Sunday, January 25, 2009

I Find It All Quite Taxing

I wanted to write a post about how the current arguments surrounding the proposed stimulus package are getting on my last good nerve. I was struggling with what to say because lately I get so annoyed about it that it's all I can do to sputter a few invectives and grab the remote to switch to watching old movies or listening to music.

This morning, though, my fellow Georgian Nan has a post that says very much what I'd like to say and she says it with clarity and doesn't even descend into foul-mouthed vituperative left-wing blogger mode. Nope. Nan - a great writer on many and varied subjects - makes her point without dropping a single f-bomb.

Go, read Nan's post and think about the Republican talking points you're hearing and about the cognitive dissonance involved in spreading those lies and getting Americans to believe them through repetition.

Oh, and think about this, too, because I feel it fits with Nan's post. Ready? Because I'm about to spread a rightwing propaganda here on this blog....

The top one percent of tax-payers pays forty percent of the total income taxes!!!!!!!!

I'll wait for a second while you catch your breath and recover from the injustice of that. I know, calm down. I'm losing sleep over it, too. I really think the uber wealthy should be able to keep more of their income and contribute significantly less to the common good.

Look, I know that the best the Republicans can do right now is well-lathered outrage and subterfuge. They lost and they lost big. No one likes having their asses handed to them and, even though they aren't willing to admit it, the November elections were a a repudiation of the hideous conservative policies that have wrecked our economy. And what's more, the way the Republicans have conducted themselves with massive levels of hypocrisy and blatant disregard for the common good and our collective needs should require that they hang their heads in shame and slink away. But oh no, not them. No, their arrogance and belief that Americans are completely ignorant allows them to look straight into the camera an lie and lie some more. In between their alcoholic mouth twitches (I'm looking at you, Congressman Boehner), that is.

So yeah, for cliff's sake, the upper one percent is paying a large percentage of the taxes, but that would follow. They've amassed an unprecedented percentage of the nation's wealth. And try as they might to avoid it, some of that wealth and income is taxed. And since it's all percentages, the more scratch they make, collect and have, the higher their taxes go even if tax rates stay the same or even decrease.

And since the wealth has migrated to a tiny island of solid gold toilets and special man-servants to apply $6,000,000 per ounce ointment to the tip of one's penis before sex with a $4,000 per hour prostitute, then it would follow that the rest of us swim in the vast ocean of less wealth and income.

So really? Boehner and company want us to get bunged up about the fact that those with more and more still are paying a greater percentage of our overall taxes than those of us with less and less? Heh. Right. Okay.

I have an idea. You know how the Right likes to say the higher taxes are a disincentive to hard work and success? How people won't try to become wealthy because they don't want to pay high taxes? Well, the reality is that most people would love to be rich and I've never heard of a single person who has chosen poverty over wealth because they don't want to pay taxes. However, what actually happens when one does get rich, is pretty simple - one tries to buy enough influence to have their tax rates lowered.

Well, let's turn that around on Boehner and company. Fine, we can say, if the uber wealthy doesn't want to pay such a high percentage of the taxes, let's have them redistribute their wealth to the other ninety-nine percent and we'll make the ninety-nine percent pay taxes on that new, redistributed income and their percentage will go up and the formerly uber wealthy, now simply wealthy will see a decrease in their percentage?

Works for me........


  1. alcoholic mouth twitches glad you clarified that thought you were talking about my last video!

    guess you saw him this morning on MTP?
    he is such a smarmy person. and his talking points are smarmy too!

  2. I can not watch Boehner! And you can't make me! ;) Thank Gawd you watch it for me.

    I use the f-bomb alot, especially when talking about Boehner... ;p

  3. John Boner I call him. Ugh.

    It is hard not to drop f-bombs, but Nan is an exception and a good one!

  4. Yes, higher taxes will cause me to not give a shit about my job, be less productive and tell my student to learn all that math on their own.

  5. Don't get me started. That little trixie Nancy Pfotenhauer was on MSNBC a while ago, yammering about how all this spending is going to cause the deficit to skyrocket (bitch kept a straight face, too) and that the REAL way to stimulate the economy was to cut taxes and let Americans keep more of their own money! Wow, where have I heard that before? Oh, I know...from every single Republican from dog-catcher to President for the last eight frigging years, that's where! Never mind that it doesn't work! Sheesh. Good for GNan for keeping it civil; she's a better woman than I am.

  6. Let's look at how the top 1% get rich in the first place. Shall we?

    Many inherited their wealth, and so it stands that birth can buy one luxury status or poverty.

    They won the lottery, i.e. we poor folk pitched in to make them rich.

    They had exceptional goods or services to offer the world. They have probably read Andrew Carnegie's Gospel of Wealth.

    The had essential goods or services to offer the world. I would venture to say that many fall into this category and they were clever enough to profit from the needs of others, and are hoarding their resources while millions starve and suffer in this world and work their asses off to make them richer still.

    Note: That sometimes those who offer essential (or term their goods essential- as in the case of war) goods and services use nefarious means to prohibit competition in their sectors, even putting our lives, our children's lives, and our planet at risk. 40% is not nearly enough retribution.

    Call me a socialist. I'm okay with that.

  7. Excellent post and so true. The hypocrisy of these people just amazes me. As for the 1% paying 40% thing, you did a great job dismantling that one. As Mark Twain, I believe said, there are lies, damned lies and statistics. Anyone can make a statistic sound as if it supports their point and that's all this is.

  8. Well I'm in. Any wealthy person wanting to escape that horrid tax burden can unload a few million on me. And I'll keep my job to boot!

  9. Works for me. I've always been for redistribution of wealth.

  10. They say money won't buy you happiness, but I'd like to have a chance to try. Like Mrs. Howell on Gilligan's Island said, "They obviously don't know where to shop."

    What really kills me is when they bitch about giving money to those that don't pay any income taxes and they ain't talking about the millionaires who play the system so as to not pay any income taxes.

  11. Great post. And let me throw some more stats out there. As I recall corporations and the top 1% got four tax cuts in the last eight years while those of us underlings had our buying power cut by a $2000 average. Trickle down economics does not work. The only thing trickling down is the pee down your pants leg because you don't have a pot to pee in.

  12. Nan's post had really valuable things to say, and so did yours. Rich people whining about poor people is just repugnant.

    I once had an argument on this topic with a rich lawyer in Houston . . .and failed utterly to make him see any point of view other than "I deserve what I have and I don't want to give any of it away." I just wish that I had had some of your or Nan's arguments to throw back at him.

  13. Okay, time for a response from the minority. You state that higher taxes aren't so a much a disincentive to move ahead, but rather cause those with money to buy power and influence to get taxes lowered. I think it's much simpler than that...those with money can afford to higher CPA's to find tax loopholes to avoid taxes altogether. Further, more money gets moved to tax-deferred entities (401k's for example) which although not necessarily bad for the individual, tightens the money that otherwise would be available for investment in stocks--money which businesses cn use to expand.

    If the answer to our economic problems is simply more government spending, then I question why the the excessive spending by Bush isn't helping us now?

    Finally, as a taxpayer, I do have a problem everytime some sort of tax relief is proposed, when liberals claim the people the poor are being left out, then incsist they get a tax rebate, when they are not paying income taxes in the first place. This is redistribution in its purest sense. Yes, I know the poor pay payroll taxes (for SS and Medicare) but we all do--and just try and get that cut--see how fast the Dems claim you are trying to kill SS and Medicare.

    The simple fact remains, you cannot spend yourself out of a recession.

  14. Oops, sorry, the hazards of multi-tasking--not 401k's for example (invest in the stock market, duh)-- I meant tax shelters.

  15. When I learned the GDP actually means totaling up everything that happens to the economy both good and bad I knew those statistics are complete and utter drivel. Gen'l Motors has orders aplenty for its next model - GDP goes up. Hurricane Katrina wipes city off map - GDP goes up.

    Until we start talking addressing the root causes, any new financial "reforms" will prove as effective as trying to treat gangrene with antibiotics.

  16. Every time that they have used the smaller government, lower taxes, read my lips blah blah blah I have cringed and thought about why people would swallow and enjoy. Finally the same line did not work in the last two election cycles and so now the current Republicans come up with.....the same line????? Even though it is not close to what happened once they were actually governing since 1994???
    What scares me is that it still might eventually be enough for them.

  17. I think Freida Bee makes the best points so far. What they take, overall, from what they give back in return; well, damn, that's just criminal.

  18. I've been reading you for a few weeks now and I LOVE You!!! This post and Nan's sum up exactly how I feel - someday maybe I'll get my own words back... until then it is good to know I am not alone!

    Oh and "No, their arrogance and belief that Americans are completely ignorant allows them to look straight into the camera an lie and lie some more. In between their alcoholic mouth twitches (I'm looking at you, Congressman Boehner), that is." -cracked me up!

  19. Perhaps it would be useful if we were using like terms---what exactly is the income at which one is considered part of "the rich"?

  20. The problem that dare not speak its name is the debt.
    They should be taxing the rich to help pay for the stimulus package because that debt(to GDP ratio) is a monster that is going to come back and bite everyone in the the collective bum. Think currency collapse, hyper-inflation and Boomers with no social security payouts, even though they paid in.

  21. Eat the rich? At least they will be well-marbled.

  22. I keep mentioning this to no avail: there is such a thing as the effective tax rate, which means what someone actually pays.

    You see, on the books, the highest tax bracket is indeed about 40%. However, almost all tax breaks and loopholes are written for those über rich people. And the same is true for corporations.

    I paid more in taxes - in actual dollars -- than many of the multination corporations. Some, many actually, got millions of dollars in rebates from the government because they can claim all sorts of deductions that you and I cannot.

    We are taxed on our gross income; corporations are taxed on their net income (after expenses). Imagine if you could deduct all of your living expenses - food, shelter, everything. Then you would be paying close to what corporations pay.

    Sorry for the rant, it just makes me furious when GOP douchebags like Boner talk about taxes as if his patrons actually pay them.



  23. /claps

    I am going to be sending people over to read this blog post.

  24. I think of the republicans as little yapping chihuahuas. Annoying with an occassional nip, but nothing you can't take your boot to. We have Pres Obama who has the balls to tell them I Won! Which to be you, now doesn't it?

  25. Jonah, the payroll taxes argument ("we all pay Social Security") is flawed because the tax is capped. If every single dollar of earned income was taxed for Social Security, then it wouldn't be regressive. As it is, there's a cap so earned income above a certain point is exempt. I.e., if my annual salary is, let's say, $40,000 then every single dime of that $40K is taxed for Social Security. If my annual salary is $400,000, then only 1/4 of my income is taxed -- I'm not sure what the current cap is, but it's around $100K. It's yet another example of the more you have already, the more the right-wing government wants to give you.

  26. eating the rich could be a big disappointment. too gamey, i'd bet.

  27. Brilliant beautiful post, Lisa. And Tengrain responded with what my little reptile brain couldn't put into words: "it just makes me furious when GOP douchebags like Boner talk about taxes as if his patrons actually pay them."

    To make things worse, I saw that douchebag-in-a-suit Kerry this morning talking about how we have to curb govt spending NOW! Hello, Mr. Money Manager, where are you when all of us are screaming to stop spending trillions on this goddamned war? I guess it's different when you're funneling those trillions to your pals, instead of supporting infrastructure and building schools and roads and other useless shit like that.

  28. Whole lot more is on the agenda...folks. Its only going to be an illusion of wealth redistribution. Who funded Obama? Certainly not the bloody poor.

    When its all said and done though you just might get your chance to eat the rich....and I hope for your hunger's sake that they are well marbled.

  29. Nan,
    "the more you have already, the more the right-wing government wants to give you."

    I think your words are off...the more you have the LESS the governtment wants to TAKE from you. What I earn is not the government's to give back to me...this is why people who run around bragging how big their tax refund was this year are fools--all they did was overpay their taxes and lose any interest they could have earned on their own money.

    Yes, Payroll taxes are capped...all the more reason to cut them as part of the stimulus package, no? Would this not disproportionately help the lower incomes?

    One other point, about the idea that higher taxes will not change behavior (i.e., a person not earning more if would put into a higher tax bracket). If this is so, why do advocates of oil independence push for higher gas taxes? They want to make gas cost-prohibitive to force consumers to choose alternative fuel sources. Why is it so foreign to believe that at some point, a high marginal tax rate will affect the behavior towards income--i.e., as I stated before, efforts to hide that income from taxation will increase--negating the revenue the govt anticipated from the higher rate.


And then you say....

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