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TAXES: Be accountable for that tax cut

Letter by Bernice L. Youtz, Tacoma on April 18, 2011 at 11:15 am with 41 Comments »
April 18, 2011 2:46 pm

“Please don’t let him suffer!” (Cartoonists’ sketchpad, 4-16) is the caption on a cartoon that depicts a rich man threatened with the end of Bush tax cuts for the wealthy.

Members of Congress assure us that the richest of the rich must have tax relief so that they will invest, innovate and create jobs. If the very rich had truly invested in recent years, we would not be in economic straits today.

Their idea of investing was outsourcing labor overseas and eliminating jobs for Americans. Their idea of innovation was the hedge fund.

If we continue to award these tax cuts, could we attach some strings? If you donate to a charity and claim a tax deduction, you have to show a receipt to the IRS. Could we ask tax-cut recipients for a receipt?

There is ample space for investment in America. Tycoons of the past made fortunes in railroads, city transit and shipping. Current billionaires could invest tax savings to reinvigorate those faltering systems. How about investments in medical technology and training? Could they fund innovation in energy systems, in means of recruiting, training and rewarding superior teachers?

The tycoons of the past were no angels. They made fortunes for themselves, and too often exploited their workers, but they also helped make our economy the envy of the world and had enough to endow universities, libraries, hospitals, museums – ensuring themselves a legacy far outlasting their dollar rewards.

If we allow tax cuts, can we ask for accountability?

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Leave a comment Comments → 41
  1. Ms. Youtz, this letter is articulate and thoughtful, succinct and forceful. Thanks.

  2. Thank you for a well written argument. I only wish that those that get to vote on this would read it.

  3. The current tax “cut” is 10 years old… it is the current tax rate… if that is what you wish to discuss – the current tax rate – then go for it…

    Could we ask tax-cut recipients for a receipt?

    Sure can… it is called an IRS Form 1040…

    Jeeze…

  4. nokoolaide says:

    You seem to be over looking one simple fact. Its not the governments money! Since when is it charity or require accountability for a man to keep more of his own money? Somewhere down the line something went terribly wrong with the thinking of the American mind set. As long as you need the government to get by you will never know true freedom.

  5. menopaws says:

    When the last Bush tax cut was passed in December–the Republicans stood in front of the press and said it would bring job creation…………that is what they say every damn time. These people, as the writer states ,ship jobs overseas–that is their version of job creation. The banks and major corporations have placed our economy on fragile ground while they continue to fatten their bank accounts and their bonuses and bottom lines. Those of us who remember the lies, remember the “cooked” books of past years are tired of it. Pay your fair share and quit flushing this economy down a toilet while you get richer. The Republicans are truly on the wrong side of this argument–people are fed up with their excuses and sound bites, while they continue to allow corporate America to destroy our 401K’s and pensions while they promote the dismantling of Medicare. Real responsible stuff……

  6. nokoolaide – yes….it is the government’s money….that is the price we pay to be citizens.

  7. nwcolorist says:

    Interesting ideas. There are trillions of investor dollars just sitting out there right now. How do we get those dollars put to work?

  8. truthbusterguy says:

    Yes, it’s time for accountability.

    No more money to any governement until such time. Stave the beast of government is the way to go. Avoid all tax any way you can.

  9. BB – then feel free to send the government all the income you deed unneccessary for your sustinance…

    “it is the government’s money”…. too funny… please…

  10. nokoolaide says:

    BeerBoy, that is not a “citizen”, that is a “subject”.

  11. With all that money setting in overseas accounts, the Rich should have no problem with a return to the 39% tax rate.

    If tax breaks for the rich and for corporations worked why do we 8.8% unemployment.

    In 1951 unemployment was 3.3 per cent, the top tax bracket was 91%, and Union membership was 31.7%.

  12. With all that money setting in overseas accounts, the Rich should have no problem with a return to the 39% tax rate.

    Just because we can pay a higher rate doesn’t mean we should… it’s our money. The government must ask us for it. We say NO! Do better with what we do give you… until then… NO!

    If tax breaks for the rich and for corporations worked why do we 8.8% unemployment.

    Because their are other variable that affect employment. Revenue is a better, more direct measure of whether tax rates are effective.

    In 1951 unemployment was 3.3 per cent, the top tax bracket was 91%, and Union membership was 31.7%.

    That was then… this is now. The US and the World were alot different. We were the leader and far ahead of the world. Now the world is catching up. Keep looking back at where we were and you will miss where we need to go.

  13. xring says: “In 1951 unemployment was 3.3 per cent, the top tax bracket was 91%, and Union membership was 31.7%.”

    And Democrats still believed lynching blacks was an acceptable form of sport.

    Bonus question; Name someone who paid 91% tax on their income? The clock has started.

  14. Let’s address who is continuously into the class warfare bit – the Liberals. I have and idea with regard to a new tax code. Since the Liberals adore high tax rates, why can’t we establish a tax code whereby the Liberals pay 40% and the Conservatives pay 15%. “Now that’s more than fair.” As a matter of fact, it’s pure genius!

  15. Starting in the 1980s (under Reagan) American jobs were outsourced, never to be returned. Clinton’s efforts to create NAFTA increased the flow of jobs out of the country. Bush greatly expanded these efforts which Obama has made no effort to stem.

    The economic crisis was manufactured. This is why the uber-rich continue to show gains in wealth and the corporations have had record profits during this time of austerity and deliberate destruction of the middle class.

    This is class war – and many of us are actively cheerleading for the side that is attacking us.

    http://www.whitehouseforsale.org/documents/102804offshoring.pdf

    http://www.progressiveliving.org/editorial_offshoring_American_jobs.htm

  16. blakeshouse says:

    Typical socialist/ communist blather…We can thank the indoctrination camps across this country for the brain washing done over the last 30 yrs for the subject not citizen mentality shown over and over again by these refugees from the old soviet mentality

  17. harleyrider1 says:

    Jealousy. Your neighbor drives a new car and lives in a better house. It’s just not fair. Attack him. He should give up some of his money. He’s not very supportive of the rest of us.

    What an ignorant argument.

    Everyone goes to school and everyone has the same opportunity to learn, invent, aspire to become anyone.

    A young man wanting to be a lawyer, but had no money worked all throughout high school. He found a restaurant near the Seattle UW and worked there in between classes and after school – 7 days a week. Every day and every night while friends partied or went home on holidays. He slept in a tiny one room loft. When he graduated from law school, his debt was minimal because he paid as he went. He became successful here in Tacoma, even becoming a millionaire, as he continued to work late at nights and on week-ends.

    Oh he did give back through the Greater Tacoma Community Foundation and other charities. As he got older and before he died, he made it a point to say his friends had the same opportunity he did they. They simply chose to live life differently.

    George Russell started with nothing. He was working with his uncle who died unexpectedly. George felt bad about their clients and rolled up his sleeves and went to work. He soon realized that everyone needs a retirement plan. As he grew his company, he decided that he would fund the employee’s retirements to help get them started and interested. He donated money to get buildings started downtown; to get people interested in different things; and to inspire small business owners to grow.

    Are these the rich people you are jealous of and demand that they share with you and your friends? Do you even know what you are talking about?

  18. One third of a rich man’s wages belong to the government. How much more do you want? Are you willing to confront the rich man and demand his property for your use?

    How about taxing the 45 percent of wage earners who pay nothing . . .

  19. Uscha.. you are anti american. good decent americans know the price we pay for our great country is taxes. Smart people know this.

  20. commoncents says:

    harleyrider1 says:
    April 19, 2011 at 6:57 am

    Jealousy. Your neighbor doesn’t work, receives welfare payments, has his medical paid for when he waits 8 hours in the emergency room for treatment because no doctors are accepting new medical coupon patients. He receives food stamps in order to survive and his church provides him with enough food and clothing to feed his family – barely. And, to make things worse…when he files his taxes – he gets a CREDIT!!! The audacity!!! He’s barely getting by – many meals are top ramen or chicken soup. Attack him. His extravagant lifestyle, one that we all aspire to have, is being supported by all of us!

    What an ignorant argument.

    —-

    Is it really jealousy? or selfishness?

  21. commoncents says:

    So, really? what’s the answer? Is it always to cut spending? Where? What programs? Why is the reform only limited to spending and not tax reform? I don’t pretend to know the answer…I know that there’s an argument against every type of reform out there. But something has to be done. But pointing fingers at everyone else and saying “rich – poor or class warfare” is only serving to postpone any solution. How about tossing out REAL alternatives and actually discussing them instead of insults and pithy little comments that only serve to embarrass ourselves.

    Personally? I started to type up a quasi-flat tax scenario and then realized that those who have medical issues would be so negatively impacted that they’d go bankrupt (and we can’t get out of paying the IRS on a bankruptcy). I also realized that my own 401k that I’ve been saving for many years would be so negatively impacted that it would be considered a mistake to have contributed to begin with. But – at the same time – I’d be willing to take that loss if it means my kids will have a more equitable system that would allow them to live better than I do. Right now I don’t have a lot of confidence that his life will be better than mine and am not so sure that mine is better than my parents.

  22. mustangnorm says:

    I dont know about anyone else but this year I had to have a receipt for every item and even had to prove the r t a tax on my car. Then they made a copy for the I R S and one for their files. Im retired and living on a fixed income. My income did not go up from last year but I had to pay another 600 hundred more ?

  23. harley – so…..the attacks on your neighbor who is a middle class union member for having better benefits than you is…..jealousy…..right?

  24. Gotta love the socialist/marxist labeling of folks who calling for a change in American laws and regulations that encourage the loss of American jobs through off-shoring.

    American “capitalism” has nothing to do with America nor with what used to be known as capitalism. The manufacturing base has been eliminated in order to get rid of that pesky labor problem and all that is left is manipulation of perceptions to enhance speculative stock prices (can’t really call it “values” as it is not based in anything real).

    The unions have been demonized as the reason for this but….let’s get real here….with so few union jobs left it seems more than a little disingenuous to think that they have any power left to influence our economy.

    So what’s left? Go after teachers – they have a union. Make a quality liberal arts education that trains critical thinking skills unattainable to the formerly middle class and replace it with fill in the bubble standardized testing skills that can be “taught” cheaply and efficiently through a computer program. Only the wealthy will be able to afford good education for their children.

    Use deficit reduction as a tool to cut those remaining programs (especially education) that support class mobility.

    Oh well…..it will solve the illegal immigrant problem….with young undereducated Americans unable to compete for anything but menial labor we will have a ready pool of citizens willing to take those jobs.

  25. GOP chant ‘Lower tax on the rich means more Jobs’. NOW they suddenly find other variables that affect employment. Like all the sweetheart deals the GOP has given to Companies who ship jobs overseas.

    The rich are like the Tibetan farmer who was unhappy because he only had 99 yaks.

    So the farmer told his brother how unhappy he was because he only had 99 yaks, and how if he could only have 100 yaks he would be happy.

    So the poor brother give his only yak the his rich brother.

    And the next morning the rich brother woke up feeling even more unhappy because he realized he only had 100 yaks, If only he could have 101yaks he could be happy again.

  26. ‘Lower tax on the rich means more Jobs’.

    No, keeping taxes low keeps more money where it belongs… under your control. The corrolation between jobs and (insert one item here) has always been a talking point of both parties. It has always taken a few things working together to provide the environment for job creation… by the private sector.

    Low taxes, limited sensible regulation, sound fiscal policy, are just a few of the components to an environment for job creation.

    Taxing the bejesus out of the private sector will definately NOT provide for an environment for job creation.

  27. Omega6234 says:

    We should tax illegal alliens…or just make them pay a toll at the border… problem solved.

  28. commoncents says:

    If pressed, I could agree that the government should not be providing the level of services that they currently do. I can also agree that said services can be provided by the private sector (though I would disagree that they can do it cheaper) and that would spur job creation (or transfer from public to private). However, limited regulation is one of the things that got us into this mess to begin with. One could argue that it just threw the inevitable crash into hyper drive but doing so prevented any chance at heading it off. Additionally, the timing of it is horrible. I would say that if this crash would have happened in 20 years then we wouldn’t be worried about govt pension funding because the vast majority of pension/retirement plans would be fully funded with the traditional full pensions with no DC component would be gone.

  29. GHTaxPayer says:

    How about if Obama lowers the federal spending from $3.6 TRILLION per year back to the 2000 level of $1.8 TRILLION per year? Problem solved.

    The Feds are currently BORROWING $1.4 TRILLION per year to cover Obama’s runaway spending and job killing policies.

    Kick out Obama in 2012. Problem solved.

  30. butchadams says:

    beerBoy,

    So if paying taxes is the price we pay for citizenship, are the 47% who pay no taxes going to lose their citizenship, and along with it their right to vote.

    If you pay no taxes, should you have the right to vote on candidates or initiatives that affect the taxes on those that do pay?

  31. alindasue says:

    GHTaxpayer,
    The largest portion of the federal debt is interest on that debt. Even if the current administration doesn’t borrow another cent, the debt is going to increase unless more money is brought in to pay down that debt.

    I know from experience how debt works. Unless you are making more than the minimum paymen every month, the interest will just increase. If you are late, a late charge is added to the debt and interest charge on that too until your debt is “over limit” and you are paying overlimit-fees and interest on that too. We had a card we hadn’t used since 1996 blossom from less than $2000 in charges to over $5000 in debt until 2004 when we had a credit councelor intercede with the credit companies to stop the added fees – and my husband took on a second job – were we able to pay down our debt.

    My main gripe about the current adminstration’s spending is the obscene amount being spent on the wars. I don’t mind paying for decent wages and benefits for soldiers who are ready trained to defend us. I do mind the billions of dollars a day that are being blown up (literally) “protecting” us from “enemies” real and imagined throughout the world.

    They say it’s easier to start a war than to end one. George W. Bush managed to start one easily enough and added to another one that was already started with equal ease, leaving Pres. Obama to try and end them – which he isn’t doing very well. However, I can’t help but wonder if our troops would have ended up in Libia so readily had we not already been involved in Afghanistan and Iraq.

    Either way, it’s a money pit that just keeps sucking taxpayer dollars… and oddly enough, one of the few tax-paid expenses that the Tea Party crowd and far right conservatives don’t seem to fight against.

  32. Nokoolaid,
    Without government there would be no civilization.
    With our government, there would be no USA.

    Camas,
    In 1951, anyone whose income was over 400,000 paid a tax of 91% on the portion of their income over 400,000.
    Uscha,
    Shall we discuss who is making war on the American middle and working classes?

    XX98,
    GOP = lower taxes on rich produces more government income through increased jobs.

    Spin it anyway you want, but that has been the rant since St. Ronnie Raygun
    And raising the top rate by 4% is hardly ‘taxing the bejesus’ out of anyone. Besides which, under Obama’s tax plan, the tax on $250,000 would be about $20,000 lower than under Bush’s (i.e. the current) plan.

    Butchadams.
    ‘the 47%’ – you want to try getting along on $33,000 a year?

    GHT,
    Not paying on the Debt is the quickest way to destroy America.

  33. commoncents says:

    GHTaxpayer – given the current state of the economy, the number of people impacted by federal programs, and the current unemployment rate…do you honestly believe that the we, as a nation, could handle such a draconian cut of funds? Would you be willing to roll your pay back to a 2000 level? Not a one off reduction with an increase next year but a full reduction….keep in mind that YOUR expenses won’t decrease with your revenue.

  34. Besides which, under Obama’s tax plan, the tax on $250,000 would be about $20,000 lower than under Bush’s (i.e. the current) plan.

    How do you raise the tax rate 4% and get $20,000 less than the current plan?

  35. butchadams says:

    Xring

    It may have been a number of years ago, but when I was drafted into the military I got by on $79 a month ( before taxes and social security). But then again that was at the begining of “The Great Society” with its transfer of wealth, its dependency on the Nanny State, and loss of self reliancy as people learned they could live on the earnings of others with the governments being the facilitator.

    Yes, some one earning $33,000 a year should pay taxes. It’s the cost of citizenship.

  36. Why do republicans lie so much?
    Why are they so stupid?

    Lets not kid our selves here, they do lie and they are stupid, I just wonder why.

  37. butchadams says:

    xtp855

    When all arguments fail, resort to name calling and or cussing.

  38. Butch,
    I bet they made you buy a Savings Bond out of that $78.

    Today’s Privates make $1,467 (about 19 times what we made)

    $33K, lowest rank/time would be an E-5 with 8 years service.

    In our day $33k was more than a 4-star Flag officer.

    Living wage in Pierce county for 1 Adult + 1 child is $35.

  39. Nanook,
    What we need is for the rich to actually pay their share of and not use tax loopholes and offshore accounts to avoid paying their fair share.

    Xx98,
    Because Obama’s plan retains the lower rates and only raise the top rate.

    GHT,
    Why & How did Bush2 push spend to the 2008 levels? Wasn’t it something about deficits and debts don’t matter

  40. Jeeze Christ xring – we have provide the numbers over and over from the IRS… the “rich” pay more than their fair share in taxes… period.

    Using the tax code to reduce your liability is legal to do.

    Knowning that the new rate is coming sound fiscal management will mean that I manage my money in an attempt to reduce my tax liability. I will do whatever is legal to reduce my tax lliability. duh! You will not get the tax revenue that you will if yo have a sound expanding economy.

    2008 level is about a $1,000,000,000,000 dollars lower than it is now… duh!

  41. Warren Buffett doesn’t seem to think so.

    And he should know more about it than you.

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