October 30, 2007

Rangel's...

... strangle.

137 comments:

cokaygne said...

I think Rubin's argument is that ending the federal budget deficit would reduce interest rates. Who's to say that's wrong?

I've got a better idea. Keep the AMT with an expanded EITC funded by repealing a lot of welfare programs and a generous per child credit for everyone. AMT is true tax reform, no deductions, just a progressive bite of gross income. Media elites (and maybe elite law faculty) who live in high tax states don't like the AMT because they cannot deduct their state and local taxes. Let them move to another state or pressure their local politicians to lower taxes.

Bob said...

Did you misspell Rangel's name on purpose?

Hoosier Daddy said...

Even if Hillary! wins, she'd need a major Democratic takeover in Congress and even then, there are a lot of bluedogs that would never support this kind of tax hike.

This is typical of the socialist wing of the Democrat party. More taxes, more government and more making people dependent on government handouts. Here is a quote from Edwards on his proposal for more government programs ranging from free college to matching Federal savings funds.

At every stop, Edwards said, he tells voters he'll ask them to sacrifice. Asked to describe what he means, he described his plan for increases in capital gains taxes, saying taxes on "wealth income" should be in line with those on work income.

"I think if we want to fund the things that I think are important to share in prosperity, then people who have done well in this country, including me, have more of a responsibility to give back," he said. Later, he added: "There are no free meals."


Huh? No free meals yet he has no problem taking from people who have worked thier ass off and succeeded so he can give others a free meal.

The only gratifying thing is that he's polling at 10% or so.

dax said...

This tax proposal is so anti growth and anti capitalism it's laughable.
Sure let's tax our way to prosperity.HA HA HA!

rhhardin said...

That's why they call themselves progressives, after the tax rates.

The correct policy would be a flat tax, because it lines up more or less with human motivations. If you vote for a tax, you also pay for it.

Unfortunately what can be passed can also be repealed, so really somehow the idea of getting somebody else to pay for stuff you vote yourself has to be ridiculed enough to make it unattractive.

There's surprising agreement on what the highest tax rate ought to be, namely about 25%. That agreement disappears if the rate is imposed on somebody else, and it rises without obvious limit.

AllenS said...

New GOP election strategy slogan:

Mangle Rangle's Strangle.

(Note spelling)

Paul Zrimsek said...

While I'm against Rangel's plan, the linked article is pretty shoddy work. At the very least, the author ought to acknowledge that under current law the Bush tax cuts will expire while the AMT continues unabated.

I note that if Ann is endorsing the author's view, she's probably arguing against interest. Greg Mankiw: "Thus, as a first approximation, the plan increases the progressivity of the tax code by redistributing income from the very rich (e.g., CEOs, hedge fund managers, superstar athletes and actors) to the upper middle class (e.g., doctors, lawyers, congressmen)."

Tim said...

Two thoughts:

Given the (frightening) lack of objection by other Democrats to this proposed massive seizure of private property from the productive classes by government, how can anyone persist under the delusion Democrats are not Socialists?

The Republican Party will never die as long as there are Democrats like Charlie Rangel and Hillary!

Darkbloom said...

I seem to recall Ann complaining a few months ago that Rangel wasn't going to do away with the alternative minimum, as promised. This is his plan to do that.

Also, his plan is revenue-neutral. It will not increase the amount of revenue to the federal govt overall. The complaining above of "more government, more government handouts" does not apply.

Lastly, from the linked article:
Compared to a baseline where President George W. Bush's tax cuts are extended and the dreaded alternative minimum tax isn't allowed to swallow millions of taxpayers whole, the bill raises taxes by a whopping $3.5 trillion over the next 10 years

In other words, compared to Fantasyland. Who compares how much taxes would go up against a situation that doesn't exist? The tax cuts are set to expire. The alternative minimum tax does exist. The only way the dreaded alternative minimum tax won't swallow millions of taxpayers whole, is if you get rid of it. Rangel's approach to doing that is to raise the money now to pay for it, instead of just allowing it to increase the deficit.

AllenS said...

When Bill and Hillary! are elected president, they'll preside over the Rangle Strangle Angle. Then, Bill will be asked to explain the Angle of the Dangle.

Too many jims said...

Medicare Part D for everyone. No new taxes.

MadisonMan said...

Fearmongering extends to the threat of new taxes.

allens: not slogan, angle.

ricpic said...

Don't tell me the Dems don't love us. They love us to death.

Pogo said...

Jimmy Carter all over again.

AllenS said...

Madison Man--

I had to giggle at your single mingle of the struggle to wrangle, the idea of a Rangle jingle struggle.

Sloanasaurus said...

It seems that the Democrats are concerned about Bush's legacy. They want to cement it by passing the mother of all tax increases.

I have a bright idea. Lets pass a draconian tax on all our small businesses and entrepreneurs so they lay off more people. In fact lets pass a tax surcharge before the small business owners even get to deduct the salaries they pay to their workers. This in the end will lower economic growth so that our tax revenues actually fall to lower levels than they were before we passed the draconian tax increase....

It makes so much sense. Nancy, Harry, Charlie, Hillary. They are all so brilliant.

Then lets raise the social security cap which would equal a 12.4% tax increase on anyone earning over $100,000. That sounds even better.

AJ Lynch said...

You know many states where Dems have been in control are experiencing annual increases in the state expenditures of over 5-6%. That is way more than rate of inflation and it is indicative of how Dems rule- they can't govern without more and more tax revenue. The voters will inevitably uderstand this.

peter hoh said...

The choices are clear: "borrow and spend" or "tax and spend."

Sloanasaurus said...

The choices are clear: "borrow and spend" or "tax and spend."

It's a lot easier to spend when you show a surplus. The goal should be for the government to perpetually run deficit below the level of economic growth.

Ann Althouse said...

Sorry about misspelling Rangel's name. It was an oversight.

You think I'd be better off under his plan? I don't know. I'm a single taxpayer and I see where the surcharge kicks.

Yeah, I hate the AMT, but I don't want to get hit harder. But generally the AMT hurts people in blue states (with high taxes) like mine, so it is more of a Democrat's issue -- with the usual room to propagandize against the rich -- which no one should bother to get because they will only get taxed and start voting for Republicans.

That said, I've never voted my own self-interest.

peter hoh said...

Sloan, that makes sense, but at what point does the deficit become unhealthy?

Bruce Hayden said...

If the Bush tax cuts weren't expiring, Rangle might possibly have a chance at arguing revenue neutrality. That is, of course, under the greatly discredited static analysis that Congress so loves.

I do find it interesting that anyone these days can believe that they can grow the economy by raising taxes. The conventional wisdom, which seems to work just fine is the opposite - that you cut taxes to grow the economy.

In short, a stupid plan by an economically ignorant man, whose goal of equality of results would invariably do what it always does, drive more people into poverty.

SteveR said...

They're going to take things from us for the common good.

Rich B said...

Rubin's theory was tried in the 1990's and it didn't pan out. Lower deficits did not lead to lower interest rates.

Remember that he is an attorney, not an economist.

Doyle said...

How do you get away claiming that you're a Democrat except on national security?

You're a wingnut without the Christian conservatism.

Bruce Hayden said...

Sloan, that makes sense, but at what point does the deficit become unhealthy?

Obviously not at the level where we are right now. Probably not even close.

He is right though about how much easier it is to increase spending when you don't have a deficit. Of course, this all assumes that Rangel's tax increases would actually increase government revenues. But that isn't clear, and indeed, is likely to backfire. Tax revenues tend to drop when the economy tanks, and the increased taxes are likely to make that happen. That is why static analysis is so discredited - it ignores the effect that tax rates have on the economy, and since taxes are a function of the economy, raising taxes can result in reduced revenues, and so can the opposite.

Bruce Hayden said...

How do you get away claiming that you're a Democrat except on national security?

You're a wingnut without the Christian conservatism.


Apparently, Doyle believes that belief in fantasy economics is a requirement for membership in the Democratic party.

save_the_rustbelt said...

Someone will have to pay for Bush's spending sprees and for the future committments he has created.

I hate to say this, but the GOP has no credibility on much of anything, and espcially not on taxation and spending.

Every binge eventually creates a hangover, and the American middle class is gonna pay for the partying of the rich and connected.

Count on it.

Pogo said...

Count on it.

Okay. Say you're right.
The why not just cut spending severely and give the middle class a break?

Because Democrats just can't.

Doyle said...

Bruce, the Supply Siders are the fantasy economists.

Would you buy a car from Art Laffer?

James said...

I'm not agreeing with the tax cuts, but I'd like someone to explain the argument made in the article about how higher taxes = less productivity. I certainly understand how it worked in the Communist systems, but in those cases, the people retained essentially (or literally) none of their work product. It seems to me, if taxes increase, workers won't suddenly work even less, because that would mean substantially less money (under the new taxes) than before.

I guess the only place where I could really see it is if somebody is right at the cutoff for the next highest tax bracket, but even then, how exactly would they work less? Most of the high paying jobs are salary based, and for those that aren't (i.e. commissions, etc.) it would be quite hard to control whether or not you move up in the tax brackets simply by "working less." Can someone explain to me the economic theory behind this?

Doyle said...

Can someone explain to me the economic theory behind this?

Please, No!

Basically the theory is that the ideal level of marginal tax rates is always below the current level of marginal tax rates.

Not just ideal for the people who are paying less; ideal for everyone! Because people are so damn incentivized that the increase in productivity increases the total amount of government tax revenues.

It's a crackpot theory that only holds sway because its advocates are so rich.

MadisonMan said...

Because Democrats just can't.

Why limit that statement to Democrats? Republicans were in control for 6 years in DC; Result: An explosion in spending and earmarks and an even bigger explosion in future entitlements.

Simon said...

Darkbloom said...
"I seem to recall Ann complaining a few months ago that Rangel wasn't going to do away with the alternative minimum, as promised. This is his plan to do that."

The two positions aren't in tension. Just because someone wants to do away with the AMT doesn't mean that any plan that does so is acceptable.


"Also, his plan is revenue-neutral."

It's revenue-neutral if one assumes that all else will remain constant except those factors expressly altered. That failure to grasp basic economic realities is endemic throughout liberal fiscal thinking.

Simon said...

MadisonMan said...
"Why limit that statement to Democrats? Republicans were in control for 6 years in DC; Result: An explosion in spending and earmarks and an even bigger explosion in future entitlements."

The difference is that what is corruption for the GOP (which has been roundly castigated by Republicans not in Washington, and a few who are) is normal operating procedure for the Democrats, MM. The valid criticism of the GOP spending orgy is a criticism of heresy not orthodoxy.

Too many jims said...

Because Democrats just can't.

Neither can Republicans.

Sloanasaurus said...

Sloan, that makes sense, but at what point does the deficit become unhealthy?

A "healthy" deficit is one that stays below GDP growth.

You don't ever want the government to be in a surplus, because then politicians will spend the surplus. In the grand scheme of things, government spending is really what matters. If you stay in deficit it is harder to convince the voters that the government should spend more.

Simon said...

By the way, as I said before, it really is pleasing to see Rangel et al now basically conceding that the AMT is a train wreck - because that's also a concession (although they're a bit more coy about this) that they were wrong. AMT was a Democratic policy, and now it's a proven failed Democratic policy.

Too many jims said...

Shorter Simon: Bush is a heretic.

Simon said...

Ann Althouse said...
"That said, I've never voted my own self-interest."

Not consciously, at least. ;) Does this mean you reject the bedrock of the economic analysis of law view, viz. that people are rational maximizers of their own wealth? I don't think you've commented on that before.

Darkbloom said...

It's revenue-neutral if one assumes that all else will remain constant except those factors expressly altered.

My point about it being revenue-neutral is that the criticism that Rangel wants to raise taxes in order to increase spending is wrong. His plan does not intentionally increase or decrease the amount of revenue collected from taxes. Obviously other conditions will influence what actually happens. But people who are wailing about him wanting to create more government are attacking a non-existent villian in this case.

Assuming this will result in fewer revenues because of higher taxes on the wealthy is questionable, at best. I seem to recall a tax increase on the rich in the early 90s, and that decade went on to experience fine economic expansion and a surplus by the end. Don't dismiss the stimulation to the economy when the middle class get their taxes cut, or the positive economic benefits of deficit reduction.

Simon said...

Too many jims said...
"Shorter Simon: Bush is a heretic."

I might give him a little less credit than that, but sure, that'll do as a shorthand.

Doyle said...

But people who are wailing about him wanting to create more government are attacking a non-existent villian in this case.

I'm shocked, shocked that wingnuts would misrepresent Charlie Rangel's tax plan!

Sloanasaurus said...

if taxes increase, workers won't suddenly work even less, because that would mean substantially less money (under the new taxes) than before.

Here is a simple way to understand it. Last year I hired a guy to brick and install my fireplace. He spent 2 days doing it and it cost me $5000. He in turn used the $5000 (less cost for the brick) to pay his expenses - i.e. his mortgage, food etc..

If I had to pay $5000 more in taxes, I would not have built my fireplace. I would not have created a new asset (i.e. no wealth would have been created). The fireplace guy would not have a job because 100s others like me would not have been building surplus fireplaces.

Instead the government would piss away the $5000 on a much less valuable asset because the government is poor at creating assets. That is how taxes and government spending impacts the economy.

MadisonMan said...

Simon, wake up and smell the coffee. The heretics are in charge and they aren't going away.

Fen said...

I guess the only place where I could really see it is if somebody is right at the cutoff for the next highest tax bracket, but even then, how exactly would they work less?

This applied to my Father. If he worked past Sept he would actually lose money by reaching the next bracket. So he dod some pro bono and played golf instead.

SteveR said...

Sloan, what's amazing is how many people don't understand that.

Simon said...

MadisonMan said...
"Simon, wake up and smell the coffee. The heretics are in charge and they aren't going away."

The heretic-in-Chief is barely "in charge" now, and is "going away" - to I think almost universal delight - on January 20th, 2009, unless one believes the conspiratorial mutterings of the Democratic Underground and its ilk. And much hay has been made on the left about the fact that a number of the lesser heretics are retiring from Congress (no doubt after discovering that being in the minority isn't nearly as much fun -- good riddance, I say).

Doyle said...

Instead the government would piss away the $5000 on a much less valuable asset

Like healthcare for children or, say, supplies for troops in Iraq.

Meanwhile your fireplace installer probably just drank that 5k at the local watering hole.

Boy arguing economics this way sure is easy!

Doyle said...

Off topic:

Even if Gen. Petraeus isn't a lying scumbag, his chief spokesman is.

Simon said...

Doyle said...
"'Instead the government would piss away the $5000 on a much less valuable asset' .. [l]ike healthcare for children."

Except government is all-but per se less efficient than the private sector, and "healthcare for children" is a policy not an asset. The upshot being that, while you can deploy an appeal to emotion fallacy to oversimplify the issue, the fact remains that even if government intends to spend it on an aspirational policy goal "[l]ike healthcare for children," it's actually using monies on concrete expenditures (buying actual assets for example), and because of inefficiencies, a smaller fraction of the $5000 is actually spent in an effective sense on healthcare for children than it would be in the private sector.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Here is the big deception and misconception.

Income does not equal wealth. Sure... if you have a higher income you 'might' be able to acquire wealth but they are not interchangeable concepts.

A couple or a family earning a gross income of over $200,000 and living in the San Francisco Bay Area is not "rich". They are lucky to be able to make ends meet after paying current taxes.

Taxing income at over 50% (Fed, State, Local) is punitive. But I guess who cares if we THINK we are soaking the rich.

Expect small businesses to collapse, higher unemployment, stock markets to crash, interest rates to rise precipitously, inflation to rise, spending and purchasing by the working class (what's left of it) to cease.....which causes small businesses to collapse, higher unemployment.....etc. etc. etc.

When will we ever learn that self serving politicians who barely have the ability to manage their own lives, should NEVER be allowed to tinker with the economy of the Nation and with the economy of the world.

Simon said...

Dust Bunny Queen said...
"Taxing income at over 50% (Fed, State, Local) is punitive. But I guess who cares if we THINK we are soaking the rich."

As Patrick Kennedy remarked on Meet the Press during the '06 election, the trouble with soaking the rich is that the middle class usually gets drenched. Which is, of course, the central story of the AMT, and it's why Greg Mankiw's suggestion (reposted by Paul, above at 7:15 AM) that Rangel's plan "redistribuy[es] income from the very rich ... to the upper middle class" should be greeted with extreme skepticism.

Doyle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Doyle said...

Except government is all-but per se less efficient than the private sector, and "healthcare for children" is a policy not an asset.

Huh? I guess you could argue that the benefit to families flows through the income statement, but that means they get to keep more of their cash, which is an asset, by even the strictest definitions, right?

Dust Bunny Queen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sloanasaurus said...

Huh? I guess you could argue that the benefit to families flows through the income statement, but that means they get to keep more of their cash, which is an asset, by even the strictest definitions, right?

Huh?

The asset created by providing "health care to children" would be healthier children. Except that if the government starts providing health care, eventually everyone will get worse health care then they do now ultimately taking wealth away from the economy and making health care even worse for everyone.

I can see the argument as to why the government should maybe help provide health care to poor children, but providing health care to anyone else is plain dumb.

Doyle said...


I can see the argument as to why the government should maybe help provide health care to poor children,


Sloan! I never knew you were a compassionate conservative, you old softie :-)

Bruce Hayden said...

Bruce, the Supply Siders are the fantasy economists.

Would you buy a car from Art Laffer?


Long before I would buy one from you - though I am not sure how selling cars has any relationship to fiscal economics.

Besides, using dynamic analysis instead of static analysis is a long way from fully accepting the Laffer curve. I am unaware of any reputable economic studies showing that significantly increasing government taxation and spending will do anything except put us into a recession. If you have such, please feel free to provide them to us, and we can trade economic studies about the effects of increasing government spending and taxation.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Meanwhile your fireplace installer probably just drank that 5k at the local watering hole.

Yet another example of the liberal elite view of the 'working class'.

Just out of curiosity Doyle, since you seem to think that the Guvmint should be the end all for the rest of the unwashed, how much of my paycheck should I be allowed to keep? I mean why stop spending at health care? Lets make everything Section 8 housing, free college for everyone and government run day care. Hell lets stop farming subsidies and simply implement collectivisation. Then we can all just queue up at the store for our government groceries.

If taxes are so good, why not just go back to 90% marginal rates?

Doyle said...

You want liberal elitism? I got it right here: Your arguments are so dumb that I'm embarrassed to be arguing with you.

"If taxes are so good..." What are you, 12?

chuckR said...

Taxing income of the rich at anything approaching 50% is not punitive. The truly rich have the resources to allow for realizing income on a discretionary basis. They know that if they hold out, the tax code will be rejiggered yet again. In the intervening years, the national debt either goes up further or the tax bite is pushed down onto the merely prosperous - the $200K earners. You cannot force a rich person to take a profit and have to declare income. After the dust settles, however it settles, if history is any indicator, the rich will continue to pay at about the same percentage - the top 1% will have an effective rate of 25%. You can wander over to the www.taxfoundation.org to see the history for the past 25 years or so. Interesting that in the Bush years, the 1% paid from 34% to 40% of all personal tax while during the good old Clinton days it was 26% to 37%. Do you suppose people modify their financial behavior when confronted with a changed tax climate? If you do, you're smarter than the average Democrat bear.

Pogo said...

"If taxes are so good..." What are you, 12?

It's a legitmate question that you should not dodge.

Is there an ideal maximum tax rate ?
Why not a 100% tax, even for some?
Do you think combined taxes above 30% of GDP will have no/little/huge effect on work and investment?
Which Western nations have had the greatest prosperity: high tax, or low tax?

XWL said...

If wealthy Dems want the tax rates to be "more progressive", why don't they just fire their accountants?

(I suggest as much, here)

Also, Rep. Rangel's plan is unlikely to be as "revenue neutral" as planned. In all likelihood, tax receipts will plunge as the wealthy shuffle their compensation packages (defer current income into retirement benefits, property as work perk, or other fun accounting tricks to increase wealth without increasing income) around to avoid income tax (why do some people forget that wealth and income aren't the same?), that gets easier as you get more wealthy.

What would Rangel do when this happens, add a surcharge on "wealth" as well? Wasn't that what the AMT was supposed to do in the first place?

XWL said...

Also, shouldn't you misspell "...strangle." as "...strangel." for reasons of symmetry?

Luckyoldson said...

Paul Krugman explains why Republicans continue to push for tax cuts even though there is no longer any justification for further cuts:

Since the 1970's, conservatives have used two theories to justify cutting taxes. One theory, supply-side economics, has always been hokum for the yokels. Conservative insiders adopted the supply-siders as mascots because they were useful to the cause, but never took them seriously. The insiders' theory - what we might call the true tax-cut theory - was memorably described by David Stockman, Ronald Reagan's budget director, as "starving the beast." Proponents of this theory argue that conservatives should seek tax cuts ... because ... budget deficits will lead to spending cuts that will eventually achieve their true aim: shrinking the government's role back to what it was under Calvin Coolidge.

True to form, ... conservative heavyweights are using the budget deficit to call for cuts in key government programs. For example, in 2001 Alan Greenspan urged Congress to cut taxes to avoid running an excessively large budget surplus. Now he issues dire warnings about "fiscal instability." But rather than urging Congress to reverse the tax cuts he helped sell, he talks of the need to cut future Social Security and Medicare benefits.

Yet at this point starve-the-beast theory looks as silly as supply-side economics. Although a disciplined conservative movement has controlled Congress and the White House for five years - and presided over record deficits - public opposition has prevented any significant cuts in the big social-insurance programs that dominate domestic spending. ... Medicaid, whose recipients are less likely to vote than the average person getting Social Security or Medicare, is the softest target among major federal social-insurance programs. But even members of Congress, it seems, have consciences. (Well, some of them.) It took intense arm-twisting from the Republican leadership, and that tie-breaking vote by Mr. Cheney, to ram through even modest cuts in aid to the neediest.

In other words, the starve-the-beast theory - like missile defense - has been tested under the most favorable possible circumstances, and failed. So there is no longer any coherent justification for further tax cuts. Yet the cuts go on. In fact, even as Congressional leaders struggled to pass a tiny package of mean-spirited spending cuts, they pushed forward with a much larger package of tax cuts. The benefits of those cuts, as always, will go disproportionately to the wealthy.

Here's how I see it: Republicans have turned into tax-cut zombies. They can't remember why they originally wanted to cut taxes, they can't explain how they plan to make up for the lost revenue, and they don't care. Instead, they just keep shambling forward, always hungry for more.

Doyle said...

xwl - She misspelled Rangel's name originally, so it was symmetrical before she fixed it.

Sloanasaurus said...

Paul Krugman explains why Republicans continue to push for tax cuts even though there is no longer any justification for further cuts:

When I see anything that says "Paul Krugman says this...." its worthy of the trash bin.

No one outright lies more than Krugman (not even you Lucky.)

Doyle said...

You see, Neil Cavuto called Krugman a liar to his face when the latter was a guest on FNC. So now every pork-rind eating wingnut blog commenter acts like a Princeton economist's superior, even though they're only superior to Neil Cavuto.

Pogo said...

"Although a disciplined conservative movement has controlled Congress and the White House for five years..."

B.S. They were Rockefeller Republicans. Borrow and Spend, Tax and Spend.
Both are erroneous.

I agree, Krugman used to be a serious economist. Then he was an Enron adviser. Then he became a schill.

Pogo said...

Seriuosly, Doyle, how would you answer the questions I posed?

James said...

Sloan-

I was more so asking for the personal aspect - i.e. not working yourself because of the increased taxes. Fen's response is more to the point, but other than in certain businesses like the legal profession, maybe consulting, etc., it would be quite difficult to really work less, because your salary is more or less fixed as it is. Thus, working less would only keep you from moving up in the tax bracket by getting you fired for not doing the work you're supposed to be doing.

Doyle said...

Obviously I wouldn't.

reader_iam said...

Why not? (No snark intended.)

Pogo said...

Obviously?
Why 'obviously'?

Sloanasaurus said...

james, I see your point. However it could happen in other ways. For example if a small business person saw a chance to make more money by hiring people and expanding markets, they may not see it being worth the risk if their tax bracket for any future income would be too high. H

Here is another example. If you make, say $150k a year and have a few young kids, your wife or husband may decide she wants to work. Say she finds a job making $50k being a nurse. However, the wifes $50k will be taxed at nearly 50% (33% income tax, 7.65% SSI and 7% state tax (or about $23,000 in taxes). Then you need day care for the kids - say two kids at $1600 per month or $18,000 per year, leaving the wife with a take home of only $9000 per year for working 40 hours a week. Is it worth it? Now say the wife's $50k gets taxed at Charlie Rangel's 44%, so the wife makes only $2,500 net per year.

Basically Charlie Rangel's bill guarantees a lot less people working.....

Is this worth it? No way. In which scenario does the government make more tax revenues?

AlphaLiberal said...

Yeah, what did this country ever do for rich people? Why should they pay taxes? Taxes are for suckers!

And why should we pay for this war when the Chinese will loan us more money and the kids can pay it back? Strength through Credit.

Pogo said...

Why should they pay taxes?

That's changing the subject, of course.
The pretinent question is: Is their an optimal level of taxation that answers the needs for government protection, welfare, and securing national prosperity without violating our liberty.

Revenant said...

James,

other than in certain businesses like the legal profession, maybe consulting, etc., it would be quite difficult to really work less, because your salary is more or less fixed as it is.

What happens in other professions is that a certain percentage of the people stop working at all. Some of the borderline cases -- the people who really didn't care to work but did so because the money was good enough to get them to -- drop out of the workforce. For example, upper-middle class working couple might decide that one of them might as well quit working, because the extra money from that second job is no longer worth it to them.

A lot of the most productive people in the workforce -- the ones who really drive a lot of our growth -- have enough money that they don't HAVE to work if they don't want to. Some keep working because they love what they do, but most of them keep working out of a simple motive: greed. They want more money. Hamstringing their opportunities for profit discourages them from bothering to work, and that makes us all worse-off in the long term.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

"Taxing income of the rich at anything approaching 50% is not punitive. The truly rich have the resources to allow for realizing income on a discretionary basis. They know that if they hold out, the tax code will be rejiggered yet again. In the intervening years, the national debt either goes up further or the tax bite is pushed down onto the merely prosperous - the $200K earners. You cannot force a rich person to take a profit and have to declare income."

Chuck.... you don't get it. Income does not equal wealth or rich. Forcing a "rich" person to take a profit is called capital gains. If income taxes are too high people who can, will work less and business owners will lay off employees. If capital gains are too high, people will not sell their appreciated stocks or other assets to take their gains and use the proceeds to purchase other things. The velocity of money slows or can even stop.

Look up the velocity of money and the importance it has on the economy.

Revenant said...

Yeah, what did this country ever do for rich people?

I realize you were being sarcastic, Alpha, but could you answer that question? What HAS this country -- or, more specifically, this country's government -- ever done for rich people?

Sure, the rich derive some benefits from the government, but nowhere near what the poor and middle-class do.

Blake said...

Rev,

The government keeps the rest of us from stealing back what all the rich people stole from us.

The government keeps us down by keeping the wealthy safely entrenched. Don't you see? That's why the only solution is more government!

chuckR said...

DustBunnyQueen

Of course I get it. The rich don't need to realize all their potential income in any given year, much of which comes from capital gains. Unlike us wage slaves, they chose the timing of their capital gains income. Also, they can change the status of their gains using tax favored investments. Someone making $200k solely from wages is not as wealthy as someone making $200K largely from stock dividends and bond income plus capital gains. At some point, they can shift to treasuries and munis while they hunker down and wait for the next change in the tax code. And I am aware that there are a lot more aggressive instruments than Ts and munis, but that stuff is out of my league and my comfort zone. The velocity of money in useful investments is slowed not by realizing large capital gains, but rather by the reluctance to getting whacked disproportionately by higher cap gains taxes.

jeff said...

In 1991 there was a 10% luxury tax on cars over 30K, boats over 100K, planes over 250K and furs and jewelry over 10K. The idea was that finally, the rich will pay their share. The rich stopped buying new, or bought from out of country and the people that really paid for the higher tax were the blue collar people that produced these items. They paid with their jobs.
Anyone who says the rich don't pay taxes just isn't paying attention. They already pay most of the taxes. They also provide the capitol that keep the rest of us employed. How much of the total pile that is tax revenue should one class of people have to pay before being considered "fair".

"Paul Krugman explains why Republicans continue to push for tax cuts even though there is no longer any justification for further cuts"
Nonsense. How about the fact that it isn't the governments money? People sit and argue about this like it's 1880 and Mr Burns is sitting in his house high on the hill looking down on the shantys that the workers are forced to rent from him as he baths in freshly minted money.
The "rich" are mostly that way because of hard work and sacrifice.
What has the most chance of providing people with benefits and jobs? The US Government or someone like Ted Turner? How many people work at the businesses he grew? Or Bill Gates? Or Warren Buffett? Which would create the greater good? How many jobs do you suppose just these three guys created and maintained over their lifetime? What risks would they have taken with their capital should the return had been taxed at a high rate?

MadisonMan said...

What HAS this country -- or, more specifically, this country's government -- ever done for rich people?

Provided a stable, secure, place in which hard work and/or investments could reap big benefits. Alternatively, you might say that the government has sold off assets -- land, forests -- at sub-market costs so others can exploit the assets. (I'm using exploit in the good way, not the exploit the downtrodden workers sense).

There was no tax, really, until the 20th century. Wealth really exploded in the 20th century. Ergo, taxes create wealth :)

jeff said...

"Provided a stable, secure, place in which hard work and/or investments could reap big benefits."

Absolutely. But isn't the "secure" part knowing that should you reap big benefits you know that your friends and neighbors won't vote someone in who will take most of that away from you? In the interest in fairness? Just how much do people think would be a fair percentage of tax? how much for $1 million income? $500K? $100K, $50K? What would people consider fair? What do you think would be a fair percentage if there was no withholding tax and we all had to write a check for the entire amount at the end of the year?

Tim said...

"There was no tax, really, until the 20th century. Wealth really exploded in the 20th century. Ergo, taxes create wealth :)"

Notwithstanding the smiley face, that's a profoundly stupid statement far too many Demcrats believe.

Luckyoldson said...

Since we're interested in eliminating taxes as much as possible, I wondered who would pick up the slack regarding:

1. Roads, Highways, etc.
2. Military, Weaponry, etc.
3. National Parks, etc.
4. Postal Service
5. Police, Fire, Health, etc.

Pogo said...

Ergo, taxes create wealth
Cass Sunstein certaily has made that argument. It fails in this regard. Marx was wrong about the labor theory of value (the true value of a commodity is related to the labor needed to produce it).

Sunstein and others make a similar error assigning a state theory of value, according to which the true value of a commodity is due entirely to the state-provided courts and infrastructure needed to produce them. That is, the state is ths source of all wealth.

That theory has the same inherent flaw as Marx, and for much the same reason. It does not explain at all how markets actually work, and why some nations are more prosperous than others.

It is a necessary but not sufficient component to economic progress, and therefore deserves its due, but it does not deserve all.

P.S. Lucky
Why do Democrats always pick the most essential functions, indeed the primary functions of government to cut first? Every single time.

Luckyoldson said...

Pogo asks: "Why do Democrats always pick the most essential functions, indeed the primary functions of government to cut first? Every single time."

Could you provide examples of such?

And, speaking of Democrats versus Republicans...why do Republicans say they are for smaller government and less "spending"...yet continue to increase the government, spending deficits and debt when in power?

Reagan, Bush...

Luckyoldson said...

Pogo,
I also can't help but notice your cute little picture is almost gone.

Are you withering away?

Tim said...

"That is, the state is ths source of all wealth."

That's because Democrats forget it takes capitalists and Capitalism to pay for their Socialism.

Luckyoldson said...

Our government in action or...THE WAR ON TERROR!!!

UK's first Muslim minister, Shahid Malik on Monday said he was detained at an American airport and his luggage analysed for traces of explosive materials.

Malik, UK's international development minister, whose parents come from Pakistan, said he was returning to Heathrow on Sunday after a series of meetings on tackling terror, when he was stopped at Dulles Airport in Washington.

Expressing his disappointment, Malik said he was searched and detained by the department of homeland security - the same department whose representatives he had been meeting on his visit to the country.

Malik said: "After a few minutes a couple of other people were also taken to one side. We were all Muslims - the other two were black Muslims, both with Muslim names."

Classic: Homeland Security searches the guy AFTER he's already been admitted to the United States, traveled here and there...and met with...Homeland Security.

Luckyoldson said...

Timmy,
Which of these would you NOT consider forms of..."socialism?"

1. Roads, Interstate Highways, etc.
2. Military, Weaponry, etc.
3. National Parks, etc.
4. Postal Service
5. Police, Fire, Health, etc.
6. Veteran's Affairs
7. Medicaid
8. Medicare
9. ETC.

Simon said...

Luckyoldson said...
"Since we're interested in eliminating taxes as much as possible, I wondered who would pick up the slack regarding ... [inter alia, the] Postal Service...."

Tangent: Although I think it's within the realm of the legitimate functions of government, I think that in this day and age, the time in which the government must provide a postal service (and thus can justify running one with an artificial monopoly) is gone, and for that reason would eliminate the restrictions on private sector mail carriers.

Luckyoldson said...

Simon,
Okay.

We've got the Postal Service out of the way...and you do have a point, considering Fed-Ex, but I have a feeling you could kiss your $.39 stamp adios. (Hey...maybe the illegals could deliver?)

How about the others?

Maybe Blackwater could handle the military functions and Halliburton can take the rest?

Yeah...that's the ticket.

No more of this stinkin' socialism.

Luckyoldson said...

Timmy,
Still waiting.

Methadras said...

Seriously, for Rangel to even propose a tax hike in this fashion on speaks to this doddering fools lack of knowledge with respect to economics. I'd bitch slap this idiot with the back of my hand if I could for even suggesting the idea. What a moron.

AlphaLiberal said...

"The "rich" are mostly that way because of hard work and sacrifice. "

Yeah, but whose work and whose sacrifice? Someone else's. Someone who doesn't make much because some manager slashed jobs and pay.

Or working people, people struggling economically to pick up the slack when the rich shirk paying taxes.

There are hard-working and sacrificing people at every level in the economy. Equating wealth with virtue is brain dead ideology.

------------------
But here's what I came to post. Warren Buffet supports reforming this corrupt and immoral tax system:
"Warren Buffett sat down with Tom Brokaw on "NBC Nightly News" last night to discuss his problems with the US tax structure. He described an informal poll of his office, where the average tax rate was 32.9 percent, compared to his 17.7 percent, citing that as evidence that "the tax system has titled toward the rich in the last 10 years." He also talked about hedge fund managers and the lower tax rates they enjoy."
Link

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Methadras wrote:

Seriously, for Rangel to even propose a tax hike in this fashion on speaks to this doddering fools lack of knowledge with respect to economics. I'd bitch slap this idiot with the back of my hand if I could for even suggesting the idea. What a moron.

Speaking of morons, welcome back Methadras!

Rangel's proposal is "revenue neutral." Referring to it as a "tax hike," as Methadras does, is entirely dishonest.

Methadras, perhaps you can explain the rightwing obsession with use of the term "bitch slap." Do you feel a need to project an image of a "tough guy" who slaps women in order to cover for your impotence in the real world?

Just curious...

dick said...

LOS,

You just don't seem to get it. I don't think anyone is complaining about items 1-8 of your list. The deal breaker is item 9 and that is what people complain about - all the entitlements that are not followed up on to ensure that the entitlements go where they were intended. That is what I think most of the people are complaining about. And now I read the other day that entitlements are now the biggest expense of the government and the people have no say short of unelecting their legislators of stopping the rise in entitlements that the LLL dems seem to find whenever they need some new votes.

dick said...

Alphaliberal,

Then all Warren Buffett has to do is write a check to the feds for the 15% he is not paying. What he doesn't say is what % was he paying prior to 10 years ago.

What I don't want is someone with all that money telling me that I am not paying enough. I make a decent amount of money and I pay my taxes. I don't want to pay more taxes. If he does then let him pay them. I would prefer that he not determine what my tax rate should be. I don't even want my present congressman to do that since he is one of the ones who is always on the lookout for more entitlements to push for.

I resent as a single man taking home 52% of my income. I have 3% going to an IRA and the rest is all taxes of one form or another - fed, state, city, fica - accounts for 45% coming right off the top. What kind of % does Buffett think I should be paying? End of year I get back about $350. Big whoops!! One night at the theatre and a short weekend and that is shot.

Methadras said...

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Speaking of morons, welcome back Methadras!


Welcome back? I've been here a while. I know you missed my snookums, but let's keep your witless reparte to a minimum shall we. It never made you look good.

Rangel's proposal is "revenue neutral." Referring to it as a "tax hike," as Methadras does, is entirely dishonest.

"revenue neutral"? Is that the new form of politically correct to cloak and couch a tax hike as what? Stealing from Peter to make up for what Paul didn't pay? Gotcha. I'm sure you media matters sources have also signed on to this neo-orwellian phraseology. Frankly, I'm a little surprised you didn't resort to the phrase "tax shift" instead. It would have suited your general disingeniousness even more.

To call it a tax hike is not only honest, but accurate. Any increase of taxation on anyone is a tax increase. Is it not or are you going to deny this most basic of common sense and logic?

If Rangel really wanted to be smart about this, he would just wait till 2011 and get his tax increase then.

I'm sure you will try to throw up the lowering of the corporate tax rate, but completely neglect that the tax shift will be from supply side to a consumptive demand side policy. If his notion is to try and pay for or recapture the cost of war, the cost of lowering current tax rates as they stand now, then he might as well have just left things alone because all this will do is send unintended ripples through market sectors that one would think are unaffected but become affected.

Retail will favor this measure, but retail isn't the primary engine that drives this ecocomy. It really isn't revenue neutral when you shift the taxation burden from one group to another.

Methadras, perhaps you can explain the rightwing obsession with use of the term "bitch slap." Do you feel a need to project an image of a "tough guy" who slaps women in order to cover for your impotence in the real world?

Is this another one of your feeble attempts at trying to characterize and overreach a statement I made? I used the term bitch slap not with a woman in mind, but with a moronic democrat who is clueless about tax policy as a function of the economy and why he should leave real reform to real thinkers. Otherwise, your stupid, insipid, and frankly cheap insults only belies the general pandering you resort to whenever you display your insecurities on a blog comment section. It's pretty typical of armchair non-producers like yourself that rely mostly on smarmy, irrelevant bomb-throwing to prop up self-esteem to try and look good for their sycophants. I'm sure alpha liberal is always somewhere riding on your coat tails picking at the intellectual scraps you throw him from time to time.

You're nothing more than an internet dandy that displays to much style and trying to demonstrate substance. Hey, I guess that makes you the cotton candy of Althouse. Maybe you and LOS can scratch each others eyes out for supremacy.

Bruce Hayden said...

Part of problem with LOS' ETC. is that some, if not a lot, of it is pure waste. We have much of Congress joining in the gravy train, esp. as to earmarks these days, with John Murtha leading the pack in the House and Bob Byrd (D-KKK) doing so in the Senate. So, from the WSJ:

"In the massive 2008 military-spending bill now before Congress -- which could go to a House-Senate conference as soon as Thursday -- Mr. Murtha has steered more taxpayer funds to his congressional district than any other member. The Democratic lawmaker is chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, which will oversee more than $459 billion in military spending this year.

Johnstown's good fortune has come at the expense of taxpayers everywhere else. Defense contractors have found that if they open an office here and hire the right lobbyist, they can get lucrative, no-bid contracts. Over the past decade, Concurrent Technologies Corp., a defense-research firm that employs 800 here, got hundreds of millions of dollars thanks to Rep. Murtha despite poor reviews by Pentagon auditors. The National Drug Intelligence Center, with 300 workers, got $509 million, though the White House has tried for years to shut it down as wasteful and unnecessary. Another beneficiary: MTS Technologies, run by a man who got his start some 40 years ago shining shoes at Mr. Murtha's Johnstown Minute Car Wash.

A review by The Wall Street Journal of dozens of such contracts funded by Mr. Murtha's committee shows that many weren't sought by the military or federal agencies they were intended to benefit. Some were inefficient or mismanaged, according to interviews, public records and previously unpublished Pentagon audits. One Murtha-backed firm, ProLogic Inc., is under federal investigation for allegedly diverting public funds to develop commercial software, people close to the case say. The company denies wrongdoing and is in line to get millions of dollars more in the pending defense bill.
"

That is the ETC. that LOS is talking about, and the dirty little secret of all those trying to increase taxes and spending.

I would be interested in how those supporting Rangel here believe that more government spending could possibly result in increased wealth in the country.

MadisonMan said...

Just how much do people think would be a fair percentage of tax? how much for $1 million income? $500K? $100K, $50K?

That depends entirely on the distribution of income, in my view. If there's one person making $1M, and everyone else makes at most $10K, what would be the problem with a 50% tax on that one person? She's still far wealthier than everyone else.

To answer your question another way: you don't provide enough information to give a cogent answer.

Sloanasaurus said...

Rangel's proposal is "revenue neutral." Referring to it as a "tax hike," as Methadras does, is entirely dishonest.

that's right. Rangel takes more from the rich by increasing the rate to 44% and then turns around and gives it to the lower and middle class by increasing the earned income and child tax credits.

I guess that's what you mean by revenue neutral?

hmmm.... it sounds to me like blatent class warfare.

Methadras said...

With all due seriousness. I would have supported Rangel if he had proposed a spending cut bill instead. I assure all of you that he would have had a much wider support base for this from both sides. All Rangel does with this little trial balloon of his is further isolate the Democratic Party from common sense and the American public in general. If all the Democrat party has left is taxation without spending justification, 60's anti-war sentiments projected into the 21st century, a national healthcare initiative based on the notion that healthcare is a right, and vague grandiosities about who the culture of corruption really entails, then they will always be a lost cause. A barely and enfeebled majority party with a minority party mentality and a regressive agenda to boot.

Tim said...

"Yeah, but whose work and whose sacrifice? Someone else's. Someone who doesn't make much because some manager slashed jobs and pay."

Nice. And to think some believe Marxism is a thing of the past.

Tim said...

"That depends entirely on the distribution of income, in my view. If there's one person making $1M, and everyone else makes at most $10K, what would be the problem with a 50% tax on that one person? She's still far wealthier than everyone else."

MM,

It is wrong because it isn't our money, or the State's money. I appreciate that it is your view, but it is an entirely inappropriate role for Government to redistribute wealth for the sole purpose of redistributing wealth - that is, if you think the concept of "private property" is remotely valid. We can argue how much a person is obligated to fund the limited public needs provided by essential government services, but using the IRC to redistribute wealth is most certainly NOT about funding those essential services.

Tim said...

P.S. MM, it's cold outside. Give me your house.

Revenant said...

Provided a stable, secure, place in which hard work and/or investments could reap big benefits.

But it does that for *everyone*, MM. I'm looking for some special benefit that "the rich" get from the government that merits them getting socked with the bulk of the tax bill.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

"revenue neutral"? Is that the new form of politically correct to cloak and couch a tax hike as what? Stealing from Peter to make up for what Paul didn't pay? Gotcha. I'm sure you media matters sources have also signed on to this neo-orwellian phraseology.

"Revenue neutral" is a term that has long been used by economists to describe real or proposed changes to tax structure that produce neither more nor less tax revenue. (For example, those who discuss replacing federal income tax with a national sales tax often argue about the rate of sales tax that would be necessary to produce revenue neutrality.)

Of course, anyone with a basic understanding of macroeconomics would know the definition of "revenue neutral." But Methadras doesn't have that basic understanding of macroeconomics, so the depth of his idiocy is clear to all when he writes:

Seriously, for Rangel to even propose a tax hike in this fashion on speaks to this doddering fools lack of knowledge with respect to economics.

But Methadras doesn't limit his gross stupidity to small doses. This is what he writes next:

To call it a tax hike is not only honest, but accurate. Any increase of taxation on anyone is a tax increase. Is it not or are you going to deny this most basic of common sense and logic?

Actually, Rangel's proposal includes elements that increase taxation in some circumstances and decrease taxation in others. By Methadras' "most basic of common sense and logic" then, the Rangel proposal is both a tax hike and a tax cut. Therefore, for Methadras to refer to the Rangel proposal as a "tax hike", rather than as a "tax hike and tax cut" (according to his "logic"), is neither "honest nor accurate."

Amusingly, application of Methadras' own "common sense and logic" proves my initial claim that "referring to [Rangel's proposal] as a tax hike, as Methadras does, is entirely dishonest." Well done, Methadras!

More Methadras ignorance:

It really isn't revenue neutral when you shift the taxation burden from one group to another.

Dumb, dumb dumb. Revenue neutrality has nothing to do with how the tax burden is distributed between income classes.

I used the term bitch slap not with a woman in mind...

Clearly Methadras doesn't understand the etymology of the term "bitch slap," and it is surely too complicated for him to parse.

Methadras, you aren't smart and you aren't tough. You'd be well-served to stop pretending otherwise in your comments. You fool no one.

Luckyoldson said...

Dick,
My entire list could be construed as "entitlements" earned by Americans who pay taxes and.

Which ones would YOU like to forgo?

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Tim wrote:

I appreciate that it is your view, but it is an entirely inappropriate role for Government to redistribute wealth for the sole purpose of redistributing wealth...

It's a myth that federal income tax amounts to a "redistribution of wealth." It just isn't a factual claim.

Luckyoldson said...

Bruce Hayden said..."Part of problem with LOS' ETC. is that some, if not a lot, of it is pure waste."

No kidding?

Are you referring to the billions we've wasted on military projects that never worked out, or faulty design work on things like vehicles that don't have the proper armor?

Or, hey, maybe you're talking about the 8 billion that's missing or the 3 billion we've paid Blackwater or the buildings that aren't up to snuff?

Or no, you must be talking about the lack of proper levees in New Orleans or the bridges to nowhere, or trailers left abandoned after Katrina, etc., etc.

Again I ask: Which American taxpayer "entitlement" that I listed are YOU willing to forgo.

Luckyoldson said...

AGAIN...to TIMMY:

Which of these would you NOT consider forms of..."socialism?"

1. Roads, Interstate Highways, etc.
2. Military, Weaponry, etc.
3. National Parks, etc.
4. Postal Service
5. Police, Fire, Health, etc.
6. Veteran's Affairs
7. Medicaid
8. Medicare
9. ETC.

Pogo said...

It's a myth that federal income tax amounts to a "redistribution of wealth." It just isn't a factual claim.
The federal income tax is used in order to redistribute wealth. To argue otherwise is simply wrong, but I suspect you are engaging in more semantic slipperiness, Mr. Grumpy.

Lucky, your list demonstrates a false understanding of the purposes of government and the meaning of socialism. Those below qualify, quite clearly. The others are long-accepted state functions, as any Econ 101 text would explain.

4. Postal Service
6. Veteran's Hospitals
7. Medicaid
8. Medicare
9. ETC.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Pogo wrote:

The federal income tax is used in order to redistribute wealth. To argue otherwise is simply wrong...

Repeating a myth doesn't make it so, Pogo. On the other hand, if you had an intelligent defense of your myth, you would have posted it. Instead you chose to post your usual rubbish.

Some things never change...

Pogo said...

"Repeating a myth doesn't make it so, Pogo."
Calling it a myth doesn't make it a myth, Cyrus. Demonstrate why you consider it to be a myth, and what state taxation is instead, if not at least in part redistribution, and I'll rebut it. While it is accepted that all must help support basic state functions such as the army, police, and infrastructure, the remainder is debatable.

You made the intial claim, so you must defend it.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Pogo said: The federal income tax is used in order to redistribute wealth. To argue otherwise is simply wrong...

Cyrus countered Repeating a myth doesn't make it so, Pogo.

It's a fact Cyrus. Example: My property taxes to a very large extent are used to pay for schools and education. That is a government service.

On the other hand, part of my Federal income tax is used for various forms of welfare, food stamps, section 8 housing, AFDC, etc. That is wealth re-distribution. My money is taken from me and given to other people to either purchase or subsidize those items which I have to work and earn a wage in order to purchase. That my friend is redistribution.

So Pogo is quite right in that taxes imposed by the state are in part, redistribution.

Tim said...

"It's a myth that federal income tax amounts to a "redistribution of wealth." It just isn't a factual claim."

Cyrus,

Once again you are 100 percent factually wrong.

Inheritance above $2M (for 2006 -08) is taxed as income. Taxes on inheritance is about nothing BUT redistributing income.

Really Cyrus, you should make an effort in passing to acquaint yourself with a fact every now and again. Once you get over the cognitive dissonance, you'd feel better about yourself.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

hoosier wrote:

It's a fact Cyrus. Example: My property taxes to a very large extent are used to pay for schools and education. That is a government service.

Hoosier, first let's momentarily ignore the fact that property taxes are not a federal income tax. Please remember that it is specifically "federal income tax" that is being discussed, not just any imaginable tax.

You are correct that schools and education are a government service. However, you incorrectly assume that the main beneficiaries of an educated populace are those people who pay less property tax than average.

The truth is that our society acknowledges that there are huge benefits that accrue to everyone when our children have a good basic education. Examples of these benefits include:

1. Lower crime rates, e.g., lower vulnerability of private property to theft, vandalism, etc... (Obviously those with greater property assets realize a greater indirect benefit here.)
2. Decreased dependence on social welfare, e.g., food stamps, section 8 housing. (Again, the greater benefit here accrues to those who contribute more to these programs through taxes.)
3. A better educated work force. (Again in this instance, education provided by the state pays greater indirect dividends to higher income groups, e.g., employers and investors.)
4. A broader income tax base.

Making quantitative estimates of the benefits, both direct and indirect, of state-provided education is not trivially easy. However, it's certainly not obvious nor is it likely that the main benefits of an educated populace accrue to the poor.

One of the main functions of government (federal, state, local) is protection of private property. The government services (e.g., police, fire, etc...) that protect property are paid for by the same tax mechanisms that you claim redistribute wealth downwards. However, these state functions obviously disproportionately benefit wealthier Americans.

The same is true of government services that, at least in part, contribute to the function of commerce. For example, government construction and maintainence of infrastructure, and government services such as postal delivery also disproportionately benefit wealthier Americans.

On the other hand, part of my Federal income tax is used for various forms of welfare, food stamps, section 8 housing, AFDC, etc. That is wealth re-distribution.

AFDC no longer exists, so none of your federal income tax money goes to it.

If you look at this quantitatively, it makes more sense. The amount of your tax money that goes to welfare, food stamps and section 8 housing combined is LESS than the amount that goes to what is generally called "corporate welfare." To the extent that federal income tax is "wealth redistribution," it's not clear that the "redistribution is down rather than up.

Again, if we look at the benefits, both direct and indirect, that accrue from federal spending, it's difficult to make the case that federal spending primarily benefits the poor.

Consider an example of indirect costs and benefits. When the WTC was attacked on 9/11, who bore a greater cost: poor or wealthy Americans? To the extent that our military expenditures protect against further loss of property from attack, who benefits more: poor or wealthy Americans?

As I said previously, estimating how government spending directly and indirectly benefits various income groups is extremely difficult. In terms of direct payments, the amount of federal income tax revenue that goes as assistance to the poor is a very small fraction of the total--smaller than the fraction that goes to "corporate welfare." To insist that these direct payments are the only benefits that accrue from federal spending is naive in the extreme. To insist that these direct payments amount to something on the order of income redistribution is laughable. I encourage those who repeat the "federal income tax is wealth redistribution" myth to calculate how much income (per individual) is "redistributed" to the poor through these programs.

The truth is that the wealthy benefit far more from government spending than do the poor. The wealthy also contribute far more to government revenue through tax payments. However, there is no clear and meaningful evidence that federal income tax effectively "redistributes wealth." The charge that federal income tax is a tool for wealth redistribution is simply a campaign slogan without clear basis in fact.

Luckyoldson said...

Pogo,
Are you saying that "states" handle the costs of:

1. Interstate Highways, etc.
2. Military, Weaponry, etc.
3. National Parks, etc.
4. Health, etc.

Luckyoldson said...

AGAIN...to TIMMY:

Which of these would you NOT consider forms of..."socialism?"

1. Roads, Interstate Highways, etc.
2. Military, Weaponry, etc.
3. National Parks, etc.
4. Postal Service
5. Police, Fire, Health, etc.
6. Veteran's Affairs
7. Medicaid
8. Medicare
9. ETC.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Tim wrote:

nce again you are 100 percent factually wrong.

Inheritance above $2M (for 2006 -08) is taxed as income. Taxes on inheritance is about nothing BUT redistributing income.


Tim, the federal government imposes NO inheritance tax; it imposes an estate tax. There's a difference.

Estate tax is not the same as federal income tax. You should check this if you're unsure.

So, aside from the fact that your observation was based on ignorance and is entirely irrelevant, thanks for participating in the discussion!

Really Cyrus, you should make an effort in passing to acquaint yourself with a fact every now and again. Once you get over the cognitive dissonance, you'd feel better about yourself.

LOL! Yes, Tim, thanks for the lecture about "acquainting" myself "with a fact every now and again." Now, go and learn the difference between inheritance tax and estate tax and come back when you have a clue (and a relevant comment).

Thanks again for stopping by!

chuckR said...

Cyrus says "Tim, the federal government imposes NO inheritance tax; it imposes an estate tax. There's a difference."

Actually, its a distinction without a difference. Call it the inheritance tax, the estate tax or the Cyrus tax, there's no real difference in the effect.

Pogo said...

"Are you saying that "states" handle the costs of:"
No. "The State" assumes and includes federal, state and local governments.

"The amount of your tax money that goes to welfare, food stamps and section 8 housing combined is LESS than the amount that goes to what is generally called "corporate welfare."
It's redistribution either way, so you are wrong when you stated "The federal income tax is used in order to redistribute wealth. To argue otherwise is simply wrong...".

And the fact that redistribution frequently favors the haves over the have nots gives greater reason to reject it in total, for it does not achieve its primary aims.

Luckyoldson said...

Pogo,
You keep dancing around the point:

Are you saying everything listed below would NOT be considered forms of "socialism" by many here...including yourself?

1. Roads, Interstate Highways, etc.
2. Military, Weaponry, etc.
3. National Parks, etc.
4. Postal Service
5. Police, Fire, Health, etc.
6. Veteran's Affairs
7. Medicaid
8. Medicare

"States" can't afford to handle the costs associated with what I've listed. They all collect taxes, just as municipalities, but the FEDS have to contribute...and many here consider than "socialism."

*Are the Karina/California Wildfire/FEMA situations "socialism?"

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Pogo wrote:

It's redistribution either way, so you are wrong...

No, it can't honestly be called "redistribution" unless you can at least make some estimate of how it is "redistributed." Hand waving doesn't cut it.

So far, I've seen no thoughtful attempt by anyone to establish that federal income tax effectively redistributes wealth. That is the original claim, and the burden falls on those who make the claim to establish a reasonable basis for believing it.

An example: Let's say someone claims that going into the forest in Canada is dangerous because Sasquatch is lurking there. In response, I claim that the existence of Sasquatch is a myth. The burden of proof in this example falls on the person who claims Bigfoot exists, not on me for challenging the claim.

Similarly, the burden of proof in the "federal income tax is wealth redistribution" falls on those who make the claim. Until I see a good faith effort to provide some justification for the claim (i.e., something better than "it might redistribute wealth up or down, I don't know, but it definitely redistributes wealth, even if I can't show how!"), dismissal of my counterargument is premature.

Cyrus Pinkerton said...

Actually, its a distinction without a difference. Call it the inheritance tax, the estate tax or the Cyrus tax, there's no real difference in the effect.

Actually it's an important distinction to make. Those familiar with tax law (i.e., those who understand the different tax mechanisms that apply in estate tax law and inheritance tax law) would understand this point.

Luckyoldson said...

Here's another person many here probably think is a fool...discussing taxes:

Warren Buffett sat down with Tom Brokaw on "NBC Nightly News" last night to discuss his problems with the US tax structure.

He described an informal poll of his office, where the average tax rate was 32.9 percent, compared to his 17.7 percent, citing that as evidence that "the tax system has titled toward the rich in the last 10 years."

He also talked about hedge fund managers and the lower tax rates they enjoy.

Pogo said...

"No, it can't honestly be called "redistribution" unless you can at least make some estimate of how it is "redistributed."
You already named a few mechanisms yourself, in re The amount of your tax money that goes to welfare, food stamps and section 8 housing combined is LESS than the amount that goes to what is generally called "corporate welfare."

But it appears you won't accept even your own statements as sufficient. That is merely arguing in bad faith, and your claim for burden of proof is bullshit.

Lucky, I already answered that question for you. Either you agree or disagree. Don't merely restate it.

Pogo said...

JCt on roller skates Cyrus.
If you think establish that federal income tax effectively redistributes wealth means anything at all, then define your terms, and the form of answer you would find acceptable, or I call bullshit (again).


'Redistribute' means ____________.
'wealth' means ____________.
'effectively' means ____________.
'some estimate of how it is "redistributed." ' means ____________.

I'm serious. This debate-about-debating crap is boring, but it might be fun to see if you can actually set parameters for an answer. I doubt it. I don't think you even know what you're asking.

Tim said...

"Actually it's an important distinction to make. Those familiar with tax law (i.e., those who understand the different tax mechanisms that apply in estate tax law and inheritance tax law) would understand this point."

Actually, it isn't an important distinction to make within this topic, whether one is familiar with tax law, or understands the different tax mechanisms that apply in estate tax law and inheritance tax law. This is because, as anyone familiar with the facts understands, the net result is the same - the feds impose a tax to redistribute wealth.

And, while you're at it, go research "federal transfer payments" and try to rationalize to yourself why those aren't a tool to redistribute wealth.

Luckyoldson said...

Timmy,
Socialism?

1. Roads, Interstate Highways, etc.
2. Military, Weaponry, etc.
3. National Parks, etc.
4. Postal Service
5. Police, Fire, Health, etc.
6. Veteran's Affairs
7. Medicaid
8. Medicare

Luckyoldson said...

Timmy,
Admit it...you don't even know what socialism is, do you?

Right wing drivel...

Luckyoldson said...

Worried about taxes?


Anybody here drive?

Crude oil prices skyrocketed $4.15 to settle at $94.53