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TAXES: Crumbling society needs more revenue

Letter by Charles H. Mathias, Steilacoom on Sep. 7, 2011 at 1:38 pm with 105 Comments »
September 7, 2011 2:29 pm

Re: “Let’s focus more on creating wealth, less on redistributing it” (Richard Davis column, 9-7).

Davis echoes the cry of the rich everywhere. Yes, but create wealth how, exactly? He’s less forthcoming about that; these days even fat cats, I suspect, are ashamed to promote a theory so thoroughly discredited as trickle-down economics.

Yet that must be what it comes down to, since Davis certainly is not suggesting raising taxes on the wealthy, even though the last time somebody tried that, the nation as a whole experienced a streak of unprecedented prosperity. Remember the Clinton years? It’s been downhill for the vast majority of us ever since, while the rich have increased their worth obscenely.

Davis claims our income tax system “remains highly progressive.” Well, not as progressive as it once was, obviously, or where did the million bucks in Bush tax cuts Rick Steves gave to the symphony come from? Nor does Davis mention the megacorporations paying no income tax at all, thanks again to the largess of Bush and Co.

While I agree it’s swell a few arts organizations are benefiting from the occasional overflow from the warehouses of cash enjoyed by a few, what does that do for the kids being thrown off the public health rolls? Will it fill the potholes rendering our streets increasingly undriveable?

The simple truth: If society is not to crumble entirely, more revenue is needed. And thanks to 30 years of voodoo economics, only the rich have that revenue.

Leave a comment Comments → 105
  1. stetsonwalker says:

    How about government living within its means instead? You know, like real cuts and elimination of useless departments, such as the department of education that has done nothing for education since inception.

  2. aislander says:

    Is this the same Chuck Matthias who went to Charles Wright?

  3. Fibonacci says:

    Yes, let’s live within our means, but how about paying for two wars first. Just how many trillion dollars have been spent on Iraq and Afganistan that could have helped us “live within our means” on the rest of the stuff. It seems like if we had raised taxes, JUST TO PAY FOR WAR, a good portion of the national debt could be paid off.

    Righties are so good at trying to compare government to families, but a famly could not have the percentage expense that the two wars cost and still have money for everything else, no matter how much they cut?

  4. tree_guy says:

    “Yes, but create wealth how, exactly?”

    I can’t answer for Richard Davis, but I can answer your question. I would cut all government salaries across the board by 10% immediately. If people don’t wish to work for 90% of what they made before they can seek private sector employment. If this didn’t solve our budget problems and provide some extra money for indigent health care I would cut an additional 10%. Thanks for asking.

  5. Refrigerator says:

    You mean the rich like Charles Rangel, Timothy Geithner ,Nancy Killefer, Ron Kirk, Hillary Clinton, Mr. Obama, people like that should pay more taxes. The rest of us could get a break if they did.

  6. beerBoy says:

    tree_guy – just how is cutting all government salaries by 10% (and therefore reducing the amount that those families have to spend at local businesses – creating a negative ripple throughout the entire economy) going to create wealth?

  7. beerBoy says:

    Apparently “The Father of Modern Capitalist Thought” believed in progressive taxation AND, the use of it for the redistribution of wealth:

    “The subjects of every state ought to contribute toward the support of the government, as nearly as possible, in proportion to their respective abilities; that is, in proportion to the revenue which they respectively enjoy under the protection of the state ….[As Henry Home (Lord Kames) has written, a goal of taxation should be to] ‘remedy inequality of riches as much as possible, by relieving the poor and burdening the rich.‘”

    Adam Smith


  8. xx98411 says:

    “Just how many trillion dollars have been spent on Iraq and Afganistan that could have helped us “live within our means” on the rest of the stuff.”

    $1.29 trillion – start of war to the end of fiscal year 2011 (30 September 2011)

  9. tree_guy says:

    “how is cutting all government salaries by 10% (and therefore reducing the amount that those families have to spend at local businesses – creating a negative ripple throughout the entire economy) going to create wealth?” beerboy

    I would try to get most of this 10% back into the hands of taxpayers by reducing taxes of almost every variety. This would encourage more spending power by the consumers and would reduce the cost of running the government. Government services are too expensive and need to be trimmed significantly.

  10. xx98411 says:

    …by relieving the poor and burdening the rich.’

    The “poor” have been increasingly relieved of their share of the taxes.

    When you continue to ask an increasingly smaller group to contribute so that an increasingly larger group can be relieved of the tax burden, it still won’t solved the problem of government overspending.

    You can tax 100% over $250K and it still won’t close the budget gap much less touch the deficit.

    Spending has and always will be the issue that needs to be controlled. It has been since the beginning of this nation.

  11. xx98411 says:

    sorry was a little lazy with the source thingy…

    According to IRS data in 1981 the top 1% tax share was @ 17.6%… in 2008, the tax share was @38%.

    Bottom 50% in 1981 – @7.5%… in 2008, tax share was 2.7%

  12. tree guy forgets that people with government jobs pay taxes too – and it is with taxpayer monies. So when you cut their wages as he suggests, you are also cutting revenue.

  13. KARDNOS says:

    “Cut 10% of government salaries”

    One more time….put the problem on the backs of the middle class. Let’s not take a look at the purchase orders executed by the Pentagon…..heavens, no.

    Good catch Frida! Cut their salaries 10% and you cut their taxes accordingly, which lowers the revenue sources.

    This is why Conservative knee jerk budgeting never works.

  14. KARDNOS says:

    “Refrigerator says:
    September 7, 2011 at 3:23 pm
    You mean the rich like Charles Rangel, Timothy Geithner ,Nancy Killefer, Ron Kirk, Hillary Clinton, Mr. Obama, people like that should pay more taxes. The rest of us could get a break if they did.

    No…..the entire Congressional Republican roll call…..who deny being rich. You’ll find that several times the people you have listed have acknowledge that there should be additional taxes, which would include them.

  15. Publico says:

    Great letter Mr. Mathias. Mr. Davis was totally out to lunch on this one.

  16. Dave98373 says:

    “30 years of voodoo economics????”….Good luck trying to push that lie in this blog!!

  17. LarryFine says:

    So all the money have have earned, saved, invested, and spent is a figment of my imagination ???


  18. tree_guy says:

    “tree guy forgets that people with government jobs pay taxes too” Frida

    Well, I didn’t forget that. When a government employee gets a 10 % pay cut he will probably drop down to a lower tax level so the pay cut will actually pencil out at about 7 to 8%. So it’s not really that significant. Frida, in the next few years the government is going to have to make huge cuts in spending, fiddling with the tax rates on a few millionaires isn’t going to solve the problems created by runaway budgeting. My proposal preserves services at current levels, lowers the spending for the government and gives the consumers back some spending money. It’s not a perfect solution but its close as I can get. Let’s hear your recommendation.

  19. stetsonwalker says:

    Name one country throughout history that taxed themselves into prosperity.

  20. KARDNOS says:

    The United States has been a prosperous country. Taxation hasn’t hurt the US.

    What hurts the US is when you spend (Iraq and Afghanistan) with no revenue source.

    The US will again be properous when we eliminate elected officials that knee jerk answer the challenges we face.

  21. tree_guy says:

    Kardnos wrote@ “One more time….put the problem on the backs of the middle class. Let’s not take a look at the purchase orders executed by the Pentagon…..heavens, no”.

    So you can’t endorse cutting the paychecks of middle class government workers, but you don’t have any problem cutting the paychecks of middle class defense industry workers. Pure Kardnos

  22. KARDNOS says:

    “When a government employee gets a 10 % pay cut he will probably drop down to a lower tax level so the pay cut will actually pencil out at about 7 to 8%. So it’s not really that significant.”


  23. LarryFine says:

    probably not

  24. aislander says:

    Crumbling society needs more production of wealth. Too much government; not enough economic freedom…

  25. KARDNOS says:

    Too much government?

    If that is the issue, why do we have states making immunizations mandatory and laws regulating baggy pants?

    If there is ‘too much government” I’m waiting for the Republican bottleneck to start resigning to make government smaller. I’ll bet the Democrats could get all sorts of legislation passed without the obstructionists that are in the “too much” side of the government.

  26. KARDNOS says:

    smaller government = drug testing welfare recipients.

  27. KARDNOS says:

    “tree_guy says:
    September 7, 2011 at 7:24 pm
    Kardnos wrote@ “One more time….put the problem on the backs of the middle class. Let’s not take a look at the purchase orders executed by the Pentagon…..heavens, no”.

    So you can’t endorse cutting the paychecks of middle class government workers, but you don’t have any problem cutting the paychecks of middle class defense industry workers. Pure Kardnos

    Uh….. NO. How about not extending no bid contracts to Halliburton? Again….the knee jerk responses of the right wing extremists. If you think that the Halliburton and Blackwater contractors in the Middle East are middle class workers……well……the problem is obvious.

  28. tree_guy says:

    “If you think that the Halliburton and Blackwater contractors in the Middle East are middle class workers……well……the problem is obvious.” Kardnos

    Kardnos…I’ll make this easy for you:

    Fill in the name of the President of the US___________
    Fill in the name of the Commander In Chief____________
    Fill in the name of the Party the President belongs to_________
    I think you’ve just identified the source of your problem.Congratulations

  29. SandHills says:

    Most of what I read or hear from those seeking political office – or pontificating on forums such as these can be put simply as rearranging the deck chairs after the Titanic struck the iceberg.

    The working middle class is being squeezed out of it’s position as the backbone of our nation in order to serve the needs of extremes – those interested in protecting their wealth and those driven to redistribute that wealth in order to maintain a host of social welfare programs that have largely failed ( other than perpetuating generation after generation of government program dependency).

    I can see where the rich could at least be taxed as they were before the Bush tax cuts – but without a complete overhaul of all government expenditures to cut out waste and abuse, any extra revenue gained would only keep going down a black hole of ineffective fiscal management by a government bureaucracy more driven to feed it’s own growth than the public it is suppose to serve.

  30. aislander says:

    SandHills: You are confusing tax rates with revenues. The “rich” are carrying a larger percentage of the freight now than they did in the Clinton years, and our tax system is already the most “progressive” in the industrialized world. How is taxing ANYONE more heavily going to help the middle class?

  31. ItalianSpring says:

    Liberals: they were liberal when it was cool (back in the 60s) and they still are.

  32. The liberals are ranting about needing more money. It can only mean thing, they need some dough for smokes.

  33. concernedtacoma7 says:

    Sandhill- well said. All of the blame placed on the previous administration solves no problem today.

    To play along with the resident racist/bigot, let’s say 100% of the debt up until today was Bush’s fault. Let’s say we tax the ‘rich’ 100%. Are our problems solved? Did unemployment go down? Education better? Less oil from the middle east?

    The overwhelming majority of Americans were better off 2 years ago.

  34. harleyrider1 says:

    Chuck – let’s start with you. You have a great federal pension and are certainly better off then say, many in Central Tacoma.

    Please distribute some of your wealth to them.

    Or just keep telling other people they have too much and what they should do with their money.

    Lead by example Chuck – I mean really give like you think we should take from others.

  35. royboy361 says:

    You know what they say about the golden rule.
    Those who have the gold make the rules.

  36. beerBoy says:

    Touche’ Mr Tree Guy, You will never convince a Lib to place the blame where it originates – with the L i b s / D e m s / H o m o s and I l l e g a l s

    Thank you jintz. Your post really helps demonstrate a point about posters who share your views.

  37. KARDNOS says:

    “concernedtacoma7 says:
    September 8, 2011 at 2:50 am
    Sandhill- well said. All of the blame placed on the previous administration solves no problem today.”

    and to ignore the truth does no good either

  38. KARDNOS says:

    Tree Guy thinks that we are only paying bills from the Obama Administration in the deficit.

    More knee jerk reactions to a complex problem.

  39. KARDNOS says:

    “The overwhelming majority of Americans were better off 2 years ago.”

    People absorbed huge losses on retirement accounts.

    The US was hemmoraging jobs.

    Yeah….just wonderful. Again….knee jerk reactions to a complex problem

  40. xx98411 says:

    you got a solution karnos…?

  41. beerBoy says:

    Sandhill- well said. All of the blame placed on the previous administration solves no problem today.”

    Partisan finger pointing only serves the status quo and perpetuate the Dem and Repub subservience to the Money Party. But – a serious analysis of what has happened over the past 30 years to dismantle the mighty economic engine of the US based in manufacturing – is absolutely necessary if we are to ever get out of this spiral.

  42. Islander,
    After 30 years of Reaganomics and 6 years of the problem is not enough of the right type of government regulation and oversight.

    ‘’rich carrying a larger percentage then under Clinton’ with lower tax rates than under Regan? Which means that the rich have gotten a whole lot richer while the rest of us have gotten poorer.

    ‘most progressive tax system’ – Top tax rate in England is 50%.

    Timing is not just important it is everything.

    Your questions need to be modified to include ‘when we got into two ruinously expensive and unnecessary wars’.

    Then we will truly know who was responsible.

    Both drug testing welfare recipients, and mandatory vaccination of 12 year old girls where done by executive order by two so called conservative republicon governors who owned stock in the companies that would most benefit from the procedures.

    Perry’s defense of his vaccination order – ‘It was for the good of the young girls.’

  43. aislander says:

    Yes, xring, but England lacks the state and local taxes that afflict us, so it is quite possible to pay about 60% if one lives in, say, New York City. I know you know this and are being willfully obtuse for ideological reasons…

  44. itwasntmethistime says:

    Is he saying the standard of living is lower now than it was 30 years ago, before voodoo economics? Because I’m pretty sure that’s not true. I can only go by what I remember as a kid 30 years ago, but I don’t remember any of the poor people I knew having cable TV, cell phones, or enough food to get fat. And I distinctly remember a few friends who couldn’t play school sports because their mothers couldn’t afford the price of the physical, so all the kids that are “being thrown off the public health rolls” aren’t faring any worse than kids from prior to 30 years ago, when there weren’t any public health rolls.

  45. aislander says:

    “…the problem is not enough of the right type of government regulation and oversight.”–xring.


  46. LarryFine says:

    … says it all…

  47. itwasntmethistime says:

    xring — I’ll agree the rich have gotten richer, but I won’t agree the rest of us have gotten poorer.

  48. aislander says:

    In addition to the higher rate of taxes on income that make our system more “progressive” than that of the UK, we don’t have the VERY regressive VAT that drives up prices at every stage of the supply chain. Our tax system IS the most progressive (for better of worse) in the world.

  49. scott0962 says:

    We may disagree on how much government should provide but we all expect some level of services from government and those services cost money. Most of us know that and accept it and I suspect a lot of us, rich people included, would accept modest tax increases IF we were convinced the money would be well spent–and therein lies the problem. Neither party’s record suggests that they have the will to ensure any additional taxes would be well spent on essential services instead of being used as usual to curry votes or cater to special interests with lots of money to spend on political campaigns. Until the politicians of both parties demonstrate by actions–not just words–that they are serious about handling our money in a responsible manner for the public good (instead of their own good) why should we trust them with more of our money?

  50. olympicmtn says:

    Here is the new reality folks given how Americans live:

    1) Manual labor redistributed to other countries; lower costs (China India)
    2) Americans buy junk to satisfy their craving to “feel good” by buying 20 pairs of shoes made in china, or trinkets at Target etc…
    3) Need to have more than your neighbor even if it is “stuff”
    4) White collar jobs being shipped to India; lowering all wages
    5) Public employees demanding higher wages for 20+ years based on ficticious numbers and no revenue to pay for the $50billion in debt incurred by bloated pension plans
    6) Private sector trying to rein in inflation while the public sector demands more

    So the next time you want to blame one party over another, I suggest we look in the mirror and see what kind of crap we buy to satisfy our TV watching lives. At least Germany up until a year or two ago had “Made in Germany” goods still available to buy including clothing. The same quality clothing they buy 1 or 2 items to place in their small closets and not the 20+ t-shirts, spandex needed by most Americans.

  51. old_benjamin says:

    Soak the rich. Now there’s a novel idea.

    Perhaps we should think about getting rid of that hideous obscenity known as the IRS code and replacing it with a flat tax. Perhaps the guvment should look at the mind-boggling waste of the revenue it already gets. Naw, that might actually require something like the analytic ability expected of sixth graders. Just stay with the same old cliches–while the guvment plays the same tired old political games. After all, it beats having to actually think about what we’re doing.

  52. Islander,
    Nice try to switch themes, but we were discussing the Federal Income Tax.
    12 Countries with the Highest & Lowest Tax Rates (as 0f 2006)
    (Marginal rate on average income workers)
    The Highest Tax Rates:
    Belgium – 54%
    Finland – 46.6%
    Germany – 45%
    Denmark – 44.4%
    Italy – 43%
    France – 40%

    The Lowest Tax Rates:
    Japan – 33%
    United Kingdom – 32%
    Australia – 31.5%
    Canada – 31.2%
    USA – 27$
    Switzerland – 20%


  53. Down from the peanut gallery…

    xring… dude… before you hit “enter” please make sure you double check what you are arguing and make sure your “source” actually supports that premise…

    First, I thought you guys were talking Highest rate and the progressiveness of the system. If so why are you using a chart that tells you – “For the sake of using one uniform measure, our article uses marginal income taxes on average income workers in a given country.”

    Why are you not comparing the highest tax rate for a given country….

    Average… WTF is that for a comparison?

    I found these two comments that kinda argue some of the arguments here on this TNT board with a little more color (I had to edit a little for the TNT crew)

    “What a load of bollocks…Australia low tax? While we have 35% personal income tax we also have 10% GST + tons of hidden taxes (local council land rates, govt charges for everything, high petrol tax, alcohol taxes, car taxes etc)….add them all up and we pay around 65% tax or more…and the stupid itch that runs the place is about to introduce another massive tax for carbon.’

    ‘The author is ignorant. US income tax is based on a combination of FEDERAL plus STATE income tax. WHile 4 states have 0% income tax rates, the majority of Americans end up paying an additional 6-10% of their income to the states in income taxes (not to mention property tax, capital gains tax, sales tax, estate tax, registration fees, etc.)!
    1. American tax rate in California for a average worker
    a. federal: 32%
    state: 10%
    SS: 7%
    Disability: 2%
    b. for independent workers, add another 7% social security tax
    c. Total: 59% TAX

    Moral of the story… federal tax is 35% for those at the higher end of the scale, and there are many a hands in your pocket to get as much as possible either before you spend it or while you spend it.

    Got my refill, back to the peanut gallery….

  54. I’m not unsympathetic to your point of view. I think it’s ridiculous that CEO pay is so high and too much off it is taxed at the 15% capital gains rate.

    What I find equally ridiculous is that we get nothing in return for amount money we spend on entitlements.

    Put some of these Medicare entitlement recipients in the classroom and we could cut more of the spending on teacher wages and benefits and spend it on infrastructure.

  55. LarryFine says:

    … speaking of a lack of substance…

    Submitted by beerBoy on October 8, 2008 – 12:48pm.
    …no I can’t cite the source off the top of my head and don’t have time to look right now, but I know what I saw and do not fabricate.

  56. xx98411 says:

    pawl, you are comparing apples and oranges…

    first you use the term “CEO pay” , if its the way you think you mean it, that would be normal income and would be taxed at the appropiate rate. Since you are referring to scum sucking, parasitic CEO’s then it is probably regular income taxed at 35%.

    The 15% you refer to is typically a tax rate for long term investment income.

  57. xx98411 says:

    it lives on the internet forever…


  58. itwasntmethistime says:

    Larry — 2008? Come on now, there has to be some sort of statute of limitations here, especially when you provide no context.

  59. xx98411 says:

    speaking of taxes… and xring, nope not just federal income tax.

    “Comprehensive List of Obama Tax Hikes
    Which one of these tax hikes will destroy the most jobs?
    Since taking office, President Barack Obama has signed into law twenty-one new or higher taxes:


    Obamacare Individual Mandate Excise Tax… the fun part…

    Exemptions for religious objectors, undocumented immigrants, prisoners, those earning less than the poverty line, members of Indian tribes, and hardship cases (determined by HHS). Bill: PPACA; Page: 317-337

    Are you feeling a little religious…?

  60. LarryFine says:

    Since the post I was refering to has been deleted we’ll just have to move on…

  61. Xx,
    Try reading before responding.

    I specifically limited my response to Federal Income Tax.

    Obama Tax increases most do not take effect until 2013, and some not until 2018.

    ATR = American for Tax Reform = Grover Norquest = pledge to never raise taxes – except if it is on the 50% of Americans earning less than $50,000 per year.

  62. xx98411 says:

    I specifically limited my response to Federal Income Tax.

    that is the problem… you may talk about one specific tax to bolster a point but we pay more than just that one singular tax.

    2013… oh, ok, that’s makes me feel better instead of getting hosed now I have all these neat new taxes to look forward too. And better yet, not only hosed in 2013 but it gets stretched out to 2018… thumbs up baby.

    It is a list dude, it has the page number to the associated legislation. The list is valid regardless of who wrote it.

  63. concernedtacoma7 says:

    The title of this letter proves the author’s ignorance. The revenue he speaks of are taxes. Increased taxes do not increase society’s wealth (probably the word he should of used), just the wealth of select groups and individuals.

    Our federal taxes are more progressive today then in the last 60+ years. This is simply another tax the rich, blame Bush letter. 3 years under BHO, when will it be his fault?

    Xring- don’t cherry-pick numbers, look at the whole picture. Act like a reasonable adult and thank those that have educated you.

  64. KARDNOS says:

    Whinemaking……:::::sigh::::……there goes a perfectly good thread

  65. KARDNOS says:

    Although he offers nothing but baseless assertions, “Concerned” posts:

    “Xring- don’t cherry-pick numbers, look at the whole picture. Act like a reasonable adult and thank those that have educated you.”

  66. xx98411 says:

    like you have offered anything of substance…


  67. concernedtacoma7 says:

    Baseless? I was simply pointing out that government revenues (i.e. taxes) do not equate to society’s wealth.

    Sunshine, do you disagree?

  68. aislander says:

    xring is dishonest in his choice of criteria–what can you do?

    If this discussion were about excluding payroll taxes from consideration, a different tune would be sung. Tell ya what, x old thing: I am willing to stipulate payroll taxes, if you stipulate overall rates paid, including all taxes, as a basis of comparison. If you don’t–then you’re a punk…

  69. XX and C7

    On 9-7-11at 10:48 am; Islander said “our tax system is the most progressive in the industrial world”

    Now the only “progressive tax” all Americans pay is Federal Income Tax.

    Therefore, my responses only referred to the Federal Income Tax.

  70. Islander – read my retort to XX and C7.

  71. aislander says:

    xx98411: He HAS offered substance, but decorum prevents my specifying what the substance is…

  72. aislander says:

    Since most state taxes mirror the Federal one, I don’t know what you think you are saying. My opinion of you has now crystallized..

  73. aislander says:

    Hell, even the NYC income tax is progressive…

  74. xx98411 says:

    Now the only “progressive tax” all Americans pay is Federal Income Tax.

    Therefore, my responses only referred to the Federal Income Tax.

    Ok fine if ya wanna play it that way then I offer the following…

    According to IRS data in 1981 the top 1% tax share was @ 17.6%… in 2008, the tax share was @38%.

    Bottom 50% in 1981 – @7.5%… in 2008, tax share was 2.7%

    As you can tell for the top 1% it has “progressed” upwards…

    For the bottom 50% it has “progressed” downwards. (is that possible, progrssing downwards?)

    Seems pretty progressive to me, how about you xring?

  75. LarryFine says:


  76. puyallupmutt says:

    I’ve mentioned this before on the blog, but about a year ago the News Tribune published a great chart showing the 20 largest employers in Pierce County.

    The base, the county, Tacoma, State government etc etc

    From memory only 4 were employers who do not get all their money from taxes. I think the 4 were Multi Care, Franciscan, Safeway and Boeing. 3 of those get Federal money too.

    16 out of 20 is more Socialist than in today’s Russia.

    With comrads Obama and Gregoire in charge, next year it may be 17/20.

  77. xx98411 says:
    September 8, 2011 at 4:39 pm
    “According to IRS data in 1981 the top 1% tax share was @ 17.6%… in 2008, the tax share was @38%.”

    But you neglect to mention that in 1981 the top 1% made 10% and now it’s over 20%.
    The bottom 50% made 12.75% of all income according to Kiplingers (12/18/10)
    while they made about 17% in 1981.

    If the rich truly wanted their taxes to go down, they could just stop making so much money. They won’t, because they’re far better off paying the taxes they pay on their current income than paying the taxes they paid in 1981 on their income then.

  78. LarryFine says:

    “decorum prevents my specifying what the substance is…” LMAO!

  79. concernedtacoma7 says:

    The left has brainwashed themselves to think that while the top 10% are jet-setting around the world the bottom half of America is starving. This is clearly not true.

    Disposable income in adjusted dollars has stayed stayed relatively flat for most Americans. Yes, the rich got richer. So what? They also paid more taxes.


    What is really affecting the bottom half of American families is the destruction of the family unit. Blame whatever you want for that, but when 34% of children born today do not have a father present (up to 67% for some demographics), how can you expect that family to get ahead? Possible, yes. Likely, no.


    But you can blame Bush and the rich, it is much easier.

  80. xx98411 says:

    One, jimlj, I don’t neglect to mention anything, I just shouldn’t be writing War and Peace length responses to every post…

    In 1981, Top 1% made 8.30% of the share of income and paid 17.6% of the taxes… are we really having a problem with this concept. They paid twice their fair share in taxes… is there a problem with this, paying double your fair share???

    In 1981, bottom 50% made 17.8% of the income but paid only 7.4% of the share of taxes. The concept… less than ones fair share.

    Yes the bottom 50% are making less, but it aint because the tax burden is killing them. They are paying less proportionally in taxes also. Meanwhile the top 1% is making more of the share of income and double the fair share in taxes. They are doing something the bottom 50% is not doing with their money.

    As concerned has said they are not the jet setters you think they are, the dollar cut off for the top 1% is $380,354. That is not jet set money dude.

    We have a spending problem and trying to get more money from the “rich” will not balance the books short-term or long-term until we change our spending habits.

  81. We basically disagree with what’s a fair share. To illustrate, let me share that 35 years ago I was definitely in the bottom 50%, and for the last several years I’ve been in the top 10%. My share (not just the amount) of taxes has gone up dramatically. But I don’t think I was paying less than my fair share back 35 years ago, the taxes that I paid then had a much more negative effect on my standard of living than the much higher percentage that I pay now.

    I don’t believe I ever said, or implied that the top 1% were jet-setters. I merely pointed out that the only reason that they were paying a much higher share of the tax burden than 30 years ago was that they were also making a much higher share of the national income.

    I totally agree that we need to cut spending. Where I disagree is the implication that we only need to cut spending.

    To say we have a spending problem doesn’t mean we don’t also have a revenue problem. Let’s not forget that the only time in the past 30 years that the budget was close to balanced was under the Clinton tax rates. In fact the main rationale for the Bush tax cuts was that the projected surpluses meant “the goverrnment is taking too much of our money and I intend to give it back.” (quoted as well as I can remember from Bush when he was proposing the cuts).

    Well, that rationale is simply not true, and it wasn’t from the minute that the tax cuts went into effect. With the dept and deficit situation what it is now, we need to make painful spending cuts (as well as rooting out waste and fraud), and in addition return to the Clinton tax rates, for everyone, not just the top 1%.
    In addition, there are places where more spending is necessary. A few years ago the association of civil engineers calculated that we had $5 TRILLION dollars in infrastructure deficit. Inadequate and unsafe Roads and Bridges, Dams and water, sewage and electrical systems and more. I’d say more about that, but this post is too long already.

  82. xx98411 says:

    “We basically disagree … percentage that I pay now.

    Good for your from bottom 50 to top 10… congrats and kudos to ya…

    Yes, your taxes have gone up not only proportionally to your share but also as a 10% you are paying more than your fair share of the total tax burden.

    That the impact was more then (poorer)… well everything you have to pay for has more of an impact when you make a lesser amount. The fact that paying for things are easier for you now is… well awesome, I am sure your parents are proud of you for what you have done with your life (unless you are a drug dealer, etc… ;) )

    Yes, you make more and therefore the government has decided that you pay more than your share towards the tax revenue. You think it’s unfair and wanna pay more… go for it.

    As a 10% your tax share is responsible for 69% of the tax burden. The bottom 50% is 2.7%. My response to you is thank you.

    All I ask is before you ask me or anyone for more tax money cut the size of government and the resulting bill to @2.0 trillion annual budget. Then we can talk about tax increases… I say that because I suspect we won’t have to because of the resulting tax revenue.

  83. LarryFine says:

    tell us, jimlj… what IS fair in your mind ?

  84. concern7
    The right buys into the non-fact that the reason there is a debt is because those earning less than 50K per year are not paying their fire share of federal taxes. (which by right wing math works out to be about 50% of the toatal tax burden)

    You are missing the amount and percent of income going to the 10%, along with the fact that most tax breaks favor them and not the working and middle classes (i.e. those who earn less than $250K per year.

    Your problem is the right does not have a consistent set of definitions.

    Some states have an income tax, some have a sale tax, and some have both.

    You need to think about that before making grandiose statements about progressive taxation in America.

  85. concernedtacoma7 says:

    No xring, the bigger problem is spending. The need to tax would be lower if the federal govt would simply control itself.

    But, 47% paying nothing is insane. Honestly, that one is Bush’s fault.

  86. Who have you been listening to, your premise is off as usual…

    There is a debt problem because we spend too much… it really is that simple. There is no magic formula, word play, etc… we spend too much money, period.

    The top 10% have @46% of the gross income and pay @69% in their share of taxes… THEY PAY MORE THAN THEIR SHARE. What is the issue here?

    As far as taxes, tax deductions, etc… there are no breaks. The IRS is not that generous to give any of us a “break”. As flawed as it is, this is the tax code.

    If you only earn wages then you only get but so many deductions.

    If you earn wage and invest in some stocks, etc. you get a few more deductions.

    If you are self-employed, own a business, employ others, etc… you get a share of tax deductions that are open to everyone. It is not a club that you need a special handshake to get into.

    I was unemployed a while back, took my 401k and invested into the stock market. I did ok in the market, it was the taxes that killed me and my profits… I filled out a lot of forms, worksheets, etc… that I didn’t normally. It wasn’t because of my income that these tax deductions were available to me it was because of my activities – investing.

    Rich people aren’t that special. They are human like you and I. They just did the basics, found a need, developed a solution, marketed that solution, got paid a fee for that solution, keep their expenses below the accumulating amount they charge and over time… bingo actually had some money left over after the in box was empty.

  87. There is a debt problem because republicons spend and cut taxes at the same time.

    So reduce spending, return tax rates to the Reagan Levels, and close loop holes that favor only the top wage earners.

  88. xx98411 says:

    They all spend xring, puleaze…

    frig, you and the loopholes thingy… give it a rest. It’s called a tax deduction, don’t like it call your Congressman and tell him to simplyfy the tax code.

  89. championrd says:

    I don’t know if anyone else has refuted this, but aislander made the false claim that the rich are paying more than they did under Clinton. He claimed this despite my showing him before that, for example, the top 400 families effective tax rates has dropped from 30% in 1995 to 16.6% in 2007; a 44.45% drop. http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2011/04/18/159261/tax-disparity-chart/ Old lies die hard.

  90. xx98411 says:

    Nothing to refute

    The top 400… jeeze man. Why don’t we pick the poorest of the poor 400 people and use them as examples for all “poor” people.

    You are talking about the uber rich, guys like Soros and his buddies… the cut off for the top 1% is @$380,000 hardly the top 400.

    note: numbers in billions of dollars.

    Total income for the top 1% tax during 1995 to 2000 were 178, 213, 241, 274, 317, 367. Remember the last two years were a result of the dot com boom.

    For 2000 the total dropped to 301, 2002 down to 269… the tax cuts started to kick in as well as an improving economy and the tax receipts increased from 307 in 2004, 368 in 2005, 408 in 2006, 451 in 2007. The economy took a hit in 2008 with a drop to 392.

    It appears to me that the tax receipts for the 2000’s specifically after the tax cuts took effect, that yes tax receipts were higher durng the Bush years than under Clinton.

    If it make you feel better the tax receipts were higher during the Clinton years than under the Reagan years. Kinda like a duh here, not too sure what you are trying to prove… or disprove.

  91. concernedtacoma7 says:

    Champ- go to the IRS report. The link is in the article you cited.

    “do not necessarily reflect the same taxpayers over time.”

    That bracket is obviously effected by the stock market more than the average taxpayer. Salaries and wages did not drastically increase in constant dollars (up 25%).

    Also, that 16.6% is not the effective rate. It is the average federal income tax rate.

  92. xx98411 says:

    …. or using your own data champoinrd, page 10 from the IRS would have provided the data you needed realize aislander is correct in his statement.

  93. championrd says:

    It would be nice if the document said what you claimed it said. To put it simply, the top 400 tripled during that span in 1990 dollars. Yes, an increase, but at the same time, their income (page 1) grew 5-fold, in 1990 dollars. Hence, tax burden decreased. The opposite of aislanders claim. Therefore, he’s wrong.

  94. championrd says:

    To put it simply, the amount of taxes paid by top 400 tripled during that span, in 1990 dollars.

  95. xx98411
    The top 10-1% make 25.76% of AGI and pay 30.92% of income taxes. Not out line IMO.

    What would be fair would be for the bottom 50% to earn enough money so that they would be paying the 7% of income tax that they paid in 1981.

    Then reduce the tax rates of the other income groups proportionately. See the tax foundation’s 2008 analysis of AGI and taxes for different income groups.

  96. xx98411 says:

    “You are confusing tax rates with revenues. The “rich” are carrying a larger percentage of the freight now than they did in the Clinton years, and our tax system is already the most “progressive” in the industrialized world. How is taxing ANYONE more heavily going to help the middle class? “

    My mistake was taking your word for what aislander said… my bad. This has been answered above in another post and in your own IRS source data. The “rich” are carrying a greater share of the tax burden today than the past.

    To be honest with ya champ, I have no friggin’ clue what you are refuting – what you said is not what aislander said.

    Top 400 tripled – what tripled?

    Are you saying the tax burden today vs the past???


  97. xx98411 says:

    Jimlj – your first line refers to what? Maybe I need to call it a night but I have no clue what you are referring to here.

  98. championrd says:

    Your “burden” does not increase if your income outstrips your taxes. If you make 100 dollars in income and pay 10 dollars in taxes in 1992, but then make 500 dollars in 2007 and pay only 30 dollars in taxes, that “burden” is lessened. You confuse things if you’re simply talking in simple dollars without considering all factors, such as inflation, income growth, relative income growth compared to the wider population, etc.

  99. xx98411 says:

    thank you for the clarification and as I thought… I am not talking about the burden on the individual, we are talking about the tax burden of one group – the rich vs… in this case, the bottom 50%.

    The top 1% pay more than their fair share as a percentage of the total tax burden.

    If I am member of the 1% club, I contribute more, both in total dollars and percentage of my income to the federal coffers then you do as a member of the 50% club.

  100. championrd says:

    First, let us distinguish was we’re debating: results or ideology. It may be your ideology that we should all pay into the system equally, by means of effective tax rates. That’s fine if that’s what you believe, but most people are most concerned with bringing about the best results. For this, it is indisputable that a higher tax burden on the wealthy in the US’s own history has provided the best results for the economy at large. Now we have a basically flat tax system for the top 60% of the population, meaning that your % of the total income roughly mirrors your % of total taxes paid http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/04/22/zombie-tax-lies/ and we have had clearly worse results.

    Fifty years ago, 1961, the effective tax rate on inflation-adjusted millionaires was 43%. Today, its only 23%. http://toomuchonline.org/the-rights-pushback-against-taxing-the-rich/ It was during this post war period that we had the most rapid growth in wealth in our nation’s history. It was during this period that we also experienced something unthinkable today – median income growth was faster than the top 1%’s income growth. Thus, it was during this period of very high taxation on the wealthy were we had the most rapid economic expansion AND the best improvement in income equality. Even in more recent history, we had an increase in 22 million jobs AFTER Clinton raised taxes on the wealthy.

    Your ideology might make you believe that flat taxation, which is in effect what we have for the majority of the population, is a goal to strive for, but for the rest of us, we just want the best result. And if you don’t believe me, listen to ultra-conservative and Nixon speechwriter Ben Stein school Bill O’Reilly on the point: http://crooksandliars.com/john-amato/bben-stein-destroys-bill-oreillys-idea-

    And as an added bonus/result, the best correlation factor to a nation’s happiness is amount to with a nation taxes for higher tax brackets more. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/08/progressive-tax-rates_n_953885.html

  101. xx98411 says:

    September 9, 2011 at 7:22 pm

    Jimlj – your first line refers to what? Maybe I need to call it a night but I have no clue what you are referring to here.

    Sorry if I wasn’t clear, but my point was that to state the income and taxes paid of the top 10% is very misleading, because a oversized proportion of both are accounted for by the top 1% of income. If instead you look at the income, and the taxes paid, of those who are in the top 10% of income but NOT in the top 1% of income you have a much better idea of the tax burden on that group.

  102. concernedtacoma7 says:

    Champ- back to Econ 101 for you. Stop saying effective rate. In simple terms the effective rate is all taxes paid. Fed income, cap gains, prop, sales, school, local, etc.

    Another political hack with no understanding of the tax code, earnings, or economics. But keep quoting those non-partisan sources without questioning their bias, makes your argument very powerful.

  103. wow, I did need to get some rest. champ lots of assumptions here and where to begin…

    I was debating neither, hence why we were talking past one another…

    I am not arguing for a flat, progressive, ^insert name here^ tax system I would argue for a better tax system than we have now. Unnecessarily complicated would be my main point. But if you are going to alter deductions you have to alter tax rates.

    I am beginning to think that a historical look is valid but to attempt to replicate what was valid then to what is going on today is a fools errand. The conditions, the players, the direction of the nation were all different then. As an example, we made things the world demanded then, we were the power player on the block. Hence, we grew and grew fast. The world has figured out our little not so secret and are doing the same, making things that we buy at a cheaper price. Hence their growth. Taxing people is not going to make us grow. We need to sell more than we buy to keep it simple.

    Happiness thingy…. Dude we are not Europe or any other part of the world. We need to solve our own issues in a way that works for us not some distant neighbor.

    ” It may not be the case that a progressive tax system automatically leads to a happier population, however. The report emphasizes that what matters is what governments do with the tax dollars they collect.”

    This is the crux of the issue with comparisons and my issue with government. They suck at managing our money. They have for a while and appear to be getting worse at it.

  104. jim – the argument has always been to tax the rich more… I too think we may have been talking past one another… sorry.

    Referring to your post yesterday, tax policy should be set to generate the necessary tax revenue needed while keeping as much in your hands as possible. If we need to build and fix things then DC needs to work with the money we give then. If they need more, then make a case and ask for it. The issue is that DC has been mismanaging our money and has done so for a long time. WE, the People have grown suspect over this.

    We have a spending problem. You don’t need more revenue unless you overspend. We overspend and have since the beginning of this nation.

    The rich pay more in taxes (share, volume, etc) than less fortunate folk. Asking them for more to put in the DC black hole is a recipe for waste.

  105. aislander says:

    Is…LuckyCharm back? And why is everything in bold type?

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