SHOULD MILLIONAIRES PAY MORE TAX?

This morning in the Rose Garden,  President Obama will  roll out his version of the “Buffett Rule”   This is so named because Warren Buffett does  not think he should be paying taxes at a lower rate than his hired help.  Mr. buffett claims he only paid 17.4 percent of his 2010 income in taxes.  His salaried office staff paid an average of 36 percent more than double the rate.

So this morning Obama will be announcing much higher taxes on the rich.  The GOP sees  this as the opening salvo in Obama’s  class war fare.  GOP Paul Ryan charges “class war fare may make for good politics, but it makes for rotten economics.

He may be right.  But Obama may be on the right side of  this issue.   Should not the rich pay their fair share?

By this tax measure, President’s Obama’s purpose is to strike a populist tone for the 2012 campaign and show his disgruntled Democratic base that he still shares heir core values.

Should millionaires pay more tax?

Is this a vote-getter for Obama?

What do you think?

47 Comments »

  1. 1
    Tony Kondaks Says:

    The top 1% of taxpayers pay 40% of all federal income taxes; the bottom 50% pay less than 3%.

    The rich should be paying LESS; the poor should be paying MORE.

    Buffet, a lifelong partisan Democrat, gave $40 billion TAX FREE to the Gates Foundation. When he was asked at the time why he didn’t pay the tax on it he replied that Gates would use his money more efficiently than the government.

    There. You have your answer.

  2. 2

    Bravo Tony! You’ve said it all!
    To clarify” “the rich should be paying less ” etc.
    I gather that is percentage.
    I agree.

  3. 3
    Tony Kondaks Says:

    Littlrpatti: you gather right.

  4. 4
    Neil McKenty Says:

    We have a situation in most coun tries in the western world where the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. Unl.ess this trend is reversed – and soon – there will be violence in the streets and blood in the gutters. When y ou are hanging from a lamp post with you tongue hanging out, you will have a clearer perspective on the rapaciousness of the rich at the expense of the common good.

  5. 5

    I think that’s a perception. There are so few extremely rich, it’s hardly worth mentioning & at least they provide jobs, and spend. What is changing now, is the disappearance of the middle class. And the poor are so dependent on welfare, that they have lost their way as steady contributors to society.
    I think that the whole system needs a retooling and it should start at the capable but chronically unemployed level. The “poor” have learned to navigate and exploit the system.
    If I’m wrong…how is it I see so many poor people smoking?

    BTW: I have sympathy for those who are “not capable” & on welfare- There should be far more to look after their needs. and there would be if the others would get outed.

  6. 6
    Neil McKenty Says:

    I take the view that the vast majority of the unemployed genuinely want to work if they could only find a job. As for those who are swindling the system they should be prosecuted and sentenced to hard labour.

  7. 7

    Neil: Why do I see so many “We’re hiring” signs in store/company windows?
    I can assure you, if I was unemployed I would find a job! It may not be my dream job, or it may fall short of my needs financially, (I’d get 2 jobs) or it may require retraining, or commuting or moving. But I would start over & be self supporting. (and self respecting).
    There are still jobs for people who are motivated to work. Our apple orchards need pickers. Vegetable farms need weeders, and Cdn. Tire, Rona, Costco, Walmart need clerks & cashiers. They may pay marginally more than welfare, but it looks better on a resume than nothing.
    I am so sick of hearing young people complain and collect!
    How do you prosecute lazy & entitled?

  8. 8

    PS: Thanks for the space to rant- Off topic, I know.

  9. 9
    Tony Kondaks Says:

    Neil writes:

    “…the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer.”

    No. The exact opposite is the case…if we are interested in measuring true poverty. Measuring either net worth or income — which is what Neil alludes to– has ZERO to do wirh poverty which should be a measure of access to the basic necessities of life…and there’s never been a time in human history in which the gap between the richest and the poorest gas been so small.

    Our western society is doing a lot of things wrong but treating the poor badly is not one of them.

  10. 10
    jim Says:

    There is something morally wrong with the structure of our society when a multi-millionaire pays the same price for a loaf of bread, as someone else, who has to pass on buying their pills or turning down the heat because politicians won’t raise taxes on the willing in order to lower the taxes on the needy.

  11. 11

    I understand that the “price of bread” in Westmount’s Metro Store is actually higher, along with most of their groceries.
    Most needy don’t pay any taxes.
    Tony, (stats guy) what is the Tax ceiling now? $25,000?

  12. 12
    Tony Kondaks Says:

    Not sure….couldn’t find stats on it.

  13. 13
    Tony Kondaks Says:

    jim:

    What’s the point in getting rich if you then have to pay a proportionately higher price for all the goods and services you consume?

    This is the kind of the convoluted, class-warfare kind of reasoning one expects to come out of the mouth of Barack Obama, not normal, rational people.

    Speaking of which…even Obama’s hometown Chicago Democrats see what a disaster he is and are calling for him to step down:

    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/09/19/chicago-editorial-writer-suggests-obama-step-down-after-first-term/

  14. 14

    “What’s the point in getting rich if you then have to pay a proportionately higher price for all the goods and services you consume?”

    Good question! What IS the point of getting rich?

    We need to move to a different way of demonstrating the “winners” of the game. Instead of money, let’s simply award points that are NOT CURRENCY. Using currency as a way of marking one’s progress creates a classist system that ensures that some people will die because they just cannot afford to live.

    If everyone paid the same percentage of their income for everything — taxes, housing, recreation, food, clothing, etc. — there would be NO classism. And those who want to charge ahead and “win” their personal little games could do so without disturbing those of us who don’t want to play the bloody games in the first place…

  15. 15
    Tony Kondaks Says:

    Lady Janus and jim: you are soul mates. Socialist soul-mates.

    I can’t believe we are even HAVING this discussion in the year 2011. Didn’t the history of the past century mean anything to you?

    Nuttiness, I expected from jim. But Lady Janus…

  16. 16
    Tony Kondaks Says:

    Neil writes:

    “Unless this trend is reversed –and soon –there will be violence in the streets and blood in the gutters. When you are hanging from a lamp post with your tongue hanging out…”

    I actually agree with Neil on the apocalyptic vision he has painted. But I disagree as to what will be the cause.

    Poor people don’t give a rat’s ass about any wealth gap; never have, never will. What they DO care about is eating, and shelter, etc. 50 million are on food stamps in Obama’s America. If because of his, Bush’s, and every other politician spending us into debt we will soon, if interest rates go up, be spending so much just to service the debt that there simply won’t be enough to take care of the poor.

    And it won’t be because the rich aren’t paying their fair share because they already are.

  17. 17

    Lady J. What you propose above sounds like Communism.
    I don’t agree.
    I like capitalism, I like having money (as opposed to not), I like all the “perks” in my life and I do contribute & donate an appropriate portion.

    I wonder what shape the USA would be in if Bush had not embarked on the Iraq war. That and Afghanistan must have & be costing billions. That money could be feeding & sheltering many poor.
    What a great topic! 🙂

  18. 18

    Somebopdy please be so kind as to explain how a solution to a growing problem is either “socialist” or “communist.”

    And THEN ‘splain why that would be a bad thing. If it were true. Which it’s not.

    Not that I agree with your too-fast assessments. ‘Cause I don’t.

    I, too, like having money. It comes in handy when it’s time to pay the rent or the mortgage. But why is it that some folks have to pay nearly all their income for rent and then depend on food stamps to eat…and then all they can afford to eat is starch and preservatives instead of fresh fruits and vegetables? Adhering to this imbalance simply means you are in agreement with the class system that is in place so you can look down your toffee noses at “the poor” and be smug about your own temporary immunity from having to actually associate with them…or maybe even TOUCH them…

  19. 19
    Tony Kondaks Says:

    Lady J:

    It’s not that what you describe in your last post isn’t either true or injust, it’s only that what you proposed as a solution has been tried, it is communistic in flavour, and not only does it not work but it would, if implemented, do much greater harm to those that you profess sympathy for.

    And at this stage of the ballgame — with everything we know that has happened in the last century — it really should be beyond debate.

    To paraphrase Sir Winston Churchill: the free market system is the very worst economic system there is, except every other one.

  20. 20

    Thanks Tony: The voice of reason.
    LJ:
    I don’t look down my nose, in fact I am very involved. Today, I am cooking for a family of 8 in distress. I also shopped for supplies for our food counter at church. A tiny church in the country, we feed many families every month, and make their lives healthier and easier. We also have a street mission for the homeless in Montreal, and provide aid ($) in well-digging projects, schools in Viet Nam, and hygiene kits for disaster areas.
    What have you done lately? Aside from pontificating.
    I can’t solve the problems in the world.
    I won’t apologize that I am not impoverished. And I won’t impoverish myself.

  21. 21
    Tony Kondaks Says:

    Neil, I was wondering whether you were inspired to write your comments about possible violence from Michael Moore’s recrnr remarks. See:
    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2011/09/22/michael_moore_threatens_the_rich_lets_deal_with_it_nonviolently_now.html

  22. 22

    Tony, communist-flavored doesn’t make it communism any more than strawberry-flavored makes it a strawberry. And what I propose has not been tried because I have not yet finished proposing it.

    But you didn’t answer my questions: WHY do you think the label, “communist” fits what I said, and then WHY is that such a bad thing? What is it about the word, “communism” that makes folks with money more skittish than a room full of spiders?

    Patti, If you didn’t have such “good works” about which to brag, whatever would you do with yourself? You’re not involved…you’re on the margins. If you were actually involved, you’d live in the same neighborhood and shop at the same stores and eat the same food and your kids would go to the same schools. You know — actually LIVE there.

  23. 23

    I didn’t mean to brag. I apologize.
    I wanted to point out, that at any age, energy & income level, we can all contribute to a better society.
    I am very well aware of lower income neighbourhoods & the challenges there.

    I don’t need to live in East end Vancouver, where all the “good, interesting” people live, to have empathy. I don’t need to live in Africa to know that they are suffering without drinking water or in Viet Nam where they can’t go on to a high school.

  24. 24

    Patti, you’re “aware” of lower-income neighborhoods. I live in one. And, thanks to all the gentrification going on, it’s shrinking fast, and those who cannot afford to live here now are going homeless. You want to be involved? Get on the backs of the developers and the politicians are tell them to stop marginalizing citizens! Stop handing out freebies and start helping folks to help themselves provide their own freebies.

    Empathy costs you nothing, and it keeps you uninvolved. And try focusing your energies on the people at home…helping them get on their feet will also help those in other countries.

    Oh, and by the way…for anyone who cares to answer: WHY are there separate neighborhoods for those with and without financial resources?

  25. 25
    jim Says:

    That’s no lady, that’s Janus.
    Littlepatti – A long time ago, someone wrote about you know who, her motto is “I don’t know and I don’t want to know”, and the writ, about abusers, goes somethig like this. ” If the creature must make her way over the tombs of illustrious women, disfiguring the records of their greatness, it is right to point out the abuser, so that she may be flung back to the situation which nature designed – a place where she will waste her life away.
    BTW – One can rarely help people who live in a ghetto, if they themselves live in the ghetto, because the can’t’ see the problems. Those of us,’to the manor born’, can volunteer to help people out of the ditch and put them on the road to happy destiny. If we happen to have pulled ourselves out of the ditch by our own bootstraps thru perseverance, or with the help of an angel, and we look back to see where we came from, we might find that we are now in a position where we can help others.

  26. 26

    In a previous comment, you suggest that I actually “live there” and now you complain of a gentrification of poor neighbourhoods.
    Wouldn’t you call that a mixed neighbourhood?
    I don’t intend to get on the “backs of developers & politicians” and “tell” them anything. I also don’t intend to stop aiding people in other countries. Some of the “have not”s would give anything to live in our ghettos & get food stamps and government welfare.
    BTW: When I was young (younger), I lived very marginally in a rooming house in downtown Montreal. (On Dorchester, near Tupper) No one needs to point out to me what it’s like to live from pay check to pay check. I never took welfare, but I did go to my local store and negotiate to buy food for Christmas, giving my watch & rings for collateral. I don’t think my story is unique. Many Canadians “made do” and worked hard to improve their lives and that of their families.
    I wouldn’t go back to live among the psychopaths, drunks, and addicts you profess such a fondness for on other blogs.

    My mother used to say “If you lay down with dogs, you may get up with fleas”.

    PS: Thanks Jim- Not many angels, but lots of perseverance. It’s a Canadian thing…eh?

  27. 27

    Patti, your problem is that you don’t see the addicts and alcoholics and poor people as being just people. You think they’re not like you. You “visited” their cicumstances for awhile and then you escaped.

    Well, congratulations. But they can’t escape. People like you won’t let them.

  28. 28
    Tony Kondaks Says:

    Lady J asjs me:

    “But you didn’t answer my questions: WHY do you think the label, “communist” fits what I said, and then WHY is that such a bad thing? What is it about the word, “communism” that makes folks with money more skittish than a room full of spiders?”

    “Communist” fits what you said — that everyone should pay the saome percentage of their income for the things they consume (housing, recreation, food, etc.) — because it reflects PERFECTLY the maxim of communism which is “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need”. If a pauper only need pay the same percentage of his income for a Park Avenue penthouse as Donald Trump, why should he be prevented from living there?

    It is a bad thing because there is no incentive for anyone to work hard, be entrepreneurial, or do anything out of the ordinary if all the pleaures of life are available for X% of a dollar as it is for X% of a million dollars.

    The word “communism” makes people skittish because it is akin to stealing, not to mention having a track record of creating untold sufffering, inequality, and death.

  29. 29
    Tony Kondaks Says:

    Lady J also asks:

    “Oh, and by the way…for anyone who cares to answer: WHY are there separate neighborhoods for those with and without financial resources?”

    Because to do otherwise would be communistic.

    See previous post for explanation.

  30. 30
    jim Says:

    Has anyone noticed that the Socialists won the vote this week in France, and are now the controlling governing body for the next 7 months.

  31. 31

    “Because to do otherwise would be communistic.”

    Why? Put some thought into it, willya?

  32. 32
    Tony Kondaks Says:

    As I wrote, the previous post explains what I mean.

  33. 33

    No it doesn’t. Your previous post simply compiles a bunch of thoughts from others, accepts them as true, mashes them all together, and then spits them out again.

    What if your assumptions aren’t true? If everyone MUST pay 25% of their income towards clean, solid, warm shelter, where do you read that they may not pay more for luxury shelter if they can afford it? Donald Trump can still have his mansions, and the folks now living on the street will have homes. Or don’t you think people have a right to have homes?

    Try dropping all your assumptions based on what other people have already thought, and start thinking for yourself. It starts with, “What if…?”

  34. 34
    Tony Kondaks Says:

    No, Lady J, I am simply following the logic of your arguments t their rational conclusions.

    Building owner Mr. X charges $10,000/month for a penthouse suite. According to you, prospective tenants can only pay the exact same percentage of their income for rent as every other person in society. Let’s say for argument’s sake that universal rent percentage is 10%. So ONLY those people who make EXACTLY $1.2 million a year (and not a penny more or a penny less) are prospective tenants. So you cut the potential market for tenants from thousands of people down to, literally, two or three people on the planet. As such, the landlord would have to keep cutting the monthly rent figure down until he reaches an amount that reflects exactly 10% of an annual income amount that represents a pool of income earners large enough to be an adequate market to rent to.

    There are logical consequences, Lady J, to the lofty ideas that you come up with that must work in the real world.

    You may want to think your ideas through prior to posting them. In this case, I’ve done the heavy lifting for you.

  35. 35
    jim Says:

    Tony – Re Lady Janus’ “What if…?” What if she doesn’t understand a single word you just wrote.

  36. 36

    WOW! Lady J. You are “so far up there” where the air is thin…

  37. 37
    John Says:

    Actually from where I sit, her feet are frimly planted on the ground.

    In any attempt to formulate a world view different from the past, labels that carry with them an overload of historical baggage are of little use, leading as they do to divergence rather than consensus. They derail the discussion before it ever begins.

    As a result, it becomes impossible to answer Tony’s question – “What is the point in getting rich if…..?”

    If the rules of the game change.

    If the rules of the game change, Mr. X’s need/desire to charge $10,000/month for an apartment become complete folly rather than a wise investment.

    The following article maintains that after the financial collapse of 2008 we had an opportunity to re-examine the goals of the game, but failed to do so, a fact that has led young people around the world to protest, including those on Wall Street.

    “It seemed the time had come to rethink everything: the very nature of markets, money, debt; to ask what an “economy” is actually for. This lasted perhaps two weeks. Then, in one of the most colossal failures of nerve in history, we all collectively clapped our hands over our ears and tried to put things back as close as possible to the way they’d been before.”

    http://www.alternet.org/story/152526/with_no_future_visible,_young_activists_have_few_options_but_to_%22occupy_wall_street%22/

    This discussion is simply too important to get lost in a lot of meaningless name-calling. In fact, it encourages me greatly to see that there are still young people out there who consider Tony’s question to be important enough to want an answer.

  38. 38
    Tony Kondaks Says:

    John, I haven’t had time to read your link. But I would caurion you in buying into the media myth that the cause of the ’08 financial disaster was greed and frer markets.

    It was neither.

    Indeed, I would make the argument that it was the LACK of free markets and too much government regulation that was its cause.

  39. 39
    John Says:

    Tony, I subscribe neither to the theory that the collapse came as a result of greed nor as a result of government regulations, but rather that it came as the result of an economic system having reached its expiry date.

  40. 40

    “No, Lady J, I am simply following the logic of your arguments t their rational conclusions.”

    No you’re not. You’re trying to INVENT the arguments you have not yet heard or read. Don’t do that. It only makes you look feeble.

  41. 41

    Thank you, John — you seem to be able to think a little ahead. I was waiting for Tony and Co. to settle down a bit before I sprang the changing parameters bit on them, but, oh, well, nicely said.

    Tony may very well go into psychological shock when he finally understands that the future is not in the hands of folks who “make money” simply by having it. And that raising the price of property does not make the residents a better class of folks — it simply breeds a more expensive vandal, as the management companies in my own neighborhood are finding out.

    All around the world, a sour economy, invented by those now struggling to maintain their “superior” statuses, is prompting those with less ready cash to stand up and be counted. In some countries, it’s actual armed rebellion. We in North America have not yet gotten to that stage, but if things don’t change when we politely insist, we just might. The Wall Street camp-out is getting tetchy, folks. Pay attention when we say you ain’t as “special” as you thinks you is…

  42. 42

    Patti, if the air is thin where I am, at least it’s clean, and I can breathe…

  43. 43
    Tony Kondaks Says:

    I visited John’s link. Nothing in terms of solutions or alternatives to rhe existing system but, like Lady J, ready and eager to blame the money people on Wall Street.

    Go ahead. Try and reinvent the wheel for all I care. But the fault and the debt lies far, FAR away from Wall Street.

  44. 44
    jim Says:

    Lady Janus – When the air is thin and clean, it is known as hot air.

  45. 45

    Q: Lady J asked: ‘WHY are there separate neighborhoods for those with and without financial resources?”
    A:
    I started to reply to this, and I can’t. It’s just too stupid for words.

  46. 46

    Tony, I actually wasn’t blaming Wall Street. This problem started long before Wall Street was ever clear-cut. And why would we want to re-invent something that has simply gone flat? We need to FIX it, not throw it out. And you’re right, it starts with debt…guess whose?

    Jim: wrong. Hot air is dirty. It picks up every little pice of crap it can lift and brings it along. But when you get tired of simply tossing around insults, come join the conversation, hm? You must have an idea tucked away somewhere…

    Patti: Do try. Don’t label it stupid just because you don’t have a quick one-liner comeback. That’s a copout, not worthy of someone who can actually think, which I know you can.

  47. 47

    You made some decent points there. I did a search on the subject and found most individuals will agree with your website.


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