Tag Archives: Taxes

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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And The New Year Begins

Alrighty folks, a new year is upon us.  I hope everyone had a delightful holiday season.  Mine was quite a little clusterfuck, but cest la vie, it is over and onto a new year. Let’s start with a few things

  • An oldie but a goldie, and oh so relevant

“I’m very proud to know the Koch brothers. This may be a breaking news announcement for the media: I am the Koch brothers’ brother from another mother.”
~Herman Cain, creepily admitting that he’s REALLY close to the Koch brothers.

“One of the things I will talk about, that no president has talked about before, is I think the dangers of contraception in this country. It’s not okay. It’s a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be. [Sex] is supposed to be within marriage. It’s supposed to be for purposes that are yes, conjugal…but also procreative. That’s the perfect way that a sexual union should happen…This is special and it needs to be seen as special.”
~Rick Santorum, opposing contraception and frighteningly suggesting that he would love to make pre-marital sex illegal.

“There’s no question at times of my life, partially driven by how passionately I felt about this country, that I worked far too hard and things happened in my life that were not appropriate.”
~Newt Gingrich, blaming his many affairs on his patriotism.

“Corporations are people, my friends.”
~Mitt Romney, declaring that corporations are people in front of a crowd of real people in Iowa.

  • A little clarity from Krugman on the debt

Second — and this is the point almost nobody seems to get — an over-borrowed family owes money to someone else; U.S. debt is, to a large extent, money we owe to ourselves.

It’s true that foreigners now hold large claims on the United States, including a fair amount of government debt. But every dollar’s worth of foreign claims on America is matched by 89 cents’ worth of U.S. claims on foreigners. And because foreigners tend to put their U.S. investments into safe, low-yield assets, America actually earns more from its assets abroad than it pays to foreign investors. If your image is of a nation that’s already deep in hock to the Chinese, you’ve been misinformed. Nor are we heading rapidly in that direction.

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Posted by on January 2, 2012 in Economy, Politics


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50 Economic Numbers From 2011 That Are Almost Too Crazy To Believe

From Business Insider

Here are some of the more choice ones in my opinion:

  • A staggering 48 percent of all Americans are either considered to be “low income” or are living in poverty.
  • According to author Paul Osterman, about 20 percent of all U.S. adults are currently working jobs that pay poverty-level wages.
  • If you can believe it, the median price of a home in Detroit is now just $6000
  • One study found that approximately 41 percent of all working age Americans either have medical bill problems or are currently paying off medical debt
  • The six heirs of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton have a net worth that is roughly equal to the bottom 30 percent of all Americans combined

How are tax breaks for the wealthy, the Keystone XL pipeline, gutting environmental regulations, etc, going to help with all this?!? You can believe if you feed a pony a penny it will shit a dime, but that don’t make it so.


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Posted by on December 20, 2011 in Economy


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Read on For More Toons Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on December 4, 2011 in Humor, Politics


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??? — I Can’t Even Laugh

It’s just too crazy.

If we weren’t living in this really weird alternate universe right now, ….. where this type of thing is a normal, sane attempt at problem solving, (yeah), ——– I’d be rolling on the floor over this one right now.    Instead,…. I’m feeling a little sick.

From Krugman’s blog–

December 1, 2011, 5:19 pm

Also, No Sleeping Under Bridges

They just can’t help themselves:

In addition, Senate Republican leaders would go after “millionaires and billionaires,” not by raising their taxes but by making them ineligible for unemployment compensation and food stamps and increasing their Medicare premiums.

I mean, there are lots of millionaires on food stamps, right?

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Posted by on December 1, 2011 in Economy, Politics


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A Rich Guy/Entrepreneur That Gets It

Raise Taxes on Rich to Reward True Job Creators: Nick Hanauer

 Nick Hanauer tells us what should be obvious to everyone. Without a strong middle-class, the economy in this country will not recover.

Good read.

It is a tenet of American economic beliefs, and an article of faith for Republicans that is seldom contested by Democrats: If taxes are raised on the rich, job creation will stop.

Trouble is, sometimes the things that we know to be true are dead wrong. For the larger part of human history, for example, people were sure that the sun circles the Earth and that we are at the center of the universe. It doesn’t, and we aren’t. The conventional wisdom that the rich and businesses are our nation’s “job creators” is every bit as false.

It is unquestionably true that without entrepreneurs and investors, you can’t have a dynamic and growing capitalist economy. But it’s equally true that without consumers, you can’t have entrepreneurs and investors. And the more we have happy customers with lots of disposable income, the better our businesses will do.

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Posted by on December 1, 2011 in Economy, Politics


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