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Here is the supposed "liberal" Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus in today's edition:

I'm all for a more progressive tax code. But consider: The Tax Policy Center examined what it would take to avoid raising taxes on families earning less than $250,000 a year while reducing the deficit to 3 percent of the economy by decade's end. The top two rates would have to rise to 72.4 and 76.8 percent, more than double the current level. You don't have to be anti-tax zealot Grover Norquist to think this would be insane.

Why is this insane? In the 1950's, a time of prosperity, the top rate was 90%. Were Eisenhower and Nixon insane? No Ms. Marcus, you do have to be a Grover Norquist to find 70+ rates insane. There is nothing insane about it at all. The government needs money. Rich people have plenty of it. Why rob banks? Because that's where the money is. This isn't insanity. In fact, it's sanity.

You see, in Ruth Marcus' world, tax rates never begins with "how much do we need to meet our obligations and who can afford to pay it?" It begins with "how can we shirk our responsibilities so I don't have to pay?" That is why she is all for cutting social security benefits and other catfood commission measures. You see, in her world, just because a guy can make a billion dollars in a year is no reason to leave him with a paltry $250 million. It doesn't matter how much revenue is needed. It's what Ruth thinks she ought to pay and not a penny more. Can you imagine how tough it's going to be for a Washington pundit to get by on $250,000 of a million dollar salary? Oh, the humanity! And all for poor schmucks on social security? No way, man!

Just another day at the "Bipartisan" Bastion of BS, the Washington Post.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 03:30 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  How did this committee get dubbed (32+ / 0-)

    the catfood commission?  It is so appropriate.  There is so much untaxed revenue out there, they don't need to cut spending.  They just need to make them pay their fair share.

    They're asking for another four years -- in a just world, they'd get 10 to 20. ~~ Dennis Kucinich

    by dkmich on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 03:32:57 PM PDT

    •  Doesn't medicare have a cutoff (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      devtob, Greasy Grant

      so that folks that make over a certain amount don't pay? Or I am misremembering?

      •  Social Security has a cutoff, (9+ / 0-)

        but Medicare does not.

        Barack Obama in the Oval Office: There's a black man who knows his place.

        by Greasy Grant on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 03:38:38 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Social Security also has a benefits cut off (12+ / 0-)

          because it's insurance premium, not a tax.

          Income taxes are what needs to go up. And we need to bring manufacturing jobs back, because wage stagnation is revenue stagnation on the middle class end.

          Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

          by Robobagpiper on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 03:40:44 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Cut Wages 2/3 and Manufacturing Will Return (0+ / 0-)

            Since we can't do what we did for 2 centuries to become the manufacturing engine of the world.

            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 Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 04:02:01 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Gotta disagree. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Zinman, mconvente

            Social Security once upon a time may have been pitched as an insurance program, but it has always been an income transfer, from current workers to current retirees. Favorable demographics made it every politician's favorite program for increasing benefits through about 1976; from that point onward, unfavorable post-baby-boom demographics made it much harder for politicians to keep bribing voters.

            Moynihan's Social Security "reform" built up a huge cash reserve through hefty hikes in the SS withholding tax, mostly taken from the hides of the working class due to the very regressive cap on income subjected to the tax. But of course Reagan and especially Bush/Cheney obliterated that notional surplus to pay for colossal tax cuts for the wealthy, not to mention Halliburton and Operation Iraqi Clusterfuck.

            Hence the "need" for the catfood commission. The surplus that was supposed to keep Social Security afloat was blown on tax cuts for billionaires; so working poor seniors will have to go back to grinding poverty circa 1930 style.

            •  The surplus wasn't "blown", it's there in (6+ / 0-)

              treasury bonds.

              It's general revenues that needs to get its house in order, not Social Security. And that's done through income taxes.

              Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

              by Robobagpiper on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 05:08:44 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  T-bills, safest investment on earth (10+ / 0-)

                GW actually broke his oath of office by impugning the integrity of US Treasury Bills, specifically by calling them "nothing but IOUs." If it was Clinton, he would have been impeached for doing the same thing.

                What bugs me no end is these very same people calling these notes nothing but IOUs, are the same assholes that pretend all the treasury bills bought by China, Saudia Arabia, and everyone else, are somehow worth more than treasury bills owned collectively by the working middle class of this country. When the money is going the benefit the vast majority of working class people, suddenly it becomes nothing but an "IOU." When it comes to foreign governments, some with ties to terrorism, suddenly it is the safest investment on earth. They could not be more naked in their hypocrisy. This is nothing to do with Social Security, it is about a group of rich people deciding to steal from the vast majority of Americans for pure greed.

                Guess what, my mortgage is "nothing but an IOU." All my credit card debts, nothing but IOUs. This is great. I just tear up the paperwork and I'm good to go.

                The Bush tax cuts were nothing but a way for him and his rich cronies to drain the Social Security trust fund and transfer it to their pockets. Now when it comes time for them to pay back their loan, suddenly it is nothing but IOUs. Suddenly the only thing to do is for the working class to tighten their belt and do their part for the national debt.

                Do you see what is happening? It is a heist, plain and simple. The self appointed nobles are just taking back what they think is rightfully theirs. Only this time they went too far. Study your history. What happens when the nobles go too far? There are plenty of examples throughout history.

                To paraphrase Gandhi: A few thousand elites can't possibly control three hundred million citizens, that is, not if they don't want to be controlled.

                Everything I write is within a margin of error of precisely 100%.

                by Bailey Savings and Loan on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 05:55:22 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  The difference is that w/ SS, (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Odysseus, Dismalest Scientist
                  it's the same party - the US government - sitting on both sides of the debtor/creditor relationship.

                  If Congree wants to eliminate the value of thise IOUs, poof they're gone.  This should not be a complicated thing to understand.

                  •  Which is one reason I oppose doing anything (0+ / 0-)

                    to SS until it needs it. "Lifting the cap" would just dump more money into bonds that the thieves and liars in Washington will tell us are just IOUs.

                    Force Congress to let the treasury pay down the trust fund until it's gone. Then worry about SS's modest shortfalls thereafter.

                    Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

                    by Robobagpiper on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 08:04:52 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Wrong. Lifting the cap is simple economic justice (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Odysseus

                      Currently the social security tax is despicably regressive. The more affluent you are, the higher your income, the lower your marginal tax rate. That's simply grotesque.

                      At one stroke, eliminating the cap on income subject to social security withholding wipes out a large majority of future shortfalls, while eliminating this vile economic abuse of the working poor.

                      Even better would be applying social security withholding to "unearned income" from investments. Then the wealthiest would really be contributing in proportion to their privileged position.

                      •  Lifting the cap would be about economic justice (0+ / 0-)

                        if Social Security were a welfare plan. It's not. Social Security is a wage and disability insurance program funded by FICA premiums on wages. That's as it should be. Non-wage income is not eligible for benefits, so it's not eligible for premiums. Wages over a certain level do not increase benefits, so contributions stop increasing too. It's predicated on the fact that what people need in retirement will be roughly proportional to what they made; and made progressive by making the benefits to lifetime contributions ratio generous on the low end and stingier on the high end. But in the end, it's a program to insure wages with wages.

                        Social justice requires raising income taxes on these earners by 13 points or so. Same revenue, generated from the same people, but it goes where it's supposed to go.

                        The Dems have sold this "lift the cap" lie for so long that well-meaning people believe it. And while it may have started as a cynical strategy because they don't have the political courage to raise income taxes, it's now become part of a plot to turn FICA into a back door income tax, all the while gutting the Social Security benefits FICA is supposed, by law, to be raised to be funding.

                        Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

                        by Robobagpiper on Thu Jul 08, 2010 at 05:12:38 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Social security is merely what we say it is. (0+ / 0-)

                          Back in FDR's day, the only possible way to sell it was as an "insurance" program. But that's not what it has served as, and it's not how it's perceived today.

                          Since FDR's day, most folks have become far more comfortable with government assistance and welfare programs. Corporations sure love their corporate trough, don't they?

                          •  Social Security is how it's written into law (0+ / 0-)

                            And it saddens me that Dems are buying into right-wing memes on it.

                            Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

                            by Robobagpiper on Thu Jul 08, 2010 at 07:14:00 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

              •  But those ar obligations of the treasury (0+ / 0-)

                Hence, we need to cut the deficit in the near future.
                Because we eitht pay those benefits out of "federal funds" revenues or we don't pay them.

                Note, cutting the deficit in the middle of a recession is an idiotic idea. But we have to cut it as soon as the recovery has been accomplished.

                Corporations are people; money is speech.
                1984 - George Orwell

                by Frank Palmer on Thu Jul 08, 2010 at 10:25:35 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  No it's not an insurance premium (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ban nock

            Social Security is a federal social safety net program. Your payroll withholding taxes do not pay a premium on a policy which you or your survivors receive the benefits. The taxes paid by current wage earners pay the benefits of the past generation. The amount of benefit earned is not based upon the total amount paid in but instead upon the average gross income during the last few quarters before retirement. The tax withheld is based upon the gross income of the wage earner, in essence, both the Social Security payroll tax and the Medicare payroll taxes are just another income tax. More accurately, payroll taxes are a surtax on earned income for the vast majority of Americans that earns a paycheck.  

            Really don't mind if you sit this one out. My words but a whisper -- your deafness a SHOUT. I may make you feel but I can't make you think..Jethro Tull

            by RMForbes on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 04:45:16 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Social Security benefit (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Robobagpiper
              Calculated on earnings over many years, not a few quarters.

              The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

              by nextstep on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 05:00:25 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Not according the the statement I just received (0+ / 0-)

                Several years ago I was making far more than I've made in the last 5 years and my benefits are based upon the last six quarters.

                Really don't mind if you sit this one out. My words but a whisper -- your deafness a SHOUT. I may make you feel but I can't make you think..Jethro Tull

                by RMForbes on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 05:25:13 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  That's correct. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                JeffW

                Social Security benefit
                Calculated on earnings over many years, not a few quarters.

                A worker's thirty-five highest years to be exact, assuming he/she retires at or after age 62 without ever having been disabled.  

                Renewable energy brings national security.

                by Calamity Jean on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 08:30:56 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  How do you think private life insurance works? (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Calamity Jean

              Premiums of current policy holders not currently collecting go to pay beneficiaries, after administrative costs and profits are paid out. Surpluses are invested (ideally) in a low-risk bond, and shortfalls are made up by redeeming those bonds.

              That's pretty much exactly like Social Security.

              Your life insurance premiums are not stored by the underwriter under a matress until you collect them.

              Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

              by Robobagpiper on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 05:11:22 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  No your wrong that would be an illegal ponzi (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                liberte, oklahoma cherokee

                sceme. The insurance company does invest your premium dollars which gives them profits enough to pay out more than you paid in. The incoming premiums are poolled for investment but benefits are not paid from anothers premiums. That's expressly illegal.

                Really don't mind if you sit this one out. My words but a whisper -- your deafness a SHOUT. I may make you feel but I can't make you think..Jethro Tull

                by RMForbes on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 05:22:25 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  but (0+ / 0-)

                  if somebody dies in their first qualifying year, they get paid more than they paid in.  That means that somebody else is paying for the benefits their survivors are getting.

                  Homeowners' insurance would be a better analogy, the money coming in in premiums each year should be approximately equal to the amount paid out in benefits.  Nobody's setting aside "your" money to pay your claims in the future.

                  The question is not whether the chickens needed replacing, the question is whether the fox should have been guarding them in the first place.

                  by happymisanthropy on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 06:41:00 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  The "somebody else" is the insurance company (0+ / 0-)

                    There is no "somebody else" who pays survivors of the person who dies young.  You buy the policy, the money is no longer yours --- it belongs to the insurance company.  What's "yours" at that point is a promise from the insurer that they will pay when the conditions are met.  They pay out claims out of the pot they have built up from all clients, plus the earnings on whatever they invested "their" money in.

                    Actuaries are the people who figure out how much an insurance policy must be sold for in order for all the insurance policy income to at least cover the statistically likely claims over the years.  

                  •  Doesn't seem to me that you are explaining (0+ / 0-)

                    detailed circumstances well enough to be making a valid point!!!!!!!!

                •  And an insurance company that has too many (0+ / 0-)

                  claims at once goes under.

                  Yes, reserves are kept, because, unlike SS, premiums are customers that come and go, and are not mandated to pay premiums under law.

                  Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

                  by Robobagpiper on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 08:07:46 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

        •  Idaho's "potato king," JR Simplot (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Abra Crabcakeya

          had lots of medical issues in his 90's, all paid for w/ Medicare. He was a billionaire (no one but the IRS knew for sure how much money, as Simplot is a private company. Also, there must be a cutoff for SS above a certain salaries.

          I think, therefore I am. I think.

          by mcmom on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 04:11:49 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Well why can't that just (0+ / 0-)

          cut off the cut off?

          Lift the cap, or whatever. Have those that pay some pay less, and those that pay nothing pay just a little bit.

      •  No cutoff, if you're talking about the amount (11+ / 0-)

        of earnings on which you have to pay Medicare tax.

        For 2010, the Social Security tax is 6.2% on earnings up to $106,800 and Medicare tax is 1.45% on all earnings.  http://www.ssa.gov/...

        Of course, if you're really wealthy, you don't have "earnings," you have "unearned income" otherwise known as capital gains, rental income, interest, and dividends.

        •  Yeah. You don't pay taxes on income if you don't (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          happymisanthropy

          earn it. Makes sense. Yeah.

          "Who am I to give science the brush?" Sugarpuss O'Shea

          by semiot on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 04:16:39 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Well, you have to pay (some) income tax (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            semiot, JeffW

            on "unearned" income, but you don't pay Social Security tax on it.  In order to owe Social Security tax, you need to have "earned" income.  If you don't pay Social Security tax on earned income for at least ten years total over your lifetime, you can't collect Social Security benefits when you get old or become disabled.

            Renewable energy brings national security.

            by Calamity Jean on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 08:39:29 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  She's only counting income tax (30+ / 0-)

      If Congress were to tax dividends and capital gains at the same marginal rates as wage income, those top rates could come down.  Rich people don't take their income in wages and salaries.

      Why anybody ever bought the stupid idea that rich folks need puny tax rates to invest their hoard is beyond me.  That's what they do, for Chrissakes.  Or at least it's what they have their brokers do.

      •  Absolutely correct. All income needs to be (13+ / 0-)

        treated the same for the purposes of income taxes.

        Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

        by Robobagpiper on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 03:41:25 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Should be for payroll taxes too (5+ / 0-)

          If Social Security tax were charged on all income without limit, we could let people retire at 60 and never run out of money.

        •  I'm down with the principle. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          George, mftalbot, Dallasdoc

          Dividends, interest, royalties, etc. ought to be treated the same.  The custodian, the carpenter, the CEO and the hedge fund manager should all be taxed using the same formula.  One of the richest men in the world, Warren Buffett, admitted as much.  However, an argument for the treatment of long-term capital gains, as in the case of the selling of a family business or property, could be modified by averaging the income over an extended period for nurturing a busness as opposed to treating the gains as if the owner had just won the lottery.

          If one is to grow in love, nothing is more important than to make peace with one's parents.

          by rjlebeck on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 04:29:09 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Actually those dividends are taxed at a much (0+ / 0-)

          higher effective rate.

          For example, assume a company had $100 in earnings before taxes for a California company.  Considering state and federal taxes, $41.50  goes to taxes, leaving $58.50 for the company to retain or distribute in dividends.  Assume the full $58,50 is dividended, the shareholder will pay $13.75 in taxes.

          The result being government takes $55.25 and the shareholder gets to keep $44.75 after taxes -  for an effective tax rate over 55%.

          The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

          by nextstep on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 05:22:08 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The shareholder got $58 and hardly paid any taxes (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            happymisanthropy

            $13.75 on $58 isn't much for doing nothing.

            You make the mistake of thinking the shareholder is the company. He may own a piece of the company but when the company pays him money it's his money, no longer the company's.

            "Don't fall or we both go" Derek Hersey

            by ban nock on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 06:28:24 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  The shareholder owns the company (0+ / 0-)

              There were $100 in earnings and %55.25 in taxes.

              Now, many companies pay less tax but that's because we have an obscenely complicated tax code.  All of those earmarks, tax expenditures, etc.

              We need to rip those out of the tax code - no earmarks, no targeted tax breaks.

          •  "$41.50 goes to taxes" (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Dallasdoc, ban nock

            60% of Fortune 500 companies pay zero in income taxes, and that's in good years.  

            The question is not whether the chickens needed replacing, the question is whether the fox should have been guarding them in the first place.

            by happymisanthropy on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 06:46:53 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Please show a reputable source for this claim. (0+ / 0-)

              The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

              by nextstep on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 09:48:21 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Not possible, it's not reported that way. (0+ / 0-)

                You'd have to use the SEC filings of all Fortune 500 companies.  Which would make a good diary itself.

                What you can do it use the GAO report where table 1 indeed indicates that 63% of all US corporations paid no tax for the years they studied.

                They also note that 82% of
                large" (> 250M assets or > 50M income) companies paid tax liability of less than 5% of income.

                -7.75 -4.67

                "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

                There are no Christians in foxholes.

                by Odysseus on Thu Jul 08, 2010 at 07:01:25 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  So you have no source. (0+ / 0-)

                  for your claim "60% of Fortune 500 companies pay zero in income taxes"

                  63% of US Corps covers millions of corporations - most of which are very tiny.

                  The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

                  by nextstep on Thu Jul 08, 2010 at 08:27:56 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Not my claim. And stop lying. (0+ / 0-)

                    The report states that the total number of corporate returns was about 1.3M.  So 63% is not even a million.  Stop exaggerating, when you have numbers at hand.

                    And I notice that you conveniently left out the next line that 82% of "large" companies paid less than 5% tax.  That's quite dishonest of you, given your attacking attitude.

                    -7.75 -4.67

                    "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

                    There are no Christians in foxholes.

                    by Odysseus on Thu Jul 08, 2010 at 08:52:38 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  Since when is a GAO report "no source" ? (0+ / 0-)

                    Don't be so afraid of dying that you forget to live. "Sometimes you gotta roll the hard six." - Adama

                    by LionelEHutz on Thu Jul 08, 2010 at 10:09:08 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

      •  Dividends are taxed at ordinary inc rates (0+ / 0-)

        unless they're Qualified dividends.  And they have to jump through some hoops to qualify (as CG.)

        My Karma just ran over your Dogma

        by FoundingFatherDAR on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 03:47:14 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Pretty big hoops though (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Dallasdoc, happymisanthropy

          The main sticking point is holding the stock for a few months rather than buying just before the dividend and then selling post-dividend for a ST capital loss. If that qualified, the dividend income gets a would get a low tax rate and the loss would offset gains at a higher tax rate, especially if the buyer is a corporation getting the dividends received deduction.

          BP Changed Everything

          by George on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 05:01:16 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  And the estate tax (10+ / 0-)

        And a luxury tax. And tariffs on luxury and too-cheap goods. And so on.

        And a tax on establishment media hot air. That itself would balance the budget.

        "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 Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 03:47:38 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Because Somebodies Spent a Shipload of Money (4+ / 0-)

        to make people think that.

        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 Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 04:00:57 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Exactly (6+ / 0-)

        Most rich folks aren't rich because they earn a lot of money, but rather because they don't spend it: they invest it.

        As for the Norman Rockwell Fifties...Income taxes were high in part to pay down massive war debt. We also simultaneously funded massive infrastructure projects during that same period. Most people didn't have a problem with this, and probably felt that it was their duty. Most certainly viewed it as a common sense solution to a national debt problem.

        Since we need to do both again now, why is the idea of raising taxes such a taboo?

        Geesh!

        "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." Hunter S. Thompson

        by SNFinVA on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 04:13:09 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Not even close, (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          RandomSequence, Calamity Jean

          from about 1946 throughout the 50's, 60's and 70's, WW II veterans went to college, as far as they could go, for free, with a monthly stipend that was larger if they were married with kids. Vets bought their houses for $1 down with mortgages that went 30 years at 2%-4% interest. They started businesses with the help of counselors from the VA and low interest loans. They were guaranteed their prewar jobs back. We didn't pay down the "massive war debt" it shrunk as a percent of GDP because our economy was growing. In 1946 it was close to 130% of GDP, in 1960, it was higher in dollars but only about 30% of GDP. We could afford the payments, which is really the only important question with debt. Sure we need to raise taxes on the wealthy, especially the ownership class, and we need to invest the money in good public stuff. But that includes spreading the money around to give folks a better chance. Its worked before.

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

          by johnmorris on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 07:20:46 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Let's remember that real rates were lower (0+ / 0-)

          because less income was taxable.

          Rich people had most of their living expense paid for by their company, took the money out in capital gains, etc.

          In addition, our ability to actually capture revenue today is much lower.

          I've been living in China for 10 years.  It's a great life.  I pay a reasonable (but low - foreign deduction) US income tax and it's a fair deal for the US passport and being able to go back one day.

          If the government decided to raise the top rate to 80% I'd seriously reconsider.

          I can easily get at least two (and maybe three) different foreign passports.  Two of them would be EU passports giving me almost the same freedom to travel as an American.  Why not expatriate?

          I wouldn't want to, but if it's going to multiply my after tax income by 5 to do so I probably would.

          How many high income tax payers do you think would make the same decision?

          You don't need to go as far as China either.  Vancouver, Toronto, and Quebec are all great.  If Mexico calms down Mexico city is great fun.

          London and Paris are also world class cities that anyone can enjoy.

          If you like Asia, Singapore and Hong Kong are both Westernized and easy to get residence permits.

          How many high income people really need to live in the US to do their jobs?

          •  A great question. (0+ / 0-)

            I've been living in China for 10 years.  It's a great life.  I pay a reasonable (but low - foreign deduction) US income tax and it's a fair deal for the US passport and being able to go back one day.

            If the government decided to raise the top rate to 80% I'd seriously reconsider.

            [...]Why not expatriate?

            The simple answer is that we can make it unprofitable.  All offshore money transfers are taxed at the income rate, for instance.  Might not even have to go that far if we just revoke any credit for foreign taxes paid.

            If you believe as I do that Labor must be as free to move as Capital is, and Capital must be as restricted as Labor is, keeping assets in the country is a proper function of government.  All nations have the right and responsibility to control their borders, after all.  That control is more than just physical.

            What does citizenship mean?  Does birthright citizenship mean more or less?

            -7.75 -4.67

            "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

            There are no Christians in foxholes.

            by Odysseus on Thu Jul 08, 2010 at 07:14:01 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  When you expatriate you don't (0+ / 0-)

              get taxed by the US any more.

              You are no longer a US citizen and you're living abroad.

              If you mean you plan to keep my money somehow, question is how.  I'd move my cash offshore before I left the US.  Are you going to ban all foreign cash remittances?

              I don't even understand your question about citizenship.

      •  Yes! Thank you! Capital gains tax is the problem (5+ / 0-)

        It's absurd that we have an effective total tax rate curve that rises, roughly peaks in the lower six figures, then falls way down once you get into the seven, eight, etc figure earners who get most of their income through dividends and capital gains.

    •  Because cat food is tastier than dog food (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dallasdoc, mcmom, happymisanthropy

      And both are marginally better than dumpster diving cuisine.

      "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 Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 03:45:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Obviously many millions must eat ... (0+ / 0-)

      ... prowl the pet food aisle so that Marcus and her ilk can continue eating out 3 evenings a week.

      I suppose we should feel good that "our betters" will continue to enjoy the life to which they've grown accustomed.

      "Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will." -- Frederick Douglass

      by Egalitare on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 05:28:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Sweet Jesu, is it entirely a circular (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mftalbot, happymisanthropy
      greeting line?

      http://en.wikipedia.org/...

      Is it humanly possible that Ms. Marcus is actually married to the Chairman of the frickin' Federal Trade Commission? And she is supposed to be some sort of neutral observer concerning matters of cash?

      I mean, do we even live in a society any longer, or is it all little fiefdoms protecting their own?

      •  That's an excellent question... (0+ / 0-)

        Sadly, the answer to your question is no longer entirely clear. Are we all in this together, or is it every one for him or her self?

        Ayn Rand is smiling in perdition.

        The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts. -Bertrand Russell

        by mftalbot on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 06:17:45 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  We're all Reaganites now. (9+ / 0-)

    Help me, Professor Guyfucker! - dkos hatemail

    by indiemcemopants on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 03:33:31 PM PDT

  •  Some how using a guy who once suggested (13+ / 0-)

    we drown government in a bathtub as a test of mental health is nuts.

    We Destroyed this Village in order to save it from the Viet Cong er um Taliban

    by JML9999 on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 03:33:43 PM PDT

  •  Thanks (18+ / 0-)

    We all need to conquer this tax cutting mantra that has been the bane of our country.

    Government by definition redistributes the wealth. Big business has used government subsidies to socialize the risk and privatize the gains for far too long now.

  •  Everyone knows Ike (11+ / 0-)

    was a socialist.

    "A lie is not the other side of a story; it's just a lie."

    by happy camper on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 03:34:56 PM PDT

  •  Say! Those top tax rates would be right about (19+ / 0-)

    where they were prior to the Reagan tax cuts for the rich.

    Let's do it.  Ruth Marcus going crazy would be a bonus.

    The Sleep of Regulation Produces Corporate Monsters.

    by Leftcandid on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 03:35:22 PM PDT

    •  Going crazier. n/t (3+ / 0-)

      www.yesweSTILLcan.org

      by divineorder on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 03:47:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Just make a few more brackets (8+ / 0-)

      It's not that fuckin' hard.

      Throw in a 38% for $250K - 450K

      Add a 40% for 450K - 1 million

      Go to 43% for 1 mil to 2 mil

      Go to 45% for 2 mil - 5 mil

      48% for 5 mil and above

      If you keep it below 50%, it'll seem like less (like $19.99, instead of $20.00 :-)

      •  Start With What Those All Used to Be (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Odysseus, devtob, mcmom, Abra Crabcakeya

        The top bracket protects the global economy from America's superrich gambling.

        But the others down to the middle class are for compressing the income spread so that government, charity and other public service employment are not such an enormous sacrifice for upper-middle and lower upper class management & leadership types.

        They also help further suppress the incentives for insanely economically efficient business, so that it's worthwhile for business to pay better worker wages, do some charity giving, reinvest in the business.

        Other business incentives are also needed for that, but it's important to compress the entire top somewhat to keep the better-off dependent on the welfare of their society and at least the medium-term welfare of their enterprises.

        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 Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 04:06:59 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Why did Willie Sutton rob banks? (10+ / 0-)

    CAUSE THAT'S WHERE THE MONEY IS!

    We Americans have all the wealth we need. We just need to go get it from the people who have it.

    Groucho Marx sings the new GOP motto: I'm Against It!

    by Jimdotz on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 03:35:45 PM PDT

  •  This and the post below it (6+ / 0-)

    should hopefully help convince my fellow Kossacks that:

    "There is no such thing as a "liberal" corporate news network".

    I like ED and KO and RM too, but lets be realistic.  I'll never believe that they have free reign to tell the truth on a corporate network.  There are boundaries, and the public must never be allowed to see the man behind the curtain.

  •  The top rates should be 70+ percent! (15+ / 0-)
    That's what they were when the tax code functioned in a manner consistent with social justice.  We need to decide a fundamental question:

    Is the objective of our society all about generating wealth for the few?

    OR

    Is it for caring about people and nature?

    I say raise the top rates now!

    "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Rianne Eisler

    by noofsh on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 03:36:42 PM PDT

    •  I don't get this... (0+ / 0-)

      Why penalize people who earn a lot of money?  Somebody had to pay them by purchasing goods and services provided...  LeBron James won't make $30M a year if nobody went to basketball games!

      •  The NBA makes a pittance on the gate. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        happymisanthropy

        All the money is made from TV. So, yes, LeBron would still make a killing if nobody attended the games.

        "I'm not a gentle, man. I'm a Method Man!" The What @tweetbbb

        by brooklynbadboy on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 05:06:47 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  It's not about penalties (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        rjlebeck, Russycle

        the existence of a hyperrich class destabilizes markets and government itself.  The rules have been deliberately rigged to make financial speculation more profitable than productive enterprises.  We need to fix the rules so our economy rewards the actual creation of wealth.  We also need to make it unprofitable, if not impossible, to run banks as casinos that make money by gambling rather than investing.

        The question is not whether the chickens needed replacing, the question is whether the fox should have been guarding them in the first place.

        by happymisanthropy on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 06:59:35 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  We do not intend (0+ / 0-)

        to penalize them. We want to incentivize them to invest in useful economic activity. I'd bet a dollar that, if Lebron was told his taxes were going to be above 70%, he'd hire 15 or 20 of the folks he went to high school with, at good wages, to take care of his house and his momma and drive his car, and we'd exempt that money from his taxes.

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

        by johnmorris on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 07:04:50 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Who's "penalizing them"? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dendron gnostic

        What an assumption of privilege.

        Even a 70% marginal bracket at over $250k would not lead to someone making $1 million being brought down to the sad, sad standard of living of someone making $250k.

        A penalty would be a marginal bracket of 125% -- that would actually be penalizing someone for making money.

        If you're an example of why folks are against this, I weep for my country.

  •  People, FORGET the $250k a year folks (18+ / 0-)

    They aren't the issue.

    They have NO money.

    We need to fucking CRUSH the people LITERALLY earning $250 million a YEAR in investment income. They are barely paying ANYTHING and they are distorting the shit out of our economy.

    Honestly, leave the upper middle class alone. They are pikers and we could use their votes and donations.

    “The average tax rate paid by the richest 400 Americans fell by a third to 17.2 percent through the first six years of the Bush administration and their average income doubled to $263.3 million.”

    http://www.scholarsandrogues.com/...

    •  An increase of 1% for income OVER $250K? (4+ / 0-)

      I don't think it would break anyone in the bracket to pay an extra $2,500 up to $500K.

      People who made $300K would have to pay 1% of the amount over $250K, $50,000 therefore $500 bucks. Please spare me all the angst of having to pay $500 for the $50K you made, going from $250 to $300K/yr.

      Increase the rate of marginal taxation by 1% for every $250K additional.

      2% over $500K
      3% over $750K
      4% over $1M
      5% over $1.25M

      and so on .. no one would suffer, and we'd be able to get the government back on target getting stuff funded.

      But none of this will happen, because the top 10% own this government, lock stock and barrel.

      James Carville emerges from the conflagration, riding a burning alligator.

      by shpilk on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 03:47:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm 100% fine with ALL that... (5+ / 0-)

        Totally agree.

        Only thing I disagree with is that the top 10% own the government.

        The top  10% are jokes. The top 1% is a joke.

        Only the top 1/1000th of 1% counts. The top 300-400 richest families.

        Everyone else is a piker with no voice.

      •  We need more tax brackets (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        GussieFN, shpilk, PsychoSavannah, mcmom, TimmyB

        There were 25 brackets back in the 1950s.

        •  I don't want to freak you out but (3+ / 0-)

          I created an equation that essentially an infintessimal number of tax brackets that functionally eliminates "bracket creep".  Five hundred pages of the U.S. tax code could be replaced by a single equation which treats all forms of income, with the exception of the estate tax, equally.  It goes like this:

          rate of taxation = 0.1 ln (total income/poverty level)

          For the mathphobic "ln" is a natural logarithm.  Incomes at or below the poverty level would have no tax liability since ln 1 = 0.  At incomes approaching $14 million dollars the tax liability approaches 50%.  From there, the highest income "bracket" could be raised or lowered as needed.

          Put that in your graphing calculator and smoke it!

          Shit, we just had an earthquake.

          If one is to grow in love, nothing is more important than to make peace with one's parents.

          by rjlebeck on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 05:03:20 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  yep (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            shpilk, rjlebeck

            Shit, we just had an earthquake.

            a 5.4 apparently.  Not too shabby.

            "The more the Democrats pursue the center... the further to the right the "center" moves." -fellow kossack vacantlook

            by Hopeful Skeptic on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 05:23:28 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Nice try (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Aexia

            But the rates and brackets are essentially two sections of the tax code, and are not at all complicated.

            The rest of the code is about defining what is income and what is taxable income.  That's the hard part, and it doesn't go away when you add or subtract brackets.

            "Well, I'm sure I'd feel much worse if I weren't under such heavy sedation..."--David St. Hubbins

            by Old Left Good Left on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 05:25:05 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Agreed. (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Aexia, shpilk, happymisanthropy

              It is difficult to distill the tax code as succinctly as I might have led you to believe.  You're correct in pointing out that for businesses large and small, the definition of revenue and expenses are devilish in their detail.  However for the vast majority of Americans, a simplified tax code is both needed and necessary.  The rate of taxation from the equation is the effective tax rate rather than what is referred to as the marginal tax rate.   As with the current method, higher income earning individuals preserve their purchasing power advantage over those earning less income.  No one would need to be concerned that the government would work to make a rich man poor or vise versa.  The equation produces a smooth curve that eliminates the need for brackets altogether.  I don't mind you or others pooh-poohing my idea. I rather enjoy the feedback.  Just wanted to provide you a bit more to chew on.

              If one is to grow in love, nothing is more important than to make peace with one's parents.

              by rjlebeck on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 06:03:30 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  For the vast majority (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Aexia

                of Americans the tax code is simple. It takes place on a standard 1040 form. You write down the income shown on your W-2 and then you subtract things until you get to "Taxable Income". Most get a little bit refunded. The "Complicated" part of the code is for people who have multiple sources of income and come out above the median.

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

                by johnmorris on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 07:01:30 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

    •  thank the lord (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Calamity Jean, happymisanthropy

      I really believe one of the reasons we have so many multi-millionaires running for office these days is that they get the short straw at the exclusive country clubs they hang out at.  The simple fact is that the Republican party(and centrist Democrats) are having a harder time recruiting normal people to propagate the lies.  I do believe that Mike Huckabee was a rising star in the Republican primary when he brought up the need to protect working class wages.  He sank like a rock after that and multi-millionaire John McCain secured the nomination.

  •  They'll get tax breaks. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    happymisanthropy, J M F

    Democrats, almost all of them believe in VooDoo economics. Or worse, they want a "flat tax".

    James Carville emerges from the conflagration, riding a burning alligator.

    by shpilk on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 03:37:46 PM PDT

  •  Misleading (5+ / 0-)

    Why is this insane? In the 1950's, a time of prosperity, the top rate was 90%.

    I see this quoted all the time, but the effective tax rates weren't nearly this high (i.e. nobody actually paid those rates).

  •  take a page from the reupbs (6+ / 0-)

    release the 'return america to Eisenhower tax levels' bill.

    demand why the Republicans hate Eisenhower when they filibuster it.

  •  I don't even buy that. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aexia, Jimdotz, mconvente

    I'd have to see the numbers, but didn't Clinton balance the budget with a top rate of 39.6?

    And, had we kept that, we would have started paying down the debt.

    "Philosophy is useless; theology is worse"--Dire Straits

    by Bush Bites on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 03:38:11 PM PDT

    •  The budget was balanced, but the dot.com bubble (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      PsychoSavannah, Jimdotz, sulthernao

      was total unsustainable vooddoo.

      "It's like these guys take pride in being ignorant." Barack Obama August 5, 2008

      by thefretgenie on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 03:40:42 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Since the Clinton era, the following has changed: (4+ / 0-)

      -Defense and war spending have both risen dramatically
      -There have been tax cuts for middle and low income in addition to high income families
      -Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security costs have all outstripped economic growth
      -National income growth has been extremely sluggish
      -Commodity taxes (such as the gasoline tax) have not increased with economic growth, or even inflation
      -Various other forms of taxes (estate, capital gains, etc.) have been reduced
      -Spending on social insurance has increased in order to cope with the recession (probably won't have a major effect on the long term budget)

      The Clinton era balanced budgets were inevitably going to give way to small deficits eventually just because they depended on enormous, unsustainable economic growth (not to mention Medicare costs have been growing so quickly), but other factors have changed since the 90's as well.

      •  Yeah, I know: All actuaries assume the worst. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        PsychoSavannah

        Anyway, the Bush tax cuts will lapse, and we'll be back to the Clinton rates, so we'll see how it goes.

        "Philosophy is useless; theology is worse"--Dire Straits

        by Bush Bites on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 03:53:25 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't think there will be any political (0+ / 0-)

          appetite for allowing the Bush tax cuts to fully lapse.  It would go against an Obama campaign promise to extend a portion of the Bush tax cuts.  And even if you did let the Bush tax cuts fully lapse, all the budget experts' analysis that I've seen suggests that we still wouldn't have long term budget balance.  That said, I don't really think there's any rush to completely fix the long term deficit problem right now.  It would be great if we could figure out how to get long term budget balance now, but interest rates are absurdly low so I don't see it as a pressing problem.

    •  Here's what happens when you balance the budget (3+ / 0-)

      Balanced budgets and depressions
      American Journal of Economics and Sociology, The,  April, 1996  by Frederick C. Thayer

      Since 1791, the earliest data available, the national debt has been increased in 112 years, decreased in 93 years. 57 of those balanced-budget, debt-reduction years have been concentrated in six sustained periods of varying length. Also since 1791, there have been six significant economic depressions among the innumerable "business cycles." Each sustained period of budget-balancing was immediately followed by a significant depression. There are as yet no exceptions to this historical pattern.

      This is the record of six depressions:

      1. 1817-21: in five years, the national debt was reduced by 29 percent, to $90 million. A depression began in 1819.
      1. 1823-36: in 14 years, the debt was reduced by 99.7 percent, to $38,000. A depression began in 1837.
      1. 1852-57: in six years, the debt was reduced by 59 percent, to $28.7 million. A depression began in 1857.
      1. 1867-73: in seven years, the debt was reduced by 27 percent, to $2.2 billion. A depression began in 1873.
      1. 1880-93: in 14 years, the debt was reduced by 57 percent, to $1 billion. A depression began in 1893.
      1. 1920-30: in 11 years, the debt was reduced by 36 percent, to $16.2 billion. A depression began in 1929.

      There has been no sustained period of budget-balancing since 1920-30, and no new depression, the longest such period in our history.

      The question is whether this consistent pattern of balance the budget-reduce the national debt-have a big depression is anything other than a set of coincidences. According to economic myths, none of these sequences should have occurred at all. How on earth, for example, could we virtually wipe out the national debt in the mid-1830s, then fall immediately into one of the six recognized collapses in our history? Those who write about the desirability of reducing the national debt frequently praise Andrew Jackson for his vigorous pursuit of such a goal, but do not mention "depression" in the same breath. It is helpful to the maintenance of economic myth to say little about depressions in textbooks, thus making it easy to avoid looking at connections considered impossible anyway.

      The mutual finger-pointing now underway is aimed at the 1996 elections, Democrats and Republicans each blaming the other for the agreed disaster of high deficits and debt. Yet the deficits of the 1930s and recent years were trivial, relative to GNP, when compared with the wartime deficits of the 1940s that ended the Great Depression. Federal deficits in World War II ranged from 20 to 31 percent of Gross National Product. For a few years, the national debt was greater than GNP, the only such period in U.S. history.

      The national debt is now less than 70 percent of Gross National Product (GNP), much below the 130 percent debt of the late 1940s, and a debt that remained higher than today's debt until the mid-1950s. According to economic myths, that wartime spending should have made things worse, not better.

      Those who look closely, therefore, will see some obvious intellectual dishonesty at work. It is dishonest to avoid looking at depressions and wars when discussing the evils of deficits and debt, and to propagandize by using absolute levels of deficits and debt when only relative comparisons are valid. It is dishonest to write textbooks in which there is no mention of what Herbert Hoover, Franklin Roosevelt, and noted financier, Bernard Baruch, had to say in the early 1930s about causes of the Great Depression. The belief at that time, even if rejected by economists, was that "overproduction," "excessive" and "destructive" competition were to blame. To be sure, nobody has suggested that government underspending can massively contribute to big depressions, even though this is only the flip side of overproduction. Put another way, if the market for consumer goods cannot do the job, there is every reason to turn to the production of public goods, always in short supply anyway.

      The tragicomedy of economics is easily displayed. If someone borrows money to build a brewery, the money is officially listed as "investment" in national income accounts. If government borrows money to build a bridge that is needed by the brewery, these funds are not listed as "investment" because the bridge is considered "waste." To think that this sort of logic undergirds public policy is to experience pure fright. Economics, of course, is not the only "discipline" that fills the world with unsupportable myth, but it is among the leaders.

      [Frederick C. Thayer is a Visiting Professor of Public Administration, George Washington University, Washington, DC 20036 and Professor Emeritus, Public and International Affairs, University of Pittsburgh.]

      COPYRIGHT 1996 American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Inc.
      COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group

      Professor Thayer wrote this in 1996, as Bill Clinton was beginning to balance the budget. That was accomplished in 2000 and was followed, immediately with a recession that we aren't really out of yet.

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

      by johnmorris on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 06:46:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  There is in fact an optimal level of taxation (4+ / 0-)

    and it's not the highest rate. Federal revenue has run about 20% of GDP for decades without regard to the variations in effective tax rates. If the highest rate as a percent is raised, at some point it will literally reduce aggregate revenue. The optimal level is thought to be somewhere in the high 30's not the 70's. Personally I don't think it's moral to take over over half of someone's income. But I know many disagree with that.  

    "It's like these guys take pride in being ignorant." Barack Obama August 5, 2008

    by thefretgenie on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 03:39:13 PM PDT

    •  I don't believe there is a moral taxation. (4+ / 0-)

      If there were a an urgent national emergency on the order of civil war, I'd totally understand 100% taxation and rationing of goods and services.

      My question on taxes always begins with "how much do we need" rather than "what do I feel comfortable paying?"

      "I'm not a gentle, man. I'm a Method Man!" The What @tweetbbb

      by brooklynbadboy on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 03:50:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Proactive not reactive (3+ / 0-)

        Always keep in mind that with a progressive tax system (like ours), high rates like 90% are misleading.

        This is NOT NOT NOT 90% of your entire income, it's 90% past a certain very large point. You can have 90% of income past $2 million in income which would tax very rich investment bankers, and yet leave everyone else alone.  If you are not rich, these high taxes rates would likely not affect you at all.  

        Asking "how much do we need" gives me a large number indeed. Look at the need for proper health coverage.
        A big fight was over the funding of it and the more people who contribute, the cheaper it gets overall. If we could have a public option funded completely by income tax, that would be great.  Keep Social Security from going insolvent, put in place incentives for climate change.
        What we need is a big list.

        In times of truly nation emergency, it's impractical or even impossible to raise the money quickly. Instead of raising money for a flood or disaster, raise the money before hand and provide public works (like sturdy dams) that prevent or lessen the disaster to begin with.
        The low as possible tax approach doesn't work since there are costly events that you can not predict. You can live on a low salary until something big happens. You get sick and have no insurance, or your car breaks down and you can't get to work (or get laid off and need a car to get to interviews).
        It's the same with the government.

        •  Do you know what high taxation rates do? (3+ / 0-)

          They allow a government to effectively confront the externalities that private activities create.

          This is why the American government is in debt. It has externalities it needs to confront (terrorism, global security, an aging population, crumbing infrastructure, etc.) but it would rather borrow the money than tax it. This creates its own imbalances, but that has been the policy this nation has followed since Reagan.

          "I'm not a gentle, man. I'm a Method Man!" The What @tweetbbb

          by brooklynbadboy on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 04:35:54 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  None of the things you mention-- (0+ / 0-)

            terrorism, global security, an aging population, or infrastructure--is an externality of private activity.

            The fact that you think they are demonstrates that you are tossing around a term that you don't understand.

            I don't know how you became a front pager, but at least try to stick to things you can write intelligently about--that is, if there are is any such thing.

            "Well, I'm sure I'd feel much worse if I weren't under such heavy sedation..."--David St. Hubbins

            by Old Left Good Left on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 09:47:36 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Low tax (0+ / 0-)

          If you are not rich, these high taxes rates would likely not affect you at all.

          They most certainly affect if you aren't hired for a job, because that job was never created, or if you don't get a raise because the labor market generally is depressed thanks to lack of capital.

      •  100% taxation? (0+ / 0-)

        You do understand that that would lead to zero revenue, don't you?

        You know that we had complete mobilization during WWII, for example, and didn't have anything approaching 100% taxation.

        "Well, I'm sure I'd feel much worse if I weren't under such heavy sedation..."--David St. Hubbins

        by Old Left Good Left on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 09:50:16 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  NET (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      esquimaux, happymisanthropy

      Personally I don't think it's moral to take over over half of someone's income.

       Tax rates are applied to NET taxable income.  Show me someone who makes over $1 mil who pays the top tax rate on their gross income.

      My Karma just ran over your Dogma

      by FoundingFatherDAR on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 03:51:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Thanks for speaking up. (1+ / 0-)

      There is NO national consensus for a policy of re-instituting confiscatory tax rates at ANY income level. That will happen about as soon as the arrival of world peace. Therefore, sorry to say, Democrats will not run any branch of the federal government on a platform incorporating the diarist's recommended (or at least wished for) course of congressional action. But, I guess just as Sarah Palin and her Redstate friends enjoy their own fantasy vision of this country, so must we all, including the diarist.

    •  Bullshit. (10+ / 0-)

      I call bullshit.

      Please produce empirical peer-reviewed data and/or evidence that tax rates higher than "the 30s" reduce aggregate revenue.

      Remember: The cocktail napkin on which Laffer sketched his supply-side curve doesn't count as "data".

      Right-wing economics brings together the worst combination of the naively delusional, the sensationalist hucksters, and mixes in a few greedy, malicious liars. It also includes many individuals who are bad at math.

      So I call "BULLSHIT". You say taxes over 30% or so will decrease revenue? Prove it.

      Numbers, please.

    •  Really? (3+ / 0-)

      Personally I don't think it's moral to take over over half of someone's income.

      Given the suffering imposed on the jobless and the poor, I think it's immoral not to take over half of a billionaire's income.  90% seems perfectly reasonable and moral.

    •  IT's IMMORAL for wealth to be concentrated (3+ / 0-)

      and in the hands of a few. This is a nation built on democracy, not a plutocracy. These people got their wealth through exploitation of workers and under the protection of those working middle class sons and daughters. They need to pay. 70% after all the loop holes still allows them to live lavishly, fly on their private jets and dine on caviar as well as sleep in their $1 million a night luxury hotel suites.

    •  If you're talking about the Laffer curve (4+ / 0-)

      the maximum tax revenue point is in the mid-60s  (consensus). Of course you wouldn't want to tax people at that rate because it is still distortionary and reduces economic output. That being said, a 35% top marginal tax rate for the income tax is way, way to low and is the cause for the massive debt build up (among other things like an unpaid war, Medicare part D expansion that was also unpaid that have each added a trillion dollar).

      Hell I think everyone would love to have government services and not pay any taxes. But as a society we demand these services and in public polling we refuse to decrease spending on any of these services (except for foreign aid, which amounts to a pittance...) even among conservatives, therefore the services must be paid for.

      If Americans decide they don't like the taxes THEN we can start cutting services.

    •  optimum tax for society vs individuals (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      happymisanthropy

      and margnal rates are not the same as average rates.

      frankly rates are way too low

      George Bush is Living proof of the axiom "Never send a boy to do a man's job" E -2.25 S -4.10

      by nathguy on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 04:53:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  No one pays the top rate anyway (4+ / 0-)

    ...unless you are insane and can't hire a decent accountant who knows the two magic words in the english language (for rich people): tax write-off.

    Here we are now Entertain us I feel stupid and contagious

    by Scarce on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 03:39:46 PM PDT

  •  Also (6+ / 0-)

    I'm pretty sure the math presented here is even skewed in a way that makes it seem as though such rates would be more drastic than they are.  Perhaps I'm wrong, but I think the 76.8% would only count for money earned in the top bracket, not for any money earned up to that point.  Which would mean that the hypothetical billionaire would be keeping more than $250 million (I'm too dumb to do the math here for what it would be though).

    So, all the more reason to do it.  Soak the rich, that's what FDR and I always say.

  •  The other option (5+ / 0-)
    is to cut a few hundred billion from our bloated Pentagon Budget.

    We are still fighting a Cold War that has been over for more than 20 years.

    But I won't hold my breath for the WaPo to call for that.

    "One man alone can be pretty dumb sometimes, but for real bona fide stupidity nothing beats teamwork." - Mark Twain

    by greendem on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 03:40:26 PM PDT

    •  There's no reason we shouldn't (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JeffW

      do both.  Kick up the top marginal tax rate, AND close some of our overseas bases, cancel unneeded military hardware, and develop renewable energy instead of trying to conquer countries with lots of oil.

      Renewable energy brings national security.

      by Calamity Jean on Thu Jul 08, 2010 at 08:12:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Well I'm not sure where this $250K cutoff (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greendem

    started but Obama fully endorsed it. Only in the beltway would a family making say $210,000 should be considered "hands off" for increased tax rate.

    The vast, vast, vast majority of Americans would not consider themselves middle class if they were making a quarter million a year.

    "People place their hand on the Bible and swear to uphold the Constitution. They don't put their hand on the Constitution and swear to uphold the Bible."

    by michael1104 on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 03:40:27 PM PDT

    •  Are you kidding? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      stevemb, atheistben

      That's upper middle class......general practitioner doctors, dentists, lawyers, etc. make that much money.  And they hire people.  Their money is working FOR people, not tucked in a bank or investment house or yacht somewhere.

      $500K or a million a year is where the taxes should be raised.  There are far, far fewer people who EARN that kind of money at a job....they are the investor class and they caused the problems, so they should pay the bill.

    •  Meh... (0+ / 0-)

      I think it's a reasonable cutoff.

      Highly skilled workers can reasonably make $100K+. Generally, becoming skilled enough to qualify for such positions requires a great deal of upfront investment in schooling. Leaving undergrad from a top school can mean $150K in debt. Add an MBA or other graduate program; tack on another $60-$100K. Going for a doctorate or med school? Think upwards of $150K more. Seriously, highly educated workers can enter the workforce having to pay over $20K annually just in interest. And somehow, we have to be encouraging our youngsters to take on these financial burdens (and risks, because some people are not able to complete the programs they attempt) so that our best minds can get the education they need to be the smartest people in the world.

      So how do we do this? Well, for one, if they're successful, we let them have a relatively comfortable lifestyle compared to people who aren't as educated. That means that if they get a job earning in the neighborhood of $100K, we let them keep a similar percentage as people making half that (it's more, but not impactfully more). That allows them to pay down their educational debts, and still live a significantly more luxurious life than people earning half that, but who don't have a high educational debt burden.

      It's when you start getting upwards of $250K per family that you have plenty of excess money after paying for educational debts and a rather luxurious lifestyle. At this point, I think a lot of people would start agreeing that some of that extra money can be taxed away without impacting the aim of getting people to pursue higher education and become higher skilled workers. It's a line that's pretty far out there, but in a way, it kind of needs to be.

      Plus, these are the people that should be the upper class. It's the people making millions that have excess money that is orders of magnitude higher than the $250K family. That's the obscene part of our tax system - especially considering that many of them are paying effective tax rates much lower than our doctors or secretaries.

      Try looking at things another way.

      by atheistben on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 04:26:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  250K Is A Reasonable Cutoff (0+ / 0-)
      Realistically, hard work and brains can put someone in the upper half of the middle class (i.e. the low-six-figure 100K-250K range). That makes it fundamentally different from the range that middle-class people can't reach without either extraordinary win-the-lottery type luck or connections to people who are already in the upper crust.

      The anti-tax-the-rich memes are based on blurring this distinction. Blurring it ourselves plays into their hands.

      On the Internet, nobody knows if you're a dog... but everybody knows if you're a jackass.

      by stevemb on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 04:49:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Hahaha -- that's ridiculous (0+ / 0-)

      You're saying a "vast, vast majority" of families making 250K would consider themselves under the middle class, like poor? That's ridiculous.

    •  If my husband and I had income of (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JeffW

      a quarter of a million dollars per year, I'd consider us to be filthy rich.  At that rate of income, I wouldn't dream of calling us "middle class".  I'd call us "upper class".  

      Renewable energy brings national security.

      by Calamity Jean on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 09:14:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  nobody really paid 90%!!!! in taxes --- (3+ / 0-)

    and lived on 10% -- there were a shitload of deductions that have since been eliminated -- you'd have to re-institute those as well.

    Marcus aside, I part company with progressives who think that doubling tax rates on small to mid-size businesses/employers in a recession makes any sense -- and giving that money to Congress to boot? lol!

    "We're Screwed!" (me)

    by PhillyGal on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 03:40:34 PM PDT

  •  but but but...The rich will move....to Mars? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mftalbot, Jimdotz, happymisanthropy
  •  Tax rates are applied to NET taxable income. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jimdotz, J M F, Hopeful Skeptic
    Can you imagine how tough it's going to be for a Washington pundit to get by on $250,000 of a million dollar salary?

      No doubt a pundit making $1 mil has at least $100k in tax deductions (on whatever swanky property they own in the beltway.)  ;-)

    My Karma just ran over your Dogma

    by FoundingFatherDAR on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 03:41:20 PM PDT

  •  If the wealthy expect to be bailed out (5+ / 0-)

    than they need to kick in a lot more in taxes. Average citizens don't get bailed out for their gambling losses.

    I'm not worried about your state of mind, 'cause, you're not the revolutionary kind - Gomez

    by jhecht on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 03:42:03 PM PDT

  •  America Can No Longer Afford (6+ / 0-)

    to keep the top 1% in the lifestyle to which they believe they are entitled at the expense of the 99%.

  •  bad boy does it again (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ManhattanMan, TomP

    must be that refreshing 100° Brooklyn air.

    An ambulance can only go so fast - Neil Young

    by mightymouse on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 03:42:21 PM PDT

  •  it may not be objectively "insane" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tomhodukavich

    because that's a pretty far word, but it is almost absolutely politically insane.

    What percentage of the population does anyone truly think would be ok with 70+ percent tax rates for anyone?

    15? 20?

  •  Several points (4+ / 0-)

    One, why exactly MUST we reduce our deficit to zero within a decade (I assume she means 2020 and not the end of this year, of course)? Is this really the most pressing problem facing us over the next ten years, compared to, oh, reversing global warming and weaning ourselves off of fossil fuels, employing the unemployed, or restoring the country's economic strength--not to mention "winning" the "Global War on Terra!".

    Two, doesn't she realize that if the economy is restored, we'd go a LONG way towards reducing the deficit simply through increased tax revenues at current or only modestly increased rates (mostly at the top end)?

    And three, what's wrong with a 75% TOP marginal tax rate? When has that ever been shown to be economically destructive even to the gynormously rich?

    Why is the (very overpaid IMO establishment media) placing a curiously re-discovered Puritan obsession with balanced budgets and the needs of the very rich above the much more pressing problems facing the country and most of its citizens?

    "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 Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 03:45:01 PM PDT

  •  The problem is, high taxes were created to (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Calamity Jean, ceebee7

    fund the military following Truman and the birth of the Cold War.  In a sense, 90% taxes were in place to preserve Godful capitalism from Godless communism-- ironic.  The only way the rich will pay that amount is if we're bombing the hell out of some country our kids-- in their underfunded schools-- couldn't find on a map.  Otherwise, they scale it back to 36% and send our jobs to those countries.

    Either way, taxes (as our rulers have decided) were never about doing anything for the middle class or poor.  I mean, what are we getting for the taxes we pay?

    •  I don't know. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      condorcet

      Looks like the top rate has been all over the board.

      http://www.truthandpolitics.org/...

      I mean, yeah, they were in the 90s at the end of WW II and in the 50s, but they've been close to that many other times.

      "Philosophy is useless; theology is worse"--Dire Straits

      by Bush Bites on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 03:57:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  If true, that was only right and proper. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mftalbot, samantha in oregon

      After all, when the barbarians break down the gates, they won't be heading for the ghettos...

      But today, when war seems to be perpetual, that's another great reason for raising the rate for the rich back up to where it should be and was due to the cost of war... they're benefiting from the war more than the poor -- they get to keep their jewelry safe while poor minorities die keeping the enemies at bay.

      Kick apart the structures - Seth

      by ceebee7 on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 04:46:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Excellent post BBB. (3+ / 0-)

    I owe you an outline.  I'll ry to get it this weekend.  I went on vacation last week and now am catching up at work.  (excuse)  :-)

    Anyway, I'm glad you pointed this out.

    Pooties and Woozles unite; you have nothing to lose but your leashes!

    by TomP on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 03:46:19 PM PDT

  •  I think a quick look at her salary (3+ / 0-)

    may provide some insight into the cause of her concern.

    In addition, she is probably foolish enough to believe this would apply to her at $250k instead of a steeper ladder...

    The mind boggles...

    "Ultimately, we need to move beyond the tired debates of the left and the right, between business leaders and environmentalists" - President Obama, March 31

    by justmy2 on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 03:47:37 PM PDT

  •  More like this, please. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mftalbot, ManhattanMan

    The justifications for taxation are NEVER made in the mainstream media.

  •  True and not true (7+ / 0-)

    The brackets were significantly different during the 1950s - I think they had over 20?. The 90% tax rate was for income over $300K/$400K (Single/Married) which is about $2.4/$3.2 million in today's dollars. Because there were so many brackets, it scaled up pretty smoothly (about 10% for every 4 brackets).

    So, yes, a rate of 70%+ on income over $250,000 (today's dollars) would be pretty insane. Most income for that amount in 1950s dollars would've been taxed in the 40-50% range.

    Also note, taxes were higher for everyone back then, not just the rich. Lowest bracket was 17% compared to 10% today.

    But that's the main problem from the article she linked - as far as I can tell, it didn't consider adding newer, higher brackets with higher rates - it simply increased the rates on the existing brackets, which seems like it's kind of disingenuously ignoring other better options.

  •  PLEASE FIX. Major misrepresentation of tax rates (18+ / 0-)

    Brooklynbadboy and a number of commenters make the same basic error of understanding of tax rates.  Please correct this error in the post.

    When discussing the "top tier" of tax rates in a progressive taxation system, you are talking about rates applying to money above a certain level, not to all of the money.

    For example, someone with an income of $1,000,001 dollars, where the tax rate (for simplicity of example) is 25% for up to $500,000, 50% up to $1,000,000, and 90% over $1,000,000, the hypothetical person would pay:

    $125,000 for the first $500,000
    $250,000 for the second $500,000, and
    $0.90 for the last dollar,
    totalling $375,000.90,
    for an effective tax rate of 37.5%, NOT 90%!

    Progressive should NEVER make this mistake when talking about tax rates.

    •  thank you. I was trying to make that point (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BenGoshi

      but your example with real numbers is better than I did.

      "The more the Democrats pursue the center... the further to the right the "center" moves." -fellow kossack vacantlook

      by Hopeful Skeptic on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 03:57:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  THANK you. Liberals, Teabaggertarians, it seems- (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pattym922

      .
      . . . everybody fails to "get" this and (dumbass) Democrats fail to explain it.  Hell, they don't even try.

      And of course The Wealthy and all Republican pols (well, many of them) know damn well what the deal is, but are quite happy knowing that most of their creepy disciples, along with most everybody else, have no clue.

      .

      "I have to go now. I feel . . . sticky." Anthony Bourdain

      by BenGoshi on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 03:59:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  one other thing (6+ / 0-)

      that is NET income.  So if the person in your example made $1.5 million, but had $499,999.00 in write offs (business expenses, etc), they would pay the exact taxes you listed...  for an effective tax rate(is this still called an "effective tax rate"?)  of 375000.90/1.5 million = 25%

      "The more the Democrats pursue the center... the further to the right the "center" moves." -fellow kossack vacantlook

      by Hopeful Skeptic on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 04:03:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Exactly, I was just trying to keep it simple (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jim bow, Hopeful Skeptic

        but should have noted that the $1,000,001.00 referred to was after deductions and corresponded to a much larger gross income.

        •  I wish that BBB would edit his error!! (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          jim bow, happymisanthropy

          "The more the Democrats pursue the center... the further to the right the "center" moves." -fellow kossack vacantlook

          by Hopeful Skeptic on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 04:12:13 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  BBB wont! (0+ / 0-)

            It's rhetoric, not a tax analysis.

            This is why progressives always lose political arguments. No "heart of the matter" and all statistics.

            "I'm not a gentle, man. I'm a Method Man!" The What @tweetbbb

            by brooklynbadboy on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 04:41:14 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  but you're hurting your own argument, BBB! (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              DavidW in SF, jim bow, gardnerjf

              you're math is implying that the effective tax rate would be 75%, when in reality it would be MUCH lower.  

              You're feeding the GOP tax fear monster with your misleading numbers.

              Why put the numbers in at all, if they don't mean anything?

              "The more the Democrats pursue the center... the further to the right the "center" moves." -fellow kossack vacantlook

              by Hopeful Skeptic on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 04:44:01 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I appreciate your (0+ / 0-)

                views, but I'm not trying to convince you about the merits of progressive taxation. You already know.

                "I'm not a gentle, man. I'm a Method Man!" The What @tweetbbb

                by brooklynbadboy on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 04:48:26 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  and I appreciate your reply (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  jim bow, gardnerjf

                  But if you read the comments, you will see that even among progressives, the tax rates are being misrepresented.  

                  Accuracy and education is never a bad thing.  

                  And if that was totally beside the point, your story would stand just fine without using any hypothetical numbers at all.

                  "The more the Democrats pursue the center... the further to the right the "center" moves." -fellow kossack vacantlook

                  by Hopeful Skeptic on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 04:51:21 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Well, we disagree. (0+ / 0-)

                    I don't think rhetoric is about accuracy and education at all.

                    It's about what seems right in ones gut.

                    "I'm not a gentle, man. I'm a Method Man!" The What @tweetbbb

                    by brooklynbadboy on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 04:53:12 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  There are many DKos diaries and front page (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      DavidW in SF

                      stories that call out the GOP and media (esp. fuaxnews) for playing fast and loose with the facts in order to mislead "low-information" lay people.  

                      I think we (as a community) should strive to be better than those we criticize.  Otherwise, aren't we just being hypocrites?

                      By the way, what you're describing in your comment is exactly what is mocked by Stephen Colbert as "truthiness".

                      In satire, truthiness is a "truth" that a person claims to know intuitively "from the gut" without regard to evidence, logic, intellectual  examination, or facts.

                      "The more the Democrats pursue the center... the further to the right the "center" moves." -fellow kossack vacantlook

                      by Hopeful Skeptic on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 05:19:19 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Hard to argue (0+ / 0-)

                        with the argument on the merits. It's also much harder to argue with Limbaugh's and Fox's 10 times large audience than Colbert.

                        Democrats need to learn how to preach with fire again and stop thinking they're engaged in a law colloquy.

                        "I'm not a gentle, man. I'm a Method Man!" The What @tweetbbb

                        by brooklynbadboy on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 05:22:57 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                    •  You've got to be kidding me. (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Hopeful Skeptic, gardnerjf

                      You're entitled to your own opinion, but not your own reality. This example of how progressive taxation works isn't even in the realm of the disputable -- it is established and unambiguous fact. Not to mention that your misinterpretation severely undermines the argument you're trying to make.

                      So much for a "reality-based community."

              •  I don't know how else to explain this except to (0+ / 0-)

                say that the reason im on the front page is not for you progressives. Youre already committed so im not talking to you.

                Im talking to a broader audience of people who arent going to do math when they read an article.

                The main reason I've been invited here is to go after those whom progressives who enjoy talking to each other have failed to convince. So, if you can expect me to be play loose with rhetorical devices that common folk are can understand.

                Got it?

                "I'm not a gentle, man. I'm a Method Man!" The What @tweetbbb

                by brooklynbadboy on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 04:51:08 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Yeah, I get it. (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  jim bow, RandomSequence, gardnerjf

                  As a scientist, I vehemently disagree that math is a "rhetorical device"... but I get your point.

                  "The more the Democrats pursue the center... the further to the right the "center" moves." -fellow kossack vacantlook

                  by Hopeful Skeptic on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 04:54:18 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  but your errors undermine your argument (5+ / 0-)

                  If some "unconvinced" person reads that a person earning $1M has to give 3/4 of it to the government, many of them are going to stop reading right there.

                  Never forget: blue-collar Republicans all secretly believe that they're going to win the lottery some day, and then, by God, those low tax rates will really come in handy! There's no other way to explain their tolerance of low taxes on the rich (other than, I suppose, just a general inchoate grudge against the government).

                  What is valued is practiced. What is not valued is not practiced. -- Plato

                  by RobLewis on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 05:09:39 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Heh (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  jim bow, happymisanthropy

                  Considering that your diary is both manifestly incorrect, and that it's incorrect in a way that undercuts the point you claim to be making, you come off as merely a stubborn know-nothing.

                  "Well, I'm sure I'd feel much worse if I weren't under such heavy sedation..."--David St. Hubbins

                  by Old Left Good Left on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 05:43:15 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  No, I don't get it. (3+ / 0-)

                  I've been through this with Markos, McCarter, Morrill, Waldman, and DemFromCT.

                  How do you think you got to the front-page?  Lottery?  Or did we the Kossacks vote for you to be a front-pager, and represent this blog?

                  Clearly, as a front-pager who is tasked with representing this community, you believe in the power of the blogs.  And with power comes responsibility.  Posting responsibly means posting truthfully, and no economist, tax lawyer, or IRS employee will tell you that you are posting truthfully in this diary.

                  In other words, by posting a diary like this one, and refusing to do something about it when your fellow Kossacks call you out about it, you are making this community look bad.  Everyone is dumber for reading your diary.  I hope the next time you write a diary like this you think about how it reflects on the community as you have been tasked with writing responsibly diaries.  I know you are better than this diary.

                •  Only tea baggers are conviced by inaccurate (0+ / 0-)

                  statements that provoke gut reactions.  Fixing an obvious error can't hurt your "gut reaction" impact. Oh, and you lose the lurkers that can be convinced.

                  You are killing us.  

                  Now instead of linking to this article as an example of a good piece, I'll have to use it as an example of how even progressives can have willfully ignorant among us (I've found the street cred of pointing out the few examples of idiocy on Kos helps to lull my conservative Facebook fiends; makes it easier to ambush them with undeniable logic).

            •  A blatant error (4+ / 0-)

              is merely rhetoric?

              You undercut the argument that a 75% top tax rate is politically feasible by misrepresenting its effect.

              "Well, I'm sure I'd feel much worse if I weren't under such heavy sedation..."--David St. Hubbins

              by Old Left Good Left on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 05:40:00 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  It isn't easy being a tax expert. (0+ / 0-)

                Your identification of the fatal flaw in BBB's post highlights my argument for a tax rate equation that removes the possibility of confusion between  an "effective" or "average" tax rate as opposed to a single effective rate.  It would reduce a considerable amount of jawboning (and some bruised egos) between political friends and foes alike.

                We need to find a way to remove or reduce politics from the tax code and base it upon science and the natural law.  The equation produces an effect I call the anti-Laffer curve.

                Marginal tax rate may have their advantages and I can say that I learned something new about them from my fellow kossacks, but comprehensibility, especially to the average American, isn't one of them.

                rate of taxation = 0.1 ln (total income/poverty level)

                If one is to grow in love, nothing is more important than to make peace with one's parents.

                by rjlebeck on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 08:03:36 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

    •  this needs to be repeated, repeatedly nt (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      happymisanthropy
  •  What amazes me (4+ / 0-)

    is not that they think this, but that they say it out loud.  Somewhat Marie Antoinette-ish.

  •  "Were Eisenhower and Nixon insane?" (0+ / 0-)

    Nixon certainly was

  •  for what it's worth (3+ / 0-)

    Why not add an additional tax braket for those making over a million a year?

  •  I'm still mad at the guy talking about lemonade (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BenGoshi, pattym922, happymisanthropy

    you know, from that earlier link where the guy was irate because kids were giving away free lemonade.

  •  "I'm all for a more progressive tax code." (5+ / 0-)
    .
      That's exactly, and I mean exactly, like when someone says, "Now I'm not prejudiced or anything, but..."  and then proceeds to tell a racist "joke" or go off on some other tangent of bigotry.

      Different subject, but Ruth has the shtick down pat.

    .

    "I have to go now. I feel . . . sticky." Anthony Bourdain

    by BenGoshi on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 03:55:53 PM PDT

    •  I think there's a diff between being for a 50% (0+ / 0-)

      top rate, or whatever top rate was in effect in 1992, and being for a 90% rate.

      I'm for making rich people pay a high tax rate, but I don't think it's very productive to take 90% of what they earn. And keep in mind that rich people pay state taxes, too, so having them pay 90% just in federal taxes along with their state taxes might be mathematically difficult, or impossible.

      Sure, there may be European countries where the alleged top rates are very high, but those countries have many, many loopholes.

      I think it's better to have a fairly flattish 50% top rate, and actually collect the tax, than to have a 90% tax rate that translates into an effect rate of, say, 40%.

      •  Sigh . . . that's a FALLACY. (4+ / 0-)

        .
         See the comments above that debunk that.  There is NO tax of "90% of everything someone earns."  I'm afraid you spent several paragraphs arguing about a thing that doesn't exist.

         Again, see comments above where a couple of people who know what they're talking about explain things.

         I'm hardly blaming you:  Democratic politicians, and even front pagers on Daily Kos, have failed utterly to explain this to lay people.

        .

        "I have to go now. I feel . . . sticky." Anthony Bourdain

        by BenGoshi on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 04:58:36 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  On someone earning over, say, (0+ / 0-)

          $10 million, a 90% top marginal rate on income over, say, $1 million, is $8.1 million plus maybe $4 million on earnings $10,000 to $1 million, or $8.5 million, which is only a little less than a $9 million tax on all earnings. Of course, the difference is smaller for someone who earns more.

          I want to pay for the government and not have too many robber barons, but I think having a few ultra rich owners of private islands is kind of fun. I want to have safety net benefits, not make Bill Gates live in a normal,  boring house.

          •  You have heard of the Dutch disease, right? (3+ / 0-)

            Where the economy of the Netherlands went into a funk after the North Sea began to be exploited?

            All investment went into oil, of course. It was perfectly rational. It put them into a recession, because it distorted the economy -- nothing else could rationally be invested in, and the entire structure of the market started to fall apart.

            Having ultra rich owners who make their money as financiers and corporate managers does the same thing. Kids don't study engineering -- they get MBA instead. All of our economy goes into "finance" and the market itself suffers.

            •  Actually, a diary on this -- done succinctly as (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Calamity Jean

              .
                  you have done here -- would be a fitting thing.  I encourage you to expand a bit on this (comment of yours) and make it into a diary.  Feel free to email me if you get a mind to and I'll be happy to promote and, certainly, recommend it.

              .

              "I have to go now. I feel . . . sticky." Anthony Bourdain

              by BenGoshi on Thu Jul 08, 2010 at 04:33:52 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Well, structure the economy to encourage (0+ / 0-)

              investor money to flow into sensible things and reduce the possibility that people can become ultra-rich by engaging in truly frivolous or damaging activities, but remember that politics often messes with ideas about what a sensible thing.

              Example: "infrastructure" is obviously a sensible thing, but which infrastructure? A road to nowhere, or a bike path in Chicago? An white elephant airport, or a solar power plant? But what if the age of practical hydrogen fusion arrives and revamps things overnight, then who knows if what we thought would make sense really makes sense.

              Another example: I think most would agree that "schools" are a good investment, but, will the money actually go to create good schools or more consulting jobs in the board of ed headquarters?

              Also: the North Sea funk was partly an example of perverse government carrots and sticks. Chances are the taxes on North Sea investment profits were way lower than the profits on a company that repairs old bridges, and those sorts of incentives have to be fixed.

              More of those perverse incentives are the fault of the Republicans than of the Democrats, but I think plenty of Democrats are also at least partly to blame.

      •  You are having trouble (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Realistic Idealist, brein

        with the concept of "Marginal Tax Rates". If you make only $10,000/year, a millionaire pays the same rate on his first $10,000 of income that you do. The next chunk of his income has a higher rate and so on up to the top rate, which is paid on the amount of income over its break point.

        In the late 50's everybody got TV's and the FCC allowed the networks to broadcast 24 hours if they included a number of hours of News and educational programming.  All of a sudden, there was a huge shortage of what programmers call "content".

        Ronald Reagan, who reversed the progressive tax system, had a huge income from "residual payments" for old, B movies that played over and over on "Dialing for Dollars" and "Late Night Movies". Now, since he didn't have to do any work to get the payments, they were classified as "unearned income". The "Marginal tax rate" on "unearned income" over $1 million/year was 92%.

        He saved a lot of tax money by operating a working cattle ranch and breeding and training cutting horses. He paid something like 20 cowboys pretty good wages, but "Bedtime for Bonzo" just kept popping up on the tube and the checks kept coming in and he just hated sending all thet money off to Washington.

        Growing up in Eastern Colorado, where we all wanted to be cowboys from toddlerhood, I always liked the rich guys having to pay good money for ropers and riders and veterinarians in order to avoid taxes. I guess St. Ronnie didn't. Does that mean he wasn't a 'real' cowboy?

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

        by johnmorris on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 05:24:16 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  There's another REALLY good reason... (9+ / 0-)

    ...for high marginal rates. It's not just about the rich being able to afford them.

    It's also - and very fundamentally - about encouraging business owners to keep their profits in the business by investing them on tax-deductible things like R&D, wages for employees, and other legitimate business expenses. In other words, keep your taxes low by running the business a lot closer to breakeven - and creating jobs along the way.

    That's the major reason we had such a healthy economy in the 50's - the system was geared to reward businesses that grew through reinvestment - and created more jobs and more new businesses by doing so.

    I'm all in favor of progressive rates, but let's not rely only on the "soak the rich" notion. That's just not going to fly with enough people to win the argument. Sure, there's a lot more of us than there of the super-rich, but an awful lot of folks hope to get to be super-rich someday, and so they don't support progressive rates the way they should.

    The system is broken - let's fix it. It's time for a new American Revolution

    by jpw on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 03:57:02 PM PDT

    •  Well, that "awful lot of folks" need (0+ / 0-)

      to be brought to the reality that they're NEVER gonna be rich.  If it were that easy, everybody'd be doin' it...  The rich protect themselves, that club is very hard to get into...  Gates, the Waltons, Gates's Hathaway fund buddy, several others, they can't get in.  I'm talking about the old families, the ones who really run things, not just with their money, but their connections, their intermarrying, their super low profiles and controlled public exposure... the uber rich -- the plutocracy.  Their genius is in maintaining control of everything and no one ever talks about it.  And they are protected by folks like this diarist's subject columnist without any tangible reward... except "someday, maybe I, too, will be allowed to enter that sanctified club..."  Yeah, when you've been rich for 6 generations and have spawned your own little dynasty...

      See on this thread how many people voice protective sentiments, even though they'll never be that kind of rich and never see a dime of the uber-rich's money...  It's a social disease.

      About reinvesting locally, very true, except in a global economy, that is mostly "so yesterday."  IOW, ain't gonna happen.

      Kick apart the structures - Seth

      by ceebee7 on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 04:37:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Hell, if they just gave back the (7+ / 0-)

    money they legally stole, offshored, etc. over the last ten years it would more than suffice.  If we had a 1% tax on derivative transactions we would have more than enough money.  If we clawed back the fees and bonuses earned on derivative trading we would have more than enough money.

    A good deal of money has been redistributed to the top one 1% over the last ten years.  It should be our first policy concern to think of ways to get it back.  It's fundamental fairness and it could save the economy.

    Denial is complicity.

    by Publius2008 on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 04:00:09 PM PDT

  •  Eventually, though, (0+ / 0-)

    you run out of people to tax.  

    Maybe we should spend less, at least for a while.

    Strength of character does not consist solely in having powerful feelings, but in maintaining one's balance in spite of them. - Clausewitz

    by SpamNunn on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 04:02:37 PM PDT

    •  Do both as much as we can; I think (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SpamNunn

      what we do about threats of depression and genuine human suffering may be different; in those cases, maybe we keep spending and cross fingers.

      But all of this is pretty complicated.

      Example (please read the whole comment before troll rating it): I see no deep moral reason that government workers who still have workers should expect to earn as much next year as they were paid last year.

      Many of us employed people in private-sector land have seen our paychecks cut, one way or another, and I don't see a moral problem with the pay of, say, government workers who earn more than $50,000 per year also getting cut, given the dire situation we're in. If public employee unions cry bloody murder about that, well, fine, but I think it would be better for governments to cut salaries 10% or even 20%, if absolutely necessary, than to, for example, shut down all libraries, or eliminate all kindergarten classes, or make the senior year of high school "an extra."

      On the other hand (maybe this will make people re-think troll rating this comment): the fact that government employee salaries tend to be fairly stable may actually be helping to prop up the economy, and I think economists have to think through all this carefully before anyone rushes to eliminate that possible source of stability. I don't think there's anything all that terrible about cutting a government worker's paycheck if tax revenue has fallen sharply and most or all of the "deadwood" employees are gone. But it could be that the damage to the economy done by cuts in government employees' salaries would far outweigh the good done by cutting government spending.

  •  Well, I do think 70% is too high. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sclminc, tomhodukavich, oxfdblue

    I am very comfortable with the Clinton levels.

    •  targetting is the key..the current tax regime has (0+ / 0-)

      yielded some bizarre distortions.

    •  there were jobs in Clinton's time!! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sclminc, happymisanthropy
    •  Comfortable and "fair" should be part of this... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sclminc, BrowniesAreGood

      Agree, Clinton levels should be a good starting point.  While I agree we should have much higher rates (and the same rates on all income), Marcus is right that those rates (in the 70's) won't fly.  Why demonize her for stating the obvious.

      The thing that bothers me about the post is that BBB seems to have no thoughtful mechanism for determining how the state (us) should go about determining how much to expropriate.  He doesn't seem interested in trying to follow the logic of why progressive tax rates make sense (thanks to all those great commentors that did make the effort).  

      BBB makes a simple "they have it and we need it, so we'll take it".  That should not and will not fly in the US, nor should it.  I think almost everyone would agree that we should all have the incentive to succeed, and it's a matter of balancing systemic outcomes and individual outcomes.  

      •  There is really no need to incentivize success, (5+ / 0-)

        it pays. Even with high marginal tax rates, big earners live better. They did so when their tax rates were 90%. Society had more capital to expend on public goods too. Here's a good, reasonable, break point; If your accumulated wealth represents an amount capable of earning several times the median income without either investing it in a brick and mortar business or hiring people to perform economically useful activities, in other words, if you can live 5 or 6 or 10 times as well as a fellow citizen while contributing nothing to the economy just by collecting interest, then your taxes ought to be higher. We know that, when the upper rate was 70%, the average CEO made about 40 times what the mechanic on the shop floor made but he had to go to work every day to get it. Today, that number is 400 times. To make this a functioning Democracy, we need to tax that back down to 50 or less.

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

        by johnmorris on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 04:46:21 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I think we agree, except perhaps on the margins. (0+ / 0-)

          You're not really saying "no need to incentivize success", but rather, "even a 10% return on really high numbers is incentive enough".  If we really are talking about $1 billion, I don't disagree.  On $250K, especially well earned windfalls (money earned in a lump), then I do disagree.  Not all big earners are big earners for a long time.  Seems like a "mostly agree" to me.

          One great point you make is the unfairness of treating/taxing wages like pure interest income.  More over, I think a lot of what got us in trouble this cycle was rich people chasing unearned income and willing to believe anything they heard to get higher returns.

    •  Just asking... (2+ / 0-)

      Why is 70% too high?

      Kick apart the structures - Seth

      by ceebee7 on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 04:26:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Why? (3+ / 0-)

      http://4.bp.blogspot.com/...

      http://4.bp.blogspot.com/...

      Note from the graphs, while there may be a case that top tax rates over 90% don't seem to stimulate growth, dropping them to 70% did and several drops after that didn't. Raising the ultra low rates seems to have stimulated Clinton's economy. Here's the deal. The very rich neither spend nor invest. They sequester money. High tax rates make it more profitable for them to invest in the real economy, to avoid taxes, than to stuff money in the mattress. And 70% appears to be a pretty reasonable level for it.

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

      by johnmorris on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 04:37:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  So saith JFK (0+ / 0-)

    In short, it is a paradoxical truth that tax rates are too high today and tax revenues are too low and the soundest way to raise the revenues in the long run is to cut the rates now. The experience of a number of European countries and Japan have borne this out. This country's own experience with tax reduction in 1954 has borne this out. And the reason is that only full employment can balance the budget, and tax reduction can pave the way to that employment. The purpose of cutting taxes now is not to incur a budget deficit, but to achieve the more prosperous, expanding economy which can bring a budget surplus.

    I repeat: our practical choice is not between a tax-cut deficit and a budgetary surplus. It is between two kinds of deficits: a chronic deficit of inertia, as the unwanted result of inadequate revenues and a restricted economy, or a temporary deficit of transition, resulting from a tax cut designed to boost the economy, increase tax revenues, and achieve, I believe — and I believe this can be done — a budget surplus. The first type of deficit is a sign of waste and weakness; the second reflects an investment in the future.

    - John Fitzgerald Kennedy

    Strength of character does not consist solely in having powerful feelings, but in maintaining one's balance in spite of them. - Clausewitz

    by SpamNunn on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 04:05:50 PM PDT

  •  For the millionth time (4+ / 0-)

    I've posted this scheme many times around here:

    1. Raise the top two rates back to 36% and 39.6%.
    1. Create two new higher rates: 42% for income over $750,000 and 45% for income over $3 million.
    1. Treat ALL income the same.  
    1. Put in place a financial transaction tax of .25%.  If you can afford to buy $5000 worth of stock, you can afford a $12.50 tax on the purchase.  It would not need to apply to retirement accounts.
    1. A Value Added Tax of 10%, in combination with a change in the lowest income tax bracket, creating a zero tax bracket for the first $20,000 of income.  A VAT would not apply to food, clothing, and medicine.
    1. Institute an AMT for corporations.  The current corporate income tax is a joke.
    1. Put the Estate Tax to 40% of the amount of an estate over $3,500,000.

    All of that would take care of at least half the current budget deficit in fell swoop.  The other half is due to the recession.

    As others have said the tax rates of the 1950s and 1960s are misrepresented when looked at alone.  There were many more brackets and so many deductions and loopholes, that very few ever paid those top rates.

    ======

    "Sick Around the World"

    http://pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/sickaroundtheworld/

    Watch it, send it along to all you know.

    by oxfdblue on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 04:06:43 PM PDT

  •  We really need to go to War. (5+ / 0-)
    1. Take over Big Oil. However you do it, Eminent Domain, 95% tax....
    1. End the Wars to Make More Enemies.
    1. Your offshore tax-shelter gets taxed at 95%. Maybe more.
    1. Your Gambling disguised as Finance is taxed at 95%. Maybe more.
    1. Your off-shored job gets a 300% payroll tax.
    1. Your subsidies from the government are gone (except for literal job hires.)
    1. Your secret bank account has been confiscated
    1. and a few more...

    Maybe we'll negotiate. Maybe we won't.

    They aren't shy about publicly proposing the ordinary person's destruction. And all the Establishment figures nod their head when they do.

    Fight back or die. Where's the middle ground at this point.

    Until we break the corporate virtual monopoly on what we hear and see, we keep losing, don't matter what we do.

    by Jim P on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 04:06:47 PM PDT

  •  There seems (2+ / 0-)

    to be something to this thing. The more you make, the less you pay in tax. Just recently read that Exxom paid no income tax last year. We are definitely not making enough at our house.

    Common Sense is not Common

    by RustyBrown on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 04:06:49 PM PDT

  •  some pay around 75% in taxes now (8+ / 0-)

    If you are making $40,000 a year and live in a house you pay around $4,000 income tax, $2,400 social security tax, maybe $5,000 real estate tax plus maybe $2,000 in sales tax plus $15,0000 or so in health insurance premiums, which is a tax paid by citizens to corporations (all other countries on earth do it the sane way through the government).

    So you see, we are all screwed and the rich are laughing their asses off at us. We pay the damn taxes. They pay shit.

  •  A PLAGUE on her house, SHILLING (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Calamity Jean

    FOR HER BEDWETTERS.

    TAX THE RICH! They have money! I'm a Democrat. That's why!

    by ezdidit on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 04:08:43 PM PDT

  •  I am all for class warfare. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    esquimaux, happymisanthropy

    The rich got that way on the backs of their employees (or worse, inherited). Inherited money is not earned income, so tax them at a minimum of 75%. What was good in two Rethug admins would work again!

    I think, therefore I am. I think.

    by mcmom on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 04:09:25 PM PDT

  •  one of the consequences of a 90%... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    esquimaux, Calamity Jean
    ...top rate would be that fewer people would be making the multi-million dollar salaries if they had to give up 90% over...(what is it one million?)to the government.

    so CEOs would make less.

    And some people have the mistaken impression that that means the economy is going to tank if the absolute richest can't maintain their obscenely high paychecks.

    Perish the thought.

  •  sorry disagree (0+ / 0-)

    I do happen to think 60-70% is draconian in most cases now if you want to talk about the top 1-.5% of the income bracket then yeah I can see your point but even then I think taxes should top out at 60%.

    Frankly though people shouldn't expect anything more the Clinton era taxes, at least right off the bat.

  •  "A time of prosperity" needs to be spelled out... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Calamity Jean

    People just don't understand that mansions did not go extinct because of the 90% tax bracket.

  •  why do we adopt rightwing math? (4+ / 0-)

    Can you imagine how tough it's going to be for a Washington pundit to get by on $250,000 of a million dollar salary?

    I am afraid that in an attempt to simplify everything, even liberals tend to make things sound bad.  When we speak of a 70 percent tax rate, it is not 70 percent on everything someone makes, just on each extra dollar over a certain amount.  That is the nature of a progressive tax system.  The right always squeals like the piggies they are and act as if 70 percent of someone's income is going to be stolen.  That is far from the truth.  So a 70 percent top income tax would not take 700,000 if someone makes a 1,000,000.  

    •  True, but it's tough for most Americans to (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      brein, DrFaustus

      have a intuitive idea about the differences of living with a $250K salary vs a $410K salary (70% income tax on income over $250K, and current tax rates below that).

      The point is worth mentioning, so thanks for pointing it out. Still, I don't think the quick math hurts us all that much in the PR battle. I think it's okay for liberals to use the quick math in some situations, but always add a footnote that in practice, the rich really aren't going to wind up paying nearly this much with the progressive nature of the tax system plus the plethora of deductions, etc, etc...

      Try looking at things another way.

      by atheistben on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 04:40:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  High rates like 90% are misleading (4+ / 0-)

    Always keep in mind that with a progressive tax system (like ours), high rates like 90% are misleading.

    This is NOT NOT NOT 90% of your entire income, it's 90% past a certain very large point. You can have 90% of income past $2 million in income which would tax very rich investment bankers, and yet leave everyone else alone.  If you are not rich, these high taxes rates would likely not affect you at all.  

  •  This is absurd. (0+ / 0-)

    The tax % should be the same for all Americans once a certain level of income is met. I don't like the rich either but 90% (or even 60%) is ridiculous.

    The income taxes should be something like...

    0% for the first $50,000

    30% for everything above that.

    No deductions. Federal credits allowed.

    Then, they need to fix the corporate taxes.

    •  You're assuming that income has a (4+ / 0-)

      constant marginal utility. I doubt you'd find any economist who would agree with that assumption.

      Example of the declining marginal utility of money: Let's say that you're being paid $25K/year for a job you really really like. Somebody offers you $27.5K/yr (a 10% raise) for a job that's not quite so enjoyable. Would you take the offer?

      Now say you're making $250K/yr and someone offers you $275K/yr (also a 10% raise). Would you take it?

      Far more people in the first scenario would accept the offer. That's because if you're making $25K, a 10% increase will improve your standard of living enough that most people would be willing to sacrifice a good deal of job satisfaction for it. But if you're making $250K, a 10% increase will have a much lower effect on your standard of living; it will be small enough that most people would forgo it in favor of greater job satisfaction. In a very real sense, they would forgo it because they could afford to.

      The effect of this on taxation is that the higher you income gets, the higher your marginal tax rate (tax on each additional dollar you earn) would need to be before it started significantly limiting your economic freedom. If you're making $5M/year, paying 30 cents out of each additional dollar isn't really going to affect what you can afford to do. If you're making $60K, OTOH, it definitely will limit your options.

      Keep in mind, also, that employers take taxes into account when setting salaries; basically they aim to provide competitive take-home pay. From your employer's perspective, your income tax is the overhead they have to pay to provide you with a given take-home (note the recent story about Google providing greater gross pay to employees with domestic partners on their insurance so that they'll have the same take-home pay as married employees). If that overhead goes away, employers aren't going to be willing to keep paying it. The only people who'd really come out ahead are those who can essentially name their own salaries (basically CEOs and some Wall Street traders).

      If Nixon was cocaine for the resentful psyche, Palin is meth—Andrew Sullivan

      by ebohlman on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 05:14:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  This nation is sick in its worship (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Calamity Jean, standupguy

    of the rich without any tangible benefit.  They are treated like royalty.  (Speaking generally, of course...  certainly no Kossacks could be accused of this.)

    Remember Bonanza?  Dynasty?  Dallas?  The one about the NorCal winery?  All the other imitators?  Viewers couldn't get enough.

    America is fascinated with the rich... and gets a vicarious thrill with watching them, especially the dysfunctional ones like Dallas and Dynasty... gotta be penis envy with possessions substituting for penises (peni?)  And Republicans!  Jesus, their raison d'etre is supporting the rich.  I imagine they genuflect when someone rich enters the room.

    Kick apart the structures - Seth

    by ceebee7 on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 04:24:10 PM PDT

  •  Wow. (0+ / 0-)

    Apparently you have to be a conservative now not to want to give 3/4 of your earnings to the government.

    I wish there was a political movement that wanted people to pay reasonable taxes -- but allow them to try to get ahead, give everyone equal rights, provide free secondary education, fund national healthcare, keep an army -- but only use it to defend the country, support business -- but treat human beings BETTER than corporations, give me my freedom -- but protect society from unfettered greed and malice, and keep the government out of my goddamned bedroom...instead I seem to only have the choice between communism and fascism. Ugh.

    --------
    The key to avoiding unnecessary fights is editing, asshole.

    by PBJ Diddy on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 04:24:45 PM PDT

  •  Thanks for this comment. It's right on! (0+ / 0-)

    Think how many people covering the news make way more than $250,000/yr.
    And you nailed it re: Ruth Marcus!

  •  Make it fun for rich people to pay taxes (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    standupguy

    I'm pretty broke right now, so, no I'm not someone affected by the top marginal tax rate, but anyhow:

    A. I think it's fine if the top tax rate is pretty high, but it shouldn't be so high that a lot of rich people decide to retire and stop earning money, or so high and complicated that rich people figure out complicated, successful ways to shelter their earnings. It seems as if there were plenty of rich people who had fun earning lots of money when Clinton was president, so, it seems as if it would be a good idea to use the Clinton-era rates as the new rates.

    B. Lots of rich people cheerfully give huge sums to charity, partly to get out of paying taxes, but partly because it's a lot more fun than paying taxes. Why not let people who pay, say, more than $100,000 per year in federal income taxes join a "United States Sponsor Club" that provides progressively more exciting incentives?

    C. The U.S. Sponsor Club Proposal - If, say, you pay $100,000 per year in income taxes, you get to attend a party at a local Head Start center or some other federally funded facility (a post office? a park?) with your member of Congress; if you pay $10 million per year, you get to attend a small dinner party with your member of Congress; if you pay $10 billion a year, you get to attend a party at the White House; if you pay more than $50 billion, you get to send the willing, healthy, otherwise-eligible passenger of your choice for a ride on the Space Shuttle (or equivalent space vehicle), or maybe have a bike path named after you, or something really cool like that. If you give $100 billion to the U.S. Treasury, maybe you get your picture on a quarter.

    •  and every year (0+ / 0-)

      after a large donation, Ruth could run an article naming all the names.  Bet they would even let Ted Kopel read the names on Sinclair stations.

      •  How about: if you pay $1 billion in taxes and (0+ / 0-)

        you're a good sport, the FCC will make CBS give you a minute of air time right after the Letterman show.

        I'm being silly, but I'm partly serious.

        One reason medieval Europeans paid for all the wars they paid for is that they got to be dukes and counts and barons. We need to figure out some plainspun democratic equivalent of letting people who pay a lot of taxes feel good about themselves for paying the taxes.

  •  Ruth Marcus sez: progressive taxation stops.... (6+ / 0-)
    just above my income level.

    Typical affluent villager tripe: we can't possibly consider the kind of marginal tax rates on the wealthiest Americans that we saw back in the prosperous 1950s and 1960s because....well, just because. It might affect me.

    On the other hand, blue collar construction workers forced to carry cinderblocks up ladders until age 72? Elderly working poor living in refrigerator boxes and eating cat food?

    That'd be just hunky dory. Doesn't affect anyone on her dinner invitation list.

    •  This... (6+ / 0-)

      Doesn't affect anyone on her dinner invitation list.

      ...is a huge problem with our mainstream press. It is not just that it is distorted and narcissistic; it is actually dangerous to the social and economic stability of the country to have the "spokesperson for the people" (which is one job of the fourth estate) be so out of touch with the day-to-day economic realities faced by the huge, vast majority of the country.

      When Digby takes swipes at Villagers "clutching their pearls" she could be speaking absolutely literally. This is a huge, HUGE problem.

      The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts. -Bertrand Russell

      by mftalbot on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 05:04:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  We need a special surtax (3+ / 0-)

    on the pampered pundit class.

  •  this is crazy... (0+ / 0-)

    is this a liberal site or a communist one?

  •  I generally agree with this (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jim bow, condorcet

    that the rich can afford to pay a lot more, but if we are going to compare tax rates during Nixon and Ike, we have to also keep in mind that taxes for nearly everyone was higher then:

    Ike:

    Ike - 1953 to 1961
    1958 - lowest income tax rate = 20% [compared to 10% today]
    Someone making the equivalent of $50,000 in 2010 ($6,575.63 in 1963) would have paid a 22% marginal rate.  Today the same couple filing jointly would pay a 15% marginal rate.

    Nixon:

    Nixon - 1969 to 1974
    1972 - lowest income tax rate = 14% [compared to 10% today]
    Married filing jointly making the equivalent of $50,000 in 2010 ($9,516.14 in 1972) would have also paid a a 22% marginal rate.  Today, the same couple filing jointly would pay a 15% marginal rate.

    Links:

    Should everyone return to the Nixon or Eisenhower era rates?  I seem to remember when Howard Dean in 2004 wanted to return everyone's tax rates to the Clinton era rates (repealing ALL of the Bush tax cuts, for the rich and for the not-so-rich), it was the Democratic party insiders that tore him up over it.  I supported the proposal then.

  •  Ruth must have been appaled at the era where..... (0+ / 0-)

    there was no income tax and tariffs were the main income for the Federal Government.

  •  Math is wrong (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Calamity Jean

    A top tax rate of 75% does not mean that a person making $1M pays $750K in taxes. They only pay 75% on income that falls in the top bracket. They would pay no tax at all on their first X thousand in income, then some low rate on the next Y thousand, a higher rate on the next Z thousand, and so on. With deductions and credits and everything, they might end up paying $600K or even less.

    But we'd have to close the loopholes that allow Warren Buffet to pay taxes at a lower overall rate than his secretary.

    What is valued is practiced. What is not valued is not practiced. -- Plato

    by RobLewis on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 04:45:48 PM PDT

    •  yeah, many of us have tried to point that out (0+ / 0-)

      But BBB is unconcerned by the error.  

      Oh well... so much for accuracy or being a "reality-based" community.

      It could have been a damn good story, too.

      "The more the Democrats pursue the center... the further to the right the "center" moves." -fellow kossack vacantlook

      by Hopeful Skeptic on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 04:48:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  yes! (0+ / 0-)

      it is the loopholes... which politicians love to ignore. because their sugar daddies and mommas love them. I've often said two things about taxes. 1) EVERYONE should pay something, just to have skin in the game, no matter. 2) Exemptions and other loopholes should have sunset provisions that are not subject to renewal, they expire and have to be voted into law separately once again. A billionaire can afford high taxes, primarily because he can pay accountants to hide (at least a lot of) their cash from the IRS. A poor person has no reason to pay attention to the tax rate/loopholes if they are exempt anyway.

  •  yeah right, tax the rich at 70% (0+ / 0-)

    And enjoy the next 2 years you have left as an electable party. That is both economically, but more importantly, politically unviable. Comparing the top tax rate of 1950, after a booming war economy came to fruition, when we were the lone economic power is night and day different than today's economic scene. She is right. She's no tea partier, she's just right.

    •  I suppose all those (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      standupguy, PhilJD, gardnerjf

      out of work people are going to go running to the defense of the rich and their low taxes right?

      "I'm not a gentle, man. I'm a Method Man!" The What @tweetbbb

      by brooklynbadboy on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 05:12:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  maybe (0+ / 0-)

        the old saw "I never got a job from a poor man"? And what constitutes "low taxes"? A very subjective term.

        •  This is the trap of the argument liberals make. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ban nock

          The question of taxes always begins with "how much should I pay" which is how the conservative mind thinks.

          Well, of course, if you ask me, I would like to pay nothing at all! I'd rather have YOU pay. I mean, who wouldn't? That is exactly how you end up with an inbalanced budget because everybody wants benefits but nobody wants to pay.

          "I'm not a gentle, man. I'm a Method Man!" The What @tweetbbb

          by brooklynbadboy on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 05:19:08 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  So it's not really a conservative mindset, (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            brooklynbadboy

            but basically a universal one.

            •  All tax questions (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              ban nock

              should start with "how much do we need?" shortly followed by "who can afford to pay?"

              Not, "How much do I feel comfortable paying?"

              "I'm not a gentle, man. I'm a Method Man!" The What @tweetbbb

              by brooklynbadboy on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 05:25:45 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Close, but it should really be (0+ / 0-)

                "how much can we afford to pay as a society without screwing up the productive system and what common goods and investments can we provide for that amount?"

                •  What productive system? (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Calamity Jean

                  A high marginal tax rate drives greater economic equality. Greater economic equality gives incentives to the large number of people who do most of the work.

                  The money at the top end is in no way an "incentive" to work harder. You don't "work harder" to go from $3 million to $4 million -- you work harder to go from $30 thousand to $40 thousand. That top end money is just score keeping between the elite -- it's not an "incentive to work harder" but an "incentive to game the system".

                  Most people's economics apparently is based on how their family budgets.

                  •  There's no reason to believe that people (0+ / 0-)

                    that make $3 Million suddenly lose their ability to add value to the economy (and there's probably a pretty good argument that they have a better than average chance of adding value in the time period that they earned that money, except in the case where it was all "undirected" unearned income), so yes, you do want them to have the incentive to work.  

                    You may be right that folks that regularly earn $3+ Million are just score keeping, but that misses the point that they can add value (and you want society to benefit from the taxes they provide), and, in some cases, the intangible, non-monetary benefits they can provide (perhaps a cure for a disease or a better mouse trap).

                    Let's try to let the Repugs make all the angry, logic-free arguments, please.

              •  I don't think I could ever trust the govt to make (0+ / 0-)

                the right decision on that first question. On the 2nd one, everyone with a job should pay, even if those on the lowest end get all it back, plus some. Everyone should participate.

              •  don't agree (0+ / 0-)

                gov't will always need more than what it takes in. Personally, I favor either a flat tax or fair tax.  Either way, the taxes will always be progressive...you make a shitload of money, you pay a shitload in taxes.

                I just hate this pitting two classes against one another.  What the hell do we care if a guy is some star trader and makes a 100 million a year.  He's not consuming any more gov't services and he's paying a shitload in taxes already.  

          •  not really (0+ / 0-)

            not a trap. there are differing ways to look at it. What do we need? Who decides? Do we NEED all the fed programs we have? At their current funding levels? I've often said I could cut the fed budget in half- and be hung in the public square. Sacred cows, gored oxen all that. I think MOSt people are cool with paying their fare share - it's just that the fed gov't keeps growing and growing and many do not understand where the true and significant expenditures and revenue sources are.

  •  Mock rhetorical arguement (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Calamity Jean

    between a conservative and a progressive over taxation:

    Conservative:

    It's your money, not the governments. I believe you should be able to do whatever you want with what you earn and pay as little tax as is necessary.

    Progressive:

    First, lets have an analysis of progressive taxation. Now, there are several brackets, each of which has an appropriate rate depending on the income. Now, these rates are carefully calibrated in order the optimize the relative appropriation of national income based on....

    "I'm not a gentle, man. I'm a Method Man!" The What @tweetbbb

    by brooklynbadboy on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 04:47:14 PM PDT

  •  Hot damn! Just felt an earthquake or two (0+ / 0-)

    here in SoCal. I may be fat and slow, but when I felt the first jolt I made like Jesse Owens!

    "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans." John Lennon

    by trashablanca on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 04:56:40 PM PDT

  •  If you are so determined to have high... (0+ / 0-)

    marginal tax rates, for those of you who believe in it, feel free to voluntarily contribute on your own anything above the current tax you pay, up to the 90% rate that some are proposing here.  Don't compel everyone to do the same though...  

    All those making - say $1M a year or more - please chime in.  You work hard for that money, you should have a strong say in how it is confiscated.  

  •  w00t! (0+ / 0-)

    Dodged another one!

    "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans." John Lennon

    by trashablanca on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 05:00:30 PM PDT

  •  In fact, Marcus has a point. If all the salaries (0+ / 0-)

    above 250k were taxed at 70% rate, it would be grossly counterproductive. High rates of the 50s applied to very high incomes by today's standards. That doesn't mean that modest tax raises on incomes above 250k are all that bad.

  •  respectfully disagree with premise on this (0+ / 0-)
    I earn about $50,000 a year and have about that much in assets. I am a liberal, or progressive.

    Nonetheless, I sympathize with someone earning 1 million who ends up with 250,000. That seems excessive no matter that it has been done before.

    What I'd like to see, rather, is for employers to pay substantially more in benefits and salary, which would make the workers happier and would result in more tax money being contributed by the "middle class," which would allow a more reasonable rate to be assessed for the upper echelons. I can dream, can't I?

    I think it's very easy to sit here and say millionaires shouldn't whine, but again, if they've earned a million bucks, to me, taking away more than half of it is excessive.

    •  What if they make 100 million? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Calamity Jean, Hopeful Skeptic

      and what if they did nothing other than having a rich grandfather who hired the right trust fund managers? Could they survive on 49 million a year instead of 50 million?

      Last year I made 30K ans supported a family of 4. I pay 15% as a self employed for SS and Medicare. Now that 100 million guy got tens of millions in tax breaks for the past 10 years, and it came from the 15% I've been paying, so we ran up a debt.

      Yup, he pays or it's pitchfork time.

      "Don't fall or we both go" Derek Hersey

      by ban nock on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 06:40:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Nobody who earns 1 mil (0+ / 0-)

      ends up paying anywhere near 750k in taxes. I can see why you might think that though, because BBB's example was atrocious and completely misunderstands how tax brackets work.

  •  Also (0+ / 0-)

    $250,000 is an arbitrary, really high cutoff.  And it's for one person, not even a couple.  I think that we could really get by raising taxes more moderately, starting on incomes over $100,000.  Not to mention taxing things besides only "income".

  •  Tax the Rich Right (3+ / 0-)

    Tax legislation is made up of two parts a) the percentage rate and b) the code itself.  While the rate of taxation may be a certain percentage of income (or wealth) the code spells out the conditions under which the tax rate is applied.   In short, the code contains the loop holes for avoiding tax payments.  We are used to mortgage payment and charitable deductions.   But there are many other forms of deductions and these if done right direct private money into useful avenues.  For example, capital investments and workers' salaries would be deductions that would save businesses from paying high taxes and would direct money into economic stimulation.  Because during the Eisenhower years private wealth was directed by the tax code (and the 90% marginal rate) into bolstering the economy, there was greater capital formation than any other time in American history and no need for further government stimulation.  Ironically, the Reagan-Norquist-Bush tax policies have forced the government into the position of intervening in the economy, because private business has been relieved of its responsibilities to maintain the economic health of the nation.

  •  I'm all in favor of raising taxes as long (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ban nock

    as I get the money in my pocket.  If rich people don't have to work then why should I.  Even it out so I can have the same life style.

    Nations have no permanent friends and no permanent enemies. Only permanent interests.

    by thestructureguy on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 06:02:31 PM PDT

  •  I got a better idea: Tax the FUCK out of the rich (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ban nock
  •  Pundititis (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mftalbot

    Ruthie Marcus builds her beltway cred
    she wants to become a female David Broder.
    Oh the humanity..

  •  am i the only one who this that is insane? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Theston

    ok, I'm not sure what I'm missing here, but those tax rates do seem insane. I'm not saying I'd endorse the alternative, nor am I saying that i think people should be making the insane amount of money that they are, but still, you don't have any hesitation of taking almost all of the money someone makes for taxes?

    The rich definitely should be shouldering much of the burden, especially in a time like this. But I don't think that someone questioning tax rates like that means they can't be considered "liberal."

    •  I do, it means they are one of the rich ones (0+ / 0-)

      that want to keep sucking the money out of me and mine like they've been doing my entire life.

      "Don't fall or we both go" Derek Hersey

      by ban nock on Wed Jul 07, 2010 at 06:33:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  It seems insane because BBB misinformed you (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Hopeful Skeptic

      You actually know less after reading this piece than before. This should not be on the front page.

      BrooklynBadBoy reinforces right-wing lies about a progressive income tax structure. A "70% top-tier rate" taxes the amount over some threshold at 70%, not the part of it that's under.

      So, would you consider it fair if the 70% applied to only those earnings over a billion dollars (for example), if the part of the earnings under a billion dollars was taxed at the current top rate (approx 35%)? If not, why not?

      Reading BBB's article makes you dumber.

      •  yeah, i got that from a lot of the other comments (0+ / 0-)

        but, theoretically speaking, if these numbers were correct then yes, i do think it would be insane. I'm all for putting the burden on the rich, but if the super rich were really being taxed 90% of their income, id say it was ridiculous.

        As for the reality of the situation, its a lot more reasonable to have ridiculous taxes on the earnings above a certain amount.

        I don't believe anyone should be making the crazy sums of money that some make, but i don't necessarily think that taxing the hell out of the extra earnings is the best way to do that. Instead, I think that there should be salary/bonus caps imposed on companies that get breaks from the govt, so like, all of them.

  •  Unintended consequences (0+ / 0-)

    OK, let's say we go up to a nice round number like 75% for federal income taxes.  

    Many of us have raised our families and now live downtown in revitalized urban centers.   Empty nesters, no municipal services provided (condo, so we pay for all that to private operators) except for police and roads.  Of 38 units in our building, there are no kids in school.  To support city government and schools, etc., we're paying about 2.5% of the value of our homes in property tax.  As a group, those in our building pay about $350,000 to $400,000 per year to the city/county (estimate, based on property values).  

    And, like everyone, about 5-6% of of our spending goes to the state as sales tax, and of course, there's the state income tax, substantial here.  

    Many of us have one foot in the door, the stay-or-flee decision depending on whether we can afford to stay in the city versus buying a place away from high property taxes -- ex-urban places.   I love living in a downtown condo, but then I suppose I would love owning a Jaguar and a sailboat; it's a question of what you can afford. When there is less and less income left over after federal taxes, you might find me on a lake 200 miles from here, where property taxes would be 1/5th as much, or living on a golf course in the Southeast (even though I don't have time or desire to golf)  

    I worry about who is going to pay for the public schools here then, support the arts, get involved in charitable work and sponsor various causes in the city.  That worry makes me WANT to stay, and to do what I can. I love the vibe and the diversity of where I live.  But one does have to figure out a way to make the money last until one dies.  There ARE still some bills to pay, starting with insurance and utilities and phone service and TV/internet, and car repairs, and groceries.  

    How long can I pay $15,000 per year in property taxes and 6% sales tax, on top of twice as much as I do now in Federal Tax?   Well, by cutting back on my charitable donations, and reducing/eliminating travel expense for an annual trip, and never buying another car ... a few years, I suppose.  But I was a workaholic for 35 years and a business owner for the last 15.   Living on the financial edge is a stressor I will avoid even if it means moving out of the city; there really may be no choice in the end.

    Am I typical of what will happen in high-tax cities when/if federal taxes double?  Based on conversations I have, I would say I have a lot of company.

    Footnote:  I have never complained about taxes, just pay 'em and mush on.  But now as a retiree I do pay attention and notice things --- like how absolutely wasteful and ineffective many aspects of the public sector are (including the military) that sucks so much from our economy and potential prosperity and development as a society.  That renders the argument for INCREASING taxes truly objectionable; offensive, even.  There are a lot of things to fix and streamline before I won't feel ripped off by the tax collector --- city, county, state, and federal.  

    •  That must be some condo. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JeffW

      How long can I pay $15,000 per year in property taxes and 6% sales tax, on top of twice as much as I do now in Federal Tax?

      I own a house in a nice neighborhood in Chicago, and my property taxes are under $7,000 per year.  What city are you in?  

      Please keep in mind that the top marginal tax rate only applies to income over a set amount.  For 2009 (reading from my official income tax instruction booklet, page 101) the top rate is 35% and applies only to income over $372,950.  If your taxable income was $10 more at $372,960, your tax was $108,219.50.  But if the top rate last year had been doubled to 70% with all lower brackets remaining the same, your tax would have been $108,223.  Only the last $10 would have been taxed at the 70% rate, not your whole income.  

      If your income is close to $372,000 and you can't afford "$15,000 per year in property taxes and 6% sales tax", all I can say is you're doing something wrong.  

      Renewable energy brings national security.

      by Calamity Jean on Thu Jul 08, 2010 at 07:41:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Milwaukee, since you asked.... (0+ / 0-)

        My taxes on the condo this year were $13,500, and a 10% increase is slated for this year.  It's a loft in a converted industrial building, and two similar-sized ones in the same building are for sale in the $500-550,000 range.  It's large and nice, but not "posh".   And there are the condo dues part of which is for trash removal, snowplowing, water, sewage, etc.

        I'm not buying the spin that federal taxes are going up only on the highly paid. That's step 1.   Given the size of our national deficit, and the nature of our national obligations for SS, Medicare, Health Care, Military, Civil Service pensions, and the like ... it's got to be covered by huge tax increases across the board, including on capital gains for people like us who saved money for retirement.

        My wife and I are living mostly on our savings, being retired with no pensions. The business I co-owned was sold and that gave us a nest egg.  On top of that we saved like crazy for 20+ years after the kids got through college, and it helped that I was a highly paid workaholic, 65-hour a week type of craziness.  

        We like city living and hope we can figure out how to afford it going forward.  Lots of people move from Wisconsin when they retire, for climate reasons but also because of the tax burdens.  Friends who live in the suburbs get a relative bargain, even though it's not cheap there either.   I used to live in the Chicago area myself, and taxes were way lower there (2 suburbs) than in the City of Milwaukee.  But then, WI isn't on the verge of public sector bankruptcy like the State of Illinois is. (And California and NY).  

        I have no idea how our grandchilden are going to make it considering the cost of the public sector obligations,  and that worries me more than our own situation.  Old age is a minimal concern, because ... well, we can always take ourselves out of the picture before we are a burden on our kids and grandchildren.  I've had my day, and it was a good run, all things considered.  I love this country, but I am not optimistic about its future.  Never thought I would say that.  

  •  Progressive tax rate? (0+ / 0-)

    Can we just get a flat tax rate and be done with this?  Exempt people under a certain amount and tax the rest at a flat rate.  Washington is always going to spend more than they take in and it's never going to be enough.  

    I live in a 1900 SF house in IL and pay $7100 in property taxes.  Add in gas, grocery, state, federal, etc....and I'm swimming in taxes and I sit right in the middle class.  

    What'll end up happenng anyways is the rich will find a way to avoid the tax, the spending will be in place, and the suckers in the middle class will be stuck paying the bill.

    •  That's almost what we have now. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Tuba Les, JeffW

      Can we just get a flat tax rate and be done with this?

      We currently have very few brackets, and the rate in the highest bracket isn't very high.  In order to have a flat tax that would tax the ultra-rich enough to make speculation and financial gambling not worthwhile, but not tax the poor into homelessness and starvation the exempt amount would have to be enormous, and the tax rate very high.  Maybe a personal exemption of $50,000 and a tax rate of 75%?  So if you were single, had no dependents and made $100,000, you'd owe $37,500 in taxes for an effective tax rate of 37.5%.  A similar person making $200,000 would pay $112,500.  BUT a married couple with at least two children making $200,000 would owe nothing in Federal income tax.  Does that sound right to you?  Feel free to propose different exempt amounts and tax rates, and see how it works out.  

      Washington is always going to spend more than they take in

      Not true, didn't Shrub inherit a budget surplus from Clinton?  That's what gave him the excuse to impose his tax cuts.  He had a tame economist to say it would be a bad thing to pay off the national debt.

      The fact is, as long as the national debt isn't too large a percentage of the national economy, and the interest rate isn't too high, we as a nation can carry some debt indefinitely.  Right now, Uncle Sam can borrow money at around 4% interest.  It makes sense to borrow at that relatively cheap rate to invest in the improved functioning of the United States.  Running up a little more debt to increase the supply of renewable energy, and to make oil-efficient transportation more common and convenient will be worth more than 4% in reduced future costs.  Running up a little more debt to pay unemployment benefits to suffering citizens is the essence of what a nation is for, and will improve tax revenues in future years as that money percolates through the economy.  Running up a little more debt to start a third war would be very, very stupid.  

      Renewable energy brings national security.

      by Calamity Jean on Thu Jul 08, 2010 at 06:58:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Wrong (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Terry Ott

    You see, in Ruth Marcus' world, tax rates never begins with "how much do we need to meet our obligations and who can afford to pay it?" It begins with "how can we shirk our responsibilities so I don't have to pay?"

    In Ruth Marcus' world, as in the world of most of the rest of us who are economically sane, consideration of tax rates includes judgments on the reasonableness of the spending being considered. You see, just because an economically clueless generation of politicians has sewn its wild oats (and gotten elected doing so) promising the electorate one happy new entitlement or 'right' after another doesn't mean that said 'rights', on closer and more rational examination, deserve to stay so. Such is the quandary in which we find ourselves now: far, far too many promises made without the economic wherewithal to allow the check to clear. Your social justice fantasies are simply not affordable and the day of reckoning is nigh. See you in November.

  •  WP is not a legitimate newspaper any more (0+ / 0-)

    than Pravda was.

    The corporate media is largely about "catapulting the propaganda" and keeping the American people stupid so they can be easily fleeced.

    Real journalism is just about extinct in the corporate propaganda machine.

  •  It's not just the marginal rates. (0+ / 0-)

    The marginal rates on highest incomes are too low, but that's only part of the problem.
    There are a whole raft of loopholes. Some of them expired this year, but there are bunches left.
    Once those loopholes are removed, then the required marginal rates won't be so high.
    (90% was never anywhere close to the effective rate.)

    Corporations are people; money is speech.
    1984 - George Orwell

    by Frank Palmer on Thu Jul 08, 2010 at 10:21:11 AM PDT

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