Obama and the Buffett Rule Explained- Facts and Deception

Buffett and President Obama at the Oval Office, July 14, 2010
Buffett and President Obama at the Oval Office, July 14, 2010

The Buffett Rule Tax Proposition - A Political Gimmick

Editorial from the Curmudgeon's desk - April 10, 2012

President Obama has made "taxing the rich" one of the major planks of his reelection campaign, and using the so-called "Buffett Rule*" to highlight the apparent inequities of the U.S. tax code - he has tapped into a popular sentiment. But is he playing too fast and loose with the facts? Will the real facts of the Buffett's vs. his secretary's tax comparison validate his contentions, or expose his efforts as demagoguery of the rich?

*Paying a Fair Share Act of 2012, commonly known as the "Buffett Rule", or the "Millionaire's Tax," would require "high-income earners" to pay a minimum tax rate, (30% is the proposed number), regardless of the source of income or legal deductions available.

Warren Buffett started the controversy with an editorial comment that he paid a lower tax rate than his secretary, and from there the issue went viral. The facts that not only was he incorrect, but he was also making an "apples and oranges" comparison, didn't seem to matter. Here was one of the world's richest men complaining about his low taxes - a godsend to an administration whose mantra was "the rich must pay their fair share."

The Buffett tax rate controversy

As any veteran politician will tell you, it's not the facts that are important - it's the perception of those facts, and in the controversy stirred by Mr. Buffett's comments that he pays a lower tax rate than his secretary, the truth of that political adage is obviously apparent.

Fair sentiment - Unfair portrayal

It may seem like a mere case of semantics, and the contention that millionaires, (rich people), should pay more taxes can be popularly defended, but the statements made in this ABC News video are at best misleading, and at worst intentionally deceptive and incorrect.

Warren Buffett does not pay a lower tax rate than his secretary. At least not to the proportions stated. Perhaps a percentage point or two, but not the doubling, 17.4% vs. 35.88% as stated in the video. As a percentage of total income, his rate of taxation is lower than that of his secretary, but it is not due to a special lower tax rate for millionaires - it is due to the type of income taxed and the structure of the U.S. Tax code.

Since in politics, appearances are everything - nobody is pointing out that two different types of taxes are being discussed. Capitol Gains taxes vs. Federal Income taxes. If the same comparisons were made, but using the same type of taxes, then the results would be very different.

Warren Buffett's income is from investments and dividends and are taxed at the 15% capitol gains tax rate. If his secretary, Debbie Bosanek's income were from the same sources - she would pay exactly the same tax rate as Mr. Buffett - the 15% Capitol gains tax rate.

And, if Mr. Buffet's income was from earned income, either in wages or other compensations, he would pay the top Federal Income tax rate of 35%, whereas Ms. Bosanek's Federal Income tax rate on her wage and compensation income is estimated to be in the 20% - 25% tax bracket. (based on an estimated salary of $60,000 per year)

The facts are that two different types of taxation are being compared as if they were the same. The issue is further clouded by the inclusion of Ms. Bosanek's payroll taxes liabilities on her earnings - taxes Mr. Buffet's income is not subject to.

Fairness and the Buffett Rule Tax Proposal

Without addressing the specifics of each one's tax liabilities, and presenting the comparison as an overview, President Obama has turned the issue into one of fairness - a theme that resonates with Americans struggling through these tough economic times.

Buufett's Tax Rate vs. Buffet's Tax Amount

Admittedly, Warren Buffett's secretary's taxes are her own business, and should only be discussed specifically if she chooses to release her information, but in the "Buffett Rule" controversy - much has been made about the fact that she purportedly pays a higher rate of taxes than her billionaire boss. It has been pointed out that this contention is not based on equal comparisons, but what are the facts if tax dollars paid were discussed instead of tax rates?

Based on an assumed, (reliably sourced as a typical salary for her circumstances), annual salary of $60,000, and assuming that she took only the most minimal standard deductions, (a personal exemption of $3700 and a standard deduction of $5800, producing a "taxable income" of $50,500), Ms. Bosanek's Federal Income tax liability would be in the neighborhood of $8750, or 14.6% of her annual salary. Not so far from Mr. Buffett's 15% Capitol Gains tax rate.

To complete the picture, Buffett's secretary also had to pay payroll and medicare taxes of approx. $3390, ($2520 Social Security taxes and $870 Medicare taxes), which brings her total tax liability for the year to $12,140 or 20.2%. Again, not so far from her boss' rate, and a far cry from the "claimed" 35.8%.

Note: the ABC News video, linked above), does not explain how it reached the 35.8% tax rate for Ms. Bosanek. Even using the documented IRS tax bracket of 25%, (for $60,000 income - before deductions), and the 6% Payroll tax numbers - the 35.8% figure is still unexplained.

Mr. Buffet's income for 2010 was given as $62,000,000. On which he paid a 17.4% tax rate, producing a tax liability to the U.S. government of $10,788,000*.

*Note: It has not been confirmed that this tax liability has paid.

By appearances, it seems that the demagoguery of the tax inequity may not be exactly as portrayed. $11,000,000 is a pretty hefty share to pay, regardless of its percentage value.

Congressional Budget Office Tax Analysis Report

Since statistics can easily be "spun" to present different interpretations - to support different positions, it is important to also know the source of the data being used. The tax vs. income ratio chart below is from the U.S. Congressional Budget office, (CBO).

Note: This chart is for fiscal year 2007, the latest data compilation available, but more recent auxiliary CBO reports document that individual tax rates, relative to proportions of income ratios have remained stable since 2007.

Source

The truth vs. the "Buffett Rule" presentation

Notes: In this officially released Congressional Budget Office Report:

  • Total U.S. earned income is divided into five "quintiles" (groups) - from lowest incomes earned to highest
  • The light blue bars represent the percentage of a group's income relative to the total U.S. income earned
  • The light brown bars represent the percentage of a group's income tax liability relative to the total U.S. income taxes paid

Comparing real, actual income tax liabilities to the picture painted by President Obama's "Buffett Rule" speeches and comments yields too many contradictions to make it likely that the president is unaware of the deceptive nature of his comments.

  • He speaks of high-income earners needing to pay their "fair share" of taxes, when in fact his own CBO documents that although the highest quintile, (income bracket), earn 55.8% of the total U.S. income, they pay 68.9% of all Federal income tax monies received by the government.
  • He speaks of millionaires and billionaires, (the 1%), needing to pay their "fair share" of taxes, but once again the CBO documents that the top 1% of income earners earn 19.4% of total U.S. income - but pay 28.1% of all Federal income taxes received

These CBO report numbers seem to indicate that millionaires, billionaires, and the rest of the "high-income" earners are already paying a pretty hefty "fair share" of Federal income taxes. This appears to contradict the picture the president is painting in his promotion of the the "Buffett Rule" tax solution.

Couple this data with the related issue of Mr. Buffett's 10-year, $1 Billion dollar tax fight with the IRS, (he has been in litigation with the IRS since 2002 over $1,000,000,000 in tax debts), and his angst over the inequities of his tax rate vs. his secretary's, and Mr. Obama's adoption of his cause as an issue of "fairness" seem to lose much of their validity.

President Obama's "Buffett Rule" Statements

It would be difficult to find anyone that would not agree that the U.S. tax code needs reform. It is finding two people that agree on what that reform should be that is difficult.

Given that, depending on which source you quote, the top 10% of taxpayers already pay 40% to 46% of all Federal taxes, and approx. 45% of Americans pay no Federal taxes, President Obama's "Buffett Rule" rhetoric is, at the least, disingenuous, and at worst, outright deception.

If the president is serious about tackling tax reform and the deficit, he should be proposing real tax code reform, not pandering to the emotions of class and wealth envy. It has been said that a lie is not a lie if at the time you say it you did not know it to be false. President Obama knows exactly what he is saying, what he is doing, and how the "masses" will perceive it.

As an individual, most people would be insulted if someone thought they could tell them anything they wanted, just because they thought the listener was too stupid to know better.

Where is the outrage of insult? Are we getting what we deserve? Or, is President Obama telling the truth, and non-believers are just too brainwashed by the conservative-right to see the truth?

To remove any doubt of bias...

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About the Author

Reporting for the Daily Constitutional, and providing articles for various online publishing sites are my primary work responsibilities, but it is the freelance editorials from the Curmudgeon's desk that provide the most satisfaction. - GAA

See more of my writings at:

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Obama and the Buffett Rule - Facts and Deception Comments 32 comments

Old Poolman profile image

Old Poolman 4 years ago from Rural Arizona

GA - Outstanding job of reporting on this one. The sad thing is the people Obama is reaching out for believe every word he speaks. Most of them are not fact checkers, and have a problem seeing through the errors in what he is telling them. Just more of his "hooray for us and screw you" stuff he is so good at. No doubt this will buy him a few votes which is all he really cares about.


GA Anderson profile image

GA Anderson 4 years ago from USA Author

@Old Poolman - Thanks for reading, and good to hear from you again.

Unfortunately you are correct, there are too many people that will believe him simply because his message resonates with their emotional state - facts be damned.

But that's life, always has been that way - and probably always will.

GA


Gusser 4 years ago

Inciting class warfare is the way he plans to remain in power. Barring that the occupiers will create a need for martial law.


GA Anderson profile image

GA Anderson 4 years ago from USA Author

Greetings Gusser - thanks for the read and comment

I too think the run-up to the election will see more OWS activity. And I agree that Pres. Obama's game plan seems to be divide and conquer - too bad he has to use misinformation and deception to do it.

GA


politicalzealot profile image

politicalzealot 4 years ago from Atlanta, GA

I agree that there is some deception in the argument about the Buffett Rule. The rule is designed not to raise revenue or to drastically alter the current tax code, but instead to make the system appear more 'fair'. In fact, the top 1% already pays close to 30% on average.

I agree we need fundamental tax reform. The one thing I like about the Buffett Rule is that it actually is a step in the right direction if you break it down to its basics and apply it across the board. What it does is set a minimum effective tax rate, thus capping itemized deductions to 5% total (since the top rate is 35%). It also treats all income as income regardless of its source.

If we took those two fundamental changes and applied them across the board while simplifying the tax code to three brackets for individuals, which I propose to be set at 10%, 20%, and 35%, and 15% to 20% for corporate taxes, we could drastically alter our tax code to make it simpler, more transparent, and appear more 'fair'.

This proposal treat all income the same and would cap deductions to a maximum of 5%. This means the minimum effective tax rates would be set at 5%, 15%, and 30% for individuals and 10% to 15% for businesses. I would eliminate enough deductions and make the 5% the exception not the rule. I would expect the average person or business would be able to reduce their effective rate by 2% to 3%.

If the Buffett Rule was applied across the board like this and we eliminated deductions and capped their maximum allowance, it could actually be a very good thing. We could have our fundamental tax reform, which makes the code simpler, more transparent, and 'fair'.

What do you think?


GA Anderson profile image

GA Anderson 4 years ago from USA Author

@politicalzealot, thanks for the visit and thoughtful comment

But... although I see merit in your concept - I prefer no affiliation with the "Buffett Rule" moniker - it is already tainted by the machinations of the Democrats

I too see no problem with all income being treated as one. If for no other reason than the one you stated - the appearance of equability.

And for those that want to espouse the "it's already been taxed once" line, in defense of the capitol gains rate - no, it has not. The tax is on the gains, not the investment.

And to the ones that postulate capitol investors will abandon the investment market if the rates were higher, I agree and disagree. If the capitol gains rate were 50%+ there may be some merit in that observation, but I don't think a 30% CG rate will chase anybody out of the market.

As for the rest of your tax rate proposals, hmmm... I am a flat rate or fair tax advocate, so most progressive rate plans fail [i]my[/i] fairness test

thanks for taking the time for to offer such a germane response

GA


politicalzealot profile image

politicalzealot 4 years ago from Atlanta, GA

Thanks for the response GA. I figured you wouldn't like the Buffett name part. My inspiration came from it because in reality it does fundamentally change how we tax. The problem is it is limited to only a certain subset of the population.

The bottom line is we need tax reform. Fundamental tax reform. I would go along with a flat tax or the FairTax. They are both good fundamental changes to our current system. The difference is this one may be easier to swallow because it keeps aspects of the current system in place, while substantially changing aspects that need revision.


Gusser 4 years ago

Obamas newest tax returned showed he paid 20% in tax. That's less than MY Secretary paid. If he feels the need to pay more, WHY didn't he? Leaders lead by example. Rulers rule.


Old Poolman profile image

Old Poolman 4 years ago from Rural Arizona

No doubt at all about the need for tax reform. I have seen a great number of tax reform proposals, almost any of which would be better than what we have now.

Those who pay no tax now are not in favor of tax reform. Those who pay a very low rate in spite of high incomes are not in favor of tax reform. So that leaves those of us in the middle who now pay the bulk of the taxes wanting reform. I doubt it will ever happen. For one thing, those who now make their living deciphering the complex tax codes would then be unemployed. The IRS would need far fewer employees, and this would add to the unemployment numbers. Nope, it most likely will never happen.


politicalzealot profile image

politicalzealot 4 years ago from Atlanta, GA

For the record, the "you can always write the treasury a check if you want to pay more taxes" argument is the dumbest argument I have ever heard. It completely ignores the whole point that our tax code is broken and needs reform. If you want to use that argument fine. I would rather talk about ways to reform the code.


wba108@yahoo.com profile image

wba108@yahoo.com 4 years ago from upstate, NY

Voted up and awesome, this is one of the best political I've ever read on Hubpages and I believe all your arguments are sound and reasonable!

One more point about the comparison between the tax rates of Buffett and his secretary is that social security tax should not be included in the tax rate comparison because its supposed to be a trust fund contribution and not a tax. At least this is what the liberals have been insisting on since social security began. Proportionally, social security is a much greater benefit to Buffett's secretary than to Buffett therefore any comparison using social security tax is very misleading!

Buffett only pays social security tax on the first 104k of his income whereas his secretary tax rate appears higher because she pays social security tax on all her income.


wba108@yahoo.com profile image

wba108@yahoo.com 4 years ago from upstate, NY

politicalzealot- I see nothing dumb about Buffett putting his money were his mouth is, he owes one billion in back taxes! If he really believes in his cause this would set a great example!


GA Anderson profile image

GA Anderson 4 years ago from USA Author

@wba108 - thanks for the visit and thoughtful and kind comment

also, you are right about the proportional benefit of the Social Security "contribution"

GA


wba108@yahoo.com profile image

wba108@yahoo.com 4 years ago from upstate, NY

"To complete the picture, Buffett's secretary also had to pay payroll and medicare taxes of approx. $3390, ($2520 Social Security taxes and $870 Medicare taxes), which brings her total tax liability for the year to $12,140 or 20.2%. Again, not so far from her boss' rate, and a far cry from the "claimed" 35.8%."

Wow, even using buffett's own misleading facts and numbers, it still doesn't add up! Buffett and the president must belief poeple aren't smart enough, to run thier numbers, what an insult!


GA Anderson profile image

GA Anderson 4 years ago from USA Author

@wba108 - thanks for the return visit.

I can see where your heart is, but the numbers were from an ABC News report - not Obama's team. Unless of course, you consider ABC part of his team. Which may not be such a crazy thought.

GA


politicalzealot profile image

politicalzealot 4 years ago from Atlanta, GA

wb, ignoring certain taxes because they do not contribute to your narrative is not honest in anyway. Medicare payroll taxes are taxes. Taking them out of the equation doesn't change the fact that they are taxes, only your inaccurate number of effective tax rate.


wba108@yahoo.com profile image

wba108@yahoo.com 4 years ago from upstate, NY

politicalzealot- Medicare tax if you can call it a tax, is less than a third of social security tax so including that into the formula doesn't significantly change things!


RW 4 years ago

You act as if facts should only matter to those with whom you disagree.


Credence2 profile image

Credence2 4 years ago from Florida (Space Coast)

Fair article, GA, while the wealthy may pay even the 12% claimed by Romney, this is progressive income tax system, the more you make the larger percentage you pay. While 20% is ok for a secy that makes $60,000.00, the parity in the charts seem to seems to indicate that the well heeled are paying at this same rate. They, of course overwhelm us all because of the sheer magnitude of their tax liability and payments, but the nuts and bolts are still the same.

They should be paying more as a percentage of total income and I don't see why those that earn through capital gains should enjoy that advantage. Conservatives always say these job creators need their money to create opportunity, tell me, GA, is that justification for their enjoying a lower tax rate on their income than say one who makes 100k, just because their income is a result of capital gains?

You say the disparity is in the tax code and not the taxes that each economic group pays, well maybe it is time to change the tax code to remove the advantage the well heeled seem to enjoy.


GA Anderson profile image

GA Anderson 4 years ago from USA Author

@Credence2 - thanks for the visit and comment, glad to hear from you again.

First, so that the direction of my response is not mistaken - I don't have a problem with treating all income the same - if it was an across-the-board application.

I do have a problem with taxes directed at folks just because they are rich.

Not sure where you got the 12% figure - all the data I could find quoted 13.9% for 2010, and projected 15.4% for 2011. (for Romney)

but... how progressive should the tax system be?

And where do you place the line between regular and "well-heeled" tax payers?

For example: Buffett is obviously well-heeled, and managed to pay 17.4% on his capitol gains income.

You appear to support the 30% "Buffett Rule" tax rate. So if his secretary, (Ms. Bosanek), obviously not "well-heeled" at 60k/annum, managed to save $6000, (10%), to invest, and luckily doubles her money - should she also be taxed at 30% on her $6000 capitol gains?

And further, suppose Ms. Bosanek continued to make profitable re-investments, at what point does she become "well-heeled?"

I don't think a 30% capitol gains rate is outrageous, or as dangerous to the economy as the Republicans say. But I do have problems with a progressive tax rate that is progressive only because you can afford it.

There is much talk of "fair share." Well what is your idea of a "fair share?" the CBO charts seem to indicate the upper high-income earners are already paying a "fair share," in fact, the data shows they are essentially carrying the U.S. tax burden for the rest of us.

But you want more? How much? 40%? 50%? More?

Yes, you are right, the tax code does need to be tossed out and redone. I think a flat tax, or the "Fair Tax" plan would be much more equitable for everyone.

But no, I do not think the "rich" should pay more just because they can. The purpose of taxes should be to support the nation's needs - not to regulate or promulgate wealth parity.

No matter how idealistic someone's views, there will always be superstar performers and lazy gold-brickers. I don't support a tax system that intends to make the performers support the non-performers - just because they can afford it.

still, always nice to hear from you :)

GA


Old Poolman profile image

Old Poolman 4 years ago from Rural Arizona

The intent of taxes is to provide money to support the various government who receive these funds. When we discuss being fair, we need to keep simple math in mind.

That is that 20% of a few million dollars is way more money than say 20% of 60,000 dollars. By virtue of the size of their incomes, the rich are paying in more dollars that someone with a smaller income. Percentages by themselves can be deceptive. And we rarely talk about the huge percentage of people who pay ZERO %.


philabustah profile image

philabustah 4 years ago from Boston, MA.

Instead of getting into a whole lotta houpla soup, how's about you explain how since the tax rates for the nation's wealthiest have gone down and down, (Reagan on..), the national debt has gone up and up. That's easy arithmetic, and easily proven as well. I can't believe you're saying it's misleading because one pays capital gains and another payroll. How is that misleading? Also, I notice you make no mention of how exponential Mr. Buffet's salary is compared to his secretary's. Things are relative my friend. It's ridiculous. She'd need to work several lifetimes to make what he makes in a year. Are you serious? I can't even believe you're serious. I think our disheartened wealthy should find another country. Ahhhhh, but then they wouldn't make all those millions and billions....would they?


GA Anderson profile image

GA Anderson 4 years ago from USA Author

@philabustah - thanks for the visit, and passionate comment.

However, it does not appear that a rational dialog is possible. And for several reasons; ie. an increasing national debt is not proportionally related to tax rates. The more influential driver is spending.

As to comparing capitol gains to income taxes, yes it is an apples and oranges comparison. It is unclear how you can see it otherwise, unless you feel, as I do, that our tax code is a train wreck that needs to be cleaned up.

Also unclear is the relevance of Buffet's income (it isn't a salary), to his secretary's, unless of course you think everyone should make the same salary/income. Which I can only hope is not your vision of the ideal. So what is the pertinent point to how much each makes? Are you speaking relative to tax rates, or what you think is "fair?"

As for the need for someone finding another country, perhaps that is a point we could agree on, although we probably don't have the same "someone" in mind.

As a last point, yes it is a shame that only in America can someone become a millionaire or billionaire. (too bad no one told the Russians, Chinese, or Mexicans that are on the top 10 world's richest men list.

Thanks again for the visit. Drop by anytime.

GA


philabustah profile image

philabustah 4 years ago from Boston, MA.

Ah, unless you're smart enough to know the train wreck was created by governance of and for the rich to help them pay 17% instead of 30%. Yes, that's right. As for the relevance--it's totally relevant. Because a government spends more, does it mean that it's bigger government? I think not. We both know about the spending...it's cronyism of the rich for the rich, pure and simple. As for capital gains versus payroll taxes. The difference is huge my friend. Shame you can't see it. I noticed how you completely forgot about the 7.5% the vast majority pay of their "whole" income for social security, that the rich do not. Talk facts. You can't back down from that. Nor can you back down from the fact the US rich pay the smallest tax percentage of any industrialized nation...as low or as small as the majority. Yet, you have grienvances? I think this to be extremely unpatriotic. The costs of everyday needs go up and up. Isn't it normal to assume that governance should cost more as well?


GA Anderson profile image

GA Anderson 4 years ago from USA Author

@philabustah - thanks for the return visit, unfortunately it is obvious we have very different perspectives - which preclude any rational conversation.

GA


Old Poolman profile image

Old Poolman 4 years ago from Rural Arizona

I am as much or more concerned with the huge number, reportedly 47%, who pay no income tax at all. I would be totally in favor of a National Sales Tax, or a Flat Tax that cuts out all the tiered tax rates and deductions. Our current tax codes have grown into a monster that nobody truly understands.


GA Anderson profile image

GA Anderson 4 years ago from USA Author

@Old Poolman - good to hear from you again. But I doubt if the number you point out will mean much to phiabustah - it doesn't include many rich people.

GA


philabustah profile image

philabustah 4 years ago from Boston, MA.

UR right. It means absolutely nothing since it includes children, the elderly, the imprisoned, the undocumented, (who wouldn't even be here if not for the GREEDY), the unemployed, and the businesses that don't pay taxes. Oh yes, let's not forget the people living below the POVERTY line, which also would NOT EXIST if not for GREEDY people. PS. Russia taxes more than income tax for capital gains, China has a progressive tax system up to 45%. Please move if you can't respect the people that MADE IT POSSIBLE for you to get rich. We really do NOT need you.


GA Anderson profile image

GA Anderson 4 years ago from USA Author

@Philabustah - greetings once again. Obviously our perspectives won't change - but at least we could deal with facts instead of assertions.

Your contentions seem to be from sources such as the Center on Budget and Policy Issues - http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&id=3505 - a non-government source.

Their assertions seem authoritative until investigated, but then are revealed to be as skewed as other "quoted" sites pushing alternate agendas.

Also, the latest CONFIRMED official taxpayer data study was for the year 2007 - by the CBO - http://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/files/cbofiles/at... - an OFFICIAL authoritative source.

So, using the CBO's data, and remembering the issue is Federal Income Taxes:

The quoted percentages (by both sides)are for households - not individuals. So yes they would include the groups of people you mentioned, but not as tallied taxpayers - just as members of a household. They have no impact on the percentages mentioned. Either way.

As of 2007 39.79% (this is perceived by CBPI as "normal"), of all U.S. households received a tax refund. This number has obviously increased due to effects of the recession, (probably more than due to the efforts of the evil rich), but whether you run with the high 51% number, or the more moderate 46.6% is only an argument of degrees.

Again, based on CBO projections related to tax cuts and programs initiated to abrogate the effects of the current recession on the hardest hit households - the expected percentage of households receiving a tax refund (effectively paying no federal income taxes) is 46.6%

So yes, almost half of all U.S. households PAY NO FEDERAL INCOME TAXES. Yet enjoy all the societal benefits Federal Income Taxes provide to all U.S. citizens (and apparently non-citizen's too!)

No, that percentage DOES NOT include undocumented workers because they do not file Federal income tax forms (see of the meaning of "undocumented" or even "illegal")

Why would the "poverty line" not exist if there were no "greedy rich?" Wouldn't it just be at a lower income level? After all, it is an "average" and all averages are affected by the high numbers as well as the lows - hence the term average.

Russia? China? Is your logic such that you really want to present those governmental choices as models to follow?

And yes, Philabustah - you really do need us, (taxpaying citizens), otherwise you would be living a Russian or Chinese lifestyle because there would be no one BUT the government to provide your economy. History is full of examples of how that works out for the citizens.

ps. do you believe there is no poverty in Russia or China?

Your emotion-driven perspective is probably better suited to an opinion-driven forum format, than here. Unless of course you would like to present facts to back your contentions.

GA


philabustah profile image

philabustah 4 years ago from Boston, MA.

My retort is anything but emotion-driven, my friend. You stated the number of folks paying taxes in the whole country. I don't debate that it is about half, and it will be less as more and more of the baby boomers retire. I am an MBA, sir. I know a whole lot about accounting practices. Just take it from life experience. I have worked since 1973. I have payed SS on all my pay., (the rich, who do not need SS only pay on it up to 96-97k). True? If so, right there they pay 7.5% less on their taxes. I know what the deal is; poverty has increased dramatically, for whatever reason, they don't pay taxes-true. Ever tried living in poverty? I say this completely devoid of emotion. It is just a fact. Here's another- there's 5 businesses and 4 employees-simple logic-is someone going to lose? There's 5 handsome guys and one beautiful girl-is someone going to lose? You see, it's a simple numbers game. If the millionaires and billionaires left this country, I have no doubt that others would stand up and take their place, even at a higher tax bracket. Another numbers game-does the government have to buy water, gas, oil, offer competitive salaries, pay rent, etc? Look at bills today and your bills from a decade ago. Are you paying more? Health care has skyrocketed. Along with gas, water and other necessities, it has more than doubled in cost. The spending issue is relative. I have nothing against the rich. We don't all want to be rich. Some of us want to enjoy life without thinking that we have to attain fortunes to live it. Is that so hard to understand? I'm simply saying that fortunes were amassed and built when the taxing system was much more progressive. Now we are in deep trouble since it has leveled out and even gone in the other direction. Level taxes would be fine with me -- in a perfect world. Facts; when has the world been perfect? Fact; if you put the fox in charge of the hen house, the hens are gonna die. Do you doubt that? Our government consists of powerful people dominated by rich people. True? The only systems that work are ones that have checks and balances; otherwise they are doomed to fail. People like me have paid and paid, most with their lives, their parents lives and the lives of all their generations. You are suggesting we just let you give that away.. To top that, you are guaranteeing the destruction of this country, and blaming it on the government--your biggest benefactor. How can one view that as NOT evil. Evil is what it is. You are the one who suggested China and Russia-You can't have it both ways. Most folks today aren't average-they are well-qualified and smart and being marginalized by the very folks that asked them to step their game up. Riches don't create more riches, there is a supply and demand-no matter how the Fed tries to paint the picture-for one person to be extremely rich, more and more people have to be extremely poor. Resources are not unlimited, but needs are greater. I would hope the stewards of this planet would take time out from their PR, their tax-lowering arguments and actions, to learn that we are all dependent on one another, at least to a certain extent. But the greater onus is on you... You are the one with the cards. What are you going to do? I have no emotion--if you could really, really prove to me that this country could sustain itself with a flax tax, I'd be all for it. It can't. If being rich is your thing and you could offer the little people peace and comfort- the price being health, education and welfare- I have no doubt they would do whatever they could to help you get richer. I absolutely would. I would be all for getting folks that don't pay their fare share to pay it. I would be all for government running itself efficiently, on a budget and only as necessary. I really would. Just do me a favor and think about it. Give people a chance, they'll stop the Occupy movement, they'll applaud your successes and want to do what they can to help you. Peace Out!


GA Anderson profile image

GA Anderson 4 years ago from USA Author

@philabustah - I'm glad this discourse continued. However, I think you may have misjudged me.

I still do not think our outlooks align, but after your last response - we may not be quite as far apart as it appeared.

Of course I am not one of the rich, probably not many of those on Hubpages. But I am a strong laissez-faire advocate. Life is not risk-free, and to try to make it so is to diminish it. And life is not fair, no matter how much we wish it were. There will always be scoundrels and good guys. So the strong and intelligent learn to deal with it - and the weak and incompetent suffer and complain. It is what it is.

I do not wish to give up liberty for safety.

... and yes, I definitely know what it is like to live in poverty. Been there done that.

Please do not mistake me for an advocate of our government's abilities or honest intentions. I am a believer that the message behind "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" is a true one.

Both main-stream political parties are devoid of integrity - at least that's my opinion. Throw them all out.

But, I do not want a "nanny state" either. Sink or swim is an individual choice.

Thanks for your input.

GA

ps. It was you that brought Russia and China into the conversation - not I


philabustah profile image

philabustah 4 years ago from Boston, MA.

As a last point, yes it is a shame that only in America can someone become a millionaire or billionaire. (too bad no one told the Russians, Chinese, or Mexicans that are on the top 10 world's richest men list. -- you.

I rest my case. You will eventually see just how unsafe your views and opinions will make this world.

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