October 22, 2019

"Billionaires, he argued, should not exist in a 'cosmic sense,' but in reality most of them are..."

"... simply 'people who do really good things and kind of help a lot of other people. And you get well compensated for that.' He warned too about the dangers of ceding too much control over their wealth to the government, allegedly bound to stifle innovation and competition and 'deprive the market' of his fellow billionaires’ funding for philanthropy and scientific research. 'Some people think that, okay, well the issue or the way to deal with this sort of accumulation of wealth is, Let’s just have the government take it all,'  Zuckerberg said. 'And now the government can basically decide, you know, all of the medical research that gets done.' What he didn’t mention is that Sanders’s tax would cost him $5.5bn in its first year."

From "Mark Zuckerberg's plea for the billionaire class is deeply anti-democratic/In his defense against Bernie Sanders’ call to abolish billionaires, Mark Zuckerberg makes claims that are elitist and wrong" (The Guardian).

Tangentially related: "U.S. President Donald Trump said on Monday that being president has cost him between $2 billion and $5 billion that he would have made if he had continued running his business instead of getting into politics, a claim unsupported by evidence" (Reuters).

ADDED: A photograph of mine, from 2008, originally blogged as "Cosmic ice cream":

Cosmic Ice Cream

154 comments:

rehajm said...

Zuck and Trump- both correct.

rehajm said...

Cosmic sense?

Laslo Spatula said...

The government needs the billionaires' money to provide hugs.

Hugs cost a lot of money.

But they are less expensive in Mexico, so maybe it might work there.

I am Laslo.

rhhardin said...

The incentive becomes invest in some other country.

Investment in this country is what gives ditch diggers power equipment to earn heavy equipment operator wages, doing more of themselves as well as for others.

rhhardin said...

Wealth has a negligible effect on lifestyle, once you have enough to buy what you want. The vast remainder all goes into investment, i.e. is money supporting the infrastructure of somebody else.

A tax on wealth is a tax on that infrastructure, which simply disappears.

So heavy equipment operators become ditch diggers again.

Jersey Fled said...

I'm getting so sick of this "claim unsupported by evidence" bs.

iowan2 said...

I'm sure President Trump has lost $2 to $5 billion. Gross. Not net.

This whole emoluments on-issue, all the detractors are using gross. Well, gross and blue sky. So that's the metric President Trump is using.

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

I can remember when Sanders railed against "Millionaires and Billionaires."

Now that Sanders time in government service has somehow made him a millionaire, he just wants to eliminate Billionaires.

A few more years in government and Sanders will be railing against Gates, Bezo and Zuckerberg.

Fernandistein said...

The Guardian = a British Puffington Host.

Temujin said...

Zuckerberg and Trump are both correct. But moreover, before voting for an Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Kamala, Petey, Corey, et. al., take a trip to renew your drivers license. Or over to the VA for some help. Or just drive through Detroit, Newark, Baltimore, LA, SF, and others. Want to see the results of government running things?

These are not the people you want to cede your wealth to, so that they can decide who gets to use it, and how they get to use it. Who made them the Gods of our society?

And frankly, this is not a zero-sum issue. Because Zuckerberg has gazillions does not mean that you cannot make millions, or thousands, or hundreds. It's up to you. Living free in a free nation is not easy. It requires effort. You get paid if your ideas, effort, and service are desired by the marketplace. And if you don't want to get that deep into efforts, you get a job and do that job as well as you can. One can still make a living. We are not all supposed to be billionaires. And don't begrudge someone who is. Pay more attention to your own life, your own direction and efforts.

If you're worried about huge companies having too much power (and I am) then there may be other ways to limit that power. But you cannot just decide someone makes too much and they should turn over their time of life to the government. If you think the goverment will stop at billionaires, you've been reading Howard Zinn's version of history.

David Begley said...

There are two billionaires in Omaha: Warren Buffett and Joe Ricketts. I could drive over to both of their houses in 15 minutes and knock on their doors but, of course, I would no such thing. They have taken different approaches to managing their wealth and I don’t have a problem with what they have done with it because we still have a free country. They paid their income, property, sales and income taxes over the years and they can do what they want with the remainder.

Warren spent zero time giving away money during his life. His rational thought was that since he can achieve outsized returns with his money that he should keep that capital and spend all of his time growing it. That makes sense. The initial plan was to leave most of his money to the Buffett Foundation managed by his former son-in-law. He then changed his mind and he’s been giving it away to the Gates Foundation; millions each year.

Joe Ricketts spent at least $100m building The Cloisters on the Platte. It is a 900 acre Jesuit retreat house west of Omaha. He also supports it. Absolutely fabulous. It is the greatest work of art in the world today. But you have to go on a three day free silent retreat to experience it.

Now, if the government took 2% of Joe’s and Warren’s money a year it would piss it away on high salaries in DC and on worthless spending projects like global warming.

And, of course, the next step is to tax your 401k and IRA money because that’s where the money is.

Free country. Leave us alone.

readering said...

Is Trump condemning his elder sons?

jaydub said...

Hmmm. An opinion on wealth from the socialist Guardian and one on the accuracy of DJT's claims from the Never Trump Reuters. I'm torn over which one to discount first.

stevew said...

Zuckerberg's pleas are anti-democratic? Well, I suppose, if democracy is two wolves and a sheep voting on what is for lunch.

Lincolntf said...

Gotta love how scrappy little mom-and-pop operations like The Guardian (total value, 1.3 billion dollars) and Reuters (2018 net income, 4 billion dollars) are standing up to "the rich".

iowan2 said...

I have a theme this morning.

Failed education

Our educational overlords have dumbed down the populace so bad, no one is aware of how rich the Rockefellers, Carnigie, Vanderbilt, Aster, etal, were. How much influence and power they wielded with the Government. History informs us, those men were powerful men, that's why they were wealthy. When they passed, they had family to pick up the wealth, but the power was gone, thus the wealth not nearly as useful.
What we are living through today is not new. I think the big difference is, People like Zuckerberg, and Gates, are not powerful. They just have lots of money. Neither is a person that understands power. That may be a feature, not a bug. If Clinton's wife had all that money, plus the evil intent and power she wielded. Things most likely would have gone very wrong

Add powerful newspaper people like Hearst and others I'm to lazy to look up.

Bob Boyd said...

Zukabug is Putin's stooge.

chuck said...

By "democratic" the Guardian means unchecked rule by the parasitical left. Global warming has brought about an explosion of ticks.

Mike Sylwester said...

... a claim unsupported by evidence

President Obama always provided evidence for every claim he ever made.

tim maguire said...

“Unsupported by evidence”

It’s the new “Republicans pounce!”

Freder Frederson said...

I'm getting so sick of this "claim unsupported by evidence" bs.

Why is it BS? Has Trump produced even one document to support this claim?

iowan2 said...

This is an interesting take on economics 101, on the world stage. The same mechanisms and incentives scale down to individuals.

> President Trump is outsmating the Euro bank in world monetary policy

In essence, after WWII the United States allowed tarriffs, in order to fund reconstruction.(that would be American workers funding reconstruction) It was never supposed to go on forever. No President had the insight, savy, and business acumen, to reverse decades of economic inertia.

Shouting Thomas said...

I have everything I need. In fact, I have more than I need. And, I'm simply middle class.

I can't even find the time to play all the beautiful musical instruments I own. I own a recording studio that allows me to do multi-track recording in my home.

The omni-prevalence of rich foods made me fat. I've lost 30 pounds over the last six months and I plan on losing another 30.

My family owns 5 vehicles. Our house is air conditioned. Everybody (except for the grandkids because they are too young) owns a cellphone and at least one computer. I own so many computers I can't count them.

I've been retired on a decent income for 7 years. My income is increasing in retirement as I take on more church work and professional accompanist gigs.

Why should I care about billionaires? And it looks to me that just about everybody is in the same boat as me.

I sit in the hot tub every night and pray to be released from jealousy, greed, resentment and anger. Some days I do better than others.

Michael The Magnificent said...

If we lined up all of the billionaires and shot them all in the head, and then sold off their wealth and gave the proceeds to the poor, how long before the poor would be poor again?

As long as people chose to drop out of high school, smoke dope every day, have children out of wedlock, steal cars and commit retail theft for fun, fraudulently get their normal kids classified as disabled, the poor will remain poor. Especially if we keep subsidizing these bad choices.

Dave Begley said...

There are two billionaires in Omaha: Warren Buffett and Joe Ricketts. I could drive over to both of their houses in 15 minutes and knock on their doors but, of course, I would no such thing. They have taken different approaches to managing their wealth and I don’t have a problem with what they have done with it because we still have a free country. They paid their income, property, sales and capital taxes over the years and they can do what they want with the remainder.

Warren spent zero time giving away money during his life. His rational thought was that since he can achieve outsized returns with his money that he should keep that capital and spend all of his time growing it. That makes sense. The initial plan was to leave most of his money to the Buffett Foundation managed by his former son-in-law. He then changed his mind and he’s been giving it away to the Gates Foundation; millions each year.

Joe Ricketts spent at least $100m building The Cloisters on the Platte. It is a 900 acre Jesuit retreat house west of Omaha. He also supports it. Absolutely fabulous. It is the greatest work of art in the world today. But you have to go on a three day free silent retreat to experience it.

Now, if the government took 2% of Joe’s and Warren’s money a year it would piss it away on high salaries in DC and on worthless spending projects like global warming.

And, of course, the next step is to tax your 401k and IRA because that’s where the real money is.

Free country. Leave us alone.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

If Trump has lost $2 to $5 billion of his fake net worth, it is because he is preparing his resignation excuse.

Dave Begley said...

Delete comment feature not enabled.

Kevin said...

The phrase “deeply anti-democratic” now means “won’t voluntarily turn over all his wealth to the state”.

Howard said...

Trump never had $5B to lose.

Kevin said...

Is Trump condemning his elder sons?

He won’t allow them to do new deals overseas while he’s President.

The kind of properties they develop limits how many can be done in the US.

Bruce Hayden said...

My vote on the wealth of our richest people is to leave it right where it is. There have been various estimates on how many months the wealth of our billionaires would last supporting the wet dreams of our Dem Presidential candidates. And then it would be gone, next year funded by our centimillionaires, then when that is gone, the bare millionaires. After that all we have left is the huge ravenous maw of government.

I would leave it where it is, because billionaires, by and large, do much more good with their money than the government, and its grifters ever can. Gates has made strides against disease. His Microsoft founder went in different directions. We seem destined to go into space for good now, with the US in the lead, thanks to our billionaires. Why is that important? Governments cannot give us utopia on Earth, because they are inevitably run by corruptocrats. Space industries can, with its potential in almost endless energy and materials such as metals and rare earths. Tech billionaires, raised on a diet of science fiction asked “why not?”, and knowing that they could out innovate governments, turned it into a competition. We were stymied for decades not by technological impossibilities, but by bureaucratic ineptitude. That is over now.

daskol said...

Totally unscientific weekend poll I just conducted among highly progressive, Trump-hating lifelong Democrats who are mostly affluent and older (65+): they're absolutely terrified of Warren, disgusted with Clinton's destruction of the "moderate" Dem Party and, at least a few of the perspicacious among them, increasingly resigned to four more years of Trump being potentially better than letting Warren destroy the economy (this last notion largely implied, as saying something like that ends you socially in that milieu). Warren's plans for healthcare, no matter how they're acknowledged to be unlikely, scare the crap out of this group of major consumers of healthcare (several of whom are also providers/former providers).

Lawrence Person said...

Does anyone know if our beloved media elites ever used the phrase "claims unsupported by evidence" on anything Obama ever said?

I rather doubt it.

daskol said...

They're also mostly concerned with passing their wealth on to their children, and this talk of "wealth taxes" has them spooked. Knowing some of these folks for several decades, I tried not to gloat, and succeeded, in pointing out that this is not an "out of the blue" phenomenon: there has been a detectable trajectory towards this moment going back at least to Obama taking the nomination to this version of the Dem Party. Maybe not because of him, but his rise is part of the same trajectory. They're coming for your money, your doctor--your lifestyle and your kids if you/they are doctors--and the aid to Israel. It's like they're waking up in a nightmare where the adult in the room, supposedly Hillary, just revealed herself as the looniest of all the Democrats. It's a very disorienting time. Be nice to your progressively minded, well-intended liberal elders.

John henry said...

First off the bat, could someone define "rich" for me? Politicians won't. When they do, they seem to be talking in terms of income rather than wealth. "rich is $250,000/yr in income" or some such.

Bernie did this the other night with his talk about taxing capital gains an income stream from an increase in wealth, not wealth.

That is bullshit. Plenty of people have high income and little wealth. Lots of people have a lot of wealth and little income (Jeff Bezos is example #1)

So if they are really talking about a wealth tax, what wealth are they going to tax? Will the value of Ann's pension be taxed? Not the monthly payouts but the underlying value that generates those payouts. Will the value of a house be taxed? If so, actual value eg;$200m or net value eg;$200m-$150m mortgage. 401Ks?

John Henry

John henry said...

A serious question for the legal scholars here:

Would a wealth tax be possible without a Constitutional Amendment?

I believe that this is the clause that prevented an income tax:

4: No Capitation, or other direct, Tax shall be laid, unless in Proportion to the Census or Enumeration herein before directed to be taken.

Article 1 section 9

We had to pass the 16th Amendment to make an income tax pass muster:

Article XVI (Amendment 16 - Income Tax)

The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.

(emph added)

Doesn't seem like it covers anything other than taxes on income.

I suppose this could be stretched to cover a tax on an increase in wealth. For example, if Bezos' Amazon stocks value increase from $110 to 120bn I guess one could make an argument that he had an "income" of $10bn and tax it. OTOH, since he did not actually receive any "income" one could equally well make the opposite argument.

But that is not what they seem to be talking about. They seem to be talking about a 2% tax on the entire $110bn and I do not see how that passes constitutional muster.

Professor A? This like it would be right in the wheelhouse of a former Constitutional law professor.

John Henry

Paul Zrimsek said...

Facebook is good, so it was really created by government.
Slave mining by state-run Chinese enterprises is bad, so it was really created by Apple.

Fernandistein said...

Does anyone know if our beloved media elites ever used the phrase "claims unsupported by evidence" on anything Obama ever said?

That phrase indicates that They don't like the claims but don't have any information to counter them.

Seeing Red said...

Everyone is conservative about how it affects them.

But Zuckerberg wants to make sure I don’t get mine.

Pay me for my info.

Hey Skipper said...

The Guardian fall prey to the "lump of labor" fallacy, which is pretty much a fundamental requirement to be a progressive.

But as if that isn't enough, our moral betters intend to take money from people who do and make things and give it those who don't. Of course, any civilized society requires supporting the unlucky in life; however, progressives have long since left those provinces, and now happily penalize virtue while subsidizing vide.

And, finally, what is it that progressives have against workers? Sure, take money away from the well off. I hear the new mid-engine Corvette is a spectacular car. Not cheap, of course. The more money progressives take from the productive the less they will have to buy things like Corvettes. Or Cessnas, boats, etc.

Anyone remember the luxury tax? A luxury tax is essentially a tax on wealth, just done differently.

As everyone except progressives predicted, the result was to crater employment in the taxed industries.

alanc709 said...

Socialists want all wealth confiscated, until the mob gets to their house.

Seeing Red said...

Buffet is a greedy bastard.

He bitches about him paying less taxes than his secretary, yet he donates his money and lowers his tax burden.

Seeing Red said...

They want a capital gains tax. That hits homeowners and everyone who is in the market.

Seeing Red said...

They are coming for our retirement accounts. They’re going to try and tell us what we should live on.

traditionalguy said...

Warren,et al. are not really talking about raising Taxes. They actually are proposing to Nationalize all private property and give it away later, maybe a thousand years later, to make the murderous Gestapo guarding it for The Party feel good about what they accomplish by running the new North American Gulag of the World Government.

No kidding.

Kevin said...

If we really wanted to make society more equal, we’d get rid of all pensions except social security.

That would do WAY more to level the playing field than messing with a few billionaires.

Now how do Progressives feel about real equality?

gilbar said...

Will the value of a house be taxed? If so, actual value eg;$200m or net value eg;$200m-$150m mortgage.

how's it done now? Doesn't the state appraise your house on how much they want to pretend that it is worth? Y'all get to deduct your mortgage payments on your income tax, but that's different (I don't get to deduct MINE, 'cause i don't make enough income to itemize)
There already ARE wealth taxes in the US
There already ARE Value Added (Sales) taxes in the US
It's just that, CURRENTLY; it's not the Federal Government making the money

Bay Area Guy said...

Steve Jobs was a Billionaire.

Benie is not.

Steve Jobs designed and sold (with help) a lotta computer, IPods, IPhones and IPads.

Bernie did not.

Steve Jobs created thousands of jobs, made millionaires of his partners, created millions of dollars of wealth for folks who bought Apple stock. And then he did it again by building the movie studio, Pixar.

Bernie did none of this.

So who's the bigger schmuck in life -- Steve Jobs, the capitalist who created or Bernie Sandrrs, the socialist parasite who sat ok his ass.for 7 decades?

Thank you to Billionaires like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Michael Jordan, Mark Cuban - the men who create and achieve.

Socialist parasitic morons like Bernie Sanders can go [bleep] each other.

John henry said...

Want to impeach PDJT? It should be easy. He is guilty of an actual crime. He perjured himself before the Federal Election Commission.

PDJT says, under penalty of perjury, in his Personal Financial Disclosure Statement that his net worth is $9-10 billion. Of course this is false since Forbes calculates it at about $3bn. They also say it has held steady at that for the past 3-4 years.

Only conclusion is that Donald Trump and later President Trump lied. IMPEACH!!!!!

In all seriousness I have seen article after article for 4 years saying that he is not worth the $9-10bn claimed to the FEC and taking Forbes' evaluation as gospel.

Yet I have never seen anything debunking the 90 page financial statement to explain the discrepancy.

Which leads me to this statement that elevated my blood pressure this AM:


"U.S. President Donald Trump said on Monday that being president has cost him between $2 billion and $5 billion that he would have made if he had continued running his business instead of getting into politics, a claim unsupported by evidence"

Has he ever claimed that? Not that I have heard. Everything I have heard is that he claims his net worth declined. That is a very different statement.

I label this "fake news"

And in the article Ann linked it quotes him as saying "this phony emoluments clause,”

The emoluments clause is not phony and PDJT did not say that it was. He said that the controversy over it is phony but they truncated the quote.

More fake news.

John Henry

Seeing Red said...

I
A few years ago, I read that the rules changed for charities and they’re allowed to consider rent in their 5% mi I understand donations.

Change the rule back, change a few others, up it to 7% minimum distribution and audit the hell out of the foundations.

Seeing Red said...

They’re trying to kill us:

Via Insty:

..Environmentalists began collaborating with state government officials from across the United States at a closed-door gathering in New York this summer to lay out the plans for policies that would prevent consumers from using natural gas to cook their food or heat their homes....


The lights go out in Cali, they didn’t run pipelines in NYC, no lights, no heat and these vermin should be made to live with their consequences.

BleachBit-and-Hammers said...

The media do not search for evidence. They mine for narrative.

Where was the Biden investigation? Not needed. Media is judge and jury.

Rory said...

How are they going to tax wealth that sits mostly in stock? The trading value of shares in some of these companies includes the expectation that the founder/dominant shareholder is going to hold his stock.

Shouting Thomas said...

Lest you think that this vast increase in middle class wealth is solely a Western phenomenon...

I've traveled to the Philippines numerous times. Yeah, the terrible poverty and the shanty towns do exit.

But, a huge middle class has developed. Filipinos in the U.S. have been sending a big percentage of their income home for the past few decades. And, since Filipinos have a great work ethic and usually speak English without an accent, many U.S. companies have big operations in Manila and Cebu that employ tens of thousands of workers.

Manila and Cebu have all the franchise and big box stores you expect to find in a U.S. city, plus some of their own.

In my extended family, Filipinos are still sending money home although their kids are as staunchly middle class as American kids. The kids are spoiled rotten. They're taking the money and partying into their 30s.

John henry said...

David Begley said:

He then changed his mind and he’s been giving it away to the Gates Foundation; millions each year.

And Bill Gates is spending his, and Buffet's and other's money like crazy making the world a better place. A few of his biggie, world changing projects:

Malaria vaccine and eradication. Some estimates claim that 50% of all human deaths ever are from Malaria. Others more like 20-25%. It kills 500mm a year and debilitates hundreds of billions more.

Sanitation (toilets) and safe drinking water in Africa.

Gen 4 nuclear power

Nobody ever thought it was possible to have a malaria vaccine. All sorts of valid scientific reasons why it could not be done. Bill Gates said "Bullshit. Hold my beer" and now we have a vaccine. Not perfect, still a lot of work to be done, but he continues working on it and making progress.

No govt could ever do that.

John Henry

Gahrie said...

It's the same tired old envy that existed during the Gilded Age. Rockefeller, Carnegie and Gould Vs Gates, Bezos and Zuckerberg.

dbp said...

""U.S. President Donald Trump said on Monday that being president has cost him between $2 billion and $5 billion that he would have made if he had continued running his business instead of getting into politics, a claim unsupported by evidence""

Funny, I don't remember Reuters noting that it was a claim unsupported by evidence when Obama made laughable claims about "jobs saved or created".

John henry said...


Blogger Freder Frederson said...

Why is it BS? Has Trump produced even one document to support this claim?

Mainly it is BS because PDJT has never claimed it, AFAIK. All he has ever claimed is a loss of net worth.

Not a loss of income.

Or perhaps you can provide a quote where he says he lost income.

You do understand the difference, don't you Freder?

John Henry

Larry J said...

So if they are really talking about a wealth tax, what wealth are they going to tax? Will the value of Ann's pension be taxed? Not the monthly payouts but the underlying value that generates those payouts. Will the value of a house be taxed? If so, actual value eg;$200m or net value eg;$200m-$150m mortgage. 401Ks?

John Henry


You're asking the right questions. How much does someone have to earn or have to be considered wealthy? If they start taxing wealth, what should be taxed? To use your example of the value of pensions, if you assume a conservative 5% rate of return, a person needs $240,000 in assets to earn $1000 a month. So, someone with a pension of $4000 a month has the equivalent of $960,000 in assets. Should that be taxed as wealth?

My wife and I have no pension, so we have saved for our own retirement. Instead of spending all of our income, we've maxed out our IRA and 401K contributions for many years to build a nice pool of assets to pay for our retirement. We also paid off all of our debt so our retirement income goes further. If the wealth tax passes, the money grabbers will want to take some of our assets. If they do that, then why shouldn't pensions be taxed the same way? As it is, in many states, government pensions aren't subject to state income taxes while private savings are. How is that fair?

narciso said...

btw, the funder of extinction protests, is a hedge fund honcho, Christopher holm, kind of like sam Jackson Richmond valentine in kingsman,

Roughcoat said...

Laslo @6:39 AM:

HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!

robother said...

The Grauniad has just noticed that the US Constitution's protection of private property is "anti-deomcratic." Stop the presses!

rcocean said...

Trump is a serial exaggerator, its part of his charm. But whether its 1 Bllion or 5 Billion - its cost him a lot of money. Part of the liberal D strategy is to counteract trump's virtues by smears and unjust attacks. Trump is sacrificing money to be POTUS and that looks noble - accuse him constantly of making money off his resorts. Trump believes in "American First" and is a patriot - accuse of being a Russian spy and traitor. Trump wants to bring the Boys Home, he's tired of endless wars - accuse him of being a friend of dictators and a tool of Russia

rcocean said...

I'm all in favor of taxing the rich. Why are the 85% of us who aren't rich and aren't poor, so fucking stupid? Why should I be paying 25% of my disposable income in various taxes, when zukerprick is paying 5%?

The top tax rate from the 1940s to the early 1980s was 70-90%. Lets go back to that. It worked for Truman, JFK, Ike and Nixon - it should work now. We need to reduce the power of the Super-rich and taxes is one way to do it. And who is rich? I'd say anyone who makes over $2 million/year is rich.

rcocean said...

Economists are always giving us BS. Don't tax the rich. Don't put tariffs on imports. Don't have rent control. And yet we've done all those things in the past, and the USA got richer. You know who pays for Economists? Rich people. Who gives money to think tanks and colleges?

rightguy said...

What Thomas said !

rightguy said...

If Zuckerburg followed his train of thought to its logical conclusion, he would become a conservative.

Michael K said...

Accountant Freder "Why is it BS? Has Trump produced even one document to support this claim?"

I'm sure there is evidence of the decline in corporate use of the Doral Resort due to fear of loony leftists like Freder protesting and attacking participants,

Howard is sure Trump never had $5 billion.

You know why we have billionaires ? Because of Democrat, and some Republican, actions that produced inflation. An ounce of gold was worth $20 in 1930. It is now worth $1500.

I bought my first house in 1969 for $35,000. It is now "worth" $1.45 million.

That's why we have billionaires.

Nonapod said...

Zuckerberg is perhaps one of the worst possible advocates for the hyper wealthy free market set. He's a known public liar, he has zero charisma, and a huge amount of people view his primary product as deeply flawed and untrustworthy. What's more he doesn't seem unable to construct a persuasive argument.

For example, to the typical Bernie/AOC fan, Zuckerberg's description of billionaires as "people who do really good things and kind of help a lot of other people. And you get well compensated for that" would sound ridiculous and would only serve to further confirm their biases that the wealthy are villainous crooks and liars. More effective arguments can be made and have been made by others, including in this thread.

I'm Full of Soup said...

"had continued running his business instead of getting into politics, a claim unsupported by evidence."

Is this the new standard for the media? ....To add "unsupported by evidence" to every thing a politician named Trump says.

Char Char Binks said...

Confiscatory taxation is theft. Worse, it's slavery. If they take the fruit of someone's work, whatever that work is, they turn him into a slave. Sanders, Warren, et al. will turn the "rich" into slaves, and they won't stop at billionaires. It's slaves al the way down.

Unknown said...

The WSJ TV reviewer stated that Zuckerburg is the worst corporate spokesman in the history of corporations. If he states something, people will believe the opposite is true.

Wa St Blogger said...

Envy is a bad policy designer. The left is not motivated by compassion, they are motivated by envy and use compassion as their pseudonym. The poor are not poor because the rich are rich.

I second Temujin, Shouting Thomas and Michael the Magnificent.

Top Motivation for hating capitalism

RNB said...

What happened to, "Behind every great fortune is a great crime"?

mockturtle said...

Ayn Rand is turning in her grave. She was so right. There are only two kinds of people in the world: Those who produce and those who loot those who produce.

Char Char Binks said...

As the old song has it --

Tax the rich
Feed the poor
Till there are no
Rich no more

It's just a song, and I hope the writer and performers made a lot of money from it, but that is the attitude, the belief, the gist of socialism, and shows how wrong and evil it is.

If it said, "Till there are no poor no more" that would at least show some kind of benevolence, but that wasn't the goal. Socialism isn't about helping the poor; it's about impoverishing everyone.

Dave Begley said...

John Henry:

The states levy taxes on the value of real and personal property, but not on intangible property. The federal government levies a tax on the value of estates and that didn't require a constitutional amendment.

I suppose a wealth tax would be constitutional but that doesn't make it right.

Char Char Binks said...

What happened to, "Behind every great fortune is a great crime"?

That may have been true back when the only ways to riches were plunder and venal office, but we have a market economy now, and have for some time. What great crimes did Warren Buffet and Charlie Munger commit?

Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong has $12.3B. He holds over 100 patents, and invented new ways to treat cancer. Did he steal them from you?

rcocean said...

Weirdo Foreign gibberish imported into the USA:

Taxation is theft - Rand
Property is Theft -Marx

American ideas:

Taxation is the price of civilization - Oliver wendall Holmes

The man of great wealth owes a peculiar obligation to the state because he derives special advantages from the mere existence of government - Theodore Roosevelt

BJM said...

So deplatforming political opponents and interfering in an election is a "really good thing", eh?

Rusty said...

Michael K said...
"Accountant Freder "Why is it BS? Has Trump produced even one document to support this claim?"

I'm sure there is evidence of the decline in corporate use of the Doral Resort due to fear of loony leftists like Freder protesting and attacking participants,

Howard is sure Trump never had $5 billion.

You know why we have billionaires ? Because of Democrat, and some Republican, actions that produced inflation. An ounce of gold was worth $20 in 1930. It is now worth $1500.

I bought my first house in 1969 for $35,000. It is now "worth" $1.45 million.

That's why we have billionaires."

We also have the risk takers. The builders. The inventers. The people that create wealth from nothing. While there is a finite number of dollars there is a near infinite amount of wealth. As long as it isn't taxed it will continue to flow. As soon as it is taxed it disappears.

Michael McNeil said...

Delete comment feature not enabled.

Yes it is. Follow the “Post a Comment” link at the bottom of the comments page; on that screen touch or click on the trash-can icon next to the date/time of your post — when prompted for confirmation, select “Delete Comment.” Voila!

Char Char Binks said...

I agree with O. W. Holmes. That's why I said "confiscatory taxation", not just "taxation". Ollie said it better than I.

Seeing Red said...

The top tax rate from the 1940s to the early 1980s was 70-90%.

With a lot of write-offs.

Or would you prefer another World War beforehand?

Michael K said...

We also have the risk takers. The builders. The invents.

And they would have been millionaires. Carnegie was a great inventor. He sold his company to JP Morgan for $303 million in 1901.

Brian said...

But that is not what they seem to be talking about. They seem to be talking about a 2% tax on the entire $110bn and I do not see how that passes constitutional muster.

Hence the other discussions in the DNC about "stolen" Supreme Court seats and plans to pack the court.

The money is there, they want it, they have guns and will take it. Story as old as history itself.

Phidippus said...

"Cosmic ice cream":

At first I thought it was an IPhone picture of the sidewalk after an Antifa march.

Personally I prefer chocolate ice cream, or peanut butter and chocolate, when I can get it.

Hot fudge sundaes are best with coffee ice cream, in my world. Break free of the hegemony of vanilla, comrades!

I have a year's supply of homemade peach ice cream after the good local peaches we had this year.

PM said...

I would be happy if one of 3 things occurred:
1. The percent of tax-to-income I pay would also be paid by "billionaires."
2. If #1's a no-go, I'd like discount access to a billionaire's tax attorney.
3. Develop an engine that runs on recyclable salt water.

Francisco D said...

Why is it BS? Has Trump produced even one document to support this claim?

I wonder if people like Freder actually read what they comment on.

Trump made a speculative statement that he would have made billions more dollars running his businesses rather than becoming POTUS. That statement, as all speculation, is subject to debate but it is a moot point.

What Trump is saying is that becoming POTUS has cost him money. That is undoubtedly true. The reason he is so hated is that most politicians are in that business to MAKE money. He continues to threaten their rice bowl.

TestTube said...

Here is the real value of Billionaires:

You can work at a median household income of $65k for 45 years, invest 15% of your gross income at an average inflation adjusted rate of 7.2 percent, and have >$2M of wealth -- enought to generate a retirement income of $80K using the 4% rule.

And the reason that happens is because of billionaires, who contribute to economic growth by creating new companies and even new industries that a) provide good investment opportunities and b) provide jobs and pay wages

Take Bill Gates, who is worth $100B. To get there, he founded Microsoft which has a market capitalization of > $1Trillion. So to become a multi-billionaire, Bill made tens of thousands other people multi-millionaires. All those pension funds out there...Do they have Microsoft in their portfolio? You Betcha!

Plus, with 144k employees, Microsoft is paying at least $10B in salary and benefits YEARLY. Not to mention all the smaller companies that make money off of Microsoft.

Oh, and that means about $1B into the Social Security fund, as well (~6% from the employee and employer each)

And Sanders wants to "fix" this? Like how he "fixed" healthcare by voting for the PPACA, a fix so effective that les than ten years after it came into effect, the same clowns who voted for it are now effectively running against it.

jaydub said...

rocean: "The top tax rate from the 1940s to the early 1980s was 70-90%. Lets go back to that. It worked for Truman, JFK, Ike and Nixon - it should work now. We need to reduce the power of the Super-rich and taxes is one way to do it. And who is rich? I'd say anyone who makes over $2 million/year is rich."

Yeah, the top tax rate was 70 - 90% and no one paid it. BTW, to answer your question about who is rich, I'd say anyone who uses an avatar like rocean. Tax his ass off.

John henry said...

Blogger gilbar said...

There already ARE wealth taxes in the US


Arguably property taxes are a wealth tax (though arguably they are fees for services) But there are no federal property taxes.

Since we are talking about federal, not state taxes here, how about tell us what Federal wealth taxes there are?

The death tax may be, sort of, a wealth tax. But it could also be argued that it is a kind of capital gains tax and not a wealth tax.

So any other examples of a wealth tax?

Any comments on how to get around that pesky constitution without an amendment?

And does anyone seriously think a wealth tax amendment could be passed, and if passed, ratified?

John Henry

mockturtle said...

It would be amusing if Zuckerberg just folded up his tent and walked away in disgust.

Yancey Ward said...

Rhhardin gets it.

The key thing you have to remember about accumulated wealth is that almost none of it is used for consumption. Take Mark Zuckerberg, for example. He probably doesn't purchase consumption goods in excess of about $5 million/year, and I seriously doubt it is even that high- it is difficult to spend more money than that year after year on personal consumption, even while raising a family. That means the vast majority of his wealth is held as capital- the things that produce consumption goods, and most of that capital's income is used to maintain and expand that capital base so that it produces more consumption goods in the future.

Here is what would happen if you start taxing this kind of wealth- the tax would be paid out of capital maintenance and expansion, leading to fewer good to consume in the future, because the people receiving the benefits from the wealth tax would largely use it for immediate consumption. As the previous held capital base is used fund present consumption, prices for today's consumption goods would rise correspondingly. It would be a viscious cycle until the capital is depleted and/or has decayed beyond use.

iowan2 said...

The man of great wealth owes a peculiar obligation to the state because he derives special advantages from the mere existence of government - Theodore Roosevelt

There are some very rich people in Mexico that disprove that theory.

narayanan said...

VAPORWARE >>>> software or hardware that has been advertised but is not yet available to buy, either because it is only a concept or because it is still being written or designed.
__________________
Try VaporMoney as concept >>> FED 'creates it" and after sloshing around it puddles into billionaires.

That is very different from Capital - saved income or unconsumed goods that have been produced.

Assuming again FACEBOOK produces anything of value (that improves any one's life)

DarkHelmet said...

Everybody on every side of the political spectrum needs to understand that if a wealth tax is implemented every single financial transaction you make in your life will be the government's business. Assume for the sake of argument that President Warren (god forbid) manages to get a 2% annual wealth tax passed. It only applies to those who have over, say, ten million of wealth. Now, how does the government determine who has ten million of more of net worth? Ask for voluntary disclosure? No. The IRS would have to know the value of your house, the value of your mortgage. The value of your cars and the balance of any loans on them. The value of your 401(k), your IRA, your 529 plan. Whether you own any land. Whether you have any foreign assets. What is the value of all the artwork in your house. How much is in your HSA? What jewelry do you own? Any boats? RVs? Baseball cards or other sports memorabilia? And on and on and on. Every single thing you own will have to be tallied up, appraised and netted against debts. For single one of the 330 million people here.

Do you want that? Because there is no alternative. If the government doesn't count artwork, for example, what do you suppose the Buffetts, Steyers, Clintons and various others rich folks are going to do? Hold their wealth in artwork, obviously. Ditto land, ditto jewelry, ditto foreign investments, ditto fancy cars, etc. etc.

If you submit to a wealth tax every single penny you come by will have to be accounted for. Looking forward to the Lois Lehrners of the world coming to your living room to examine the jewelry?

rcocean said...

People seem to have mixed up two concepts. The man who gets rich by building a business that benefits the community and the country and the man who just gets rich.

The first is admirable, the 2nd of rich man may be Ok or not. Soros got rich by manipulation of the currency markets. The current owners of Comcast got rich by getting bank loans and buying up all the smaller cable companies until he has a quasi-monopoly. Bezos got rich by bribing congress to let him sell his goods online without paying a sales tax and use the Post Office to deliver his goods at below market price. The current owners of Disney are rich because they bribed congress to extend their copyright in 1998. And because they buy out other pop culture/film products and then milk them dry.

None of these rich rent seekers,crony capitalists or quasi-moonopolists, add any real value. But people pretend to worship them because of the "Free market" - which it isn't.


DarkHelmet said...

"The man of great wealth owes a peculiar obligation to the state because he derives special advantages from the mere existence of government - Theodore Roosevelt"

One of many economically ignorant things TR said. Let's remember he was the original progressive hero. Admirable personal courage and a spunky, inspiring dude in many ways, but as an economic thinker TR was an idiot. And we can thank him for helping Wilson get into office and thereby set many horrors into motion.

I want to like Teddy, but I can't. He was a disaster for America.

DarkHelmet said...

YW said:
"Here is what would happen if you start taxing this kind of wealth- the tax would be paid out of capital maintenance and expansion, leading to fewer good to consume in the future, because the people receiving the benefits from the wealth tax would largely use it for immediate consumption. As the previous held capital base is used fund present consumption, prices for today's consumption goods would rise correspondingly. It would be a viscious cycle until the capital is depleted and/or has decayed beyond use."

Here's also what would happen: capital would leave the productive sphere and hide out in whatever laundry list of 'exempt assets' were to be worked into the legislation. Art not taxed? Sell Apple stock and buy Picasso. Cars not taxed? Sell Microsoft and buy Ferrari. Jewelry not taxed? Sell Facebook and buy Tiffany. Or gold bars. Or land in Costa Rica. Or a superyacht. Etc. ad infinitum.

hombre said...

And, of course, Reuters’ claim that Trump’s claim is “unsupported by evidence” is the more reliable of the claims. /s

Reuters fails to understand that Trump’s statement IS evidence. This is illustrative of both the laziness and lack of integrity of the leftmedia. They hold confirmation bias as evidence. They dismiss inconsistent evidence as though it is nonexistent.

The journalists at Forbe’s disagree with Trump so that must be definitive, right? Trump may be exaggerating or mistaken, but neither makes the Reuters’ article less pathetic or more probative.

Michael K said...

The top tax rate from the 1940s to the early 1980s was 70-90%. Lets go back to that.

So, you want to go back to tax shelters? Look at a graph of income tax collection over the decades, back to FDR and Truman. It averaged 20% of income with small variations. The tax shelters were frequently non-productive investments that had no rational purpose except to avoid taxes.

We had a similar discussion at another blog yesterday. Back when Sweden was really trying to be Socialist, they had a 100% tax on income over a certain level. About the only people who were subject to this were doctors as they could not hide income like business people do. So, highly paid doctors, like heart surgeons, would hit the 100% level about October 1. What did they do ? They quit for the year and spent those months in warm climates. If you needed heart surgery you waited until next year.

Francisco D said...

The man of great wealth owes a peculiar obligation to the state because he derives special advantages from the mere existence of government - Theodore Roosevelt

@rcocean,

The battle between Teddy Roosevelt and the super-rich industrialists was about giving more power to politicians and taking it away from the people who create jobs (industrialists). Roosevelt won and the politicians have been getting richer and more powerful off the backs of wealthy entrepreneurs ever since. That money and power is directly and indirectly taken from us - the deplorables.

Bernie and his Democrat ilk do not seek fairness for the common man. They seek absolute power through taxation.

rehajm said...

How would Liz Warren mark to market private companies? Illiquid investments?

Remember: this is a woman who doesn't understand what a tax-loss carryforward is...

mockturtle said...

BB&H observes: The media do not search for evidence. They mine for narrative.

Very well said.

cubanbob said...

Seeing Red said...
They are coming for our retirement accounts. They’re going to try and tell us what we should live on."

Back during the 2008 election campaign Obama had the execrable Samantha Power in his campaign float the trial balloon of nationalizing IRAs and 401Ks and replace them with a government guarantee plan. Of course that lead balloon quickly disappeared but the fact that it was floated was an indication of where the Democrats wanted to go. So in an abundance of caution, we opened an account in Switzerland. With what the Democrats are saying today it was the right move and still is.

When the income tax was first proposed it was "only" supposed to be a 4% rate on incomes of over $100,000 in today's money. What kind of rent seeking, parasitic grifter fool thinks a wealth tax won't be hitting the upper middle class within a decade of it being implemented?



"Blogger rcocean said...
I'm all in favor of taxing the rich. Why are the 85% of us who aren't rich and aren't poor, so fucking stupid? Why should I be paying 25% of my disposable income in various taxes, when zukerprick is paying 5%?"

First you aren't paying 25% on your disposal income since disposable income is net of taxes. Second I pay at the 37% rate plus the Medicare-Medicaid surcharge. I have the same vote as you so why should I pay at a higher rate than you? Indeed why should I pay one dollar more than you? I get nothing more in "services" from the feds than you do. The Army isn't going send a helicopter to whisk me and my family to a secure location incase of an emergency. There are no special roads or highway sections for the top rate taxpayers. I could go on but I'm sure you get the point. What Zuckerberg pays in taxes and at what rate you don't know. If he sells stock he pays at the capital gains rate. The gain isn't adjusted for inflation ( more government thievery) and the capital losses aren't deductible ($3,000 is the limit). So on that alone he is already paying the same rate as you if not more. On his dividend income, he is paying income tax at the 37% on income that was already taxed at 20%. I suppose you could claim if he has muni bonds he doesn't pay federal taxes on the interest but if he had all his wealth invested in tax exempts he would be subject to the AMT. Of course the tax exempt status of munis should be eliminated for fairness. That would satisfy you and the resentful voter class.

Every society has it's rich and it's poor. That will never change. If the Democrat-Communist have their way it will simply be different rich people, you know, the vanguard of the proletariat, for their heroic service to the people. Just like the Soviet Union.

rcocean said...

Rather than Institute a "wealth tax" the Federal Government should just lift the SS Payroll Tax cap. Currently you pay no SS tax on salary over 150K or maybe its 100K. So, If you make a $1 million/year you pay 1% SS tax, while a person making 1/10 as much pays 6%. Its regressive and unfair.

Another way to make taxes more fair. Allow Renters to deduct their rent. Owners deduct their mortgage interest, why not let Renters deduct their rent. The idea would be to pay income on your disposal income NOT your total income. Or conversely just increase the Standard deduction for anyone under 100K to say $25,000.

We can easily make the Income tax system more fair AND get more revenue, but Rich people write the tax laws, and the rest of us are just suckers. And of course, all the D voters are morons who just want a handout or gay rights or some stupid crap.

wholelottasplainin' said...

RNB said...
What happened to, "Behind every great fortune is a great crime"?
********

The phrase, made by Balzac in the 1840's was originally, "Behind every great fortune is a crime".

"Great" was added later, and applied especially to the Robber Barons.

But it never made much sense as a general statement. Did Edison, Ford, George Eastman and the many industrialists and inventors of the late 19th/early 20th commit crimes to make themselves rich? Did Gates, Ellison, Zuckerberg? Where are the convictions, and the evidence to support them?

No, as used today, the phrase bespeaks a mindless hatred of rich people, imputing to them criminality just for being so.

And isn't it curious how many politicians professing a desire to take away wealth from the rich, become themselves VERY rich after leaving office.

I'm speaking of course of the Clintons, Baraka, Reid, and Biden...and many more..

Perhaps Balzac's phrase should be amended to read,

"Behind every great fortune amassed by formerly-poor liberal politicians is a series of great crimes."

rcocean said...

The main problem with a wealth tax is the middle class is stupid. The tax will START OUT just taxing the rich. Then the rich will bribe congress, get loopholes, and before you know it, the only ones paying the "wealth tax" will be the middle class. That's why certain states never pass an income tax. everyone knows all the promises of it just being on the rich or "Replacing the sales tax" are bullshit. you ALWAYS end up with an income tax on everyone AND a sales tax.

cubanbob said...

narayanan said...
VAPORWARE >>>> software or hardware that has been advertised but is not yet available to buy, either because it is only a concept or because it is still being written or designed.
__________________
Try VaporMoney as concept >>> FED 'creates it" and after sloshing around it puddles into billionaires.

That is very different from Capital - saved income or unconsumed goods that have been produced.

Assuming again FACEBOOK produces anything of value (that improves any one's life)"

Personally I don't use it and I don't like social media personally but to say Facebook has no economic value is an ignorant statement. No one would pay Facebook money to advertise on it if it didn't yield positive results. Same for the other social media that have advertising.

daskol said...

Really, rcocean, Bezos/Amazon is just a crony capitalism play, playing government loopholes to create wealth? What about the fact that half the world's cloud computing is on Amazon Web Services, if you don't want to credit the online store for innovation? I think you have a very different notion of productive wealth building that I do. Even Soros and his currency plays serves an economic purpose arguably.

Unknown said...

The passage in the article,"What he didn’t mention is that Sanders’s tax would cost him $5.5bn in its first year," is a nice touch and a good point. It's fair to take into account whether this Zuckerberg person will be affected by a wealth tax. So people should be know whether he is rich or not. So he should have mentioned whether he is rich. On the other hand, the $5.5 part seems overly precise given how incompletely defined the proposals are and how inchoate are the lawyers' and accountants' responses to the whatever is enacted.

Tomcc said...

Many interesting thoughts here. For those of us who are not wealthy, the idea that there's a vast amount of money "out there" that could "improve" our society's well being is an attractive (but highly abstract) thought. For the most part, wealth = capital assets. That $5.5B that Mr. Zuckerberg is going to owe? It ain't coming out of his savings account! And even supposing that he were to write a personal check for it- that's $5.5B that his bank doesn't have to lend.
Any economists out there that can tell me the Multiplier effect for private investment vs. public spending?

Michael McNeil said...

What billionaire Jeff Bezos has been doing — as he declared to Time a couple of years back — is that he plans every year to sell $1 billion or so of Amazon stock then plunge the proceeds into further incremental funding for his space company, Blue Origin. Indeed, just two months ago Bezos sold an even greater allotment $2.8 billion worth of Amazon stock for this year's Blue Origin investment. Post-taxes that should be a sizable hunk of change.

Elon Musk has been doing his own variant of this in funding his own Space Exploration (SpaceX) company — which thus far is farther along than Bezos' Blue Origin in accomplishing amazing feats with reusable space launchers. Musk's new visionary “Starship” he intends to send on to Mars with people — colonists — aboard.

Such astonishing feats really cannot be accomplished by government agencies such as (the now-stultified) NASA, but only by free-wheeling private enterprise. All government can do (if it's smart) is stand back, provide encouragement, while interfering with the process as little as possible.

Glenn Reynolds put it thus in one of his USA Today columns last year: “Be thankful tycoons like Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk are focused on space and moon bases.”

They're really the reason why the USA and the world now stand on the brink of a great age of manned (er… personned) space exploration.

More power to them, I say!

Seeing Red said...

This is the kind of thread that might not need moderation.

What they also want to do is get rid of inheritable IRAS.

Those bastards “NEED” the trillions in there so they can “help” — it seems now — everyone (the world) but Americans possibly of a certain color.

It’s been floated between 2-5 years upon inheriting, the IRA is drained.

It might go to 7-10 because of pushback.

I’ve already told my inheritors if it comes to that, use the net to fully fund your IRA.

Can u imagine the stock turnover? Thank you “Trading Places” the USG is a bookie.

Madhouse and the USG gets its cut every time.

The other possibility is that holding Treasuries will be required in every IRA.

They’ve also been whining since the early 90s about IRAs and how it kept money out of the government’s hands. I read an article back then in the WSJ.

Francisco D said...

Another way to make taxes more fair. Allow Renters to deduct their rent.

Oh boy. Where do I start?

If you deduct rent payments, what do you think will happen to rents?

Building owners have made an investment that benefits them and the community - they pay property taxes, provide neighborhood stability and provide service for those who cannot or will not invest. They only get to deduct a certain amount of mortgage interest, due to recent tax changes, but for many that allows them to purchase the property.

You need to think a bit more before you propose your supposed fairness solutions.

Sebastian said...

"Mark Zuckerberg's plea for the billionaire class is deeply anti-democratic"

True, for progs resisting state control of the means of production is "antidemocratic."

"Mark Zuckerberg makes claims that are elitist and wrong"

True, for progs, the idea that some people help others more and therefore should be compensated more is wrong. No one should help another more than anyone else, and no one should get compensated more, unless the state so decrees.

Capitalists are by definition elitist, the nomenklatura by definition is not.

TestTube said...

The question is why should any serious consideration be given to any major proposal made by the same group of clowns who bungled the PPACA, can't write a budget that decreases the deficit, can't come up with a sane set of immigration laws, and can't stand up to the executive branch.

I suppose there are probably some minor areas of policy that a subset of congress can be relied on to execute competently.

But Sanders? I wouldn't trust him to manage a household chore chart.

Bay Area Guy said...

Class envy is a moronic socialist phenomenon.

The sane man doesn't focus on the number of billionaires in a country or their tax rates.

The sane man focuses on whether the MILLIONS of families middle class are growing and whether the economic policies enable and encourage working class folks to enter the Middle Class.

This isn't even a great article, but it makes the point that if you make $52,000/year, you are in the top 1% of the world.

Need more gratitude.

hstad said...

Blogger rcocean said...
".....Taxation is the price of civilization - Oliver wendall Holmes..."

The famous quote by US Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. is inscribed above the entrance to the headquarters of the Internal Revenue Service.
Most people don’t have a clue what he meant, or in what context the statement was made. They simply parrot it around to justify the state’s racketeering behavior.
The logic is as twisted as saying “war is the price we pay for peace” or “debt is the price we pay for recovery.” They’re all logical fallacies, and assertions backed by zero objective evidence. There’s not much that’s civilized about confiscating people’s assets at gunpoint and spending it on bombs, drones, and wars. In fact, taxes in the United States are not even a civil matter– they’re an entirely criminal matter. As nearly every tax communication duly informs us, you can be thrown in jail for failing to file a form.
This is not how a ‘civilized society’ conducts itself.

Rusty said...

"The man of great wealth owes a peculiar obligation to the state because he derives special advantages from the mere existence of government - Theodore Roosevelt"
At what point on the inspiration chain did fedgov.org give Henry Ford a leg up.

hstad said...

@rcocean - "....Taxes are the price we pay for a civilized society....."

The famous quote by US Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. is inscribed above the entrance to the headquarters of the Internal Revenue Service.
Most people don’t have a clue what he meant, or in what context the statement was made. They simply parrot it around to justify the state’s racketeering behavior.
The logic is as twisted as saying “war is the price we pay for peace” or “debt is the price we pay for recovery.”
They’re all logical fallacies, and assertions backed by zero objective evidence.
There’s not much that’s civilized about confiscating people’s assets at gunpoint and spending it on bombs, drones, and wars.
In fact, taxes in the United States are not even a civil matter– they’re an entirely criminal matter. As nearly every tax communication duly informs us, you can be thrown in jail for failing to file a form.
This is not how a ‘civilized society’ conducts itself.

John henry said...

Like Bezos at Amazon, Zuckerberg derives no income from his Facebook stock unless he sells it.

Also like Bezos at Amazon, Zuckerberg is not the most highly paid person at Facebook.

Though he is much higher than Bezos on the ladder.

Probably 80-90% of everyone drawing a paycheck at Amazon is drawing a bigger one than Bezos.


John Henry

PM said...

It's worth reading the latest NYer for its long, pissy article on Bezos (who declined to be interviewed) and the work structure he designed for Amazon employees. It's an unflattering piece but full of insights into Bezos' backstage strategy for dominance and success.

cubanbob said...

rcocean said...
Rather than Institute a "wealth tax" the Federal Government should just lift the SS Payroll Tax cap. Currently you pay no SS tax on salary over 150K or maybe its 100K. So, If you make a $1 million/year you pay 1% SS tax, while a person making 1/10 as much pays 6%. Its regressive and unfair."

Again with more ill informed nonsense. First Social Security payroll tax is cap at $120,000 this year for Social Security purposes. The maximum benefit is $2,900 per month. Wow at the top end for this so-called annuity the top payer get less than 30% of the final salary. Maybe civil service pensions should be in line with the maximum being 30% of the final Social Security quarters salary. And that is for people who aren't self employed. The self-employed get to pay 12% instead of 6% to the same cap. So $2,900 is even less as a percentage of their final quarter's wages benefit. Medicare-Medicaid tax have no cap and if you earn over a certain amount there is the Obamacare surcharge.

mockturtle said...

Michael McNeil asserts: All government can do (if it's smart) is stand back, provide encouragement, while interfering with the process as little as possible.

Depends on the meaning of 'smart'. For looters, it's smart to loot as much as possible. For the pubic good, of course.

John henry said...

On second thought, 80-90% is probably high.

But probably 50% of people at Amazon get a bigger paycheck than Bezos.

John Henry

Michael K said...

The self-employed get to pay 12% instead of 6% to the same cap.

I did so to the age of 81, thank you.

wholelottasplainin' said...


@rcocean - "....Taxes are the price we pay for a civilized society....."
**********

Zombie George III considers himself vindicated.

rehajm said...

Who pays more in Taxes?

Really the problem starts by defining the question as income taxes -- what is the tax rate on this year's income -- and defining income to include "capital income," dividends, interest, and capital gains. Once you allow that definition, much of the game is lost.

daskol said...

Zuckerberg has been doing very good, disciplined PR lately, and this is another example of it for the most part. In ceding the cosmic suitability of billionaires, isn't he giving too much away just to signal his alignment with progressive dogma? What is the moral or spiritual reason that a society should not have extremely wealthy people?

n.n said...

But probably 50% of people at Amazon get a bigger paycheck than Bezos.

Income and leverage are fungible.

rehajm said...

This is quite remarkable. If the sensible way of defining tax rates involves excluding transfers from the denominator (as they claim), the fact that it leads to very high rates by construction at the bottom should be because this is a sensible summary of reality. Yet, in their own words, it’s a problem. Rather than switching method, they drop the people at the very bottom which conveniently covers up the problem (but leaves a less severe version of the problem in their remaining lower income sample). Of course, they could have just used the standard definition which includes transfers in the denominator, but doing this destroys the entire headline result.

A critical eye on major errors in The Triumph of Injustice: How the Rich Dodge Taxes and How to Make Them Pay.

(Your local Democrat will be relying on this factually inaccurate document for much of their rhetoric)

mockturtle said...

IMO, there are far more crooks in government than there are in business.

Narayanan said...

You don't have to be billionaire to spend 6 million a year or more.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/elton-john-spent-pound40m-in-20-months-622287.html

Francisco D said...

rcocean said...
Rather than Institute a "wealth tax" the Federal Government should just lift the SS Payroll Tax cap. Currently you pay no SS tax on salary over 150K or maybe its 100K. So, If you make a $1 million/year you pay 1% SS tax, while a person making 1/10 as much pays 6%. Its regressive and unfair."


Social Security benefits are determined by a formula that takes in your best 35 years of wages (and SS taxes). Are you proposing that we give the government more money to "invest" so that we can hopefully get more in retirement?

I didn't think you were. I suspect you want that money to fund the government's various welfare schemes. Those schemes deter economic growth and allow the takers to simply take more money and power over use. Why would you want that rcocean?

narciso said...

it never stops there it used to be the income tax was originally 1% on 100,000 (ball part figure) in 1913

narciso said...

a quick primer


https://mises.org/library/origin-income-tax

now that we're 22 trillion in debt, what do you think the rate will be,

Jim at said...

If Trump has lost $2 to $5 billion of his fake net worth, it is because he is preparing his resignation excuse.

Just yesterday, you idiots were claiming he'll never leave office.

Make up your damn minds.

Milwaukie guy said...

Michael K you're over 80? No wonder you have some many good observations. Kudos.

DavidUW97 said...

You don't need to tax wealth to "fight inequality."
In fact, of course, taxing wealth will not "fight inequality," it will just make tax lawyers richer.

If you want to "fight inequality," you would support:
1) meaningful anti-trust enforcement. It's utterly farcical that the seller of ads, owns the distribution that transmit those ads. Or the horizontal monopoly of Zuck.
2) Coding is not a patent, anymore than language is patentable. Trade secret sure. A patent on 1-click shopping? laughable. It's like a patent on the concept of a department store.
3) In theory (although I know this is rarely enforced), if you take out a loan against your house and spend it on a car, you have to pay income tax on that loan. Zuck took out a $750 MILLION loan against his FB stock, and pays zero income tax because it's debt, not a stock sale. Treat it like a stock sale.

bagoh20 said...

Billionaires do mostly get rich by giving people what they want or need, and doing it better than everyone else. In other words, they get their wealth from others who give it to them voluntarily based on merit.

The government, rich politicians, and their families and friends get their riches by force and fraud. Think of the gas taxes, and weed taxes, and sales taxes, and lottery income; they all promised to pay for things you never seem to get. How's that $2500 Obamacare premium cut coming? Do you think Pelosi really needed to pass it to find out what was in it? Would she dare take that chance blindly. Only the government can consistently rip you off without consequences to those who do it. Some of the biggest tech companies are now getting powerful enough to do the same, which is why they need broken up. Even the government has three branches, two parties, and 50 states competing.

DavidUW97 said...

What is the purpose of taxation?

To punish or to fund the government?

A truly American idea, you know, this nation that was founded on an anti-tax rebellion:

"The collection of taxes which are not absolutely required, which do not beyond reasonable doubt contribute to public welfare, is only a species of legalized larceny. Under this Republic the rewards of industry belong to those who earn them."

Calvin Coolidge

Chief Executive Lawbreaker - Whiny Weasel Trumpkins said...

So the conservative poverty cases on the blog see it as their purpose to tell the billionaires that they're wrong to ask for shifting government attention to the needs of the impoverished instead of prioritizing the "needs" of the wealthy. Incredible. It's like living on Bizarro World.

Only an American conservative is nonsensical enough to demand the re-ordering a country's social priorities in such an upside-down, backwards way.

It's like they support the opposite of everything that makes sense. And the real irony is, they're the ones who believe themselves to be more Christian!

Can't make this stuff up, folks.

Chief Executive Lawbreaker - Whiny Weasel Trumpkins said...

A truly American idea, you know, this nation that was founded on an anti-tax rebellion:

Someone needs to go back to elementary school. As government response to Shay's and the Whiskey rebellion shows, simple tax revolts were not allowed. The Boston Tea Party was about taxation without representation. Ironic, given how much greater a percentage of their income the non-billionaires are taxed while the billionaires whose financial and other interests receive much greater representation by our government are taxed at a lower rate thanks to the capital gains rates.

"The collection of taxes which are not absolutely required, which do not beyond reasonable doubt contribute to public welfare, is only a species of legalized larceny. Under this Republic the rewards of industry belong to those who earn them."

Calvin Coolidge


Wasn't that the douchebag who left the economy primed for the Great Depression the minute he exited D.C.?

Right. What a guru he must have been.

Rusty said...

Taxation is theft.
Everyone talks of the need to tax. No one talks of cutting spending.
What we need is an across the board 5% cut in federal spending.
You wouldn't even notice it.

Nichevo said...

Hey Ritmo, not to interrupt you hanging the rich, but assuming you're on my side of it, FullMoon requires your attention:

https://althouse.blogspot.com/2019/10/i-think-even-if-we-have-to-lose-we-need.html?showComment=1571848243499#c2432661037344564298

Unless of course your sympathies lie with China in the HK matter. Which, I won't believe unless you say so. Anyway maybe you can make him do the robot dance again.

Kirk Parker said...

rcocean @ 10:12am,

Why should we listen to what a silly populist like TR said? Not surprisingly, he gets it fairly backward: it't the poor who benefit disproportionately from a stable, safe civic environment. The rich guy might possibly be able to hire private security to keep himself and his riches safe, but what about the poor guy? He's totally at the mercy of his surroundings.

And your 11:09am is just you digging yourself in deeper. No, Bezos didn't bribe Congress to allow him to sell w/o charging sales tax, that was status quo ante. I live in WA state, and every single thing I've ever bought from Amazon has has WA sales tax collected on it.


cubanbob, arguing with rcocean:

"Of course the tax exempt status of munis should be eliminated for fairness."

And never mind the devastation this would cause to our cities and counties... I used to think rc was a reasonable guy, but somehow we've touched a nerve that has exposed his inner nutcase.

Kirk Parker said...

Seeing Red,

"They’re trying to kill us: Via Insty: ..Environmentalists began collaborating with state government officials ... to lay out the plans for policies that would prevent consumers from using natural gas to cook their food or heat their homes"

Some while back I made up the fake organization called the Let's All Starve To Death While Freezing In The Dark Coalition (along with its Python-esque competitor Let's All Freeze To Death While Starving In The Dark Coalition) as a means to mock the Greenies. But I had no idea that the outfit was going to become real and start operating in the open!

Kirk Parker said...

John Henry,

"The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration."

"Doesn't seem like it covers anything other than taxes on income."

Well dang, but aren't you fatally naive. (Go read Gonzales v. Raich sometime...)



Kirk Parker said...

Shouting Thomas,

"Why should I care about billionaires? And it looks to me that just about everybody is in the same boat as me.

"I sit in the hot tub every night and pray to be released from jealousy, greed, resentment and anger. Some days I do better than others."

I'm one of the few here who defend you, and I definitely think that your handle is well-selected and some of your stuff is over-the-top, even though I agree with you on all the basics.

But whoa, that particular post of yours, and its conclusion, is sublime. Thanks!!!

Kirk Parker said...

Fernandistein @ 6:51 AM,

Every time I get ready to say something bad about Teh Grauniad (usually something well-deserved), I remember that they publish Glenn Greenwald and so I relent a bit.

Bruce Hayden said...

“2) Coding is not a patent, anymore than language is patentable. Trade secret sure. A patent on 1-click shopping? laughable. It's like a patent on the concept of a department store.”

Said by someone who doesn’t have a clue about what he is talking about.

A surprising number of inaccuracies in such a short statement. If I have more time today, I will respond with more detail. I do have some expertise here, having been “coding” now for a half century, licensed by the USPTO for nearing 30 years, and chaired the IP committee in an engineering society that has filed numerous amicus briefs in these areas.

Kirk Parker said...

Bruce,

I'd be very interested to hear your thoughts on this, though I must tell you as a long-term software practitioner I'm predisposed to be 100% opposed to software and business-process patents.