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the rich get richer?(92 posts)

the rich get richer?ColnagoFE
Jun 26, 2003 5:56 AM

Seems that many are selling off long term assets now that capital gains isn't as much of an issue. Definately something the middle class can't benefit as much from and the poor can't benefit at all from. How can Bush claim that the top 1-2% richest aren't benefitting the most from the tax cuts? And how can Joe Sixpack sit back and let him do it?
are the poor getting poorer?mohair_chair
Jun 26, 2003 6:13 AM
Such a tired, tired topic.

Let's review.

1. It's not a zero-sum game. The so-called rich are not rich because they took it from the poor.

2. What is rich?
Re: are the poor getting poorer?torquer
Jun 26, 2003 7:29 AM
Income inequality (both as measured at any point in time and as a trend) may be a tiresome topic, but I believe that we ignore it at our peril. And reducing that inequality is not necessarilly only acheived via redistribution; equallity of opportunity should be the goal.

One does not have to subscribe to a "zero-sum" arguement to be note that stagnation (if not outright decline) of income for the bottom strata is a source of concern.

A quick Google search for "income inequality" came up with these two hits:

"There are indications that poverty alleviation may not be achieved, or only in part, if income inequality is too high or if it increases sharply. Thus, it is quite possible that poverty reduction and growth itself - may be compromised if inadequate attention is paid to inequality... "

"The poor are not losing ground, researchers say. They are falling behind because the center of the pack is pulling ahead.
About the same share of families get by on $10,000 or less a year (adjusted for inflation) as did a quarter century ago.
However, families that earn $10,000 to $50,000 are less common because more people are earning more. "

The first site addresses international development issues, but I believe some of its conclusions are applicable in a developed economy such as ours as well.

The second site sheds an interesting light on your second point, "What is rich?"
Why shouldn't the rich get richer? (nm)TJeanloz
Jun 26, 2003 6:13 AM
Right. It's their entitlement, and if they can'tOldEdScott
Jun 26, 2003 6:19 AM
get richer on their own, by God, well, the government will just interevene and make SURE they do, regardless of the cost to the country.

Sheesh. These damn leftists and their silly notion that (a) We live in a civilized society, not a Darwinian jungle, and (b) The people who benefit from America should PAY for America, according to some reasonable structure that accounts for ability to pay.
I live in a Darwinian jungle, Europe is for the civilized (nm)TJeanloz
Jun 26, 2003 6:35 AM
We also...Jon Billheimer
Jun 26, 2003 6:47 AM in a society which has literally apotheosized greed.
Jun 26, 2003 7:29 AM
"The people who benefit from America should PAY for America, according to some reasonable structure that accounts for ability to pay."

Seems to me, the people least able to pay are the ones who benefit the most, not the rich. By definition, this has to be true since they receive the same general benefits (national defense, police protection, public parks, fireworks shows on the 4th of July, etc.) but pay the least.

So the "poor" can't take advantage of capital gains cuts? So what. Is there really anyone who is losing sleep over this? What are we supposed to do, give them money so they don't feel left out? Sign me up for that. I'll bring my own wheelbarrow. I wanna be rich, too.
I have seen one compelling argument...TJeanloz
Jun 26, 2003 7:36 AM
I think people generally know what side of this argument I fall on, but I have seen one very compelling argument for the benefit/pay discussion.

The assumption is often that the benefit from, say, national defense, is the same for everybody - because we are all equally well defended. However, the rich have much more at risk than do the poor and middle class. A new governmental regime couldn't change much about the middle class lifestyle - but could royally damage the status of the rich. It's hard to take much from people who have relatively litte. Thus, the rich have more to defend, and should pay more to defend it. The jump I don't make is to the graduated tax; a flat tax would still have the rich paying more - and paying the same % of their wealth to defense as everybody else - instead of the "progressive" system, whereby they pay increasingly more.
Another perspective...filtersweep
Jun 26, 2003 6:46 AM
Keep in mind that "the rich" have arguably LOST more money in the market than the so-called poor (who never had a dime in there in the first place, since if they had any "surplus income" they wouldn't be "poor").

I've always felt capital gains taxes where unfairly imposed. As an example, I receive royalty payments and the feds tax the hell out of those as well- as if it is free money of some sort. It is a similar principle as a capital gain- "they" assume you didn't really do anything to "earn" it. It doesn't account for the hours I spent developing the products for which I receive royalties. (Basically it is a flat tax at a very high rate- on the same tax schedule as if I owned oil property- even though it is quite far from that). Capital gains are born from risk of some sort. Assuming risk should be worth something. There would never be a gain if there were not an "improvement" involved at some level (whether output from investment, or appreciation from property, etc...). Improvements benefit the community at large.

There are loop holes everywhere- for rich and poor. We just tend to notice the benefits that do NOT apply to us more than the ones that do... it is human nature.
"unearned income"TJeanloz
Jun 26, 2003 6:53 AM
My all time favorite is when you bust your a$$ to win a bike race with a significant cash prize, and there's the IRS at the finish line, telling you its "unearned income"...
Sadly, that's one tax outrage I've never suffered. :-( nmOldEdScott
Jun 26, 2003 6:56 AM
re: the rich get richer?jaybird
Jun 26, 2003 6:52 AM
Because as a proportion of what the richest 2% are paying in taxes they are receiving less.

It kills me that the people who dont even pay taxes think they are entitled to a benefit to which they never contributed.
Receive less HOW? That's the silliest thingOldEdScott
Jun 26, 2003 7:04 AM
I've read in a sea of silly posts. Less than WHO? The richest 2 percent in this country receive VAST benefits from living here, including a society and an economy that made it possible for them to get fabulously wealthy in the first place! My God. We need to issue crutches around here, the right wingers are so lame.

I'm not how much a Welfare Queen driving a Cadillac and Eating Bon Bons on Food Stamps and popping out baby after baby to make more Free Money (whatever your stereotype is, which I'm sure you have) gets in government largesse each year, but I'm sure it's less than you think, and it's certainly way yonder less than the bounty America confers on the noble, upstanding and CONTRIBUTING members of the richest 2 percent.
I think there's a fundamental issue here...TJeanloz
Jun 26, 2003 7:12 AM
I think people on the "right" see a distinct seperation between "America" and "The Federal Government", while that line is less distinct for those on the "left" - how's that for a broad, overreaching generalization?

But really, those on the right would probably agree that the rich get more from "America" than most - but significantly less from the "Federal Government" than many. Those on the left seem to lump the Federal Government and the American system into the same entity, which changes the equation a little bit (or, actually, a lot). I, for instance, see the Federal Government as something of a club that we have all chosen to join; but some people clearly see it as much more overreaching than that.

And keep in mind, the ability to pay argument can also be construed as an ability to receive argument; a family on welfare receiving $10,000/year is receiving a significant portion of their income from the government, while a very wealthy person getting a $10,000 tax break is getting a proportionally very small benefit.
The 'Federal Government' that you guys seem to resentOldEdScott
Jun 26, 2003 7:42 AM
so much isn't 2,000 foreigners imported from Somalia to impose their evil will on America. It is the system America chose to govern itself.

Remember the Constitution, and the Constitutional Convention? Some pretty wise blokes looked at the Articles of Confederation, which I sometimes think the Right would like to go back to, concluded we needed something better, and devised a federal system that includes a federal government.

If you guys want to abolish the American system of federalism, fine. Say so. If you believe the rich should pay no taxes at all because they're just such good fellows, fine, say so. If you resent the hell out of poor people for messing up the view from your mountaintop, great. Right after you abolish the federal government, mobilize some thugs and drive 'em all across the boarder into Mexico, where they can live with their own scruffy kind.

It's pretty clear the right wing has a vision for America, and they're true to it, and in George Bush and Dick Cheney, they have powerful tools to bring that vision about. They may succeed. But if they do, I doubt we'll recognize America as America. But go ahead, get on with your Brave New America. Create a principality for the wealthy like Monaco and be done with it.
I don't think its resentment,TJeanloz
Jun 26, 2003 7:56 AM
I think there is a difference of opinions about what exactly the Constitution outlines. You cite the framers - but keep in mind, it took a 20th century Constitutional Ammendment to make the income tax legal. I'm not sure that your idea of "American Federalism" is any more in line with the framers than the ideas of the right.

I don't think anybody believes that the rich should pay no taxes, and to say that is nothing short of inflammatory and doesn't advance the discussion one bit. Certainly people wonder why the "rich" should pay so much more than everybody else - but I don't think anybody is advocating that they pay LESS than everybody else. Equality is all we're after. I would say that your idea of "American Federalism" dates really only to the Roosevelt era of depression economics - and certainly not to the framers. I don't recall seeing any of these social programs mentioned in the Federalist Papers, which otherwise outline the benefits of the proposed Federal Government.

Cite a reference to somebody who wants to completely eliminate taxes on the rich (but not on the poor) - what right winger is advocating that?
General drift of the Screech on this board =OldEdScott
Jun 26, 2003 8:52 AM
The rich are responsible for all that is good and wonderful in America, even though the poor dears are taxed way too much, and if tax cuts for the rich are good, deeper cuts are even better and -- the logic follows -- the greatest benefit will accrue to all if taxes are eliminated on them altogether so even more vast benefits may accrue.

In fairness, you've never said that TJ.

But the general breathless concern for the economic health of the rich here leads me to believe that freeing them from this terrible burden altogether is the moral imperative of our time. Would Nole tell me, for example, what level of taxation is fair for the rich, and won't break his heart every time he prepares a dastardly tax return for someone in the upper 2 percent?
I have never implied that the Rich should not be taxed94Nole
Jun 26, 2003 9:15 AM
but for those of you to get here an imply that they do not pay enough? You please tell me what is enough.

Take the poor soul (purely on a tax point of view) who still chooses to live in a high taxed state such as CA or NY or other higer tax rate state of your choice, who pays top rate tax at about 50% of every dollar earned above a certain dollar amount.

Everyone (in the same marital and dependency situation)pays tax at the same rate on the same dollars of taxable income as everyone else (except those who receive "refunds" in excess of all taxes paid). I have trouble calling check "refund" checks because it implies they've paid some income or payroll tax. Many don't. If one's taxable income is higher, he pays more tax.

At a particular level, that rate for each incremental dollar increases and it does this several times til it tops out to the point that a taxpayer will pay about 35% plus state (>8% in some states) plus local taxes. It was almost 40% to the feds alone before the cuts.

I'll ask you Ed, how much is enough? At what point will they have paid a "fair" tax? 75% 80% 90% 100% of every dollar earned? That's real incentive to excel. But then you libs don't strive for excellence, do you. Just conformity and economic "equality".
as the right are so fond of saying.rufus
Jun 26, 2003 9:21 AM
if the poor can't afford to live where they do, then move to somewhere cheaper.

same with the rich. if they don't like the taxes where they are, move somewhere else. maybe they'd do real well in burma or someplace where the taxes aren't as high. after all, they achieved their success solely on their own abilities and work ethic, so they should be a success wherever they end up.
That's a great idea, Rufus!!!94Nole
Jun 26, 2003 9:36 AM
Let's close down all the businesses and factories, regardless of size, and kick out all the bums who own and run them. Now that'll include all businesses, including those owned and operated by women and minorities. You okay with that?

But don't forget now, we'll have to open up more unemployment offices to handle the new folks that are now entitled to unemployment benefits. But then will they be? Don't they have to be looking for work (I don't know, because I have never filed for unemployment). How are they going to look for work if there are no places to work? I mean, those rich SOBs were just here for their own financial reasons, weren't they?
aren't they doing that already?rufus
Jun 26, 2003 10:14 AM
offshoring production to china, the phillipines, and mexico, setting up phony corporate headquarters in countries like bermuda, where they won't have to pay corporate income taxes?

and yet the very wealthy continue to live in this country, while shipping their jobs and businesses elsewhere? why do you suppose that is?
no response i see. :(rufus
Jun 26, 2003 11:08 AM
no response i see. :(94Nole
Jun 26, 2003 11:15 AM
No, frankly, I am far too tired of beating my head against the wall. Sorry, to disappoint. Do yourself a favor, sign up for a couple of economics classes and stop getting your news from Doonesbury.

Oh and I have to go to work now so I can earn more money and pay more taxes.
yes, i am of the uneducated, unwashed massesrufus
Jun 26, 2003 11:25 AM
who obviously are unfit to share living space in this country with someone as worldly and benevolent as yourself. so sorry that you must look upon us in your daily life.
The odd thing is, even when rates wereOldEdScott
Jun 26, 2003 9:30 AM
higher than now, I didn't see droves of rich people dropping out, saying "I have no incentive to make money," and going off to Malibu to be beach bums. The rich have stayed rich and the American economy has just hummed along (I mean in a historic sense) regardless of tax code tinkering.

I hear your tearful violins, Nole, but your music doesn't move me. The rates don't seem especially exhorbitant to me. Sorry.

I'll tell you what's enough: Enough is enough to pay for America. I do not believe we're paying for America right now, we're mortgaging her.

One more thing, son: You have no idea what sort of 'excellence' I have strived for in this life, and you have no clue what sort of excellence I continue to strive for.
You are correct, I have no idea about your personal endeavors94Nole
Jun 26, 2003 9:50 AM
for excellence. And not pandering but for the record, I respect those of you who truly believe the ideas you put forth here for sticking to your beliefs. However, I must admit, I wonder how you folks get this way.

The problem isn't always the producers, but they are those who always get the blame. The problem is with the non-producers. And that is the group whose numbers continue to grow because there are ever growing disincentives to work and achieve. Why the heck would anyone work if he can get enough for nothing? I have these conversations with these people right across the desk.

I see it at the ground level. Alot of the people who come into my office to file their returns who would lie, cheat and steal ever dollar they can get their hands on without any concern about tomorrow, you, me, the law, etc. And these are the people that you folks on the left are constantly fighting for. They are laughing their a$$es off all the way to the bank.

Why are we envious of the neighbor who works hard and has many nice things? We despise him. If we want those things, why are WE not trying harder to achieve what he has, if that is our goal? No, what we want is for him to work everharder and then give to us that part we are not willing to earn ourselves.

Just for the record, in my opinion, life isn't about things. But for so many, it is.
man i feel sorry for youColnagoFE
Jun 26, 2003 10:15 AM
of course there are abuses of the system on both sides, but does that mean that we shouldnt have some human compassion? surely the abuses are not as widespread as you seem to think. do you really go around thinking every poor person is there by choice?
How much do you know about the tax system?94Nole
Jun 26, 2003 10:37 AM
Please don't feel sorry for me. Feel sorry for them. Why is wanting them to experience the satisfaction of achievement not associated with compassion? I would argue that it is the only true compassion. Handouts to fulfill constituant needs is not compassion, it's re-election insurance. And believe me, repubs are almost as guilty as dems.

Have you ever been involved with Habitat for Humanity? I find that most people have at some point. Those people, awaiting their homes, are required to work on other's homes, and are so proud of their achievement and their new home that they worked for. If you haven't you should do just one house from beginning through to the dedication.

Yes, for many, it is definitely a choice. I talk to them. They choose to have babies to increase their tax refund checks. You might not believe it but many do. I talk to them. They've told me, "I'm going to have another baby before next year so I can get more back." This doesn't only affect income tax revenues, but other federal, state and local programs and you are correct, these people will likely NEVER darken the doorway of a college or other technical school to better their situations. This generation will be dependent on others for her welfare. It is reality. Not a lack of compassion.

It is true that the shame for many is, is that the choice was that of some vote mongering politicians to pass legislation and create programs that foster dependency. That is the travesty. Dependency means more funding which buys more votes.
It may not make YOUR head spin...94Nole
Jun 26, 2003 8:14 AM
based purely on the fact that your handle is "OLD" Ed and your experiences may allow you to know this already, but I assure that there aren't rich that pay no taxes at all because they're just such good fellows. Or for any other reason other than they may have invested in a business venture that went sour, thereby generating ligitmate losses to negate their income.

I have seem millions of tax dollars flow out of the checking/investment accounts of my clients to pay tax liabilities well into 8 digits (to the left of the decimal point) and this is after their withhholdings/estimate tax payments made throughout the year.

I can only laugh when people think that "RICH PEOPLE DON'T PAY TAXES." Look at the IRS website for crying out loud!!! The IRS reports that the top 50% of wage earners pay 96.09% of the income taxes collected.(tax year 2000 stats). That tells me that the bottom 50% of wage earners pay less than 4% of the income tax. Where the heck is the injustice in the tax code?

I own and operate a tax business and I know people who choose to work just enough to not exceed the EITC earning limits so as to max out on the available "Credit". These people pay no tax. The Earned income tax credit results in a refund that is large enough in most cases to not only wipe any income tax these people would ever pay, but also to REFUND all PAYROLL TAXES they "paid" during the year.

I'm SHOCKED that low-income people would have the NERVEOldEdScott
Jun 26, 2003 8:27 AM
to take advantage of loopholes in the tax system to their advantage! Loopholes, as we all know, are for REAL people i.e. those who make more than the sort of low-lifes you mention here.
Sorry, Ed, but that is where...94Nole
Jun 26, 2003 8:40 AM
your lack of knowledge about the tax system shines through.

I hate to burst your bubble, but loopholes for the "Rich" are virtually gone in the tax system. They have been abused to the point of legislation to a point now that people can't really get any tax breaks without taking real economic risk.

Wasn't always that way. There was an "investment" product peddled some years ago by the major investment and insurance firms that allowed one to basically re-coup his investment through tax savings alone with no real economic loss. It isn't that way any longer. Unless someone cheats. Then you get out of a left vs. right argument and into one where one is willing to break the law to gain advantage vs. playing by the rules.

Ever fudged on your tax return Ed? Hummmmm?
Mine is just as fudged as yours. Look inward,OldEdScott
Jun 26, 2003 8:54 AM
and ponder.
that 50% number begins at income of $40,000rufus
Jun 26, 2003 8:30 AM
so yeah, those earning more than $40,000 pay 96 % of all federal income taxes. big fricking whoop. it's not like the rich are getting jobbed here.

as of 2001 figures, the top 1% of income earners in the united states earned 19% of all income. they paid 24% of all federal income taxes. sure, it's a higher percentage in proportion to income earned, but it's hardly the outright thievery that some of you like to characterize it as. it's not like they earn 19% of all income and pay 90% of all taxes.
not to mention.....rufus
Jun 26, 2003 8:35 AM
protection from the roving bands of poor and outcast descending upon their newport or hamptons mansions to take what they want by force.

which may be the end result if income inequalities continue to grow. we just may see the serfs storming the castles.
Why don't the serfs....94Nole
Jun 26, 2003 8:51 AM
try going to school? To work? Coming by what they have honestly without a hand out?

People come to work for me in my tax business KNOWING the job is seasonal (but that is all they want) and then file for unemployment, food benefits citing loss of income, and every other benefit one could imagine.

Doesn't matter whether I show a profit in my business or not (I am in my third year and have yet to show a profit by the way). I have chosen to get another full-time job to make my ends meet. They choose to go get govt. benefits while they drive vehicles usually nicer than mine, spending the day on their cell phones, with brand new clothes and shoes).

What is wrong with this picture? Am I wrong for trying to better my economic situation, willing to work 2+ jobs during the time that my business grows to a point (hopefully soon) that I don't have to do that. At which time I will be considered a wealthy business owner and be taxed to the hilt to pay the cost of these freeloaders. And you can't imagine the time I have to spend filling out paperwork to satisfy the state's due diligence to GIVE THESE PEOPLE THEIR BENEFITS!!!!!!

You people need to get in the real world and stop believing all this crap you read and hear in the media. Rmember the plight of the down-trodden vs. the wealth of the rich sells. That is the irony. THey are the ones truly getting rich by printing lies. And to have the fact that they are lying proven (i.e., NY Times).
perhaps they can't.rufus
Jun 26, 2003 9:12 AM
perhaps they are so busy working two, or three minimum wage jobs to just be able to pay their rent and feed their family that school, or any other training they could get to better themselves, is out of the question.

and yes, take your own limited personal experience and attribute those characteristics to every single poor person in this country. the fable of the welfare queen driving her bmw to the store to buy her food with food stamps. sure abuse happens. just as abuse happens at tyco and enron and worldcom. on the whole, which do you suppose is more detrimental to our country and economy?
Buy you folks are all about choice. Aren't you?94Nole
Jun 26, 2003 9:27 AM
Are you saying that these people didn't choose either to enter their current situation or choose to stay in it? I don't remember the government showing up at my door with two boys telling me that these are your children and you are responsible for raising them to the age of majority.

Please tell me how the heck do people come to this country with hardly two nickels to rub together, can't speak the language and become economically successfull and most importantly, SELF-SUFFICIENT? I have no problem helping people who are incapable of helping themselves. I would easily put my volunteerism (most weeks in excess of 10 hours) and my charitable giving (as a percentage of my gross income) up against just about anyone. This is chest thumping, it is reality. But I have a real problem with handouts to people who have no desire or INTENTION to ever rise above their current situation. And to constantly play the class warfare card should be criminal.

I am not worried about the "welfare queen". I am concerned that the welfare queen has no ambition to get out of her situation and is RAISING CHILDREN INTO THE SAME ENTITLED MINDSET and situation. THAT is the problem. And we have gotten here in only about 50 years. Where will we be in 50 more years?
If it's so great to do seasonal employmentColnagoFE
Jun 26, 2003 9:58 AM
why aren't you doing it instead of bellyaching how easy they have it? I have no idea why you work 2 jobs that you seem to hate, but maybe that's the source of your resentment of the poor people who drive nicer cars than you.
It's always amusing to hear right wingers sayOldEdScott
Jun 26, 2003 10:05 AM
things like: "Why should these people work when they can do nothing and just suck the system for everything they need, laughing all the way to the bank?" As if the 'dependency class' is getting rich. Or even getting comfortable. Or even just doing a little better than just getting by.

Maybe they have it made, but I don't see 'real' people begging to join them in their Life of Riley.
Why continue to use the word "Rich"?94Nole
Jun 26, 2003 10:49 AM
I didn't say they were getting rich. What is "Rich", Ed? I assume that you aren't rich either, unless the pot is calling the kettle black.

These people are comfortable in their situations. It is their culture. It is the life to which they have become accustomed and many have no desire to change anything. That would require effort and they aren't willing to do what is necessary (more training, eductation, etc.) to change that. That is the truth whether one is willing to admit it or not. It has nothing to do with right, left or any other names you choose to use.
They're shiftless, all right. It's their culture toOldEdScott
Jun 26, 2003 10:53 AM
be shiftless. We know how 'they' are.
You obviously don't, in making that comment.94Nole
Jun 26, 2003 10:57 AM
But then I guess this is where race and racism gets injected, right Ed? Yet another lib tactic.
who mentioned race?rufus
Jun 26, 2003 11:05 AM
i thought we were talking about the lazy, shiftless poor. "they" can be whoever you wish to stereotype.
'Lib tactics' indeed. Read your own words, dude:OldEdScott
Jun 26, 2003 11:08 AM
"These people are comfortable in their situations. It is their culture. It is the life to which they have become accustomed and many have no desire to change anything. That would require effort and they aren't willing to do what is necessary (more training, eductation, etc.) to change that."

As big a bunch of damn stereotyping I've ever seen. You have this narrow little experience, and grandly expand it to apply to 'these people' nationwide, everywhere in America, ascribing traits and motives to people who came to or live in this situation by vastly different paths.

You blithely sail past all those on public asssistance who ARE getting training, working to get off the dole, trying to better themselves. You paint -- no, smear -- with a very broad brush, young man.
I know nothing more than that which I have experienced...94Nole
Jun 26, 2003 11:27 AM
firsthand. I guess I was stereotyping, by grouping those that have little or no ambition to achieve more than that to which they have become accustomed in their lives nor have the desire to ever look beyond because of the lack of the necessity to do so due to policies that do not require that of them.

By the way, to the best of my knowledge, income tax returns ARE filed and the associated rules apply in every state in the union, dc, and pr. So, I guess I am willing to go way out on the limb here to say that "'these people' nationwide, everywhere in America" are very likely than not taking advantage of these tax rules.

Over and out Ed. And my you live a long and fulfilling life. I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree. I am far too tired of arguing. You'll likely never see it my way nor I yours. All the best.
Why am I belly-aching when I discuss my experience?94Nole
Jun 26, 2003 10:43 AM
But you guys constantly beat people down trying to make them guilty for their beliefs?

I do what I do because I chose to do so. To be able to meet the financial needs of my family and for the hope that someday in the future I will be able to provide for the post-secondary education of my children.

I don't resent the people who take advantage of the screwed up system. I resent those who support what they are doing and foster and enable it.
Receive less HOW? That's the silliest thingjaybird
Jun 26, 2003 9:11 AM
The poor also recieve those benefits and can succeed.

I do not hold the stereotype that you propose as the norm for all welfare recipients. The government will never be able to make someone rich and nor should it. Benefits from the government should be viewed as a "hand up" to help out when times are tough and not a "hand out".

If you look at the percentage wealthy people pay of their income in taxes compared to how much they recieve or use from the government in money or services it is significantly less than low income people. For example, the wealthy people are very low draw on government healthcare programs since they would typically have private insurance which they are paying for out of their own pocket.
what about all those wealthy seniors on medicare?rufus
Jun 26, 2003 9:17 AM
sure the welathy don't use government services like amtrak, or taking the bus or subway. but there are government systems that should they be ended, leave the wealthy at great risk fo losing that lifestyle. that is why it's in there long-term best interest that these government systems continue to be funded.

notice how many cuts to fire and police departments recently? during a period of a so-called "war on terrorism" where the members of those departments are asked to do more and more, but given less to do it with? let's continue on this path, and see how that effects the wealthy.
Put some peanut butter on a mouse trap and the mouse...loki_1
Jun 26, 2003 9:41 AM
will eat once. Teach the mouse to get the peanut butter off the trap without tripping it and he will eat for a lifetime.
Unless you are Ross Perot.94Nole
Jun 26, 2003 9:54 AM
"The government will never be able to make someone rich". It is my understanding that the government financed the company that became EDS and made "the little general" a billionaire. At least a multi-billionaire.

But then why should I care, it's just taxpayer money.
yes, corporate welfare.rufus
Jun 26, 2003 10:19 AM
let's start with that first, and then see where we end up.
Ever heard of an incentive, Rufus?94Nole
Jun 26, 2003 10:53 AM
Corporations are offered incentives to build here, relocate there. And what do they do Rufus? They operate their companies and pay taxes, at any level you choose. Any level is more than zero. They employ local citizens who in turn pay taxes, Rufus. They also buy things, enabling the local merchants to buy things, including more employees who buy things and oh yeah, pay taxes.

Where do you people get this dribble?
why does mcdonald's get money to advertise in the far east?rufus
Jun 26, 2003 11:03 AM
is this an "incentive"? or is this just giving a corporation that can afford it otherwise a handout? likewise with all the subsidies given to the energy businesses as part of enron's, er, i mean, this administration's energy policy. most analysts believe that by giving certain companies subsidies, it will serve to stifle research and innovation into alternate energy sources, where free market competition would spur such investments.

and here i thought all you repubs were for a free market economy? if there is a need to be served, or a market to be filled, or a lucrative business area to be exploited, won't free market capitalism jump into it?
Unless you are Ross Perot.jaybird
Jun 26, 2003 10:33 AM
The government didnt turn EDS into what it is. That was done by its leaders.
Why not see it as...94Nole
Jun 26, 2003 7:44 AM
people who are now willing to sell assets, pay tax (cash in-flow to the treasury), and RE-INVEST the funds into new investments that do insignificant things as create jobs, etc.

Remember, these people already owned the investments. You people make it sound as though Bush wrote these people checks. The tax cut didn't put the investments in their respective possessions.

What the tax cuts do is give investors INCENTIVE TO SELL BEFORE THEY OTHERWISE WOULD!!!!!!!!!!! Do you realize that people who own capital assets (stocks, bonds, mutual funds, etc.) til their death pass them on to the next generation without any income tax EVER being paid as the tax basis is stepped up to fair market value at the date of donor's death. In other words, NO income tax is paid.

This result is the purpose of lowering capital gain tax rates that people just can't understand. It is done to get investors to sell and re-invest.

If you folks would take a couple of economics classes and get out of the pages of the NY Times, you'd have understanding of these very simple principles.

Trickle down works! You think Clinton was responsible for the 90's? If you do, please tell me what he did, other than get elected, to enhance the success of the economy.

That decade's economic success was specifically attributable to the Reagan (I know a dirty word to you libs) tax cuts of the 80's. That was the credible part of the economic expansion.

Oh yeah and let's not forget the less than credible portion of the expansion that occurred in the later Clinton years based the cooked books of some of the country's largest companies. And an internet balloon based on Las Vegas type investmment philosophies.
Trickle down?filtersweep
Jun 26, 2003 8:06 AM
No- no way can you attribute such large scale growth to the drop in the bucket of trickle down or Reagan.

I won't be so naive as to give all credit to Clinton- the real reason for the 90s was there actually was a huge growth area in tech stocks that simply did not exist before. Anyone at the helm (smart enough not to run the ship aground) could have enjoyed the same results. It had more to do with technology hitting a sweet spot than any tax cut... you cannot credit Reagan for that!

The "cooked books" phenom has nothing to do with a presidential administration... it has to do with simple denial (people choosing to look the other way) and the unrealistic expectations of investors that were fueled by the insane growth in tech areas. Enron sits much closer to the Bush admin anyway, so be careful what you insinuate.

Hey, I still have a difficult time considering investment returns as income. Ironically, you can deduct mortgage interest... and you don't hear too many people complaining about that. You can deduct capital LOSSES as well... but they tax the hell out of gains. I sold some stocks a few years ago and it was hardly worth the trouble...
I disagree.94Nole
Jun 26, 2003 8:21 AM
What the Clinton administration did was to foster an air of do it til you get caught and then deny the heck out of it mentality. Heck, if the President can lie to Federal Grand Jury, what's a few billion bucks in fraudulent accounting journal entries.

I will agree that tech stocks soared in the decade but so did other large blue chips. THe techs were based on speculation. THe other growth was true growth generated by the reveunes generated via tax cuts. Americans, generally, do not save money. Put tax dollars in their hands and the majority of that money will find its way back into the economy via spending. The facts are irrefutable (sp?).

Tax rebates are vote getters. Tax cuts are sound fiscal policy. The reason the left don't like tax cuts is that many who vote in that camp pay no taxes. See my post reply to OldEdScott below.
Me too...filtersweep
Jun 26, 2003 8:40 AM
"What the Clinton administration did was to foster an air of do it til you get caught and then deny the heck out of it mentality. Heck, if the President can lie to Federal Grand Jury, what's a few billion bucks in fraudulent accounting journal entries."

That is quite a leap- I take it you majored in debate? The Reagan years had their own share of scandals and deceit- it is part of the Whitehouse's rich cultural heritage.

There is NO WAY you can tell me the blue chips rose because of tax cuts. They rose because helium was everywhere- growth was contagious. People simply invested more money because money could be made in the market. Period. You didn't need to be short to make money anymore. Baby boomers were in their financial prime and were approaching retirement. Much of this was institutional investing, 401Ks, etc. anyway.

Funny thing is, the more money I make, the more I invest in 401K, annuities, etc. as a tax shelter- take it out as pre-tax money. I could take a (false) leap in logic and suggest that higher taxation would boost the market because more people would invest to protect their money. It is all armchair quarterbacking.

I really think it is a fallacy for anyone to attribute the economy to a particular administration. There are people like Greenspan who was spanned numerous administrations with competing economic ideologies- yet some revere him as some sort of god... it just becomes surreal.
what happened between 1988 and 1992?rufus
Jun 26, 2003 8:23 AM
That decade's economic success was specifically attributable to the Reagan (I know a dirty word to you libs) tax cuts of the 80's. That was the credible part of the economic expansion.

guess those tax cuts just decided to take the four years of bush the first off, and not really get moving until 1993, right?
That's easy.94Nole
Jun 26, 2003 8:31 AM
Remember the broken promise of "Read My Lips..." Please don't underestimate the impact on tax increases. They are real and have real effect on the economy.

You might say, well didn't Clinton raise taxes, retroactively in the early 90's? Why didn't the economy tank earlier than the end of the decade? Answer dot com boom. Speculative investments.

And let's not forget Gulf War 1? People (consumers) stop spending money in times of uncertainty (i.e., times that we leading up to an impending war).
you forgot to mention.rufus
Jun 26, 2003 8:36 AM
clinton only raised taxes on the top income tax bracket. that is, those with the most ability to pay.
it's called trickle downSteve_0
Jun 26, 2003 8:40 AM
not pour down.

It's impossible for any administration to enact policy which yields significant fiscal benefit during the same term.

Likewise, impossible for a 93-2000 president to be responsible for economic upturn which was trended as far back as early 92.
To all ideological "morons":Jon Billheimer
Jun 26, 2003 9:49 AM
If you want to bottom line the growth rates of the 90s, try this one: Bill Gates. Had nothing to do with party politics. Honestly!
Namecalling = typical liberal debating tactic.94Nole
Jun 26, 2003 9:56 AM
I couldn't resist!Jon Billheimer
Jun 26, 2003 11:49 AM
But, for your information, the point I'm trying to make is that not everything in the world of macroeconomics boils down to what party or president is in power. The boom of the nineties had nothing to do with the present or former presidents. It had to do with the creation of new capacity in the economy which was created by the microchip revolution and advent of the pc. So all you partisans, take off your ideological blinkers and look at the world as it is, not as your political mythologies dictate that it should be. If you still don't get it: my remarks had nothing to do with my perceived liberalism! One further comment, Greenspan has been at the helm of monetary policy through numerous administrations; whether the democrats or republicans have been in power has had very little to do with the central bank's policies.
Hallelujah!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Live Steam
Jun 26, 2003 11:57 AM
Someone else said it! Clinton was not responsible for the booming economy of the 90s!

Oh by the way Jon, I was very surprised to see the name calling. I hope I wasn't a bad influence on you :O)
Hallelujah!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Jon Billheimer
Jun 26, 2003 12:12 PM
It's all your fault Steam. You're a BAAAAAD influence on me:)- Seriously though, the ideological debate that goes on here gets to be pretty nonsensical at times. The world is far more multidimensional than the straitjacket world of political labelling allows for. Bush, the supposed archetypical conservative, for instance is running huge deficits and applying near-maximal fiscal stimulus to the economy. Not too much different from what a democratic president would do. The arguments lie in the advisability of present foreign policy and some tinkering around with the tax system. But overall, his economic policies look pretty "liberal" to me. A true conservative would be trying to balance revenues and expenditures, would he not? On the other hand, it was Clinton, a democratic president, who nominally at least, balanced the books for a short while.
Hallelujah!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Live Steam
Jun 26, 2003 2:27 PM
I'll agree with you on a few points. First I have to agree that nothing is as black and white as I or most anyone else here would like to paint them, but this isn't reality, this is theory. Most ideologues place their position to the extreme knowing a compromise will be the end result.

Second, Bush is looking more like a liberal every day with the initiatives he is pushing. Rush says that he is "stealing the Democrats platform". His aides initiative and his prescription bill proposal, etc. are not very conservative ideas.

I think the fundamental difference between a liberal and a conservative is in where they want the money spent. They all want to spend money of course. Liberals on social programs and welfare and conservatives on defense and industry. I think Old Ed will tell you that Bush and the Republican House want to spend the money in these areas and leave less for the social programs. This is certainly the conservative game plan.

If Clinton wasn't such a jerk, if you know what I mean, he could have gone down as one of the better presidents. He has unbelievable luck - one might say good and bad. He came on the scene in a time when it didn't matter who was running the country. The economic climate and the technological advances formed the perfect storm. As we all now know it was fleeting. But Clinton could have grabbed all of that glory and road off into the sunset if it weren't for that blue dress :O)

If you look at the chart you will see the market went up as fast as it declined. Anyone that follows the market will tell you that is pretty unusual. Fast declines are common, but fast sustained increases in the indices are rare.
...wasnt all luckSteve_0
Jun 27, 2003 3:54 AM
Clinton, as much as I dislike him, was actually an intelligent Pres; basically coop'd the GOP agenda after control, and knew when to pocket or sign depending upon the flow.

That is, he didnt accomplish anything that wouldnt have occurred without signature; he knew how to make himself look good. Other pres' in the same climate wouldn't have been so calculating; signing along party lines or personal/moral ground.

The booming market; yeah that was luck.
Simple answer hereLive Steam
Jun 26, 2003 10:04 AM
Who made the investment and took the risk? Who should benefit from the reward?
Steam! I've been waiting for you to join the fray!OldEdScott
Jun 26, 2003 10:08 AM
This debate has been pretty dull without your insight & wit.

So what about it, Steam? Should the rich pay taxes? If we free 'em from this terrible burden, won't all Americans just get fabulously wealthy from the change falling from their overflowing pockets? And what about the idea of one-tax-dollar/one-vote? Wouldn't that be a better way of deciding elections?
I went out to the street to get some free lunch ...Live Steam
Jun 26, 2003 10:19 AM
then I realized that there isn't any free lunch :O) I would just like one person here to point out where in the US Constitution it says that either - I should pay for you or I should pay more than you because I have more. If you can do that I will gladly cede the issue and write GW to let him know where he went wrong :O)
where does it say in the constitutionrufus
Jun 26, 2003 10:23 AM
that the federal government has oversight authority over the airwaves? over air travel?
Your point? nmLive Steam
Jun 26, 2003 10:29 AM
Steam's an anarchist. nmOldEdScott
Jun 26, 2003 10:32 AM
That's what my mother always called me :O)Live Steam
Jun 26, 2003 10:45 AM
No I am a pragmatist. The Constitution was written with specific intent. So if it said in the Constitution that I must take care of thy neighbor or else, I would. Otherwise that is what charity is for. The government is not charity. The government is there to provide specific functions and I do not believe that charity is part of that function. If you need assistance in getting to your feet you will get just that - assistance and not it done for you.

His point about regulatory commitees overseeing "national trusts" does not equate. However I may be inclined to agree with him if he believes that the government has too much control over certain issues such as the right to use the airwaves and the right to use air space. I know you will say they are only looking out for our "well being". That can only go so far before it hurts me in some way.
that there is a lot about today's governmentrufus
Jun 26, 2003 10:44 AM
not mentioned in the constitution. simply by saying that we shouldn't have to do something because there is no mention of it in the constitution is a baseless argument.
No not really baselessLive Steam
Jun 26, 2003 10:52 AM
I will cite my examples when I have time to copy and paste the text.
So you don't want to pay more taxesOldEdScott
Jun 26, 2003 10:30 AM
than someone making a lot less than you? Everybody pays the same? Ten bucks a head do it?

And you want no social welfare spending whatsoever, right? Out with it, Steam! None, right?
Don't put words in my mouthLive Steam
Jun 26, 2003 10:34 AM
I didn't say I didn't approve of any social welfare programs and I didn't say I didn't want to pay my "fair share". However I also do not expect the federal government to account for me if I can't account for myself - barring mental/physical imparement, and I do not expect the next guy to pay more than me, on and equal basis, because he can afford it. Who am I to judge that?
Then what's the point ofOldEdScott
Jun 26, 2003 10:40 AM
your 'where is it in the Constitution' question? You seemed to be suggesting that social welfare is unconstitutional.

Still don't understand why one person shouldn't pay more taxes than another. To be totally fair, in your formulation, everyone would pay exactly the same. If you make $5,000 a year, $500. If you make $5 million a year, $500. Level playing field. Fair.
Not at all what I proposedLive Steam
Jun 26, 2003 10:50 AM
If I make $5000 I pay X% and you making $5000000000000000 pay X%. Why should I ask you to pay 5X%? Your X% will still be greater than mine, but it is on par with mine. Very simple concept. The funny thing about taxes is that those that pay more taxes usually get less from the government for them. Those that pay little to none get more from the government.
No it is NOT on a par. That's the pointOldEdScott
Jun 26, 2003 10:59 AM
you economic royalists miss, and it's the basis for progressivity in tax rates. X% of $5000 is far more meaningful in terms of basic livelihood than X% of $50000000000000. It could mean the difference between feeding a baby or not. There is no 'par' about it.
Now I'm responsible for feeding you baby?Live Steam
Jun 26, 2003 11:11 AM
Did you answer my question below :O)

As for this point - why am I, you or anyone else responsible for feeding someone else's baby, especially when they are in no way responsible on their own? I am not cold hearted, so let's not get into who does what for whom - but the mentality that the liberals in the country have saddled many Americans with is that the government is responsible for them. WRONG! I doubt that you were raised that way too. This mentality has bread an awful lot of dependant people. Where will it stop? How much does each one of us have to contribute to perpetuate this travesty? The strange reality of America is that foreigners come here with the intent to make a better life for themselves, as my great grandparents did and as multitudes of others have and still are doing, and are not looking for handouts. Yet our own native born citizens look to the government for handouts. Odd? Tragic?
foreigners come here with the intent to make a better liferufus
Jun 26, 2003 11:16 AM
and yet, our citizens who live here cry out about how unfairly this country penalizes them for being successful.
Sigh. I'm talking about the impact of a flat tax rate, and howOldEdScott
Jun 26, 2003 11:18 AM
it impacts poor people in more hurtful ways than it impacts rich people. Not arguing liberalism.
The problem comes when trying to define rich ...Live Steam
Jun 26, 2003 11:52 AM
or when trying to determine who can afford to pay more. I won't use myself as an example because I am not married and if I had to I could make do with a tent and a pillow. However my sister and brother-in-law do very well for themselves. He is a senoior VP in a major US tech firm. They have three kids, live in a big house an upsclae neighborhood and drive exotic cars. Their kids have expensive hobbies/sports that they all perticipate in. His salary is many times that of a person living at the poverty level, yet he must continue to earn at least at his present level to support his family, or risk losing it. He struggles to pay the bills just like the "poor" guy at the poverty level. He doesn't think he is "rich". However where is it written that my b-i-l must struggle more to help out the guy at the poverty level?

You might say they should cut back, but who are you to make this call? He went to school. Worked hard and achieved. No one exactly knows why the other guy is at the poverty level. Maybe he used drugs and hung around while my b-i-l was working hard in school and at a job. Maybe it was other dire circumstances that caused the poor guy to end up where he is, but who should be responsible for this? Paying is fine. We all use the services provided in one way or another, but there needs to be some point that is reasonable. The more the government makes available, the more hands are out there to take it. That is just a product of human nature. We conservatives want the practice of creating dependancy stopped.
ok, how about Article I, section 8....Steve_0
Jun 26, 2003 10:47 AM
"The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;"
Where does it state that you or I pay more than ...Live Steam
Jun 26, 2003 10:56 AM
Old Ed? Where does it state that he pays more than us? I never said that they don't have the right to collect taxes - there are those that would argue that point. However, it actually implies equality, though it is not specific as to how it should be applied.
Jun 26, 2003 11:03 AM
it implies equality for duties and excises, it specifically omitted taxes from the statement.
Exactly!Live Steam
Jun 26, 2003 11:21 AM
I have to earn some money now so I can pay for someone else's baby now, but I don't think the Constitution actually has any specifics on taxes. This is the reason there are so many of those militia guys out in the wide open spaces claiming that any taxation is unconstitutional. I am not of that mind, but push people far enough and they end up becoming extreme :O)

I am sure most here know that our Revolution was waged because of taxes the colonists deemed unfair. Just because we are not carrying muskets doesn't mean that there can't be another revolution.