Lars Larson on Taxing the Rich

Let’s talk about taxing the rich since Barack Obama plans to do it.

Barack Obama plans to tax the rich, or so he says, although how you define “rich” depends on what kind of dollar figures you might be earning. The fact is Barack Obama’s plans call for taxing people who make a lot of money””above $250,000.

If you talk to economists they’ll tell you, you can’t get enough taxes even out of that group of people in America to fund the kind of programs that Obama is planning.

Let’s think about it. Are the American people in favor of it? There is a brand new Gallup poll that says Americans overwhelmingly, 84% to 13%, prefer that the government focus on improving the overall economy instead of simply taxing the rich. They’d like to all those taxes paid by everybody in the country.

That’s what American’s think. Funny that Barack Obama thinks differently.

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Posted by at 09:00 | Posted in Measure 37 | 18 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • Jerry

    Inexperienced. Small-minded. Holier than thou. Radical bully. Poor speaker. Socialist.

    These are the things that Obama brings to the table. Let’s eat!

    • dean

      The same Gallup organization polled Americans on taxes, and the results were the following:

      63% feel upper income people are paying less than their fair share. 73% feel corporations are paying less than their fair share.
      50% felt middle income Americans are paying their fair share.
      51% felt lower income Americans are paying too much.

      http://www.pollingreport.com/budget.htm (scroll down to Gallup survey)

      I would say Obama’s proposal to cancel out the Republican tax cuts for upper income taxpayers is vey much in synch with “what Americans think,” and that Lars is not.

      Jerry…Obama is a “poor speaker?” Really? And a “radical bully?” He weighs about 150 pounds. What are you afraid of? Socialist? Hardly. Small minded? That would seem to fit you better than him.

      I’ll grant you inexperienced, at least as a national political leader. But given the track record of experienced national leaders like Cheney, Rumsfeld, Powell, and the rest who got us into this mess, I’m not sure the American people are going to hold his lack of experience against him.

      • Joey Link

        You’re telling me Obama isn’t a socialist?

        I do disagree with Jerry though about him not being a good speaker, though I do wonder how long it took him and/or his speech writers to perfect the art of giving a full length speech without really saying much.

        • dean

          Joey…I don’t see any evidence of Obama being a socialist, unless you define socialism as anything to the left of a conservative Republican.

          Obama’s speeches are thematic, and very deliberately so. Remember “morning in America” by Ronald Reagan? You have met the Democratic answer at long last. And funny thing…it works if you have a good deliverer.

        • Jerry

          He is only a good speaker when he has a teleprompter.

  • A

    MAericans are not dumb. Glad to see the poll.

  • Crawdude

    If you take the wealth of the top 1% of wage earners in this country , you’d have enough money to run the country for approx. 6 months. Take the wealth of the top 10% and you can run the country for approx. 1 year.

    While its chic to start a class war if you’re a liberal. The fact of the matter, is that raising taxes on the very wealthy amounts to very little in return. Raising taxes on the middle class is the only way to raise a large amount of cash. A point we will all be painfully made aware of over the next 4 years.

    • dean

      CD…the top 10% of us earn about 40% of all the income generated annually. The bottom 60% earn about 25%.

      That suggests we can raise taxes at the upper end only and fund the programs Obama wants to fund wihtout raising taxes at the lower and middle ends.

      As for class war…we have already been in one for quite some time now. Its been one sided, and that will soon change.

      • Crawdude

        Yes, and the top 10% still pay more than half the income taxes already. Raise their rate by 10% and you still end up with “not much”, definitely not enough to pay for any of the candidates grandiose campaign promises………..and we all know how often those promises are kept.

        Under the U.S. income tax system, most of the taxes collected are supposed to be paid by the people who make the most money. Thanks to President Bush’s tax cuts, that is exactly the way the system works, says the U.S. Treasury Department.
        According to the Office of Tax Analysis, the U.S. individual income tax is “highly progressive,” with a small group of higher-income taxpayers paying most of the individual income taxes each year.

        In 2002 the latest year of available data, the top 5 percent of taxpayers paid more than one-half (53.8 percent) of all individual income taxes, but reported roughly one-third (30.6 percent) of income.

        The top 1 percent of taxpayers paid 33.7 percent of all individual income taxes in 2002. This group of taxpayers has paid more than 30 percent of individual income taxes since 1995. Moreover, since 1990 this group’s tax share has grown faster than their income share.

        Taxpayers who rank in the top 50 percent of taxpayers by income pay virtually all individual income taxes. In all years since 1990, taxpayers in this group have paid over 94 percent of all individual income taxes. In 2000, 2001, and 2002, this group paid over 96 percent of the total.
        Treasury Department analysts credit President Bush’s tax cuts with shifting a larger share of the individual income taxes paid to higher income taxpayers. In 2005, says the Treasury, when most of the tax cut provisions are fully in effect (e.g., lower tax rates, the $1,000 child credit, marriage penalty relief), the projected tax share for lower-income taxpayers will fall, while the tax share for higher-income taxpayers will rise.

        The share of taxes paid by the bottom 50 percent of taxpayers will fall from 4.1 percent to 3.6 percent.

        The share of taxes paid by the top 1 percent of taxpayers will rise from 32.3 percent to 33.7 percent.

        The average tax rate for the bottom 50 percent of taxpayers falls by 27 percent as compared to a 13 percent decline for taxpayers in the top 1 percent.
        The White House has announced it will lobby Congress to pass legislation making most of President Bush’s tax cutting measures permanent.

      • Crawdude

        $966.9 billion (44.4%) – Individual income tax was what the government collected last year. The tope 10% paid 58% of that or 561 billion dollars………….raising their rates by 10% , which we both know won’t happen would generate 50 billion dollars at best.

        While 50 billion dollars isn’t something to sneeze at, it won’t pay for any of the promised government programs, not even close.

        Factor in the fact that we have been running deficits since 1968 and have a national debt of almost 10 trillion dollars.

        The next president would have to figure out how to curb 400 billion dollar deficits which don’t include the 60-70 billion stolen from SS every year plus pay back the close to the half billion it owes the fund. Then he would have to fulfill his promises?

        Dean , your a smart guy, how do you get rid of 3-400 billion dollar deficits, 60-70 dollar SS stealing, pay back the 500 billion owed to SS and fulfill these outrageous campaign promises with a net gain of 50 billion from taxing the rich?

        I’m not one of the top 10%, I could care less whether they raises their taxes or not but I am smart enough to know its a class envy / warfare tactic. It is impossible to produce the revenue for any plan out there by raising taxes on the rich without also raising it on the other 40% of taxpayers………………..even if you do that it still doesn’t cover the bill.

        There is no way out of this mess Dean, Obama can’t fix it , McCain can’t fix it, we as a country have to many entitlements we don’t want to give up to fix it.

        The above article shows that the rich’s percentage of income tax payments have gone from 30% to 58% since 1995. Not because they are making so much more percentage wise but because the middle class has been decimated by the NAFTA, GATT and WTO treaties in that time frame……………..all of which were passed by both the Republicans and Democrats.

        Please , tell me how the people who caused these problems can possibly fix them. Please, have it be a believable scenario and not a socialist sound byte. Thanks.

        • dean

          Dude…I’m 90% in agreement with your analysis.

          We are both smart guys…but neither of us is smart enough to devise a painless way out of the fix our nation is in, not just on the mounting debt, but the deteriorating infrastructure, the cost of energy, rising health care costs, aging population,and the weight of overseas military adventures. I believe this set of problems is interelated, and has to be tackled in an interelated way.

          I don’t have a painless solution, and neither does Obama, but he can’t run on a “take your medicine” platform and get elected, so his numbers are not going to ad up. I’ll tell you what I am “hoping” for over the next decade, regardless of who wins and gets stuck with these problems.

          1) Winding down the Iraq adventure ASAP and cutting our 10-12 billion dollar a month expenditure there to 1/10 of that.
          2) Allowing the Bush tax cuts on the wealthiest 10% to expire, raising a bit of money (100 billion or so per year)
          3) Raising the SSI cap (another 100 billion perhaps)
          4) Re-regulating the banking and financial sectors so they can’t repeat the fiasco of the past number of years.
          5) A serious investment, all hands on deck approach to conservation, alternative energy development, and electric hybrid cars, busses and trucks
          6) a serious investment in a high speed inter-city rail network (so we don’t have to fly to Seattle)
          7) A substantial rise in the minimum wage and a unionization of the service industry in order to boost incomes at the lower end so that those folks can take better care of themselves AND CONTRIBUTE MORE IN TAXES.
          8) a universal health insurance plan that SAVES money be reducing health care costs to numbers similar to what other nations pay (10-12% of GDP instead of our 16%)

          This is going to cost initially, but since it is mostly investments that will make our economy more productive, the costs can be borrowed from the Chinese and paid back froma stronger economy 10 years from now. If we could cut our payments for foreign to near zero in 10-20 years we could finance this. But time is running out on us.

          Call it socialism if you want, and I don’t expect you to agree with my approach, but there it is. I’m hoping Obama or even McCain will head us this direction and right quick.

          The people who caused these problems are ourselves directly or indirectly (by who we elected,) and only ourselves can solve them.

          • Crawdude

            Admirable goals Dean, but most if not all ain’t gonna happen. Even if you can raise 100 billion from getting rid of the tax cuts, which doesn’t jibe with the current numbers, you still run a 300 billion dollar deficit. If you raise the SS ceiling ( I’m hoping you mean that everyone pays 7.3% on all income, not just the first 95,000) and produce 100 billion more for the government to steal, were still 200 billion in the red each year. End the Iraq fiasco and we’re still 100 billion over.

            Take the 100 billion in the red, add the 60-70 billion stole from SS each year (not including your increase), include the 500 billion owed to SS ( which will need to be started to pay off in 5 years when SS takes in less than it pays out), a 10 trillion dollar debt and interest there on. There is nothing left to fix the infrastructure , socialize the healthcare system or any of the other things you’d like to see. The numbers aren’t there for any of that. Great concepts but no feasible under the numbers you even state.

            We would need to end all subsidies ( 3-400 billion a year), foreign aid (174 billion) , pull our military out of countries that can fend for themselves (100 billion +), secure our borders and get control of immigration, make the lazy work.

            As far as unionizing the service industry to try and create living wage jobs, lets dump the illegals that are holding those wages down. Or even better, lets start imposing tariffs like other countries and bring our good paying blue collar jobs back here.

            Obama isn’t going to do any of that, no matter what he may think he can do. Remember, the Democrats and Republicans voted to get rid of these jobs, deploy the troops throughout the world, give corrupt governments aid, subsidize people who don’t need it, refused to raise the CAFE standards on cars, etc…… As much as you’d like, it isn’t going to change.

          • dean

            CD…it does not add up if we needed to have a balanced budget right away. We don’t. We can run a deficit on borrowing to pay for infrastructure, health improvements, or education that boost productivity, because increased productivity makes paying of the debt easier. At least this is what economic theory says. SSI is going to have to be modified. Too many retirees around the bend. We are going to take somewhat less than our parents did, and raising the cap will generate somewhat more. The bigger problem is Medicare, which will only be addressed by dealing with the whole health care system, top to bottom. We spend the most of any nation and get sucky results. We are idiots if we keep doing this.

            It is going to change…one way or the other. It is either going to keep slipping away from us if we maintain current policies (negative change) or we are going to get our act together and tackle the problems in frnt of us (positive change). The one thing it will not do is stay the same.

          • Crawdude

            Your last paragraph hit the nail on the head. Both parties are too corrupt and beholden to special interest groups to ever change their policies, therefor be ready for the negative result.

            Even if Obama is sincere, his party will never allow him to make the hard changes.

            As for reforming SSI, that won’t happen until the baby boomers are a minority voting block. It political suicide to take on the AARP crowd.

            It might be nice to see your ideas work but I think the odds are much higher that they don’t.

            Remembe, each state is also indebt, as is each city / county / parish etc…..This country teeters on bankruptcy.

          • dean

            CD…there is enough corruption and incompetance to go around, both parties included.

            I’m optimistic, which is a notch above hopeful, that Obama and his party will make changes. In particular, we can already see his impact on Iraq. All the sudden even Bush is talking about withdrawing, and the Iraqis are on board. Of course once we leav the Iranians will take over, but I say let them have the freaking place.

            I agree with you the odds are always against good public policy. Always. But sometimes the stars line up and good things happen.

            Remember the difference between an optimist and a pesimist. An optimist is one who THINKS we are living in the best of all possible worlds. A pessimist is one who KNOWS we are living in the best of all possible worlds.

          • R.A. Roll

            “Of course once we leav the Iranians will take over, but I say let them have the freaking place.”

            Now Serving: Shortsightedness, Hot and Fresh

          • dean

            Shortsightedness is what led to us spending 1 trillion dollars and over 4000 lives to open the Iraq door for the Iranians. If you want to close that door you will need to occupy the place and essentially run it for a few decades, at a cost of a few trillion more and probably doubling the casualties. I’m sure there is a military recruiting station near you, and I hear they keep lowering the standards, so best of luck. Oh…and don’t forget to support that next tax increase.

  • Ginny Brewster

    I wish someone including Republicans would actually study the Bush Tax Cuts. They lowered a couples taxes by almost $3000 on a $65,000 joint income by elliminating the “marriage penalty tax”
    they lowere the middle rate down from 28% to 25%. A working mother earning $24,000 pays no tax and actually gets a credit back for each child which amounts to several thousand dollars. We also now have 10% rate at the lower bracket instead of 15% We can deduct more into IRA’s both Roth and Regular so we don’t depend on the fading social security. THERE IS MUCH MORE
    MOST PEOPLE LOOK AT THEIR TAX RETURN AND SEE A FIGURE ON THE BACK SIDE OF THEIR 1040 AND THINK IT IS TAX BUT IT IS SOCIAL SECURITY A TAX WE ALL PAY ON OUR VERY FIRST $ EARNED.

    ALL WAGE EARNER PAY ON THE SAME RATE ON THESE FIRST BRAKETS. QUITE SAYING IT IS JUST FOR THE RICH.
    GINNY

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