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Intro: "In the United States, the very rich earn a large share of the income, and are taxed at slightly higher rates than the general population. Here's the picture of shares of income and shares of the total tax burden ..."

File photo, Wall Street Bull, 06/15/09. (photo: File, unspecified)
File photo, Wall Street Bull, 06/15/09. (photo: File, unspecified)

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RSN Special Coverage: GOP's War on American Labor

 

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+33 # rm 2011-04-24 17:33
Conservatives and republicans and their think tanks would do and say anything just to defend the richest 1% of Americans. That is what they exist to do. I don't believe anything a conservative or republican says about taxes, deficits, or spending because it is all calculated to transfer more wealth from the working poor and middle class to the wealthiest people. but this is how the ruling elites have always gotten rich -- they hire shills to front for them. Our nations is crawling right now with shills for the wealthiest 1%. Why even listen to them or talk about what they say. We know it is all a lie.
 
 
-27 # NCMike 2011-04-25 12:45
Your premise is wrong; it presumes that the money was/is in the hands of your claimed "working poor and middle class" and then taken. Money does not belong to anyone until it is earned. Those at the top earn wealth. You advocate a system where that wealth is taken from those who are successful and given to those who aren't - that is a transfer of wealth. Your entire notion is based upon the faulty notion that we are a collective.
 
 
+15 # Dave W. 2011-04-25 15:30
NCMike, Saw C.C. Sabathia pitch for the Yankees in a game last year on TV. At the rate of salary he was being paid it was approximated he would "earn" 177,000 dollars for that ONE game. Alas, it was not his night. He lasted 1 1/3 innings, giving up 6 "earned" runs. By your standards did Sabathia indeed "earn" his money. He most certainly was not "successful." Same is true for many CEO's who are awarded huge "bonuses" despite their company doing poorly or even failing. How did they "earn" their money if they are "not successful?" If I'm not successful on my job I don't get paid. Period. Why should those at the top be treated differently? Why are some "rewarded" for failure? How does this translate to money being "earned?"
 
 
+10 # Robert Griffin 2011-04-25 16:44
Very few of the wealthy earn much at all without the labor of those paid far less than them. Without store clerks and stock boys, no Walmart. Without programmers and coders, no Microsoft or Apple. Without gaffers, soundmen, directors, etc, Murdoch would be an unknown.
 
 
+7 # rm 2011-04-27 04:03
Robert Griffin -- you are right. Labor produces all the wealth. Labor creates goods and services. Capitalism is only a strategy of taking a part of what labor creates for the capitalists. We are told by captalists that capital creates jobs and wealth, but that is wrong. Demand for products and services creates jobs and wealth. Capitalism only inserts itself into the production-cons umption system in order to drain off as much of the wealth it can.

I'm not saying capitalism can be eliminated completely. Like all forms of waste, there will always be some of it. But it must be controlled very tightly. No society needs its super rich. They are parasites and really very destructive. They are like termites. You have to control them. Franklin Roosevelt who came from great wealth understood all this perfectly well --

"Concentration of wealth and power has been built upon other people's money, other people's business, other people's labor. Under this concentration, independent business … has been a menace to … American society."
 
 
+6 # billy bob 2011-04-25 16:52
You're right. We have no national interests in this country. "Screw America", right?

I like your premise better. We are only responsible for ourselves. Think how much money we could save on police and fire departments by just applying your logic! Why do we have roads? They only provide for the collective good. If I work at home, why should I care?

I'm beginning to understand your philosophy.
 
 
+8 # rf 2011-04-26 02:57
You're right...I better start earning some money by going over to the rich neighborhood and robbing them...that's earned...robbin g is hard work...just ask the rich...they have robbed the tax payers blind!
 
 
+4 # Oligarch 23 2011-04-26 18:31
Actually we did take it. By breaking the power of unions, deflating the currency and exporting jobs and cutting workers in money saving measures, we owners increased our share by a far greater proportion than the working class increased theirs. If we succed in breaking the public unions and defaulting on pensions we will secure an even greater share of the wealth. Of course then we off shore it so you don't get any!
 
 
+4 # rm 2011-04-27 04:17
Yes, Oligarch. You understand how it works. Is your real name David Koch?
 
 
+1 # John Nyhan 2011-04-27 10:26
RM: Some of the wealthiest Congressman and Senators are Democrats and their friends and contributors are wealthy too.
You "only" need an income of about $385,000 to be in the top 1% of wage earners. I don't know what the dollar amount is to be in the top 1% of the wealthiest but I'm sure it's loaded with Democrats. George Soros certainly is no Republican !!!
 
 
+7 # Activista 2011-04-24 20:24
Stiglitz - Time most influential - why not in Obama administration? - Once incomplete and imperfect information are introduced, Chicago-school defenders of the market system cannot sustain descriptive claims of the Pareto efficiency of the real world. Thus, Stiglitz's use of rational-expect ations equilibrium assumptions to achieve a more realistic understanding of capitalism than is usual among rational-expect ations theorists leads, paradoxically, to the conclusion that capitalism deviates from the model in a way that justifies state action—socialis m—as a remedy.[23]
The effect of Stiglitz's influence is to make economics even more presumptively interventionist than Samuelson preferred. Samuelson treated market failure as the exception to the general rule of efficient markets. But the Greenwald-Stigl itz theorem posits market failure as the norm, establishing "that government could potentially almost always improve upon the market's resource allocation." And the Sappington-Stig litz theorem "establishes that an ideal government could do better running an enterprise itself than it could through privatization"[ 24] (Stiglitz 1994, 179).[23]
 
 
-19 # Koondog 2011-04-24 21:07
Of course, one could close all loopholes and tax everyone according to their income by simply doing away with all takes on production (i.e., income) and tax only consumption (i.e., sales taxes). Everyone would pay according to what they consume, same percentage, 25% or thereabouts. The rich guy buying a million dollar yacht pays that plus $250,000 sales tax. The poor guy who buys a used jalopy for $1,000 pays $250 in sales tax. No tax on food or medicines and some set figure for clothing or other necessities but after that everyone pays 25% (or whatever the figure would be). Think of the advantages--EVE RYONE contributes, even mafia drug runners and pimps, no time spent doing tax returns ever again. Businesses already handle sales taxes. The government would have an incentive to keep the economy humming or no money for their operation and best of all, each worker, rich or poor, is in complete control of the money he or she earns. Of course, this is too simple and workable a plan to ever be considered. In the meantime, I will take a flat tax. But that won't be done either. The power elite like things just the way they are.
 
 
+20 # billy bob 2011-04-24 21:42
The only problem with that is that the poor only have enough money to use every penny they get and 5% or 6% sales tax is enough already. The middle-class in this country aren't exactly saving anything either. The exception is the rich. The rich tend to only spend a small portion of what they have. In your scenario the rich would be taxed even less and the poor would be taxed even more.

Would your flat tax include all income from all sources, including investment? Would it tax corporations at the same rate? What would that rate be?
 
 
-19 # NCMike 2011-04-25 12:40
Your premise is incorrect. The so-called rich are investing money in this country. Things like the stock market and other business ventures get funding from the money in excess of what they need and desire. Contrary to the way you spin it, these guys aren't swimming in a vault of coins and cash like Scrooge McDuck.
 
 
+5 # Robert Griffin 2011-04-25 16:46
Please supply us with a few examples
 
 
+6 # billy bob 2011-04-25 16:46
The rich are investing money in profit. Actually, they're investing quite a bit in things that are against this country's interest.

If equating finance to cartoon characters helps you, think Mr. Burns.
 
 
+6 # rf 2011-04-26 03:02
Investing in lobbist's efforts!
 
 
+3 # billy bob 2011-04-25 20:32
By the way, what do you mean by "so-called" rich?
 
 
+6 # rf 2011-04-26 03:01
Seems like there should be sales tax on stocks and bonds every time they change hands. Might help with the quarterly report short=sightedne ss we see in business in this country.
 
 
+3 # Oligarch 23 2011-04-26 18:38
No we are not! We just shipped a whole bunch of jobs over to China! we have offshored telemarketing to India and Panama along with Tech Support. We don't create jobs in America-we have to pay you too much!
 
 
+10 # billy bob 2011-04-24 21:47
"what it lacks in quality it makes up in quantity. The right seems to have an unlimited number of talking heads, columnists, and pseudo-economis ts willing to peddle this nonsense."

Like NCMike, for instance.
 
 
+19 # Ralph Averill 2011-04-25 01:08
Sales taxes are the most regressive taxes there are. The wealthy "spend" a much smaller portion of their income than the middle class. The working poor spend all of their income.
Your millionaire would find a way to lease his yacht and pay no taxes at all.
 
 
+11 # RM 2011-04-25 08:08
Sales Tax -- a scam. According to David Kay Johnson in Free Lunch, big box stores like WallMart or Cabelas are able to negotiate incentive deals with state governments that allow them to keep the sales tax they collect. We all believe that sales tax goes to support schools, cops, and other public goods --- WRONG the wealthiest and slimiest corporations have found a way of transferring the sales tax you pay into their profits.
 
 
+19 # Ralph Averill 2011-04-25 01:14
Mr. Chait is right. If the rich were over-taxed, they wouldn't be rich. The conservative argument about the 1% paying 37% of taxes is like the old shiboleth that renters don't pay property taxes. Renters pay the property taxes, the mortgage, the maintenance, AND the profit for the landlord.
 
 
+15 # Paul 2011-04-25 04:53
The oligarchs would like nothing more than to have your incredibly unfair tax system. I won't even begin to list all of the problems with such a tremendously regressive tax system as you propose, except to make this most obvious point. Those at the lower income level would pay taxes on 100% of their income, since they only earn enough to pay for necessities of life. Those at the higher levels of income would only spend a tiny proportion of their income on necessities and therefore would pay tax on a tiny percentage of their income, the rest of their income going to investments and savings. It doesn't take a brain surgeon to figure out that your tax system would shift the vast majority of tax revenues from the wealthy to the poor and middle class. Do the math.
 
 
+1 # rf 2011-04-26 03:03
How about a value added tax on imports of 25%? Might even out for the undervalued Chinese currency!
 
 
+2 # Oligarch 23 2011-04-26 18:36
You are darn tootin we like everything the way it is but the flat tax would not harm us as much as it would harm the workers and middle class because they MUST spend so much more of their income on necessities so proportionaltel y they would endure a greater disparity in discretionalry spending-you know the fun stuff like yachts and property aborad that Olligarchs can afford, vastly increasing my wealth but sadly decreasing their own. but if you want to give us Oligarchs this present, we accept!
 
 
+6 # ER444 2011-04-24 23:50
Let's make them pay in 2012 !!! Throw the bums out and hope that Mr. Obama will get some nerve. Maybe the fact that he will not be running for president again will give him the balls to stand up for what we elected him for in the first place and for what he knows to be right.
 
 
+8 # Capt. Doug Olsson 2011-04-25 00:22
The upper 1 percent have been sscrewwing the American middle class/working class for so looonngggg...th at they think it is their god-given right to do so...and we should all just lay down and "ante-up" to these rich-trustfund- daddys'money crowd!..The R and R rule is coming! Rifles..and Revolution...my friends!
 
 
+1 # Anarchist 23 2011-04-26 18:43
Alas, it has often been observed that revolutions are often more lost than won. Given the level of violence that could be brought, it would be better to look for something other than armaments and suicidal frontal assaults.
 
 
+8 # Buckles 2011-04-25 07:35
For J.Chait, go back to Bushs give away, read it over, two wars, many years of no taxes for the rich !! Corporations fleeing abroad.Thats why we are asking to raise the taxes on the rich, look at the polls.
 
 
-17 # NCMike 2011-04-25 12:38
What exactly is the point of this? The numbers that are used by opponents of increasing federal income taxes are confirmed as true but some argument about other taxes is thrown in to try to weaken the opposition. The reason other taxes are not mentioned is because the conversation is about whether to raise federal income taxes. There is nothing incorrect about what was stated. I also find it interesting that the author of this piece accuses his opponents of using a sleight of hand but then he uses one himself. What he failed to mention is that the top half of the federal income taxpayers pay a higher percentage of taxes than they receive as a percentage of total income. No one is claiming that other taxes aren't paid, but it isn't being mentioned because it is outside the scope of the debate. Mr. Chait also may want to look up the definition of propaganda because what is being argued is actually the truth; it is just a truth that he doesn't like.
 
 
+2 # Activista 2011-04-25 14:01
Mike - read
Stiglitz - Time most influential - why not in Obama administration? - .. Pareto efficiency of the real world. Thus, Stiglitz's use of rational-expect ations equilibrium assumptions to achieve a more realistic understanding of capitalism than is usual among rational-expect ations theorists leads, paradoxically, to the conclusion that capitalism deviates from the model in a way that justifies state action—socialis m—as a remedy.[23]
The effect of Stiglitz's influence is to make economics even more presumptively interventionist than .. Greenwald-Stigl itz theorem posits market failure as the norm, establishing "that government could potentially almost always improve upon the market's resource allocation." And the Sappington-Stig litz theorem "establishes that an ideal government could do better running an enterprise itself than it could through privatization"[ 24] (Stiglitz 1994,
The point is that it is NOW ZERO SUM GAME - "successful" do NOT build anything, they are parasites on deficit producing war industry. Rich are getting richer and rest (disappearing middle class) are losing - USA is bankrupt because of greed of few.
 
 
+9 # Dave W. 2011-04-25 15:05
NCMike, "The numbers that are used by opponents of increasing federal income taxes are confirmed as true but some argument about other taxes is thrown in to weaken the opposition." Question: Did the Republicans in Congress and the President in both '01 and '03 AGREE the "tax cuts" were only temporary and would be returned to pre '01 levels in 2010? Yes or no? The answer, of course, is yes. Yet you and others continue the charade of portraying this issue as a "tax increase" or a "raise in taxes." It is neither. It was a mutually agreed upon policy that should have ended as promised. Perhaps the biggest mistake President Obama has made was not to insist it did. Question: Did the tax cuts work and who benefited the most?
As for "other taxes" being paid...I know, we mustn't EVER step "outside the scope of the debate." Lastly, where's all the jobs Mike? Sorry, I ventured beyond your preset guidelines. A thousand pardons are asked upon the oracle of the NC!
 
 
+2 # lin96 2011-04-26 05:02
Maybe we should look at ourselves and ask why, as citizens, we permit the House, Senate, current and past Presidents, to continue to be celebrated and paid ridiculous benefits for the job they have done in bringing this country to the brink of disaster. They did not EARN their pay nor have they done a good job. Most people entering Congress are wealthy to begin with. Why are we paying them full salaries once they leave? They can easily afford to take care of themselves. It was never designed to be a career choice, and it was Congress themselves that made it so by voting for it themselves without asking the people. With the exception of the President, does Congress need private jets to cart them and their families around? They are touts who have no problem taking money from lobbyists to write laws that support the corporations, yet the American people are suppose to give them their full salary in retirement along with their other benefits. After retirement, they themselves end up working as lobbyists for the corporations. It was Congress who set these benefits up for themselves, not the people. Personally, there is no sacrifice on their part in this economic disaster. Whatever they do or vote for has basically nothing to do with them and everything to do with the American people. We should demand personal cuts now in Congress. And...how about eliminating the Federal Reserve?
 
 
+2 # Rara Avis 2011-04-26 08:32
The richest Americans are the oppressed. We must help them and remove the source of oppression. I say that the rich pay absolutely no taxes just as the coporations they own pay no taxes. The rich are the great benefactors of the human race. We have forgotten that.

But, and there is always a catch, we must increase wages so that the rest of us earn what the people at the top earn and then we will pay our fair share of taxes like working class people should. For then, we will have the income to do it like the truly oppressed should.

Our failure to pay taxes is a failure to earn adequate income to do so. Let's fix that. Then we can let the rich pay nothing at all and leave them alone. And that will be all of us!
 
 
0 # Mark G 2011-06-24 19:25
The democrats repeatedly fail to make a case for taking the right amount of money from each economic group. I propose the following: The United States should have a Wealth Preservation Fee on every household earning over $250,000 per year of 3% of the amount over $250,000. This fee will become available to the household to pay future federal income taxes should their income drop below $250,000 in a later year. If, in their lifetime the money is not needed in any suceeding year, the fee goes to the government like an inheritance tax on the death of the heads of household the hand the inheritance tax is eliminated after 10 years of the Wealth preservation fee being in place. For a single person, it would just be on the death of the head of household. No fees pass to future generations.
 

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