By James Kwak
My Atlantic column today is on the bizarre fixation that some conservatives have with taxing poor people, pointed out by Bruce Bartlett in his latest column. Here’s one explanation:
The other, even-more-disturbing explanation, is that Republicans see the rich as worthy members of society (the “producers”) and the poor as a drain on society (the “takers”). In this warped moral universe, it isn’t enough that someone with a gross income of $10 million takes home $8.1 million while someone with a gross income of $20,000 takes home $19,000. That’s called “punishing success,” so we should really increase taxes on the poor person so we can “reward success” by letting the rich person take home even more. This is why today’s conservatives have gone beyond the typical libertarian and supply-side arguments for lower taxes on the rich, and the campaign to transfer wealth from the poor to the rich has taken on such self-righteous tones.
Also, in some housekeeping news, I’ve switched to a personal Twitter account, @JamesYKwak. My blog posts should generate tweets in that account; Simon’s should generate tweets in the old account, @baselinescene. I’ll try to aggregate all the stuff I write in various places in my new Twitter stream.
The Baseline Scenario Facebook page should be aggregating both of our Twitter streams, but I had a little difficulty with it on Monday, so who knows. It seems like Facebook changes the way everything works every other Tuesday, so you never know when something will break.
65 thoughts on “Why Raise Taxes on Poor People?”
I’d definitely like to get beyond that bluff. Allow the poor to learn the skills to help themselves (doctors willing to teach doctors for the poor, for instance) and then use one in five skills time segments for local services taxation in the community. Then the poor can set about taking care of themselves and the rich can settle their differences with government, without having to shift blame on the poor.
Well, so much for Oregano’s;
‘I take it that a mutually respectful discussion of the issues of the day is not on the agenda.’
It never seems to occur to the likes of Mr. Kwak that someone might be PRODUCING their gross income rather than just happen to be standing where it fell like manna from heaven.
But, he must really hate Europe, where (except for Switzerland) they take a much higher proportion of their tax revenues from the non ‘rich’. They rely on consumption taxes that hit the ‘poor’ harder. The cads!
Btw, wasn’t it the Republicans who cut the bottom tax rate from 15% to 10%?
@Paddy – I guess you will defend to your death the Congolese strategy for “producing” your own gross income – wait in the bush until the harvest is picked by slave labor then kill them all and stuff your face until the wealth runs out and then wander around until you find some other place to pull that same stunt?
You don’t even have the capacity to KNOW you are a savage, do you?
Working with a hangover every morning – not exactly firing on all cyliners…
Ending the Bush tax cuts and rearranging the educational system will produce just what Becky desires, do it all now, right, and in 25 years you shall begin to see results. See, it’s no big dealeo.
There’s a good reason to tax the rich, that’s where the revenue is, and with large deficits at the federal level and beyond, this approach is not just logical, it is eminently sound policy, in my estimation.
I can’t imagine the billionaire Leona Helmsley was alone in her declaration before being convicted of federal tax evasion, that, “only the little people pay taxes.”
Another meme: The Bush tax cuts in no small measure played a major role in contributing to the unsound fiscal position of the United States of America, and now Bill Clinton is publicly undermining the position of the White House. With friends like the Clinton’s, who needs enemies?
I don’t know how President Obama sleeps with all the gutter snipes in this country.
I think, James, you have hit the proverbial nail on the head. As someone who grew up in a deep red area, the people do indeed see themselves as “producers” and others as “takers”. Money, however, had nothing to do with it their perception. Most of these people, income wise, would be a bit above the poverty line. No one would be anywhere near the top 10%. They are very much in favor of cutting government benefits for others (e.g. the “takers”), but not for themselves, since they deserve those benefits (since they are “producers”). To make the irony all the thicker, they say this while drawing unemployment benefits…
Seriously? This argument is a strawman at best, a stalking horse more likely.
What gets the rank and file Republicans angry is not that someone making $20,000 takes home $19,000. What makes them angry is that someone making $0 takes home $(insert positive number here).
There is a good argument to be made (but almost never made) that certain behaviors in society are ‘non-market’ but valuable and worthy of being sustained from the public purse outright, yet are not entered into the civil service proper or directly remunerated by the market – these typically were sustained through non-market/non-government mechanisms in the past, to include communities (and charities) and families. These include parenting/child rearing and household management. There are some government functions like WIC that could be considered putting child rearing on the public payroll indirectly. In this case, in light of this other argument (that valuable work is being done but financially supported in certain cases), it is possible that more conservatives would support negative taxation – the question becomes what monetary support does that labor require and deserve; and how can the role of charity and family be respected by the government.
benk, the EITC was a Republican idea & it was done in order to paper-over the fact that wages were falling for just about everyone on the bottom half of the distribution, working or not.
EITC was a subsidy to low wage employers and a sop to the masses who, the concern went, might organize to oppose the policies that were leading to their impoverishment: NAFTA, GATT, “globalization” etc. and the outsourcing wonderland that has created almost all of those “producers” now peopling the top .1 percent.
And now that .1 wants to consolidate its power, and since unions are all gone and people are weak and poor and demoralized, it’s time! Tax THEM!
And it’s gonna work, too. It already is working, if the Wisconsin and San Diego results are any bellwether.
UberRich to everyone else: lower your wages, raise your taxes, and compete.
Low information voters will eventually get what they deserve, a big kick in the ass, from the same people they voted into office.
I’m speaking about the motivations of the conservative voters, not the organizational strategies of the political operatives. To those who believe in a ‘What’s the Matter with Kansas?’ world, the voters are unintelligent, uninformed, illogical, and so on. Now, there may be a degree of misinformation – I think that most liberal voters would say that they are disappointed in the Obama administration when they compare accomplishments to advertisements, for example – but I believe that there are several factors which confuse the ‘well informed liberal’ in his attempt to understand the various conservative voters. Many of the most difficult to parse are well-described by Haidt in The Righteous Mind; others are more straight-forward. In this case, it is a distinction between what the conservative voter sees when the lowest tax brackets are discussed and what is described in this blog post. What is described in the blog post is a low income individual paying a lower percentage of that income in taxes. What the conservative voter sees is a person paying less than $0 in taxes. The conservative is inclined to think that a person who pays even a small amount of tax will try to hold the government accountable, make it efficient, and keep that small tax burden low. However, a person who pays less than $0 is going to profit from any increase in taxes, government bloat, and so on, and has no motive to hold the government accountable. There are various arguments about whether this is accurate, I’m sure – but emotionally, this is an important distinction. It is between heartlessness and moral hazard. It is between us all being on the same team, with some skin in the game, and being on opposite sides of a zero sum game.
I think the bigger issue is making the tax flatter. Upper income folks claim deductions and engage in non-economic activities that achieve no purpose other than lowering taxes while capital is mis-allocated. The gov’t needs to stop using the tax system to pick winners and losers or to reward favored groups. Case in point the mortgage interest deduction. It encourages over-investment in real estate, the working class don’t benefit all that much, and the rich use it to arbitrage the tax rate vs muni bond investments.
We have seen the slow decline of the employable part of the population as computers and machinery have replaced human muscle. One day, AI and robotics will leave everyone who is not rich enough to own something large (thousands of farms, several factories, etc) unemployed. The idea of a “job” will be gone. It’s already gone for a lot of people, but it’s coming for all of us.
If human kind continues to embrace this idea that a) being rich means you’re a “producer” (which is a dubious argument in light of Wall Street’s behavior) and b) only said “producers” are worthy of a roof over their head and food on their table…
When that day comes, a lot of these people whining about the takers will find themselves wishing they hadn’t removed and burned every last safety net when they should have been planning better safety nets. The day isn’t far off for probably the lowest 50-75% of the population. I’d give them a generation. Maybe two.
I can’t wait to watch the rationalizations we get to see from the rich and powerful then. Perhaps they won’t even bother anymore. “We don’t give a damn. We won. Now go die somewhere that we don’t own. No loitering, moochers.”
It sounds like the Republican goal is to recreate the situation France found itself in in the 1780s. That turned out well, didn’t it?
Without making any economic argument, which is unnecessary since the answer is so obvious, I am in favor of a moral argument, beginning with the biblical idea that a rich man stands as much chance of going to heaven as a camel of passing through the eye of a needle. In the America where I grew up, the more fortunate members of society largely viewed it as a patriotic and sacred responsibility that they give more than the poor toward societal progess. I like Liz Warren’s idea, which is God bless those who are gifted with wealth, at least those who worked hard to earn that money. Remember that they have the same advantages as the rest of us of a military which defends them, courts which, in theory, see to fairness and justice, infrastructure which they use to land their planes, see their yachts to shore, bear the use of the trucks to take their goods to market, etc. The wealthy utilize far more of these public goods than the rest of us. Logically, their contribution should be far greater than ours. Christ’s ministry taught us to treat our fellow man as we would wish to be treated, to clothe the naked, feed the hungry, provide shelter for the homeless, and, naturally, it falls on the most blessed to share more of their blessing. Being rich and moral is hard, but then Christ knew that it was hard to do right by our fellow man, at all places and at all times.
The sad lesson being foisted upon us as morality these days is that right and wrong a relative, not absolute, and, if we can “get away” with something, albeit immoral or illegal, until we are sued or imprisoned for our immorality, then it is moral, whatever we do. How sad is that? It’s as though Machiavelli had become our moral compass. It never ceases to amaze me that the very right wing extreme Republicans believe that they are meeting their Christian obligations by tithing and ignoring everything else. Such a profound tragedy, which is now tearing at the very roots of our society and culture.
I like it Bayard. Nice work.
@edward ericson, EITC was a subsidy to low wage employers and a sop to the masses who, the concern went, might organize to oppose the policies that were leading to their impoverishment: NAFTA, GATT, “globalization” etc. and the outsourcing wonderland that has created almost all of those “producers” now peopling the top .1 percent.”
Excellent point. Oddly enough, there is no concept of “charity” among at least 4 billion of the current world’s population. And that lack of social concept did factor in greatly in the creation of the current crop of 0.1 percenters.
While it is delightful to hear that charity and family are something that a lone .1%er may imagine as a moral solution, it ain’t never gonna happen among the .1%ers from the cultures that do not have a “charity” component in their cultural, economic, and religious backgrounds and very different obligations placed on families (basically a caste system).
Depending on the “kindness of strangers” is just another sign of the major FAIL of society in recognizing the basic right of human beings to make their lives less miserable through honest work. Honest work involving life-maintenance based on accessing the support system that is the planet, itself, in a sustainable manner across generations.
How anyone can still not choke on their own hypocrisy when they blame the unemployed after YEARS of sending the *jobs* kit and kaboodle to the slave labor markets and telling people those jobs are never coming back and then freezing out any flow of money to those displaced people to *innovate* new jobs is beyond me. Seriously, WTF is the “plan” now that only 30% of the people thus shafted and insulted are still Jim Jones Johnstown candidates – they can be convinced to create their own nirvana and then kill themselves because the world is so wicked. “Soft” genocide…?
‘The wealthy utilize far more of these public goods than the rest of us.’
For actual public goods, those consumed non-rivalrously and non-excludably, we all pretty much consume the same, by definition. Or, at least it’s impossible to tell who consumes more. If we could, then they wouldn’t be public goods.
‘…bear the use of the trucks to take their goods to market….’
They are only ‘their goods’ until they reach the market. They they become the consumers’ goods.
‘Oddly enough, there is no concept of “charity” among at least 4 billion of the current world’s population. And that lack of social concept did factor in greatly in the creation of the current crop of 0.1 percenters.’
Weren’t we just talking about Acemoglu’s ‘Why Nations Fail’? If you’d read that you’d know that it is in the USA where the concept of charity is best developed. Where the Rockefellers, the Carnegies, the Fricks, the Gates give away their fortunes.
In your warped moral universe a person being taxed 1 million 900 thousand dollars per year is under-taxed and a person paying 1 thousand dollars per year is over taxed.
Oh! Wait. You want to play the percentages game. Okay…
In your warped moral universe a person being taxed at 19% is under-taxed and a person paying 5% is over taxed.
Pretty amazing how the facts point out idiocy so quickly.
I enter the question once again of just how does one know if one, or another, has a moral sense. The same can be said of the laws of nature. Soon as you grasp that information, you will begin to find the answers to problems of the human mind and body. Tip of the day, unfortunately, nothing different will change in your life time, it only gets worse, before getting better.
The left has no problem however supporting state run lotteries, casinos and other forms of gambling which place a “stupid tax” on the poorest Americans. Go figure.
@Paddy – “….Weren’t we just talking about Acemoglu’s ‘Why Nations Fail’? If you’d read that you’d know that it is in the USA where the concept of charity is best developed. Where the Rockefellers, the Carnegies, the Fricks, the Gates give away their fortunes….”
Who gave away their *fortunes* during the decades of 1500s to 1800s in USA? Funny how once banks came into the picture, fortunes were created with other people’s money and LABOR.
WHO IS GIVING THEIR MONEY AWAY NOW AS CHARITY? Is this the new *giving away the fortunes*? – they just spent 50 million to make sure 5 million nurses and teachers in Wisconsin don’t get a pay raise or better benefits! UH, DUH, wouldn’t that 50 million be a pay raise….? Seriously, go peddle your psychobabble mixed with cherry picked data that you hurl at the ONE statement that a person makes anywhere in the world that is COMMON SENSE truth and blows open a hole in your march to brutal fascism on the stupid blogs, Paddy, like Huff and Post….
GLOBAL ECONOMY – 4 BILLION people, at least, do not have the concept of CHARITY. FACT.
Here’s the bottom line, Paddy. USA MIddle Class WORKED too well for all too brief a moment of time. And now it’s GONE. And whoever slammed the Middle Classes’s financial future to be FOREVER below the fortunes of the Global War Lords, Drug Lords, and Slave Lords by kissing their arses will die. Consider it a statement of FACT. So you can take your *ism* and shove it where the sun don’t shine – FOREVER.
USA economy was re-tooled to support PERPETUAL WAR in the MIddle East. THAT, in my book, was genocide against the Middle Class.
Look up Just War, Paddy, and then get back to me on why you should LIVE in your “ism” world unmolested and unchallenged by the brute force you inflict on others!
I don’t want anyone’s stinkin’ “charity” because the strings attached to that benevolence is nothing less than surrendering your HUMAN dignity. The world is filled with Stanley Kowalski “Streetcar Named Desire” types and they all vote Wrecking Crew Rethug – the whistle call their drunk misanthropic minds hear….
My overwhelming impression is that conservatives see the poor and less fortunate as _inferior_ in deep sense. This was betrayed in a Gregory Mankiw blog post that should have gotten far greater attention than it did. (That is didn’t suggests, I think, the extent to which essentially conservative thinking pervades even many liberal arenas.)
In a 2009 post, Mankiw offered a social-Darwinist account for children’s school performance, including an allusion to reductionist _genetic_ explanations of a kind very popular these days among conservatives _and_ liberals (like, for example, Barbara Ehrenreich). The post is here: http://gregmankiw.blogspot.com/2009/08/least-surprising-correlation-of-all.html
Mankiw clearly thinks that different outcomes are in significant measure a result of fundamental, intrinsic, biological differences between individuals. The rich are more successful because they are just _better_ — better workers, better thinkers, better innovators.
This thinking is very widespread in the anglophone, industrial democracies — Britain, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and of course the US. Moreover, it closely tided to a kind of supremacist thinking (and I do mean supremacist) found among the wealthy. Scan the comments of Michael Bloomberg or the Koch brothers or Bill Gates, and you will see a pervasive contempt for the less fortunate that is coupled with a conviction that these less fortunate are just less well-endowed with the natural talents enjoyed by the better-off. Centuries ago, this was overtly embraced as the divine right of nobility. Today it is far more subtle.
More importantly, it reflects a close intwining of tacit assumptions about social status, native talent, education, culture, heritage — many things. For example, Mike Bloomberg simply has no substantive interaction with those who are markedly less well-off; so, predictably, he views the less-fortunate as “Other.” This view is reinforced by the socio-biological, reductionist account that says that behavioral differences are outcomes of genetic differences. It is further reinforced by the need all people share to view their own good fortune as something more than plain good luck. If Bloomberg is just lucky, then what justification is there for his holding the staggering fortune he does. He must “deserve” that wealth because he’s better than the rest of us.
Why raise taxes on the poor then? Well, they “deserve it.” In the view of the Michael Bloombergs — and, crucially, also in the view of the Arne Duncans and (I suspect) the Barack Obamas — the poor aren’t just poor in a socio-economic sense; they are “poor specimens of humanity.”
How do we test such contention as mine? Probably not in the neatly numerical way that economists and political scientists today demand. That, in turn, raises yet another issue of how our very methods of inquiry tend to promote some conclusions over others.
‘WHO IS GIVING THEIR MONEY AWAY NOW AS CHARITY? Is this the new *giving away the fortunes*? – they just spent 50 million to make sure 5 million nurses and teachers in Wisconsin don’t get a pay raise or better benefits! UH, DUH, wouldn’t that 50 million be a pay raise….? Seriously, go peddle your psychobabble mixed with cherry picked data that you hurl at the ONE statement that a person makes anywhere in the world that is COMMON SENSE truth and blows open a hole in your march to brutal fascism on the stupid blogs, Paddy, like Huff and Post….’
Well, as Oregano put it, ‘I take it that a mutually respectful discussion of the issues of the day is not on the agenda.’
@Paddy – yeah, I didn’t do well with having a respectful discussion of the issues of the day when the issue was torture, either – go figure. No one is perfect….
I accept a progressive marginal income tax structure and I support steeper progressivity as we get into “economic rents” territory. (I’ll guess that starts with persistent annual incomes north of $1 million.)
However, I think it is reasonable to ask that all citizens pay *something* of their income. We want to encourage engagement with the issues of government. Creating a large segment of people who pay nothing in income taxes (and who correctly expect their social security taxes to provide a favorable ‘return’ in terms of benefits ultimately received) is bad for society.
I’m fine with total income taxes pushing into the 50% range on ultra-high incomes. However, I’m also for eliminating (gradually phasing out) the personal exemption, standard deduction, deduction of home mortgage interest, etc. and ensuring that everyone pay something – at least 5% – towards our mutual cause.
I’m perplexed by the suggested reasons imputed to conservatives in James’ and Bruce Bartlett’s columns.
All my conservative friends consistently tell me a different reason: “Skin in the game.” They see the “47% don’t pay taxes” statistic as valid, mentally separating out payroll taxes from FIT, as most common folks do, since payroll taxes are supposedly directed to specific purposes.
Here’s the conservative rationale I hear all the time:
If 47% don’t have skin in the game, they don’t care about rising taxes, and thus vote for profligate Democrats who give them something for nothing. That gives an unfair advantage to Dems pandering for votes, over fiscally responsible [sic] Republicans.
Without the natural, self-correcting feedback loop that a 100% federal taxpaying voter base gives you, the U.S. moves more and more towards a welfare state and a debtor nation.
That’s their reasoning, not mine. But if that’s what it takes to move beyond conservatives’ intransigence due to suspicions of foul play in the air, I’d vote for skin-in-the-game for everyone.
@Joe: the “skin in the game” argument begs the question of whether one knows the complete extent of the game. Your friends’ comments suggest that the various methods of taxation obscure the end effect of the total burden. This again points to the comments of Norm Cimon in earlier posts: that there isn’t enough transparency in “the system” for anyone to understand it, much less improve it, and that information asymmetry games are the operating principle today, efficient market and informed participant myths nonwithstanding. I’d go for skin-in-the-game as well, as long as the greater ability of higher earners to game our overly complex system were curtailed in the process. But that would linearize the playing field.
@Hugh Sansom, “….Centuries ago, this was overtly embraced as the divine right of nobility. Today it is far more subtle….”
I think that we can safely say that “nobility” is no longer considered a superior trait necessary to become a “self-made” bazillionaire…..be careful what you wish for, eh?
I do get your point, though. People are self-proclaiming their status. Began long ago with a “chosen ones” mischief that was, and is, present in every culture on earth.
But taking the example of the Queen of England’s rule of 60 years being marked by celebration in the Commonwealth, the most succinct observation by one of her country’s own *average* person was that, especially in hindsight of the tumult, globally, of the past 60 years of her reign, it was a really good thing, a blessing one could even say, that she was, basically, a normal human being of sound biological mind, with no tragically flawed emotional complexes, who never wavered from her duty in service to the people. What makes her “noble” is that she chose to embrace that duty with free will and did her best, while also having the freedom, by her position as Queen, to NOT make decisions solely on what would be politically correct. Imagine if the Queen made what politicians considered politically correct decisions instead! Yikes! There were definitely many points in time in the past 60 years where defaulting to PCism, as defined by self-serving politicians, would have been an unimaginable calamity for Western Civilization, not just the United Kingdom.
I think we’ve got a superb thread right here!
Republicans harboring animus for the EITC, “something for nothing”,
the familiar refrain in beating up the poor, disadvantaged, and those trying to better themselves through menial-paying employment.
I never hear any complaints, veiled or otherwise, from GOP’ers, considering the vast array of business tax credits, net operating loss provisions, and a host of other devices allowing a profitable income statement translating into no tax on the corporate return. It’s as commonplace as ornaments on a Christmas tree.
Double standards? Could it be? This is one example of the vast web of hypocrites encompassing the ossified, constipated, cynical, and hateful political party, that has long outlived its’ usefulness as an entity serving the public good.
No one addressed the change in what constitutes “charity” among the filthy rich – in the new global economy, do they consider it “charity” to spend 50 million a pop in political campaigns in support of an *ism” that demands nurses and teachers are paid a salary that does not provide for the security of a home, food and a school neighborhood that is not crack-infested?
One-two billion in new write offs – political campaign contributions – the new “charity” donation…
@ Annie: Pocket change for the drug lords. slave lords. war lords.
Sure, there’s plenty of dry powder, just no cash.
Let’s vote Willard Romney into office, and have him create millions of jobs as with BAIN CAPITAL, and then, more people can be taxed who aren’t making any money, because private equity sucked the wealth out of their respective firms, and these people are really unemployed.
Romney = BIG LIAR
Look, the solution to the jobs shortage and budget is really clear: if somebody made no money, tax them. If they made a lot of money, don’t. I completely see where the conservatives are coming from now. That totally makes sense.
The spirit of Ronnie Reagan must be watching over me right now.
Great idea! Load the tax code. Pull!
A lot of opinions here, but not too many facts. Here are two facts to consider.
*50% of all U.S. households with incomes over $10 million pay NO income taxes.
*67% of all U.S. corporations pay NO income taxes. Think GE and Wells Fargo and then work your way down to your own company.
RICH CORPS and RICH people have a good deal, don’t they? I’d sure say so.
Success is one thing, robbing and pillaging the poor and middleclass through systemic criminal enterprises and purchasing regulatory bodies and politicians is something radically different. The predatorclass, wingnuts, and the complicit parrots in the socalled MSM brute the fairytale that superrichpeople and megacorps are socalled “job creators” which maybe true technically true from a globalist perspective – but the sadly the jobs they pimp and brute are ONLY being created in China, India, Mexico, the Baltic states, Malaysia et al. Only warmaking jobs are created for Amerikans focuse exclusively in the military, intelligence and private military and private intelligence industrisl complexes. Oh yeah – and in the prison industrial comlex.
The entire basis of the socalled ‘rights’ argument is a blatant naked LIE.
Please provide any examples of any jobs that don’t pay minimum wage or involve neverendingwars that any predatorclass oligarch or individuals created here in Amerika.
Excellent post. @ Tony Foresta.
I’ll give you my future one, it’s called a masters in lubrication engineering, once a graduate, you have the ability to keep machines from breaking down, and needing to be repaired or replaced at an additional cost. Yes, it takes jobs away, as it should. But it keeps my transportation bills down to nothing. Get use to the competition from your countrymen, or get use to being left behind all together. All things considered, it could be worse. It could be late 40’s or 50’s in Russia.
“Please provide any examples of any jobs that don’t pay minimum wage or involve neverendingwars that any predatorclass oligarch or individuals created here in Amerika.”
Well, since you asked Tony, I thought I would be good enough to oblige you…..so here is my list:
Is that a null and void set, or what? : – )
Okay, I started a charity auction on e-Bay – people can bid on the tsunami junk washing up on the shores of North and South America – of course, “…you have to come pick it up yourself….”.
The money raised during the auction will be used to distribute the tuna among the starving and homeless people “displaced” in California due to fraudclosure-gate.
@James Taylor, “….*50% of all U.S. households with incomes over $10 million pay NO income taxes.
*67% of all U.S. corporations pay NO income taxes. Think GE and Wells Fargo and then work your way down to your own company….”
Okay then, it looks like the money that everyone else paid in taxes was used to skin alive the people with skin in the game – how shrewd and clever of them!
That’s what I want ot be when I grow up – a skin head….
TBTF = big enough to commit genocide:
cut and pasted from wiki:
For genocide to happen, there must be certain preconditions. Foremost among them is a national culture that does not place a high value on human life. A totalitarian society, with its assumed superior ideology, is also a precondition for genocidal acts. In addition, members of the dominant society must perceive their potential victims as less than fully human: as “pagans,” “savages,” “uncouth barbarians,” “unbelievers,” “effete degenerates,” “ritual outlaws,” “racial inferiors,” “class antagonists,” “counterrevolutionaries,” and so on. In themselves, these conditions are not enough for the perpetrators to commit genocide. To do that—that is, to commit genocide—the perpetrators need a strong, centralized authority and bureaucratic organization as well as pathological individuals and criminals. Also required is a campaign of vilification and dehumanization of the victims by the perpetrators, who are usually new states or new regimes attempting to impose conformity to a new ideology and its model of society.
It’s highly immoral to suggest poor people need to share a highly disproportionate tax burden with one another, while the wealthy and super rich avoid, escape, run from, evade, shelter, distort their own tax liabilities.
This is class warfare, and has been gaining traction here since the fascist presidency of Reagan, a man who betrayed his own personal history with the Screen Actors Guild, at a time General Electric was throwing money his way as their ad spokesperson.
The need today is for real progressive tax rates and a closing of myriad loopholes, primarily benefitting wealthy taxpayers and corporations. This will serve to restore fiscal health to the nation, while reinforcing the idea that great wealth accumulation is not a free lunch, but has real costs and burdens associated with acceding to that wealth.
Billionaires are undermining society in real and drastic ways, and only by BREAKING their steel grip will the USA ever see its’ way clear of this intractable mess.
Let’s fine tune that income tax data. Here are the 2010 numbers of the U.S. households that paid NO income tax whatsoever.
78,000 households with incomes from $211,000 to $533,000
24,000 households with incomes from $533,000 to $2.2 Million
3,000 households with incomes over $2.2 million.
103,000 households paid not a penny in income tax. So here is my question? How can we give these poor folks a tax break by lowering their rates? or giving them more exemptions? Any ideas?
Raise the filing requirement, which is a function of gross income, age, and filing status. Increase the EIC. Allow pets to be claimed as exemptions. Just kidding.,,,,,:)
Novartis in tax fight over vaccine plant that HHS helped pay for
Complex arrangement leads to dispute over 40% share
June 8, 2012 | By Eric Palmer
When the Department of Health and Human Services agreed to pay for 40% of the cost of a new Novartis ($NVS) plant to reserve space for making vaccines in case of a pandemic, it was a pretty good deal for the Swiss company. But the county that houses the plant thinks Novartis is getting too much of a deal.
An appeals court in North Carolina will now decide if the company is entitled to an exemption on real property taxes for the 40% ostensibly owned by the federal government for now, reports the Charlotte/Raleigh CityBizList.
The matter started in 2006, when the town of Holly Springs, NC, gave Novartis land on which to build its vaccine plant. In 2009, HHS offered to pay $316 million, which was 40% of the cost, and to buy up to 96 million flu vaccines a year from Novartis when the plant was operating. Earlier reports pegged the contract amount at $486 million. In exchange, HHS got the right to produce flu vaccine in the plant in case of a flu pandemic, CityBizList reports. For whatever reason, the terms are that HHS owns 40% of the property until it is built and then Novartis gets full ownership.
“…go on, take the money and run…”
State Street bank gets $11.5 million in tax cuts:
@Woop – so politicians give some monkey brains a tax break to build a bank where the computer tracking of the money (extraction) is done from India….? Nice. Who is going to buy Subway sandwiches in Boston?
With one billion people living in India – why are there not enough jobs in THEIR banks to track their own people’s money? Even everyone earning just one rupee a year – that’s a billion portfolio to invest….
I REFUSE from here on in to discuss what just happened to the Middle Class in USA from any other angle other than genocide. There IS no other angle! And as Tony F sez, “…there will be blood…”.
And the PUNKS in Homeland Insecurity can just – to borrow from the line delivered by a firefighter at the October 2001 Concert for the First Responders – “kiss my royal Irish a—” – except the royal part comes from another country – but, hey, we’re all brothers :-))
How can one, by being opposed to high taxation, “campaign to transfer wealth from the poor to the rich.” If someone earns income, and increases their wealth, through their own efforts, how can that be a transfer from the poor to the rich? That suggests that the wealth was somehow initally belonged to the poor. I’m sorry, but my income is between my employer and me, it has nothing to do with anyone else, so I fail to see that what I make is somehow depriving somebody of anything seeing as they were never a part of my employment equation.
In any event, the “poor” in this case is a red herring. Seeking to reduce taxation so as to avoid it going to bloated public union pensions and handouts to favorites of the Left has nothing to do with the poor. The political Left cares little for the poor, but merely uses them as a tool to pad the pockets of their selected lobbyists.
Really That What is Not??? No one is talking about any wealth transfer. The only transfer of wealth in this country over the last 30 years has been from the poor and middleclass to the predatorclass. We lefties are demanding that the predatorclass pays it’s fair share, which thanks to the bushtaxcuts, and other untoward policies and behaviors – they do not as many commentarians here prove.
There’s no wealth transfer, – it’s a question of fairness, and legality. If those issues are beyond the scope of your understanding or sense of justice or even morality – then may the goddess have mercy on you soul. No one
cares what you earn, as long as you earn it legally and pay your fair share of taxes. If that’s too much to ask, then how are you any different from drug dealers, pimps, wetboys, and other criminals many of whom are exceptionally wealthy and don’t pay taxes on most of their income either?
Your commentary illustrates the kind of sociopath thinking and behavior that is the rootcause of Amerika’s dysfunction. You have no eyes, no ears, and no heart.
If the sustainable man to land ratio was the under-pinning of an economy, there would be no *poor*. Everyone born would have enough. Civilization would be about placing people into the industry they were competent to work at as a producer of living standards, not as an extracting FILTHY *rich* predator (War Lord, Drug Lord, Slave Lord).
And a certain % of USA population comes from the gene pool of northern Eurasia where people were working at agriculture during the growing season, and then spent all winter manufacturing (one kiln/oven kept everyone warm – including animals in the barns) everything else that they needed – tools, clothes, ceramic, glass, etc. And lots of time to study, learn, and make plans to apply improved techniques to all of life-maintenance. So there are people who could excel at more than one thing, let them do what they like best.
The derivatives *matrix* is a a delusional creation of monkey-brains.
Work to you DROP…..Carlos Slim asserts minimum retirement age should be age 70…….tell the window washers, tree surgeons, construction guys, and see what they say!
Who CARES what this SLAVE LORD says about anything>?
Yup, put a fork in it,….check,… and yes,.. it’s done.
Here are some poor workers we can raise taxes on…..a supplier to WALMART engaging in SLAVE LABOR practices…….let’s tax these workers, hey, why not?
What replaced the evil Workers Unions:
@Anonymous, “..It’s highly immoral to suggest poor people need to share a highly disproportionate tax burden with one another, while the wealthy and super rich avoid, escape, run from, evade, shelter, distort their own tax liabilities….”
Meet Justice Roberts who upheld that immorality today. Now the IRS can come after you for not supporting the filthy rich
(btw – some would never be on that list without The Homestead Act)
with TAX FUNDED bail out $$$$, high paid mercenaries hired by the military to support perpetual war in the Middle East, oil subsidies, etc. if you do not buy FOR PROFIT health insurance or pay a TAX for not buying insurance!
Just like a majority of the $$$$ that was supposed to go to homeowners to re-negotiate foreclosure went to towns in the red, the majority of this new $$$$ – and it is a big fat river of $$$$ – will go to nothing other than interest on FIAT money and to the 400 + billionaires because everyone got skined so there’s more skin in the game, right? Extraction in the extreme now with this “mandate”.
“you’ve been punk’d” again by the Supreme Court
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