76% Vote to Live off the Other 24%

Via CBS:

Almost three-quarters of Americans think it is a good idea to raise taxes on people making more than $250,000 per year, according to the latest CBS News/New York Times poll.

In fact, two-thirds of Americans think the tax code should be changed so that middle-class Americans pay less than they do now, while "upper income" people pay more.

Imagine three quarters of the diners in a restaurant suddenly standing up and walking out the door.  As they leave, they announce that the remaining patrons should pay their tabs for them.  Fair?

  • It's becoming easier and easier to imagine, I'm afraid.

  • Matthew Brown

    Welcome to pre-Thatcher Britain, or for that matter many European nations.

    It's a fantasy, too; those making over 250,000 a year don't number that many, and even doubling their tax burden doesn't make much of a dent in anyone else's, as far as I can see.

  • HS

    Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny.

    Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on."

    Mark 12:41-44

    Is it really more than those making less than 250,000? Warren Buffett himself said the upper end pay less in taxes than the lower end. How do you measure how much is more and how much is less? Also, the US is the land of opportunity. Who provides you those opportunities? I know it is not the government but the people. Not that I condone giving the government money to spend since they are so bad with it, but equality in taxes depends on the perspective.

  • Methinks

    Well, HS, let me give you some perspective....

    The Jesus story is about VOLUNTARY charity. Taxes are about FORCED confiscation. Notice how Jesus didn't proceed to rob the rich of more of their wealth in the story. He pointed out virtue and unless you claim that it is the state's job to impose morality in the way Muslim and other fascist states do, then I think we can safely say that that taxes and charity are not comparable.

    Warren Buffet babbles drivel all the time. News flash: Warren is not a god and you should definitely check his "facts" before you buy into his "wisdom" hook line and sinker. According to the CBO, The "rich" (high earners, many of whom are not yet "rich") pay twice - and in the case of the tax payers at the top of the fifth quintile, more than twice - the effective tax rate of the middle quintile. The effective tax rate is what matters because that's what's actually paid and that's where Warren claims the rich don't pay. Warren confuses himself with everyone else and I happen to know that he has made a practice over the years of employing an army of tax attorneys and CPAs to figure out how to avoid paying taxes. His sudden moralizing rings hollow.

    To make a lot of money you have to work very hard, give up more leisure time than the average worker and usually risk your own capital. Would most people do that if they knew that they will end up netting the same as the guy working 9 to 5 and has weekends off to spend with his family? I wouldn't. And I won't. Why should I work myself into an early grave for the benefit of your family instead of mine? I'm not unusual.

  • TDK

    I think it a mistake to assume that 76% all earn less that the 24%. Clearly many of the Hollywood royalty earn above the norm yet would support the tax.

    In my experience most of the people who oppose high taxes are those people on average incomes who resent the transfer of wealth from themselves to people who don't appear to have worked as hard. Having defended their own income from moochers they then sympathise with others on higher income.

    In contrast the super wealthy often have so much wealth that they feel guilty but rather than do the honest thing and give to charity they instead feel the need to proletyse.

  • The above misapplication of the Bible illustration notwithstanding (it is about giving from the heart), the restaurant illustration is a better representation. When the scales tip to the point that the minority of people vote themselves benefits at the expense of the majority, a democracy (or even a democratic republic, however distorted) is doomed. Recent events, and actions by our newly elected "rulers" show that we're at that tipping point.

  • The time will tell. But it seem to be the way.

  • DrTorch

    HS,
    You might want to consider these Biblical imperatives:

    Ex 23: 2 “You shall not follow the masses in doing evil, nor shall you testify in a dispute so as to turn aside after a multitude in order to pervert justice; 3 nor shall you be partial to a poor man in his dispute.

    Ex 30:15 "The rich shall not pay more and the poor shall not pay less than the half shekel, when you give the contribution to the LORD

    before you start trying to misinterpret Scripture

  • m.jed

    re: Buffett

    people who invoke the Oracle (and even the man himself) tend to forget his roughly 33% ownership of Berkshire Hathaway, which has, according to GAAP financial statements, accrued an average of $4.5 bn in income tax expense over each of the last 3 years. Somehow, I'm thinking Buffet's not factoring the 35% effective tax rate on his accrued income (which far dwarfs anything showing up in his W-2) when he says he pays a lower effective tax rate than his secretary.

    And if that's not enough, he really should have no credibility on taxing matters altogether, as he's an avid advocate for the estate tax, now that he's effectively sheltered his wealth from it by establishing his foundation.

  • loki on the run

    HS said:

    Who provides you those opportunities? I know it is not the government but the people. Not that I condone giving the government money to spend since they are so bad with it, but equality in taxes depends on the perspective.

    Should fish be grateful to the water for providing their sustaining life force? Should birds give thanks to the air?

    Should the lion give thanks to the wildebeast?

    What of those early humans? Should those lineages that could not speak as well as others have taxed the more verbally agile?

    It is abundantly clear that we will always be burdened by the unproductive, for which the productive should perhaps give thanks (imagine how hard it would be to get ahead if everyone was similarly productive), it is also clear that the unproductive will resent the abilities of the productive and will be readily exploitable by the political classes.

  • Prof Frink

    "imagine how hard it would be to get ahead if everyone was similarly productive"

    There is little to be gained in being "ahead" of the mediocre. If everyone was similarly productive, the world would be a much richer place, including you and me, whether or not we were "ahead".

  • very interesting topic...

  • HS

    Should we be grateful for our parents giving us life and providing for us? Should we be thankful for them protecting us as we cannot defend ourselves?

    Yet, in their age, they are unproductive and defenseless. Should we be obligated to return the favor? If we are expected to, do they resent us for our youth?

    From a different perspective, should we contribute to help run this country?
    Should we voluntarily contribute as in Mark 12:41-44 (new) or should there be forced contribution as in Exodus?

    Whether its time or money, whether its voluntary or forced, taxes are essential. If I crap in the water that I drink from to get ahead, shame on me, but I should still be thankful for the life it brings.

  • HS

    "The average age of the world's great civilizations has been two hundred years. These nations have progressed through the following sequence: from bondage to spiritual faith, from spiritual faith to great courage, from courage to liberty, from liberty to abundance, from abundance to selfishness, from selfishness to complacency from complacency to apathy, from apathy to dependency, from dependency back to bondage." Sir Alex Fraser Tyler

    Maybe democracy is doomed but it is only from the inside that it can be undone as predicted. When we turn contribution to forced contribution (giving vs taking) to preserve our future, the end of something is near. How do we prevent another cycle in the life and times of a nation?

  • K

    HS: A less detailed cycle than Tylers is illustrated in a Poussin painting. You you might find it interesting.

    "A Dance To The Music Of Time" by Poussin. Anthony Powell wrote a series of novels of the same name. I have the BBC series on DVD, about five hours, and rate it perhaps B+.

  • Methinks

    HS,

    You have a serious problem with logic. Your parents and your unproductive neighbour who guzzles bear all day instead of working are not the same. How do you not get that? Do you owe it to your neighbour to work a full day, taking time away from your kids and leisure activities, so that your neighbour can be kept at your expense?

    Whether its time or money, whether its voluntary or forced, taxes are essential.

    Nobody is claiming that we shouldn't pay taxes. If you tried to understand what others wrote and the bible verse you quoted, it would help you very much indeed.

  • karen

    If a person is ambitious enough to work hard and earn 250k a year I do not think it is right that I come in and say, "Here, give me some of that". If I were in the position of having to fork over whar I worked for to someone who chose to not work as hard, I would work less just to prevent the government from taking from me. The government takes enough of what I have already. But, read Agenda 21 which has been in the works since 1992, and which the current administration is taking more steps to actualize, towards global socilization. It is the "blueprint" to "equalize" the world order. Wake up America.

  • Zach

    "In my experience most of the people who oppose high taxes are those people on average incomes who resent the transfer of wealth from themselves to people who don’t appear to have worked as hard. Having defended their own income from moochers they then sympathise with others on higher income."

    It's not just that. I oppose high (and even moderate) taxes and have an average income. My major reasons are:

    a) When I was 22-24, I probably had a very high income (especially if you adjust it for regional cost of living; I live in a very low cost area) compared to other 22-24 year olds. Was I unfairly lucky? Was I another cog in the oppressive hetero-Caucasian patriarchy? No, I just majored in something that had high starting salary prospects. So if I majored in something that many people pass on because it's "too hard" or "needed too much math", and I reaped the benefits (or, more accurately, approximately 70% of the benefits) of it, what right do I have to say that other people (i.e. people more wealthy than I) owe me something? Somebody could have said the same thing about me when I was in my early 20's.

    b) (this is the bigger factor in my mind) I can't remember the last job offered to me by a poor person. If I think the government should take more from the wealthy, I am hurting myself, because those people and those companies could be the next ones to offer me a job and help me advance my career.

  • HS

    The argument is the bible verse does not apply because we feel taxes is taking rather than giving. It was just a rebuttle since we all need to give to our country to make it work. So, for this, I will be using "give" instead of "pay" to make my point.

    My point is the bible verse does play an important perspective. As a united country, we should be giving equal taxes. What is equal? Because I am wealthy, does giving 15% taxes vs someone who makes half and giving 15% equal? Or is it equal when I, the wealthy, give 50k in taxes vs that same person giving 50k in taxes?

    Should we have a seperate tax code for different tax brackets? You can call them seperate already. Is that equal? I guess we can call that "seperate but equal".