The Lost Argument On Tax Policy: "Shared Sacrifice" Edition

Via Kevin Drum, E.J. Dionne writes:

Washington is acting as if the only real problem the United States confronts is the budget deficit; the only test of leadership is whether the president is willing to make big cuts in programs that protect the elderly; and the largest threat to our prosperity comes from public employees. [. . .] Consider all of the problems taking a back seat to the deficit in Washington and the media.

[. . .] Lori Montgomery reported in The Post last week that a bipartisan group of senators thinks a sensible deficit reduction package would involve lifting the Social Security retirement age to 69 and reforming taxes, purportedly to raise revenue, in a way that would cut the top income tax rate for the wealthy from 35 percent to 29 percent. [. . .] Only a body dominated by millionaires could define "shared sacrifice" as telling nurses' aides and coal miners they have to work until age 69 while sharply cutting tax rates on wealthy people. I see why conservative Republicans like this. I honestly don't get why Democrats - "the party of the people," I've heard - would come near such an idea.

"Where's Obama?" Dionne asks:

The media are full of commentary on President Obama's "failure of leadership." There is some truth to the critique but not in the way the charge is typically made.

Obama is not at fault for his budget proposals. But any fair examination of the news suggests that he is in danger of losing control of the national narrative again, just as he did during the stimulus and health-care battles.

(Emphasis supplied.) Did Obama "lose the narrative?" Or did he embrace the Norquist Narrative? Dionne conspicuously fails to discuss The Deal. December is so long ago.

Speaking for me only

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    Does that cadre of Senators (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by cal1942 on Mon Feb 21, 2011 at 11:13:25 AM EST
    understand what happens to a society when the people at the top are relieved of the obligations of citizenship and all of the obligations are placed on the the people in the middle and bottom?

    That's when people "walk like (5.00 / 3) (#2)
    by observed on Mon Feb 21, 2011 at 11:17:59 AM EST
    an Egyptian"

    Yup (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by cal1942 on Mon Feb 21, 2011 at 11:27:56 AM EST
    and I have a feeling it won't be pretty.

    I thought America, (none / 0) (#10)
    by NYShooter on Mon Feb 21, 2011 at 12:22:24 PM EST
    "the beacon on the hill," circa 21st. century was beyond it, but I'm afraid it will take busses, trains, and autos from every state in the Union streaming non-stop into Washington, carrying ten million people, before our bubble cloistered "representatives" effect the "Change" we voted for in '08.

    I agree (5.00 / 2) (#24)
    by cal1942 on Mon Feb 21, 2011 at 06:05:47 PM EST
    I believe it will take years for a significant public reaction to take place.  The arrogance inside the beltway is insufferable now and seems to be growing.

    The public may even tolerate force used against small demonstrations.

    As time goes on and the middle class shrinks still farther and college graduates are deeply in debt and unable to find employment that makes the debt worthwhile; we'll see a reaction.  

    Basically when people have nothing to lose.


    It's coming.... (none / 0) (#28)
    by NYShooter on Mon Feb 21, 2011 at 09:39:09 PM EST
    Some very smart political students/philosophers, who I have great respect for, feel civil unrest is inevitable. However, in our fast moving, instant gratification society we feel that if an event doesn't take place the moment we think of it that it won't happen ever, and/or we cynically bury the citizenry with pegoratives.......take your pick: apathetic, lazy, illiterate, stupid, etc. The date may be uncertain, but the result is not.

    When a person is being tortured during an interrogation, logic, reason, duty, and/or will-power are successful up to a point. (And everyone's "point" is different.) But, almost always, the point is reached, and the victim succumbs.

    In the Middle East, did so many countries simultaneously reach that point at the same instant? Of course not; one did, and that spark ignited the pent-up frustrations in the others.

    One of the authors I'm referring to made a statement that most can mentally, and visually, relate to. He said, "what's happening in America today is like holding a basketball under water." The pressure is built up, all it takes to explode upward, and violently defeat gravity, is a slip of the fingers.

    I believe some atrocity will occur that will capture the imagination of a great majority of the public. The image will go "viral," and with the pressure already having been built up, critical mass will have been reached. All it will take is for some respected Leader to call for marching (storming?) on Washington, and the ensuing result is, today, impossible to determine.

    It will happen; when?..............?


    A life lesson (none / 0) (#14)
    by christinep on Mon Feb 21, 2011 at 01:52:50 PM EST
    for me is ever re-learning that everytime I think the "big picture" is all aligned and just about right, well...a snag, an upset lurks around the corner. That makes life interesting, as they say, and it reminds of that famous truism: The price of liberty is eternal vigilance.

    Obama. Is. Conservative. (5.00 / 7) (#3)
    by Dadler on Mon Feb 21, 2011 at 11:20:18 AM EST
    That has been clear almost since day one. He identifies more with the power elite than he does with average Americans.  He does not desire to be the friend and hero of the working class, he desires to be a sort of political messiah, rescuing everyone from their partisan chains.

    In other words, at this point in time, he is either a complete fool or a complete charlatan.  Perhaps a little of both.

    I'll repeat: Obama is the biggest "what's the phuckin' point" in the history of American politics.  A politician who hates politics.  Essentially, right now, he serves no purpose except to further entrench the monied class.

    And to destroy (5.00 / 5) (#4)
    by cal1942 on Mon Feb 21, 2011 at 11:26:12 AM EST
    or at the very least severely damage the Democratic Party, something I thought would happen.

    I agree (none / 0) (#7)
    by mmc9431 on Mon Feb 21, 2011 at 11:38:08 AM EST
    My only ray of hope is to look at how fast the Republican party regrouped after the disasterous Bush years.



    Another obama acoomplishment (5.00 / 7) (#11)
    by pluege2 on Mon Feb 21, 2011 at 12:24:10 PM EST
    republicans were poised for a generation in the political wilderness. obama who not only made them relevant in record time, but gave them more than they could ever have achieved on their own in both policies for the rich, and national narrative where more than ever the only public discourse is right wing and further right wing - no center or left discussion at all.

    More likely, the economic platter (none / 0) (#15)
    by christinep on Mon Feb 21, 2011 at 02:08:20 PM EST
    handed us from the Bushian years (together with two full-blown wars and unattended infrastructure) laid the groundwork for a lot of the teaparty-type anger and overall sourness that inevitably ensued after George's departure.

    Really, guys, some may not like President Obama's current approach--and that is putting it mildly, judging by this thread--but, an evaluation of the state of the nation at the beginning of 2009, I contend, does establish an horrendous baseline for any new Administration. While historians will dispute how close we came to a Depression (by economic standards), I suspect that the ones with the biggest dashed hopes and disillusionments will be found to be those having had the highest hopes for a political messiah. The unmet rising expectations syndrome does occur from time to time; and, social historians routinely warn about the ravages of unmet expectations.  

    Although I do not share anywhere near the degree of disenchantment shown by the commentary in this thread, I do read and "hear" what has been said here. My own expectation is that we will ever so gradually pull out of it.  


    Things were going to change if we (5.00 / 7) (#16)
    by Anne on Mon Feb 21, 2011 at 02:58:47 PM EST
    elected a Democrat, remember?  Obama was going to do things differently, be more transparent, revive the importance of the rule of law; remember all of that?  We were going to have a larger Democratic majority in both houses of Congress, and together with a Democratic president, we were really going to turn things around.  No, we weren't going to magically make the economy all better, there was no promise of a chicken-in-every-pot, but by golly, things were going to change.

    I won't argue with you that the baseline was bad - but Obama knew that was what was waiting for him through the entire campaign, and by November, 2008, it was time to rescue the too-big-to-fail banks.  

    And so it began.  And here we are.  Nine percent nominal unemployment, with functional unemployment estimated to be near 20%.  A Deficit Commission that couldn't get the majority it needed to get Congress to have to vote on it, but those who did get behind the report are all too happy to act as little John and Joanie Appleseeds, sowing support for drastic cuts in spending and talking up the need to "fix" entitlement programs.  A sweet Deal at the end of 2010 that secured tax cuts for the rich and rolled back estate taxes to record low levels is one I'm sure the wealthy will appropriately reward come campaign season.  

    So, about this approach Obama is taking...care to clue us in on how, exactly, it's going to create demand and spur job creation?  Where will people go for energy assistance?  How will low-income mothers afford to feed themselves and their children with less WIC funding - and no jobs?  What will he tell the college kid who wants to go to school year-round so he or she can get out faster, but now can't get a Pell Grant for the summer semester?  How will more and more states cope with less and less federal funding contributions?  

    Does Obama have Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy?  Is he deliberately sabotaging the economy so that he can then swoop in to save it and be the hero?

    "Ever so gradually pull out of" is a lovely thing, if you have a relatively secure job, or generous retirement benefits, can afford whatever your expenses are.  If you've been out of work for several years, have lost your home, can't afford an apartment, can't pay your bills - how does "ever so gradually" help you?  Because if that's you, it doesn't matter what the historians decide to call this period - they might call it "Frank" - for you it IS the Depression, which ought to matter more right this minute, and your government - your president - ought to have the decency and compassion to help You before he helps those who don't need it, don't you think?

    This has, I believe, little to do with hoping for a political messiah and everything to do with the belief that Democrats cared about "the little people," they cared about the working men and women, they understood the meaning of "fair," they were for lifting up the least of us as a means to lift all of us.  It was about policy, not politics - and yes, I know that politics is a major force in policy - and instead of focusing on getting good policy, which almost always translates to good politics and votes, this president has abandoned that for whatever will get him where he wants to be.

    Was it too much to ask for good policy?  To use the politics to get there?  Perhaps it was.

    But, tell me, how bad is it, what does it say, when even those of us who had no expectations are getting even less than that?


    You write a good essay, Anne (none / 0) (#18)
    by christinep on Mon Feb 21, 2011 at 03:58:30 PM EST
    And, I cannot disagree with your statement of the overall belief that things were expected to "change" (and for the better) with a Democratic administration. We differ in that I believe--if one goes legislative bill by legislative bill and Executive Order--that they have changed or at least, demonstrably, moved in the correct direction whether with Lily Ledbetter, the Consumer Protection federal entity, NLRB appointment, Supreme Court appointments, federal regulatory changes effecting credit cards & interest transparency, reorg in Interior together with moratorium on Atlantic coastal drilling, and the very real parts of health reform wherein the $$ cap is removed, rescission is a null without proven fraud, pre-existing impediments are primarily a thing of the past and adult children can remain until 26 on parents policy. Lots more domestically, but you get the point.

    This isn't satisfactory, yet. Everyone, including the Administration knows that.  And, believe me, I do remember what it was like being a have not...starting with the early days of my family in the Pennsylvania coal region. My dad told me directly (and indirectly with his optimism) that "You can look up at the sky and the good to come, or you can look down." Sometimes he would repeat that when--as a single father raising two girls in the late '50s and into the 60's after mom's death--he was laid off and trying to figure how to pay the next month's rent. Dad would warn my sister & me about the "oligopolistic system" in this country before we reached our teens...he worried, fretted, worked two jobs (when he found them)...and was the most loyal of union men, a Machinist (and one of his prouder moments for me was when a handul of others & myself formed the first AFGE local in EPA)...and, yet, he smiled with the experience knowing that the world does change--ultimately--for the better. He smiled a lot, laughed heartily, and taught me to look forward. I do...in everything.

    Sure, the banking situation was more than questionable. While I understand the theory, my preference has always been for more direct aid for jobs. That is why I particularly favor the President's emphasis on infrastructure & transportation this budget-time around. And, Geithner...well, I wanted him gone before he got there. But, we'll see if the economy keeps moving in the 4% projected direction...I'm open a bit on that one.  No naivete here; but, definitely, another take on strategy. Politics ain't pretty; never has been. But, an Administration has to be part of it to move the ball/pendulum/marker (whatever you want to call it)...even a bit forward.


    The Deal (5.00 / 6) (#20)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Feb 21, 2011 at 04:10:16 PM EST
    No excuses for it. Or maybe you have some?

    That's a lot of words (none / 0) (#42)
    by sj on Tue Feb 22, 2011 at 09:00:18 AM EST
    to not address a single question that Anne asked.  That wasn't an essay.  That was a letter addressed to you.

    And you wandered down memory lane, doing a queen's wave to the concerns of the masses.  sheesh


    The "memory lane" as you call it (none / 0) (#46)
    by christinep on Wed Feb 23, 2011 at 09:37:07 PM EST
    is there for a reason. My response was and is honest.... You do not agree.

    The Deal (5.00 / 3) (#19)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Feb 21, 2011 at 04:09:35 PM EST
    Justify it.

    I justify it on political grounds (none / 0) (#21)
    by christinep on Mon Feb 21, 2011 at 04:42:22 PM EST
    Not on policy grounds. If caught between a rock & a hard place after the November elections, there are only so many places the Executive can go. One place is to do the groundwork, politically, to regain the perceived lost middle (a perception based on polling & interviewing, reportedly.) If the driving force for the Executive is "We are not going to get anything near what is wanted or needed in the Lame Duck or thereafter; if this drags out too much in high stakes negotiation, real working people will hurt and be angry in the meantime; and, all the policy will be only theory without a pot to show for it", then the upshot (for now) appears to be that the President has accomplished the perception role of reasonable bargainer that he sought.

    Clearly, the same $$$ that should have been obtained by letting the tax breaks for the wealthy expire comes back to bite everyone in the butt. That is a given. So, it has to bring a chuckle, at least (or a sneer from some) that the administration's budget proposal for next year includes the recapture of those same tax benefits above the $200K individual level.

    FWIW, there is every reason to believe that the December resolution/Deal was a contingency long before late December...one aspect of an overall strategy encompassing perception about credibility in the pre-debates leading to the FY2012 budget. (A variation on President Clinton's 1995/96 successful maneuvers when faced with known solid Repub opposition.) For that reason, politics would trump policy.


    Wouldn't it be better to win the (5.00 / 4) (#27)
    by Anne on Mon Feb 21, 2011 at 07:32:12 PM EST
    "lost middle" by bringing them over to Democratic positions, instead of winning them by taking up their positions?

    In other words, by leading, instead of figuring out where people are, going there and then claiming that's where you were all along?

    Giving ground for political reasons makes all kinds of sense, except when the end result is advancing the fortunes of someone whose interests aren't the same as yours; at this stage, I don't see much of a difference between Republicans and Democrats except the degree to which they are willing to sell us out.

    I know you see it differently, and I don't expect to change that, but at some point, isn't it important to have leaders who represent our positions, our beliefs, who are willing to go to the mat for what matters to us, instead of using us to secure their power, for their purposes?


    Indeed, it is always better to win over others (none / 0) (#29)
    by christinep on Mon Feb 21, 2011 at 09:43:14 PM EST
    by persuading them to accept one's argument on the strength of its rationality and its totality of the position alone...if it is practicable in the political world of today. On the way to the ideal, it is more probable that significant compromise and give & take will be involved.

    I too would jump at even the glimmer of a high level political leader who represents all or most of my positions. Failing that, I support one who moves in the direction that I would like to see. (As for someone at a high political level who will "go to the mat for what matters to us," I would only point out that there are many gradations of opinion comprising "us" in the US. Our very diversity runs counter to the homogeneity that would be so comforting at times. I have never expected super-heroes in politicians; only that they will represent the area of positions that I prefer more often than not in this very pluralistic society. (As for what the internal workings or personal desires of a politician are, I try not to guess...other than when I'm in an Oliver Stone mode once in awhile.)


    Indeed, it is always better to win over others (none / 0) (#30)
    by christinep on Mon Feb 21, 2011 at 09:47:09 PM EST
    by persuading them to accept one's argument on the strength of its rationality and its totality of the position alone...if it is practicable in the political world of today. On the way to the ideal, it is more probable that significant compromise and give & take will be involved.

    I too would jump at even the glimmer of a high level political leader who represents all or most of my positions. Failing that, I support one who moves in the direction that I would like to see. As for someone at a high political level who will "go to the mat for what matters to us," I would only point out that there are many gradations of opinion comprising "us" in the US. Our very diversity runs counter to the homogeneity that would be so comforting at times. I have never expected super-heroes in politicians; only that they will represent the area of positions that I prefer more often than not in this very pluralistic society. As for what the internal workings or personal desires of a politician are, I try not to guess...other than when I'm in an Oliver Stone mode once in awhile.


    It was awful on all political (5.00 / 1) (#35)
    by observed on Tue Feb 22, 2011 at 06:26:10 AM EST
    grounds,except, maybe, to get Obama re-elected. Moronic and shortsighted don't come close to describing it.

    I suspect one's perceptions of (none / 0) (#40)
    by Rojas on Tue Feb 22, 2011 at 07:29:59 AM EST
    "President Clinton's 1995/96 successful maneuvers" might depend on weather one was comfortably nested in a civil service position or if you were down in Mexico training your replacement.

    Yes, I was a public employee (none / 0) (#44)
    by christinep on Tue Feb 22, 2011 at 10:44:58 AM EST
    That seems fairly nonresponsive (none / 0) (#45)
    by Rojas on Tue Feb 22, 2011 at 06:55:51 PM EST
    I thought the subject here was shared sacrifice.
    The successful policy initiatives you cite were clearly detrimental to some and had tangible benefits to others. I understand the notion of heads I win and tails you loose and I also understand how one might consider legislation that supports such a structure a successful policy initiative. I am at a loss to detect any shared sacrifice in that.

    Yes, but the swift regrouping (5.00 / 4) (#12)
    by KeysDan on Mon Feb 21, 2011 at 12:52:35 PM EST
    was facilitated by President Obama who resuscitated the Republican corpse.  The Republicans will not be so consciously thoughtful.  My ray of hope is not so much with President Obama or the Democrats as it is with the Republican Tea Party that can be counted on to overreach. The problem, of course, is how much damage with be inflicted before Americans recognize what is being done to them.

    I don't think there's any question that (5.00 / 6) (#5)
    by Anne on Mon Feb 21, 2011 at 11:26:58 AM EST
    Obama is failing on policy, but when Dionne says this:

    Consider all of the problems taking a back seat to the deficit in Washington and the media. You haven't heard much lately on how Wall Street shenanigans tanked the economy in the first place - and in the process made a small number of people very rich. Yet any discussion of the problems caused by concentrated wealth (a vital mainstream issue in the America of Andrew Jackson and both Roosevelts) is confined to the academic or left-wing sidelines.

    You haven't seen a lot of news stories describing the impact of long-term unemployment on people's lives or the difficulty working-class kids are encountering if they want to go to college.

    You hear a lot about how much the government spends on the elderly but not much about facts such as this one, courtesy of a report last fall from the Employee Benefit Research Institute: People over 75 "were more likely than other age groups - including children under 18 - to live on incomes equal to or less than 200 percent of poverty."

    Any analysis of the economic struggles many elderly people endure would get in the way of the "greedy geezer" storyline being spun to justify big cuts in Medicare benefits and Social Security.

    my question for Dionne is, what's stopping you and your fellow journalists and reporters from asking the questions and having the conversations and educating the American people on how their government really works: what it means to be sovereign in our currency, why cutting spending when we have 9% nominal unemployment doesn't make sense if what you want is to put people back to work and start raising demand, how these policies are hurting real people, many of them children who have no independent means to better their situations.

    Why not talk about the Wall Street robber barons, the foreclosure fraud mills?  Why not talk about the truth of poverty among the elderly?

    Yes, Obama's getting it wrong on so many of these issues, but if Dionne and others in the media want to have a conversation, what's stopping them?  Honest to God, did these people not learn anything after the execrable job most of them did in the run-up to the war in Iraq?  Did they just decide that asking questions and demanding accountability wasn't worth losing access to the rich and powerful?  Well, fine - could they at least be honest about their own craven motives?

    But getting back to Obama, I think he's having exactly the conversation he wants; I think he's bought in 110%, and the only arguments now are over what to cut and how deep the cuts are going to be, because cutting is something Obama agrees with the Republicans about.  Or perhaps I should say, "another" thing he agrees with them about.  "Losing" the narrative?  That would be true only if he wasn't reading from the same script as the Republicans - but he is, and has been for lo, these many months.

    The big question no one is asking is, "Why?"  Not, why does he agree with them, but why is this deemed to be the answer to what's ailing us?  Why does cutting spending - and probably taxes again - when unemployment is so high - make any sense?

    I have an idea, EJ: you start asking the questions, convince your peers to do that, too, and start educating the public, and digging in to the nuts-and-bolts of this - and then let's have a conversation about what the hell is going on in our country and what can be done about it.

    I won't hold my breath, though.

    Clearly, Dionne and His Friends (5.00 / 5) (#8)
    by The Maven on Mon Feb 21, 2011 at 11:56:39 AM EST
    haven't been reading folks like Matt Taibbi, Yves Smith, Pro Publica, et al.

    Of course, one of the main reasons why "any discussion of the problems caused by concentrated wealth [. . .] is confined to the academic or left-wing sidelines" would be because people like Dionne and pretty much the entire Beltway media class have been the ones actively engaged in such confinement.  They're preceisely the ones who have abetted the plutocrats and oligarchs by portraying coverage of these kinds of depredations as little more than the rantings of the unserious loony lefties.

    Having marginalized the coverage, Dionne now wonders why there hasn't been more of it?  As you say here, Anne, it's way past time for Dionne and his colleagues to look in the mirror and ask themselves if they have utterly failed in their role and have in fact become contributors to the declining society he decries.  I suspect they already know what the answer would be, and that's why they generally don't even want to ask the question.


    Typical, isnt it? (5.00 / 2) (#13)
    by ruffian on Mon Feb 21, 2011 at 01:27:54 PM EST
    Those at the top of the MSM both dominating the conversation and remarking at how no one "important" is talking about anything else.

    These things aren't complicated. (none / 0) (#34)
    by NYShooter on Tue Feb 22, 2011 at 06:04:07 AM EST
    Our world is ruled by the law of "I got mine, you get yours."

    We ask, why these pundits/"reporters" don't ask the very questions they seem stupified over? They'll tell you that if they did they'd never be invited to the forum again. It's an alternate universe, you see. You can come to the news conference Mr./Ms stenogropher, but the first difficult question you ask, will be your last.

    The problem, of course, is that they're o.k. with that, and as long as they ask oatmeal questions (where did NMichelle & Sasha go for lunch? followed by a frenzy of shouted questions: "what did they eat?"

    Earning 7/8 figure salaries is hard work.


    Where's Obama? Or any Democrat, nor that matter? (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by TJBuff on Mon Feb 21, 2011 at 12:15:38 PM EST
    Follow the money.  It's a cliche, but still works.

    What's the Right Amount? (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by SomewhatChunky on Mon Feb 21, 2011 at 03:07:20 PM EST
    Some facts (IRS data, 2008, latest available, see http://www.taxfoundation.org/news/show/250.html

    Top 1% of taxpayers earn 20% of America's AGI (adjusted Gross Income), pay 38% of all federal taxes. Their average tax rate is 23.3%.

    Top 5% of taxpayers earn 34.7% of AGI, pay 58.7% of all taxes

    Top 10% of taxpayers earn 45.8% of AGI, pay 70% of all taxes

    The Bottom 50% of taxpayers earn 12.8% of AGI, pay 2.7% of all taxes. Their average tax rate is 2.6%.

    It's hard to make the case that the top earners aren't paying most of the nation's taxes.  Ony 1% of the people pay almost 40% of the total tax revenue!  But:  They also have 1/5 of the nation's income.

    It's easy to complain about the rich.

    How should the taxes be distributed?  What's the right number?


    Your reply is just (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by my opinion on Mon Feb 21, 2011 at 06:23:38 PM EST
    a talking point that appears to be out of place. Here are some issues with your post:
    -The US has an extremely high income inequality. Worse than Egypt.
    -US corporations only about 1.5% of their revenue in taxes.
    -The numbers you use only show Federal Income taxes based on AGI. Therefore, you exclude all income not included in the AGI and you exclude all other taxes and fees paid by people (most of those are regressive).
    -You do not include the costs to the majority of the people that are imposed on them because of the rich and businesses.
    -You are whining about paying taxes on a very large income that you could not make without the people and Country you live in.

    I didn't state an opinion (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by SomewhatChunky on Tue Feb 22, 2011 at 12:48:45 AM EST
    A bit surprised at the responses.  Suggest you reread my post.

    I didn't take a position.  I simply posted statistics (they are from the IRS, they are not "claimed" figures - if you think they are false, prove it) and asked what people think the right amount the rich should pay.

    I pointed out that the rich pay most of the taxes.  I also pointed out that they get most of the income.  Both are true.

    Lots of people take the position here that the "rich" should pay more.   Fine.  Define "more."

    Not one quantifiable answer so far.


    I didn't say you (none / 0) (#32)
    by my opinion on Tue Feb 22, 2011 at 01:10:18 AM EST
    gave an opinion. Your post was just the talking points of groups supporting a plutocracy.

    No it's not.. (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by SomewhatChunky on Tue Feb 22, 2011 at 01:31:28 AM EST
    That's not true.  The main part of my post is factual data, not talking points.  It's simply summary data from IRS supplied tables.   If stating summary data from IRS supplied tax and income tables are "talking points from groups supporting a plutocracy" then we just disagree on the definition of talking points.

    Facts are facts.  Theses tables come out every year.  I now wish I had linked to them somewhere else, but that site came up first on google.  I look at them annually.  I cannot think of a better source for income and tax statistics than the IRS.

    I posted them because there are tons of opinions on this site that the rich should pay more, Obama hasn't done enough to tax the rich etc etc...

    Make the guy who has more money than me pay more is an argument without substance.  I'm still hoping someone will define "more."  

    And not once did I "whine about paying taxes."


    Get back to me when (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by observed on Tue Feb 22, 2011 at 06:35:07 AM EST
    you have the percentage rate the wealthy pay based on ALL sources of income. And don't whine about being called out as a propagandist,please.

    You shouldn't waste your time (5.00 / 1) (#39)
    by NYShooter on Tue Feb 22, 2011 at 07:29:25 AM EST
    answering perfidious questions, Observed.

    "How much should the Rich pay?"....Pffft!
    "Define 'more"....Pffft x 2!

    It's the Tea party equivilant to, "well, evolution is only a Theory."

    Since The Rich own the Government, make the rules, exempt theselves from the laws that govern the rest of us, and use The Treasury as their personal ATM Machine, "How much should they pay?"

    I would say 100%


    100 years.


    Oh I don't know (none / 0) (#41)
    by Rojas on Tue Feb 22, 2011 at 07:42:20 AM EST
    How many MBAs do you think there are in the Tea Party? They wouldn't be posting historical FIT schedules thinking that tells the story if they had insight into how things really work.

    Lets Take A Closer Look (5.00 / 4) (#26)
    by john horse on Mon Feb 21, 2011 at 07:29:39 PM EST
    Per Pulitzer Prize investigative reporter David Cay Johnston:
    The richest 1 percent . . . earned almost 21 percent of all reported income and paid more than 37 percent of individual federal income taxes.  However, when all federal taxes are considered (taxes on gasoline, beer, Social Security) the top 1 percent's share drops to about a fourth of the total tax bill.  That is not much more than their share of reported income.  If you tally up the economic benefits to the top 1 percent that do not show up in income statistics (example will be provided upon request) then the richest 1 percentare taxed more lightly than the middle class.

    So please spare me your crocodile tears for the rich.  I haven't had a pay raise in years.  This year I'm getting a pay cut.  And there are people out there who are in far worse shape than me.  The middle class is being squeezed.  A society where the bottom 50% now only earns 13% of all income is not a healthy society.  Taxing the rich more will reduce the burden of taxation on the middle class.  It will also reduce economic inequality.  Sacrifices should not just be on the middle class and the poor.  


    I didn't see any crocodile tears (none / 0) (#38)
    by Rojas on Tue Feb 22, 2011 at 07:19:32 AM EST
    And you post goes a long way toward answering how much is enough. These regressive user fees and sin taxes tend to have bipartisan support. For example, we don't see many Democrats complaining about the regressive nature of SCIP.
    It would be interesting to see these figures adjusted for state taxes as well.

    It looks like (none / 0) (#43)
    by lilburro on Tue Feb 22, 2011 at 09:38:35 AM EST
    the whole book you are quoting from is available for free on Google Books:  "Perfectly Legal."  Awesome!

    For Those Claimed Figures (none / 0) (#22)
    by The Maven on Mon Feb 21, 2011 at 05:45:18 PM EST
    would that be the same Tax Foundation which has for over twenty years been part of the Koch Industries lobbying empire (Citizens for a Sound Economy, which later split into Americans for Prosperity and FreedomWorks), and which has a long record of calling for lower corporate tax rates and opposing any tax policy that could be deemed "progressive"?  Somehow, I don't think they're a reputable source for this kind of data.

    Even accepting your figures (none / 0) (#36)
    by observed on Tue Feb 22, 2011 at 06:29:57 AM EST
    at face value, the fact is that tax rates since Reagan have redistributed wealth and income---towards the top. Obviously the wealthy can and should pay more.

    Well, one thing I've learned (none / 0) (#23)
    by lilburro on Mon Feb 21, 2011 at 05:46:37 PM EST
    in the past two years is that Obama does not really like to be seen as "setting the narrative."  It reminds me of the basketball expression "only the last two minutes count."  I think I've heard that theory before from some Obama defenders.  I'd give them credit (if I remembered who they were...sorry :( ) as that does appear to be his M.O.

    However that theory assumes your team is able to put a reasonable amount of points on the board during the rest of the game.  Which I'm not sure the Left can do sufficiently.  The GOP has big corporate money (thanks Citizen United), a TV network, and a small but rabid base of conservative Christians and tea partiers.  They also have a good 90% of politicians, including the President, going through the motions and espousing their views.  Great.  

    What the Left has in opposition to that, I don't really know.  A lot of people are quite satisfied with the Deal.  Why wouldn't they be satisfied with Deal 2.0.