I'd say this article makes some pretty good arguments about why the super rich in this country NEED to be taxed
(as if this should even be up for debate. Alas, we live in delusional times and our country is being run by - mostly - delusional people). I'd say a lot of the people who read my blog are part of a young group of highly educated and pissed off individuals who can't apply their talents and hard work to ANYTHING. Plus, they are drowning in student loan debt, and for what fucking reason? So, they can send half their paycheck to Sallie Mae each month? Yeah, I don't think so. This is not how the story was supposed to play out for people here. Institutional inefficiencies can be fixed. But who has the guts to regulate them? Tell me? Who has the guts? If people on the Hill, with all their ueber-rich donors and corps, don't listen up, they will have a revolution here. I don't know what it will look like, or when it will happen, but the super-rich are destroying the country. We are violent people, so who knows what this will look like.
Oh, and on a final note. Outstanding student loan debt has surpassed $900 BILLION
. You think those people with all that debt are happy? Do you think they're getting by? Maybe they are, but not with relish!
Gidget Gein's "Capitalist Pig"
It's all FUBAR:
I have heard Rush Limbaugh address this sort of topic more or less, and his classic conservative reply is that even if you not just taxed, but even went so far as to take ALL of the money away from the top whatever percent of the population that is considered "Wealthy", there would still not be enough money taken that would solve any problems in a meaningful and lasting way.
And besides, it is wealtier people that create jobs, and that are in the best position to bring about lasting change etc. etc.
Something like that. I know because I have listened to thousands of hours of Rush and Shawn Hannity between 12PM and 3PM every day for years.
Why? because I cannot listen to "All along the Watchtower" or "Gimme Shelter" for the 1 millionth and first time on the radio.
And NPR has a morning program, and then it is all redundant for the rest of the day.
So conservative talk radio is like strong coffee. It gives a jolt, Rush hits the mute button, and then you crash.
I've been saying this for years about opportunity as it relates to smart people from lower level backgrounds. You leave smart people w/no opportunity to do anything good in society & they're going to turn to bad things. My personal attitude is if I go down, I'm taking as many people w/me as I can. If I hadn't gotten the opportunities I had or gotten to work in the field I wanted, I'd likely be in prison, dead from a police shootout or a practicing vigilante. I'd have zero motivation to obey the law or "fly right" since all my efforts to make good grades, go to college, etc. would have been a total waste. If you end up in the same place as you would have if you'd dropped out at 16, then what's the point of getting an education to start with?
Oh, and I didn't come from a middle class background but more like lower class w/no one to bail me out or hand me money. My parents had to borrow my allowance money when I was a child b/c their money problems were that bad & I saved my money.
The rich are not the problem, this is misplaced envy. Even if the US completely confiscated all the assets of the top 1% of taxpayers in this country (that is confiscate, not just tax) the total amount comes to less then $1.4T. That sounds like a lot, but it wouldn't even close our current budget deficit! Also, it would be only a one-time event and to do so would require a fire-sale liquidation of assets (most of the wealth is tied up in businesses) that would likely depress the sales prices drastically resulting in a much smaller haul.
A small amount from 297 million trumps a large amount from 3 million. This is the simple fact that no amount of hysterics will change. If you got your way it might make you feel better but would make absolutely no long-term in the average American's financial well being. In fact, it would probably reduce it as the wealthy make substantial talent contributions.
The article references the uprisings in the middle east. A worthy point, however I would be willing to wager money that the common people will end up no better, and probably worse after the wealthy and their assets are disposed of. $100 million is a lot of money, but spread over 100 million people it is peanuts. Anger and emotion can't change mathematical facts.
@Anonymous 11:01 AM - You are so incorrect, I don't even know where to begin. By virtue of the fact that your first sentence includes the word "envy," shows how off you are. In addition, it's not about "confiscating" money. If you had any sense, read any studies, you would known that tax cuts for the rich are the reason why the infrastructure of this country is falling apart. The middle class is disappearing, and no one gives a damned about the poor. It's the triumph of neoliberalism. Anyone with any historical sense is aware that a healthy, vibrant economy and society possesses a healthy and vibrant middle class. There is plenty of proof that shows how more equitable societies function better. Here? We are incarcerating more and more people. We are gutting public services. We are propping up the rich and punishing the poor. It's a fact that since the 1970s wages have remained stagnant. Households are not making as much as they once did, and most households have TWO people earning money. Don't tell me that these aren't facts. You have your theories. I am stating facts, too. I've lived in several other countries, and those places are faring much better than we are. You have convinced yourself that a critique of this nature is based upon "anger" and "emotion." Well, anonymous, it's not. Yes, people are angry, and for good reason. But you fail to understand the bigger picture, and I pity you for that.
Nice response Cryn.
Thanks, Liz. Here's some hefty reading that these people should explore:
http://www.amazon.com/Moral-Consequences-Economic-Growth/dp/0679448918 - it's a classic
I'm happy to continue listing books that are filled with even more FACTS. These are just a few out of many, many books I've read about the major problems we're facing.
Oh, here's another great piece: http://johannhari.com/2011/03/29/the-biggest-lie-in-british-politics
Tax is not a solution. If you tax the wealthy, it just goes to the politicians who redistribute it back to their wealthy cronies. Also, the rich just avoid taxes through overseas tax shelters. Nothing changes.
Real change would involve changing labor laws and/or tariffs. Why does the U.S. have protective laws (e.g. workplace safety, minimum wage, environmental, etc.) if companies can easily avoid them by sending the work to sweatshops overseas? Can you spare some change Obama?
As much as I appreciate your work and see where you're coming from, I have to disagree with this post and assertion.
From a theoretical standpoint, I do agree something needs to be done to keep the middle class from being gutted as is. However, the highest earners in America (regardless of how you view them) are also the most mobile people in the nation. The moment rates jump a few point, they'll simply ship everything to a lower tax area or an offshore account which screws the tax revenue base even more.
Here is an article that touches base on this:
I'm not disagreeing with you. But, as much as it hurts me to say, Pandora's box is already open and it probably isn't closing anytime soon.
(from the first Anon again, not the second)
I agree that virtually every problem you listed is very real. The elimination of the middle class is a dire problem that will result in a very different, and almost certainly a less pleasant nation if a solution is not found. The main thesis of my post, and one you did not really address is that the rich simply don't have the money to solve problems on the scale that we are facing. My point on confiscating was not comment on the morality of taxing the rich, it was pointing out that the total assets possessed by the the rich are insufficient to fix our problems. Emotionally it seems like a great solution, but fundamentally the math doesn't work out. Massive debt spending (not by the government, but by individuals) have left us on the individual aggregate (not collective) level with obligations that are not lightly offset by the assets of those who don't have debt.
There is no good way out. Sure, we could raise the taxes on the rich to the roof and it might people feel better but it will be no more then a drop in the bucket of what we actually need to address our obligations (even assuming the doubtful proposition that we could get them to actually pay it).
The changes to the world economy are terrifying but that doesn't make your favorite simple solution is any less wrong.
@Anon April 5th - we clearly see things from a very different perspective. I never suggested that there is one "simple solution," as you assert. That is so false. It's obviously more complex than just raising taxes on the rich.
A few quick points:
1) Last year the defict was $1.29 trillion, that actually is less than the $1.4 trillion collected from the rich, which Anonymous said would "barely cover" the deficit.
2) The rich in this country own quite a bit more than $1.4 trillion in wealth. That number, I suspect, is caluclated from the amount the rich pay in taxes. Given the way the tax code works, it is likely to be significantly understated.
3) Rush Limbaugh is a vehicle to sell advertising. That's it. He says stuff that will make people keep listening to him so he can sell ads for his program. He's not trying to be right, he's just trying to be controversial and keep you tuning in to hear about the big scary things that will get you if he doesn't warn you - it's an Orsen Welles prank that somehow never seems to end.
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