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Save the Rich!

Originally published at BunkBlog. You can comment here or there.

Another great example of how people who are not, by any reasonable definition, wealthy are somehow able to be convinced to support something which is not in their own self-interest.  If you make less than $111,000 per year, why would you support the plan on the left over the plan on the right?  You prefer to give your tax money to rich people, rather than keep it yourself?  Amazing.

Edit: This all assumes, for good historical reason, that the gummint isn’t planning to reduce spending, and therefore the total revenue needs to remain somewhat static.


( 28 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 12th, 2008 03:16 pm (UTC)
Even here, I note, the "liberal media" manages to spin the Republican plan to make it look better* than it is, with the "average cut" at the bottom. Looks to me like they got those numbers (-2% for McCain, -0.3% for Obama) by taking the mean across brackets. What they should have done, seems to me, was take a weighted mean, with the weights being the proportion of the population in each bracket -- I'm pretty sure that this method would show Obama's method resulting in much higher savings for the "average American family."

*At least for those who think "lower taxes" always equals "better," which seems to be a majority of the electorate.
Sep. 13th, 2008 12:39 am (UTC)
Rich people invest their money in businesses, either directly, via stock, or indirectly, via cash in the bank or bonds. That money then goes to pay the capital costs and salaries of the people employed by those businesses. Most of those employees are not "rich" people by American standards.

Therefore, when the government taxes a rich person, the money that would've gone to the poor and middle income people employed by those businesses goes to the government instead.

So, the tax burden falls on the poor and middle class anyway, even if the incidence of the tax is on the "rich".

Therefore, even if you don't care a whit about the rich, increasing taxes only makes sense if you believe that government will give the money to people more deserving than those poor and middle income people employed by the rich person's firms.

Do you believe that tax recipients deserve it more than those employees? If so, how do you know this?

If you had a million dollars, how much of it would you voluntarily give to the government?
Sep. 13th, 2008 12:52 am (UTC)
[sigh] Thank you for the lecture in trickle-down economics. Which would be a great idea if only, you know, it bore any relation whatsoever to how things actually work.
Sep. 13th, 2008 12:59 am (UTC)
If you believe the government is so much better at allocating capital, how much do you give the government, over and above the amount required by law?
Sep. 13th, 2008 01:02 am (UTC)
Well, I gave Uncle Sam eight years of my life, which is more than your standard-issue right-wing chickenhawk ever has the guts to do.
Sep. 13th, 2008 01:06 am (UTC)
You were paid by the military right? If so, then you must've believed the compensation was worth whatever risks you took, or else you wouldn't have enlisted.

So I fail to see how this is relevant to the question, which is: how much money do you give the government above what you're required to do by law?
Sep. 13th, 2008 01:36 am (UTC)
Fine, I'll answer your straw-man question: several bucks, actually. Colorado has voluntary contributions for wildlife preservation and various other programs. Check a box on your tax return, and you get back a little less on your return. It's quite successful, and has paid for a lot of good work over the years.

The reason it's a straw man is that no one is talking about giving extra money to the government. We're talking about each of us paying our fair share, under law, to keep the government going. The government that mints the money. The government that builds and maintains the roads by which goods get to market. The government that funds the research to create the knowledge by which many of these goods are made. The government that educates the vast majority of the people who make these goods, and who buy them, and despite all the propaganda to the contrary does a pretty good job of it. The government that charters corporations. The government that establishes laws and court systems to settle disputes and protect property. The government that takes public-health measures which keep many of the people involved in these processes from dying of easily preventable diseases. (You may think this last bit is irrelevant; check my user name, and maybe you'll understand why I don't.) The government that, ultimately, is the only proven way to create an environment in which it's possible to make money by peaceful means in the first place.

That government ultimately benefits the rich far more than it does the poor. There have been rich people in places without strong central governments in the modern sense, of course; they tended to go by titles like "your Grace" and "your Excellency" and "your Highness," and spend most of their time killing each other. Being not only rich, but safely and stably rich, and getting there without violence, is possible only in the modern state.


No, there is no amount of money the government could pay me that was enough for the risks I took, or for the memories that still sometimes rattle around unpleasantly in my skull. If you think you can put a price on that kind of thing, then you have no idea what American kids are currently doing in Iraq or Afghanistan or, hell, Fort Carson CO or Minot AFB ND.

I enlisted to serve my country, and that's what I did. I know this is a foreign concept, but try to get your head around it, okay? Not for the money. To serve my country. Can you understand that, or does everything in your world have a price tag?
Sep. 13th, 2008 02:22 am (UTC)
My dad and son-in-law were in the Army.

To the day he died, my great uncle woke screaming from nightmares of World War I.

My husband and I retired from the Air Force. My husband is the black sheep of his family - not because they're a bunch of protesters, but because they're retired Marines... Vietnam and Guadalcanal.

So no, it's not all about the money, but that's what this discussion is about, isn't it? That, and government control.

We give a significant portion of our income to charity, as an automatic deduction. We gave more, after September 11th, and after Katrina. Matt and I are going over the budget now (and Gary can tell you how tight it is...), to figure out how much to send out for Ike. That is by choice, and that's the difference.
Sep. 13th, 2008 02:53 am (UTC)
Stupid Gummint
Among the (hypothetical) SBI-ers, only Al & I are on vacation currently. I think your half of the crew is also about 80% on LWOP by now, and I'm guessing you're one of that number?

Supposedly we'll hear next week. We'd better!
Re: Stupid Gummint - grassrose - Sep. 13th, 2008 03:07 am (UTC) - Expand
Sep. 13th, 2008 11:49 pm (UTC)
The government that mints the money....etc,etc.

The government that launches 3 trillion dollar wars. The government that prevents life saving medications from coming to market. The government that prevents refugees from escaping from tyrants and genocide. The government that kicks in the the doors of innocent people in the middle of the night. The government that dictates what we eat, what we read, and what we smoke in our homes.

As for the good things, the government does, imagine that you were talking to a Soviet citizen, circa 1970. "The government provides me with free food, free housing, free medical care! How will those be provided if the government doesn't do it?"

All of the services you mentioned could be provided privately. So you have to weigh the value of the services (and subtract the value of the disservices) that the government provides against the goods and services that would've been purchased in the absence of the tax.

The reason it's a straw man is that no one is talking about giving extra money to the government. We're talking about each of us paying our fair share, under law, to keep the government going.

Fair share? And you arrived at this determination how? Progressive taxation sure seems like it's taking extra money from some people and not others.

No, there is no amount of money the government could pay me that was enough for the risks I took,

Clearly there is, or else you wouldn't have taken them.
Sep. 12th, 2008 04:28 pm (UTC)
I would choose the plan on the left over the plan on the right because the plan on the left gives everyone a break.
(Deleted comment)
Sep. 12th, 2008 07:32 pm (UTC)
To take 25% of someones income away from them to give away to someone else because 'they can afford it' seems rather punitive.
(Deleted comment)
Sep. 12th, 2008 09:04 pm (UTC)
For someone making 30K/year, the ~$4,100 they pay in income taxes has a much greater impact on their lives than the person making $3 million per year and the $1 million they currently pay in taxes.

Perhaps thats an excellent impetus for people to earn more than $30k/year.
(Deleted comment)
Sep. 13th, 2008 12:31 am (UTC)
Well, obviously the only reason people make less than $111,000 is because they don't try hard enough.
Sep. 12th, 2008 05:56 pm (UTC)
That's very generous of you. I'm sure the CEOs of the country are very appreciative. :-)
Sep. 12th, 2008 07:34 pm (UTC)
Everyone deserves a break on their taxes.
Sep. 13th, 2008 12:27 am (UTC)
I'd prefer if the breaks were accompanied by some reduction in spending, but neither party seems remotely interested in that.
Sep. 13th, 2008 01:14 am (UTC)
Yep. That would be nice. I don't think anyone in our current cast of characters is inclined in that direction.
(Deleted comment)
Sep. 13th, 2008 12:24 am (UTC)
Okay, let's do the numbers. Feel free to correct my math.

I make 2,870,000.01, and file single (just to keep it "simple"). My 2007 tax would be $101,469.25, plus 35% of the amount over 349,700. In this case, that totals $983,574.25. That leaves 1,886,425.76. The current tax rate on millionaires is just over 34%.

Let's boost that to 45%, because obviously we've shown that WE (and the government) know better what to do with the money THEY earned (oh, and we're not talking trust fund babies - most U.S. millionaires are first generation), than they do.

It's easy to be blinded by the big numbers, but if it isn't right at $20,000, it isn't right at 2,000,000.

I'd rather go to a value-added tax and be done with it. "Give my tax money to rich people?" It's THEIR money. They earned it. Some of them busted their butts to start a business and now are able to buy nice things. Lots of nice things. That still doesn't make it my money.

I'm not going to go into the various theories about what stimulates and what doesn't stimulate an economy (I put my rebate check into my IRA - BAD taxpayer!), because opens a whole 'nother can of worms that even the economists argue about.
Sep. 13th, 2008 12:30 am (UTC)
All that may be true, and the philosophy behind taxing for wealth redistribution is a very complex thing to get into. But, what I find amazing is that, regardless of the philosophy, people who are NOT WEALTHY are bigger fans of a plan which gives them LESS and gives the wealthy MORE. I would expect most people to vote their own self-interest, but obviously propaganda is a powerful thing.

It's not like the government overlords will ever deign to reduce spending, no matter who is in charge.
Sep. 13th, 2008 12:59 am (UTC)
The plan doesn't "give" - it "lets us keep." There's a strong philosophical difference, there.

"It's not like the government overlords will ever deign to reduce spending, no matter who is in charge."

And that's part of the problem - you're right. Once a tax increase is in place, on anyone, for any reason, it is very, very difficult to get it repealed. The "filthy-rich capitalist pigs," in particular, aren't going to get a lot of sympathy - or even justice.

So far in this country, most of us have at least one chance to overcome our environment. For me, that was the Air Force. Obama is playing to the folks that think they can never win, so they should take from the folks that ignored the naysayers, went out, took a chance, and won. It reeks of bread and circuses.

I have the very cynical belief that we get exactly the government we deserve. This campaign season scares the crap out of me, because I don't like either of our choices. But McCain's proposed tax plan isn't what bothers me about him.
Sep. 13th, 2008 02:48 am (UTC)
"Give" versus "Not Take" is rather a tight semantic difference, no? It's not like the gummint will stop taking money from us for useless shit.
Sep. 13th, 2008 03:03 am (UTC)
Not at all. The verb you choose indicates who really owns the money. If the government takes less of MY money in taxes, it's not giving me anything - it doesn't own my entire income*, and graciously decide to give me more of it some years than others. It's just taking less.

Yes, I want a solid military, solid roads, and solid regulatory protections in place for the defenseless. Yes, I support TANSTAAFL. That doesn't mean I want to throw everything I make in the government's lap, and rely on beneficent Uncle Sam to divide the loot equitably. Hell, they can't even award a contract on time.

*At least, not yet.
Sep. 13th, 2008 03:12 am (UTC)
I agree that there is a difference, but to my pocketbook, not so much.
Sep. 13th, 2008 03:14 am (UTC)
Mine either... [sigh]
Sep. 14th, 2008 05:45 pm (UTC)
But, what I find amazing is that, regardless of the philosophy, people who are NOT WEALTHY are bigger fans of a plan which gives them LESS and gives the wealthy MORE.

This may be because people who are not wealthy aspire to be so. They want a nice place to land when they get there.
( 28 comments — Leave a comment )