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Gibson writes: "Any politician who bemoans the national debt, whether they be American, Greek, Spanish or otherwise, is lying to you if they blame anyone but the richest 0.001% for the state's massive debt. Because the richest 0.001% have anywhere between $21 trillion and $32 trillion stashed in overseas bank accounts simply to avoid paying their fair share of taxes."

GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney is among the super rich with money in offshore accounts. (photo: AP)
GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney is among the super rich with money in offshore accounts. (photo: AP)



National Debt? No Such Thing

By Carl Gibson, Reader Supported News

28 July 12


Reader Supported News | Perspective

 

magine sitting at the kitchen table, stressing out over your family's finances. Between the student loan debt, the credit card debt, the car loan, the mortgage, the phone bill, the groceries, electricity and the water, you only have so much in your bank account to cover a few of those things. To avoid defaulting on your debt or having your car repossessed, you'll either have to forgo electricity for your home, or you can simply collect the debt owed to you by your rich neighbors, all of which totals more than you would make in 10 years. Would you shut off your lights, or collect what you're owed and settle all of your debt?

Any politician who bemoans the national debt, whether they be American, Greek, Spanish or otherwise, is lying to you if they blame anyone but the richest 0.001% for the country's massive debt. Because the richest 0.001% have anywhere between $21 trillion and $32 trillion stashed in overseas bank accounts simply to avoid paying their fair share of taxes. It's a number that's simply beyond comprehension. Even if someone had spent a million dollars a day since Jesus was born, they would have only spent $700 billion by today, just $0.7 trillion.

$32 trillion is a hell of a lot of money. In fact, it's more than double the United States' total accumulated debt. In fact, $32 trillion would be enough to settle both the debt of the United States and the European Union combined. Visualized in cash, the amount of money stashed overseas by the 0.001% would be almost as high as the Statue of Liberty and wider than two football fields. And thanks to the numerous loopholes, gimmicks and special deductions written into the tax code at the request of corporate lobbyists who have the ear of the chairmen of tax-writing committees worldwide, public debts and corporate profits are skyrocketing, while tax revenues and the standard of living for the other 99% of us is plummeting.

The Sundance 2012 documentary "We're Not Broke" (full disclosure: I'm in it) explains the numerous dodges that multinational corporations use to avoid taxation, like transfer-pricing and gimmicks they're still pushing for to avoid even more tax, like repatriation and territorial tax systems. Nicholas Shaxson's book "Treasure Islands" explains the history of tax dodging, going all the way back to the Vestey family's intricate financial ploys, and delves into the shady business of blind trusts. Through these underhanded means, the secret offshore economy is actually greater than the combined GDP of both the United States and Japanese economies combined. To illustrate further, the money hidden offshore by a tiny fraction of the global elite is worth more than what over 200,000,000 employed Americans and Japanese add to their economies.

Nations from the USA to Greece to Spain to Ireland are all hemorrhaging tax dollars by the billions every year into these offshore accounts. The money padding the pockets of the immensely rich could instead be used to insure that workers have a pension when they retire, that police officers and firefighters in Scranton, Pennsylvania, could be paid more than minimum wage, that public school students could have books in the classroom. Instead, these powerful corporations spend millions lobbying Congress to cut their taxes even more, which causes Congress to force austerity on the rest of us, which means the 99% has to make do with even less while the richest 0.001% makes off like bandits.

The richest 0.001% would probably argue that none of the tactics they use to dodge taxes are technically illegal, which is true. But something being legal doesn't make it morally right. Child labor was legal until people demanded it be stopped. The same could be said for apartheid, segregation, and slavery. All of these things were seen as lawful until enough people called for change.

Enough is enough. Let's demand a stop to all austerity policies until our leaders promise to end offshore tax abuse. And if they won't, let's elect leaders this November who will.


Carl Gibson, 25, is co-founder of US Uncut, a nationwide creative direct-action movement that mobilized tens of thousands of activists against corporate tax avoidance and budget cuts in the months leading up to the Occupy Wall Street movement. Carl and other US Uncut activists are featured in the documentary "We're Not Broke," which premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. He currently lives in Old Lyme, Connecticut. You can contact Carl at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , and listen to his online radio talk show, Swag The Dog, at blogtalkradio.com/swag-the-dog.

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News.

 

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+100 # AndreM5 2012-07-28 15:49
"The richest 0.001% would probably argue that none of the tactics they use to dodge taxes are technically illegal, which is true."

I am NOT prepared to concede these dodges are all "legal." I say: Show us the accounts, the deposits, the interest and prove to the public that they are all legal. Prove that they are legal under current and past tax laws, not prove that they can negotiate a settlement without having to admit guilt. Big difference.
 
 
+110 # Rick Levy 2012-07-28 21:18
There are tax dodges because the wealthy make the laws that create them in the first place.
 
 
+60 # mdhome 2012-07-29 07:01
RoMoney will not show his tax returns because he has used these immoral dodges.
 
 
+85 # pernsey 2012-07-28 17:34
Wow!! Apparently having money has grown into being obscenely rich...PAY YOUR TAXES LIKE THE REST OF US!! Honestly these people should be ashamed of themselves, when is enough, enough? How many hundreds of millions or billions are enough? Is it 100 million, 500 million, a billion, 500 billion, or a trillion or more...this is obscene and these people should be scrutinized and made sure it is all legal. Why is Mitt so afraid of releasing his tax forms? Maybe things arent exactly above board, I dont know? I would like the opportunity to see whats going on though.

Im not against rich people, but I am against tax dodgers...you all know that none of us would get away with this stuff. We all have to pay our fair share, it seems we are operating under 2 different systems, the one for us regular people and a whole other set of rules for the obscenely filthy rich people. They dont have to pay, but apparently we do?

Im sure they all laugh their arses off at how stupid us peons are.
 
 
+6 # RLF 2012-07-30 05:28
I'm against rich people because they all got there by taking short cuts somewhere in history. They are the most immoral people in the world but love to make morality rules so their servants don't act like them and do an investment scheme or steal the silver.
 
 
+6 # MJnevetS 2012-07-31 07:23
Quoting RLF:
I'm against rich people
RLF, this is a ridiculous statement. If someone has the wherewithal and good fortune to become well to do, it doesn't mean they've done something wrong or are morally corrupt. It really depends upon what you do with that money. I am an attorney, probably in the 1%, and I pay my taxes, support liberal causes, represent victims harmed by corporations, give to worthy charities. I earned my position by attending 19 years of school. I worked 13 years for the government making less than a NYC garbageman and I am proud that I can put away money to pay for my children's education when they reach college age. If everyone lived by the Latin maxim primum non nocere, which means "First, do no harm", then the world would be a better place. The problem is that many (though again, not all) corporations and corporate leaders simply don't care about the harm they do in the grab for ever greater profits. I am happy to pay my fair share of taxes in support of my country (I just wish politicians didn't fund wars and corporate give-aways with same!)
 
 
+2 # thomachuck 2012-08-03 08:58
A better argument (although exponentially even MORE hypothetical than the one in this article) would be instead of citing the gross amount of the overseas deposits--talk about the theoretical taxable amount that could accrue to the Treasury if these funds were repatriated. It would make better reading but admittedly the margin of error would be huge.
 
 
0 # noitall 2012-08-07 11:50
I'm against rich people if they use their monetary power to stack the deck in their favor in order to make MORE. They can keep it all, not share, not give to society as long as they don't buy the government, buy the laws, buy the SC. When caught doing that, they and the bought should be stripped of ALL their wealth to cover the costs of their greed.
 
 
+61 # pernsey 2012-07-28 17:37
Romney being honest...No Such Thing!
 
 
+36 # Barbara K 2012-07-29 05:49
Pernsey: Agree with you. I think that until the wealthy become patriotic enough to pay their taxes and keep their money in this country, they should not be allowed to run for Political Office of any kind, especially President. Why should we vote for anyone who is so unpatriotic they can't pay their taxes like the rest of us? They are no better than the rest of us, just more greedy and richer; that's not better.
 
 
+25 # The Ice Maiden 2012-07-29 10:02
Maybe we should openly argue that an individual with a bank account in a Swiss bank or the Cayman Islands (or any of the other tax haven) is simply ineligible to run for office? I'd support such a position.
 
 
+9 # Barbara K 2012-07-29 18:02
The Ice Maiden: We cannot force them to pay, but we don't have to vote for them. If such a law isn't passed, makes no difference, just don't vote for them.
 
 
+3 # thomachuck 2012-08-03 09:06
You have captured the essence of it: Just don't vote for them. Unfortunately, people are indifferent and feel it doesn't make any difference. Many people vote just to be on the winning side, with no other consequences considered. Many people vote solely against something or someone because of prejudice. Most wealthy people do not object to 4 percentage point hike in the effective tax rate--what now appears to be what's on the table--because they have the havens and deductions that most average people don't have access to--so 4 percent does not amount to much. Tax avoidance is a huge business; just ask one of the major CPA and auditing firms. Only they call it "wealth preservation".
 
 
+38 # RMDC 2012-07-28 19:52
The very rich are simply not going to pay. They never have in all history. They regard the poor and middle class as suckers because they pay taxes to governments that do the dirty work for the .0001%.

The true solution for this is for the middle class and poor to stop paying taxes. It is really only government which keep the privileges of the rich secure. Why would you pay a debt to a credit card company when you discovered it was fraud. Well only because the courts will make you.

Everyone should stop paying taxes. there would be no "military industrial banking complex." No huge banks. No corporate privilege. No patents.
 
 
+9 # brux 2012-07-28 22:06
Do a search for -
SHARON JONES AND THE DAP-KINGS - WHAT IF WE ALL STOPPED PAYING TAXES?
on You-Tube --- it's really great!
 
 
+5 # VLR 2012-07-30 08:33
Most people get checks with the taxes deducted by their employers' accounting departments. I suppose the only thing to do is to claim the maximum number of tax deductions at the front and refuse to pay any taxes at the end. But there are many means by which the government and the banks will collude to deprive you of property and liberty in that event. I don't know where the tax revolt would have to begin, but it will have to be sustained upward or it will fail.
 
 
+1 # Jim Young 2012-07-31 08:28
Great point. Others should see http://www.referenceforbusiness.com/encyclopedia/Str-The/Taxes-and-Taxation.html which includes the following on mandatory withholding (which may explain our better collection of taxes from the bulk of the population compared to Greece and other countries):

On October 13, 1913, an income tax bill was passed, the first since the abortive 1894 bill. It stipulated that all incomes above $3,000 would be taxed... …less than 1 percent of working people would file tax returns… …Mandatory withholding of income was reintroduced for the first time since the Civil War,...
…taxes were raised still more by the War Revenue Act of 1917. Nevertheless, as late as 1940 only 11 percent of working people were required to file, despite the huge cost of the preceding New Deal social legislation and the imposition of the Social Security Act of 1935.
…mandatory payroll deductions, permanently enacted in 1943, increased revenue income tremendously—to $45 billion in 1945, from a mere $7.4 billion in 1941 (6 times as much). Nevertheless, unlike the Civil War period when payroll deductions were introduced for the first time, mandatory payroll deductions remained in force after the end of World War II in 1945.
 
 
+9 # Peacedragon 2012-07-29 12:55
Quoting RMDC:

Everyone should stop paying taxes. there would be no "military industrial banking complex." No huge banks. No corporate privilege. No patents.

but alot of us in jail.
 
 
+2 # RLF 2012-07-30 05:30
They can't put everyone in jail if there was a wide spread tax revolt. Seems to me that it would be much more productive to attack the Caymans or Singapour than Iran. Maybe Switzerland! We will take ze chocolate!
 
 
+1 # terrison 2012-08-04 06:15
Quoting RMDC:

Everyone should stop paying taxes. there would be no "military industrial banking complex." No huge banks. No corporate privilege. No patents.


... No schools, no police, no firefighters, no roads, no traffic control on the broken down existing roads, no safety net. period. For anyone. Not children, not the elderly, no one. What a great libertarian idea.

Wait, no, noooo, it's not!
 
 
+59 # Willman 2012-07-28 20:27
If the repuglicans exerted half the effort to flush out the off shore accounts of the wealthy tax dodgers as they do to voter suppression then we would get somewhere.
 
 
+37 # bartleby 2012-07-28 21:52
Debt is a good thing if you not the debtor but the lender. If you're the lender a debt is money owed to you, all you have to do is sit back let the payments come rolling in. Every debt is owed to someone, so, there are some people who absolutely love the national debts of all nations because the monies are owed to them ! These are the people that had the money in the first place, these are the people that own and control the politicians, the media, academia, and every organization in the country, so they are never identified. Instead the debt is treated as if it is a common burden. We're all debtors. We must suffer and pay taxes forever so that the billionaires can increase their fortunes forever. This is cockamamie crazy. Why in hell don't the people wake us and say screw the lenders. Not only will we cancel the debt, we'll expropriate the ill gotten wealth of the vultures that have preyed on society for too long already.
 
 
-3 # RLF 2012-07-30 05:33
Obama had his chance to call the Republican bluff by saying 'go ahead and default', but instead hurt social programs that help the neediest amoung us. Just another of his insincere and laughable right swinging acts as corrupter in chief.
 
 
+5 # akh752 2012-07-31 13:17
RLF - I think you're misremembering what happened last year. Obama did call their bluff. It was Boehner who was caught between making a deal and kowtowing to the scary teaparty minority in his own GOP delegation. Cantor tried to lead the teaparty into 'calling the president's bluff' but Obama didn't bite. The eventual deal that avoided default was worked out by congress, not the white house. You'll recall that the supercommittee that was supposed to come up with an alternative to sequestration (designed by congress) were all congresspeople (house and senate).
 
 
+3 # Jim Young 2012-07-31 08:43
# bartleby 2012-07-28 19:52
Debt is a good thing if you not the debtor but the lender.

True, but they imply protection of the small investors (hostages to the tax advantaged, rent seeking, major "investors" and speculators with other peoples' deposits). The trick will be extracting a fair share of taxes from the big guns without unduly hurting the small investors, many of whom are "savers," allowing investors to grow real productivity. To me, simply taxing the very large investment/spec ulator income, say above $250,000 a year (the lowest amount of such income being considered), or even $1 million would be a step towards letting small investors/retir ees that depend on their saving for retirement participate in the "investment" that produces real value, without letting speculators have a field day with unproductive over-speculatio n (now something like 5 times the solid investment market).

We do need, and benefit from, some smart speculation, but we absolutely need either more protection from those who gamble with too much of our seed corn, or a bigger cut of the "profits" they take such a large percentage of (especially compared to how much of our real value based money they are playing with, compared to the "innovative" notional value of derivatives that they inflate out of thin air).
 
 
+13 # Tigre1 2012-07-28 23:11
Myself, I favor guillotines for the financial criminals and their sleight of hand...I think Libya is on to something, but now I like the French Revolution even better.

The expression, "Eat the Rich," just means, let them take their turn. They've clearly been eating us a long time.
 
 
+11 # DPM 2012-07-28 23:14
None of those we are complaining about will change until they are hurt enough to be scared of being hurt more. Either their assets or themselves or both. Simple truth.
 
 
+26 # Eldon J. Bloedorn 2012-07-28 23:22
Great comment made a few weeks ago, HBO, Bill Maher program; "Corporate lobbists 'seduce' those who make the tax laws with money, pressure. Then, when the public challenge what the wealthy are doing, what do the wealthy say? We are just following the law."
 
 
+17 # RichyD 2012-07-29 02:58
Really?? No one has yet challenged, in a Federal Court of law, Romney's right to run for election to the office of President of the U.S., despite cheating we peons with his hidden off-shore accounts???
 
 
-3 # RLF 2012-07-30 05:34
Obama is better??? problem is they both suck!
 
 
+1 # MJnevetS 2012-07-31 07:28
RichyD, You failed to mention the fact that Romney committed a Federal offense with his voter fraud; voting for Scott Brown for Senator in Massachusetts, when he was no longer a resident and did not maintain any lawful residence there. Do we really want a president who has openly and unabashedly committed voter fraud?
 
 
+3 # thomachuck 2012-08-04 02:36
In Ohio, a few years ago, we had a congressman who ran for reelection from a jail cell where he was serving time for corruption and bribery. Just to put things into perspective. You will never find Romney in a prison. Great system we have here, eh?
 
 
+33 # Susan1989 2012-07-29 04:05
It is a mystery to me why so many Romney supporters are the very people who are being ripped off by the system. I suspect that many members of the middle class feel powerless and are buying into the delusion that the lower classes collecting "entitlements" are to blame....or better yet....illegal immigrants...he alth care...oe social security. This is all misdirection. This is exactly what the rich have done throughout the history of this country...pitte d the lower and middle classes against one another. In fact, the very same tactic huge schism between Native Americans and the AFrican American slaves. Had they united against their true oppressors--tho se maintained power for their own benefit would have been expunged. Wake up America...we are all being duped. I would also suggest that the wealthy members of the right are using social issues such as abortion, illegal imigration, entitlements, gay rights, etc...as a way of promoting fear and uncertainty that AMerican values are being eroded...and we need to "get our country back". The rich white elites are doing everything in their power to maintain their position and they are using the rest of us deluded fools to do this.
 
 
+5 # jwb110 2012-07-29 12:34
Quoting Susan1989:
It is a mystery to me why so many Romney supporters are the very people who are being ripped off by the system. I suspect that many members of the middle class feel powerless and are buying into the delusion that the lower classes collecting "entitlements" are to blame....or better yet....illegal immigrants...health care...oe social security. This is all misdirection. This is exactly what the rich have done throughout the history of this country...pitted the lower and middle classes against one another. In fact, the very same tactic huge schism between Native Americans and the AFrican American slaves. Had they united against their true oppressors--those maintained power for their own benefit would have been expunged. Wake up America...we are all being duped. I would also suggest that the wealthy members of the right are using social issues such as abortion, illegal imigration, entitlements, gay rights, etc...as a way of promoting fear and uncertainty that AMerican values are being eroded...and we need to "get our country back". The rich white elites are doing everything in their power to maintain their position and they are using the rest of us deluded fools to do this.

More often than not Americans vote against their own self interests. Go figure....
 
 
+6 # Old Man 2012-07-29 16:33
They have been told they too can become wealthy....gull ibility goes a long way.
 
 
-1 # thomachuck 2012-08-04 02:33
Amen to all this. In a country that was established by white supremacists, it should come as no surprise what policies and you are going to get when the reactionary right preaches "a return to the principles of our founding fathers." That is right out of the mouths of the Tea Partiers. Adjusting the metaphor a bit, it is pretty much a rhetorical smoking gun.
 
 
0 # Michael Lee Bugg 2012-08-08 14:05
Susan1989, you are absolutely correct on all points. Class warfare has been going on in this country since enough desperate people came here in the 1600's to make it safe for the greedy to come and start manipulating things to their advantage! The wealthy class has been winning because they are generally smarter when it comes to obtaining material things, and they are ruthless!
 
 
+21 # HooverBush 2012-07-29 05:24
The big question is:
Don't the Tea Party idiots, and all the other blue collar peons realize that when the NRA & other Republican Liars talk them into supporting these Super Rich Tax Dodgers, by voting Republican, they are cutting the throats of every one of the other 99% ?????
 
 
-58 # RightForAReason 2012-07-29 05:57
50% of you pay NO taxes. The top 5% pay 60% of the taxes. I want to keep every dime I can from bloated public employee salaries, benefits and pensions. Between Federal, State, County, City, gasoline, sales, utility and countless other hidden taxes, including the corporate tax passed along into every good I buy, I'm OVER 60%. Just how much is "fair"? Have a little more cheese with your wine.
 
 
+19 # The Ice Maiden 2012-07-29 10:00
You made your money in a world that exists because of all the rest of us. If you disagree, why don't you take your business and relocate to, say, ANYWHERE else? You shipped your goods to your store/office on roads the Average Joes of this country built. You made your calls on phones serviced by Average Joes. You went home and knew you were protected by policemen/women who were paid to put themselves in harms' way, if that was necessary to keep you in one piece. I could go on and on.

You appear to have no real appreciation for everything the Average Joe paid for with sweat and blood and time. THOSE efforts laid the foundation for your financial achievements. I suspect you think your success is merely the result of your particular talent. Your smug ignorance should make you ashamed, but I'm not going to hold my breath.
 
 
+16 # KCLouisville 2012-07-29 11:56
What folks like "RightForAReaso n" also don't seem to understand (or want to understand)is that the "50%" they mention (who by the way certainly pay payroll taxes...so the "NO taxes" thing doesn't wasy)are likely the same lower and middle class Americans who've seen their wages stagnate when compared to inflation since the early '70s. This is despite worker production rising steadily for the past 30 years. The top folks are making many times what they made on average then....and of course want to pay less. Most of them like to harp on what great Americans they are. It's pretty laughable.
 
 
+4 # carpepax 2012-07-29 13:25
WrongOnSoManyLe vels
 
 
+6 # reiverpacific 2012-07-29 15:19
Quoting RightForAReason:
50% of you pay NO taxes. The top 5% pay 60% of the taxes. I want to keep every dime I can from bloated public employee salaries, benefits and pensions. Between Federal, State, County, City, gasoline, sales, utility and countless other hidden taxes, including the corporate tax passed along into every good I buy, I'm OVER 60%. Just how much is "fair"? Have a little more cheese with your wine.

Sources please for that ludicrous "50% pay no taxes" allegation -and I DON'T consider "Fix" news a credible source!
Have a bunch of Ham with yer Bourbon!
 
 
+10 # Billy Bob 2012-07-29 18:10
We've gone over this before. If you were being honest you would't keep repeating the right-wing lie.

-Social Security is a tax (that disproportionat ely affects people making under $103,000 a year),
-Sales tax is a tax that disproportional tely affects people who don't earn enough to save or invest.
-Renters pay renter's taxes.
-Renters ALSO subsidize the property taxes of their landlords.
-Everyone who isn't homeless pays utility taxes.

The rich not only don't pay taxes on their foreign money, but they usually only pay taxes on income earned from working, which is a tiny portion of what they make.

We've gone over this with you at least 5 times in previous posts. This is probably why no one else bothered to answer you. RSN will probably censor my comment for calling you out on what you are: a LIAR.
 
 
+3 # brux 2012-07-29 19:29
> RSN will probably censor my comment for calling you out on what you are: a LIAR.

Or, maybe not since I am reading your post, and I agree with you.
 
 
+9 # Billy Bob 2012-07-29 18:17
If you want to keep every dime away from paying for American. Take it and move somewhere else. It's as simple as that. Our country can't afford any more freeloaders. If the Caymen Islands are so great. Move there permanently. Don't let the door hit you on the way out.
 
 
+3 # Capn Canard 2012-07-29 21:09
50% of us are not paid enough to be able to live as middle class citizens, and that is where the problem is most evident. Apparently you make far too much money to show compassion for you fellow Americans. Poor planning on your part. If you don't open your heart and mind then it could be you, God forbid, who might be RightForTheGuil lotine. If the massive crowds get ugly how long before those bloated public employees, like the police forces, turn against you and your kind? For your sake, it might help you if they have far more compassion than what you have displayed. So you can hope or you can change. It is your choice, and that is a choice that the reviled 50% doesn't really get to make. The Dems and the Repubs are both on your side. But for how long? Can you bank on it?
 
 
0 # RLF 2012-07-30 05:42
PS the worst retirement abuses are in the military!
 
 
+5 # dkonstruction 2012-07-30 08:36
RighForAReason,

since i pay payroll taxes i am one of the "you" that you say pay NO taxes. Most of the others are low-income/poor people and seniors living on fixed income. So, according to you it would be "fair" to have all of those damn free-loading poor people and senior pay taxes so that? What? Corporations like GE and Verizon pay no taxes? And, what about the resent report showing that the uber rich have $21 trillion parked off shore to avoid paying taxes. But, no, i guess according to you that's fair? Stop buying into the nonsense being peddled by Fox et. al and start blaming those that are really responsible for the financial mess THEY have gotten us into. At least be honest. The vast majority of our deficit comes from two unnecessary wars and the Bush tax cuts and has nothing to do with the fact that poor people and seniors on a fixed income pay no federal income tax (there are also lots of other taxes they do pay which you also don't mention e.g., sales taxes). Here in NYC, if we only collected the millionaires tax and the stock transfer tax (which is currently collected but then immediately rebated to those that had to pay it), the state as a whole would have a $7 billion surplus instead of a $9 billion deficit. So, again, start blaming those really responsible instead of looking for scapegoats
 
 
+3 # Ray Kondrasuk 2012-07-30 22:58
Such slackers, RFAR, it would seem, until you check the Census Bureau stats:

under age 5...... 6.9% of the 2010 population
5 to 9 6.6%
10 to 14 6.8%
15 to 19 7.1%
20 to 24 7.0%
 
 
+2 # MJnevetS 2012-07-31 07:38
WrongForNoReaso n, I haven't checked your numbers, BUT assuming that you are correct, lets look at the next relevant statistic, which is that the top 5% of Americans own 69% of all wealth (http://www.mybudget360.com/top-1-percent-control-42-percent-of-financial-wealth-in-the-us-how-average-americans-are-lured-into-debt-servitude-by-promises-of-mega-wealth/). If EVERYONE were paying their fair share of taxes, that top 5% should be paying 69% of all, taxes, NOT just 60%. Grow up and stop drinking the Kool-aid.
 
 
0 # barbaratodish 2012-07-29 06:03
The richest people get EVERYTHING for free! Let's start doing whatever we have to do to make this evident! Let's make them realize that it may be better to start paying for EVERYTHING (every single thing they get) than being made to be DEFENSIVE about getting EVERYTHING for free! One way to PROVE that they DO GET EVERYTHING FOR FREE is to notice that when they are asked to PROVE that they pay for anything, they will say that that is a matter of privacy! EVERYONE though, not just the top 1%, needs to SHOW PROOF that they PAID for whatever they have, Maybe, in this way, people will see that BEING instead of HAVING is the way to freedom from defensiveness!
 
 
+3 # MJnevetS 2012-07-31 07:47
barbaratodish, I often wonder about you. Your comments are often preposterous, harming the arguments you purport to support. When you start with the absurd statement "The richest people get EVERYTHING for free!" you give Republican trolls like "jimattrell" a basis to derisively dismiss the intelligent liberal thinkers on this site. Please choose your words more carefully.
 
 
-5 # barbaratodish 2012-07-31 20:12
You must be rich, because you sure are defensive! lol
 
 
-5 # barbaratodish 2012-07-31 20:27
Quoting MJnevetS:
barbaratodish, I often wonder about you. Your comments are often preposterous, harming the arguments you purport to support. When you start with the absurd statement "The richest people get EVERYTHING for free!" you give Republican trolls like "jimattrell" a basis to derisively dismiss the intelligent liberal thinkers on this site. Please choose your words more carefully.


If my arguments are absurd and preposterous why do some people give me thumbs up? Regarding choosing my words: my passion chooses my words FOR me and, as a matter of fact most of my opinions WRITE ME! I find that this helps me to be free from defensiveness and instead of having to be judgemental, and giving orders :"Chooose your words more carefully" sounds ALMOST like a command! and or a kind of warning (an "or else")is implied. Surely you are more sensitive than giving commands or implicated warnings out!My writing entertains me! If others like it that is an added plus, too!
 
 
-56 # jimattrell 2012-07-29 06:50
You'd make a wonderful leader for the thugs who occupy anything. For that matter, any of the uneducated masses who would believe your nonsense and are looking for the answer to our massive spending and high unemployment. It all started with six years of Harry Reid and ends up with an empty suit in the White House. You do have a fascinating story and should start writing fictional novels as your imagination is really quite amazing.
 
 
+19 # Jameswhadley 2012-07-29 11:24
The uneducated masses are the backbone of the Republican electorate. I know this from Facebook, where one of the groups I listed was my high school. And I see clearly who supports which candidate. The Republican, Romney support ( really more of an anti Obama group, with real racist overtones, as they had in high school) is predominantly from the lower GPA segment. The lower they were, the louder they are now. Not smart enough to figure things out for themselves they are swayed by the lies, half truths and dogma from Right. From proto fascists like Karl Rove, Bill Reilly, Rush Limbaugh and the like.
Don 't you understand that it was like this in early years of nazi Germany, fascist Italy, fascist Spain? Easy answers to difficult questions were the bread and butter for these groups, just as they are now to the Republican party in the US, and they work in the same way.
I honestly do not want to live in a country governed by the stupidest of my peers. And please don't think Romney is smart because he made money; he was interested in money because he was too dull to have an interest in anything more challenging, or subtle. He's showing his lack of sophistication to the world right now, as I sit here writing.
 
 
+2 # Billy Bob 2012-07-29 19:40
Did we go to the same high school? It's uncanny!
 
 
-1 # thomachuck 2012-08-04 02:26
The high school of years past or the friends and coworkers of the present day--bigotry does not change much over time. It just changes its nuances. Constitutionall y protected free speech is a convenient safe house for racially motivated politics. I liked the part about "easy answers to difficult questions."
 
 
+7 # reiverpacific 2012-07-29 12:54
Quoting jimattrell:
You'd make a wonderful leader for the thugs who occupy anything. For that matter, any of the uneducated masses who would believe your nonsense and are looking for the answer to our massive spending and high unemployment. It all started with six years of Harry Reid and ends up with an empty suit in the White House. You do have a fascinating story and should start writing fictional novels as your imagination is really quite amazing.

The "Uneducated masses" are represented by the finks and blacklegs who infiltrate the "Occupy" groups and sneak on their own kind (Like Reagan did for McCarthy in Hollywood), and the "Thugs" are the militarized cops who brutalize and put down any attempt at non-violent dissidence, making this country increasingly resemble Franco's Spain of the past.
Your imagination seems to be riding on a blind lack of observation and reasoning power!
 
 
+22 # tabonsell 2012-07-29 14:49
Don't think Harry Reid had been in office for six years during the time, starting in 1981, when our descent into ruination began.

Try some facts.

Ronald Reagan increased spending about 70% in his administration that had six years of a GOP Senate and eight years of a conservative House, but only increased tax receipts 60%. George Bush the Daddy increased government spending by 28% and tax receipts only 17%. George Bush the Inept increased spending almost 90% and tax income by less than 6%. (Figures are a comparison from first year in office to the last year.)

Your "massive spending" came from our past three right-wing buffoons and a GOP Congress that gave them what they wanted; the destruction of the middle class. And our "high unemployment" came from the 8million jobs destroyed under Inept's reign.

On the other hand, the "empty suit" now in office actually decreased spending his first year from Inept's last year while increasing income. In two years, the "empty suit" had increased government spending by $65 billion and tax receipts by $200 billion. His spending increases amount to 1.25% while Inept's increases averaged more than 11% annually. And millions of jobs have been created since Inept's policies ran their course after he office.
 
 
0 # Billy Bob 2012-07-29 18:11
Are you saying the article is fiction?
 
 
+2 # suzyskier 2012-07-29 20:21
Quoting jimattrell:
You'd make a wonderful leader for the thugs who occupy anything. For that matter, any of the uneducated masses who would believe your nonsense and are looking for the answer to our massive spending and high unemployment. It all started with six years of Harry Reid and ends up with an empty suit in the White House. You do have a fascinating story and should start writing fictional novels as your imagination is really quite amazing.

Really so the banksters had nothing to do with the mess we are in it's all Obama and Harry Reid? Interesting since this mess started with "W" I cannot believe how people who think like you are for real. Scary!
 
 
+5 # mrbadexample 2012-07-29 07:02
people need to stop cooperating with the Empire. I re-viewed Michael Moore's CAPITALISM: A LOVE STORY and I'm astonished that the 'plutonomy' meme never excited more protest.

Here's one idea (actually 9) on how to change things:
http://readersupportednews.org/godot-video/443-occupy/12272-how-to-stop-the-empire-while-keeping-your-day-job
 
 
+21 # The Ice Maiden 2012-07-29 07:05
I read articles like this and get sick to my stomach. When I think about how the wealthy - who benefit from the world the rest of us create, a world which allows people to BECOME wealthy - feel entitled to avoid paying their fair share of taxes, it is beyond disheartening. And it enrages me. But what REALLY leaves me breathless is seeing how the obscenely wealthy politicians are voted into office by the very people these politicians would happily throw under the bus. I know people living on social security who are determined to vote for Romney. How will things ever change in such a world?
 
 
0 # thomachuck 2012-08-04 02:18
You have pointed out a major truth: working people who favor Romney are delusional that they would not be hurt by the GOP policies that are certain to go into effect if he wins. People are not so smart when they vote. My personal opinion: you have to correctly understand history and you have to perceive what is happening to undo all the progress that has been made in this country (at least between WWII and when Reagan became president). He at least knew enough to raise taxes when it was necessary. The blockheads that want to take over are oblivious to what is required in our present economy. Times during which taxes were high were accompanied by prosperity. History bears that out. It's not made up.
 
 
+8 # erogers 2012-07-29 07:20
Until the influence money of the super-rich is permanently removed from Congress nothing will change. The super-rich own both parties. I for one refuse to participate in the American political charade. Where the hell is the outrage!!!
 
 
-33 # JackB 2012-07-29 07:37
Gibson seems to be fronting for the Obama campaign. The debt is no big deal - just get the money from the 1%.

What he doesn't share is the top countries on the list are China, Russia, Korea, Brazil & Kuwait. I doubt if we will be taxing their citizens any time soon.

I don't like the idea of so much wealth held by so few but if they acquired it legally & kept it legally I don't see where anyone has a right to take it from them. In this country blame Congress. If we want a level playing field let them pass laws to create it. Don't let people legally earn money & then just take it & give it to those who didn't earn it.

If the money was acquired illegally or hoarded illegally take it from them & lock them up.

No matter what it isn't a valid argument to let Barry run the debt off the charts.

http://www.youtube.com/embed/VtVbUmcQSuk
 
 
+3 # Billy Bob 2012-07-29 18:13
If they don't want to pay for this country they should leave. Nations cost money. That money comes from taxes. Nations have the right to collect taxes. Our Constitution plainly says so.
 
 
+6 # Fungib3 2012-07-29 08:06
Guess the Chinese own us now! They don't even pay taxes. Middle class America actually pays a higher percentage of their income in taxes.
 
 
+8 # mrbadexample 2012-07-29 09:44
The Chinese leadership has all the advantages of a command economy--the ability to tax people without them knowing they're being taxed. The USSR never had a 'tax' system per se, because the money was collectivized. It's impossible to say what a Chinese worker is paying in taxes.
 
 
+13 # granny6 2012-07-29 10:15
George W Bush is the one who put everything on the credit card and then exited stage right. We are paying for billions of dollars of arms that we end up giving away because we don't have any need for them. Congress votes Billions to the Pentagon. We get things like jet fighters that come with an replacement engine that is never used. But they are made in Boehners district so it is OK. People of Ohio please do us a favor and dump Boehner. Maybe we can get some practical legislation through Congress.
 
 
-5 # world2steven 2012-07-29 10:16
There ARE most certainly national debts - and they probably could not be paid even if all those trillions of the richest 0.001% were seized and turned over to the creditors of the US and Old Europe. For more than 50 years, the US has been extracting more REAL WEALTH from the rest of the world than it has been exporting to it. Just ask the people in those countries whose natural resources and labor have been 'bought' with '1st World' debt. And Europe is increasingly following this 'business model'.

Money IS debt! To repay half of that $32 trillion - presumably about the US share - would require the country to work for a year and turn all the REAL WEALTH it produces over to its creditors. In all likelihood it would be much longer because current GDP estimates include the 'value' of financial products and services, i.e. paper debt.

So... Do you really think the US is going to go without anything for a year - or even a day - to pay its debts?
 
 
+1 # Billy Bob 2012-07-29 19:42
Do you really think any of us don't know you didn't read the article?
 
 
+2 # Jim Young 2012-07-31 09:08
I believe John Bogle (The Clash of Cultures: Investment vs Speculation) pointed out derivatives notional value was approaching $708 trillion again in 2012. It seems impossible to verify but I believe they were once $1.04 Quadrillion dollars of vapor. What I had been able to find was a drop of $89 trillion after March of 2007 (from over $800 trillion) and Alan Greenspan also said the net worth of the US dropped $17 trillion during the same period.

To me, such figures indicate the only reason trying to get the debt paid off by getting it from the wealthy won't work is that the debt is based on too much "faith" in notional value of junk derivatives. It would be interesting, though to see what would happen if we taxed them on what they claim the junk was worth when they "sold" it to us, getting any portion (in real asset backed value) of the $21 to $32 trillion they have hoarded overseas.

The real pain comes from the drag their speculation puts on real productivity (based on the old style "INVESTMENT") by their seeking such a high percentage of any real profits (and keeping an unproductive special advantage in tax rates that should only apply to amounts small saver/investors use to provide secure retirement income.
 
 
+9 # wfalco 2012-07-29 10:32
It seems like the uber-rich -don't pay taxes crowd -likely define this practice in patriotic terms. Of course these people create euphemisms constantly to ,essentially, brainwash the average schmuck into thinking of them as heroic patriots.
This euphemistic "patriotism" is redefined to explain it in selfish, and ultimately, jingoistic terms.
Nothing more than the old "greed is good" since their money is necessary to "create jobs" and fuel our growth.
It is all nonsense and these "patriots" at the top know it. They swindle the world and it is their private joke. Sadly most working class schmucks believe them. The definition of "freedom" in the U.S. is only referring to extremist "free enterprise"-whi ch results in less freedom for the majority.
 
 
+6 # heraldmage 2012-07-29 12:58
It seems when it comes to the next QE instead of it being given to the banks, again, it should be given to the 99% to eliminate debt and increase spending.
The only way the economy will be turned around is for the 99% to spend money on products not debt reduction. If everyone with gross incomes below $200, 000 recieved a massive influx of cash that must first be used to pay off debt & then be used to purchase durable goods such as appliances, cars, televisions etc. the entire nation would be better off not just the 1%. The previous bail outs increased unemployment, foreclosure & bankruptcy rates and poverty level while the 1%'s personal income & corporate profits increased significantly. If instead our taxes are given back to the 99% unemployment would be significantly decreased foreclosure & bankruptcy would be eliminated. The banks & other leading institution would get their money but would no longer make profits on foreclosure. Foreclosure not because of inappropriately high mortgages but due to high unemployment caused by the greed of the 1%.
There are some economist who favor this form of QE. It is only logical, & unlike trickle down it will work. Just think of what you could do with your income if your mortgage, car & credit card debt were paid. Your kids ( & you) could have new clothes, shoes, computers & supplies for the new school year. What would Xmas look like? And without going into debt. Good for you & economy.
 
 
+8 # mppeace 2012-07-29 13:00
Heck, why not just start taxing a TINY FRACTION of all those "derivatives"? Since those HUNDREDS of Trillions of (mainly)worthle ss "D-bills" would not fetch anywhere near their paper value, why should those 'investors' feel much pain if, say, they were taxed at 5% of the stated value(in fact, for every trillion $ of tax levied on them D-bills, investors should feel relieved at having to hang to lesser amount of bad stock!) And, Voila, we can wipe all of USA & Euro national "debt" in one brilliant stroke. How's that for a real challenge and proposal to all candidates in this 2012 election? Come on, progressives, let's really have the "audacity" of giving hope to the 99%!
 
 
+12 # carpepax 2012-07-29 13:12
"Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." -so allegedly said Jesus.

This is clearly at odds with those super-rich that would claim their good fortune is god-given. No, their avarice is driven by greed for power and influence, otherwise they would not have to justify their hoarding of wealth in the face of morality. I personally do not believe, so I don't buy the notion that there is some penalty awaiting them and that we should leave them to it. The effects of their immorality are felt in this life, by people living now. Screw the notion of payment upon death. This world we live in can be shaped into heaven or hell by our collective deeds. The few creating heaven for themselves on Earth have made it hell for so many others. It's time to harass them, shame them, call bullshit on all their economic and political chicanery. Never let them sleep easy about it until they release their grip on the money that should flow like water through any strong economy. They are choking the life out of nations.

They've done it with money. What makes anyone think they won't do the same thing to our water supplies? They are setting themselves up to watch the rest of us fight over a dwindling pile of scraps.
 
 
+2 # suzyskier 2012-07-29 20:33
Quoting carpepax:
"Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." -so allegedly said Jesus.

This is clearly at odds with those super-rich that would claim their good fortune is god-given. No, their avarice is driven by greed for power and influence, otherwise they would not have to justify their hoarding of wealth in the face of morality. I personally do not believe, so I don't buy the notion that there is some penalty awaiting them and that we should leave them to it. The effects of their immorality are felt in this life, by people living now. Screw the notion of payment upon death. This world we live in can be shaped into heaven or hell by our collective deeds. The few creating heaven for themselves on Earth have made it hell for so many others. It's time to harass them, shame them, call bullshit on all their economic and political chicanery. Never let them sleep easy about it until they release their grip on the money that should flow like water through any strong economy. They are choking the life out of nations.

They've done it with money. What makes anyone think they won't do the same thing to our water supplies? They are setting themselves up to watch the rest of us fight over a dwindling pile of scraps.

Bravo!! Great reply.
 
 
+1 # JackB 2012-08-04 09:30
The super rich. I'm not one but I am willing to try it. How does one join the ranks? Well, one can marry the money like John Kerry & then trade your rich wife in for a richer one. One can screw thousands of women as a class action lawyer like John Edwards. One can inherit it like the Kenedys. Great way. Party time from birth. Can even get away with killing people like Ted did. Or you can work for it like Romney did.

The people who believed that was the true American Way had never met a liberal. They would have found out the true American Way is to work hard, earn a lot of money & then give it to a liberal who is so incredibly brilliant that he or she knows better than anyone what to do with you money.

BTW - who are the filthy rich? Easy. People who have more money than the liberal making the judgement.
 
 
+2 # tadn54 2012-07-30 14:31
Ther's a line in a Brewer & Shipley song called "On the Road to Kansas City", that is highly appropriate when talking about progressive taxation and its' obvious fairness: "When they get you for a million you don't really feel it; when they get you for a dollar you do".......

Think about it, Mr. Cayman islands. A million to you is a dollar to me.It's nothing more than guiltless greed; always will be, I'm afraid.
 
 
+2 # bakerhunny 2012-07-30 21:44
I'm jaded....last year the IRS docked my husband's SS check $175.00 each month for 7 months for back taxes owed.
It's really sad to be happy that it wasn't worse......but I still don't understand why we owed the taxes in the first place.
It was for the year we used the H&R Block instead of Turbo Tax....Who Knew??
 
 
+2 # ditorac1 2012-07-31 16:43
TO RLF on military retirement. How much of your life has been spent in our military? I retired after having a stroke in my 25th year. I had no choice because I was unfit for duty according to the medical board. As of the day I had the stroke my chances of buying any kind of insurance went to zero. My son went to work for a real estate company in my 21st year. His income after his first year was $20,000 more than mine. Fortunately I am now on SS and medicare and have access to the VA hospital. Thank God for the military retirement to supplement SS. If I had it to do over, including two years of combat I certainly would. You need to think about what you say and do a little research after all if not for our military we woulds be speaking German or Japanese right now, if we existed at all. Freedom is not free.
 
 
+1 # thomachuck 2012-08-04 02:08
Thanks for your service. When the government passed the GI Bill, people called it welfare. Somehow the phrase in the preamble to the Constitution "provide the general welfare" escapes GOP attention when they are citing their patriotic imagery. My heart goes out to the people who gave a lot in military service. I was in the Navy but luckily did not see combat. I, like you, would be mad as hell if people lumped individuals such as us as bums, moochers and freeloaders in their rhetoric.
 
 
-1 # jimattrell 2012-08-04 08:38
The Obama policy to prevent soldiers from voting pretty much blows your poisonous point out of the water....
 

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