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« Veep | Main | Repeated as farce »

Aug 11, 2012

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polifrog

And yet the top 20% pay 94% of all income taxes while the bottom 40% pay a negative percentage income taxes...

Who are you going to believe?

polifrog

I would also note the distasteful sense of other-ism denoted in the post's title.

sittinginthemiddle.

So, if an individual earns 400 million and pays 10-15 percent in tax which equates to between 40 and 60 million, thats not enough? That he pays more in tax than 99.9 percent of the rest of taxpayers is not fair? Should Michael Phelps be forced to surrender a few of his gold medals in the name of fairness to the under performers?

Account Deleted

You two really need to brush up on your reading skilz. Fohsizzle.

Spag

How many people make more than $200 million? Does anyone know?

Ed Cone

Concerns about the title should be addressed to:

Scott Fitzgerald
c/o St. Mary's Cemetery
Rockville, MD

justcorbly

>>"the bottom 40% pay a negative percentage income taxes…"

Yes, shame on all those people for not helping to reduce the tax burdens of the rich. Where is their sense of right and wrong?

Andrew Brod

Never mind the fact that they pay plenty in taxes (relative to their incomes), just not federal income tax.

sittinginthemiddle.

"Yes, shame on all those people for not helping to reduce the tax burdens of the rich. Where is their sense of right and wrong?"- JC


Not exactly, shame on them for being Parasites and not contributing one penny to the system they suck off of, where is their sense of right and wrong?

Andrew Brod

Yeah, again, that's wrong. They pay a lot of their income in taxes: FICA, state income tax, sales tax, excise taxes, even property taxes (included in their rent).

If you're talking about rich people, as the NYT piece does, federal income tax is the most important tax they pay. But that's not true for the poor and working class.

sittinginthemiddle.

" Never mind the fact that they pay plenty in taxes (relative to their incomes), just not federal income tax." Handout Queen


Why should they be exempt from paying a percentage like the productive citizenry? They should have skin in the game if they want the same perks as the taxpayers.

Andrew Brod

They have a lot of skin in the game. Check your facts.

Or you could continue comparing apples to oranges. Your call.

sittinginthemiddle.

" They have a lot of skin in the game. Check your facts."- Handout Queen


You admit they pay no federal income tax which is the theme of the debate, they have no skin in the game if they pay no federal tax. Stop trying to reframe the discussion.

Andrew Brod

I didn't do the reframing. It was already done. As I said, I agree that talking about the federal income tax makes sense if we're talking about the rich. But the very first comment in this thread was an attempt by a conservative to reframe the discussion to make it about poor people as well.

The only way one can reasonably compare the tax burdens of rich and poor people is to include other taxes. If you don't want to do this reasonably, then carry on.

justcorbly

>>"Why should they be exempt from paying a percentage like the productive citizenry?"

So, you hafta be rich to be productive, eh?

Got any evidence that the people with incomes in the lower 40% are "parasites"?

You seem to think that the only onerous taxes are federal income taxes. So, then, you'd be OK if states and other jurisdictions raised taxes to make up for the government gutting Ryan wants to do?

sittinginthemiddle.

" So, then, you'd be OK if states and other jurisdictions raised taxes to make up for the government gutting Ryan wants to do?"- JC


As long as the taxes were levied on everyone equally regardless of income. Everyone gets the same amenities from the government, they should pay the exact same bill for it. I don't owe you or your ilk one penny.

Andrew Brod

"Everyone gets the same amenities from the government."

That's wrong, according to the research on this. But it's a nice and comforting belief for you.

sittinginthemiddle.

"The only way one can reasonably compare the tax burdens of rich and poor people is to include other taxes. If you don't want to do this reasonably, then carry on."- Handout Queen


We were never discussing the total tax burden of the rich or poor, we were discussing the federal tax burden exclusively. You are trying to reframe the discussion to make it appear that the bottom 40 percent do contribute to the federal tax code, when in fact they do not. If you wish to discuss total tax contributions then fine but you will find that skews the number even more towards the bottom 40 percent being non contributory in comparison.

Andrew Brod

I never said the bottom 40% contribute to the federal income tax. I said they pay a lot of their income in taxes. Some of those are state and local taxes, but also among them are other federal taxes, including FICA and federal excise taxes.

And including other taxes very definitely does not indicate even lower rates of taxes paid by poor and working classes. If anything, it moves the overall tax system closer to proportionality, which you said is the ideal.

Sorry, but the facts just aren't working for you today.

sittinginthemiddle.

"Everyone gets the same amenities from the government."

That's wrong, according to the research on this. But it's a nice and comforting belief for you._Handout Queen


Care to share your source of this new liberal lie?

Andrew Brod

If it's a lie, then what do you care what the research says?

You should stick to calling people names. Go with what works for you.

Account Deleted

Wasn't this post about the uber-rich who are paying less than 15 percent in income taxes? Why do anonymous conservatives feel the need to bitch about poor people? Get out of the cul-de-sac and spend a day with some of these "parasites" as SITM calls them and then be thankful for what you do have.

I've spent plenty of time around the poor and ignorant and I don't begrudge them one ounce of the government assistance they receive. Some would say its the mark of a civilized society to take care of the poorest among us. Others would say it is just plain decent.

b

Sitting,

Wow. You just said that 40% of your fellow Americans are poor parasites. If it weren't for the unpatriotic liberals starting class warfare maybe you could really extract from the unproductive elderly, disabled, and student parasites the true amount that they pay.

Also, it's worse than we thought. Given the wonderful economic mobility declared from the right, it's a much higher percent of the population who have been parasites. Could be a zombie apocalypse.

Ok. I know sarcasm doesn't work well when written. And rather than spell out my frightful reaction to your posts, I implore you to reconsider your perspective of our community of Americans.

sittinginthemiddle.

"If it's a lie, then what do you care what the research says?

You should stick to calling people names. Go with what works for you."- Handout Queen


Thats what I thought, you have no credible source, you sound a lot like Harry Reid. Throw enough lies out there and see what sticks, typical lieing liberal.

Ged

I'm admittedly not the most knowledgeable on the subject of taxes, but don't those making lots of money stop paying FICA after a certain limit has been reached? In other words, the super-rich pay into FICA and then stop while those on the low end of the spectrum continue to pay a significant portion of their income continually? How is this in any way fair if true? I might be totally wrong though, not sure.

sittinginthemiddle.

"I've spent plenty of time around the poor and ignorant and I don't begrudge them one ounce of the government assistance they receive."- Jeff


You would have to be a taxpayer to understand why we are tired of your wealth redistribution agenda, we don't owe you anything. Nor do you have the right to decide what we spend our money on or who we give it to or what is decent and what is not. You can give your money to any cause you see fit, just don't demand my money to supplement it.

Account Deleted

I live in a two income household that pays federal income taxes in addition to all the other taxes Andrew mentioned. Do you work yourself?

Account Deleted

Ged: Yes I believe SS taxes are capped at $108k of AGI or so but Medicare taxes are not.

justcorbly

My ilk? Hmmm?

Are you arguing that you want an America made up of a certain kind of person?

justcorbly

And, yeah, come to think of it, I pay all the taxes Andrew mentioned. I may be retired, after 30 years in and out of the country trying to make people like SITM a bit safer, but I do still have an income. Not that he appreciates it.

Still, it's good to know what it is that SITM is sitting in the middle of.

polifrog

Sitting:

My ilk? Hmmm?

It was covered earlier:

Concerns about the title should be addressed to:

Scott Fitzgerald
c/o St. Mary's Cemetery
Rockville, MD


Do you suppose racism exhumed would be as palatable?

Something stinks here...


Account Deleted

SITM hasn't answered as to their status as a wage earner and income tax payer ...

polifrog

Brod:

I never said the bottom 40% contribute to the federal income tax. I said they pay a lot of their income in taxes. Some of those are state and local taxes, but also among them are other federal taxes, including FICA and federal excise taxes.

And including other taxes very definitely does not indicate even lower rates of taxes paid by poor and working classes. If anything, it moves the overall tax system closer to proportionality, which you said is the ideal.

Sorry, but the facts just aren't working for you today.

Here is some of the data requested by Sitting that Brod, too busy with proclamations, could not be bothered with providing.

First all federal taxes by quintile. (Note the massive Bush tax break for the rich, oh and the rest of us too.)

And another chart more germane to the original post of the wealthiest of the wealthy.

And yet another way to look at it.


Of course we should include a chart of federal, state, and local taxes by quintile as well. This from wiki :

The share of total income and federal, state and local taxes paid by income group. Total taxes include income taxes, payroll taxes, state and local sales taxes, federal and state excise taxes, and local property taxes.

No. The facts are not working for you, Doc.

sittinginthemiddle.

I apologize for my anonymous, trolling posts. I really should do better by this blog. I am sorry.

Andrew Brod

Ged, the Social Security cap for 2012 is $110,100. As Jeff noted, there's no cap on the Medicare tax.

What SITM asked me for was a source supporting my rejection of his claim that everyone gets the same amenities from the government. He didn't ask about tax incidence, but go ahead and move off in that direction, Frog. Maybe someone will follow you.

As for SITM's actual question, this analysis by the Tax Foundation (hardly a liberal organization), shows that high earners get more benefit from government spending than low earners. The TF's numbers indicate that a family in the top 10% enjoys benefits many times those of a family in the bottom 10%.

Now, it's true that high earners get less benefit per dollar of taxes paid, but they pay a lot in taxes due to their high incomes and that more than offsets the lower benefit per dollar. And remember that SITM claimed that "everyone ... should pay the exact same [tax] bill" for government, regardless of income.

The TF numbers are the results of an analysis, not data per se. As such, it's only fair to note that a liberal group might well have crunched the numbers differently and found an even bigger gap in the benefits from government spending. TF's purpose in this article was to show the redistributive effects of Obama policies.

The fact that rich folks benefit more from government isn't the only reason many economists advocate progressive taxation, but it's one of them. Economists have long recognized that rich folks drive more, use airports and marinas and bridges more, have more valuable houses and other amenities to be protected from theft and fire, etc. Rich folks are more likely to receive subsidies and deductions for educational expenses, business expenses, and charitable contributions. They're more likely to have funds in banks protected by the FDIC and in investments regulated (they hope) by the SEC and CFTC. They're more likely to have insurance policies overseen by state regulators.

None of this implies that rich folks are bad people, just that they benefit handsomely and at least proportionately from the existence of government, and that it's hardly wacky to suggest that they pay for it.

As that noted commie, Thomas Paine, said, "personal property is the effect of society; and it is as impossible for an individual to acquire personal property without the aid of society, as it is for him to make land originally."

Andrew Brod

I'll bet that last comment by "SITM" was really by someone else.

MojoNixon

You've been Mojoed!

polifrog

Brod-

He didn't ask about tax incidence, but go ahead and move off in that direction, Frog. Maybe someone will follow you.

Actually you stated-

They have a lot of skin in the game. Check your facts.
-then tried to obfuscate with vague references to state taxes, FICA, sales taxes, etc, as though those made up for the negative income tax paid by the bottom 40%.

They don't. Not only did I provide stats to that effect, attempted to stay on post unlike those who would lead us down the garden path of government amenities.

Shirlee Murphy

I love it! The point President Obama was making when he said if you own a business, you relied on society for roads, etc.--straight from Thomas Paine. I knew I loved both of them for some reason--honesty and rational thinking.

Ed Cone

The quote from Fitzgerald is perhaps the most famous remark about the wealthy in the American canon.

It is more anthropology than economics, and there is truth to it and to Hemingway's celebrated response.

FSF fetishized the rich. But you don't have to take my word for it. His novels are easy reads, and his short stories remain fresh and accessible. And Baz Luhrmann is making a Gatsby movie for release in 2013.

Spag

Jeff, why do liberals treat people making $250,000 per year the same way they treat people making $200,000,000 (the "uber-rich)?

The "rich" are often discussed conceptually by the Left, but they can never really tell you who they are.

Meanwhile, maybe someone will actually answer my initial question: "How many people make more than $200 million? Does anyone know?"

polifrog

Brod:

None of this implies that rich folks are bad people, just that they benefit handsomely and at least proportionately from the existence of government, and that it's hardly wacky to suggest that they pay for it.

As that noted commie, Thomas Paine, said,

"personal property is the effect of society; and it is as impossible for an individual to acquire personal property without the aid of society, as it is for him to make land originally."

Whereas Brod references a tool by which societies may affect change or retain the status quo, Paine is creating an argument based on the first principles of civilization as he sees them. Where Brod references government, Paine references society.

I believe Bonfire1776 got it right over at Lex's

where this same Paine quote is falsely used to defend Obama's "... you didn't build that.":

Obama was not talking about society; he was talking about government. That said, to a Marxist the two are one in the same.

In this case the Marxist who conflates society with government is Brod.

polifrog

Spag:

Meanwhile, maybe someone will actually answer my initial question: "How many people make more than $200 million? Does anyone know?"


One of the charts I linked above hinted at an answer. Unfortunately some of the links that worked when writing that comment and worked during my preview no longer work.

Here is the article from which the charts were drawn.

The second of the two charts breaks the highest quintile down and gives actual income as well.

Andrew Brod

You really should read the essay, Frog. And if you did read it, you really should try to understand it.

One of the hallmarks of Enlightenment thought is to position government as the agent of society, and then of course to talk (at length!) about the proper role for that government. It's hardly Marxist to connect society and government in this context.

Andrew Brod

Strictly speaking, Spag, "liberals" don't treat those two groups the same, if what you're referring to is the Democratic proposal to erase the Bush tax cuts for incomes over $250K. A family making $250K would not face a higher tax. A family making $200 million would.

This is because the proposal is about marginal tax rates. It would increase the top marginal tax rate, which applies only to incomes above $250K, to where it was during the Clinton years. A family earning $250,001 would face an increased tax on only $1 of its income. A family making $200 million would have $199,750,000 of its income taxed at the 1990s' rate.

(Of course, for "income" we should be using "taxable income," which for many families is quite a bit less than what they actually make.)

Obama's proposal would treat everyone the same in one respect. He wants to retain the Bush tax cuts for taxable incomes below $250K. That applies to people making $20K, $200K, $2 million, and so on.

Ed Cone

Sam, the number of people making $200 million or more in any given year is very small, as the article suggests.

But the article also is clear that this small group is a proxy for the larger group making mere tens of millions per year. This cohort also benefits from tax laws that allow them to pay very low rates, so that "at the very pinnacle of taxpayers, the United States has a regressive tax system."

Also, the small numbers belie the impact this group has: "The top 400 earn more than 1 percent of all income in the United States, more than double their share in 1992." Average tax rate in '09: Less than 20%.

Andrew Brod

And if the Ryan plan is enacted, it'll become more regressive at the top, benefiting in particular one Willard Mitt Romney:

"So, at the very moment when we're all tittering over Harry Reid's wild accusation that Romney paid no taxes for the past decade, Romney picks a running mate whose plan -- supported by virtually the entire GOP congressional caucus -- would have him paying, well, no taxes."

polifrog

Brod:

It's hardly Marxist to connect society and government in this context.

You do not connect; you conflate.

Admittedly, I hadn't read the essay before, but that may be a product of its relative obscurity and questionable value to those practitioners of the Enlightenment who valued private property and limited diminution of the individual to that power necessary in running a state over any agrarian (social) justice.

Just because a thing was crafted during a certain period does not make that thing representative of that period.

Spag

It is clear that the Democratic party and its liberal sympathizers are far more worried about tax rates than tax revenues which is why they ignore the disproportionate tax burden carried by "the rich".

Raise the tax rates back to the Clinton era and any increase in revenue is nearly meaningless considering the size of the federal budget and it won't create any new jobs. Still, this seems to be the Democratic economic platform for this year and beyond: Instead of trying to stop the ship from sinking they are more concerned with whether everyone goes down with the ship.

History has shown that our problem is not lack of revenue, it's too much spending. Liberals complained about Reagan's tax cuts, yet Clinton's top rates were substantially lower than the Reagan years (but higher than Bush I). But just like the Reagan years, revenues increased and the economy boomed. The economy has not faltered because the rich don't pay enough or their "fair share" whatever that is. Yet, that is the centerpiece of the liberal economic argument. Good luck with that. I'm willing to bet that a serious economic plan will appeal more to the public than class envy which is no policy at all.

I also like the idea that people earning $200 million or more per year are "proxies" for those making merely tens of millions. That's kind of like the way that people making tens of millions are so often proxies for those making a few hundred thousand. Apparently in liberal land if you make over $250,000 you should be required to work for the government at least three days a week and probably four. That's "fair" for some reason. Maybe someone on the Left can explain how and why that equates to freedom or fairness.

Also noteworthy is that article limits to only a "quarter" of the people earning more than $200 million paying less than 15%. How is that even smaller number a useful proxy? And why did the article choose 2009, a year when the stock market tanked and a lot of the "rich" paid less because they suffered capital losses? Not a very persuasive argument when it is actually analyzed. But whatever it takes to advance the Obama economic non-plan.

Meanwhile the economy is a mess. One candidate has an actual plan, the other has a well worn slogan. Grant the wishes of the latter and the economy is still in the tank.

Andrew Brod

"The economy has not faltered because the rich don't pay enough or their 'fair share' whatever that is. Yet, that is the centerpiece of the liberal economic argument."

Wrong. That is not the centerpiece of the liberal economic argument.

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