 0-)

              I have to look at myself in the mirror every morning and for 56 years, I have gone my own way knowing I could have done what you suggest but then, like I say, I have to look at myself in that mirror every morning.

              I can say this;

              I have never been disgusted by what I saw looking back from that mirror. And that's worth all the baubles and phony wealth that being what I am not would bring.

              Besides, I don't do half bad. And I sleep well too.

              - Fools and dupes abound and wisdom is the subordinate of naked greed. What a country!

              by Dave925 on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 08:17:38 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  same as it's ever been (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              we're only this far better because previous gen's fought back.  The bastids are losing control of the information pipeline because of the internet.  If the aristocracy returns it's only because we were stupid enough to let them (I will grant you that's a concern!).  So it all boils down to average intelligence, and that could be a prob!

          •  As my dad sez (0+ / 0-)

            "I've known some CEO's. They were all assholes".

            'Bout sez it all for me.

            - Fools and dupes abound and wisdom is the subordinate of naked greed. What a country!

            by Dave925 on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 08:12:58 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Calvinism, the zombie ideology! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
    •  What gets me is some have the gall to think (0+ / 0-)

      the DoD has nothing better to do than stop industrial espionage.  They could hire a retired officer who did exactly that for what amounts to their own personal pocket change.  (I have a hunch it's because they'd do anything to avoid a drawn out intellectual property infringement case.)

      That reminds me--lawyers.  They hate lawyers even more than they hate politicians.

      It is better to know some of the questions than all of the answers.--James Thurber

      by Ice Blue on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 07:12:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm just going to put it out there. (6+ / 0-)

    I'm in the $250k+ crowd. We're not facing the same struggles as you, but we're also not the same people who have been stealing from the middle class and turning the US economy into a feudal state.

    We're the people who work hard, create jobs, and give back to our communities. We pay our fair share, and we don't launder our income through Cayman banking vehicles. We can't afford that shit anyway.

    The fact that we're taxed at the same rate as the ultra rich who have been raping the economy is offensive. And actually, it's much worse than that, because the ultra rich pay earn more of their income in capital gains, and thus pay a lower effective tax rate than us.

    •  This Diary is Perplexing (6+ / 0-)

      If one makes $50k, $250k looks good.  If one makes $250k, $1,000k looks good.  "Poor man want to be rich, rich man want to be king, king ain't satisfied 'till he rules everything."

      The anti-rich crowd here sounds exactly like those that claim everything Obama wants to do will lead to socialism. Not all rich people are created equal and not all are bad people and some are charitable productive citizens.

      There is nothing wrong with wanting to make a lot of money and building a nest egg and nobody has the right to tell anybody else how much is enough.  That is hypocritical coming from people who support freedoms such as reproductive/abortion rights and gay marriage.

      Should taxes be raised - yes, but be careful what you wish for, because to the extent it does indeed stifle the economy it is the middle class that will suffer the most.

      •  Here's something for you to ponder... (3+ / 0-)

        Have you ever thought about the fact that the greatest growth in the American economy and in the middle-class occurred in those years where personal income tax on the wealthy were at an all-time high?

        From personal experience, I found it more advantageous to plow my profits back into my company to build equity (and jobs) than to take it out and pay the high tax rate. There are no longer such incentives. In point of fact, 'Reaganomics' make it more advantageous to me to now pull my profits the moment I make them and put the money into the Wall St., 'money making money', schemes.

        High taxes stifling the economy is bullshit. It's all about the tax structure and not the rate. In point of fact, Warren Buffett has publicaly stated that he pays taxes at a lower rate than his secretary and he's a multi-billionaire.

        Unfortunately, the whole system has now been skewed so badly with globalization that we can no longer go back to "the good old days". There are too many readily accessible tax havens.

        Globalization is a race to the bottom when it comes to the average worker and the 'middle class' will be dragged down until that world-wide bottom is reached - there's no way of stopping it.

        •  It is about rates and structure. (0+ / 0-)

          I am an advocate of higher taxes for those that can pay it.  

          As to plowing profits back in your business, you can only plow profits back into a business if there is cash to pay. In the current structure if you own a business that earns a profit, it is taxed and the owner can decide to re-invest with the free cash flow, save it or spend it. Depending on a number of factors he will base his decision on the risk adjusted marginal rate of return (psychic income is included here).  If the tax rate is too high, there is not enough free cash flow to satiate whatever need the owner has in any of those silos.

          High taxes may stifle the economy and no one is that smart or clairvoyant to know for sure.  In econometric modeling the exogenous variable (e.g. how people behave) has an inordinate effect on the models outcome.

          It will take more than tax rates and structure to turn this around. Unfortunately it will not happen until the plutocrats feel the pain as well.

        •  Please explain the correlation between (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          stephen weinstein

          higher taxes and the economy being its best.   What causes that to happen.  

          Eat recycled food. It's good for the environment and OK for you.

          by thestructureguy on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 10:14:56 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  You misunderstand. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        NoMoreLies, rdluu

        None of us is anti-rich, or at least, I'm not. What we are against is people who are so ultra rich that they couldn't spend all of their money in their lifetime refusing to give up what they owe to society.

        Even with a 90% tax rate with no loopholes, a billionaire would still be pretty damn rich at the end of the year. Certainly, he'd have more than I'll make in a lifetime, and that's just his income for ONE year.

        Not a one of us is saying there's anything wrong with making money and building a nest egg to secure their future, but realistically, how much do you really need?

        There's a point where you have to push away from the buffet and say 'I've had enough'. These people don't; all they do is consume more and more wealth while shitting on the people who are the literal working poor barely scraping by.

        How about a little altruism? No, it's not even that: it's doing your duty to return money to the government for all the things it does to make this country a better place to live, such as building roads and trying to enforce safety measures - stuff that EVERYONE, regardless of income benefits from. Everyone has to pay, and that's how it SHOULD be.

        Right now, most of the rich are paying less, percentage-wise, than the poorer people in this country, and that shit just ain't right. It needs to be evened out.

        I've spent some time as 'working poor' and it BLOWS. Absolutely. And it makes you really appreciate it when you finally crawl out of that hole. Yeah, $50k looks good to me, I admit. I could live really well off of that and probably pay my mortgage off in 10 years or less. But when I look at $250k or $1mil, I am not interested. I don't need that much money to live. And even with what I make now, I'd be willing to give up a bit more money in exchange for something awesome, such as universal health care.

        Neither rich nor dumb enough to vote Republican.

        by Lyme on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 08:43:27 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I respect your response even if I (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          don't agree with all of it.  Altruism doesn't work because like morals and ethics, it depends on whose you are defining - mine or yours.

          If you are happy at the $50k level that is fine. Others may have other levels that make them happy. For me, it is the race not the destination and the money won't make me happy anyway. Still trying to figure out what  will but that diary if ever written needs to be written elsewhere.

  •  Yes, but spending cuts also needed. (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sparhawk, VClib, aseth, FG, coffeetalk, MGross

    Washington would have to raise taxes by almost 40 percent to reduce -- not eliminate, just reduce -- the deficit to 3 percent of our GDP, the 2015 goal the Obama administration set in its 2011 budget. That tax boost would mean the lowest income tax rate would jump from 10 to nearly 14 percent, and the top rate from 35 to 48 percent. What if we raised taxes only on families with couples making more than $250,000 a year and on individuals making more than $200,000? The top two income tax rates would have to more than double, with the top rate hitting almost 77 percent, to get the deficit down to 3 percent of GDP. Such dramatic tax increases are politically untenable and still wouldn't come close to eliminating the deficit.

    That's not from some teabagger hack. That's from the Tax Policy Center, a joint project of the Brookings Institution and the Urban Institute, both respected left-of-center organizations.

    I confess I'm not sure how to harmonize that with Krugman's confidence that the national debt is not so bad:

    I think Krugman's point is that the debt isn't so bad if we take prudent steps to manage it.

    "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

    by HeyMikey on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 06:47:21 PM PDT

    •  I made a similar point below. It's harmful, (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sparhawk, HeyMikey, zett, VClib, MGross

      I think, for people to get the notion that if we just "taxed the rich enough," the rest of us aren't going to have to pay more in income taxes.  

      As you say, if you look at the numbers, unless there are pretty serious spending cuts, the middle class is also going to have to see tax increases.  

      •  Not only that (0+ / 0-)

        But I strongly suspect that there are some inflationary forces that are not adequately being explored here either.

        For example, if you look at someone who makes a billion dollars a year, sure they make a lot more money than you on paper and there are a lot of zeroes in their salary.

        But that person almost certainly does not consume a billion dollars worth of real resources a year like 20,000 people who make a billion dollars would. So sure by taxing them you'll get some purchasing power back, but it won't be like taxing them at 50% will give you $500 million of real purchasing power.

        Again, not saying not to do it, just that it may not work out the way many people think it will.

        (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
        Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

        by Sparhawk on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 09:30:30 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  That's basically his point. He's saying that (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      historically debt equal to 70-80% of GDP is not a huge issue if GDP growth is significant and no further debt is accumulated (you don't even need to run surpluses, small deficits and good GDP growth are enough).

    •  I'll take spending cuts...cut the military budget (0+ / 0-)

      by 40 or 50 percent, end the twin disasters in the desert (Afghanistan and Iraq), eliminate all subsidies to the fossil fuel industry, and in exchange roll back all of the Reagan and Bush tax cuts for the wealthy. And remove the income cap on FICA. Voila, no more budget deficits (however the rich love them, as they can profit from the interest on the federal debt).

      "Trickle down economics 101: They get the golden parachute, we get the golden shower"

      by NoMoreLies on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 11:15:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  i've been saying this for years> (4+ / 0-)

    it makes NO SENSE to me that $300,000/yr and $300,000,000/yr are considered equivalent.  no one needs that much money!  or at least, not as much as our unemployed, public schools, infrastructure, etc need it.  

    millionaire tax NOW!

  •  I would dearly love to send Blankenship down (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PsychoSavannah, Lyme, squarewheel

    to the mines and have him work there as his sentence.  I would take even a month so he could see what it was like.  And send him to the worst mine he has.

    "We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them." ~Albert Einstein

    by ParkRanger on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 06:52:27 PM PDT

  •  If we can't eat the rich I just say, simply... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Abra Crabcakeya, isabelle hayes

    fuck 'em.
    No one making over a few million a year is actually "earning" their money...period.
    Tax it, take it and put it to good use.
    Peace ;-/>

    "We're right in the middle of a fucking reptile zoo! And somebody's giving booze to these goddamn things!"-Hunter S. Thompson ;-)>

    by rogerdaddy on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 06:53:31 PM PDT

  •  Says it all (0+ / 0-)

    Sadly I do not have access to an image site on this compy, so you have to click instead of me just pasting the image in here.

    Neither rich nor dumb enough to vote Republican.

    by Lyme on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 06:55:35 PM PDT

  •  'Run the coal,' said Blankenship: as long as (0+ / 0-)

    that is his primary controlling idea, much higher taxes are prerequisite to mine safety.

  •  My Ideal T-Shirt (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NoMoreLies, lisastar

    "Trickle down economics", with two rich guys pissing off a balcony on poor people.

    I can't give you a brain, but I can give you a diploma- Wizard of Oz; If you have half a brain you won't need a diploma- Frank Levey

    by weathercoins on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 07:05:55 PM PDT

  •  Here's what bothers me about diaries like this (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sparhawk, VClib, Huginn and Muninn

    there is the implication that, if you taxed "the rich" (in the diarist's view, mainly those over $1 million a year) enought, the rest of us won't have to pay income taxes -- or not much.  

    That's simply not true -- because there's not enough of those rich people around.  Look at the numbers.  The top 1% is between $400,000 and $500,000 a year (that's household -- often 2 incomes -- AGI).  And the top 1% takes in, in total, around $2 trillion a year and pays about $450 billion a year in taxes (if I remember the CBO numbers correctly).  Those who make over $1 million are like the top .01%.  You take something around 70% of what they earn (you can't go higher -- few people will continue to make an effort to "earn" money if they keep none of it; Eisenhower's 90% rates were on a very small portion of the income of a rich family).  Even if you took like 70% of those .01% of households, that's not enough money to lower the deficits.  

    Frankly, I think that most people in this country have some kind of gut reaction that the federal government should not take, in income taxes, more than 50% of what somebody, even a major sports figure or a superstar entertainer, earns.  But even if you could, politically, go higher than that on the mega rich (over $1 million), the rest of us are still going to see a tax increase as soon as the recession is over.  The numbers don't add up any other way.  

    So, yes, tax increases on the rich are coming. Absolutely.  The  Bush tax cuts on the rich (those $250,000 and over) are going to expire, and as Giethner said on Sunday, that gets you about $1 trillion over 10 years -- or $100 billion a year.  That's factored in to deficit projections already.  The projected deficits are still too big.  So, even after the Bush tax cuts expire, taxes on the rich (likely that$250,000 and above group) are going to go up even more.  The super rich are going to pay lots more in income taxes.  But that doesn't mean that the rest of us aren't going to have to pay more as well.  

    I think it can be harmful, in a way, to imply (this diary does not say it, but it's implied in some of the comments) that just by "taxing the rich" that will be enough.  People need to be realistic about what we are going to see in December, when Obama's deficit commission reports.  

    •  LOL (0+ / 0-)

      there's not enough of those rich people around

      The American Television and Newspaper Mainstream Media = Private, For Profit Corporate Information Service Monopoly

      by o the umanity on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 08:13:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The top one percent (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      miriam, NoMoreLies, Brooke In Seattle

      These figures are from the IRS:

      All figures are from 2007 individual tax returns (i.e. not corporations, trusts, etc)

      The minimum AGI to get into the top 1% of tax returns is $410,096.  The average tax return in this group reported AGI of $1,423,580.

      The top one percent reported $2.0 trillion (22.83%) of the total national AGI of $8.8 trillion.  When Reagan left office, the top one percent had just 12.3% of national AGI.  This group nearly doubled their share of national AGI at the expense of the middle class since 1986.

      The top one-tenth of one percent (about 141 thousand lucky individuals) reported AGI that accounts for 11.9 percent of the total national AGI.  The bottom 50% (about 75 million individual returns) had slightly more at 12.4%.  

      If I were one of the 141 thousand I'd want this gap closed because such disparities will ultimately lead to gasp revolution.

      I think there might be room at the top for more taxation--there certainly isn't room at the bottom or middle because these groups have already seen the fruits of their labors go into the pockets of the rich--for the last two decades.

      Where are the "better" Democrats?

      by lalo456987 on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 08:47:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I agree that there's room at the top (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        but not enough to make up the projected deficits.  At least in terms of what it is possible to accomplish politically.  By the way, it seems to me that the significant number is not the "median" or average tax return for that group, because that nubmer is going to be disproportionately influenced by the few who make ungodly amounts of money -- hundreds of millions.  What is more significant is that there are only about 46,000 returns of "super rich" -- income of $5 million or over.  That means that people who want the super rich to pay the entirety of the amount needed to close the deficit are looking to only 46,000 households.  

        So let's look at numbers.  The top 1%, beginning at household AGI about $410,000, has about $2 trillion in income and pays about $450 billion in income taxes.  Let's increase the burden on this group by 50% -- which would be a huge, huge increase, probably not politically do-able.  Nobody is going to support that kind of an increase for anybody but the top .01%. But let's say you could get Congress to pass 50% increase on the top 1%, picking up doctors, lawyers, professionals, small business owners, and working professional couples.  That means that you pick up an extra $225 billion  a year, minus the $100 billion for repeal of the Bush tax cuts that's already figured into the projected defificts.  That extra $125 billion a year is a good start on bringing the deficit down to manageable levels, but is not enough, of course.  

        I'm looking at numbers from the  Tax  Policy Center.  

        •  all true... (0+ / 0-)

          thank you.

          I don't feel that the uber rich or even the top 1% needs to bear the entire burden of taxation.  I would raise the marginal rate on incomes over 400K to something like 50%, however.  It's not the highest it has been, but it's closer.

          For the deficit reduction, the best way is to end the two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Following that, full employment at good wages is equally necessary.  I'd like to see this happen in the next 7 years, and I do believe that it is doable.

          Where are the "better" Democrats?

          by lalo456987 on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 12:50:18 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Actually, top marginal rates (0+ / 0-)

            at 50% on the top 1% -- those $400k and over -- could very well be significantly higher than they've ever been.

            What's important is not top marginal rates alone, but also what exemptions, deductions, exclusions apply to income.  As you know, those 90% top marginal rates were only on incomes that, in today's dollars, were around $2 million and up, not $400k.  And even then, there were so many exemptions, deductions, exclusions that little income, even for the super rich, was subject to that.  

            Look at the CBO's numbers on historical effective federal income tax rates.  The highest they've  been in modern times is during Clinton's era.  When the top marginal rates were 39%, the effective federal income tax rate on the top 1% was HIGHER than it was in 1979, when top marginal rates were 70%, mainly because the Tax Reform Act of 1986 dramatically eliminated many deductions, exclusions, and exemptions (notably, the passive income rules, which almost bankrupted my accountant dad at the time).  When the Bush tax cuts expire, we'll be back at those Clinton rates on the top 1%, which were the highest they've been since 1979, when the CBO began keeping score.

            Going to 50% on those at $400K and above, on today's rules for AGI, will pretty clearly  be the highest income tax rates ever.  Clearly they will be, by far, the highest rates ever on the "working rich" group -- those working professional households in the $400k to $999k group. That group has never seen federal income taxation anywhere near that.  

            •  In time of war... (0+ / 0-)

              there is a price to pay, and frankly a marginal tax rate of 50% (regardless of AGI rules) isn't that much of a burden on the 1.4 million filers that fall into that group.  If it is a burden, then too bad--taxation is always a burden but for those in that group their burdens are far less than those with lower AGI's.

              It's somewhat interesting (though not comparable by any means) that the UK's tax of 50% on income (and savings) over about $300K isn't that far off from what I propose.  In addition they have VAT to contend with.

              But, it ain't going to happen because those that have are pretty much ruling the rest of us and they won't allow it.

              Where are the "better" Democrats?

              by lalo456987 on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 07:14:46 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  You had me at (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dave925, isabelle hayes

    "until their freakin eyes bleed".

    And BTW, although you didn't cover it in the diary, that old canard that if we tax the ric, they'll leave, is just that - BS. They taxed them in England, and guess what? They stayed.

    After all, where are they going to go? They want what our taxes buy: infrastructure, security, clean water, nice restaurants, all those goodies. You only get that stuff in high-tax "welfare states" like Western Europe, or Japan, or (mostly) here.

    Otherwise they'd already be in low-tax havens like Somalia.

    The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.

    by sidnora on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 07:16:32 PM PDT

  •  I would have voted for sociamalism (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dave925, lalo456987, lisastar

    but that's because I'm a Socialist.

    "I am for Socialism because I am for humanity. We have been cursed with the reign of gold long enough" -Eugene V Debs

    by jabbausaf on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 07:17:32 PM PDT

  •  Tipped and rec'd for the headline... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dave925, MinistryOfTruth

    That's all I need to see...  These bastards make me crazy... Now I'll go back and read the comments to see if any of the 10% who voted no or socialism has anything worthwhile to say...

    Kick apart the structures.

    by ceebee7 on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 07:24:00 PM PDT

  •  Rec'ed as a member of the $250-999's n/t (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dave925, zett, tardis10, MinistryOfTruth

    You can't support the GOP and the Constitution at the same time!

    by Arsenic on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 07:24:00 PM PDT

  •  Did anyone else see??? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dave925, tonyahky

    that recently on an episode of the reality TV show Family Jewels (about Gene Simmons of KISS fame) that his wife and manager paid $1000 for an ice cream sundae dessert at lunch?

    If they got money to spend like that they should be taxed at 95%.  When people can't send their kids to school they have such excess.

    •  Well We Add Income Averaging for People Who (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NoMoreLies, Wom Bat

      like performers or athletes can have a tiny number of spectacular years. Our problem is not someone who earns 10 million in one year, it's with those who can earn 10 million often enough to pick up a six pack of senators to deregulate the economy into a casino.

      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 Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 07:53:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  What, did they buy it from KBR? n/t (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      It's not just a zip code, it's an attitude.

      by sboucher on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 09:10:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  And while we're at it, eliminate (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gooserock, Dave925, Wom Bat

    the stupid tax on social security payments.  They should be tax free (and waived by anyone worth 5 million or ___ ), the money to go back into the fund.  Taxing anyone living on SS is criminal.  That money has already been taxed once.

    This was one of Obama's campaign promises, btw.

    Kick apart the structures.

    by ceebee7 on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 07:34:04 PM PDT

    •  If you're actually living on ONLY on SS (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Gooserock, Dave925, Pozzo

      you aren't likely to be paying taxes on it. You have to have some other income to be likely to be pushed over the limits.

      "Pay me enough to be taxed, and I'll pay taxes."
      - Ezekial 23 20, responding to complaint about too many people NOT paying taxes.

      by davewill on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 07:45:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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

    ...when you can nationalize?

    •  50 Years of Stable Climb From Busted to Superpowr (3+ / 0-)

      says taxation mostly without nationalization has worked spectacularly well.

      But nationalize the satellite and cable broadcast infrastructure, absolutely -- so FCC can restore New Deal to Great Society ownership limits and public service requirements on media. Maybe not "Fairness" doctrine, but require access for the people's campaign and debate business, restore localization, make communication and knowledge democratic once again.

      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 Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 07:56:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Childish rhetoric aside. US tax rates are too low. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dave925, NoMoreLies
    Poor man's Glenn Beck chants aside, US does need to revamp its tax rates so that it does apply the taxes to where the income is.

    Goldman/Sachs bonus for example $5B this quarter should be taxed at a 40% rate that yields $2B. That is where the money is being made in US system, then that is where the taxes should be levied.

    Taxing ALL income, not just payroll income, and applying all taxes. The $5B in bonuses would also payout $600M in Social Security tax and $150M in Medicare tax. Same for Goldman/Sachs itself.

    A progressive income tax along with Social Security and Medicare applied to all income would result in the SAME current tax rates for most Americans but higher tax rates for upper income and business who have garnered a greater share of national income while progressive taxes have not kept pace.

    Take current revenue, figure out the tax rate on all income to pay for out current spending plus small amount to pay down debt.

  •  Right. Progressive Tax is About PROTECTING the (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    economy NOT about "fair shares."

    Fairness is not even a relevant concern until safety is secured.

    You're singing my theme song.

    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 Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 07:51:27 PM PDT

  •  the progressive taxes are unfair crowd (0+ / 0-)

    I know somebody who thinks that it is perfectly fair that someone who makes $10000 a year should be paying the same percentage as someone who makes $100,000 a year, i.e. Paul-bot flat tax fanatic.

    They call that "fair" and think I'm a loon for suggesting that it's completely ridiculous, and that progressive taxation is the right thing.

    How are you ever going to bridge that gap ?

    big badda boom : GRB 080913

    by squarewheel on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 07:51:36 PM PDT

    •  By remembering that the "flat tax" crowd isn't (4+ / 0-)

      now and never was a majority. By showing that since Reagan and both Bushes cut taxes, wages have stagnated, and the economy is on the ropes. Most people understand a progressive tax system and can be swayed by arguments like these.

      "Pay me enough to be taxed, and I'll pay taxes."
      - Ezekial 23 20, responding to complaint about too many people NOT paying taxes.

      by davewill on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 07:56:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Great diary MOT, Reaganomics was... (3+ / 0-)

    the biggest scam perpetrated on the american people since... well since ever!

    "You would think they'd be saying thank you." - President Obama, 4/15

    by BarackStarObama on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 07:54:19 PM PDT

  •  Like Willy Sutton would have said (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BOHICA, adigal

    Why tax the rich?

    Because that's where the money is.

    "Those who stand for nothing fall for anything...Mankind are forever destined to be the dupes of bold & cunning imposture" --Alexander Hamilton

    by kovie on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 07:55:14 PM PDT

  •  75% is barely the beginning. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NoMoreLies, isabelle hayes

    I say 100% on marginal income above $5 million a year, and treat capital gains as ordinary income.  

    The unlimited right to "freedom of money" doesn't exist in the Constitution.

    Anyone who refuses to work for less than a king's ransom, can go starve.

    •  Actually, I think you WOULD have a (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      constitutional problem. The power to tax is in the Constitution. The power to confiscate isn't. I suspect that a marginal tax rate of 100% might not fly. Besides it isn't necessary.

      "Pay me enough to be taxed, and I'll pay taxes."
      - Ezekial 23 20, responding to complaint about too many people NOT paying taxes.

      by davewill on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 07:58:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  OK, I'll compromise. 99%. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        isabelle hayes

        Or if you twist my arm real hard (or if you're gay & single, offer me good sex;-) I'll compromise around the Eisenhower tax rate of 94%.  

        If you want 75%, you have to start by asking for at least 90% so you have bargaining room.  If you start the bidding at 75%, you'll end up with 50%, and the vast piles of loot will continue to attract sociopaths who will do anything to get it and keep it, including crash the economy and murder coal miners.  

        •  The effective rate will end up (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          around 50%, at the most. If you actually tried to collect 75 or 90%, it would be too much and the rich would merely bribe people and commit out and out fraud to cheat the system. As has been pointed out, Eisenhower never actually GOT that much out of the rich.

          "Pay me enough to be taxed, and I'll pay taxes."
          - Ezekial 23 20, responding to complaint about too many people NOT paying taxes.

          by davewill on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 08:09:12 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  try this: (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            MinistryOfTruth, isabelle hayes

            Income tax of ZERO up to income level of $50k for a single person and $100k for a couple.

            Balance that with > 90% on the super-duper-rich.  

            Draw a curve between those two points.

            There is probably a mix that will produce a balanced budget with numbers in those ranges.  

            What percentage of voters do you think earn less than $100k as a couple or $50k as a single person?  

            And what percentage of voters will end up paying significantly less tax overall, under that proposal?

            That will also let the air out of the tires of the Tea Party movement and bring in a Democratic landslide like nothing before.


            Your pre-emptive defeatism on this issue is hardly pragmatism.  

            And as for bribery, cheating, and fraud, we have ways of dealing with that.  Open up a new federal prison named after Bernie Madoff and send them there.  They can all beeyotch about the food for five to ten years.  

            •  That is what the diary proposes and I support (0+ / 0-)

              that very strongly. I was arguing that trying for 100% was misguided, that's all.

              "Pay me enough to be taxed, and I'll pay taxes."
              - Ezekial 23 20, responding to complaint about too many people NOT paying taxes.

              by davewill on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 10:29:08 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  It won't work (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pozzo, MGross

    More US wealthy opt to surrender their citizenship

    As offshore havens comply with transparency demands, a growing number of ultra-wealthy Americans are handing back their passports

    .  .  .

    Jay Krause, a partner at private-client specialist law firm Withers, said: "The number of inquiries from US citizens wanting to expatriate from their citizenship has increased rapidly in the last year."

    .  .  .

    the quantity of money outside the grasp of global tax authorities could be trillions of dollars.

    •  If their greed gets in the way of their (5+ / 0-)

      contributions to society, I say good riddance. Door, meet ass.

      "Trickle down economics 101: They get the golden parachute, we get the golden shower"

      by NoMoreLies on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 11:20:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I would answer that by (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bustacap, adigal, snazzzybird

      Increasing taxes for companies working from tax havens.

      Economic Left/Right: -7.38 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -7.33 . "If you can find money to kill people, you can find money to help people"

      by wrights on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 03:29:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think you may not understand (0+ / 0-)

        the definition of a tax haven (i.e. a place to put assets beyond the reach of tax collectors).

        •  There is more than one. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          bustacap, adigal

          But if a company is based in the Cayman islands say, and does business in the US, why shouldn't they pay taxes for income that came from the US?

          Economic Left/Right: -7.38 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -7.33 . "If you can find money to kill people, you can find money to help people"

          by wrights on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 05:34:47 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Of course they should (0+ / 0-)

            But the point is that when you say "tax the rich" and the rich have investments all over the world, it's not going to be that easy. If you keep jacking up the taxes on income "earned in the United States", you then create a perverse incentive for them to invest their money elsewhere, which they are doing in East Asia and South America on masse right now.

        •  Simple solution: Close the loopholes (0+ / 0-)

          .... that allow freeloading companies who earn the bulk of their income here to "offshore" their headquarters to avoid paying taxes here.

          It is NOT ok for businesses who operate here in the US  (the largest single retail and business market in the world) to take advantage of the physical and technological infrastructure here; in many cases induce local and state governments to give them tax breaks for staying in or moving into their areas; use lobbyists to garner further regulatory considerations and sometimes subsidies from local, federal and state governments; and THEN use three card monte techniques to "move" their income offshore and avoid paying the taxes that they should be paying on it.

          • Prior to the financial sector dragging us all into the mud, corporate profits were the highest they've been in 40+ years.
          • The effective tax rate on corporations is the lowest in many decades (due to so many corporate welfare queens).
          • Regardless of what the corporatist tort-reform fanatics want us to believe, the majority of lawsuits clogging up our legal system are corporations suing other corporations.
          • Business has enjoyed decades of productivity gains and wage stagnation, leaving the average American family working harder and yet falling further and further behind.

          I find it disgusting that corporations like Halliburtion make the vast majority of their money from business interests in this nation, yet "move their corporate headquarters" to the United Arab Emirates to avoid paying taxes on the money they earn here.  I find it disgusting that they offshore large parts of their operations to other countries -- paying slave wages there at the expense of American workers -- while still earning their income here ... and then promptly moving through a labyrinth of intercompany transactions and legal dodges designed to avoid paying tax on it and robbing the benefits of it from American society at large.

          If these corporate welfare queens (who are real, as opposed to Reagan's mythical Cadillac-driving welfare queens) are made to pay their fair share of the load, many of our financial problems would be greatly reduced.

          ... and we have seen the black suns | pouring forth the night. -- Clark Ashton Smith

          by bustacap on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 09:11:53 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I would agree with much of that (0+ / 0-)

            . . . but I think we're also heading into another period in history where the location where money can be earned will be much more mobile as well. There's lots of money being made in East Asia, in Latin America, in the Middle East, in Europe. Yes, we're still the single largest location, but our relative size to the rest is definitely shrinking, and the ability of say, internet-based businesses, to generate income wherever they want to be, is also increasing.

            We can set up a tax system that works to strongly discourage companies from earning income in the U.S., while basing their headquarters elsewhere, but over time we might find that they simply earn less income here.

            This happened to central cities in the period from the 1960's to the 1980, it happened to the industrial heartland in from the 1970's to the 1990's, and it's happening now to the urban, "metro" states such as California and New York, where real income and economic activity outside of bubbles have been in decline since at least 2000.

            I'm not saying that you're wrong, only that there may not be an easy answer to some of this. The mobility of capital in the 21st century presents a "race to the bottom" for taxes and wages that will be hard to work upstream against.

        •  There's more than one way to skin a mango. (0+ / 0-)

          If they want to sell their goods and services here, we can figure a way to get our share.

          "Pay me enough to be taxed, and I'll pay taxes."
          - Ezekial 23 20, responding to complaint about too many people NOT paying taxes.

          by davewill on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 10:31:29 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Listen to the Republican theme song: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NoMoreLies, Derfel


    by Phil T Duck on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 08:00:06 PM PDT

  •  A progressive income tax is the basis of a fair (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wrights, NoMoreLies

    and stable economy. Without a healthy broad consumer base the economy would be in a Depression. Eventually the super rich get caught as the pie gets smaller and smaller. This is Trickle Up economics where a broad healthy middle class supports a tiny wealthy class, in return the top 1% limit their winnings to something morally justifiable.

    Right now the middle class is living off of borrowed money from the wealthy. Eventually the middle class defaults on their loans and the big banks become insolvent. The debt of the middle class is part of the wealth of the upper income brackets. Contrast that to a system of income redistribution through a progressive tax where the middle class has much lower taxes then now and assumes much less debt. It's fair, and stable.

    Besides, why have a democratic society if it is run just for the good of a few? To paraphrase Ronald Reagan, you can keep your mickey mouse system of economics if you will agree to a very progressive income tax. That should be the cost of winning at the game.

  •  You are so right! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MinistryOfTruth, isabelle hayes

    and so eloquent! I think this is brilliant and great politics:

    But make no mistake, the $250k-$999,999 crowd are NOT the problem. These people are NOT the private jet and butler crowd. They earn around 5 times the average income, They are NOT the problem.

      The problem is the CEO class that makes 500 times the average income. It is the greed that demands bigger and bigger dividends no matter what. These people WILL NOT SUFFER if higher taxes drop their income from 500x the average to 499x or 400x the average income after taxes. Don Blankenship will NOT suffer if he makes 12 million a year after taxes instead of 13 million.

    For the record, I think the $250k-$999,999 should face further tax increases after the economy gains more steam, eventually (not now), but you're absolutely right that we should enlist these folks - doctors, lawyers, managers and the like, who actually work for their living - against the real parasites, the super-rich who have gotten there in many cases through fraud, influence-peddling, flouting laws and regulations, and hiding their investments in offshore accounts.

  •  Useful pdf all should carry... (0+ / 0-)

    and it exhibits well on smart phones.

    I'm already against the next war!

    by casamurphy on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 08:13:01 PM PDT

  •  There's enough wealth in the income stream (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NoMoreLies, isabelle hayes

    of speculation alone to reverse the deficit within a half dozen years. And STILL leave enough profit for the greedy bastards to remain filthy rich.

    This is the sickest part of it: they don't even need to be taxed until they bleed. They only need to be taxed reasonably, and we can't even get a 3% increase on the top tier with the Reich Wingers screaming socialism. Stupid dumb fucking idiots will never make enough money to get that near that tax rate.

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

    I think I love you.

    Mr. Bush, don't let the door hit you on the way out.

    by pacific city on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 08:22:08 PM PDT

  •  People have no idea (0+ / 0-)
    what they actually pay in taxes.  They only know what they pay or are refunded on 4/15 -- not their total tax.
    I think that when social security sends out those notices of how much people made over their lifetimes, they should also include what people paid in federal taxes that year.  People should see how little it actually is.  
  •  Ya know what.... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    adigal, snazzzybird

    Taxes are part of life, I pay my share.
    BUT, I am so damn sick and tired of hearing about millionaires and billionaires whine and moan about the burden of their taxes.  Poor you.  I guess you'll have to give up one vacation in the south of France, or one of your half dozen houses in delightful places, or one of your fleet of cars or one gala.  Or, who knows what.  Boo hoo hoo.  
    Hey rich guys/gals, you want a burden?  Try living on what I make.
    I'd trade your millions (even after taxes) for my pennies.  Any day.  

    I think, therefore I am........................... Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose AKA Engine Nighthawk - don't ask!/don't tell!

    by Lilyvt on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 08:27:35 PM PDT

  •  I voted no in the poll. (0+ / 0-)

    Cuz' I don't think billionaires should be taxed more than multimillionaires. Top tax bracket should be around $10 million.

    Sorry for the confusion.

  •  Why? (0+ / 0-)

    First of all, the U.S. Federal government is, of all the organizations in the world, the absolute worst when it comes to managing money. They're trillions of dollars in debt. Even if you squeezed the rich, you'd still need ten times as much just to break even. Instead of looking at what defenseless patsy the government can shake down, we should be figuring out how we can run the government without skirting bankruptcy. Taking money from the rich and then giving it to Chinese creditors isn't going to make American poor people any better off. Heck, it isn't even going to make Chinese poor people better off because they aren't getting the money either.

    Second, what makes you think the government is entitled to so much of somebody's property, simply because that person has a lot? By that logic, I should be able to go into my neighbor's house and steal one of his televisions, as long as he has more than five, and as long as I give that TV to somebody who doesn't have one.

    No, you say, of course you can't steal from your neighbor. That's illegal.

    On the flip side, why should a person be entitled to receive a portion of this confiscated property, merely because he doesn't have a lot of property to begin with?

    Getting back to the mine: If these safety violations were bad enough to shut the mine down, why was it still operating? Does that mean the government agency charged with protecting the miners failed? Don't they share the blame with the mining company? And isn't that agency funded by taxes?  

    Maybe you could explain how taking money from rich people makes poor people less poor. If taking money from rich people and giving it to poor people made them less poor, then there should be fewer poor people. But there are still loads of poor people out there, even though Johnson's "Great Society" was supposed to fix that. (By taking money from rich people and giving it to poor people.)Somehow, it didn't work.  

    To my knowledge, I have never been robbed by a billionaire. I have been shaken down by government agencies lots of times, though. My property tax bill didn't come from a billionaire. My car registration bill didn't come from a billionaire. The gasoline tax isn't going to a billionaire. State income tax...once again, not going to a billionaire. Sales tax...nope, not heading to a billionaire. If I make some good stock trades, and earn some money, Warren Buffett isn't coming to me with his hand out. If I cut some trees on my property, Bill Gates won't be calling me for his cut. No, that would be the government.

    I think I'm going to have to disagree with you about this whole "tax the rich" nonsense. Stealing is stealing, no matter who is doing it. And no one's better at it (and profited less from it) than Uncle Sam.

    •  I guess (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      you bought into the hype.

      Or you're a troll.

      Somewhere a senator sits behind a big wooden desk...he took his money just like all the rest- Neil Young

      by ctami on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 08:33:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I ask difficult questions. (0+ / 0-)

        "You're a troll" is an easy answer. But it doesn't address legitimate points I bring up about taxation.

        The U.S. is in such dire financial straits because the Federal Government consistently manages money with the skill of a baboon suffering from advanced syphilis.

        Taxing the rich seems like a convenient thing to do, but it isn't going to make poor people any better off.

        Have you ever been robbed by Warren Buffett? Has Bill Gates mugged you in an alley? Has Steve Jobs broken into your house and stole your jewelry? Probably not. But the government has almost certainly helped itself to your money. What makes one kind of theft any better than another?

        •  Your "legitimate points" (9+ / 0-)

          are entirely a matter of opinion- your own. But Buffett, Gates and Jobs are hardly "defenseless patsies." Their lawyers make more in a year than I'll make in my lifetime. Buffett himself is against California's Prop 13, which has ruined the state. He has stated that he pays less taxes on his mansion in California than he does on his modest home in Omaha.

          I have no problem with rich people. In fact, Steve Jobs has made my life better with his products. I've collected paychecks from Bill Gates. The point of this diary, however, is to make them pay their fair share, proportionate to what the middle class pays.

          If you are a libertarian, no-taxes-for-anyone type, fine. Your tired "stealing televisions" analogy certainly hints at such. But I'll be waiting to see you out there on the highway patching potholes, or rescuing someone from a fire, or heading into a hostage situation with the SWAT team. That's what my taxes buy me, and I gladly pay them. But I'd like everyone else to pay the same proportion that I am.  

          Somewhere a senator sits behind a big wooden desk...he took his money just like all the rest- Neil Young

          by ctami on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 09:41:07 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  You skipped my Baboon Analogy (0+ / 0-)

            Which I thought was pretty good. But that IS an opinion.

            The point of the diary is that we should PUNISH rich people by taxing them more. That's clearly stated in the title. It isn't "Tax them proportionate to the middle class!" it's "Tax them until their eyes bleed!"

            In other words, punish them by taxation. The first part justifies this punitive tax by accusing the Evil Mine Boss of profiting from death and injury. Since the Evil Mine Boss is heartlessly raking in dough while miners pay with their lives, all rich people must be doing the same thing, and they should therefore be punished for it.

            Evil Mine Boss and his handwringing, moustaches-pulling cohorts may very well have been profiting from the unsafe conditions at the Mine. But our taxes supposedly pay for government safety agencies that are supposed to be protecting miners. They must have been sleeping on the job. So much for wise use of tax money.

            What's wrong with the stealing televisions analogy anyway? Do you think it would be all right if I broke into my neighbor's house and helped myself to his property, as long as he had more property than I did? How is "progressive" income tax any different?

            (Because we use the money for the common good! Really? Is a 12 trillion dollar debt for the common good? That sounds like a bad deal for everybody.)

            Just for the sake of argument...what if your tax money weren't being used for fixing potholes or saving kittens from house fires? What if, and this is hypothetical, of course...what if it were being used to develop weapons that could just smash the crap out of some poor Third-World country? Or worse, what if your tax money were being used to actually smash the crap out of some Third-World country, like maybe Afghanistan? Or Iraq? Or Somalia?

            One more hypothetical question...what if your tax money was being handed out to rich people, in the form of bank bailouts, so rich idiot bankers could go on being rich idiot bankers? Would that be ok?

            •  Look, dude (6+ / 0-)

              I really can't spend all night refuting your straw men; I have to go back to work, so I can pay my taxes. But your stealing television analogy is fallacious because the person being stolen from is not getting anything in return. I happen to believe that I get something in return for my taxes; you obviously don't because there are some things the government does that you don't like (or maybe MANY things...)

              If you really want to sit here and argue that the miners dying in WVA was the fault of the government agency in charge of mine safety, then you are one step away from Rush Limbaugh saying it was the UMW's fault. Maybe not even that far. And nobody said that all rich people are doing the same. That would be your straw man.

              Your bullshit "hypothetical" questions hold about as much water as a spaghetti strainer. No, there are no potholes being fixed anywhere with tax money, no kittens being saved (although I was talking about humans, but whatever makes your point in your mind; we'll conveniently omit the SWAT team.) Yep, it's all going to evil bankers, defense companies and wasteful bureaucrats. Long live the rich- they shall inherit the earth! There, feel better? Your world view is still intact!

              BTW, how much do you make a year, Bunky?

              Somewhere a senator sits behind a big wooden desk...he took his money just like all the rest- Neil Young

              by ctami on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 11:12:36 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Straw Men (0+ / 0-)

                The problem is the CEO class that makes 500 times the average income. It is the greed that demands bigger and bigger dividends no matter what.

                Straight from the original post. This must be the "straw man" you were talking about. The author points to the CEO "class". All CEOs who earn that kind of money are lumped into a single homogeneous group, and this group ought to be punished for earning "too much money". The "straw man" you said I was making wasn't a straw man at all. It was a comment on the theme of the original post, which I have provided evidence to support.

                By your logic, taxes ought to be used in a responsible manner, so that all may benefit from their use. That's something I agree with. It's pretty apparent from just a cursory glance at government that our tax money is not being used responsibly. I don't think handing out money to banks is a wise use of taxpayer money, nor is handing out money to poorly operated car manufacturers.

                And asking me how much money I earn is a great way to set me up for an Ad Hominem attack, isn't it? Obviously you're not going to get too far defending the government's wise use of tax funds, so attacking me personally will help deflect from that point.

    •  Ignorant, A Fool or Both? (11+ / 0-)

      "...why was it still operating? Does that mean the government agency charged with protecting the miners failed? Don't they share the blame with the mining company? And isn't that agency funded by taxes?"

      Sure, the agency failed by design - of the plutocrats.  Also, you assume the agency was funded at a level which would enable it to operate effectively and efficiently.  That's a conservative assumption, because those same conservatives starved the agencies and put industry patsies into positions of authority over the last eight years.  Government didn't work (a la Brownie) because it was structured to fail.  It's a great deal if you can get it.  

      "...But there are still loads of poor people out there, even though Johnson's "Great Society" was supposed to fix that. (By taking money from rich people and giving it to poor people.)Somehow, it didn't work."  

      Yep, because Johnson's programs were dismantled almost before they got started.  What makes you think that any of Johnson's programs are still operating today?  You offer no proof that any of the Great Society programs are still in existence.  It didn't work because it was never tried.  That's a surefire way of making sure a program is a failure.  It's too bad that we haven't done the same thing with the boondoggle defense projects we've funded over the last forty years, like the ballistic missile defense chimera we've pursued.  We've wasted far more money on that defense program alone than any funding given to Johnson Great Society programs.

      "...To my knowledge, I have never been robbed by a billionaire. I have been shaken down by government agencies lots of times, though. My property tax bill didn't come from a billionaire. My car registration bill didn't come from a billionaire. The gasoline tax isn't going to a billionaire. State income tax...once again, not going to a billionaire. Sales tax...nope, not heading to a billionaire..."

      Why do some people always insist on putting their stunning stupidity on display for all to see.  Billionaires who are paying a lower tax rate than you but who use government resources (the courts, prisons, the police, the military, highways and other utilities, etc.) to a far greater extent than the average citizen does are stealing from the average citizen.  Why should we be subsidizing businesses who clog up the court systems?  Why should we pay for the defense operations which protect the assets of billionaires? So long as the billionaire is paying half the rate of the average citizen, they are stealing from the Treasury.  Some ignorant folks just can't recognize it for what it is - theft and plunder.

      "Love the Truth, defend the Truth, speak the Truth, and hear the Truth" - Jan Hus, d.1415 CE

      by PrahaPartizan on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 11:00:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Your entire premise is bullshit (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ctami, adigal, aliasalias, DruidQueen

      Taxing is not stealing.

      You are using the internet -  some of your taxes went to pay for that.  Do you drive on roads?  Did you go to school?  Ever used a library?  Is your water poisonous?

      The government collects money to provide things that society needs.  You may disagree with some of what the money buys, but you simply can't disagree with the method used to provide the basics of civilization.  How the hell do you expect to have things like an interstate road system without that happening?  

      Maybe you could explain how taking money from rich people makes poor people less poor.

      Well, perhaps if a poor person can't afford to build his own fucking road to drive to his crappy job, maybe taxing a rich person could do that.

      To my knowledge, I have never been robbed by a billionaire

      This quote says much more about your "knowledge" than your tax status.  If a billionaire owns a fleet of cars, planes and boats, and makes use of the roads, the FAA, and the coast guard, and you own one car, which uses much fewer resources, and you pay 25% of your income in taxes, and he pays 5%...then you've been robbed by a billionaire.

      You need to rethink your argument.  As it stands it's a massive FAIL.

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

      Who's going to build the roads? Feel like paying a toll every time you use a street?

      BTW you're robbed by billionairs every time you buy practically anything.

  •  Raise the upper tax bracket... (3+ / 0-)

    ... and drop the lowest tax bracket altogether.

  •  Lehman committed accounting fraud, Goldman (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    adigal, billmosby

    Sachs defrauded their customers (which, by the way, includes large pension funds), and yet not one fucking thing has happened?  

    Where is Obama and the Democrats on this?  Today, Goldman Sachs' shares were up. Analysts are bullish on Goldman, citing political relationships.

    Was Goldman Sachs not the biggest contributer to the Obama campaign?  

    Please, someone tell me, why does anyone have faith in either of these 2 corporate parties?  The Tea baggers are right on one thing - the government is filled with crooks.  

    Mr. Bill Black said that during the S&L crisis, thousands of indictments were handed out.  And yet, not one damn thing has been done since the start of the worst recession since the Great Depression.  

    Where's the political leadership?  Where are the Democrats and where is Obama?  

  •  To me (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PrahaPartizan, MinistryOfTruth

    the problem is not so much tax rates that are too low for the rich.  It's just one symptom of the problem.  It's the lack of of shame for taking so much and the hubris of thinking you deserve to.  It will take something like 20-30 years to get back to a societal value system that places shame on the super rich rather than adulation (by some).  A more progressive income tax will help but it will be slow in coming.

  •  Why the Rich Get Richer (and you get poorer) (4+ / 0-)

    Yes, we need to tax the rich far more than we are now. One reason is because the normal operation of an uninterrupted economy is to pump all money to the richest people, leaving the rest of the economy cash-poor. You can see why in my comment Why the Rich Get Richer.

    My proposal is to start with a war tax. This tax should address the war debt. Institute a surcharge on the super-rich until both the Iraq and Afghan wars are paid for. I would look for 10% additional tax on incomes over $1 million a year and 1% tax on property over $10 million net value (taken each year) until the entire debt for the wars are retired. The rich profit from the wars and should pay for them.

    But, more fundamentally, we have to get rid of unrestricted globalization. That's why my advice on Defining the Summit Dialog includes a demand that companies selling products in the U.S. make them according to our workplace and environmental standards. This includes some kind of international minimum wage, which should be phased in over several years. We need to do that bring wealth-creating jobs back to this country.

    We need to make real corrections to the economy and the tax system. I've said this all before, but this is what Democrats need to be working on constantly.

    •  LT - feds can't impose a wealth tax (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Liberal Thinking

      Without a new Constitutional Amendment the federal government cannot implement the 1% tax on property that you propose. The federal government does not have the ability to have any type of "wealth or asset" tax.

      "let's talk about that"

      by VClib on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 10:55:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, It Would Require an Amendment (0+ / 0-)

        It would require an amendment to allow the tax to depend on their wealth (since this is a direct tax). It's not quite true that the federal government doesn't have the ability to impose an asset tax. It would just require an amendment so that it could depend on how much wealth the person has.

        Of course, it could be imposed on counties. Then it would be an indirect tax. But, I'm not into tricks to get around constitutional limitations. It should simply be put forward in an amendment. (Although, perhaps it's a great reason to increase the inheritance tax, which is an indirect tax.)

        I doubt we are going to get either kind of tax (property or income). Proposing and pursuing them is much more important than getting them (IMO) because it sends a message to everyone that the rich disproportionately profit from wars and disproportionately have influence to further them or stop them.

        But we could really use the money to retire the war debt. And, I'm pretty sure that if George Bush's rich friends had been against going into Iraq, then that war would have never happened. Making them pay for it would be a good way to make sure that we don't have any more unnecessary wars in the future.

  •  But, incredibly, the argument is (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    isabelle hayes

    that the super-rich create jobs in direct relation to the amount of money they earn.

    Of course, this ignores the fact that the middle and lower income citizens are the ones who create jobs in direct relation to their income.

    Unapologetically pro-citizen. Not anti-corporation just very pro-citizen.

    by CanYouBeAngryAndStillDream on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 08:59:00 PM PDT

  •  Henry Ford's philophy (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bwintx, isabelle hayes, AreDeutz

    being that better paid employees made better employees. Ford raised the salary to an unheard of five dollars per day for each employee of the Ford Motor Company.

    It's not just a zip code, it's an attitude.

    by sboucher on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 09:14:04 PM PDT

    •  Henry Ford was making consumer goods (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      so he understood that he was helping to build a customer base. Lots of the super-rich are like Gordon Gekko -- "I create nothing; I own" --  and are making their jillions from obfuscated investment strategies and speculative dealings that have nothing to do with what we Little People do. As a result, they couldn't give a rat's ass whether the middle class is growing, shrinking, or dying as long as it doesn't stand in their way.

      Electing conservatives is like hiring a carpenter who thinks hammers are evil.

      by bwintx on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 05:20:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  How about a linearly increasing rate (0+ / 0-)

    of the ax-b type. Your tax rate equals a coefficient (a) times your AGI (b) minus your personal allowance (b).

  •  Too bad... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Situational Lefty

    ...that Aerosmith appears to be in the pockets of conservatives.  Didn't they play a bunch of private parties for the bloated plutocrats?  I remember reading somewhere that Steven Tyler was a wingnut.  I'd love to be proven wrong.

    Freedom isn't "on the march." Freedom dances.

    by WarrenS on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 09:27:49 PM PDT

  •  Great diary! Too many Americans (3+ / 0-)

    buy into the supply-siders' bullshit and end up getting totally shafted. Under their insane theory a rising tide lifts all yachts. Reagan is the most overrated president. Jimmy Carter who was considered a failed president actually created more private sector jobs per year than Reagan did who by the way tripled the debt while president. Supply-side economics has never and will never work.

  •  What's interesting is that Obama (3+ / 0-)

    got 52 percent of the vote for those making $200,000 or more.  Seems like there are a lot of rich democrats.  

    Eat recycled food. It's good for the environment and OK for you.

    by thestructureguy on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 10:11:30 PM PDT

  •  By the way... (5+ / 0-)

    From the Washington Post, a couple days ago:

    The chief executive of UnitedHealth Group, one of the nation's largest health insurers, reaped almost $100 million from exercising stock options last year, the company reported.

    Meanwhile, UnitedHealth policyholders are routinely having claims denied, premiums skyrocketing, deductibles & co-pays keep going up, coverage canceled just when it's needed, etc. If anyone deserves to roast in hell for eternity, it's this Hemsley motherfucker.
    The rich are primarily responsible for the corruption of our government; they're responsible for most of the human rights violations in the developing world... and their greed is killing the planet.

    Tax the shit out of 'em.

    The Goldstone Report: read it and weep for the people of Gaza.

    by DFH on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 10:30:48 PM PDT

  •  Most rich people are socially liberal (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    democrats.  But most don't like paying higher taxes than they have to.  

    Eat recycled food. It's good for the environment and OK for you.

    by thestructureguy on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 10:42:41 PM PDT

  •  We Can Hate Taxes Too (2+ / 0-)

    This shows that we can hate taxes as well ...the lack of taxes on the RICH i.e.
    Oh it burns me up

    the only constant is change

    by tomnobombadil on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 12:06:59 AM PDT

  •  I hate taxes almost as much as I hate (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Situational Lefty, tardis10

    Greedy  rich people who resent paying taxes...and pretend they are
    'patriots' or somehow righteous in their resentment.  The nouvous riche are notorious.

  •  The whole economic system, (0+ / 0-)

    and the money system, they make me crazy.

    I need to study it more.

    But it makes me crazy because I am a fairly smart guy, and even though I can use basic science to figure out the great mysteries of religion and philosophy, (religions are all a big mistake, the correct philosophy is simple nihilism; we are all chunks of matter with no grand purpose, but we do what feels good, to avoid depression), but economics and money theory defy any simple, understandable explanation.

    Unless it is this:

    Every idea about economics and money, every system of trade, every pattern or princilple or rule of thumb, all the things the fed says is true, all the things the economists say is true, none of it works, consistently, the way that chunks of matter examined carefully work consistently.

    I am saying that a clock, for example, if you do not nitpick my metaphor to death, a clock works consistently, as long at it has power and is not destroyed by something such as fire or being smashed with a hammer.

    But when it comes to economic systems and money systems, none of them are reliable, in the sense of a clock.

    Not one single part of any economic system, not one single unit of money or wealth, not one of them has a stable value compared to other parts of the system , compared to other things of value.

    For example, an hour of work.

    An hour of work is one of the most important units in any econoomic system.

    Yet, we have no way, and I mean no damn way to ever, ever establish what it is actually, what it should be actually worth, in relation to a gallon of milk, a dozen eggs, a gallon of gasoline, a roll of toilet paper, especially when the values of all those items are constantly, and I mean constantly changing and changing and changing every day.  Have you looked at the price of onions lately?  Tomatoes?  Apples? Oranges?  I work in retail.  They change a lot.

    So if any part of the system changes a lot, and the President does whatever he does, and the big Wall street people do whatever they do, and the big bankers do whatever they do, I feel that it is all just as normal as the price of onions going from $1 a pound to $2.50 a pound.

    If our whole system goes terribly bad tomorrow, if inflation hits so hard and fast that you need $100 to buy an onion, I will not understand any explanation I hear as to why it happened, and what I do not understand is why it has not happened already, and often.

    Maybe some day I will make sense of it all, but until then, I do not feel certain that raising taxes a little or a lot, or lowering taxes, or any other tactic will work as someone says it will work.

    For all I know, any change that anyone makes in our system could have any effect, with no way to know until after it happens.  And we could do the same change at different times, and it could have a different effect each time.

    This is so different than physics at the level of grams of matter.  It seems worse than quantum mechanics.  I understand that in quantum mechanics, what happens is random, but within boundaries.  I feel that economics has no boundaries.

    I hate it, but I cannot figure out any system that would work in a reliable fashion, like a clock.

    My .02


    •  economy is much like the quantum physics (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      it's difficult to grasp and seems unpredictable because it is such a vast system

      to approach the problem of solving the mystery is to use the heuristics of biomimicry

      maybe ill write a diary on this topic one of those days - i didn't think it would be needed but i think it may be helpful to some

      at every moment, in the world, things change

      by green minute on Wed Apr 21, 2010 at 10:42:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thank you. Heuristics of biomimicry? (0+ / 0-)

        It is Greek to me.

        Maybe I will look it up.

        Thank you again.

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

          is basically a method of discovery, research, and analysis.

          Biomimicry or biomimetics - is the examination of nature, its models, systems, processes, and elements to emulate or take inspiration from in order to solve human problems.

          The economic system is much like the natural system, it's complex, and organic. As you can't control nature, you can't control economy in its entirety. You can influence it, pollute it and destroy it just as you impact nature with human activity.

          at every moment, in the world, things change

          by green minute on Thu Apr 22, 2010 at 10:38:25 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Thank you. That is now clear to me. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            green minute

            See, I am very smart, but I have no college degree, so I do not know the terms they teach in college.  A college educated man once told me that that, the terms, is a big part of a college education.  Makes sense.  That way, two experts in a certain field can use the accepted term, rather than saying, "That thingie that does that thing with the other thing.

            Anyway, thank you again.

            And, I must say, the way I stumbled upon what I am convinced is simply the correct philosophy, was by way of heuristics of physics.  I applied the basic nature of chunks of matter to the questions of philosophy.  That makes everything clear.  When folks wonder about the nature and definition of evil, I point out that we never call a hurricane or earthquake evil, no matter how many humans they kill.  So, we admit there is no evil.  We never claim an animal other than a human has free will, so we humans, being just another specie of animal, have no free will.  And so forth.

            So, I see now why you suggest that I look at our economic system in the same way that I would look at any ecosystem.  In fact, our economic system is nothing more than a factor of the whole planet's ecosystem.

            So, we should tell the folks on Wall Street that every day is Earth day, and we must all think globally and act locally for the greater good.

            Thank you again.  I will mull this over for the rest of my life.


            •  Well, this is only the beginning. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              Once we agree on a reliable heuristic method of discovery, which in my case is biomimicry, then we can build a theory, and test it, and hopefully find solutions how to prevent economic crises, and how to make economy better.
              There's much to discover using the biomimetic method, but the results will only be truthful if the method you choose is absolutely reliable.
              You do need a method, anything else is an untested opinion that may or may not be reflected in reality.
              I believe that biomimicry is a reliable method of discovery as it brings tested results.
              You say that we are simply chunks of matter. I am going to ask you, how did you arrive at this conclusion, and what method did you use to conclude that we are just chunks of matter and that we have no free will? Could you describe the thought process? Do you think that your belief that those statements are true are based on a reliable method of discovery?
              Because if they are not, then you believe in something that is not true.
              The next logical question is does it make sense to you to believe in something that is not true?
              To me it is a big waste of time to believe things that are not true, but it is just me.

              at every moment, in the world, things change

              by green minute on Fri Apr 23, 2010 at 12:09:18 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  You forgot "FUCK YES, AND EAT THEM TOO" on (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bulldawg, Massman, isabelle hayes

    your poll.

    Seriously, it needs to be done.  All we really need is to get the idea of an "investment" across.

    What will occur is a whole lot of Americans will do what Americans generally do, which is to innovate a bunch of cool stuff (because being really free people tends to bring that out front and center), and work hard to put it to use, feed kids, send them to school, and retire.

    All of that build out will be costly at first, but then the returns are HUGE!!

    Just look at all that was done the last time we did that.  The wealthy people, and corporations grew very large, very rich, and they've told us they want more.

    So, let's take care of them.  Tax them, pay down our deficit, do massive public works, infrastructure, education (which is just infrastructure), research...

    Have Uncle Sam employ a lot of them directly to get things moving, money in pockets, and core stuff done, then let business do what it does, which is exploit the work for profit.  

    Truth is, we like that!  It's not a big deal, and it's something that makes the nation compete very well, when we are doing it that is.  The only problem we have is they moved to all exploitation, with no "investments", leaving that to us and our "sweat equity", which just isn't enough, all cost and risk matters considered.

    So, we know that now.  Hard lesson (again), but having learned it, we build, and try it all again.

    This is for their own good; otherwise, just eating them would be fine too :)


    by potatohead on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 02:36:51 AM PDT

  •  Tax all income over $5M (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JTinDC, isabelle hayes

    at 100%. Seriously. If you can't live an extremely comfortable lifestyle on $5M a year you're doing something wrong.

    When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace. -Jimi Hendrix -6.0 -5.33

    by Cali Techie on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 03:09:00 AM PDT

  •  But That's The Problem You See (3+ / 0-)

    Taxed Enough Already? Though Fox News viewers don't know it, 95% of us got income tax CUTS.

    Oh I don't suppose you do, friend.

    Tax cuts for the middle class, as well as the wealthiest, screw the working class in the midst of a depression Great Recession.

    Did the wealthiest of us rush out and buy more goods or did they pay the bankers instead?

    How many jobs were created by paying bankers some more in addition to the trillions lent them?

    Didn't the bankers cut back on lending because the working classes lost out and the middle class had tea parties and damned all those unemployed getting handouts?

    Aren't states raising the most regressive taxes and cutting down on those "handouts?"

    Hoovernomics doesn't work whether a Democrat or Republican does it.

    Best,  Terry

  •  The sad thing is, because they don't tax them (3+ / 0-)

    into oblivion, it gives false hope to everyone else that they, too, may one day be that rich.  What they didn't figure is these rich people don't want MORE people joining their club.  They're happy to keep it quiet exclusive.

    By doing so they can increase their own pool of money and enjoy the spectator sport of watching those making $200,000 a year fight with those making over $50,000 about who should pay more taxes.  :S

    *this space available for lease if you have something appropriately witty for me to share*

    by xysea on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 03:47:34 AM PDT

  •  All for ya, but the presently constituted (0+ / 0-)

    Democratic Party will do nothing of the sort. Dems play to the rich now, and that's guys like Blankenship and Blankfein. In return for our money, work and votes, they'll give us an occasional pep talk. You know, Fire up the mop, or something like that. Now and then, one of them'll slip and tell us our ideas are fucking retarded. In either case, we regular folks are pretty low on the list. Some of us rank & file Dems have just been slow to pick up on all that.

    When an old man dies, a library burns down. --African proverb

    by Wom Bat on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 04:37:29 AM PDT

  •  So true... (0+ / 0-)

    You have gotten to the heart of one of our big problems - revenue for the institutions of civilization (schools, hospitals, libraries, old age homes).  I would only add that we should also restore a steeply progressive ESTATE TAX to recover more of the money that has been looted from us since the Reagan/Bush administrations.

    "There have been tyrants and murderers and for a time they seem invincible but in the end they always fail. Always." -Gandhi

    by Grandma Susie on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 05:40:56 AM PDT

  •  On taxing the rich (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    aliasalias, All In, wordfiddler

    Before we start talking about raising marginal income tax rates on the rich, there are a few other things we can and should do first that would get us closer to having a fair tax code:

    1. Tax unearned income at the same rate as earned income. There is absolutely no legitimate reason why trust fund babies should be paying a lower tax rate on money that they did nothing to earn than working class Americans pay on money that they broke their backs to make.
    1. Eliminate the cap on taxable Social Security wages. The cap is currently at $106,800, and anything beyond that cap goes untaxed for SS, no matter how many millions of dollars that ends up being.  Eliminating the cap will ensure that the rich pay the same effective SS tax rate as the rest of us, and will also create downward pressure on the extravagant salaries paid to top executives.
    1. Subject unearned income to SS and Medicare taxes. Again, it's grossly unfair for working-class Americans to pay a higher tax rate on money they actually earned than the rich pay on money that they did nothing to earn.

    Only after we've taken these first steps should we begin looking at higher marginal income tax rates.  And I would also suggest that in raising marginal rates, we should make our tax code simpler and have fewer brackets. Instead of 8 or 9 brackets, or more, let's have 3 brackets: one for the middle class, one for the upper-middle class, and one for the rich. As for what the tax rate for each of these brackets should be, I leave that to be determined by people with stronger math skills. :-)

  •  but then who will create jobs? (0+ / 0-)

    In India and China, I mean, since they never seem to worry about creating 'em over here?

    Anyway, here's another "Eat The Rich" song, courtesy of the mighty, mighty Motorhead.

    "Glenn Beck ends up looking like a fat, stupid child. His face should be wearing a chef's hat on the side of a box of eclairs. " - Doug Stanhope

    by Front Toward Enemy on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 06:09:00 AM PDT

  •  This is a silly diary (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SingularExistence, MGross

    The tax code should not be used to make people's eyesballs bleed. It's not a punitive measure, it is for raising revenue.

  •  Just to point out a weakness in your argument (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pozzo, thestructureguy

    Pointing to the 1950's as a result of higher tax brackets isn't a good idea.

    In the 1950's, we were the only untouched economy after a huge global war.  Except for Pearl Harbor and a couple of islands in the Aleutians, we weren't invaded or bombed and we had none of our industrial infrastructure touched by the war.

    We were providing much of the material to rebuild Europe and the Pacific so export demand was high for our products.

    The tax brackets didn't hurt us, but anyone arguing the point with you will point our what I did above.

    Progressive -> Progress; Conservative -> Con

    by nightsweat on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 06:21:43 AM PDT

  •  On taxpatriation (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Clues, o the umanity

    Didn't read the entire comment-fest, but the whole notion of expat'ing over taxes is intriguing. Good luck with it, to any who go that route. Ours is one of only a handful of nations that taxes based on citizenship, not residence. I.e., if I'm a Yank living in Canada (and I am), I have to report my global income and pay Uncle Sam as well as the CRA (fortunately, Uncle Sam gives me a credit for foreign tax paid). If I was a Canuck living in the USA, I would have to report global income, but not pay additional taxes to Canada.

    So, how do you get out of paying Uncle Sam? Through the very ill-advised process of renouncing your U.S. citizenship. This is an intentionally cumbersome, irreversible process. If you earn over $100K a year or have a net worth of over $500K, you are deemed to be leaving for tax purposes, which makes you persona-not-very-grata: might be hard to get visas back to the USA, and God forfend that you left any family behind, because when you do finally buy the (overseas) farm, any estate you leave to US citizens gets an extra special Sic Semper Greedy Turncoats tax levied on it.

    Not to mention that, oh yeah, if you renounce your U.S. citizenship in order to hoard more coin, you pretty much suck.

    •  Oops, forgot a salient point... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      o the umanity, MinistryOfTruth

      Duh, meant to add: even if you bid adieu and sunder ties, you have to continue to pay the IRS taxes on your global income for ten years after renunciation of citizenship. If you don't, you're on a Much Higher-Level List than "mere taxpatriate," and you might want to avoid visits back to the USA.

      •  Good points, all (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        and perfect fodder for the trolls upthread, claiming that "higher tax brackets will create a mass exodus". Like hell it will.

        The American Television and Newspaper Mainstream Media = Private, For Profit Corporate Information Service Monopoly

        by o the umanity on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 07:20:08 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  oh, yeah, (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          chotasahib, wordfiddler

          and--the only forgiveness I might see to in my heart is if you're rich and you're renouncing your citizenship because you don't want your coins financing the War Machine.

          But I imagine I can count actual heads that qualify for that on one hand ;)

          The American Television and Newspaper Mainstream Media = Private, For Profit Corporate Information Service Monopoly

          by o the umanity on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 07:22:26 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Agreed (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            o the umanity

            I'm a Quaker, so you can guess that from the get-go, I have deeply conflicted feelings about my federal taxes both here in Canada and back in the U.S., in terms of the wars the two nations "support." No workable solution has presented itself, yet. I have Canadian friends in various Peace Churches who take this approach: they work out, through complicated formulae, just how much of their own tax would be going to support the mission in Afghanistan--call it x. They then file their taxes and pay Full Amount Due - x. Finally, they donate x to a suitably peace-minded charity.

            So far, none of them have been challenged on this. But (a) I wonder if it's only a matter of time, (b) I'm in a more tentative situation, here, as one who is seeking (dual) citizenship, so last thing I want to do is rock the boat, and (c) even if I tried this with the CRA, I would never think about doing same with IRS, lest they come after me with the proverbial pair of pliers and a blow-torch.

            Ammon Hennacy is one of my heroes, but I lack his courage.

    •  What's your opinion? (0+ / 0-)

      ...on the justice of paying taxes for a country whose services you do not consume, as you don't live there?

  •  Of course we need to up their taxes (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Clues, MinistryOfTruth

    The repubs want to keep the wealthiest taxes low, and cut Social Security and Medicare. When are my fellow Americans going to wake the hell up????

    My new bumper sticker: Palin-Satan '12

    by adigal on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 07:11:11 AM PDT

  •  101% Income Tax Bracket for Billionaires (0+ / 0-)

    Give them small loopholes so they give to great charitable causes (no phony, self-serving ones) until they reduce their incomes to ten million dollars where they hit the 90% income tax bracket.

    Fuck the Rich!

  •  I think a lot of rich people recognize this (0+ / 0-)

    Obviously, plenty of rich people are wingnuts or selfish bastards, or both, but plenty just want to keep enough money so that they get to have and do fun things -- and be generous to their favorite charities -- but recognize very well that our income distribution is skewed.

    I think the most visible defenders of Third World income distribution patterns are wingnut radio/TV talk show dittoheads who are in fairly low income tax brackets.

    I think the most powerful defenders of the status quo are middle-income or slightly-high-income lobbyists who have fun "public policy" jobs in Washington that they really enjoy. A lot of these people, who, in many cases, might be fairly progressive in their personal lives, think of it as being a fun, lucrative game to find, create and protect all sorts of tax loopholes, government spending programs, etc. that promote a Third World income distribution pattern.

    These lobbyists are probably not intentionally evil people and can probably, in many cases, come up with some fairly reasonable, Ayn Rand-flavored explanation of why what they're doing is the right thing to do.

    But, the problem is that, in real life, the wealth of U.S. wealthy people is actually mostly based on the existence of middle class people who can afford to buy airplane tickets, iPods, and dinners at IHOP, so that wealthy people's stock portfolios do well.

    If our middle class really vanishes, the only rich people who will still be rich are the ones who own self-sufficient feudal ranches and farms way in the middle of nowhere.

    In a world with no middle class, securities, mutual funds, annuities, etc. will just be a bunch of meaningless database data.

  •  I agree, tax the rich more, BUT how to FRAME the (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    All In

    issue to flatten idiots especially in California who maintain "we are overtaxed"? Steve Poizner is running for CA Governor on a "lower taxes smaller government" platform, when in fact we need to tax the rich more and have government provide more education, transit, and other infrastructural support.

    Poizner says, "we tried higher taxes over and over again to balance the budget and it didn't work". It's a total lie, because you know (if you follow the news) that California has NOT raised taxes in AGES because of Prop 13 etc. But his pitch sucks in many people because it's appealing.

    How do you frame "tax the rich" to successfully counter Poizner and his ilk? I just don't have a good frame for this, but a frame is absolutely necessary to overcome the GOP advantage when it comes to public opinion about taxes. And be honest with yourselves! Don't assume others think like you!

  •  But but but...what if Ayn Rand is RIGHT? (3+ / 0-)

    What if all the "innovators" get sick of living on a quarter billion a year (a pittance really) and just up and leave us!  What ever would we do!!!

    "Think occasionally of the suffering of which you spare yourself the sight." - Albert Schweitzer

    by Apost8 on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 09:04:23 AM PDT

  •  It's gonna be a tough sell (0+ / 0-)

    Given the steady diet of right-wing propaganda that Americans have been force-fed over the past thirty years, tax hikes on the uber-wealthy are going to have to carefully explained and thought through.  At this point, just going back to Clinton-era rates is a tough sell - despite the fact the Clinton-era was among the most prosperous in American history - especially given the continued influence and reach of FOX and the right wing scream machine.  This is an argument that we currently stand to lose.

    Ironically, the best means we might have for selling higher rates on the uber-wealthy here in America might be via appeals to the 'social gospel'.  As it is, thanks to the influence of right wing propaganda, Americans appear to have become a people who worship selfishness and wealth-accumulation above all else.

  •  Supreme court decision makes that impossible (0+ / 0-)

    The rich will contribute unlimited cash to election campaigns of representatives that will repeal any such brackets.

  •  Taking the cap of the Social Security tax (2+ / 0-)

    would help things out a bit too.
    When the person earning $94,000 pays the same as the person earning 15 million, something's wrong.

    "The truth will set you free. But not until it is finished with you." - David Foster Wallace

    by John Shade on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 09:32:08 AM PDT

    •  never really understood the logic (0+ / 0-)

      behind the SS cap.

      •  Here's the logic (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Pozzo, denise b, wordfiddler

        SS was sold to this country as "you get what you paid for."  Retirement benefits are keyed to the level of income on which you paid taxes.  Those who paid SS taxes on $30,000 of income receive less in retirement benefits than those who pay SS taxes on $100,000 of income.  It's not a one-to-one ratio, because the less affluent get a higher proportion, but there's still a relationship there.  That is to prevent the program from being attacked as "welfare" where seniors are getting a "handout" paid for by somebody else.  And it has largely worked -- Seniors will be the first to tell you that you don't dare touch their benefits because they paid for them.

        There is a cap on how much income you pay taxes on, and that also caps the amount of benefits your receive.  If you raised the cap to, say, $250,000, you'd either have to signficantly increase the retirement benefits for those people as well (although, in keeping with the structure, the retirement benefits would not increase in direct proportion to the increase in the cap) or you'd change the nature of the system.  You'd remove the "you get what you pay for" notion and, it is feared, open the program up to attacks of "welfare," erode the broad-based support, and make it easier to gut or eliminate the program down the line.  

    •  Terrible idea (0+ / 0-)

      The Social Security tax is not an income tax. We already have an income tax, which can be made more progressive in lots of ways. It is an insurance premium and it is closely related to the benefits, which also max out at the same point. This is what ensures broad support for the program. This is why teabaggers hate government programs but love Social Security. This is the way all social insurance should be structured if you want them to have broad support and stability.

      It is even harder for the average ape to believe that he has descended from man. --H.L. Mencken

      by denise b on Wed Apr 21, 2010 at 01:28:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Income vs net worth. (0+ / 0-)
    Your diary weaves in and out of defining millionaires/billionaires by income vs net worth.

    Tax based on net worth is a non-starter, yet that is what you are advocating.

    •  At first I thought he wanted a wealth tax too (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      but upon reading more closely it became evident that the diarist was just loose in his use of language, not always distinguishing between wealth and income. He definitely meant an income tax.

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

      by leftist vegetarian patriot on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 10:40:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I abhor Don Blankenship.... (0+ / 0-)
    as much as the next man.  And I'm all in favor of a progressive tax code.  But (1) your rhetoric is just stupid and unnecessarily inflammatory and (2)your proposed tax rates are a bit high, imo.

    Faith in oneself is not trusting that you will always be victorious. It is trusting that you will either die or get back up.

    by Justashotaway on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 10:14:49 AM PDT

    •  Wait wait wait--too high? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LynneK, All In

      Up to income of $20M per year they're still lower than they were for most of Reagan's two terms, even after he lowered taxes the first time. Remember how he lowered the top rate from almost 70% to 50%?

      Some of the the most prosperous decades the USA has ever enjoyed happened when the top rate was at 80% or above.

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

      by leftist vegetarian patriot on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 10:28:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  This post is a piece of art thank you! NT (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
  •  Another alternative- 100% inheritance tax (0+ / 0-)

    People who are in favor of the free market always say that financial incnetives make people work and innovate. Fine., then let's incentivize those scions of rich people to get off their duffs and start working for a living. Inheriting free money is exactly the opposite of incentives. It is entirely unearned and undeserved. It discourages those rich scions from having to work. It does the free market no good.

  •  As I agree -a simple Reaganism(tm) (0+ / 0-)

    Ronnie and H.W. both used IOU's against Social Security. It is time for a payback to make the system solvent. If you and I were to argue, it would be about very small things if anything at all.
    You pay 5.6% of your wages to Social Security up to 105 or 125 K a year. Fuck that, make it on every dollar made. The HONOR to live in the United States should be enough . Such a tax could lower the retirement age and fund medicare to allow for earlier retirement as well. It could, for all practical purposes, increase employment. If people are ALLOWED to retire at 60, new jobs open up NOW. Being allowed means getting full social security and the ability to get your 401K out.
    Now, anyone who thinks the privitized social security called 401 K compares to our government program, it doesn't on rate of return if you live past 80 - unless of course your socking away 30% of your income.
    I HAD AN IDEA I emailed Joe Sestak, and maybe you'll like it. It would be under the format of free market competition.
    Most companies that offer a 401 K offer a contribution comparative to yours up to a certain %.
    OK, you contribute 10% and they match you dollar for dollar (most don't go over 8%, but I used the high end of the few).
    NOW, to compete with companies like Vanguard or banks like Fidelity so they would lower fees the Government could offer a social security investment ADD ON (?). Say you would contribute 6% of your earnings (for a numbers sake $250). Your employer would match that like they would for a traditional 401K. The amount you deposit in Social Security would guarunte a certain $ return. Like now, they take 5.6% and I would get $2200 a month .
    Now, they would take 6% and my companies contribution for an extra $2000 or $2500 a month.
    Thus, the bank/investment firm would have to compete with that rate of return.
    Does that make sense ?
    I think it is a great idea. If Wall Street keeps coming up with ways to steal our money and make our 401K's, pensions and other retirement funds EMPTY I think the government should step in and offer such a program.

    F Them, F them all. Free market means competition and it is time the wealthy got what they beg for- a real free market

    you can't remain neutral on a moving train

    by rmfcjr on Tue Apr 20, 2010 at 10:49:51 AM PDT

  •  it's not the money, it's the law breaking... (0+ / 0-)

    ...that we ought to focus on.

  •  how many billioniaires can we afford? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    billionaries are a big drag on the workers who actually produce things and create the wealth of the nation. I've often wondered just how many of them we can afford to support in the lifestyles they love to live? Is America becoming "billionaire poor"?

  •  The oppressed (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    At $250,000+ per year an individual who faces a 3% tax hike is by no means oppressed.

    According to the talking heads on Morning Joe, namely Scarborough and Barnacle, a family of four living in Manhattan, earning $250K a year is barely getting by. I used to live in NYC and I know fully well how expensive Manhattan apartments are. (I lived in one in Chelsea.)  But really, $250K is hardly scrapping by.  Unless of course they live next door to a CEO of a financial firm.  Then they would feel like paupers.

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