Tag Archives: Bill Maher

Bill Maher on Voting Against Your Interests

I myself have never understood why middle class voters vote Republican, and this little Maher rant encapsulates that frustration.

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Posted by on February 27, 2012 in Humor, Politics, Rant


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Wealth, Wealth, Wealth

  • I am not as much of a fan of Bill Maher as I used to be, but I think this is funny and spot on about Mitt Romney
  • An article by Mike Rosen Rosen: Buffett’s tax fraud where he tries to debunk Buffet’s (and other very wealthy people’s) view on our taxation system.

His assertion is that he (Buffet) and the super rich pay a lower tax rate than their “secretaries and receptionists.” The key word here is “rate.” Obviously, when considering the amount of total tax dollars collected, the rich pay an inordinate share — far more than their “fair share” — of the overall income tax burden. The top 1 percent pays 37 percent of all individual federal income taxes; the top 10 percent pays 70 percent; and the bottom 50 percent carries only 2 percent of the burden.

This is one of the tiredest conservative talking points in my opinion.  It is beat over our heads by conservatives and liberals always fight back with obtuse morality arguments. No, all you need is simple numbers.  The top 1% control ~34% of America’s net worth and the top 10% control approximately 72% of America’s net worth.  I don’t see a big problem here.  If anything it is probably as close to ‘fair’ in terms of numbers as you are going to get.  And keep in mind this does NOT include payroll taxes.

But Buffett’s worst manipulation is lumping together income taxes and payroll taxes in the comparison with his secretary. Payroll taxes are for specifically dedicated programs like Social Security and Medicare. Investment income isn’t and shouldn’t be subject to the payroll tax, and Buffett has far more investment income than his secretary.

There is truth in that statement, but the deception is that even the salary income of the uber wealthy usually far exceeds the $110K income limit on the payroll tax.  On the $372K Mittens made in speaking fees he paid a rate less than of a third or yours or mine.

With no cap, the normal, combined employee/employer rate of 12.4 percent on a $1 million salary would result in a tax of $124,000 in 2012 instead of $13, 652. That’s an increase of about $110,000. On a $10 million salary, that would be a tax increase of about $1,226,000. And this would be on top of income taxes, which Democrats also want to increase. This is grand larceny.

Ah the classic, lump the employer and employee contributions together trick.  Yeah that’s a lot of money, and I still don’t see a problem with it.

Corporations that pay dividends to shareholders do so with after-tax dollars, having already paid a corporate income tax on their earnings. The lower tax rate that shareholders have paid in the past on dividend income when they file their individual tax returns serves to offset some — but not all — of this double taxation. (The lower tax rate on ordinary dividend income, unfortunately, is being eliminated.)

OK, I’ll give him some points on that for dividend income.  But we all pay taxes on top of taxes – state income taxes, sales taxes, property taxes.  So it’s not all that special, but I will concede a lower dividend rate – but for true dividends, not the crap hedge funds and like pull.

And finally,

Likewise, the capital gains tax is also double taxation, as eloquently explained by economists Victor Canto and Harvey Hirschorn in more words than space allows here. Moreover, if a stock increases in value over the years, much of the gain is illusionary, eroded by inflation. The capital gains tax makes no allowance for this. A lower tax on capital gains is a productive incentive for people to defer current consumption and invest in the future, creating wealth for themselves and society.

I have not read the aforementioned article, but I have to call a preemptive bullshit on this.  I’ll read it and if I am wrong I will correct this statement.

Even if the rich pay more in taxes, I am all for it.  Even if I suddenly became rich I would be for it.  The reason is this: I believe it is better and more moral to deny a rich person a new Bentley than to deny a poor person food or shelter.  Seriously, if I made $20 million I would have no problem paying half that in taxes to a functioning society that provided universal health care, an adequate safety net, insured clean air and water, etc.  This notion that conservatives have that the rich are this noble species that are there because of their superior intellect and work ethic and that poor are a bunch of stupid, lazy slobs is ridiculous. Working in a venture capital funded tech company for a period of time I got to see up close and personal that many of these noble wealthy were simply morons with a lot of money to throw around (usually daddy’s money at that).  Just look at the tech bubble of the late 90’s and the housing bubble of recent memory for the brilliance of the plutocracy.

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Posted by on February 7, 2012 in Economy, Politics


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