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BUDGET: Income tax fairer than sales tax

Letter by Judith Rivera, Sumner on Nov. 29, 2011 at 10:51 am with 61 Comments »
November 29, 2011 11:00 am

It’s time for us to consider an income tax instead of raising the sales tax. The sales tax affects everyone, including those with little or no income. They still must shop even if just for necessities.

People with little or no income would pay little or no income tax. Those with income would pay a percent in income tax. Wouldn’t that be fairer?

Leave a comment Comments → 61
  1. “People with little or no income would pay little or no income tax. Those with income would pay a percent in income tax. ”

    If you want to replace the sales tax with an income tax, then I’m OK with it. But I don’t want to see both taxes.

    “Wouldn’t that be fairer?”

    It depends. If you include a requirement for folks to do something for the community in return for no taxes and entitlements then it’s fairer.

    However, I am against giving something for nothing in return.

  2. itwasntmethistime says:

    It will only be “fair” when every last person brings something to the table.

  3. Forget a state income tax in the state of Washington. Olympia will never agree to replace the sales tax with and income tax, they, the legislators on both sides want the revenue from both taxes to play with.

    It’s becoming increasing clear that income taxes and sales taxes are unfair for both state and federal tax payers. Those who can afford lawyers and accountants can find ways to avoid paying their fair share of both, and they do.

    What is needed now is a Wealth Tax.

    Determine the Wealth of each individual and then apply a fixed rate tax, with no deductions or shelters allowed. Let’s say 10% for example.

    A Warren Buffet will pay 10% on all that he owns and holds as his amassed wealth.

    A homeless person would also pay the same 10% on all that she has amassed as her accumulated wealth.

    10% for all. How can that NOT be fair?

  4. itwasntmethistime says:

    A wealth tax is the WORST idea ever. If you and I earn the same amount, but you buy a new car every year while I drive the same car for 15 years so I can save for retirement why should I have to pay more than you? The last thing we want to do is discourage people from saving money so they can take care of themselves.

    I already paid income tax (federal) on the money I have saved.

  5. APimpNamedSlickback says:


    What makes you think that a wealth tax would be fairer? Don’t you think that the same people who hire lawyers and accountants to avoid paying taxes now will just hire the same lawyers and accountants to put all of their possessions into trusts, so they don’t count toward their personal wealth?

    I realize you said no shelters, but trusts exist for more than just that purpose. By prohibitting them, you would be prohibitting their other very legitimate uses, so I’m assuming that your definition of “shelter” only applies to offshore and illicit holdings.

    Such a system would actually be less fair because those people in the middle who don’t have the means to effectively shelter their possessions, but still see gradual increases in income/accumulated possessions over the years would still have to give up 10% each year, while those with the most could legally arrange it so they appear to be penniless. Meanwhile, the financial incentive for both the richest and the middle class to give generously to those who are truly in need would be eliminated with the absence of charitable deductions.

  6. BlaineCGarver says:

    Sales tax, with the current exemptions for food, medical, etc….what could be more fair? Last time I checked, rich people spend a great deal of what they earn.

  7. APimpNamedSlickback, no shelters means no shelters, no trusts, no tax dodges of any kind whatsoever, no way for a wealthy person to make it look on paper like he or she is a pauper.

    Even in your third paragraph you fall back on the current idea of people, even middle class, being able to “shelter their possessions.” No way! Not allowed!

    There is an annual assessment of a person’s total wealth, and that person then sends in a check to the government for 10% of that amount. Easy peasy!

  8. commoncents says:

    blaine – they don’t spend the same percentage of income.

    The only problem I have with the current system is that it contains peaks and valleys in income streams for the government. And with the peaks – when they got it they spend it. And when they don’t…it’s a disaster for everyone.

    I’m all for an income tax – but with the same caveat as pawl…completely eliminate sales tax but I would take it a step further with a constitutional amendment prohibiting any sales tax. I too fear an income tax and a sales tax at the same time. Just don’t trust them not to incrementally increase it or ask for increases.

  9. commoncents says:

    muck – so the apt dwellars who eat out all the time and vacation and spend away their funds without saving for retirement catch a tax break?

  10. commoncents, YES! Because, at least they are putting their money back into the economy, creating jobs, and creating wealth for others who will also pay 10%. They don’t really catch a tax break, because they are blowing their money and have less to fall back on when they want it for other things.

    The thing is, no matter who pays the 10%. All Wealth in America would be evenly and fairly taxed at 10% across the board. No income tax. No sales tax. Just a Wealth Tax!

  11. One thing that would need to be added to the Wealth Tax is that any Wealth transferred outside the economy of the United States, say and off shore bank or foreign investment, would first be taxed at a rate of at least 20%, possibly higher. The reason being to encourage wealthy people to keep their money here in the U.S. instead of trying to dodge the tax like they do now.

  12. sandblower says:

    We should have an income tax with variable rates that go up for rising income brackets. The sales tax can be reduced to a level that will attract outside spending. Get it low enough and people will not go to Oregon for anything except the scenery. Raise the gas/diesel tax too with a rebate for low income folks and maybe semi-tractors. About a dollar a gallon would be a good start spread over two years.

  13. LibertyBell says:

    The sales tax is most fair, an individual right of General Equality.

    We, the people of the State of Washington, grateful to the Supreme Ruler of the Universe for our liberties, do ordain this constitution.
    SECTION 1 POLITICAL POWER. All political power is inherent in the people, and governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, and are established to protect and maintain individual rights.

  14. taxedenoughintacoma says:

    Income tax will never happen, give it up, forget it, what are you smoking?

    As long as the democrats and their union friends have a flow of your tax dollars there will never be real change in Olympia. They will use your tax dollars to bribe the entitled classes so they will vote to keep them in power.

    They have now created a welfare class that they can’t even control. When democrats cut the social programs they sue the state for discriminating against them. The democrats chickens have come home to roost.Democrats will have to increase taxes and fees and push again for a income tax. Raising taxes and fees is all they can do. We must starve them of tax dollars.

    There is only ONE WAY to force them to change. That is to starve them of money and force them into a period of austerity.Our plan to starve this state of revenue is working well. We must keep the pressure on the state or they will never change. I-1053 will not allow them to raise taxes, it’s to close to the election to cut education and raise fees so they will have to cut wateful programs are rein in state worker pay and benefits.

    We need to reduce the state workforce by 25% but the unions will try to stop them.Don’t forget the lesson about the cycle of life in WA state. Democrats pass laws that force state workers to pay unions dues. Unions take those tax dollars and donate back to democrats and make themselves more powerful. In turn democrats pass laws and contracts that favor the union. And down the road you get stuck with the bill. This is where we are today.

    Democrats have run out of other people’s money.
    How do you starve the beast. Just do what the immigrant communities do. They pay in cash, they shop in Oregon, they pay cash, they barter, shop online, use craigslist, they bargain with business to take cash and keep taxes off the books. Tell the contractor you will hire him to fix your roof but you will only pay cash and no slaes tax. Plus apply for every state program out there so you can drain the state of food (your money). The legislature will never change this until they are starved of your money so STARVE THEM!!!!

  15. APimpNamedSlickback says:


    The third paragraph of my previous post was written assuming that your definition of “shelter” did not include trusts — specifically because avoiding taxes is not their sole purpose. So my question is, would you eliminate trusts completely, despite their other legitimate uses, simply because they have been used to avoid taxes before?

    And how would you accurately assess each person’s wealth? Unlike income taxes where the employer provides a report of wages, and sales taxes, where the merchant reports the prices of products, a general assessment of all possessions would require the government to catalog every item owned by each taxpayer at any given time, or at least have a way to verify the taxpayer’s catalog. Aside from being cost-prohibitive, would you really want a government that sends the IRS man out to count the number of dirty socks in you hamper — even if it’s only for people who get audited?

    And how would the government valuate certain items, like your kids’ finger paintings hanging on the fridge? Family heirlooms? To be truly fair, every home would have to be cataloged in that way.

    Granted, for most people, most things would probably be considered valueless, but I’d be willing to bet that the art and heirlooms in the homes of the super-rich would all get government-assigned values, and that would be an unequal application of tax laws.

    What about the things you create? Things you build? Things you grow? Intellectual property that has no monetary value in itself, but the potential for value? To blindly tax a percentage of all possessions is to say that the government inherently has an ownership interest in everything that exists or has existed within its borders, regardless of origin or inception.

    As for your additional point of foreign transfers being taxed at higher levels, what if I have one kid living here in the U.S. and one in the military stationed abroad and I want to give each of them a $100 for their birthday. Are you saying that because one of my kids lives abroad at the direction of the government, that same government is entitled to an additional $10 of the gift I give him?

  16. sandblower, we already have that in the Fed. It’s called a Progressive Income Tax and it doesn’t work, because tax dodges available almost exclusively to the rich allow them to skate from paying their true fair share.

    LibertyBell, sales tax is totally regressive. Are you kidding me? The lower your income the more you have to spend the less you have to save or invest. The higher percentage of your total income you must spend on essential items means a corresponding high percentage of your income you pay in sales taxes. Bill Gates pays a much much lower percentage of his total income in sales tax that you do!

    taxedenoughintacoma, it’s NOT just the Democrats wasting your tax dollars in Olympia. Get off the partisan garbage for a while and own up to the fact that the Republicans are just as bad if not worse. About cutting government jobs, is the 900+ jobs that are being cut because state liquor stores are being closed not enough for you? Starve the government by applying for all the government handouts you can get? Doesn’t that make you a leach on society when you do that?

    TAX THE WEALTH is the fair way to go. Everyone pays 10% based on how much wealth they have, and that’s it! It’s fair and balanced!

  17. I don’t understand why you all are so willing to turn over your hard earned dollars to government. No new Taxes, period. There has to be some accountability in Olympia, on where all the current funds go. I know for fact that there is millions, possibly hundreds of millions of waste. And why, does someone who makes $200,000 a year need to pay more in taxes than someone who make $65,000 a year? And why, does someone who makes less than $40,000 a year have to pay no taxes at all? It needs to be a flat rate on wages, weather you make $1,000 or $1,000,000 per year. Why punish someone who makes more than you do?

  18. APimpNamedSlickback, I’ll reply to your comments paragraph by paragraph.

    1. Assume nothing. I already wrote that no shelters, no trusts, no tax dodges would be allowed.

    2. Every significant transaction, not major but merely significant, made in America today has a paper trail. They are all documented, just like payroll is document, like stock trades are documented. Don’t be silly about sending “the IRS man to count the number of dirty socks in you hamper.” That’s a foolish comment. Houses, cars, stocks, bonds, true art collections. Things of real worth that have value that one would usually insure. (Yes, even if it’s a valued item that has not been insured, it should be counted as wealth.)

    3. Again you are being totally silly about valuing the “kids’ finger paintings hanging on the fridge.” That’s a silly argument to the point of being stupid since you basically repeated the sock scenario from the previous paragraph.

    4. Yes, art collections would be valued for the rich. A Monet painting has true negotiable value, whereas a Little Billy finger-painting does not. Please be serious will you. Stop making facetious arguments.

    5. Anything that has a negotiable value is counted. If you grow a garden full of carrots, not intending to sell them, but just to eat them yourself, then they are not negotiable and have no taxable value. If you grow a field of carrots, intending to sell them for a profit, then they do have wealth tax value. As far as intellectual property: If you come up with an idea for a new mousetrap, but fail to patent it, no value. If you do patent it, and begin the process to manufacture it, then it does have value, which will be apparent from the contract you sign with your suppliers, manufacturers and sellers.

    6. Another silly argument. For example, just because John McCain was born in Panama and not the U.S. he was still an American citizen, and that’s the reason he was qualified to run for president. Just because your kid is in Germany, Korea or wherever the military might send him, he is still an American citizen and still your kid, and gifts to family are NOT financial transactions. The money/asset transfer tax is to stop people for off-shoring their money in the Cayman Islands to avoid paying taxes, which is what a lot of the rich do now today. It’s unethical and it should be stopped. You know that!

    Let’s try to be serious about this.

  19. philichi says:

    Remember Hitler and the Third Reich had a wealth tax too. They called in confiscation. Is that what you all were thinking? They took businesses and realestate from one group and gave it to others. Are we just talking about 10% or the whole business? Arent we simply talking about what % to confiscate from people% 10% or the whole thing?

  20. Adding an income tax will just give our state government another tax to raise. And they WILL raise it. No to an income tax.

  21. itwasntmethistime says:

    sandblower, nobody but you and my brother drive to Oregon to avoid sales tax. Even if you disregard the wear and tear on the car and the 5 hours completely wasted, the gas alone will cost you $40.

    muckibr — The Grasshoppers and the Ants story just doesn’t work out when there are only grasshoppers. You have to have some ants for the grasshoppers to steal from. If the ants quit saving for winter they all starve to death.

  22. phil… And Mussolini made the trains run on time. Bringing Hitler into this conversation is completely stupid. Are you one of those people who puts a Hitler mustache on a Bush or Obama poster? As I said repeatedly, lets stop being silly here okay?

    The Wealth Tax I propose is a 10% flat tax on all people, based on their accumulated wealth. I am not talking about confiscating all the wealth from the Jews and throwing them into concentration camps, and YOU KNOW THAT! You cannot possibly be that stupid.

    itwasnt… I don’t get the Grasshopper/ant analogy. Can you explain?

  23. sandblower says:

    calcan2, I can’t believe you actually believe what you wrote. There are terms for that if you do, but to remain in good stead with the TNT decency police I cannot mention them. The same goes for concerned…starve the government so that you can get your way all the while starving the needy. Such compassion…not!
    I sure am glad neither of you has any real affect on what actually happens. I get informed, comforting letters back from my representatives after I write. I bet yours are not comforting.

  24. sand… I think you meant taxedenoughintacoma re: the Starve comment.

    calcan2, YOU KNOW FOR A FACT? Okay, lets see some of those FACTS. Show me exactly where the millions in waste are in Washington state government. And I mean I want you to document it as a FACT.

    Show me where people making $40,000 don’t pay any taxes? Document it if it is a FACT.

    A flat rate on wages is a foolish way to tax, because CEO’s can take a dollar in wages for their annual income and the rest in non-income-taxed stock options as Steve Jobs did at Apple. So you tell me how it would be fair for a CEO, like Steve Jobs was, to pay income tax on only ONE DOLLAR, when that $40,000 a year employee, who you claim pays no tax now, would pay a hell of a lot more under a Flat Income Tax.

    I am telling you all the only fair tax is a Wealth Tax!

  25. muckibr:

    You say “Those who can afford lawyers and accountants can find ways to avoid paying their fair share of both, and they do.” Do you mean those that itemize are not paying their fair share?
    “A Warren Buffet will pay 10% on “all that he owns” and holds as his amassed wealth.” House, car, investments? If you tax the middle class on “all that he owns”, that’s one heck of an increase.

    Take a $250,000 annuity to be paid out at $25,000 a year over 10 years.
    Currently you would pay taxes each year on $25,000. Under your plan the annuity would last about 7 years with the last payment being taxed 7 times. Not considering interest, as I don’t know any paying any way near 10% a year.
    Your plan would end all investments and savings not paying over 10%. There are quite a lot of middle class people with savings accounts and CD’s. You would throw them all under the bus to get even with that evil rich guy Buffet?
    Solution? Don’t save, bury it in the back yard, you won’t loose as much.

  26. Inherently no tax is ‘fair’. Someone will always pay more or less than their fair share given the current systems. Also no one has proposed a system that has a universal appeal and is considered ‘fair’

    Income tax – It is possible for a person who makes $40k to pay little to no tax on that income. It would depend on the number of as well as the type of deductions that person claims. It is possible.

    Stock Options – the concept for options is to reward an executive for properly running a company. If the company is run well to make a profit then the stock options are exercised and a profit is made. Those stock options when exercised are taxed at either the individual rate for short term or 15 / 25% for long term options… either way they are taxed.

    Wealth tax – your property tax is a form or application of a type of wealth tax. The perceived value of your property is taxed at a rate determined by bureaucrats.

    One issue with a wealth tax is the perceived value of items. Money is easy… $1.00 is worth $1.00. Property use to escalate with minor fluctuations at a relatively stable rate, now values are skewed and that would affect the determination of wealth. Stocks, Gold, etc… would be determined based on a snapshot at a particular time… stock is hot… value is high… your wealth tax is high.

  27. stock options were also popular during the dot.com boom. In this case a regular employee was offered stock options in leau of a high salary so that the company could preserve working capital. If the compnay was successful, then stock option was high. If not worthless…

    There was also many a story of stock related income that the IRS taxed the feces out of though the person did not exercise the option.

    Confusing… no just read the fine print in the volumes of IRS regulations. Any tax system… any, that simplyfies the record keeping, reporting and payment of tax owed is a superior system to the one we have now.

  28. APimpNamedSlickback says:


    1. Actually, the comment you posted that I was referring to did not say “no shelters, no trusts, no tax dodges,” it said “no deductions, no shelters,” but did not define shelters. In the absence of a clear definition, and not being able to read your mind, I suggested a definition that did not include trusts, because I don’t consider them to be shelters — they’re a legal instrument that have the ability to provide some shelter, but are not shelters in themselves.

    2. Bernie Madoff’s socks had monetary value; at least the people that bought them at auction from the US Marshals Service seemed to think so, so my example of the tax man counting your socks really isn’t that far off. The point I was making was that under your proposed wealth tax, the upper class would inevitably be subject to greater scrutiny than everyone else, and their valuables — even those similar to and not necessarily more valuable than the possessions of the hoi polloi — would be cataloged and taxed, whereas everyone else’s would not. That is an inherently unfair system.

    3. Silly, maybe. But this is a newspaper forum, not an academic setting. I can be silly to make my point if I like. And you’re free to continue to miss that point if you like; it just won’t move the conversation forward.

    4. Your statement “Yes, art collections would be valued for the rich,” makes my point perfectly. “For the rich.” I’m not rich, but I have a Picasso and several Dalis hanging in my living room. I didn’t buy them, they were given to me. There is no paper trail on them that leads to me. Because I’m not rich, under your proposed system there is virtually no chance that this portion of my wealth will ever be discovered, and thus will never be taxed. A rich person who reports a certain income will targeted for audit and does not have the luxury of not reporting those collections, and that is the fatal flaw in your “fair” tax.

    5. What if I grow a field of carrots and trade some to my neighbor in exchange for some of the cotton he grows. We are not growing our crops just for personal use, and we are most assuredly using them to engage in a form of commerce, but no taxable value has been established for either. How would you monetize these portions of our wealth?

    As for intellectual property, how would you monetize a copyright, a trademark or a trade secret? Coca-Cola’s most valuable piece of property is not the soda it sells, it’s the recipe that only two people know. That recipe is worth far more than Coke could ever sell. How would you assign a value to it?

    6. Actually, gifts to your family are transactions. They are taxable transactions. If you get a gift from your family and either you or they don’t pay the tax on it, you’re breaking the law.

    So… you’re saying that if I want to avoid taxes under your system, I just have to gift my money to family abroad? Sounds like you just wrote in a tax dodge to your own “no dodge” tax code.

    What about people with dual citizenship? What if they transfer money to a bank account in their other country? What if they own property in that country? You’re saying that people should be taxed differently based on nationality? Doesn’t sound fair to me.

    I’m being serious about this. You haven’t thought it out and you’re choosing to dismiss my valid questions rather than examine the flaws in your own system.

  29. PumainTacoma says:

    Suppose that every day, ten men go out for beer and the bill for all ten comes to $100. If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this:

    The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing.
    The fifth would pay $1.
    The sixth would pay $3
    The seventh would pay $7.
    The eighth would pay $12.
    The ninth would pay $18.
    The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59.
    So, that’s what they decided to do.  The ten men drank in the bar every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until one day, the owner threw them a curve. ‘Since you are all such good customers, he said, ‘I’m going to reduce the cost of your daily beer by $20. Drinks for the ten now cost just $80.

    The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes so the first four men were unaffected. They would still drink for free. But what about the other six men – the paying customers? How could they divide the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his ‘fair share?’ They realized that $20 divided by six is $3.33.  But if they subtracted that from everybody’s share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would each end up being paid to drink his beer. So, the bar owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man’s bill by roughly the same amount, and he proceeded to work out the amounts each should pay.

    And so:

    The fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% savings).
    The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33%savings).
    The seventh now paid $5 instead of $7 (28%savings).
    The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12 (25% savings).
    The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 (22% savings).
    The tenth now paid $49 instead of $59 (16% savings).
    Each of the six was better off than before. And the first four continued to drink for free.  But once outside the restaurant, the men began to compare their savings.

    ‘I only got a dollar out of the $20′, declared the sixth man. He pointed to the tenth man,’ but he got $10!’

    ‘Yeah, that’s right’, exclaimed the fifth man.  ‘I only saved a dollar, too. It’s unfair that he got ten times more than I!’

    ‘That’s true!!’ shouted the seventh man. ‘Why should he get $10 back when I got only two? The wealthy get all the breaks!’

    ‘Wait a minute,’ yelled the first four men in unison. ‘We didn’t get anything at all. The system exploits the poor!’

    The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up.

    The next night the tenth man didn’t show up for drinks, so the nine sat down and had beers without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important. They didn’t have enough money between all of them for even half of the bill!

    And that, boys and girls, journalists and college professors, is how our tax system works. The people who pay the highest taxes get the most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up anymore. In fact, they might start drinking overseas where the atmosphere is somewhat friendlier.

  30. Soundlife says:

    Amazing how quick these big government Nazis are to start promoting a state income tax. How can a brain be that damaged?
    The only fair tax is a consumption tax that is based on what people spend.
    Everyone pays something; the more they spend, the more they pay.
    There is a pride that people develop when they know they are contributing to a society instead of sucking the lifeblood out of it.
    It’s time to help restore pride to America.
    We need to get rid of this national income tax and replace it with a national consumption tax

  31. letter writer: “People with little or no income would pay little or no income tax. Those with income would pay a percent in income tax. Wouldn’t that be fairer?”

    Only if those who pay no taxes agree to forfeit their votes. Since that won’t happen, paying taxes encourages responsibility. The easier you make it for people leech, the more they’ll leech. And I don’t care about some of your tear jerking anecdotes, if you know of a sob story, you’re an sob for not helping. For every one of those, there’s hundreds of leeches who’re so entrenched in the mentality that they actually live in a weird paradigm where they actually feel entitled to stuff that they didn’t earn.

  32. FYI the poor are enjoying having cell phones, internet, cable with pay per view movies, alcohol, cigarettes, gambling, fancy coffee at our expense. So I think what little sales tax they do pay is them paying there so call fair share. Beside I ‘m sure they do like being singled out

  33. micklw, Your points about annuities are valid. I can’t argue the point with you. On a straight Wealth Tax people would not be encouraged to save at current rates. We’d need to tinker with it.

    APimpNamedSlickback, Your points are valid too! Except for that junk about Bernie Madoff’s socks. The Wealth Tax has flaws, I admit that. But what tax doesn’t? But you know, I really think if we wanted to we could work on it and make the Wealth Tax work better than Income Tax or Sales Tax.

    To be honest with you, I’m not going to put that much more effort into the Wealth Tax right now, because it is never going to happen. Never! And, I hope to heck that a State Income Tax never happens either, because the state will never ever give up the sales tax.

    The only way we get a State Income Tax in Washington is if we get both an Income and Sales Tax together, and if that happens, we are screwed!

  34. Dave98373 says:

    If the state could demonstrate restraint when it comes to spending our money then I would favor the income tax over the sales tax.

  35. concernedtacoma7 says:

    How would a wealth tax effect the retired? Why are we even discussing this?

    Who wants a bigger govt? And the ‘fair share’ argument is uneducated. Hate the rich, but they pay for the large percentages of the services we all enjoy.

    Buffet pays billions in taxes. Most of his wealth is in BerkHa. They paid approx $7bil last year. Since he owns a nice percentage of that company, he paid his ‘fair share’.

    Govt produces nothing but recycles other people’s money. There is a need for basic services, but we have allowed the inefficient beast to grow beyond it’s limits and mission.

  36. concerned…, you say Buffet “paid his ‘fair share'” of taxes. If that’s true, then why does Warren Buffet himself disagree with you?


    Read the article, it’s very short but to the point. Here’s a tatse of it…

    “This summer, Buffett’s op-ed in the New York Times argued for an increase in taxes for the rich, saying the they are “coddled” by Congress “as if we were spotted owls or some other endangered species.” He wrote: “My friends and I have been coddled long enough by a billionaire-friendly Congress. It’s time for our government to get serious about shared sacrifice.” “

  37. Dave…, two things:

    When has the state ever shown restraint in spending? When they have the money they spend it like a teenager with a hole in his pocket.

    The state will never give up the sales tax. The legislators don’t want to replace the sales tax with an income tax, they want both.

  38. Copper2Steel says:

    To the OP:

    Everyone has equal opportunity to make money (legally). What I choose to do with it, whether save or spend, is my choice.

    Those with money to spend, may do so — and “help” society via the sales tax. Those with even more money, typically spend more as well, thereby contributing a greater amount of money toward society.

    Do not “punish” me just because I earn $X and others earn less. The only way to ensure that everyone pays a little or a lot is by sales tax.

    Think about it, those living off the state “earn” nothing. They USE the very system everyone else pays into. Why shouldn’t they also give a little back by way of sales tax?

  39. The issue with Mr Buffett is simple.

    If he feels that he and his billionaire buddies do not pay their fair share of taxes then HE, Mr Buffett is free to write a check and pay what he thinks is fair.

    Mr Buffett opens himself up to criticism when he becomes the arbiter of what is a ‘fair share’ and who should be paying it.

  40. commoncents says:

    copper2steel – you are not the target for anyone….unfortunately there is not a way to separate you out from those who make substantially more than you. It’s my own personal opinion, but I think it’s not necessarily that one “makes” any amount that causes angst among many people but that they do it and don’t provide a return for that investment. There is no stockholder gain, there are no added jobs, and in many cases there isn’t even a company any longer. Those are the people that fuel the fire.

    The guy that risks everything he has and starts a company and builds it up from nothing deserves every penny that he earns and receives. However, do the Stan O’Neals, Richard Fulds, Lloyd Blankfeins, Alan Schwartz’, James Caynes, Blythe Masters’, Angelo Mozilos, Franklin Raines’, Robert Nardellis, Carly Fiorinas, Martin Sullivans, Bob Allens, Bernie Ebbers’, Ken Lays…and the list goes on….earn their money? Did they actually risk anything besides a bruised ego?

    These are the people that taint the publics mind and causes them to lash out at those who are considered rich. Fair? Of course not…but then again it’s no different than many are doing when they lump in eveyrone who lives off the state as losers and leeches. Some are…some aren’t.

  41. common… you wrote… “The guy that risks everything he has and starts a company and builds it up from nothing deserves every penny that he earns and receives.”

    I agree with the intent of that comment, but it’s not completely right. Remember that copper2steel wrote… “Everyone has equal opportunity to make money (legally).” <<<=== (Key on the word "legally".)

    Now realize that legally means laws, and laws do not write themselves, and laws do not enforce themselves, and laws do not adjudicate themselves. That all requires people, and unfortunately bureaucracies to enact, enforce, and resolve, and that all takes money, because no one wants to work at those jobs for free. That's where some of our tax money goes and why we need to gladly pay it so that this country does not devolve into a War Lord anarchy like say, a Somalia for example.

    There's an old argument the rich (and defenders of the rich) sometimes use to defend them from paying progressive taxes. They say, "When my house is on fire does the fire engine come faster to my house because I pay more tax.?" Maybe not, but the government serves your business needs more than they do the working stiff, and that all costs money too, and that's why the rich have a moral obligation to pay a higher tax rate, simply because they get more benefit back out of the government that those taxes pay for.

    A Progressive State Income Tax would be much more fair to all than the regressive State Sales Tax we now have. However, I still dig in my heals and say NO INCOME TAX until it comes with a Guaranteed Permanent Removal of the State Sales Tax. That is the real crux of the issue.

  42. concernedtacoma7 says:

    Why are progressive taxes fairer? The people at the bottom really like them, but it makes no sense for society (unless you just want a fat govt welfare state).

  43. I meant a progressive income tax on income only no matter how much or how little. I should have said no raising the sales tax from now on.

  44. itwasntmethistime says:

    Oh good, Judy has joined the conversation. Judy, in your original letter you mention people “with” income, as if it’s something they just happen to have. People “with” little or no income are already being supported by people who “earn” income. So if we lower taxes for people “with” income and raise them for people who “earn” income how is that more fair?

  45. LarryFine says:

    “progressive tax” you say ???

    sandblower says:
    Nov. 29, 2011 at 1:14 pm
    So you think penalizing the responsible and rewarding the irresponsible is a good idea? Weird!


  46. sandblower says:

    LF is really good at taking comments out of context and twisting them for his own perverted purpose. He likes running around this his AO, I guess.

  47. LarryFine says:

    So you do or do not believe penalizing the responsible and rewarding the irresponsible is a good idea ?

  48. MadTaxpayer says:

    I love the sales tax! We should have a National Sales Tax.
    Think, every rich person(salaries over $50,000), drug dealer, illegal(undocumented whatevers)and Income tax cheats will have to pay.
    That includes the Politicians, Tax attorneys, and Welfare types.
    If you do not want to pay the tax, do not buy anything! SIMPLE!

  49. beerBoy says:

    Why are progressive taxes fairer? The people at the bottom really like them, but it makes no sense for society (unless you just want a fat govt welfare state).

    Adam Smith, who wrote in The Wealth of Nations:

    “The necessaries of life occasion the great expense of the poor. They find it difficult to get food, and the greater part of their little revenue is spent in getting it. The luxuries and vanities of life occasion the principal expense of the rich, and a magnificent house embellishes and sets off to the best advantage all the other luxuries and vanities which they possess. A tax upon house-rents, therefore, would in general fall heaviest upon the rich; and in this sort of inequality there would not, perhaps, be anything very unreasonable. It is not very unreasonable that the rich should contribute to the public expense, not only in proportion to their revenue, but something more than in that proportion.”

    The French Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen of 1789 agrees:

    “A common contribution is essential for the maintenance of the public forces and for the cost of administration. This should be equitably distributed among all the citizens in proportion to their means.”

  50. concernedtacoma7 says:

    First off the French can do whatever they want, and why should we care? They have not been a very good example (except for their use of nuke power).

    Second, we have an extremely progressive tax structure at the federal level. Throw all the taxes paid by the rich, fed/state/city/property/sales/etc, they give over half of their income to the govt.

    Now, due topartisan rhetoric from Krugman and BHO, we have an eat the rich attitude taking over the American left.

  51. LarryFine says:

    One more time sandblower_nos
    … do you or do you not “believe penalizing the responsible and rewarding the irresponsible is a good idea ?”

  52. beerBoy says:

    we have an eat the rich attitude taking over the American left.

    Raising the top tier tax rate from 35% to less than 40% is “eat the rich”?

  53. beerBoy says:

    Polls show that most Americans favor raising the top tier tax rates – are all those people manipulated by Obama and Krugman? And are all those folks “the American Left”?

  54. qq98411 says:

    You are reasonable in your response bb, but their is a definitive demonizaton of the rich, as well as other folk… I am not real good with wordS, my grammer and spelling suck, so I let this fine gentleman speak for me…


    “But what I do find objectionable is the highly politicized idiom in which this debate is being conducted.

    But as President first and foremost and leader of your party second, you should endeavor to rise above the partisan fray and raise the level of discourse to one that is both more civil and more conciliatory, that seeks collaboration over confrontation. That is what “leading by example” means to most people.

    …capitalists are not the scourge that they are too often made out to be.

    With due respect, Mr. President, it’s time for you to throttle-down the partisan rhetoric and appeal to people’s better instincts, not their worst. Rather than assume that the wealthy are a monolithic, selfish and unfeeling lot who must be subjugated by the force of the state, set a tone that encourages people of good will to meet in the middle.

  55. qq – So a CEO’s feelings are being hurt – boohoo. So what is the master of the universe CEO is saying? That only one side should have a say? Give me a break. The CEO should be offering solutions and not crying.

  56. qq98411 says:

    afret – the “taxpaying businessman” is making a request to the President. He is simply asking “is the tone of the current debate really constructive?”

    He then list a host of issues that need to be discussed… “find this reassessment of so many entrenched economic premises healthy and long overdue. Anyone who could survey today’s challenging fiscal landscape, with an un- and underemployment rate of nearly 20 percent and roughly 40 percent of the country on public assistance, and not acknowledge an imperative for change is either heartless, brainless, or running for office on a very parochial agenda. And if I end up paying more taxes as a result, so be it. The alternatives are all worse.”

    He clearly recognizes “an imperative for change.” The issue for him and your response appears to back that up, is that it is difficult if not impossible to discuss any solution when the chasm is so huge between people… and the President ain’t helping the situation.

  57. concernedtacoma7 says:

    Bb- that the majority want the rich minority’s money taken from and redistributed falls in the no $&@! category. Shows how selfish we are, and should be embarrassing to any man who has pride and faith in his own abilities.

    35% to 40% is an increase of 14%. While the very very rich may not be affected, others would (less savings or investment). And these people earned that money. They watch as half pay no income tax, and have the balls to demand more of their money. You should feel meek.

  58. qq98411 says:

    People… .01%, .1%, 1.0%, 10.0% Anytime anybody, any entity takes money from you, is less that you have to provide for you and your family.

    We have agreed as a society to tax to support the essential services of government. It is reasonable to expect that government is responsible with the money that they take from us…

    it is really asking too much?

  59. LarryFine says:

    “heartless, brainless, or running for office on a very parochial agenda” … all of the above.

  60. beerBoy says:

    It is reasonable to expect that government is responsible with the money that they take from us…

    it is really asking too much?

    $7.7 trillion loaned at zero interest to the banks – which is then lent back to the government at 3% interest.

    Yes…apparently it is really asking too much.

  61. stumpy567 says:

    You couuld’nt have illustrated a more simple answer PumainTacoma.
    Great post.

    If we penalize those who prosper.
    It will not inspire those who have less to have more.

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