September 7, 2012

A tax policy juxtaposition.

1. "Rep. Tammy Baldwin, who's running against former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson for Wisconsin's open Senate seat, argued in her address to the Democratic National Convention Thursday that millionaires should pay their fair share in taxes."
We believe that if we're going to prosper, everyone has to have a fair shot, and everyone has to do their fair share. That's why I'm proud to lead the charge for the Buffet Rule, which makes sure that millionaires and billionaires don't get to pay a lower tax rate than middle-class families.
Baldwin said that Paul Ryan and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker "don't speak for all of Wisconsin," Baldwin said.
She said, she said. Okay, then. Message received.

2. "Wisconsin collected $126.6 million more than previously expected this year, which may lead to the largest amount of money transferred to the state’s rainy day fund"
Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald said in a statement the positive numbers can be attributed to the “reforms” under Gov. Scott Walker and the Republican Legislature.

“We made the tough decisions required to balance our budget with the next generation in mind but it’s heartening to see our actions having an immediate positive impact on Wisconsin’s economy,” Fitzgerald said.

Fitzgerald also mentioned Wisconsin is “buck[ing] the national trend” by increasing revenues as well as having more people on payrolls.

143 comments:

Matthew Sablan said...

Bush's cuts brought in more money for a bit too (before everything went to pot with the collapse.) It's like Laffer was right.

Sorun said...

If millionaires paid twice their current tax rate, but there were only half the number of millionaires, would that make Dems happier? I think it would.

Brennan said...

The Tax Foundation estimated that the Buffet Tax Rule would raise 36.7 billion dollars in additional tax revenue. In other words, it would reduce the current year's deficit by 3.67%.

Ms. Baldwin is not proposing any serious solution to our fiscal problems.

Voters will not fall for this silly rouge.

vet66 said...

Baldwin and her ilk still doesn't understand the difference between fair share and equal opportunity. Financial success staring her in the face and she still sees failure because that money was supposedly hers to distribute.

There are none so blind as those who choose not to see, or something along those lines.

vet66 said...

Baldwin and her ilk still doesn't understand the difference between fair share and equal opportunity. Financial success staring her in the face and she still sees failure because that money was supposedly hers to distribute.

There are none so blind as those who choose not to see, or something along those lines.

Michael Haz said...

Tammy Baldwin must have been sleeping on that back bench she has been occupying.

No mention of Congress' complicity in overspending. None at all.

Heck, even she didn't vote in favor of Barack Obama's budget. No Democrat did.

Like her Democrat colleagues, Tammy Baldwin doesn't want to be held accountable for voting on any budget bill, except "nay".

Baldwin is not part of the solution; she is part of the problem.

Jay said...

Well the jobs report just dropped a bomb on Barry's speech.

11.2%: Unemployment rate if labor force participation rate was the same as when Obama took office.

368,000 people stopped looking for work last month.

Labor participation at 31 year lows.

The manufacturing industry lost 15,000 jobs.

43 straight months of 8%+ unemployment

Of course they're screaming about abortion & birth control.

Hagar said...

Off Topic.

The bird people say not to put food coloring in hummingbird feeders. It is not good for their little tummies.

Also, birds do not perceive colors like we do, and the little flowers and things on the feeders are for us, not the birds. The hummers smeell the sugar from far away and come for it with no colors at all.

I use Perky-Pet plastic tube feeders, small enough that I have to rinse and refill them before yeasts and nasty things start growing in them, and without the colorful strainers they come with, but just complicates things.

The bird people say to just make your own nectar with plain white sugar - 2 to 2½ cups of sugar to 4 cups of water (1 64 oz. bottle).

Shouting Thomas said...

President Obama's first remarks in his speech last night echoed his frequent demand to raise taxes.

So, he refused again to walk away from the notion that taking more from private citizens and increasing the scope of government is the answer.

The Walker approach seems counter-intuitive. But, it works.

Peggy Noonan wrote an interesting article today in the WSJ about the difference between the Republican and Democratic outlook on the purpose and scope of government.

I remember, when I was much younger, that I was obsessed with whether things were "fair" in an abstract sense, rather than whether things worked in consonance with the reality of human nature.

The Democratic Party can't seem to get past that obsession.

Hagar said...

Whenever you see the word "fair" in the title of a bill, know that there is something very un-fair hidden in it.

rhhardin said...

The low rate complaint is stupid.

The millionaire money is already taxed at 35% before the millionaire gets it. Hence the "low" 15% rate added. It's to prevent him from investing elsewhere.

CWJ said...

I have come to hate the word "fair". There should be a corolary to Godwin's Rule. The first one to use the word "fair" is the one seeking disproportionate advantage.

LilyBart said...

..everyone has to have a fair shot, and everyone has to do their fair share

Each according to his needs, each according to his abilities.

AprilApple said...

If you say to a democrat (or a pro-democrat media hack) – “If we lower tax rates, it will stimulate the economy and more revenue will flow to the treasury” Democrats and hack media will say each and every time... "It doesn't matter. We demand "fairness".
The democrat definition of fairness is the destruction of the private sector with high punitive tax rates that give democrats power.

AprilApple said...

Obama and the democrats want a 39% rates on high income. Add to that higher capital gains taxes and higher corporate taxes. Add to that personal property taxes and sales taxes. Add to that the hidden taxes inside of ObamaCare... all the entitlement taxes…
Then there's the 50% death tax that is a tax on top of what that has already been taxed.
A clear attempt by the state to remove private businesses from families and force them to be sold.
Again - a win for big government.

No roads.
No bridges.
No schools.
A strong Teacher's Union with fantastic pensions!

Then we can all stand back and wonder why our nation is in decline.

Larvell said...

If millionaires paid twice their current tax rate, but there were only half the number of millionaires, would that make Dems happier? I think it would.

Well, it would make them halfway happier.

AprilApple said...

Don't fool yourselves; the dems want tax hikes on 250K families, not just millionairesbillionaires.

Still waiting for Warren Buffet to pay his back taxes and pony up a little more.

LilyBart said...

...Buffet Rule, which makes sure that millionaires and billionaires don't get to pay a lower tax rate

These days its cheap to be an evil millionaire. You only need to make $250,000/yr.

Big Government political types don't seem to comprehend the downside of increasing the cost of work and success. People really don't work hard to fund government, or subsidize losers (different than charity and feeding the poor). If you crank up taxes too much, these creative, productive people will re-organize their lives to avoid being society’s piggy bank. Then our economy will shrink, and there will be less money and fewer jobs overall – more pain for the average people. Stupid. Foolish.

Shouting Thomas said...

One of Mark Steyn's most impressive observations is that Obama keeps talking about the great public works he's gonna build.

Obama routinely points to the building of the Hoover Dam as proof that the government can do great things.

The regulatory apparatchiks of the Obama administration have declared publicly that they will never allow a dam to be built in the U.S. again.

Michael Haz said...

Meanwhile in Wiscosnin, the adults in state government reduced expenditures while holding the tax rate constant. The result is a surplus.

These complex economic concepts are alien to Democrats.

MadisonMan said...

Why were their expectations so low?

I assume someone is paid to make the projections. I hope they're not getting a raise this year, as they screwed up.

You can't go wrong, though, with soft expectations.

AprilApple said...

What pisses me off about the left is their dishonesty.
We have WI as a positive example, and they ignore it.

The democrat party is the party of dishonesty, economic illiteracy, stupidity, ignorance, and duplicity.

LilyBart said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
AprilApple said...

Obama is not finished breaking us.

Shouting Thomas said...

The democrat party is the party of dishonesty, economic illiteracy, stupidity, ignorance, and duplicity.

No, I don't agree.

The anger over "unfairness" just overrides everything.

Patrick said...

The easiest way to stymie a lefty is to ask for numbers when they say "fairness." As in: "What portion of the revenue should the top 10% pay?" or "What income level qualifies as 'rich'?"

Patrick said...

You can't go wrong, though, with soft expectations.

Except they did. Soft bigotry, I suppose.

AprilApple said...

The anger over "unfairness" just overrides everything.

ST - That anger is based on economic illiteracy.

MartyH said...

Madman-

Here in CA these projections are made by the Legislative Analyst's Office-the state version of the CBO-who is supposed to be non partisan. Their models are not dynamic enough. What seems to happen here is that they raise taxes and project X but collect 0.8X, leading to a revenue shortfall. I suppose that if they every cut a tax they would project losing Y and instead lose 0.8Y, leading to a revenue boost compared to projections.

EMD said...

Voters will not fall for this silly rugged.

FIFY.

CWJ said...

@April Apple

I disagree somewhat. The root of the anger is envy, entitlement, and believed personal powerlessnes. That we need the power of the state to intervene. I think most such people could understand the economics perfectly, and still want to "get the rich".

Shouting Thomas said...

This one has been all over the web, so I apologize for repeating it. It explains everything.

An American guy looks up at a mansion on the hill and says: "One of these days I'm going to have a house like that!"

An Irish guy looks up at a mansion on the hill and says: "One of these days I'm going to get that bastard."

Substitute whatever category you like for "Irish."

Big Mike said...

I think at one level your Ms. Baldwin gets that millionaires can simply pick up their marbles and leave, if they so choose. Or they can invest in more creative accountants.

She's probably aware, at some level, that raising taxes can mean lower total revenues, but she's such an egotistical b*tch that she simply seethes with envy that people are smarter, and work harder, than she does, and that capitalism rewards that.

AprilApple said...

CWJ-

The root of the anger is envy, entitlement, and believed personal powerlessnes.

Oh certainly. But the top layer of that is basic economic illiteracy.

Patrick said...

Big Mike's comment immediately following ST's works really well.

Larry J said...

Shouting Thomas said...
President Obama's first remarks in his speech last night echoed his frequent demand to raise taxes.

So, he refused again to walk away from the notion that taking more from private citizens and increasing the scope of government is the answer.


In 2008 and subsequent years, we heard about Obama's super intelligence. He was proclaimed the smartest man to ever be president (with evidence completely lacking for that assertion. Some even said Obama was “too smart for the job of president.” Actually, he isn’t intelligent at all.

One of the main tenants of intelligence is the ability to learn from experience and to apply those lessons to new situations. By his actions and proclamations, Obama proves he is incapable of learning from past failed economic policies. He keeps repeating the same failures again and again while expecting a different outcome. In addition to being unintelligent, this fits one definition of insanity. As a famous former general would say, Obama and the Democrats are “stuck on stupid.”

Obama may be "book smart" but only from leftist books. He isn't showing any signs of intelligence, much less wisdom.

Curious George said...

A dem running for state assembly knocked my door yesterday. Typical lefty positions. I noticed on his little pamphlet that "We don't need Walker's tools" in Wauwatosa. I asked him what his alternative plan would be for the School District who overcame a multi-million budget deficit without dropping classes, teachers, or raising taxes using Walkers tools. He started the usual attacks on Walker and I stopped him and said, "I asked your plan" No answer. I asked what his plan would be to overcome the $3.6 billion state deficit without Walkers reforms. No answer.

This dumbshit actually believes he can succeed with strategy in District 14. I laughed at him and wished him good luck.

The Crack Emcee said...

Fitzgerald also mentioned Wisconsin is “buck[ing] the national trend” by increasing revenues as well as having more people on payrolls.

Hey - there will be no talk of “buck[ing]" anything around here:

Who knows what that kind of talk can lead to?

Big Mike said...

@Curious, the conventional wisdom from political advisors is that you engage the guy in conversation and tie him up so that he can't visit as many houses as he would have.

But maybe you're right. Maybe the idea is to have this nincompoop visit as many houses in your neighborhood as possible.

Big Mike said...

@MadMan, now I comprehend. The problem for you lefties is not that revenues were better than expected because of intelligent tax policy. Nope, the problem is for us righties that the Wisconsin projections were too low.

And you have the nerve to call yourself an educated man. Go back to kindergarten and start over.

Big Mike said...

@Hagar, when do you start putting your hummingbird feeders out? We normally start as the flowers die back in late August and early September.

Colonel Angus said...

I would like to see some justification for raising my taxes to 39% to help pay for $3 trillion in federal spending that clearly isn't doing anything to help the economy.

Marshal said...

Big Mike said...
I think at one level your Ms. Baldwin gets that millionaires can simply pick up their marbles and leave, if they so choose. Or they can invest in more creative accountants.

She's probably aware, at some level, that raising taxes can mean lower total revenues, but she's such an egotistical b*tch that she simply seethes with envy that people are smarter, and work harder, than she does, and that capitalism rewards that.


Lefties do understand the risk of flight, and that's why they prefer Federal to State Government. That's why they prefer the EU to European States. That's why they want to grant the UN the right to tax. Larger scales limit the escape destinations and increase the cost of escape.

Leftists understand that socialists must control all jurisdictions to survive. If they don't the disparate economic performances will eventually create enough unrest that they'll be forced to change. That's why all criticism is met with insistence we must go further.

David said...

Oh Crack those videos.

Chuck66 said...

I don't really have a problem with a modest tax increase on successful high income earners, but with some points:

-Do it through eliminating deduction that do not encourage productive actions

-Make everyone, except the most lowest income earners, pay some tax

-But the gov't will just piss away the extra money anyway. It will not go to defict reduction.

Hagar said...

I put my feeders out in early April when the first travelers come passing through. The summer residents arrive in mid- to late April.
They usually leave around the fall equinox (Sept. 23), but I keep the feeders out into the first week of October for late travelers from up north.

This year may be a little different. It seems like the residents already are leaving.
It has been a hard summer.

edutcher said...

The difference between Choom's Lefties and FDR's is now they're wedded to doctrine (class warfare, etc.), then they made room for what works.

This is how Frank could want to gut the Army in '33 and build it into an invincible killing machine in '41.

Big Mike said...

@Hagar, I live in Northern Virginia. Are you north of me, or south?

Ken said...

Democrats were under the impression that there would be no math.

Ken said...

People who say dumb shit like this:

That's why I'm proud to lead the charge for the Buffet Rule, which makes sure that millionaires and billionaires don't get to pay a lower tax rate than middle-class families.

Don't know what they're talking about.

Ken said...

Chuck66,

I don't really have a problem with a modest tax increase on successful high income earners

Translation: "I don't have a problem with politicians taking from others to pay for shit I like." What a shock.

The whole debate is weird. People talk as if everyone's money is just the governments for the taking and that citizens should be grateful it doesn't take more. The reality is that citizens let the government collect revenue to performs its LIMITED (which has been pretty meaningless since at least the 1930's) enumerated powers.

We let it do things, not the other way around. Once you start thinking that the government lets citizens do things, you've all ready begun to lose your liberty and never get it back.

but I am a robot said...

Funny that the Herald felt the need to put the word "reforms" in quotation marks.

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

The hummies in my area (SE Wisconsin) appear to be fueling up for the long flight south. Their consumption is way up the last two weeks.

furious_a said...

Col Angus: I would like to see some justification for raising my taxes to 39%...

"The government is the only thing we all belong to." -- DNC 2102 Video

"If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen." -- Barack Obama

Ignoring for a moment the dangling preposition in the nationally broadcast media piece, it's Pres. Obama & Co's justification that government...

1>...is the wellspring of economic bounty.

2>...has a claim on that bounty.

3>...allows the governed to keep a share of the bounty it provides rather than accepts the share the governed consent to remit.

39%'s a floor, not a ceiling, and the middle class is next. Like to see justification about the 50% who vote themselves...er, don't pay any federal income tax.

Michael said...

Middle class, even poor, people pay the identical capital gains rate on investment and the same rate on dividends as do George Soros and David Koch. Identical.

Colonel Angus said...

Middle class, even poor, people pay the identical capital gains rate on investment and the same rate on dividends as do George Soros and David Koch. Identical.

In fairness, middle class and poor don't utilize cap gains as income like Buffett or Soros. That said, many in the middle class and most all the poor pay very little to nothing in income tax.

Fact is, federal spending cannot be placed on the backs of only half the wage earners. Either everyone pays some % of income tax, or institute a VAT. Either way, the current spending level simply cannot continue even if Obama gets his tax increases.

paul a'barge said...

She said == She blew smoke out her ass.

Calypso Facto said...

Either everyone pays some % of income tax, or institute a VAT.

I'd be fine with replacing income taxes with a VAT. But their not pitching the VAT as a replacement for income taxes, their pitching it as an add-on. At this point, we'd have to be idiots to open up another avenue for taxation without elimination of the old method.

AJ Lynch said...

I propose a rule called "This is not an all you can eat Buffet" where the guvmint gives everyone the exact same amount of stuff. And no exceptions.

Fritz said...

"The bird people say not to put food coloring in hummingbird feeders. It is not good for their little tummies.

Also, birds do not perceive colors like we do, and the little flowers and things on the feeders are for us, not the birds. The hummers smeell the sugar from far away and come for it with no colors at all."

And yet, most hummingbird pollinated plants have red flowers...

AllieOop said...

Bushman, SE Wisconsin? I hope you're not my neighbor. ;)

furious_a said...

Middle class, even poor, people pay the identical capital gains rate on investment and the same rate on dividends...

Those flogging the Buffet Rule misrepresent the Payroll Tax so as to overstate the tax rate paid by lower earners. Unless ther plan is that SS taxes be withheld on every dollar of income -- so that Warren Buffett can receive a monthly SS check the size of Mel Gibson's alimony payments.

TosaGuy said...

Curious George:

"A dem running for state assembly knocked my door yesterday. Typical lefty positions. I noticed on his little pamphlet that "We don't need Walker's tools" in Wauwatosa (District 14)."

The sad thing is that this candidate is infinately smarter than the Dem running for the other district (13) in Wauwatosa.

Patrick said...

Ken,

Thanks for that link to Steve Landsburg. He puts it very well.

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

Allie, close but no cigar. I'm not quite rich enough to afford Waukesha County lake property. Maybe I should have been a plumber... ;)

cubanbob said...

Marxism is so 19th century. When are the democrats going to get to the 21st century? Heck when Marx finally got around to publishing Das Kapital it was already seen then as obsolete and wrong. The democrats are always doing other people a favor with their money, but never them.

Freder Frederson said...

"What portion of the revenue should the top 10% pay?" or "What income level qualifies as 'rich'?"

Doesn't stymie me. And the way you phrase the question is deceptive. First of all only 1.5% (not the 10% you imply) of American families make more than 250K. The ten percent break is somewhere between 100 and 150K.

And to answer your question. I think the top marginal rate on all income should be between 35 and 40 percent. In exchange for the dishonest argument that capitol gains are taxed at 40% (35% corporate rate plus 15% capitol gains), I would lower the corporate rate significantly.

I would also apply Social Security and Medicare taxes to all earned income, not just the first 150K or so. Oh and the inheritance tax stays, although the value of the estate subject to it is certainly negotiable (5 million indexed for inflation sounds fair to me).

Larry J said...

In fairness, middle class and poor don't utilize cap gains as income like Buffett or Soros. That said, many in the middle class and most all the poor pay very little to nothing in income tax.

A lot of retirees fall into the middle class, sometimes at the lower end of the spectrum. If they have investment income, they depend heavily on capital gains to get by. Today's near zero percent interest rates make conventional and safe investments like CDs worthless, so people are having to go to riskier investments in order to have an income at retirement.

tmitsss said...

You should not covet ... Anything that is your neighbors

hawkeyedjb said...

'Fairness' is a great and wonderfully flexible term; we each get to define it to suit our needs.

But let's give president Obama his dose of 'fairness' and let him raise taxes on those he has designated as not paying their 'fair' share.

Will it then be 'fair' to ask of Mr. Obama: What are you going to do about the other 97% of the deficit?

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

Freder,

5 million indexed for inflation sounds fair to me

This doesn't sound fair to me at all. But I guess it always sounds fair to tax others to give to yourself.

The taxes of those who accumulated this wealth has all ready been collected. Why is it fair to have even more wealth taken by the government when you die? Your reasoning is after the government has taken so many bites at the apple, now that you die, the government gets another bite at the apple... because you died?

Fairness, as used by the left, has a very strange and flexible definition.

Freder Frederson said...

misrepresent the Payroll Tax so as to overstate the tax rate paid by lower earners.

And Republicans and Fox News misrepresent the payroll tax when the claim more than half of all Americans pay no taxes.

Freder Frederson said...

The taxes of those who accumulated this wealth has all ready been collected.

No it hasn't. You simply don't know how inheritance works. The basis is reset to the value at death so any appreciation of asset value is untaxed.

Ken said...

Freder,

No it hasn't. You simply don't know how inheritance works.

It is you who seems to be confused.

The basis is reset to the value at death so any appreciation of asset value is untaxed.

A weird redefinition of "untaxed" as presented by someone who wants ever more of other people's stuff.

john bord said...

Fair taxes on the higher income people..... the multi multi billionaires. Is a good line that a certain sector of society buys into. It is good sounding policy for the people that jealous/envious of the super rich. It is something the Democrats have been using for years, tax the rich.

The first two years of Obama's administration, he had a super majority in congress. Any law the president wanted he could of had.

Spending money galore he had plus the bailouts and healthcare. The Republicans could only slow the Dems down. The first two years under Obama was almost a dictatorship with the super majority he had.

So if the Democrats really believe in taxing the rich, they could of passed any tax bill they wanted to. Instead what kind of tax bills were debated, "The Bush Tax Cuts."

The Democrats will not raise the tax rates on the super rich for they also have super rich benefactors that donate to their re-election fund.

It makes for nice verbiage to want to tax the super rich because it gets them some votes.

So who is this candidate trying to fool, does it think it can ride on Obama's tails?

Obama's campaign story is just as telling by what he has not done as well as what he has done. He has not changed the tax rates for the rich when he had the opportunity. So where is the reality in the campaign rhetoric of tax the super rich more.

Freder Frederson said...

The first two years of Obama's administration, he had a super majority in congress.

Simply not true. At most he had 59 seats in the Senate (and that includes Lieberman, a very doubtful vote). Not enough to overcome a Senate filibuster.

Michael said...

I believe we would be a better place if everyone paid, directly paid, some tax to the Federal Govt. I mean every person having to write a check every year to the benefit of the Internal Revenue Service. Every person having to take the time to part with money they currently possessed: to give it back. Thus when it came time to discuss raising taxes even the poorest person who had to write a check for $100 would balk at the idea of having to pay $110. The exercise would concentrate the minds of all.

Ken said...

Freder,

Lieberman

You mean the life long liberal democrat that far lefties didn't like because he wasn't dovish enough?

Freder Frederson said...

A weird redefinition of "untaxed"

Why is it weird? If I buy $10,000 worth of stocks and sell it ten years later for $20,000, I have to pay capitol gains on $10,000 ($20,000-$10,000). If my father buys $10,000 worth of stocks, makes me the beneficiary of the stocks in his will, and when he dies they are worth $20,000, I could sell them the next day and not pay a penny in capitol gains taxes.

TosaGuy said...

Freder is right when he says CapitOL gains taxes.

The capitol certain does gain.

Ken said...

Freder,

Capital gains tax is a double tax. The stocks are not "untaxed". The government merely takes this opportunity to squeeze its citizens for ever more.

TosaGuy said...

Also regarding the claim that the poor do pay taxes via FICA.

Many get it back from the Earned Income Tax Credit.

Freder Frederson said...

CapitOL gains taxes.

I always get that wrong.

TosaGuy said...

"I always get that wrong."

Here I thought that it was a Freudian slip. :)

Just think of the O as the big dome on top of the capitol building.

Freder Frederson said...

Capital gains tax is a double tax.

That's a silly argument, the tax is only on the gain, not the original investment.

TosaGuy said...

stock dividends are double taxed, not cap gains.

However, cap gains are not indexed to inflation. Your $10K gain over 10 years may only be $8K in money from 10 years ago.

If you have very modest gains on your investments over a long period of time, chances are you simply stood pat with the money you invested due to inflation. However, Uncle Sam still taxes those modest gains.

Ken said...

Freder,

That's a silly argument

If it's a silly argument, tell me exactly where Landsburg screws up the argument.

the tax is only on the gain, not the original investment.

This patently false, as NO WHERE in the tax code for capital gains is inflation accounted for.

MadisonMan said...

@MadMan, now I comprehend. The problem for you lefties is not that revenues were better than expected because of intelligent tax policy. Nope, the problem is for us righties that the Wisconsin projections were too low.

Hey I'm just showing some empathy for people who have to plan budgets based on state tax revenue. Why don't the people just say our guesses were a big ol' crapshoot and we were wrong? My "problem" is a politician taking credit for something where none is due.

In other words, show that the increased revenues due to Republican Walker's policies or due to Democrat Obama's. You can't. You can assert that they were, but I'm not gonna believe it.

Economic Forecasts that Have Verified is among the world's thinnest books.

Ken said...

Freder,

For example, if I bought $1000 (in 1990 dollars) worth of stock in 1990 and it simply kept up with inflation (i.e., NO value added and NO capital gains), then my stock today will be worth 1646.69 in 2010 dollars. Despite no gains made, the government will still tax that $646.69.

jeff said...

If IBM decides not to pay me for my work, I can sue. If I invest my taxed paycheck in the stock market and the stock looses money, I lose money and there is no recourse. Hence the different tax rate. But y absolute favorite is (some) democrats claiming that only the rich can invest in the stock market, and since its rigged, they are risking no money. Also we cant privatize Social Security and invest it in the market because its WAY TO RISKY!!! The assumption that raising taxes on investment will not at all change they way people invest has been disproved over and over, but THIS TIME it will remain static. No one will tell you what a "fair" percentage of tax is, other than "more".

Seeing Red said...

--Doesn't stymie me. And the way you phrase the question is deceptive. First of all only 1.5% (not the 10% you imply) of American families make more than 250K. The ten percent break is somewhere between 100 and 150K.---


Cops, teachers, firefighters, nurses fall into the $100-$150K.

Seeing Red said...

--Simply not true. At most he had 59 seats in the Senate (and that includes Lieberman, a very doubtful vote). Not enough to overcome a Senate filibuster.--


Ronnie managed. The Dems read the Tea Leaves. Snowe & her ilk would have been in his column.

Freder Frederson said...

tell me exactly where Landsburg screws up the argument.

By calling the income tax a consumption tax. The argument is completely dishonest.

Seeing Red said...

A few years ago, Chicago Mag said operating nurses can make $200k/yr. If she's married to a guy making $50k, voila, they're stomping on the necks of the downtrodden.

Chip Ahoy said...

I see there is another higher higher moral and ethical code person dispensing graceful hummingbird-related advice above the thick and weighty concerns of the higher grounders. Greetings Hagar, your message rings clear, you have cheered us this late morning.

Freder Frederson said...

worth of stock in 1990 and it simply kept up with inflation

You would still be better off than if you buried the money in the backyard.

Freder Frederson said...

And you didn't pay for the stock in 2010 dollars. You paid for it in 1990 dollars.

Kathy said...

A lot of commenters seeem to have ignored the Wisconsin portion of the 'tax policy' juxtaposition.

My sixth grader and his whole class - in a small town Wisconsin school district - are getting IPADS next week. The local paper announced that their district was $800,000 over budget this year.

I suspect that we will just not really hear the news of many school districts in Wisconsin having saved millions of dollars now that they are not forced to use WEA Teacher Union Health Insurance (and also having discovered how awesome is the relief from paying full retirement and higher health insurance premiums).

Not only did Walker not raise state taxes - he froze property tax hikes at a time when we are all seeing our house values sink.

In Baldwin's world, equal means what Kurt Vonnegut described so well in his very short story "Harrison Bergeron"...widely available through Google...

In Walker's world, equal means the heretofore privileges of government union workers - enacted by cowardly school boards and legislators from the past - must be reduced moderately to mirror what non public union workers must pay.


Freder Frederson said...

A few years ago, Chicago Mag said operating nurses can make $200k/yr. If she's married to a guy making $50k, voila, they're stomping on the necks of the downtrodden.

You do know how a progressive tax system works, don't you? If we bumped the rate on incomes over 250K from 30 to 35%, someone with 300,000 in taxable income (and even if your gross pay is 250K, your taxable income is considerably lower) would pay an extra $2500 in taxes (an extra 5% on the 50K over 250K)

Victor Erimita said...

The Left doesn't care about the revenues and is therefore oblivious to Laffer Curve argumetns about "optimum" tax rates. Their focus is on punishing success. Success is always unearned, for them, hence, "You didn't build that."

Charlie Gibson asked Obama in 2008 whether Obama would favor raising capital gains tax rates, even if it brought in less revenue. Obama said yes, because for him it was about "fairness." That is as revealing as it gets. "Fairness" to the Marxist means taking away the money of the successful.

There is an old Irish joke. An Irishman and an American are walking down the road when a rich guy drives by in a fancy convertible, with an attractive blond next to him and pulls into the long driveway of his mansion estate. The American says, "Some day, I'm gonna be that guy." The Irishman says, "Some day I'm gonna get that bastard." That pretty much sums up the Right and Left attitudes toward success.

Victor Erimita said...

The Left doesn't care about the revenues and is therefore oblivious to Laffer Curve argumetns about "optimum" tax rates. Their focus is on punishing success. Success is always unearned, for them, hence, "You didn't build that."

Charlie Gibson asked Obama in 2008 whether Obama would favor raising capital gains tax rates, even if it brought in less revenue. Obama said yes, because for him it was about "fairness." That is as revealing as it gets. "Fairness" to the Marxist means taking away the money of the successful.

There is an old Irish joke. An Irishman and an American are walking down the road when a rich guy drives by in a fancy convertible, with an attractive blond next to him and pulls into the long driveway of his mansion estate. The American says, "Some day, I'm gonna be that guy." The Irishman says, "Some day I'm gonna get that bastard." That pretty much sums up the Right and Left attitudes toward success.

Nathan Alexander said...

Simply not true. At most he had 59 seats in the Senate (and that includes Lieberman, a very doubtful vote). Not enough to overcome a Senate filibuster.

Then how did Obamacare get passed without a filibuster-proof majority?

Exactly how many times has a party had a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate?

Yet laws get passed every session. Taxes have been raised and cut many times over the decades.

So either you are admitting that there is insufficient political support for raising taxes, or you are claiming that the current Democrats in power (the President and the Senate) are the least competent set of govt officials ever.

If the first, why complain about the GOP if your preferred solution is so thoroughly discredited?

If the second, why would you want such incompetents to continue to represent your views?

Your advocacy is truly incoherent.

My view is that it is a combination of both: raising taxes is a fully-discredited tactic and the current Democrats are the least competent in the history of the nation.

PatCA said...

I'm surprised Tammy, or the media, has not told us any stories of children and minorities starving to death because of Walker's reforms.

Chip Ahoy said...

Viewing the whole thread now, it's a wonder for me to behold so many higher higher ethical and moral coders present. You are already doing the things I am just now starting to think about, and that is a splendid thing for me to see.

furious_a said...

TosaGuy: stock dividends are double taxed, not cap gains.

The discounted earnings stream that determines a stock's price is being taxed at the corporate rate.

furious_a said...

Nathan: So either you are admitting that there is insufficient political support for raising taxes...

That would be the first clue as to why Maj. Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) hasn't gotten a budget voted out of the Senate in 1,200+ days (and counting).

Never underestimate their incompetence, though.

Freder Frederson said...

The Left doesn't care about the revenues and is therefore oblivious to Laffer Curve argumetns about "optimum" tax rates.

Either does the right. The only difference is that the right believes that the optimum rate is less than the current one.

Nathan Alexander said...

And you didn't pay for the stock in 2010 dollars. You paid for it in 1990 dollars.

And? Why does that mean you should pay additional taxes on it? I don't see anything in the Constitution that we must tax capital gains.

You do know how a progressive tax system works, don't you? If we bumped the rate on incomes over 250K from 30 to 35%, someone with 300,000 in taxable income (and even if your gross pay is 250K, your taxable income is considerably lower) would pay an extra $2500 in taxes (an extra 5% on the 50K over 250K)

I also don't see anything in the US Constitution that taxation must be progressive.

So I guess there is no reason whatsoever we can't switch to a flat tax and eliminate double-taxation like capital gains and inheritance as soon as we get spending cut down to where it should be.

Nathan Alexander said...

[n]Either does the right. The only difference is that the right believes that the optimum rate is less than the current one.

Incorrect.

The right believes that people have a greater right to the money they earn than the govt does.

The right believes that "compassion" using tax revenue is tyranny, and encourages unfortunate behavior and bad choices.

The right believes that there are some necessary govt functions, and taxes to fund those functions are necessary and proper, but that govt (especially federal govt) has arrogated too many rights to itself, and is forcing too many hard workers to pay too much for their involuntary losses of liberty.

For example: spending on education has skyrocketed, but learning achievement is actually declining or staying the same. Wasted money. And since education is local, the existence of a federal Department of Education is inherently wasteful, corrupting, and its elimination would have no deleterious effect on education at all.

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

And don't forget to mix a little extra sugar in your nectar mix right now. The hummingbirds will appreciate the extra energy.

CWJ said...

OK hummingbird people. I have a question. My wife and I both have brown thumbs, so when we find something hardy that we can't kill, we stick with it.

As far as hummingbirds go, our natural solution has been lantana. Grows great, can't kill it, hummingbirds love it. Do any of you have a better suggestion for us, or have we lucked into a good plant for us and the birds.

Seeing Red said...

It's only about $208/m, what's the big deal, Freder?

Gas UP Food, UP, and that's 1/4 of my friends property tax bill. That could be music lessons. 1 more week of groceries. My retirement so I can afford more than dog food and not a burden on my kids. In 4 years, that's 10 grand. I could use that for college expenses.

It's a big deal.

Seeing Red said...

I love Lantana, and finally found and put a tree on my back porch. This summer was the 1st time I ever saw a hummingbird in my state. They love it.

Ken said...

Freder,

By calling the income tax a consumption tax.

If I spend $1, then someone else earns $1. If there is a 5% consumption tax, the government gets $0.05 from the transaction. If there is a 5% income tax, the government get $0.05. How exactly is an income tax different from a consumption tax? The only real difference is who pays. If it's consumption tax, I pay it and it discourages me from purchase. But if it's an income tax, then the seller pays it and it discourages the seller from selling to the same extent. The effects on the transaction are exactly the same.

Additionally, the point of Landsburg's post is that the only way to properly assess the impact of taxes is to consider a world where there are no taxes. This is obviously correct. To assess the affects of gravity, you first have to imagine what would happen if there were no gravity.

To see that capital gains is a double tax, you can see that no matter what rates you set on income and no matter what rate you set on capital gains, as long as both are positive rates, the person who consumes right away, rather than investing, will always have a lower rate of taxation.

Ken said...

Freder,

You would still be better off than if you buried the money in the backyard.

Great. Instead of investing in the future to build better capital, so my life, my children's lives and so forth, will be better, I should just bury the money and lose purchase power through governmental malfeasance called inflation. That's some strong thinking right there.

The only way to avoid both inflation and capital gains is to consume right now. But this action prevents saving for a rainy day and it prevents from developing better capital, so no progress. How does this make us better off? Especially in the long run?

Ken said...

Freder,

And you didn't pay for the stock in 2010 dollars. You paid for it in 1990 dollars.

That's the point. A dollar in 2010 doesn't buy as much as it did in 1990, but the tax code doesn't account for that. The tax code treats the reduced purchasing power exactly the same as it does gains. Meaning that even though the nominal value of the stocks in 2010 is $1646.69, this has the same exact purchasing power (real value) as $1000.00 in 1990, but the government treats it as though it is $1646.69 in 2010 purchasing power and taxes me on $646.69.

Freder Frederson said...

To see that capital gains is a double tax, you can see that no matter what rates you set on income and no matter what rate you set on capital gains, as long as both are positive rates, the person who consumes right away, rather than investing, will always have a lower rate of taxation.

Huh, If I make $2.00 taxed at 25% and immediately spend the extra $1.50, my tax rate is 25%. If instead of spending the whole $1.50 I invest $1.00 and double that dollar over some amount of time, cash in my stock and pay 10% capital gains, I have made $3.00 (The original $2.00 plus $1.00 in capital gains) and paid $.35 in tax, for a tax rate of 11.6% (even though I have paid more taxes than the person who immediately spent her take home pay).

Freder Frederson said...

Oops, that should be $.60 in taxes for a tax rate of 20%

Ken said...

Edit: To see that capital gains is a double tax, you can see that no matter what rates you set on income and no matter what rate you set on capital gains, as long as both are positive rates, the person who consumes right away, rather than investing, will always have a lower rate of taxation.

This should read "as long as the capital gains rates is positive, the person who consumes right away, rather than investing, will always have a lower rate of taxation.

Freder Frederson said...

but the government treats it as though it is $1646.69 in 2010 purchasing power

Which is exactly what it is.

Nathan Alexander said...

Freder,
It isn't, but so what if it is?

Why should the govt have a right to tax it?

Does the govt deserve a portion of every transaction just because it is the govt?

No.

The govt does not have a right to anything, much less an automatic percentage of every transaction.

Various politicians have used an implied mandate to impose taxes through all sorts of channels. Statists and socialist/communists love to take a small percentage of every transaction because they like to believe the fantasy that if they prevent any possible escape behavior, then taxation won't negatively affect behavior.

This, of course, is stupid.

But go ahead, Freder: explain by what right the govt should automatically get a portion of every single instance of someone earning money.

Lindsey Meadows said...

amazing....if you pay people less you can hire more of them...

it's called the migrant labor phenomena...when you need 100 pickers in the field and you only can afford 50, well you cut the 50's wages in half and then you can afford 100.

it is easy really. particulary if you pay them less than a living wage but enough so you don't have supplement them with social service. shit, they get caught in a wringer but what do you care.

Lindsey Meadows said...

and all this time I thought the Laffer Curve was insane. Now I see that it still is and a number of insane people still embrace it.

Kathy said...

About that joke about the American and Irishman....the one that has been repeated in this thread....

My Irish immigrant grandparents (all four of them) would have looked at the mansion on the hill and said "Someday I am going to get a job working for those folks".

Their first jobs in America were as servants for rich Chicago folks.

And none of them ended up as servants but as a teacher, a railroad manager, a successful business owner and a legal secretary.

I never really got that "let's take down that bastard" narrative in my house. I wonder why?

Ken said...

Freder's,

Your tax example doesn't make sense. You earn $2, pay $.5 in income tax (25% tax rate), gain $1 though an investment. Your tax rate is 16.7%.

With a 10% cap gains you pay an additional tax of $.1, for a total tal bill of $.6. Your tax rate is then 20%.

And I see you still don't understand what is happening with the investment in stocks. The point is that since the $646.69 is taxed, as capital gains, my purchase power is LESS than $1646.69 in 2010 than in1990. Meaning not only have I not gained, but because of a poor tax code I have less in 2010 than in 1990.

Balfegor said...

Re: Brennan:

The Tax Foundation estimated that the Buffet Tax Rule would raise 36.7 billion dollars in additional tax revenue. In other words, it would reduce the current year's deficit by 3.67%.

Haha, no, try an order of magnitude smaller. That Tax Foundation estimate must be a 10-year projection. The Buffett Tax Rule would raise about $4.7 billion per year. That's less than 0.5% of the projected budget deficit for next year. It's an unserious proposal from an unserious president.

Skookum John said...

I would be willing to go to a uniform 40% tax rate on earned and unearned income in exchange for the following:

1) A Constitutional amendment holding Federal government spending below 20% of GDP except in time of declared war.

2) A Constitutional amendment taking the vote away from any net consumer of taxes. This includes those on welfare (other than Social Security which they paid for previously), government employees, and government contractors and their employees.

3) Abolishing withholding and requiring people to write one check a year to the IRS.

3a) On the day before Election Day.

Skookum John said...

"it's called the migrant labor phenomena...when you need 100 pickers in the field and you only can afford 50, well you cut the 50's wages in half and then you can afford 100.

it is easy really. particulary if you pay them less than a living wage but enough so you don't have supplement them with social service. shit, they get caught in a wringer but what do you care."

Their problem, not mine. They can work for what their labor adds to the value of my product, or they can fuck off and go find work elsewhere. No one is holding a gun to their heads.

And if you (i.e. society) hold a gun to MY head and force me to pay more than the marginal value of their labor, I'll buy a tractor and 99 of the 100 can fuck off and go find work elsewhere.

Seeing Red said...

--it's called the migrant labor phenomena...when you need 100 pickers in the field and you only can afford 50, well you cut the 50's wages in half and then you can afford 100.

it is easy really. particulary if you pay them less than a living wage but enough so you don't have supplement them with social service. shit, they get caught in a wringer but what do you care.--

Then after a time you outsource your grape-growing to Chile.

Thanks, Chavez!

MadisonMan said...

My sixth grader and his whole class - in a small town Wisconsin school district - are getting IPADS next week. The local paper announced that their district was $800,000 over budget this year.

It's great that your school district is saving money. It's unfortunate it's throwing the money away on ipads. What a folly.

Unless there's a app programming class in 6th grade.

Skookum John said...

"and all this time I thought the Laffer Curve was insane. Now I see that it still is and a number of insane people still embrace it."

Oh, the Laffer Curve exists. The only debate is about its shape; specifically, about whether it skews left or right.

Government revenue at a tax rate of 0% is $0. Revenue at a tax rate of 100% is $0 or mighty close to it. Do you disagree?

And then somewhere in between there is a point at which revenue is maximized. Experience has shown that it is somewhere near the "king's fifth" of antiquity, i.e. about 20%.

Economically illiterate redistributionists and levellers such as yourself insist that if we all hold hands and believe in hope 'n' change, we can skew the peak to 50% or 75% or even 95%.

Skookum John said...

TosaGuy: "stock dividends are double taxed, not cap gains."

You really are dense, aren't you? How does a stock price rise, anyway?

1) Stock buybacks - with money taxed at the corporate rate

2) Retained earnings - taxed at the corporate rate

3) most importantly - a rise in the net present value of anticipated future dividends - taxed at the corporate rate prior to distribution.

Leftist lotus eaters have no fucking idea where the prosperity that pays for their harebrained schemes comes from, do they?

Calypso Facto said...

all this time I thought the Laffer Curve was insane. Now I see that it still is

Another willfully ignorant foot soldier in the Democrat's War on Math.

PatCA said...

Instead of arguing about which tax scheme is moral or legal or immoral or illegal, why don't you just look at the results of each scheme and choose the one that promotes prosperity? Isn't that "pragmatism"?

Contrast California, Illinois and New York with Wisconsin, Ohio, Puerto Rico. Raising taxes does not cause prosperity.

Big Mike said...

Revenue at a tax rate of 100% is $0 or mighty close to it. Do you disagree?

And if they do disagree then pick 110%. There is some number where it makes no sense to keep on working.

For me, that number has to be somewhere around 75% - 80%, property taxes and sales taxes included. Above that I can no longer afford to buy gasoline to drive to work and cannot get food for my wife and son except by leaving the job market and going on welfare plus food stamps.

Balfegor said...

it's called the migrant labor phenomena...when you need 100 pickers in the field and you only can afford 50, well you cut the 50's wages in half and then you can afford 100.

The wonderful thing about this bit is that (s)he clearly understands she's railing against cruel reality. You need 100 people to pick the field. You can't afford them. Either wages come down or the field goes un-picked. There's no villain in this parable, and no solution that doesn't involve wages coming down or produce rotting on the vine.

Ken said...

Lindsey,

and all this time I thought the Laffer Curve was insane

Why would you think the Laffer Curve is insane? It's settled science. If you let R(x) be the tax revenue function and x be the rate of taxation (be a number between 0 and 1), it's clear that R(0) = R(1) = 0. If no taxes are collected, no tax revenue will exist. If all income is collected as taxes, no one will work, so no tax revenue will exist. Additionally, it is reasonable to assume that this function is continuous and without too crazy of assumptions you can assume that it's even differentiable. There doesn't seem to be any reasonable assumption to be made such that R''(x) is positive for any x between 0 and 1.

In other words, for those who think the Laffer Curve is insane doesn't understand economics, doesn't understand human nature, or doesn't understand math, or doesn't understand any of the three.

Michael said...

Ken. I believe Lindsey Meadows thinks the LC refers to hiring practices

Ken said...

Lindsey,

when you need 100 pickers in the field and you only can afford 50, well you cut the 50's wages in half and then you can afford 100.

First, what do you think happens if you cut wages by 50%, then double the number of workers? The type of worker that will accept 50% less wages will certainly be at least 50% less productive than the current workers. Otherwise, employers will definitely do this. Why would they leave money on the table like that? Would you?

Interestingly, this is how we know that there is no wage gap between races and gender. All races and both genders get paid exactly the same for performing the exact same work. If one of the races or one of the gender performed the same work, then employers would exclude from hiring the more expensive races and gender. For example, the wage gap between men and women is supposedly 28%. If this were true, employers would be fools to not fire all their men and hire all women. Instantly, their profits could be increased.

But back to the point at hand. No single employer can simply cut by half wages of their employees is because other employers will hire tham for more than 50% there current wages. In fact, wages of current employees cannot be cut at all unless the work itself becomes less valuable. Consumers and customers, not employers, determine how valuable any work is. Say you're a field owner paying pickers $100/day and you're making $105/day per worker (assuming a 5% profit on the labor). If you cut wages to $50/day in order to pocket an additional $50/day per worker, other field owners will simply offer $60/day, then you will have no more workers. In fact, since you value their labor at $105/day, there will be a bidding war on wages till the cost of labor rises back to at least $100/day.

So it really isn't "that simple".

Balfegor said...

Re: Ken:

First, what do you think happens if you cut wages by 50%, then double the number of workers? The type of worker that will accept 50% less wages will certainly be at least 50% less productive than the current workers. Otherwise, employers will definitely do this. Why would they leave money on the table like that?

They don't. Lindsey was making this point in connection with migrant labour, i.e. the locals (American natives) are too expensive so they import migrant labour (e.g. from Mexico) to do the work for less. Firing the natives and hiring foreigners is exactly what they do, precisely because the natives cost more money than they're worth. Anecdotally, the cheap foreign labour is also higher quality than the natives, despite the lower price point.

DEEBEE said...

Gppd tp know even a democract like Tammy is for levelling evry ones tax rate. If BHO went with that he would scare the crap out of Mitt and Paul

Ken said...

Balfegor,

Then she might as well complain about technology. Immigrants are nothing compared to the job destroying powers of machines. Using machines to lower labor costs is no different from using immigrants or off shoring to lower labor costs.