Obama on Taxes and Traffic: Ever Get the Feeling You've Been Cheated? Or, can we start talking about Obama's vision deficit?

Mega-props to our President Obama for yesterday's speechifying about simplifying and fair-izing the Infernal Revenue Service and all that.

Except for one small nitpicky thing: He's full of shit on this topic. How precisely is he or his Slugger's Row of policy mavens (you know, the idjits who can't even use Turbo Tax) gonna make the income tax more fair? As it stands, the top 1 percent of filers pay 40 percent of all income taxes; the top 5 percent pay 60 percent; and the top 10 percent pay fully 70 percent of all income taxes. The bottom 50 percent (5-0, Dano!) pay a whopping 3 percent of all income tax.

Kind sir, prithee, what the hell are you going to do to remedy this situation? You promise "tax cuts to the Americans who need them." Hey pal, I just shelled out tens of thousands of dollars so Citigroup can keep its fucking name on the 21st century's answer to Shea Stadium. Where in the name of Ray Sadecki and Bob Apodaca is my bailout?

For more tax facts to make your head explode, watch this:

And now this morning, Obama was on the tube again, yapping about traffic jams. What the hell is going on here? The president of the freaking United States is talking about traffic jams? Then again, in grammar school we did all learn that part of George Washinton's Farewell Address where he warned against entangling alliances and the dread menace of highway jughandles and traffic circles. That Obama's big solution is, ta-da!, "high-speed rail" is simply one more sign that he is simply not serious about anything other than paying off 19th and 20th century legacy special interests. I look forward to tomorrow's press conference, when Obama trains his laser-beam brain on the question of whether Razzles is a candy or a gum.

Seriously, isn't there a Portugese water dog re-gifted from Ted Kennedy that we can and should be talking about? (And btw, the one non-negotiable in a pet or a mistress for the Duke of Chappaquidick is swimmability; who says we can't learn from our past mistakes?).

Question to the folks, including some of the libertarian persuasion (you fools!), who were bullish on Obama back when the alternative was John McCain, the Terri Schiavo of presidential candidates: When are you going to admit that Barry O stinks on ice? That for all his high-flying and studiously empty rhetoric he's got the biggest presidential vision deficit since George H.W. Bush puked on a Japanese prime minister (finally, revenge for that long run of Little League World Series losses in the '70s!). If you're the president of the United States and you're talking about goddamn traffic jams and you're proposing high-speed rail as anything other than an unapologetic boondoggle that will a) never get built and b) never get built to the gee-whiz specs it's supposed and c) be ridden by fewer people than commuted by zeppelin last year, you've got real problems, bub. And by extension, so do we all.

Transportation policy is important, for sure. And Reason Foundation has all the solutions. Really. But to hear the president talking about traffic jams like he was.... Well, let's just I'd rather be watching Zardoz. Whatever else you can say about the nightmarish vision of the future, in which Sean Connery wears a cinematic diaper that makes Sting look good at the end of Dune, it solved the Gordian Knot of traffic snarls.

Thought of the day: Johnny Rotten saw this one coming back when Barack was still doing bong hits with Wayne Allyn Root at Columbia and their whole future lay ahead of them like a patient etherized upon a table:

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  • Naga Sadow||

    Gillespie,

    Whoa! Now THAT'S a rant! I do have one proposition that REASON foundation has not considered. Highwaymen. Legalizing the return of highwaymen will keep people off the roads thus curing all the traffic jams and making a high speed rail network plausible. Just tryin' to help.

  • ||

    the one non-negotiable in a pet or a mistress for the Duke of Chappaquidick is swimmability

    Bless you, Nick. I am so using that one.

  • JP||

    [pet peeve]

    the top 10 percent pay fully 70 percent of all income taxes

    Got that? They didn't pay just 70 percent; they paid fully 70 percent. Which, as we all know, is a larger amount.

    [/pet peeve]

  • libertarian democrat||

    Shame, Nick, you normally write well.

    This post seems unusual in that most like it wouldn't have the paragraph breaks. Or sentence divisions.

  • ||

    "It will take time to undo the damage of years of carve-outs and loopholes," Obama said. "But I want every American to know that we will rewrite the tax code so that it puts your interests over any special interest."

    Just how does the Redistributor-in-Chief think those "carve-outs and loopholes" got into the tax code?

    How many carve-outs will it take to blanket the nation with monorails?

  • ||

    How come people who whine about taxes on the rich always cite their share of the tax "burden" but never mention their share of the wealth?

  • ||

    How's the rooting-out of "waste, fraud, and abuse" project coming along? Has he put the list of programs he's proposing to eliminate on the Whitehouse website, yet?

  • Fluffy||

    The uncut version of Zardoz is a fine film that does not deserve this Gillespian mockery.

    Perhaps Nick has only seen the version that could be shown on broadcast TV and would turn up on WPIX at one in the morning.

  • Mad Max||

    Special interests are what the other guy has.

    Therefore, my just demands are, by definition, *not* the demands of a special interest.

    I'm just a salt-of-the-earth regular guy, not like those other people with their narrow, parochial interests.

  • ||

    How come people who whine aout the "excessive and unfair" wealth of others think rich people keep their assets under their mattresses, or buried in the back yard?

  • High Every Body||

    I second Naga and raise.

    Nick, if that was not your greatest rant ever it must be in the top five.

    Can you supply links to your favorite Reason rants?

  • Sean Scallon||

    Gee Nick, were you this shrill when Bush II gave us TARP? Or No Child Left Behind? or prescription drug benefits? Or are you still steaming about how cavalierly Obama brushed off the potheads?

    Oh that's right, you were supporting the war effort to turn Iraq into Amsterdam back then. Silly me.

    If you feel like you're being cheated, then you've cheated yourself. Why are you acting like you're suprised (and not only suprised but mad) Obama's giving us the big government we already had in abundance long before he was bonging away at Columbia? This a strange way to deal with the new reality, but I guess everyones got their ways of coping.

    I figured you'd just prefer getting stoned rather than acting like Dennis Miller.

  • ||

    I have been calling out every liberal I know with the following points and they never have a response. My brother recently had a stroke and his wife lost her job. He was out of work for over two months recovering from the stroke. Between his wife losing her job and his disability insurance only covering 80% of his wages, he is now back to work but facing bankruptcy, which oh by the way is onerous as hell thanks to the Bankruptcy Reform.

    My sister is mentally disabled and also had a stroke four years ago. She fell and broke her hip and now has to live in a nursing home.

    They are hard luck stories but no worse than any other. My point in bringing them up to people is that we now have the most liberal President and Congress in history. They are spending trillions of dollars and running deficits at un precidented levels.

    Given that, do you think they took any of that money and helped people who are sick or handicapped and out of work? Fuck no. They took all of it and gave it to pork projects to help their buddies and to bail out billionaire bnakers on wall street. What exactly does it mean to be a liberal now? At one time it meant you looked out for the little guy and stood for big social welfare programs for those who need it. It may have naive. It certainly didn't work that well. But it was at least good intentioned.

    What the fuck does BO stand for? What has he done to ever help anyone who is less fortuneate? How can anyone in good conscience take money from working people in this country and saddle our children and grand children with unimaginable debt just to give it to chronies and failed wall streeet billionaires and still call themselves a liberal?

  • High Every Body||

    Oh that's right, you were supporting the war effort to turn Iraq into Amsterdam back then.

    BS! Nick was as anti-Iraq war as the ANSWER freaks.

  • ||

    @Tony

    The reason is that it's not relevant, but maybe you think it is.

    So finish your thought. What does having wealth have to do with an income tax, for one? And what is your underlying belief regarding that wealth, or how it relates to income tax burden.

  • Fifteen Year Old||

    Y r parents always like no u cant have that its like u guyz have all the money? lolol

  • ||

    Great Googily-Moogily Nick! Droppin' the F-bomb in an invictive about "Barry O"! Now your're starting to sound a little like the Obamasiah haters that I circled the courthouse with yesterday on my long march to futility. Can't we all just get along?

    Oh... I forgot... you're correct by the way...

  • ||

    Taunting Kennedy over Chappaquidick is so stale, and then: "the one non-negotiable in a pet or a mistress for the Duke of Chappaquidick is swimmability".

    You, sir, are a Doctor of Literature.

    The remainder of BHO's term will be agonizing in so many ways. Now, at least, whenever the First Pup is on camera (as I'm sure it will be over and over), I have the analgesic of thinking "swim, bitch! swim!!". And I can smile.

    Regarding Barry O stinking on ice: "eloquence in the support of fatuity is no virtue".

  • ||

    Yeah, Sean, I remember all the times Gillespie wrote in favor of TARP, NCLB, and the Iraq War. I seem to recall him sitting on a loquacious pink unicorn while he was doing it.

  • ||

    @P Brooks

    He's still busy going 'line by line' through the budget to try to find a way to keep from doubling it. It'll be a while before waste and fraud come under scrutiny, since by his definition any spending is stimulus.

  • ||

    I went into the Obama presidency believing that he couldn't possibly be worse than Bush, but once again I've been shown that it can always get worse, and probably will. I suppose we could try to believe that McCain would have found some way to screw things up worse, but I can't believe it would have happened so quickly. (It would have taken at least six months to build up for a war with Iran or whomever.)

    The worst part is having to hear all the right-wingers knock the president for doing what they defended Bush for doing. There's a certain luxury in living in the minority and being able to complain ad nauseam about the party in power. Look out for the president's approval rating to slowly decline as the recession stretches until the next election when the Republicans will get overconfident and nominate someone absolutely horrible, their own John Kerry, and proceed to lose miserably.

  • Ruby||

    Tony:



    How come people who bitch about other people's "wealth," never acknowledge the RISKS taken to acquire it?

    Especially when we're talking about the bulge of small business owners who skate on the margin of "wealthy," took enormous personal financial risk to get that way and who would have been better off not to bother.

  • Sean Scallon||

    "BS! Nick was as anti-Iraq war as the ANSWER freaks."

    If so, then I apologize for being wrong. Still I don't remember any kind of anti-Bush II big spending rant.

  • ||

    Damn. Rantalicious, finished off with Prufrock.

    Aside from a couple of typos, I say this is a lovely bit of spot-on heated rhetoric.

    *claps*

  • Xeones||

    Tony, how the fuck do you think so many rich people GET that way?

    Nick: A fine, fine rant.

  • ||

    I live the thought on 'Share of the wealth', like it was all divided up in some white room.

    Most folks with wealth did it the old fashion way. They earned it. Houseman? anyone? Bueller?

    Of course many will whine that its mostly robber barons, corruption and, well, just plain unfairness, but come on, stuff is getting produced and services rendered because there is a return on investment. The innernets don't run on good will and puppy love.


    Rifftastic rant by the way. Leather Chops power!

  • Mike in PA||

    And how do you really feel?

  • Spoonman||

    Fuck yeah, angry Nick.

  • shecky||

    Fun rant. The shrillness around here is starting to get a bit tiresome. But a fun rant nonetheless. Don't wear it out.

  • ||

    The serfs must be freed! Kill the lords! Storm the castles!

  • hmm||

    The coffee machine wasn't working this morning was it?


    Someone might want to remove the sharp objects and take the remote for a while. You know, just for safety's sake.


    I feel your pain. I spend more dinner parties and events than I care to think about watching my wife make the, "I will kill your ass in your sleep if you open your mouth." faces while our acquaintances pontificate on the joys of Big O. I've had to put up with it for years since we live next door to Illinois and people here have been on the "O" knob for a while.

  • High Every Body||

    If so, then I apologize for being wrong. Still I don't remember any kind of anti-Bush II big spending rant.

    Nice to see an official troll confirmation so quickly.

  • Joe Kristan||

    Maybe I'm punchy because this is my first day off in weeks (I do taxes), but this made me laugh out loud. Well done, sir!

  • hmm||

    This is a great example of better the devil you know than the devil you don't.

    Of course not having to choose between devils would be nice.

  • ||

    I don't know any devils, though that's never stopped them from trying to friend me on Facebook.

  • Warty||

    Not quite up to the National Pants-Shitting Moment rant, but outstanding nonetheless.

  • Matt Welch||

    Still I don't remember any kind of anti-Bush II big spending rant.

    There is a search feature on the top right of this page. Also, the "Reason staff" link in the top left will get you to staffers' archives. Nick was ranting about Bush II's spending before most people were verbing their momma's noun.

  • Telly||

    How come people who whine about other people's wealth don't also whine about the jobs and benefits that other people's heavily taxed wealth provides?

  • High Every Body||

    Matt,

    before most people were verbing their momma's noun

    I am so using that one as soon as I figure it out!

  • hmm||

    Was that a mamma joke? Damn.

  • ||

    I told my sister I didn't want to make her future huniliation any worse by bitching at her for voting for a fool. But when she claimed air travel is outdated and high speed rail is the way of the future, I realized she's too stupid to feel humiliation.

  • ||

    Morgan,

    I agree with you that share of wealth is not relevant, but like a blind squirrel, Tony may have stumbled upon a nut. Tax burden as a % of population is irrelevant. Tax burden as a % of income is. The top 40% of income pays 52% of total taxes. While it's still progressive, it's not nearly as eye popping as the top 1% pays 70%. If we had a flay tax, the top 1% of population would still pay a huge proportion of taxes, it would be something on the order of 60% rather than 70%, but that's just because they have a higher proportion of earnings.

    BTW, I hate the idiots that say that rich risk takers should be further rewarded for their risks. What do you think their wealth is. It's called risk-reward. You take a risk, the wealth is the potential reward. Rewarding risk just for shits and giggles is moronic. Why not reward risk takers that failed? Oh, wait, we do, it's called TARP. Nevermind.

  • Hacha Cha||

    so did the Obama's GPA ever come out?
    that was a great interview with Root that was referenced to, don't remember it during the campaign but it was great, funny, and he had valid points.

  • Telly||

    "But when she claimed air travel is outdated and high speed rail is the way of the future, I realized she's too stupid to feel humiliation.",/i>

    She sounds like my nephew. I'd say we should hook them up and laugh at them, except they'd probably procreate and make more dumb asses.

  • Telly||

    Tag.

  • hmm||

    The GPA comment was trite and made Root look bad. He more than likely has a point, but the public perception of such a comment is usually less than stellar.

  • JP||

    If we had a flay tax, ...

    We do, Mo. We do.

  • Josh||

    This is appalling. Bring back Weigel; I need an update on the PUMAs.

  • Abdul||

    If Nick were any angrier, he'd be green and wearing purple pants.

    Nick SMASH Obama's light rail program!

  • Hacha Cha||

    damn how did I end up with the typo "the Obama"
    but yeah I can see how he may have looked badly in that interview...

  • ||

    If we had a flay tax, ...

    We do, Mo. We do.


    Oops, meant flat. BTW, a demonstration of what I described is as such.

    Imagine a society made up of 10 people. 9 make $10,000 a year and 1 makes $1M a year. If they all paid a flat, 20% tax, the bottom 9 would pay $2,000 and the last guy would pay $200,000. You could respond by saying, "ZOMG, 10% of the population pays >90% of taxes" or you could say "92% of income pays 92% of taxes."

  • kinnath||

    First Carter, then Bush I, and I pray to god that Obama will join them as 1 term presidents.

  • kinnath||

    Unfortunately, I can't imaging the Repugs nominating anyone that could defeat the country's second black president.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    "How come people who whine about taxes on the rich always cite their share of the tax "burden" but never mention their share of the wealth?"

    Because no one's wealth level is a "service" provided to them by the federal government and therefore has nothing to do with any calculation of how much they should be paying for ACTUAL government services.

  • ||

    I can't imaging the Repugs nominating anyone that could defeat the country's second black president.

    What about Newt?

  • ||

    Abdul @ 1:03 made me giggle like a little girl.

    Excellent rant, Nick.

    I preferred Obama to McCain (but sure didn't vote for him) only because I thought he might not increase executive power (though I knew that he sure as hell wouldn't shrink it like he claimed.) I was very wrong about that. I expected nothing from him on any other issue. And good lord, was I right.

  • MNG||

    "I don't know any devils"

    I don't follow the Devil. I do however agree with some of the things he tells me.

  • MNG||

    "Because no one's wealth level is a "service" provided to them by the federal government"

    Exactly! A person's wealth has nothing to do with the fricking government, it has to do with who your father and mother were, duh.

  • kinnath||

    Tony, old people whose houses are paid off and have substantial investments have lots of wealth and very little income. Middle-aged professionals can have substantial incomes and yet can have a negative networth.

    Bitching about income taxes is entirely divorced from bitching about wealth-related taxes (such as property and inheritance taxes).

    Try to stay on point.

  • MNG||

    "What about Newt?"

    I actually like Gingrich. He's a smart man.

    But Brooks, Newt is a very fat man as well.

    When, since the age of television, have we ever elected a very fat man?

  • stuartl||

    This post seems unusual in that most like it wouldn't have the paragraph breaks. Or sentence divisions.

    Ron Bailey and Nick, this post is great because it is more Jack Kerouac than F. Scott Fitzgerald.

  • kinnath||

    What about Newt?

    I thought he was dead ;-)

    I foresee a political ad with his first wife describing getting served divorce papers while in the hospital.

    I forsee more political ads revamping the Dole/Gingrich shut down of the federal government.

    Other than that, he's a relatively bright dude with a focus on results (ideology was just a tool for achieving results).

  • kinnath||

    Exactly! A person's wealth has nothing to do with the fricking government, it has to do with who your father and mother were, duh.

    You've heard of bill gates and warren buffet right?

  • Gilbert Martin||

    " Newt is a very fat man as well."

    Nah - he's fat but not "very".

    Very fat people are the ones you see on those medical shows that have to be hauled out of their bed with a crane.

  • MNG||

    You know how deprived of social capital Bill Gates was? He dropped out of Harvard. Which of course means he was first accepted to Harvard.

    Yeah, that guy really climbed up from nothing.

    "he's fat but not "very"."

    For TV that guy is Very Fat.

  • MNG||

    "his father was a prominent lawyer, his mother served on the board of directors for First Interstate BancSystem and the United Way, and her father, J. W. Maxwell, was a national bank president. "

    It's like his life was straight out of Dickens before he developed his inner Galtianism! Wow, good choice of example there to make your point ;).

  • Gilbert Martin||

    "his father was a prominent lawyer, his mother served on the board of directors for First Interstate BancSystem and the United Way, and her father, J. W. Maxwell, was a national bank president. "


    Which also has nothing to do with how much anyone should be paying the federal government.

    No one's parents are a "service" provided to them by the government either.

  • ||

    Anybody know when taxes are due? I haven't done mine yet and its making me feel a little unpatriotic.

  • kinnath||

    You know how deprived of social capital Bill Gates was? He dropped out of Harvard. Which of course means he was first accepted to Harvard.

    Unless you're going to say his parents paid the full freight, that means jack shit.

  • High Every Body||

    Anybody know when taxes are due? I haven't done mine yet and its making me feel a little unpatriotic.

    This is your first step towards the underground economy. Now, stop walking and run!

  • Karl Marx||

    "How come people who whine about taxes on the rich always cite their share of the tax "burden" but never mention their share of the wealth?"

    I did! I did!

  • Paul||

    Tell us how you really feel, Nick.

    But anyhoo:

    . That Obama's big solution is, ta-da!, "high-speed rail"



    Seattle's vaunted light rail is finally in test runs, and already doesn't play well with traffic. Or does traffic not play well with it?

    Oh, drove past the S.L.U.T. the other day, on a weekend, and saw 7 riders on it. Traffic is up!

  • Posthensile||

    "I'm just a salt-of-the-earth regular guy, not like those other people with their narrow, parochial interests."

    Yeah, right.

  • creech||

    Jesus, Mary and the Other Guy, I step out to lunch and come back to Nick's rant. I nominate Nick as the LP candidate in 2012.
    Black flag; take no prisoners.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    This just in: Politicians pander for votes and then follow through on only the worst and most self-serving of those promises.

    Next up: The capacity of Libertarians to be just as caught up in cult of personality as your average CNN reporter.

  • kinnath||

    Gates was born in Seattle, Washington, to William H. Gates, Sr. and Mary Maxwell Gates. His family was upper middle class; his father was a prominent lawyer, his mother served on the board of directors for First Interstate BancSystem and the United Way, and her father, J. W. Maxwell, was a national bank president. Gates has one elder sister, Kristi (Kristianne), and one younger sister, Libby. He was the fourth of his name in his family, but was known as William Gates III or "Trey" because his father had dropped his own "III" suffix. Early on in his life, Gates's parents had a law career in mind for him.

    Let's give MNG a little example of formal proofs.

    MNG hypothesizes that Bill Gates parentage is responsible for him being one of the wealthiest men on earth.

    Let's us assume this is true.

    We see from Wikipedia that Bill has two siblings. Given our hypothesis, Bill siblings must also top the list of wealthiest people on earth.

    They are not, so the hypothesis must be false. Bill parentage is not responsible for him being fabulously wealthy.

    In fact if Bill's parents had their way, he'd be a merely well-off laywer with a Harvard degree.

  • B||

    I like to imagine Nick hunched over, typing this on an old mechanical typewriter, cigarette dangling from his lips, in an amphetamine-fueled mania.

    A fine bit o' writing, sir.

    As to this:

    Question to the folks, including some of the libertarian persuasion (you fools!), who were bullish on Obama back when the alternative was John McCain, the Terri Schiavo of presidential candidates: When are you going to admit that Barry O stinks on ice?

    The shoe fits nicely. I am wearing it. And he does.

    But I'll be damned if I admit as much to any (OK, either) of my friends that voted for McCain.

  • kinnath||

    I voted for the Libertarian Party dude, as I have in every presidential election since 1980. I have never voted for a Republican or Democrat to run this country.

    At this point, I am begining to miss Dick Nixon.

  • Gimble||

    "he is now back to work but facing bankruptcy, which oh by the way is onerous as hell thanks to the Bankruptcy Reform."

    First, best wishes for your brother and his wife.

    Second, bankruptcy is anything but onerous if you get the right attorney and are well organized. I filed for chapter 11 (reorganization) in December. I had dodged some bad debt from a bad marriage that ended 10 years ago and one of my creditors finally subpoenaed the bank that holds my safe deposit box asking them to provide documentation of how I was paying for it.

    After an initial 10-minute phone conversation, I met for an hour with my attorney, then again about ten days later for 45 minutes. About a month later, we met with the Trustee for about 10 minutes. And that's it. It was a very simple, easy and quick process.

    My attorney was great and decent guy.

  • Gimble||

    "He's still busy going 'line by line' through the budget to try to find a way to keep from doubling it. It'll be a while before waste and fraud come under scrutiny, since by his definition any spending is stimulus."

    Well, except for that D.C. school voucher thing.

  • MNG||

    "Unless you're going to say his parents paid the full freight, that means jack shit."

    Dude, social capital involves a lot more than money.

    "MNG hypothesizes that Bill Gates parentage is responsible for him being one of the wealthiest men on earth."

    It's not a 1.000 correlation, but it's a pretty important condition (necessary but not sufficient) lets say. If you had lots of millionaire's sprouting up from crack moms and trust fund kids panhandling on the intersection you'd have something of a case, but as it is one's parentage is a huge factor in where you end up wealth-wise.

  • Gimble||

    "You take a risk, the wealth is the potential reward"

    potential reward as in the government potentially can take it away on a whim either through taxes or onerous regulation.

  • MNG||

    "William H. Gates Sr. chairs a $2 billion UW fundraising drive and is serving his ninth year as a UW regent. And Bill and Melinda Gates have donated far more money to the UW than anyone else - $250 million at last count.

    Now Kristi Blake - Bill Gates' older sister and the daughter of William and Mary - enters this notable family legacy."

    Regent of the college.

    Bill Gates-rags to super-riches story

  • Gimble||

    "" Newt is a very fat man as well.""

    We're all very fat men now.

  • MNG||

    ""You take a risk"

    Indeed, it's quite risky to choose to be born into a well to do, well read family.

  • High Every Body||

    MNG,

    The greatest concentration of the people you are whining about are in the Leftoid Utopias, like San Francisco.

    The people who make fortunes off of great ideas are everyplace else.

  • kinnath||

    It's not a 1.000 correlation, but it's a pretty important condition (necessary but not sufficient)

    Wrong, not necessary . .

  • PETE||

    He's still better than McCain/Palin. The Razzles line was great, though.

    Also, no word on Reason about the torture memos?

    http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/04/16/secret-interrogation-memos-to-be-released/?hp

    We'll see what happens this afternoon, but best case they're released unredacted, here let me write the post for you. "Obama released the torture memos today - months too late and obviously against his will - plus [four paragraphs about why he sucks with some links to a libertarian who explains why Obama is just like Bush, so there!]."

    I wait with bated breath.

    Disclaimer: Yes I'm pissed they've been stalling. Fuck Panetta. And if they're redacted, Obama Stinks on Ice.

  • Gimble||

    ""his father was a prominent lawyer, his mother served on the board of directors for First Interstate BancSystem and the United Way, and her father, J. W. Maxwell, was a national bank president. "

    Too bad his mother wasn't a welfare sucking crack whore and his daddy a dope dealer in federal prison, 'cause then he really really have accomplished something.

    "You know how deprived of social capital Bill Gates was? He dropped out of Harvard. Which of course means he was first accepted to Harvard."

    BTW, my brother (we were raised in poverty) was offered a full-ride scholarship to earn a PhD. at Harvard. Turned it down for UCLA. Harvard is not what it used to be (no offense, RCD) and iirc, the majority of it's students are on some sort of scholarship.

  • ||

    Tax burden as a % of population is irrelevant.

    Not in a democracy, it ain't. We are at or past the tipping point where a majority is essentially immune from being taxed by the feds for anything by Soc Sec and Medicare. That ain't a good place to be.

    If we had a flay tax

    RC'z Law award-winner of the frickin' week.

  • Gimble||

    "Dude, social capital involves a lot more than money."

    Classist.

  • max hats||

    In my daily dose of an alternative reality, I learn that progressive taxation is beyond the pale.

  • ||

    Seattle's vaunted light rail is finally in test runs, and already doesn't play well with traffic. Or does traffic not play well with it?

    And another city sets off down the path of being forced to come to terms with just how utterly inept many of its drivers are... Just wait until propel come out of the woodwork to insist it's the LR's fault. After all, if the trains weren't there there'd have been no accidents!!!

  • alan||

    How come people who whine about taxes on the rich always cite their share of the tax "burden" but never mention their share of the wealth?

    Wow, I'm going to put that in the Tony file of stupid shit, along with previous statements like,

    The sixties happened . . as an explanation of why Libertarianism, a product of that decade, is antiquidated by the happenstance of that decade, and his claim of being carbon negative. Evidently the man is not aware of the functionalty of his lungs.

    I have a better question, why do other wise intelligent Libertarian commentators feel they owe this idiot a Goddamn explanation for anything?

  • ||

    A flat tax with an exclusion is a progressive tax. Shall we put you down in favor?

  • 345kV Line||

    "I have a better question, why do other wise intelligent Libertarian commentators feel they owe this idiot a Goddamn explanation for anything?"

    Because we're a courteous ilk.

  • max hats||



    Wow, I'm going to put that in the Tony file of stupid shit, along with previous statements like,



    I don't see how that is stupid (cue obvious joke). Even with a perfectly flat tax, the rich would still pay a disproportionally high amount of tax revenue. The more progressive the tax regime, the greater the a share the wealthy pay. Making sense of any of these numbers requires not just knowing the end tax burden but the income that tax was levied upon. A discussion of income tax that excludes income from the discussion is pure masturbation.

  • ||

    From WSJ-

    President Barack Obama on Thursday set U.S. transportation policy on a new course, announcing at least $13 billion to enhance passenger rail service as an alternative to clogged highways and overcrowded airports.

    "Building a new system of high-speed rail in America will be faster, cheaper and easier than building more freeways or adding to an already overburdened aviation system, and everybody stands to benefit,"


    [citation needed]

  • ||

    More-

    In a letter to Mr. LaHood last month, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and others urged him to keep in mind "the potential for 'true' high-speed rail with dedicated corridor segments for trains traveling at speeds of 150 mph or more, no grade crossings, and no mixed traffic."

    What do you suppose will happen when (not if) one of those trains wrecks at 150mph?

  • ||

    he'd be a merely well-off lawyer with a Harvard degree.

    NTTAWT.

  • ||

    What do you suppose will happen when (not if) one of those trains wrecks at 150mp

    Taxes go up to make the rail lines safer?

  • JP||

    Re: Question to the folks, including some of the libertarian persuasion (you fools!), who were bullish on Obama back when the alternative was John McCain, the Terri Schiavo of presidential candidates: When are you going to admit that Barry O stinks on ice?

    Don't blame me, I voted for Barr.

    BTW -- I bet 90% of the country has no idea what you mean by "jug handles."

  • max hats||


    What do you suppose will happen when (not if) one of those trains wrecks at 150mph?



    About the same thing that happens when a plane crashes or two cars traveling 60mph collide head on. The difference will be in the case of the train, I will come to Reason and learn that Obama and Pelosi are personally responsible.

  • ||

    The sixties happened . . as an explanation of why Libertarianism, a product of that decade, is antiquidated by the happenstance of that decade, and his claim of being carbon negative. Evidently the man is not aware of the functionalty of his lungs.

    I have no idea what you're talking about here. Better make sure you're not referencing one of my spoofers. I have spoofers! I'm famous!

    Anyway, sorry for the long lunch break. I took a nap.

    What I'm saying is that you cite the proportion of income taxes paid by a certain small wealthy percentage of the population. End of story. Look at the huge oppression they face! And you guys really don't think it's relevant to also cite exactly what proportion of the wealth in the country they have, which might explain that population's higher share of the taxes paid? If you have 70% of the wealth, why shouldn't you be paying 70% of the taxes? Because rich people deserve to be subsidized just for being rich? Because, as someone absurdly implied above, their noble act of taking risks deserves to be rewarded by making the risks...less risky?

  • Mike||

    "It's not a 1.000 correlation, but it's a pretty important condition (necessary but not sufficient) lets say. If you had lots of millionaire's sprouting up from crack moms and trust fund kids panhandling on the intersection you'd have something of a case, but as it is one's parentage is a huge factor in where you end up wealth-wise."

    We don't inherit just money from our parents; we inherit their genes, too. As un-PC as it is to mention, a lot of the reason why well-off parents tend to have well-off kids is because of genetic influences on behavior.

  • max hats||


    We don't inherit just money from our parents; we inherit their genes, too. As un-PC as it is to mention, a lot of the reason why well-off parents tend to have well-off kids is because of genetic influences on behavior.



    The only way to prove this is to study the performance of children of the rich given up for adoption versus children of the poor. Given the paucity of rich people giving kids up for adoption (at least on the record), I don't believe such a study exists nor could exist anytime soon.

  • max hats||

    correction: should read "children of the poor given up for adoption."

    Also there would need to be some correction given for differences in prenatal care.

  • phalkor||

    mng's statements trouble me. how far can the idea of fairness really go? i was born into a "well-to-do" family. i'm sure that someone born in the same hour i was has an AWOL father and a mother who may not have finished high school. therefore i was born with a significant economic edge over my impoverished doppelganger. is this a problem that we need the government to fix?

    maybe parents ought not read to their kids or send them to college because it's really quite unfair that only some have the means to do so. no, this line of thinking is too stupid.

    sometimes i feel ashamed that i will never have a hard luck beginning to make a great rags-to-riches story. wealth really isn't very fashionable these days. nonetheless, if and when i become a parent i wouldn't want my children to be disadvantaged. i would do everything to help them to enable themselves. i would remember the sacrifices my parents made for me and try to provide AT LEAST that.

    i don't want my children to believe that things come for free, i don't want them to believe the government should take care of them. i want them to feel empowered, that they own their own life, they own their decisions, and they own the outcomes of those decisions.

    i worry that the future will be filled with adult children who only know how to take, complain, and blame someone else.

  • Fascitis Necrotizante||

    We also inherit their habits, values and work ethic (once we get over being teenagers). If those attributes served your parents well economically, they'll serve you, too. And the inverse is true as well.

  • ||

    Go Nick!

  • ||

    The economic situation of one's parents is the single largest indicator of one's own success in life.

    It's not the whole story, but certainly neither is the idea that wealth is solely the product of individual drive and ingenuity, absurd nonsense that serves as the moral premise for people arguing against any wealth redistribution.

  • JP||

    The desire to provide a better life for one's children is one of the main incentives for working hard and saving. If you knew that your kids were going to be penalized for starting off well in life, you'd be a lot less likely to try to excel, and society would lose the accompanying contributions.

  • Fascitis Necrotizante||

    It's your individual drive and ingenuity or your ancestors' individual drive and ingenuity. Or, in the brave new world, your ability to whine and mau mau for other peoples' resources.

  • MNG||

    Don't bother arguing with them, Tony. People who inherit their money don't have any idea what the real world lives like. They're nothing but a bunch of rich, white farmers that don't want to pay their taxes like the rest of us have to do.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    "Because rich people deserve to be subsidized just for being rich?"

    You are incapable of proving that they ARE being subsidized.

    No one's income or wealth level is a "service" provided to them by the federal government.

    The only people who ARE being subsidized by the federal government are those whose total dollars of tax payments on an absolute basis are less than the aggegate dollar value of federal government services that they personally receive in return.

    Neither income or wealth levels have anything to do with it.

  • phalkor||

    the biggest issue i have with wealth redistribution is that in any incarnation we have seen it before it hinders more than it helps. there's a big difference in how one treats their finances if they feel that they worked for it versus being "helped out" or "given a leg up". I used to piss away birthday money on whatever, but once I started working for 5.15 an hour money meant a whole lot more.

    you can give me money all you want and tell me that I "earned it" but that won't change my subconcious perception of that money. that said, i feel like i worked much harder as a cashier for 5.15, than I do as a professional.

  • Paul||

    The economic situation of one's parents is the single largest indicator of one's own success in life.[citation needed]

    but certainly neither is the idea that wealth is solely the product of individual drive and ingenuity,

    Who said it was?

    absurd nonsense that serves as the moral premise for people arguing against any wealth redistribution.

    Wealth distribution which achieves what, exactly?

  • MNG||

    The problem comes when wealthy people act like they've never had any help at all, when actually they wouldn't have any wealth at all if the republican governments didn't give it to them. But instead of sharing it with others, they just want to horde it.

  • Paul||

    Dude, social capital involves a lot more than money.

    Cool. Let's tax social capital instead of financial capital, then. Since it involves, as you say, "a lot more than money".

  • ||

    Oh I'm sympathetic to the idea that parents should be able to provide for their children as one of the perks of being wealthy.

    I'm not sure how many generations that should extend to, and no economic policy can or should try to completely negate the role of luck. And no amount of collectively funded social services will ever create a truly equal playing field. But that doesn't imply it shouldn't even try in minimal ways.

  • alan||

    I don't see how that is stupid (cue obvious joke).

    Because the discussion of progressivity of tax rates already factor in the fact the wealthy have a greater portion of wealth to be taxed, hence the redundancy of Tony's question.

  • JP||

    People who inherit their money don't have any idea what the real world lives like.

    FWIW, I went to Harvard Law School, and my father's parents were Italian immigrants who worked as waiters for almost their entire lives. I didn't get any financial assistance from my parents after I turned 18, other than being able to live with them during college breaks.

  • All Rights Reserved||

    They're nothing but a bunch of rich, white farmers that don't want to pay their taxes like the rest of us have to do.

    But instead of sharing it with others, they just want to horde it.


    MNG, doesn't typing this out make you feel stupid? I don't think you necessarily are, so it just seems strange to me that comments like that could flow from you so unself-consciously.

  • creech||

    Tony, in this case, is right. Libertarians do themselves no favors when they spin statistics to make their point. The point to be made is "What percent of the income tax is paid by people making what percent of the income?"
    I'm pretty confident that will still show an unfair disparity without resorting to statistical tricks.

    Further on taxation, government protects rights and it protects property. Because we all have rights, and if we cannot figure out a way to pay user fees, then each individual needs to pay a head tax for the protection of those rights - I dunno, let's say $100 per head. This way, every citizen has some skin in the game when deciding whether to elect Santa Claus or Santa Lite. Courts and the military protect wealth, so that could be funded by a small tax on transactions. Again, maybe 2% when you acquire something (stock, a dividend, interest, a boat, whatever) and again on the gain when you sell it.
    Not ideal, of course, but closer to having a real relationship between the services we are supposed to get from government and the income and.or wealth being protected.

  • max hats||


    Because the discussion of progressivity of tax rates already factor in the fact the wealthy have a greater portion of wealth to be taxed, hence the redundancy of Tony's question.



    But if you're throwing out specific numbers, such as Nick G does in the original post

    As it stands, the top 1 percent of filers pay 40 percent of all income taxes; the top 5 percent pay 60 percent; and the top 10 percent pay fully 70 percent of all income taxes.



    To have any sort of context one also needs to know levels of income distribution. We could be living in an alternate reality where Steve Forbes is on Mt. Rushmore right now, and it just so happens that the top 1 percent also make 40 percent of the income, the top 5 percent make 60, etc. Income tax burden is meaningless without relative income share.

  • EJ||

    "The problem comes when wealthy people act like they've never had any help at all, when actually they wouldn't have any wealth at all if the republican governments didn't give it to them."

    So which republican government GAVE bill gates all his money? What about michael dell? Oprah?

  • phalkor||

    if i had to pay tax in order to BUY a stock i wouldn't be an investor. creech, i dig your vibe, but that's just silly.

  • Drew||

    "As it stands, the top 1 percent of filers pay 40 percent of all income taxes; the top 5 percent pay 60 percent; and the top 10 percent pay fully 70 percent of all income taxes. The bottom 50 percent (5-0, Dano!) pay a whopping 3 percent of all income tax."

    Wow: so when we tax income, the burden falls mostly on those who receive most of it? Astonishing!

    But let's get real here. To pay the bills we have, it's utterly inevitable that people who have most of the wealth in a society will end up footing most of the cost, whether we like it or not. There's nothing else TOO tax in order to fund government: it runs on money, not goodwill.

    That leaves the only serious factor we can change in this situation the level of spending. So why not focus primarily on that, instead of pretending that the working poor can actually afford to take on meaningfully larger portions of the tax burden when, in reality, they simply can't?

  • Gilbert Martin||

    "the biggest issue i have with wealth redistribution is that in any incarnation we have seen it before it hinders more than it helps"

    That's true enough but the biggest problem I have with it is that is not a legitmate function of government at all in the first place.

    It isn't any of the government's business who has what. It also isn't any of the government's business who does or doesn't have an "equal" opportunity in life or any opportunity at all.

    There is no such thing as a "right" to either one. Those would be affirmative rights and there is no such thing as an affirmative right.

    You're born, you have the right to be left alone by the government unless you have actively done something to harm someone else. You live your life as best you can and then you die. That's all there is and ever should be.

    No one has a right to receive anything from anybody for any reason. No one has an obligation to do anything for anybody for any reason.

    People who wish to assist others are perfectly free to do so on an individual voluntary basis.
    But government has no authority to compel anyone to do so.

  • ||

    Citing the few wealthy people who did make it on their own does not make it truth that all wealthy people made it on their own or that it's possible for anyone to do so.

  • phalkor||

    Gilbert Martin: I'm inclined to agree with you.

    However, if you were to orate that speech in my apartment, my roommates would spew acid all over you. There no rational argument for why your views are wrong, but they are wrong, so wrong. There is no such thing as an affirmative right except when enough people believe there is. To tell them there is no such thing would cast you out as a leper in my liberal colony.

  • ||

    Pure social darwinism is certainly one philosophy. But I don't agree that the vast majority of the world's economically advanced population who reject the idea are embracing a form of tyranny.

  • ||

    So why do you have a right to their money?

  • Gilbert Martin||

    phalkor:

    It sounds like you need to move to a better neighborhood.

    Liberals are such inferior beings, you really shoudn't continue to subject yourself to that environment.

  • ||

    So why do you have a right to their money?

    Because I believe Gilbert's statement that

    government has no authority to compel anyone to do so.

    to be false. The government has whatever authority the people it represents give it, excepting certain codified first principles (which are even themselves subject to emendation). I don't see any provision in the constitution that disallows government from redistributing wealth. In fact there are several clauses that explicitly allow it to in certain cases.

    This is not accounting for the moral side of the argument, or for that matter the economic side.

  • EJ||

    "Citing the few wealthy people who did make it on their own does not make it truth that all wealthy people made it on their own or that it's possible for anyone to do so."

    Tony,

    if you were refering to me, nice straw man. I was responding to an accusation that the only reason why rich people are rich is because "republican governments gave them their money."

  • Medic||

    Monoooo-rail.....monoooooo-rail!

    Any one remember the simpsons?

  • Gilbert Martin||

    "The government has whatever authority the people it represents give it, excepting certain codified first principles (which are even themselves subject to emendation). I don't see any provision in the constitution that disallows government from redistributing wealth. In fact there are several clauses that explicitly allow it to in certain cases."

    You've got it backwards. The federal government has no power to do anything expect that which has been explicitly delegated to it in the text of the Constitution. That's the 10th Amendment.

    And name those clauses that explicitly allow it.

  • ||

    The Constitution sets out enumerated and limited powers for the federal government. If a power isn't set out there, then it isn't available to the government. Of course, a boatload of powers that aren't there or that even contradict the Constitution have been interpreted into the document, but one can't look to the Constitution for empowering a general redistribution of wealth.

    What you're seeming to advocate is that if the majority wants to take wealth from a minority, it should be able to. Once we start walking down that road, where's the limit?

  • EJ||

    "The Constitution sets out enumerated and limited powers for the federal government."

    Thats funny. We havent treated it like that in at least 75 years now. Why do we even pretend to follow the thing anymore? We have interpreted so many things out of it and stretched and diluted it so much that it means nothing now - judges can interpret anything they want out of it. We should at least be intellectualy honest and stop lying to hourselves that really anyone in this country actually cares about the constsitution anymore.

  • stuartl||

    MNG wrote -- Don't bother arguing with them, Tony....

    Odd comment from someone taking non-libertarian stances on a libertarian web-site. If you didn't want to argue, you wouldn't be here.

    ...People who inherit their money don't have any idea what the real world lives like. They're nothing but a bunch of rich, white farmers that don't want to pay their taxes like the rest of us have to do.

    Strange, just this morning you were saying -- Nobody on this thread makes so much that they have a basis to bitch about being the victim of the "progressive tax system."



  • ||

    Pro Libertate,

    I thought that long ago right thinking people had decided for us that the welfare clause justified redistribution of wealth. After all, it does have the word "welfare" in it. The founders must have been thinking of the Welfare State, right?

    Who can argue with that?

  • ||

    Isaac,

    Yeah, it's about that bad.

    EJ,

    Almost, but not quite. The limits of the Constitution have been expanded beyond all reason, but the government does retain a few shackles. Whether those will remain in place much longer is the real question.

  • ||

    And name those clauses that explicitly allow it.

    Article I section 8 grants Congress the right to levy taxes. This, along with the necessary and proper clause, combined with the takings clause of the fifth amendment (and the 14th amendment, applying it to the states) has been interpreted broadly by courts to give government the power to redistribute wealth for the public welfare.

    Maybe too broadly. Take it up with the courts.

  • JB||

    Fuck Obama. Someone needs to put that skinny bitch in his place.

  • hmm||

    It would be interesting to match IP data with posters. I'm betting I could pin who has college IP with 80% accuracy.

    This would make an awesome NSA program.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    "Article I section 8 grants Congress the right to levy taxes"

    But it has no authority to spend that tax money on anything other than an ennumerated purpose. Handing it out as subsidies to selected private citizens isn't one of them.



    "This, along with the necessary and proper clause, combined with the takings clause of the fifth amendment (and the 14th amendment, applying it to the states) has been interpreted broadly by courts to give government the power to redistribute wealth for the public welfare."

    A fine piece of gibberish - totally devoid of any logic.

  • ||

    Gilbert,

    Again, take it up with the courts. It's their logic.

  • JB||

    Tony and MNG, you fuckfaced shit-gobblers, think it is ok to point a gun at my head and force me to hand over money to people you think are disadvantaged to make things fair.

    That's immoral. Or do you think it's ok for me to rape your mom because I didn't get any today?

    You stupid fucks are in favor of putting a gun to someone's head because someone else got bad parents. How fucked is that?!

  • hmm||

    I thought the people had the power to change the government. If this is the case why take it up with the courts which do not represent the people?

    "The government has whatever authority the people it represents give it, excepting certain codified first principles (which are even themselves subject to emendation)"

    Seems like a bit of a contradiction. heh

  • Fluffy||

    Exactly! A person's wealth has nothing to do with the fricking government, it has to do with who your father and mother were, duh.

    Let's say this was true. I'm not saying it is, but for the sake of argument, let's act as if it's true.

    So what?

    In order to make this relevant, you have to completely discredit any private claim to any property anywhere, ever, and you would have to discredit the concept of self-ownership and/or the right of individuals to labor only by consent.

    Until you do that, it doesn't really matter if Bill Gates' parents were affluent or if my parents were or somebody else's weren't. Because until you do that, if somebody's parents want to lavish their income on providing security and education for their offspring, that's their own damn business and not a problem to "correct". And it's also perfectly fair.

  • Paul||

    has been interpreted broadly by courts to give government the power to redistribute wealth for the public welfare.

    Levying taxes and redistributing wealth are two entirely different concepts. There's nothing wrong with taxation to run government and maintain the rights of the people(sadly, yes, that includes private property) and allow the redress of grievances through a court system., not to mention military, police, fire protection etc.

    But taking the fruits of the labors of one to give to another? It doesn't follow.

  • ||

    The problem with -- and for -- people who think like Tony, or MNG, or whoever else thinks it's fair and right to redistribute wealth under whatever terms they choose to describe it is, there will always be someone poorer than you. It's easy to tax the rich; the rich are people with more money than you, obviously.

    NYT reporters don't consider themselves rich. Network reporters don't consider themselves rich. The denizens of academic enclaves don't consider themselves rich and I betcha lots of congress members don't think of themselves as rich. I don't think of myself as short -- and in parts of Asia, I'm not. But here, I am. Wealth is relative, just like height.

    So all these polls that indicating people think they're paying just the "right" amount of taxes, and all the polls showing people are comfortable with soak the rich schemes don't matter right now. Ask these people again in one, two, and especially three years out - when everyone who pays taxes will have seen their taxes go up.

    Same thing will happen if we try to get some form of government-run health care. Everyone thinks everyone should have "free" health care. No one with decent insurance right now will be at all happy with any government plan that replaces.

    The problem is, by the time everyone's ox has been gored it'll be too late to fix half the shit that will have been enacted.

    And Nick - you're so damned cute when you're angry.

  • Chains You Can Believe In||

    -- The Tony Executive Summary --

    Rich people are evil so we should steal their assets.

  • Paul||

    Re: Obama light rail.

    Thanks hit and runners! Tony, MNG, your wealth just got redistributed:

    http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/travel/2009069602_webhighspeedrail16.html

    Will that be cash or charge?

  • Chains You Can Believe In||

    Whether or not you like Power Line Blog, the pictures of the tea party people at the Minnesota state capital are great. I like the one with the woman wearing the tee-shirt that communicates -- Which would you rather drink? with pictures of tea and kool aid.

  • Chains You Can Believe In||

    Oh, here'sthe link:

    http://www.powerlineblog.com/

  • ||

    Someone needs to keep distracting Obama with different shiny things from week to week, never giving him a chance to really think about one, or talk to congress about it or actually do anything about it. This week it's light rail, next week - what? Ya'll make up a list. I have to go write.

  • Chains You Can Believe In||

    "But instead of sharing it with others, they just want to horde it."

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

    - The US Declaration of Independence

    Tony, if you're willing to move to North Korea, I'll gladly kick in a c-note to help defray the cost of your move.

  • Chains You Can Believe In||

    (I meant MNG)

  • Chains You Can Believe In||

    "And no amount of collectively funded social services will ever create a truly equal playing field. But that doesn't imply it shouldn't even try in minimal ways."

    Why?

  • EUREKA!!!||

    Tony = joe dumbing himself down.

  • Eric Cartman||

    "You stupid fucks are in favor of putting a gun to someone's head because someone else got bad parents. How fucked is that?!"

    On a cold and gray Chicago morn,
    A pretty little baby child is born,
    In the ghetto,
    In the ghetto,
    And his momma cries.

  • ||

    Why?

    Because most people believe in some level of a government-provided cushion--services not philosophically distinct from roads and fire/police protection--to account for a) the fact that wealth is in large part a matter of luck (moral argument); b) having vast swathes of starving people is less productive of wealth than having a large middle class (economic health argument); c) our democratic government has the authority under the constitution to do so (legitimacy argument); and, I might add, d) if taxes are supposed to be a service fee, isn't there a cost to the service of not getting decapitated in public for being a plutocratic parasite? (extortion argument)

  • ||

    Tony, child, you've got to get this through your thucking fick skull - rich people are not parasites. In a functioning democracy which adheres to the rule of law --- I'm not talking about kleptocracies here -- rich people are the ultimate engines of the fucking economy. Poor people don't own companies, start businesses, provide capital to new enterprise, hire people or pay taxes.

    Some rich people's children are parasites and that's just something that happens. No system is perfect, but the alternative - a system where the government decides who gets what, and how much - is demonstrably worse. I'm very, very anxious for the administration to lift all travel restrictions on Cuba becaue I want hordes and hordes of dumbass Americans to go there and see for themselves what 50+ years of a "planned" economy does to a state.

    Tony, please tell me you're a college student. Please. Because holy fuck.

    I swear I think I thought like you twenty-five years ago. And there's just no cure for twenty, you know?

  • stuartl||

    the fact that wealth is in large part a matter of luck

    Why is it that the people I know who use this argument are not very hard-working? And for some reason, everyone I know who is rich is hard-working?

    I take it you do not live in the USA. There are no "vast swathes of starving people" here.

  • ||

    There are no "vast swathes of starving people" here.

    Thanks in large part to what's left of the New Deal.

  • ||

    stubby,

    I was a libertarian in 8th grade, so maybe we both need to grow up.

  • stuartl||

    There are no "vast swathes of starving people" here.

    Thanks in large part to what's left of the New Deal.

    No, thanks to incentives that make people work hard to provide goods to other people.

  • ||

    No, thanks to incentives that make people work hard to provide goods to other people.

    Care to do some poring over data to correlate poverty rates in the US with levels of government involvement in the economy?

  • hmmm||

    You can't call for correlated peer reviewed data when 99.9% of your arguments are conjecture. It's just poor form. Even for a troll.

  • Charlie (Colorado)||

    How come people who whine about taxes on the rich always cite their share of the tax "burden" but never mention their share of the wealth?

    How come people think that's significant?

  • ||

    "How come people who whine about taxes on the rich always cite their share of the tax "burden" but never mention their share of the wealth?"

    You know, the share of the wealth they EARNED and the amount the government CONFISCATED. Unless what you're suggesting is that, actually, the government rightly owns everything and is divinely mandated (now that the savior is in office) to distribute it fairly. I'm guessing you hold to the later and enjoy taking others' money for not working.

  • TallDave||

    Well, I for one am shocked -- shocked -- that Obama has not lived up to his campaign promises.

  • TallDave||

    the fact that wealth is in large part a matter of luck

    This reminds me of people in college who never studied for exams and were mystified by the correlation between not studying and not passing.

  • ||

    Here's the share of income by quintile.

    Bottom 20% Households: 3.4%
    Next 20%: 8.6
    Middle 20%: 14.5
    Next 20%: 22.9
    Top 20%: 50.5%

    For interest: top 5% earns 22%

    Keep in mind that richer households are larger - an average of 3.1 people in the top fifth, compared with 2.5 people in the middle fifth and 1.7 in the bottom fifth. So the smaller household almost by definition will make less - because fewer people are working. Can't have two incomes if there are only 17 people....

    Now let's look at percentage of taxes paid:
    Bottom 20%: 0.8 (all federal) and -2.8 (income - they got $ back)
    Next 20%: 4.1 and -0.8 (they also got $ back)
    Middle 20%: 9.1 and 4.4
    Next 20%: 16.5 and 12.9
    Top 20%: 69.3 and 86.3%

    This info is from the Census Bureau and the CBO. So please don't quibble. You are welcome to look it up.

    No matter how you slice it, the US tax code is steeply progressive, taxes any dollar that a two-income household earns more heavily than a one-income household, penalizes extra effort, and gives back far more to low income households than it takes.

    You are welcome to argue about whether that's good or bad, but let's put to rest the tired bullshit that "the reason the top [fill in the blank] get taxed is because they have all the money."

  • ||

    Kinnath: GOP's got ya covered!

    http://threebeerslater.blogspot.com/2009/04/newt-gingrich-angling-for-presidential.html

  • Wally||

    If you're the president of the United States and you're...proposing high-speed rail...[that will] be ridden by fewer people than commuted by zeppelin last year, you've got real problems, bub. And by extension, so do we all.

    No, I would ride it at least a few times for the sheer thrill of watching the landscape whiz by at 200mph, but otherwise you're entirely correct. Our president is a totalitarian a-hole who thinks that silencing dissent is just peachy.

  • ||

    I can understand if you didn't read all the comments -- I didn't. FWIW, one of the reasons that we've got Obama now is that you guys walked away from the Republican Party last year (as you did in 2006). If Obama fails in his quest to destroy the free market (which I think is the most likely outcome), then a lot of good things may come out of the last election. It would help if the self-appointed libertarian intelligentsia adopted reasonable targets for a change. There are things in life more important than when or where you get your next hit.

  • ||

    "How come people who whine about taxes on the rich always cite their share of the tax "burden" but never mention their share of the wealth?"

    How come people who whine about the rich never mention that 85% of millionaires are self-made?

    Or that most people in the top 10% of earners aren't there five years later. The top 10% is fluid based on bonuses, boom years for their business etc. But, hell, might as well punish the crap out of them when they have a good one.

  • Brett Stevens||

    What hasn't Obama/Clinton been full of shit on, again?

  • ||

    Well Nick, that's the best writing I've seen from you in a very long time. Maybe the best to date. Well done.

    -jcr

  • ||

    Ha Ha! Did you notice that 70% plus of "Hispanics" voted for Obama?

    For every "libertarian" vote, Obama got hundreds of votes from the third world social welfare dependent "immigrants" you insist we welcome into our country.

    Libertopian twit. Dedicated to policies that make the attainment of your stated principles impossible.

  • ||

    Terri Schiavo died of thirst when she was deprived of water by her husband.

    Please don't turn her into a punchline.

  • ||

    the US tax code is steeply progressive,

    I prefer the terms "punitive" or "confiscatory".

    -jcr

  • ||

    Terri Schiavo died of thirst

    No, she died of dehydration. To be thirsty, you have to be conscious.

    -jcr

  • ||

    "To be thirsty, you have to be concious."

    Yep. And to realize that unfettered third world immigration increases both the clientele and votes gauranteed to preserve and expand the welfare state, you have to be concious. Rules out Nick, his "best writing" not withstanding.

  • ||

    Raoul,

    Contrary to what your redneck friends tell you, Mexicans come here to work, not to luxuriate as welfare queens.

    -jcr

  • John D||

    "How come people who whine about taxes on the rich always cite their share of the tax "burden" but never mention their share of the wealth?"

    Taxes are not based on wealth, they're based on income. The Kennedy's are very wealthy, but if you check Ted Kennedy's tax returns you will see he only pays taxes on his Senate income. All the other loot is kept in a trust or some other legal tax avoidance scheme.

    People with high incomes may be wealthy or they may just be on the way to getting wealthy. Those who are already wealthy support not letting common businessmen into their club.

  • Jane||

    Who can fix the tax code, build a light rail and interogate terrorists Without a single pound? SUPER PRES!

  • JD||

    My moronic mayor in Charleston, SC got all excited about high speed rail. Even though we are not in the plan for a stop along east coast he assured us worried serfs that we would be if it gets built. Jeez

  • dorkafork||

    Every time Obama speaks, he sounds more and more like the kid at the end of Mars Attacks!. "But I was thinking, maybe instead of houses we could live in tepees. Because it's better in many ways."

  • ||

    Obama - minimum of 41,000 new govt employes at DOD. How many will be needed to do our taxes.

  • ||

    davod, I'm gonna have to say none.

  • Danimal||

    My lord, man, that's what I call a rant!

  • stuartl||

    Care to do some poring over data to correlate poverty rates in the US with levels of government involvement in the economy?

    Proving only that the state is smart enough to go where the money is. You get more feathers from healthy geese.

    The state does not create wealth, people do. The woman working in the supermarket, the construction worker building houses, the entrepreneur creating ideas that benefit millions, those are the ones that create the wealth and goods. The state just taxes it away. Sometimes the state provides useful services, but rarely efficiently.

  • ||

    I never understood how a single libertarian could have fallen for anything Obama said. He was obviously a Marxist from the get-go. When a guy so blithely mentions bankrupting particular industries he does not like, or conscripting everyone's children into little armies of community workers you would think any rational person would take him off their list of appropriate candidates... but no...

    Why does it so surprise everyone that a guy with a third rate intellect and a third world upbringing would try to implement third world economic policies? My best guess is that a lot we have finally arrived at a point where the majority of voters are too young to remember Carter.

  • ||

    Do you think Obama will read this Goddamned blog!!
    I hope some of his buttwipes do. These people don't have
    a fucking clue as to what is going on. They are too busy
    bending over and grabbing their ankles to give a shit.
    The whole world is laughing at Obama and all the MSM does
    is report on his stupid looking fucking dog. Jesus, he is not
    man enough to even get a real dog. I would have way more respect
    for Obama if he would get a doberman and sick it on Pelosi.
    As I predicted, my billings are way off because you know what???
    My clients are folks who run multi-million dollar companies and they are all laying low while the dickweed democrats figure out ways to pillage & plunder there economy and for what? To build high-speed rail so that the ghetto boys can get to the burbs faster to car-jack
    a Mercedes? Obama's Change sucks and he can shove his hope up his ass.

  • ||

    Ray Sadecki and Bob Apodaca...

    Brings a tear to my eye.

    Great rant though on the entire situation, "I" still can't believe that half the people in this country are still believing this crap.

    The bad part is going to be in years from now when they wake up when somebody tells them, "Did you just think that you were going to run up your American Debit Card and NOT have to pay"???

  • ||

    It's pretty pathetic that I got a visceral thrill when I read the words "Except for one small nitpicky thing: He's full of shit on this topic." Some sort of latent middle school memory was activated or something.

    However, I'd shorten the phrase to 'he's just full of shit" and be done with it. Political shorthand.

  • ||

    Barry just read "Atlas Shrugged" and thought the point of the story was we needed to modernize our rail system.

  • ||

    Proving only that the state is smart enough to go where the money is.

    Say what? Are you saying that the state is this amorphous entity that attaches itself to already-wealthy places like New York and applies government services after the fact to make itself look good? Don't all states have governments?

    Why yes, yes they do. And it's the ones with smaller governments (and more Republicans) that have higher poverty rates.

  • ||

    MNG, you seem to have a rather childish perception of who exactly are "the rich". A book was written about a decade ago called "The Millionaire Next Door" that layed out who the rich in the this country really were:

    PORTRAIT OF A MILLIONAIRE

    Who is the prototypical American millionaire? What would he tell you about himself?(*)

    * I am a fifty-seven-year-old male, married with three children. About 70 percent of us earn 80 percent or more of our household's income.

    * About one in five of us is retired. About two-thirds of us who are working are self-employed. Interestingly, self-employed people make up less than 20 percent of the workers in America but account for two-thirds of the millionaires. Also, three out of four of us who are self-employed consider ourselves to be entrepreneurs. Most of the others are self-employed professionals, such as doctors and accountants.

    * Many of the types of businesses we are in could be classified as dull/normal. We are welding contractors, auctioneers, rice farmers, owners of mobile-home parks, pest controllers, coin and stamp dealers, and paving contractors.

    * About half of our wives do not work outside the home. The number-one occupation for those wives who do work is teacher.

    * Our household's total annual realized (taxable) income is $131,000 (median, or 50th percentile), while our average income is $247,000. Note that those of us who have incomes in the $500,000 to $999,999 category (8 percent) and the $1 million or more category (5 percent) skew the average upward.

    * We have an average household net worth of $3.7 million. Of course, some of our cohorts have accumulated much more. Nearly 6 percent have a net worth of over $10 million. Again, these people skew our average upward. The typical (median, or 50th percentile) millionaire household has a net worth of $1.6 million.

    * On average, our total annual realized income is less than 7 percent of our wealth. In other words, we live on less than 7 percent of our wealth.

    * Most of us (97 percent) are homeowners. We live in homes currently valued at an average of $320,000. About half of us have occupied the same home for more than twenty years. Thus, we have enjoyed significant increases in the value of our homes.

    * Most of us have never felt at a disadvantage because we did not receive any inheritance. About 80 percent of us are first-generation affluent.

    * We live well below our means. We wear inexpensive suits and drive American-made cars. Only a minority of us drive the current-model-year automobile. Only a minority ever lease our motor vehicles.


    * We have more than six and one-half times the level of wealth of our nonmillionaire neighbors, but, in our neighborhood, these nonmillionaires outnumber us better than three to one. Could it be that they have chosen to trade wealth for acquiring high-status material possessions?

    * As a group, we are fairly well educated. Only about one in five are not college graduates. Many of us hold advanced degrees. Eighteen percent have master's degrees, 8 percent law degrees, 6 percent medical degrees, and 6 percent Ph.D.s.

    * Only 17 percent of us or our spouses ever attended a private elementary or private high school. But 55 percent of our children are currently attending or have attended private schools.

    * As a group, we believe that education is extremely important for ourselves, our children, and our grandchildren. We spend heavily for the educations of our offspring.

    * About two-thirds of us work between forty-five and fifty-five hours per week.

    * We are fastidious investors. On average, we invest nearly 20 percent of our household realized income each year. Most of us invest at least 15 percent. Seventy-nine percent of us have at least one account with a brokerage company. But we make our own investment decisions.


    * As a group, we feel that our daughters are financially handicapped in comparison to our sons. Men seem to make much more money even within the same occupational categories. That is why most of us would not hesitate to share some of our wealth with our daughters. Our sons, and men in general, have the deck of economic cards stacked in their favor. They should not need subsidies from their parents.

    * What would be the ideal occupations for our sons and daughters? There are about 3.5 millionaire households like ours. Our numbers are growing much faster than the general population. Our kids should consider providing affluent people with some valuable service. Overall, our most trusted financial advisors are our accountants. Our attorneys are also very important. So we recommend accounting and law to our children. Tax advisors and estate-planning experts will be in big demand over the next fifteen years.



    _________________________


    Now please tell me why we must punish these people?

  • ||

    libertarian democrat | April 16, 2009, 11:48am | #
    ______________________________
    There's no such thing, so who are you really? Greenwald, is that you again?

  • ||

    Righteous rants, Nick and TomB!

    As for Obama, I was right yet again. I'm so damned sick of being right about the left. He's a stale, brownish, leftover 1960s statist douchebag, who appears everywhere, cartoonishly, in the same black suit. He must have 30 of the same suit.

    He's an intellectual and academic fraud, having fooled half of the nitwits of the left, and received the aid and succor of the other half as part of his fraud. He satisfies their worldview by faking intelligence, faking minority-ness, and successfully hiding his radical leftism, radical associations, and affirmative action career, and hiding his communist upbringing.

    The nutters who call him a Manchurian candidate of Islam are only wrong about who has put him up. It wasn't Islam; it was our own fifth column leftists.

    Wake up, Sheeple.

  • ||

    Thanks for the LOL, Nick. "Stinks on ice" is classic.

    After reading the comments, why do liberals not get that conservatives were largely disappointed with W, and most of us weren't afraid to say so? Disappointment with Bush translated into a lot of Center-right votes for Barry. So, instead of defending the Reader-in-Chief when he clearly "stinks on ice," why not admit that those of you who voted for him bought a pig in a poke? How long can you ignore the broken campaign promises, the selling out of America's interests at the G20, and the vacuous rhetoric designed to mollify those with a sixth grade reading level?

    Come on, Guys, admit that your guy sucks, period. We conservatives who thought W screwed up will give you a big hug.

  • ex-Democrat||

    I am John Galt.

    Let's roll.

  • ||

    Great Job Nick! Not Worshipping the TOTUS?!?!?!
    YOU IDIOT!!

    Now Napalitano has all the evidence she needs to throw your sorry Right-Wing-Extremist butt in Levenworth or Gitmo until hell freezes over.

    And, and, yeah, work on the grammar and punctunation.

  • ||

    This disaster has been brought to American by the complete lack of seriousness of the American Liberal.

    Obama has always been a complete fool and fraud in a pretty(to a liberal) coat. How stupid does a person have to be to have actually believed that the best and brightest of America had been hiding out at ACORN workshops and marxist seminars in the slums of Chicago? I mean come on, people? Seriously?

    And who bases their vote on a person's speeches during a campaign? Are their truly people this stupid in 21 century America? But there was the left and foolish libertarians who were actually using Obama's speeches which turned out to have been written by that 27 year old and NOT Barry as arguments for what we would do? HOW ABOUT LOOKING AT HIS PAST ACTIONS and THE RESULTS, INSTEAD? Any of you "intellectuals" ever looked at the nirvana of Obama's district in Chicago? It went from a mess to a disaster while Obama and his pals made out like royalty, but you imbeciles thought that he had been SAVING all his magical powers for the nation? Unbelievable???

    Just like represented by the raving loon of a CNN reporter at the tea party, the left are sheep who get lead around by the nose by CNN, MSNBC, and all the other MSM media hacks. Come on leftist, you really are going to be lead thru life by people who chose journalism over actual useful degrees? Sheep!

    Everybody wants to degrade the Governor of Alaska but one thing we do know is that Sarah Palin would NEVER have quaded our debt in less than 30 days in office. Who ever takes over for these jackarses, Obama\Pelosi\Reid are really going to have a disaster to restore?

  • ||

    "High Speed Rail" to where ?

    The existing corridors aren't going to gain that much, except for possibly getting Joe Biden home to Delaware from DC a few miuntes faster .. and the infusion of new cash into a dying rail system.

    As for new rail, The NIMBY folks will keep it tied up in court for years .. years after O"Bama is a vague memory.

    This is old thinking .. old Democrat thinking .. coming from Mr. Hope-n-Change.

    How pathetic.

  • ||

    YES! Yes, yes & YES! What a WELL PUT piece of work this is---superbly rendered!

  • ||

    "As it stands, the top 1 percent of filers pay 40 percent of all income taxes; the top 5 percent pay 60 percent; and the top 10 percent pay fully 70 percent of all income taxes."

    Hey Nick - why don't you take a valium and remind the class what percentage of WEALTH the top 10 percent control and own in America? In 2008, according to Economics professor Ed Wolff, "The top 20 percent owns over 80 percent of all wealth." He states that the top 5 percent own more wealth than the entire other 95 percent. How's that for a big prickly teabag down your throat? If I was a rich guy, i'd shut up and pay my taxes - certainly before the masses discover who's been ripping them off all these years... or, maybe, one day, we'll just take it all away...

  • ||

    Considering that Obama is the most explicitly ANTI-LIBERTARIAN candidate to run in recent memory, calling the classical liberal restrictions on U.S. Government power "tragic":



    http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2008/10/mccain-to-attac.html

    ...why should anyone with a firing neuron cell be surprised by this?

  • ||

    Terry Schiavo doesn't deserve to be a punchline, considering that she didn't choose her unfortunate condition, and because it was grossly misrepresented by the media.

    John McCain, on the other hand, has no excuse. He chooses to say the things he says -- to be who he is. His military service does not get him off the hook for the rest of his sorry performance.

  • B||

    "If so, then I apologize for being wrong. Still I don't remember any kind of anti-Bush II big spending rant."

    Christ, have you ever even fucking visited this site before? And even if there wasn't a rant about Bush, how in the fuck is that relevant? It doesn't make anything he writes about Obama any less true.

    You know are beaten in argument when your only rebuttal is "well Bush did it too" or some such variation.

  • B||

    "John McCain, on the other hand, has no excuse. He chooses to say the things he says -- to be who he is. His military service does not get him off the hook for the rest of his sorry performance."

    Well at least he has that. What the fuck has the pathetic piece of shit president ever contributed, except for the cult-of-personalitification of American politics?

  • Greg Q||

    You go, Nick.

    I supported TARP, because I thought we were in a liquidity crisis, and thought that it would make things better.

    I was wrong.

    I oppose TARP II, etc. because "insanity is doing the same thing over again, and expecting different results." I would have opposed it if McCain were elected, and I most certainly opposed it when Barack "any spending is stimulative, so we don't have to worry about 'waste'" Obama proposed it. That's not "hypocrisy", that's "not being a mouth breathing idiot".

    Did I spend a lot of time complaining about Bush's spending over the last 8 years? No. Did I support his domestic spending? Hell no.

    But taking Democrats seriously when they complain about Republicans "spending too much" would be like taking Madonna seriously if she had complained that Britney Spears was too promiscuous.

    No matter how bad the Republicans were, they were never going to be as bad as the Democrats. As BO, Pelosi, and Reid have spend the last three months conclusively proving. You want lower spending? Register as a Republican, and vote in the Republican Primary for the best "small government" candidate you can find.

    Because "more Democrats" = "more Spending". And "more Democrats" = "bigger, more intrusive, government."

    The Democrats are the party of the group over the individual. And they are the party that worships at the temple of big government. You may find Republican candidates that you just can't support. Fine. But there's no such thing as a Democrat candidate worth a libertarian's vote.

    Because a vote for any Democrat in the House is a vote for Pelosi, and Waxman, and Ringle, and all their ideological ilk. A vote for any Democrat in the Senate is a vote for Reid, Schumer, and Kennedy, and all their ideological ilk.

    The Republicans have their problems Specter. The Democrats are nothing but problems. You want to vote for a Democrat? Fine, go right ahead. But don't ever claim to be libertarian after supporting a Democrat. Because the two simply don't go together.

  • ||

    Greg Q,

    I think both parties overlap and part ways with libertarians on an issue-by-issue basis.

    But it's rank insanity to say Republicans are so much better, especially when you say the 'problem' Republican is the one who's not enough of a theocrat.

  • ||

    Yes, I have the definite feeling I've been cheated.

    And it was W who did it!

  • ||

    "How come people who whine about taxes on the rich always cite their share of the tax "burden" but never mention their share of the wealth?"

    Great question, although it would be better asked of the Democrats. As it turns out, the top income earners in the US already pay a much larger share of the total tax burden than the share of total income they earn.

    In 2005 (right in the thick of the evil "Bush tax cuts for the rich"):

    - The top 1% earned 16.77% of all income, and paid 34.27% of all income taxes.

    - The top 5% earned 31.18% of all income, and paid 54.36% of all income taxes.

    - The top 10% earned 42.36% of all income, and paid 65.84% of all income taxes.

    So technically speaking, and rather inconveniently for Obama, if we were interested in making the tax code more fair, we would have to cut taxes on the top income earners and/or raise them on the lower earners.

  • ||

    "Hey Nick - why don't you take a valium and remind the class what percentage of WEALTH the top 10 percent control and own in America?"

    Because wealth and income are not the same thing. If you are someone who inherited a large amount of money and you do not work for a living, your income may be far lower than someone who does. Income taxes tax income, which is why income is the operative issue.

  • ||

    "or, maybe, one day, we'll just take it all away..."

    Libertarians for Obama!

    It would be funny if it wasn't so psychotic.

  • ||

    The top 10% make more than 70% of the income, and they control more than 70% of the assets and resources of this country, they ought to pay at least 70% of the taxes.

  • ||

    ZOMG I have to pay taxes!!!

    Why do people whine about taxes. Find me one person who doesn't use any government services AT ALL and I will sign the petition for them not to pay taxes.

    I think a great tax proposal would be no income tax, no taxes on essential goods (food, clothes), and all taxes would be on non-essential goods at whatever rate is needed to balance the budget. That seems fair to me, since we all really just need the basics (food, clothes). If you, being wealthy, choose to buy a boat or have a country club membership, well, maybe you should pay 100% tax on that...

  • ||

    Warpublican, yet another moron unable to tell the difference between "income" and "wealth".

    Until you do, you aren't going to impress many around here with your rants.

    "If I was a rich guy, i'd shut up and pay my taxes - certainly before the masses discover who's been ripping them off all these years... or, maybe, one day, we'll just take it all away..."

    Well said, Karl Marx. Or was that Stalin? Or Mao? Or Castro?

  • ||

    "The top 10% make more than 70% of the income, and they control more than 70% of the assets and resources of this country, they ought to pay at least 70% of the taxes."

    WRONG. See my post above.

  • ||

    How any libertarian could have supported Obama is beyond me. Yeah, I know, McCain was an awful candidate. But if the choice comes down to jumping out of a three-story window (McCain) or jumping out of a 20-story window (Obama), it doesn't take a genius to know which gives you at least a chance of survival.

  • ||

    "The top 10% make more than 70% of the income, and they control more than 70% of the assets and resources of this country, they ought to pay at least 70% of the taxes."

    "WRONG. See my post above."

    I will concede that technically, the top 10% doesn't make 70% of the income. Realistically, without their accountants and tax attorneys, I'll bet they make more. But I have no proof so I stand corrected on income inequality. Wealth inequality is a different story, the top 10% own 80% of all assets. (Hurst, Charles E. Social Inequality: Forms, Causes, and Consequences, page 31. Pearson Education, Inc., 2007) They should progressivly tax wealth, not income.

  • ||

    "They should progressivly tax wealth, not income."

    So my 80 year old father, who made millions by doing exactly as they say the "The Millionaire Next Door", worked hard at buidling his practice, paid all taxes on his income, invested wisely, and is now wealthy, according to you, should continue to pay taxes on that wealth?

    Why?

  • ||

    Any day you can mention Bob Apodaca, is a good day.

  • ||

    Uh...you right wingers are so angry...

  • ||

    "So my 80 year old father, who made millions by doing exactly as they say the "The Millionaire Next Door", worked hard at buidling his practice, paid all taxes on his income, invested wisely, and is now wealthy, according to you, should continue to pay taxes on that wealth?

    Why?"

    Because it's fair. Every year every person should be taxed based on the percentage of the country that they own. If you own .0000002% of the country then you should pay .0000002% of the taxes. If you own 20 percent of the country's assets then you should pay 20 percent of the taxes. It's fair.

  • ||

    It's fair.

    Fair to whom?!

    You want people to pay taxes on wealth? Every year?

    How is this "fair" tax going to work? How will you compute this wealth for taxing purposes?

    More importantly, what is the incentive for me to do well if I am going to be punished by the government for doing so?

    Face it, you are jealous of others that are doing well, and have done well in the past. Pathetic really.

  • Chad||

    Raise taxes. My taxes. Your taxes. Everyone's taxes actually. By about 5% of our gross income. That will more or less balance the budget in a typical year, and despite the whining, would have almost zero impact on the economy. How many people do you know who would quit working or investing if they kept 5% less? ZERO.

  • ||

    "It's fair.

    Fair to whom?!"

    It's fair to everyone, you pay for the amount of the country that you personally use."

    "You want people to pay taxes on wealth? Every year?"

    Yes. Every year you should pay taxes based on whatever percentage of the country's economy you represent.

    "How is this "fair" tax going to work? How will you compute this wealth for taxing purposes?"

    Estimate the total value of everything in the country. Then everyone estimates the total value of everything they own. Then everyone pays taxes accordingly. Sounds like a logistical nightmare i know, but look at what we've got now.

    "More importantly, what is the incentive for me to do well if I am going to be punished by the government for doing so?"

    The more you make, the more you own, just like always.

    "Face it, you are jealous of others that are doing well, and have done well in the past. Pathetic really."

    Lets not make it personal now, you have no idea who I am or what motivates my ideas. I'm not angry, jealous, or pathetic. I just don't think it's fair that 10 percent of the country own 80 percent of the assets then they complain about paying their taxes.

  • ||

    Lets not make it personal now, you have no idea who I am or what motivates my ideas. I'm not angry, jealous, or pathetic. I just don't think it's fair that 10 percent of the country own 80 percent of the assets then they complain about paying their taxes.


    Yet another budding marxist economist who doesn't understand the difference between "wealth" and "income".

  • ||

    I finally got a good laugh today when I read this article. Just wish I would have stopped at that. But no, I had to read the comments. I try to remember that it was the young and dumb that pushed this over the edge. I voted for Jimmy Carter ONCE, so I can almost forgive them their ignorance. Having said that, this man has managed to fuck up the Country more in 3 months then Jimmy did in 4 years (well, yes, he's still fucking up and his houses are falling down). Obeyme is building his "New Foundation" on quicksand. Hopefully, his followers will figure it out before they take us ALL down.

  • Oschisms||

    The one good thing about the election of Barack Obama is that it pounded a stake in the heart of Reason's credibility.

  • ||

    Cheated doesn't begin to describe it... This idiot Obama is now going after Co2... Which we tend to routinely breath out. Now we have an EPA Government that will watch EVERYTHING WE DO.

    This is getting very very scary. I am really getting worried about retention of our basic freedoms.

  • Chad||

    TomB | April 17, 2009, 7:24pm | #

    Yet another budding marxist economist who doesn't understand the difference between "wealth" and "income".


    No, we darned well do understand the distinction. You just don't understand why both matter. Wealth concentrates into the hands of a few in a capitalist system, and the lower the tax rates, the worse this phenomenon is. It has little to do with hard work or intelligence and much more to do with luck and connections.

    You would be surprised how little correlation there is between intellence and hours worked vs income in the upper half of the income spectrum. Indeed, above an IQ of 120, there is NO correlation between income or "success" and intelligence. Why?

  • ||

    "Wealth concentrates into the hands of a few in a capitalist system, and the lower the tax rates, the worse this phenomenon is."

    So what? It's always assumed to be given that this is somehow a moral catastrophe, but why?

    So, the rich have more money than the non-rich. What does that mean? Does it mean that, if that money were taken away, everyone else would have more stuff? No, they would have more money, but the pool of goods and services available would be the same, so the money would simply be worth less.

    If the wealthy were consuming resources in proportion to their money, something could be gained by diverting those resources to others. But, the fact is the rich can only consume as much as a single person can consume, and that isn't really much.

    So, what does having all that money really do for a person? It allows them to organize and apply capital and labor to their ends. And, this is good. Because these are people who have proven themselves particularly adept at doing so. The only other way is to have the pinheads in government ordering resources, a policy that has failed miserably everywhere it has been extensively applied.

  • engineer||

    "Indeed, above an IQ of 120, there is NO correlation between income or "success" and intelligence. Why?"

    Because maybe qualities (judgement, experience,disposition, common sense) besides raw IQ contribute to an individuals ability to be productive and successful? Because beyond a certain point extra IQ doesn't necessarily translate into higher earnings potential? Would you like a link to the Wikipedia article on the Law of Diminishing Returns?

    Or could it be that many people with high IQs feel it is wrong that they have to work when they're so much smarter than everyone else, and so spend their time bitching and moaning about how the deck is stacked against them? And besides, I thought that lefties put no stock in IQ tests.

    Full Disclosure: My IQ is *only* 121, so my discounting of an ultra-high IQ as the major determinant of productivity is somewhat selfish.

  • engineer||

    If wealth tends to naturally accumulate in the hands of the few THROUGH NO CONTRIBUTION OR EFFORT OF THEIR OWN, then presumably high marginal income tax rates should do nothing to affect the number of people and amount of taxes payed out from these brackets, or the overall amount of wealth in a society. However, repeated historical evidence suggests that they do, in fact, lower all of these figures. This suggests that there is some effort or risk involved in the activities that allow these high earners to obtain their wealth, which become imprudent if the potential rewards of these activities are increased.

  • engineer||

    "I'm not angry, jealous, or pathetic. I just don't think it's fair that 10 percent of the country own 80 percent of the assets then they complain about paying their taxes."

    I'm getting severely mixed messages here.

  • ||

    Dear John C. Randolph;

    The fact that many or most Mexicans come here to work is utterly beside the point.

    Go to Heritage.org and read Robert Rector's study on taxpayer subsidization of low wage immigrant workers.

    $20,000 per year EACH in social and welfare services over and above what they contribute in taxes.

    People like you and Nick claim you oppose the welfare state, then demand we flood the country with millions and millions of wefare eligible, welfare dependent "workers" on the "path" to citizenship and a voter registration card. Who and what the hell do you think social service dependent people, working or not, are going to vote for?

    People who support massive "low wage" immigration are not "libertarian". They are corporate socialists masquerading as libertarian.

  • ||

    "I'm not angry, jealous, or pathetic. I just don't think it's fair that 10 percent of the country own 80 percent of the assets then they complain about paying their taxes."

    "I'm getting severely mixed messages here."

    Why? This isn't about a stringint uncompromising ideology. It's about fairness. Imagine you were renting a house and you had nine roomates. One of those roomates used up 80 percent of the house, should that roomate pay 80 percent of the rent? Shouldn't the landlord use some of that rent money to fix up the house, even the 20 percent of the house the poor people live in? Lets say that one of the poor roomates lost his job and couldn't pay his rent. Wouldn't it benefit everyone if the landlord used some of the rent money to help that person get back on their feet so they will be able to pay their rent in the future. I'm not angry, or jealous or pathetic. I just don't understand how some rich people don't understand this. It's not socialism, it's not about taking from the rich so everyone will have the same exact percent of everything. It's about making sure that everyone is playing on the same field and that everyone has the same chance at life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

  • ||

    I know rants can be fun, but to someone like me who is drifting towards libertarianism a rant like this is dissappointing at a site called reason. It makes me stop and think that maybe this is just another political echo chamber where there is more heat than light. If I go to either a leftie or righty blog I expect to find a bunch of people convinced that they are right and clapping each other on the back but I am hoping for more here.

  • ||

    First time I read anything by you. So, using your style let me be blunt. FUCK you and every right wing POS like you.

  • ||

    Taxpayers should be paying at least the proportion of the GDP that they earn, plus an amount that takes into account the hardship that the poor and middle class have had to endure as the percentage they pay entails not a loss of one or two mansions or a boat or two, but beggars the question of whether their their families have shelter and can feed and clothe themselves. The poor and the middle classes' wages have remained stagnant for 35 years while the rich have seen their incomes soar and their taxes drop. This imbalance should be redressed, retroactively. And it will not have been redressed retroactively at least until a typical family can get by on what one wage earner brings in, just like when our parents were growing up, as opposed to nearly all families which are now required to have two wage earners.

    If the rich don't like it, they should leave, to another country (if they can find one) where they can maintain the standard of living that the US has made possible for them.

    And as far as the old Republican argument that the poor don't pay taxes - I've seen what comes out of their paychecks every two weeks - and it is most definitely taxes, including the Social Security Fund which has been regularly raided by Congress for decades to pay for government and pork.

    The Republicans have traditionally stood for low taxes, while allowing their friends and other "connected," groups to rip off average Americans to their hearts content, and when you take that into account the math shows that the American people are the most taxed people on earth.

  • ||

    Meantime, with millions of Americans without jobs the invasion continues, no Liberal Democrat will address the 500 pound gorilla in the room, and millions of invading Illegal Aliens taking millions of jobs that should be American jobs and 100,s billions of dollars in social services that should be for American citizens!

    One cannot be political correct and admit that Illegal Aliens are an large part of the problems in this Nation.

    Their negative impact extends to every area from Sub-par loans & defaults, Underground economy, Massive document fraud, Lower standard of living, Crime, Overflowing prisons , Bankrupted hospitals, Failing schools, Property Taxes, Insurance costs, Environment, Culture, Welfare costs, Welfare fraud, SS fraud, Voter fraud, Disrespect for our laws & country, our Constitution against invasion and even Balance of payments occurring from oil and other imports to support the 20 to 30 million illegal aliens in this country!

    One has to only look at Calif. which is basically mostly an Spanish speaking, Bankrupt state that cannot afford to provide Welfare, Schooling, Medical, Prison cells etc. for millions of MS-13 Gang bangers, Drug dealers, Rapist and other assorted Criminals and uneducated, fast breeding, third world rejects from Mexico!

    In a very few years it will be impossible to see where Mexico ends and Calif. begins as both will be an third world cesspool!

    Failure to secure our borders and reward the Invading horde for their invasion and their relatives in an never ending chain with American Citizenship is nothing less than committing National Suicide & will assure our future is an over populated Spanish speaking third world Nation that is an Cesspool of Corruption, Crime, Poverty and Misery modeled on Mexico!

  • ||

    You should watch the movie "A Day Without A Mexican". Then rethink your policies to see if you can bring yourself to cut your own grass. You hands might get dirty. It might even be fun.

    Without your hefty tax payments, how else would you be able to pay the police to keep the rif-raf out of your neighborhood.

    Just think, if you paid less taxes, you would have more money, so you could afford your own personal security, that way, when the social safety net disappears, you will be able to feel safe behind your moat.

    Glad I don't live in your world.

  • ||

    Most people who are 'rich' (whatever the government says that means this week) got there by taking risks and working hard. They CREATED their own wealth. They are not taking a big piece of a finite wealth pie as many leftists seem to believe. People who work hard and created a wanted product or service DESERVE their wealth, and they DESERVE to not be punished by a punitive tax code that seeks to grab their money and buy votes with it.

  • ||

    Hey Joe - It is true that those that "created" wealth deserve to take advantage of the benefits that it affords. BUT - we live in a community, not in isolation, and therefore, we need to put back into the community so it functions better for all. Some put more, some put less, but in the end, we have a functioning environment. Otherwise, just review what happened in Venezuela and see what extreme imbalance brings.

    And BTW - your argument doesn't hold water for those that inherited their wealth - what did they do to create it and do they deserve it? Do we give a tax credit for being the product of a lucky sperm?

  • ||

    Hey Tony,
    There is no such thing as corporate ownership of wealth. What equal share are you talking about! You want more wealth? Work more! Or acquire wealth producing skills. Don't live on the back of us hard working tax paying people. You taxusers deliriously whine about unequal distribution of wealth. Don't you understand you will never realize that dream unles you equalize skill, God-given talents, attitudes and work? Until you have a solution on how to redistribute these things - stop with this nonsense!

  • ||

    And to you Mitch and the rest of you socialist pigs - you work hard and develop wealth generating skills as well; develop good judgement (which you obviously don't have at this point) so you can earn your wealth just like the parents of these rich kids and stop thinking about how you can rob these rich children of their inheritance. To leave their money to their children or not is all up to these parents (who earned it) and not yours or anybody else's who have not worked hard for it (government included). Check your motives - you envious slobs! Most of you just can't compete that's why you want big government to "equalize results" not input. Hard truth to swallow huh!

  • ||

    Oh and BTW, i am not rich myself but I understand that I do not have Bill Gate's or Donald Trump's or Oprah's talents and skills. Hence I cannot be wealthy like them. I do not envy their possessions or lifestyle. I am content with what I have and what I earn for myself. And I just enjoy the benefits of these people's main contributions to society, namely their innate abilities.

  • ||

    Ash wrote:

    "Imagine you were renting a house and you had nine roomates. One of those roomates used up 80 percent of the house, should that roomate pay 80 percent of the rent? Shouldn't the landlord use some of that rent money to fix up the house, even the 20 percent of the house the poor people live in?"

    Ash is a perfect example of people who just don't have a clue. "Used up 80 percent...?"
    How about this: they "created" 80 percent!
    Bill Gates doesn't require and more food or air than I do. He can, however, spend money and employ a lot more people than I can...and I don't have to support him if choose not too. I also know that if he has an unproductive product, he will let it die, while our all-knowing government will just throw more money at it.

  • ||

    One more comment regarding my previous post...

    If a person does use up 80 percent of the house, as Ash used in his/her example, then certainly charge 80 percent of the rent.
    But that is a false analogy, Ash.

    If that person does not use 80 percent, you still want him to pay more, correct?
    You want them to pay more because they have more. Just be honest about your wealth envy and move on.

  • ||

    I say piss on all the moral mumbo jumbo. Who really deserves anything? We're only alive because of luck. You're only wealthy because of luck. We had a freaking retarded cowboy in the highest office in the land, a man who would have failed at running a Taco Bell, certainly not because of his skill and tirelessness. And for that matter just being a white male has been a big leg up for 100% of our history.

    We have a civilization to maintain. That can't happen if most of the wealth is concentrated at the top (not an accident in any way). Economies stagnate without a healthy middle class. Infrastructure and education and basic and complex services are required just to keep up. We are falling behind the rest of the modern world in nearly all metrics because a few wealthy interests got hold of the levers of power and decided their short-term wealth bonanza was more important than paying a little more to fund the civilization that makes their wealth possible (and, until what I hope is the near future, their non-productive ponzi schemes that made up 40% of the economy.)

  • ||

    Tony you're not making sense.

    "You're only wealthy because of luck." vs.

    "That can't happen if most of the wealth is concentrated at the top (not an accident in any way)."

    I am beginning to believe in this quote:
    "Libereals are so open minded - their brains are spilling out of their heads".

    Seems like you haven't been cured of your Bush derangement syndrome either.

  • ||

    Whoa! Now THAT'S a rant! I do have one proposition that REASON foundation has not considered. Highwaymen. Legalizing the return of highwaymen will keep people off the roads thus curing all the traffic jams and making a high speed rail network plausible. Just tryin' to help.
    -----------------------------------

    Ever heard of train robbers of the Old West?? :)

  • ||

    Brainless straw man argument. There are obviously other reasons why these trains would be beneficial and you minimize the benefits increasing transportation efficiency and reducing traffic congestion

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