September 20, 2010

Oh, the poor rich people

Like Krugman, I feel so sorry for them. Raising taxes on them is, as one suggested, exactly like Hitler invading Poland. And we should just note that thanks to Republicans, we can just forget phrases like "public good" or "public interest." No, the only thing that matters is what the rich people like. If they don't want to contribute to our society's laws and institutions--even though those institutions and infrastructure allow them to be rich in the first place--then we can't make them. Because as rich people, they are worth more in every way. Better that we just push taxes toward the middle and lower classes than possibly alienate the rich.

Until they need bailed out, that is.


Bob said...

How about reframing the debate to saying we should only tax people's disposable income. Guess what, once you pay for food, clothes, college education, IRA and house, the only people left with disposable income make $100K+.

Smitty said...

What really tears me up inside is that there are struggling middle class voters who vote Republican, and still they agree with the "sunset the tax cut=a tax increase" talking points to their own detriment.

To their own detriment...are they maybe the selfless ones?? Foregoing their own comfort and well-being so the wealthy can continue to hoard their riches?

No. Just maybe painfully unaware of their own predicament.

Funny: my word verification is "ludit." One "e" away from exactly what I feel about those voters...

Crosser said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Streak said...

So tired of the trolls and idiots. Hey "crosser" if you are still reading, perhaps you misunderstand the situation. If you make less than 250 K, Obama wants to cut your taxes. If you make more and still have no disposable income, then perhaps you are a bad money manager. If you make less and are still bitching, perhaps you could scrape together what little money you have and take a basic logic course. Or hell, just a reading comprehension course. Or a basic IQ test.

Thomas said...

$100K? Wow, clearly. Bob doesn't like in HI.


Walter said...

When does the class warefare end? At your wallet that's where. I just can't see this stopping at $250 K. Who decides that's what is definmed as rich?

Streak said...

Class warfare? Paying for wars and streets and police and the military? That is class warfare?

Jesus Christ. Stop watching Fox and read a damn book. Wealthy people in this country used to understand that "taxes are the price of living in a civilized country." Try making your wealth in Somalia. No taxes there.

LB said...

Streak you of all people ought to know that taxes and civilization do not go hand in hand (at least not an income tax). The US was civilized before the federal income tax was instituted and many people made huge fortunes prior to the establishment of the income tax. You may not like the way the US looked during that time period, but I think you'd be hard pressed to say the US was not civilized.

With all due respect, your most recent comment here is one of your lamest arguments.

Streak said...

And LB, you might recognize that as a quote from the article--that was Oliver Wendall Holmes speaking, not me. And that made it lame?

I am sure that if we want a vast separation between the rich and the poor, btw, we can return to the Gilded Age--which we seem to be working on. If that is what conservatives value and want, then maybe you should all admit to that. But you better give up the dreams of middle class life.

And with all due respect to you, LB, your comment here missed my point entirely. But correct me, please. Is pushing for more taxes the same as "class warfare?" Is it so horrible to want us to pay for those wars? Or do we only do tax cuts any longer?

LB said...

Streak, your argument is lame in this case. Just because you use Homles to support your case doesn't change the fact. I don't care what his credentials are. Theologians rip into Athanasius all the time for problems with his Christology despite his credentials. Credentials don't make you bullet proof.

To repeat my point you don't have to have a high income tax to have civilization. I contend that the ability to tax is indicative of the prior existence of a civilization. Taxes merely maintain and support such a civilization.

As for this nonsense of returning to the Guilded Age, no conservative advocates that. conservative philosophy of low taxes for the rich is predicated on the same end goal of liberal philosophy, betterment of the country as a whole from top to bottom.

Disagree with the means and the method by all means, but don't resort to stupid claims that conservatives are out to destroy the middle class.

[i]And with all due respect to you, LB, your comment here missed my point entirely. But correct me, please. Is pushing for more taxes the same as "class warfare?" Is it so horrible to want us to pay for those wars? Or do we only do tax cuts any longer?[/i]

And no, I haven't missed your point at all. I wasn't commenting on the issue of class warfare. I was commenting on a silly association between taxes=civilization. You're the one who missed my point and dodged the argument by quoting Holmes instead of engaging the fact that I pointed out that you can make a fortune in a society that does not have an income tax such as Somalia.

Streak said...

No possibility that the "civilization" in this context (either mine or Holmes) was metaphorical, and not some literal definition of civilization? Any chance of that?

Any chance that he, and I meant, that we pay taxes to create the environment where we all prosper? You and I actually agree on that, so I am not sure why you are busting my chops on this one.

You want to call me lame because of a word choice, then knock yourself out.

Smitty said...


conservative philosophy of low taxes for the rich is predicated on the same end goal of liberal philosophy, betterment of the country as a whole from top to bottom.

I do believe that is any political platform's goal. One of my problems, though (we'll get to other ones in a minute), is that you get a de facto "NO taxes" argument from the right. Cut and cut and offer rebates and amnesty and "incentives" to the point where an entity in question actually isn't paying taxes. On top of that, much of the argument I see from the right is how cutting taxes for the wealthy (let's just arbitrarily call it $250k+) helps the entire economy. "We're taxed too high." We who? My tax burden affords me a decent living, as does my neighbor's, and there is a massive disparity in what we make. But I don't want to be accused (not by you...not saying you would...) of situational bias, so let's take Michigan.

The Anderson Economic Group (notoriously right-leaning by their own admission) did a study of Michigan's tax incentive and abatement programs for businesses. They found that Michigan gave more away in incentives and abatements than they made off of the revenues projected to come in BECAUSE of the incentives. Beyond that, these 8 points summarize the rest of their findings:

1 - multiple and confusing purposes for tax abatement and incentive programs
2 - no inventory of existing programs exists outside of, now, this report!
3 - No independent agency collects information or administers the programs
4 - Approvals and reported [positive] effects are deeply affected by self-interest (I say I love the program 'cause I dont wanna pay taxes and it'll go away otherwise)
5 - Michigan could offer more/better incentives and actually make money in the GF by some simple reforms
7 - The study's own evaluation of a mere 8 of Michigan's guesstimated 36 programs reveals large variation in effectiveness
8 - State and local governments forgo a significant, but ultimately unknown, amount of revenue due to business tax incentives

So, to focus on one single point of many "taxes are bad, give 'em a break" arguments from Republicans in Michigan, tax abatement programs are ultimately a costly option.

So as you point out, LB, we all want to make society better. I would argue that given the above data, the right-leaning argument at least about tax breaks for businesses and certain industries as a method to spur growth...doesn't work at worst, or is costlier than it is worth to a state or local budget at best.