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March 05, 2005

Comments

Kender

O.K., let me dispell some myths here.

Tax cuts aren't wanted for material possessions. They are wanted, in my case, for investment purposes. I have all the material possessions I need. I also have a goodly amount of investments going, and more money simply means I invest more, which is good for the economy also. But I don't expect you to understand that, because I dont' completely understand it myself. I just know if I invest my money in a company they can expand, make more money and hire more people, and in exchange I get dividends.

As far as gettin a better house? Nope. Buying more houses to rent out and sell at a profit? Yes. Personally I liek my humble little home, and they will hold my wake here.

Your TV analogy is just plain stupid. They didn't have plasma TVs in the 50s. People usually want the newest item. That is one of the problems here but on the other side of that coin is why are a consumerist society. If we all stopped buying things tomorrow the economy would fail.

The joy of more money does not come from winning the rat race. It comes from the feeling of security that you have accomplished for yourself and the knowledge that you need not rely on the government to take care of your basic needs. It gives a feeling of SELF-ESTEEM, something I think alot of people lack.

As for seeing a doctor when people are sick they already do. It is called an emergency room. Iti soverutilized in America as it is because people are under the impression that they cannot get affordable health insurance.

Check into Qhealth for the answer to the myth of unavailable affordable health insurance.

Phil

A hundred thousand dollars a year is not wealthy. I'll use Chris Rock terms. It's (moderately) "rich" but it's not "wealthy." Yeah, they're doing better than 9 out of 10 people in the country, but they're still paying too much in taxes. Most americans are paying too much in taxes.

The problem is our horribly regressive tax system. especially SS payroll taxes. Soldiers risking their lives in Iraq are paying a higher taxrate than billionaires receiving their dividends. what we need to do is increase taxes on unearned incomes / investment (dividends, capital gains, inheritance).

in theory, a fair tax system would be equally burdensome to all. and so obviously if you're really wealthy you have a greater ability to pay taxes and a higher tax rate is needed to be equally burdensome. Mark Schmitt just wrote a good blog entry on this:
http://markschmitt.typepad.com/decembrist/2005/03/sullivan_on_tax.html

the thing about Bush's tax cuts is that they DID increase the relative wealth of the wealthy (not those making a hundred thousand but really wealthy folks who received the bulk of the cuts). and THAT is atleast somewhat contributing to the housing bubble I think. too many people are (unwisely) investing in and speculating on housing.

Anyway, I don't think you're gonna get anywhere by arguing in vague terms that taxcuts don't make people happy. be more specific about what kinds of tax cuts and which groups of people.

Kender

Let's try this and see how much better things would be.

Under this system I would pay more taxes than people making less because I buy more things.

Would that be fair?

TJ

I'mgoing to keep this real simple - tax cuts (in general) stimulate the economy (in general), which is good because more people get employed, which means more poeple living a better life ...

Kender - I was just going to mention that, thanks for stealing my thunder ... :)


/TJ
NIF
The Wide Awakes

R.Porrofatto

Forgive the length but I have to vent.

When we talk of wealth it helps to realize that the Bush policies are intended to favor a very small percentage of the population. It’s not about someone who makes $100,000 a year versus someone who makes %40,000, and what these sums buy or not. This is not real wealth, it's chump change. A discussion about such piddling relative income is just what they want us to have. Bush's constituency is the small number of individuals and their families who make up the new plutocracy, where wealth is only relative to those who are truly wealthy.

I was having a discussion the other day with someone about health care and profits, etc. In 2001, the CEO of my HMO was paid $76 million dollars. I took out my trusty calculator and determined that, were his income to be calculated like many inferior beings, his hourly rate for a 40 hour week works out to about $37,000/hr.

Or take the CEO of Citigroup, Sanford Weill. In 2001 he received $216.2 million in compensation. That works out to $103,934 per hour.

What on earth could one human being offer any enterprise that would be worth an obscene sum like this? This man made more eating lunch on any given day than most families earn in an entire year. (Of course, words like "made" and "earn" or "compensated" become utterly meaningless in this context. What the hell do you call this?)

Mind you, that's only what he "made" that one, single year. He's doing even better lately. Plus, thanks to Bush, he got a very big, very fat tax cut.

You know, you don't have to be a socialist to begin to realize that any society structured like this, where handfuls of people reap such insanely lavish sums at the expense of everyone else who merely struggles to get by, cannot be sustained. What could possibly justify say, Sanford Weill earning $103,934/hr. at Citigroup? Mull that over for a second. $103 thousand dollars each and every hour. To me, this is indefensible by any standard. All rational judgements about fairness or even ethics are out the window.

Getting back to the Bush policies and who they really benefit. The five heirs of the Wal-Mart fortune would have saved a combined $984 million in taxes last year had dividends been tax-free to shareholders (total tax-free dividends is a Bush priority).

Each of the Wal-Mart heirs are worth more than $20 Billion (yes with a “B”). Each. Money, for those in this stratosphere, is far removed from material it might purchase. It’s about pure power— having it, and keeping it. And guaranteeing that YOUR children, and your children’s children, will be working for THEIR heirs and successors, forever.

SheaNC

I've seen people who cannot afford health insurance, qhealth or otherwise. And emergency rooms may not be an option much longer, as hospitals are considering refusing to treat those who use them for non-emergency purposes for lack of insurance.

Tax cuts may not be wanted only for material posessions by all who receive them, but the republicans in my life want them for material posessions. None of them invest.

I agree with Abigail that wealth is relative.

The recipients of the big tax cuts don't appear to have rushed out and created a bunch of new jobs, nor does it appear that they increased their employees' pay.

A site called bigpath.net write a great piece about tax cuts, but it is difficult to link to the article, so I will paste it in here:

"The Tax Cut. It's All About You.

"The government gives you a tax cut. You’re happy. The government’s happy because when you’re happy, you vote for the government because, let’s face it: it’s all about you. And that’s okay. Because why shouldn’t you get money back? You pay your taxes every year, sometimes even as much as you owe. And really, what does the government need all that money for anyway? Nothing that concerns you. They’re using it for interstate highways and homeland security and health care and education programs and veteran’s benefits and... Wait a minute. If they’re using your tax money for all those things, then why are all those things broken? Did the government not really use that money for what they said? How could that be? They said they would, and yet there doesn’t seem to be enough money for the gazillion things the government needs money for. And if there’s not enough money for all those things already, then how can the government give you a tax cut?

"Wow! That’s a lot of hard questions in just the first paragraph!

"And here are some answers. You won’t like them, but here they are: The tax cuts are mumbo-jumbo, smoke-and-mirrors, a ruse, a ploy, a parlor trick. They’re pulling the wool over your eyes, pulling your leg, pulling a fast one, pulling your financial future and your children’s future and your grandchildren’s future into an endlessly spiraling whirlpool of debt.

"You see: the government is running on fumes. It has no money to spend. It’s broke. It gave you back money it didn’t have in the first place, so it had to borrow and borrow and borrow — from foreign governments (the Saudis for example) trust funds (Social Security for example), anywhere it could go to drum up the cash for your tax cut.

"Because it’s all about you, isn’t it?"

Knemon

As I commented on an earlier post, I make less than $20,000 a year. I've gotten large refunds for the last three years - four or five hundred dollars may not seem large to some, but at this income level it is. Most of that money went right back into circulation - spent on books, CDs, even a DVD player one year.

This boosts "demand."

Those hated tax cuts for the wealthy (esp. dividend tax cuts, but also income) spur investment. This boosts "supply."

The combination of the two = economic growth. As in, what's happening now.

Even a .1 reduction in the top rate (rather than the 4 and change we've seen) would result in most of the "reward" going to the wealthy. Why? Because they're the ones paying the lion's share of the taxes.

"You know, you don't have to be a socialist to begin to realize that any society structured like this, where handfuls of people reap such insanely lavish sums at the expense of everyone else who merely struggles to get by, cannot be sustained."

Actually, I think you do.

European countries have flatter Lorenz curves than the USA - and many also have higher unemployment rates, negative or sluggish economic growth, and sub-replacement birth rates.
IOW, they're not structured "like this," but they don't seem any more sustainable ... considerably less, in some cases.

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