Tax the Rich?


In efforts to make a populist appeal, President Obama declared this afternoon: "I reject the idea that asking the hedge-fund manager to pay the same tax rate as a plumber or teacher is class warfare. I just do." The president announced plans to raise taxes on the wealthy and for a new minimum tax rate on millionaires to ensure that the wealthy whose income may largely derive from capital gains and dividends will have incomes impacted not only by corporate income taxes, but by higher capital gains taxes as well.

Results from the Reason-Rupe poll actually demonstrate a willingness by a majority of Americans to increase taxes on the "wealthy." However these preferences depend greatly on how one defines wealthy. The poll asked the standard question "Do you think the federal government should increase taxes on the wealthy," with 69 percent in favor and 28 percent opposed. However, respondents in favor were then asked what household income they would use to define someone who is wealthy and should therefore pay higher taxes. Respondents consistently listed incomes that were above their own, even high-income respondents, suggesting that people may want to raise taxes, but just not on themselves.

For instance, the interquartile range among those making less than $25,000 a year ranged from $100,000 to $500,000 a year. Yet, those making $100,000-$199,000 defined wealthy as $250,000 to $500,000. Those making over $200,000 defined wealthy from $300,000 to $1,000,000. The graphic below compares each income group to that groups' preferred definition of the term "wealthy." Each group typically wants to tax those who make more than they do.


Click here for full survey results.

Survey Methods

The Reason-Rupe Q3 2011 poll collected a nationally representative sample of 1200 respondents, aged 18 and older from all 50 states and the District of Columbia using live telephone interviews from August 9th-18th 2011. The margin of sampling error for this poll is ± 3 percent. The margin of error for the GOP presidential race numbers is ± 4.79%. Interviews were conducted with respondents using both landline (790) and mobile phones (410). Landline respondents were randomly selected within households based on the adult who had the most recent birthday. Sample was weighted by gender, age, ethnicity, and Census region, based on the most recent US Census data. The sampling frame included landline and mobile phone numbers generated using Random Digit Dialing (RDD) methods and randomly selected numbers from a directory-listed sample. Clickhere for full methodological details. NSON Opinion Strategy conducted the poll's fieldwork. View full methodology.

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  1. Taxing the rich is just a feel-goodism. It will solve nothing.

  2. "I reject the idea that asking the hedge-fund manager to pay the same tax rate as a plumber or teacher is class warfare. I just do."

    Asking anyone to pay more in taxes on an absolute dollar basis than the absolute dollar value of government services that they have personally received in exchange for their money calculated on a user fee basis IS class warfare.

    1. "I reject the idea that asking a typical white person to forego a promotion or be denied admission so that a less qualified negro can thereby obtain the promotion or be admitted to Diversity U. is racist. I just do."

      1. Note the usage of "white person" rather than "honkie", showing that L**mike is not an equal opportunity offender.

        1. I took it as a reference to Obama's prior descriptions of his typical white grandmother.

        2. Go fuck yourself, Tulpa.

  3. For Liberals: "Do you support increasing taxes on 'someone else' inorder to balance the budget?"

    Conservatives: "Do you support taking away 'someone elses benefits' inorder to balance the budget?"

    1. you sound like Obama, presenting an either/or choice as though there are no other options. How about we start with cutting spending. If something is to be taken away from anyone, how about taking away a part of our money from the federal govt.

    2. You cannot raise enough money to pay for the expected costs of government.

    3. Spending has ballooned much more since 2000 than revenues have gone down. It is only logical that the vast majority of deficit reduction should be made up of spending cuts (though I acknowledge there will have to be some tax increase to make this politically feasible).

      1. I question I never see asked much (probably because it's hypothetical): If GWB had kept Clin-ton's tax rates, would the fiscal pictures be THAT much more stable? I think we'd just have 90% of GDP in debt rather than about 100%.

        1. The estimate of how much the Bush tax cuts "cost" the govt yearly is currently about $250-300B. Not nearly enough to get rid of the entire deficit, but certainly a healthy chunk of it, which if combined with a trillion or so in yearly spending cuts could definitely balance the budget.

          1. Eh, my research (Googling) is turning up different numbers. ThinkProgress says 2.5 trillion over 10 years, but Huffpo is saying that they only cost $42 billion for the past fiscal year.

            I'm more inclined to use this guys numbers, since he's writing as a factchecker for WaPo, a still left-leaning, Obama sympathetic source, but not nuts like thinkprogress:

            1.3 trillion over 10 years. Hypothetically, that would be a structural deficit of still around 90%.

            1. Okay, from the CBO itself:

              The EGTRRA and the JGTRRA were responsible for a combined (projected) revenue loss of 1.514 trillion dollars. I don't cound the "Working Families blah blah" act because it didn't affect the actual rates, and isn't the issue at stake - the EGTRRA and JGTRRA are the cuts with the 10 year expiration which are at the heart of budget talks.

              1. Oh, and the ARRA and tax act of 2010 are of course, Obama's doing.

          2. I've wondered how they come up with this number and if they (and who is they? OMB?) included any negative effects of of higher taxes on the economy.

  4. I reject the notion that Obama is my president.

    1. I'll second that.

    2. You have no more ability to reject that notion than you can reject the notion that your mother's brother is your uncle. No matter how often he penetrates you with a tube of raw cookie dough.

      1. Shows what you know. I have no uncle.

        1. At least not since the cookie dough incident...

  5. Obama, of course, is trying his damndest to play the scary Republican card for the election. Not realizing that no one is at all interested in politics as usual. Even many in his own party get that now. It's the economy, stupid!

    Obama is appearing to be a lot dumber than I thought he was. Clinton after 1994 knew the gig was up and shifted to the right. Obama thinks nothing has happened. Frankly, I wouldn't be surprised if he ran again on "change."

    1. This.

      Even before he was elected, Obama struck me as someone who wanted to be adored more than he wanted to be powerful. And now, it really seems like giving speeches to cheering crowds is the only aspect of the job he enjoys. Yet after nearly three years of the Obama cult of personality, and the unbearable overload of the debt-ceiling drama in July, people are tuning him out.

      1. Obama struck me as someone who wanted to be adored...

        Like the Stone Roses? Actually, this song better describes what his voters saw in him.

      2. I thought this before, but if that's the case why is he bothering to run for reelection? He could easily just say "America just wasn't ready for a black president," blame racism for the fact that he didn't accomplish anything, and announce that he wasn't running again. His remaining adorers would still adore him, and he would never have a shortage of paid speaking engagements all over the world after leaving office.

        Of course, it's possible he could still pull an LBJ and decide not to run later this year. But there's no indication that's in progress.

        1. He'll run, unless things get much worse. And he'll lose bigger than anyone has lost in quite some time.

          1. There still needs to be someone to run against him.

  6. What a fascinating chart. Apparently, for most people, the wealthy are those who make somewhat more than they do.

    And, if they ever step up to making what they used to think was "wealthy", the needed amount recedes like the horizon.

    1. If other people have slightly more wealth than you do, you might think their position is something you could achieve as well with a little bit of effort. So someone with an income of $40k is going to look at people with incomes of $60-80k, not at the millionaire whose wealth position he is unlikely to ever obtain.

    2. If other people have slightly more wealth than you do, you might think their position is something you could achieve as well with a little bit of effort. So someone with an income of $40k is going to look at people with incomes of $60-80k, not at the millionaire whose wealth position he is unlikely to ever obtain.

      1. Wealth-envy can happen in ANY lower income bracket.

      2. But people who are poor (ie below 25k a year) seem to center around 200k as their minimum for wealthiness. The big movement in that definition doesn't occur until you get to the people who make over 100k.

    3. with the group of malcontents I hang out with, I never let on my income. I probably make 2-3x more than most of 'em. But I certainly don't "feel" rich. In comparison to them I am, but it's a matter of degree. My house is just a little nicer and my cars are a little newer. ...that's about it.

      If you mention "investing in stocks", they expect you to sprout a tophat and monocle.

  7. Why hello there Emily...


    Taxes for thee but not for me? I am shocked. Shocked, I tell you.

  8. if not for class warfare, liberals would have to explain their views and even they know the public would reject them. So, they invent boogeymen - hedge fund guys, people with corporate jets, anyone making $10 more than you, etc - in order to gin up support for bad ideas.

    The man has had more than two and a half years to put forth a proposal for reining in spending. Instead, he has ratcheted it upward and dramatically increased the size and reach of fedzilla. From Obama's perspective, he is on schedule. There is nothing happening that he sees as problematic. Rational people think conditions are bad, but without chaos, the transformational change this man promised cannot occur.

    1. Buh-bye, Mr. Obama. Thanks for playing.

  9. why do so many government jobs pay a "rich" salary? no one should get rich as a public servant. government salaries should have a hard cap below what Obama defines as rich.

    1. Because "public servants" set the pay for "public servants". Of course you're going to watch their overall pay grow over time (but slowly, of course, so that the taxpayers don't notice), to the point now where it's ridiculous and they're paid more than their private sector counterparts.

    2. members of the Roman senate did not get paid a salary. Why should our "elected" members of Congress and the President get compensation? They're like reverse prostitutes. They fuck us over and charge us money for it. Only with prostitutes, you hope you get your money's worth. With these bastards, every minute of it is agony. But, I guess the libs are the masochists in all this. They love getting tortured by big government.

      1. I've been saying for a while that congressional salaries should be linked to the overall health of the economy. I think it might give them some motivation to actually do things that will help the economy. I've even come up with a formula that I think would work:

        (GDP ? National Debt) x 0.0000125% = annual salary

        1. This is the best idea I've read in a long time.

    3. The ostensible reason is that if the govt needs people to do very skilled work that the private sector also needs people for, they need to pay them close to what the private sector would. For example, the economists and accountants at the CBO could probably make a lot of money in the private sector doing basically the same job.

      Of course there are a lot of public savants who would never come close to making the salary they make now in the private sector (kindergarten teachers making $75K, bus drivers pulling in $150K, etc) but that's not universal.

      1. I thought those were the reasons that the public sector had great job security, benefits, and pension plans.

        1. If the salary were much lower, then those wouldn't be enough to make up for the salary difference.

  10. The bottom 40% or so actually have negative income tax rates because they already pay payroll taxes. So what is Obama complaining about?

    1. Wander into a Jackson Hewiit office in late January or early February and listen to people who had nothing withheld but are getting checks for $7,000 or more complain about getting taxed to death, because a neighbor got more than them. Of course these tax credits aren't "income" when we're sobbing about the growth of 'poverty' in America.

  11. Apparently, for most people, the wealthy are those who make somewhat more than they do.

    I'm beginning to think it has more to do with spending their money on the "wrong" things.

  12. I'm really just dumbfounded that Obama hasn't tried a new tack besides the whole "tax the rich" stuff.

    If people didn't believe that the economy was in the shitter two years ago because of "rich people getting away with tax cheating" why does he think they'll believe it now, regardless of whether that's true or not*?

    This is the same campaign that lost the house for Dems in 2010. I'm really shocked that the powers that be don't seem to realize that Americans are less and less enamored with the whole "raising taxes on rich people will fix the economy" thing.

    *-It's not.

    1. Maybe because we have an enormous deficit that needs to be addressed, and the American people don't want to cut their benefits?

      I realize you guys are economic suicide bombers, prepared to destroy your own wealth to make a point, but if we need to pay for something, why not ask the people who can afford it?

      1. More of this BS that you believe that you're entitled to other people's money. No, Tony! You want to help the poor, then fucking do it! You want to give people medical care? Fucking do it! You want to take money from someone else by force in order to do it? GTFO

        1. but we can only do it togethr

        2. I wouldn't bother replying to Tony, he will just make straw men out of your arguments and argue a point you aren't making.

          That's the modus operandi of the left. They lost the arguments a long time ago and now resort to arguing ad hominem or creating straw men by distorting whatever it is they are arguing against.

          It's a giant waste of time.

      2. Because there is no amount of revenue that you won't pee away on "benefits". Deficit reduction....not part of the program.

        Yo MyEBT...MyEBT....MyEBT!!

      3. "I realize you guys are economic suicide bombers"

        I realize you're a brain-dead shithead.

      4. Re: Clueless and stupid sockpuppet,

        Maybe because we have an enormous deficit that needs to be addressed,

        "We" don't have shit, you piece of bantha poodoo.

        I realize you guys are economic suicide bombers, prepared to destroy your own wealth to make a point[...]

        You're nothing more than a childish mountebank, sockpuppet.

      5. Tony, with government the size that minarchists would prefer, you could run the entire thing on nothing but volunteers and donations. Yes, I kid you not, you could. And just because you can't see ever giving money to something you support without being forced to, it doesn't mean the rest of us wouldn't. Would there be free riders? Sure. That's inevitable in every system. But even then there are ways to lessen the incentive of ducebaggery. We could all go, in person, once a year, and give something or volunteer our time. Our name can be published along with our contribution. Gross free-riding can be ostracized, and in a world were people depend upon one another instead of the gov, communities would be a lot closer and you wouldn't want to be considered a scumbag. See, there *are* ways around the issues. Of course, that is unless you consider taking people's money by force a feature, not a bug.

        1. *Sigh*, that should read douche*baggery. It's not like I don't engage in it enough to learn how it's spelled. 🙁

  13. People generally think people who make less money than they do are lazy bums, while people who make more money than they do are greedy thieves.

  14. People are idiots. Disincentives for investment? Giving investors reasons not to spread their money around on their own? Obama believes that the "wealthy" will give him more of their money for his bullshit and invest in economic growth? Human nature will thwart these assholes' plans every time.

    1. But much higher disincentives for labor is ok?

      1. I think I heard a beer fart. Or was it a buck-snort?

  15. The interesting (and not so obvious and 'baity) thing there is how the largest and most nearly-average group ($25k-50k) generated the most statistically accurate range of actual rich-people incomes.

    There are approximately zero over-$300k income-earners in America; $100k is where the census stops subdividing personal income upward, because the numbers above that get too small and fudgy to use (just like they do below $2500/year, which roughly the same number of people earn).
    The wisdom of random bastards! Like in Hayek and shit.


  16. Soon, through inflation, we'll all be rich and be paying the new taxes. Finally, I'll be in a higher income bracket. Gotta love this prez

    1. I have 180 Trillion dollars.

      They cost me $13, which is probably about $11 more than they were worth at the time.

      1. Who wants to be a Trillionaire?

  17. "I reject the idea that asking the hedge-fund manager to pay the same tax rate as a plumber or teacher is class warfare. I just do."

    Seems reasonable to me. It's funny how it's class warfare when rich folks have to pay the same rates as middle class folks.

    1. Technically, my wife and I are "rich" (though not really), and I would gladly pay the same rate as the middle class.

      1. apparently you're not rich enough to afford the accountants who help create "writedowns" or "business expenses".

    2. It does sound reasonable on the surface, which is one of the reasons for all the populist calls to make it so. The problem is the income in question is often from investing, so raising the rates discourages investment, which is bad for the economy. Good intentions to not make good policies.

      1. not to mention thats the tax rate on top of the corporate tax rate and also cap gains taxes are not adjusted for inflation. The real rate that people like buffet pay is way higher than he claims.

      2. Not to mention it's pretty much a triple tax.

        1. Person earns income, and pays income tax at the top marginal rate.
        2. Person takes the money left after taxes, and buys shares in a corporation.
        3. If the corporation makes money, it pays income tax on profits.
        4. Corporation takes the money left after taxes and distributes dividends to the shareholders.
        5. Shareholder pays capital gains tax on the dividends.

      3. Your comment presumes these people have good intentions.

    3. The plumber and the teacher will pay the same rate as the hedge fund manager when they start drawing on their 401k and other retirement investments. People who buy into Obama's soak the rich rhetoric are just screwing themselves over in the end.

      Furthermore, we already have a capital gains tax rate that is non-competitive with the rest of the world. This will hurt investment in the USA. Hell, just suggesting it will hurt investment here as long term investors have to take the future rate into account.

      It's stuff like this that makes you wonder if Obama and the Dems want a depression as they seem hellbent on knocking the legs out from under the economy.

  18. Defining "rich" is really irrelevant to Obama's bullshit.
    It's the tired, old, populist cry of 'raise taxes on someone else to pay for my stuff'.

    1. "Seems reasonable to me. It's funny how it's class warfare when rich folks have to pay the same rates as middle class folks."

      See. Populist crap right here.

  19. Quoting from memory, the top 40% of earners pay over 95% of all tax revenues, and the top 5% of earners pay over 41% of all tax revenues.

    So how much more skewed do democrats want to make it before they are satisfied?

    1. 99% and 75% sounds about right.

    2. The top brackets also earn a disproportionate amount of income, so it's reasonable that they would pay a disproportionate amount of income tax.

      1. Ummm.. attention numerical illiterates: the numbers I gave ARE disproportionate. top 5% paying 41% is a very disproportionate.

        So how much more do you want from them?

        1. Umm, but if the top 5% are earning 41% of the money and paying 41% then they are paying a proportionate percent, correct? (i know they aren't quite that way, but it illustrates the point).

          1. The top 1% earn 20% of income and pay 38% of taxes.

            Top 5% earn 35% of income and pay 59% of taxes.

            Top 10% earn 46% of income and pay 70% of taxes.

            Top 25% earn 67% of income and pay 86% of taxes.

            Top 50% earn 87% of income and pay 98% of taxes.

            Bottom 50% earn 13% of income and pay 2% of taxes.

            1. Given the progressive nature of the tax code, this sounds right. Its not exactly horror of horrors though.

  20. Thank goodness my World Bank "consulting fees" are not subject to tax.

  21. Note to Emily Eakins:

    Please stop conflating gross or taxable income and wealth.

    As you are far from the only one who commits this fallacy, don't feel like the Lone Ranger. High income individuals with huge debts can have low net worth, and very wealthy folks heavily invested in tax exempt muni bonds can have very low taxable incomes.

    Other than that, nice work on the opinion poll.


    "The Rich" - American Kulak's.

  23. I reject the idea that gravity is the reason that I'm sitting in a chair in class instead of floating in the atmosphere. I just do.

    Reject it all you want, that doesn't mean it's not true.

    1. I just don't.

  24. Is it sad that the most anti-statist, libertarian person on my block is a Jordanian immigrant that dresses like a Saudi Prince and flies a Betsy Ross flag?

    1. He's more libertarian than you?

      And if he's willing to accept others' freedom to do as they please (LD), he can dress like a Saudi princess for all I care.

      1. I'm not sure, but then again, I don't know ALL of his positions.

        I'm a rabidly patriotic, highly militant minarchist. And his rhetoric ain't far off something similar, either.

        1. I was just giving you a hard time. Seriously though, people who've lived in countries where the government is even more venal than ours often have a different perspective than natives.

    2. Quite the contrary. It's fucking awesome! We obviously need more immigrants. There's something about growing up in a foreign dictatorship with little chance for success that makes these folks embrace American liberty. Too bad 98% of native born Americans have become anesthetized to the pain of creeping statism. Hopefully this will soon change.

      1. You can't write that shit. This guy's only been in country for a few years, but he knows and understands American history and current events better than all those shitheaded pricks White Houses use for advisers and that show up on CNN every waking minute.

        He dresses extravagantly in Arabic-casual combinations, has a very thick accent, and often greets in Arabic. Imagine my surprise when I realized it was HIS house the 13-star was flying from.

        1. I'm good friends with an Iranian-born cat I went to college with. His family fled to the US, first from the Shah, and later the Ayatollah. Most of the family lives in Orange County. These mofo's do one thing: make money! I mean these guys hustle and move and deal. They also drink and "recreate" pretty hard, too. My point is, these guys aren't political, they don't pay attention to culture wars, and I doubt they even vote. But they sure act like An-Cap superstars. I guess it beats being tortured by the Revolutionary Guards.

          1. And now you know why I am embraced by the persian family I'm marrying into.

            1. Into the frying pan, eh Sudden? Good luck man. Persian women are craaaaaaazzzzzzyyyyyyy!

  25. The idea that other people have a right to vote themselves a bigger share of my earnings--because I earned them?

    That's reason #55 why personal autonomy is better than democracy.

    1. It really is a philosophically shitty system, but its harder to escape than a national sales tax, which would have to loophole itself into non-regressiveness.

      The government could always just create a national high rate property tax and become giant Texas.

      1. Or giant NH, IIRC. I remember as a kid the first time I bought something in Maine. The woman asked for $1.05, when I could clearly see the price was $.99. I thought she was ripping me off. Years later, I studied libertarian writings and found out I'd been right about that.

        1. Sorry, that was incoherent as written. New Hampshuh has high property taxes, but no sales tax. Or at least they didn't used to have a sales tax.

      2. "It really is a philosophically shitty system, but its harder to escape than a national sales tax, which would have to loophole itself into non-regressiveness."

        I think that "progressive/regressive" dichotomy is pretty much semantics.

        The idea that it can cost a business $50,000 a year to pay someone $35,000 a year in take home pay--should be unconscionable at a time when the unemployment rate is over 9%.

        Would unemployed people who cost that much less a year to hire be significantly more attractive to potential employers? I think so. Would people be willing to put up with more of a sales tax if they got to keep significantly more of their take home pay? I think that's true too.

        If anybody wants to call that "regressive", I think they're just playing word games.

        I certainly don't see an absolute positive correlation between wealthy people paying more in taxes--and middle class people getting more and better stuff from the federal government. So if people want to call that latter idea "progressive", well I think that's just semantics too.

      3. Word. I'm in Texas. Property taxes are the biggest scam. No matter what, they go up every year. But the worst part is that you don't make any money off of your house until you sell it, at which point the price you get is highly inflated, and you give a % to realtors. Total shit. Plus, property taxes can be extremely regressive for retired folks, or poorer folks who've lived in their house for 20 years.

        1. Property tax is the worst kind of tax in my opinion. It's a wealth tax. I buy a big house, therefore, I have to pay the government for the privilege of living there.

        2. I'm not a fan of taxing illiquid assets either, since you can't sell off pieces of the house to keep pace with the value rise. And if your property value falls, it contributes to the underfunding of the public services, which drives your property value down even more. Vicious circles.

  26. Totally ridiculous but worth it thread-jack . . . I know that these gloomy times produce the need for a chuckle. So check out the new Christian propaganda film trailer for "Courageous". Enjoy!

  27. but fair share...

    1. Fair share of liberty and justice?

      Other than that, I owe you nothing.

      1. The idea that people owe you their money--because they made it--is the root of all evil.

        1. Now take all your clothes off, go to a mirror with a razor in your hand, and think this sentence: "The idea that people owe you their money--because they made it--is the root of all evil, and this is an idea most of the human species believes."

          99% of people barely hold themselves off from their own wrists, that's how fucking awful the realization of just how fucked up everything is happens to be.

          1. To be fair, it was alot easier to makes vast sums of money when you could outsource your own defense, transportation, labor pool, and goods exchange mechanisms.

            Not saying people don't deserve the money they make, but it sure is alot easier to become a millionaire in the US than in Somalia.

            /devil's advocate

            1. Yeah, there are good reasons why I haven't moved to Somalia and have stayed in the USA.

              But the reason: "I don't have to pay my fair share" isn't one of them.

              1. Yeah, there are good reasons why I haven't moved to Somalia and have stayed in the USA.

                But the reason: "I don't have to pay my fair share" isn't one of them.

                I'm not sure I understand what you're saying here?

                1. I pay more than my fair share here in the U.S.!

                  Just because Somalia is a hell hole, doesn't mean I'm not overtaxed here in the U.S.

                  Somehow I want to be both taxed fairly AND not have to leave the country for Somalia. And I don't think that's being too demanding.

                  I certainly don't think that the United States would devolve into Somalia if the government stopped actively discouraging entrepreneurship, investing and earning--through punitive taxation.

                  1. You know why Somalia is such a hell hole?

                    I suspect a lot of it has to do with a lack of investment and entrepreneurship.

                    It isn't the government that's actively discouraging that kind of economic activity over there--their government probably wants all the investment they can get. So it really does make you wonder why our government actively discourages investment and entrepreneurship here.

                    Like I said, I think it goes back to people's cognitive biases or weird misconceptions--the idea that other people owe you money because they earned it.

                    You get people to accept the fact that just because someone else invested profitably--that doesn't they owe you anything? And we might get somewhere.

                    Probably better to start small--with the idea that just because someone else earned a paycheck, doesn't mean you should get a cut.

                    1. granted that services rendered should equal pay (which is how most of government works, albeit poorly), but yes, the social safety nets have really outdone themselves in meeting their namesakes of "entitlements" as some people believe they are wholly "entitled" to other people's money.

                      I just thought some perspective was in order.

                  2. I thought your argument was that people who want to take YOUR money are the root of all evil? Just saying, its easy to say that, but its not entirely black and white as to how much is solely YOUR money.

                    We can argue all day about where that line is though.

                    1. Sales taxes are my fair share--and I pay those taxes more or less willingly.

                      If they wanted to charge me through the ying-yang on sales taxes for whatever, I wouldn't complain about that much--if they offset those taxes elsewhere or slashed the budget.

                      I wouldn't pay sales taxes if they weren't mandatory, but when I pay sales tax, I figure it into the price of my purchase. ...and I either don't purchase the item pay the tax--because the cost is too high--or I purchase the item willingly pay the tax!

                      That's my fair share.

                      If the government can't finance its operations because it's squandering trillions on the defense of Germany, South Korea, crop subsidies, 150,000 employees at the Commerce Department, Bailouts, Fannie, Freddie, FHA, etc., etc.?

                      Then the solution is for them to cut their budget to where they can finance their operations on my fair share. Start by introduce sky high sales taxes--and eliminating the capital gains tax and the income tax for people making less than, say, $40,000 a year? I got no problem with that.

                      Jack up the tax rate, like Obama wants to do, on investment proceeds, etc? That's stone cold stupid at a time of tepid economic growth. That's a stupid thing to do at any time--unless he's just trying to demagogue himself into being reelected.

                    2. philosophically I agree, but we'll never get back to that point because sales taxes are considered regressive and the rich can get around the most punitive ones easier than the poor, making them doubly regressive.

                    3. Nobody's proposed doing away with the income tax or the capital gains tax at this point, but we do have Obama's proposals on the table right in front of us. ...and that's taking yet another step in the wrong direction.

                      Siphoning off more productive investment and squandering it on Obama's government largess isn't about to make the middle class any richer. I'd like to think a lot of people realize that.

                    4. Government is not paying it's fair share.

            2. Another thought that I 100% disagree with. The United States should not be seen as a club that you have to pay to be a member of. That was not the point of the American experiment. The whole point is that the founders believed the freedoms afforded by the USA are inalienable rights, not rights that can only be gained by paying your fair share of taxes. We are incredibly lucky to be Americans and not Somalians, but that does not imply that we owe something in return, other than to keep the system going. If freedom is inalienable, by definition you shall have it for nothing in return.

              1. TNSTAAFL

  28. Funny, don't these same polls asking what range qualifies as poor is just what under they themselves make?

    1. doubtful.

      the median was actually close to 200-250k for all pay ranges below 200K.

      The thing is that until you have enough money that making anymore doesn't concern you, you'll never feel rich. you may have a big house, several cars and comfortable life, but if you feel like you bust your ass everyday to maintain it, you're not going to feel country club rich.

    2. I blame television.

      There's this dude I used to know--a real schmuck. We were talking one time about why Krusty the Clown looks exactly like Homer, and he was sitting on the couch at the time...

      Mind you, the dude's in the teamsters union. And he's on the clock, but he goes over to our mutual friend's house, parks the truck and watches his favorite TV show at the same time every day--The King of Queens.

      So, yeah, you've got a fat, lard ass teamster, who spends all of his spare time sitting on the couch watching television--and his favorite show is all about a fat, lard ass teamster, who spends all of his spare time sitting on the couch watching television...

      The only thing is, the real life lard ass? Can't understand why the lard ass on the King of Queens can afford to own a huge house. Somehow he thinks he should get paid enough to live like the people he sees on television--even while he stuffs his fat face and watches TV while on the clock...

      Marketing and television have given people really outsized perceptions of how average people live. They identify with what they see on TV to the point that they judge their own standard of living that way.

      It never occurs to him that a lard ass slob that works for UPS isn't really gonna keep a wife like that for very long--much less that there's no way he should be in that house.

      The man must be keeping the real teamsters down, I tell ya!

      1. We were talking one time about why Krusty the Clown looks exactly like Homer, and he was sitting on the couch at the time...

        Finish the fucking story man! What happened next?

        1. I told him it was because Krusty represented the entertainment industry, and it just reflects what its viewers are. Comedy television just reflects back at us funnier versions of ourselves.

          He said that was a bunch of baloney.

          That's when I pointed out that he was fat slob, teamster, who spent all of his spare time on the couch watching television--and I pointed it out while he was sitting on the couch watching a TV show about a fat slob, teamster, who spends all of his spare time on the couch watching television!

          1. Oh, I see now. It seemed the two things were unrelated.

          2. Hilarious. Did he try and punch you or was that against union regs and he'd have to call a foreman to get the appropriate puncher?

            1. We went at it once.

              Hard to believe a guy like that wouldn't have any manners.

              In the environments I've worked in*, calling things as they really are, even if it contradicts...nah...especially if it contradicts the people around me? That was my ticket to the top.

              It got me in trouble a lot over the years too. ...especially with women. But it's not something I do; it's part of who I am.

              Anyway, fat slobs don't scare me.

              *not union

          3. There aren't any shows about borderline obese math teachers obsessed with peanut butter.

            1. Market failure!

            2. Isn't there one about a borderline psychotic science teacher obsessed with meth?

              1. "Isn't there one about a borderline psychotic science teacher obsessed with meth?"

                That isn't a comedy on network television trying to appeal to the most common denominator.

                Like I said...

                "Comedy television just reflects back at us funnier versions of ourselves."

                Regardless, if you can think of something else the Simpsons is trying to say--by making Krusty the Clown look just like Homer? Please enlighten us.

      2. Marketing and television have given people really outsized perceptions of how average people live.

        Yup, see any show where young people live in the city and what their apartments look like. Except The Young Ones, that shit was for real man.

        1. In really NYC starving artist apartments, you could barely fit a webcam in there for the show.

        2. I think Friends explained that once saying that they were lying and claiming that the dead aunt still lived there because it was rent controlled.

          1. The premise of the show was a bunch of lying, rent-seeking hipsters.

            what about joey and chandliers apt? That was never explained at all from what I recall

        3. Commercials will often show a sweating, hard-working waitress. She goes home to a McMansion to shower. Er, yeah!

          1. Don't stop now. It was just getting good!

  29. "I reject the idea that asking the hedge-fund manager to pay the same tax rate as a plumber or teacher is class warfare. I just do."

    So BO is joining Steve Forbes in calling for a flat tax? Whoda thunk it?

  30. Let me be clear. There is going to be class warfare. But this class warfare on your side against the other side, the side that has been taking your portion of the country's wealth away for the last 30 years. Their side has gotten richer while you've gotten poorer.

    1. Ah, a courtesy C-.

  31. Wouldn't an attempt to start taxing unrealized appreciation for large asset-holders inevitably affect group-retirement/pension funds for blue/white collar workers?

    1. I don't see it that way. I just don't.

  32. If everyone was paying the exact same percentage rate of their income, with no incentives or deductions, this is the only thing that would NOT be class warfare.

    Also capital gains taxes are fucking gay.

  33. Eat the rich!

  34. "... defined wealthy as $250,000 to $5000,000."

    Five thousand thousand?

  35. Of course we should tax the rich. After all, they've lucked out in life's lottery. Why should they be the only ones to taste success? I mean, it's only fair, right? Should only a lucky few have access to the American dream? This nation was founded on the notion that life should be fair, that equality should reign supreme. That's why those who aren't as fortunate should be given their fair share. So there.

    1. 'Nother courtesy C-

      1. Nah. That was a cut-n-paste troll. It didn't even require effort.

        1. Naw, I was just rehearsing leftie talking points. The "so there" should've been a dead giveaway. And just so you know, mister, I typed it up from scratch in about a minute!

  36. ***When I express support for systems of morality, including religion, this is the kind of problem you get when people don't really believe in there being something greater than themselves:

    #14: Who do you believe should receive Social Security benefits? "All who have paid into the
    system"; OR, "Only those in financial need"?

    All Who Have Paid into the System 80
    Only Those in Financial Need 16
    Don't Know 4
    Total 100

    ****80% are in it for #1 and screw everyone else. Gimme gimme gimme!!! More, more, more... Your money is spent. The government blew it. Every year that you let the Social Security scam continue is yet ANOTHER YEAR of money stolen from productive people. Means-testing NOW, and start phasing the whole thing out.

    The next one shows how mind-bogglingly stupid and/or ignorant the American public (or at least the sample) is:

    40 I would like to read you two statements about the current housing market and ask which one
    you agree with more:
    "Statement A: The troubled housing market is the result of a lack of government oversight.
    Without proper government regulation, banks and lenders misled homebuyers into home
    mortgages they did not understand and could not afford."
    "Statement B: The troubled housing market is the result of misguided government regulations,
    incentives, and subsidies. These regulations inflated housing prices and shielded lenders and
    borrowers from the consequences of their risky choices."

    Statement A 56
    Statement B 35
    Don't Know 9
    Total 100

    ****What on Earth? No wonder morons in Massachusetts keep voting for national embarrassments.

    Anyhow, this following question just destroys any hope I could ever have of America maintaining its prosperity without secession:

    49. Some people say that "people generally get rich at the expense of others"; others say "that
    wealth can grow so there's enough for everyone". Which better describes your own views?

    Get Rich at Expense of Others 46
    Wealth Can Grow/ Enough for Everyone 48
    Don't Know 6
    Total 100

    ****Anybody who answered "get rich at the expense of others" should just GTFO/WOFTD. Morons. Losers. I cannot even fake respect for the kind of hard-core failure that would select that answer. THAT kind of person is exactly why I reject any notion of political "unity", compromise, "bipartisanship" (too much of that, actually), and similar idiocy. How does one converse intelligently with such a person? You might as well converse with your furniture. You'd get fewer stupid answers.

    As long as America is filled with people who think that living off the confiscated funds of others is the right thing to do, this country is headed toward the seedier side of the trailer park.

    As long as America is filled with people who think producing wealth is a zero-sum game, you might as well see your average man on the street as Rain-Main stupid, but without the handy computational tricks.

    I'm hypercritical of others, but gee-whiz, man: STUPID PEOPLE SHOULDN'T VOTE.

    Shout from the mountain, please.

  37. Please note that if you try to make an argument that people making $250k or some similar number are "middle class", stop it. You just sound stupid. You are also implicitly stating that taxes should be raised on people above this mystically defined "middle class."

    These are the kind of terrible arguments that lose debates that result in bad policies.

  38. Jokes on the poor, we told them the wealth would 'trickle down'.

    1. I'd rather be poor now in the US than poor 100 years ago or anywhere else in the world. They don't know how good they got it.

  39. Unfortunately, the Republicans answers to this seems to be "tax the 47% that don't pay taxes".

    How about this: Just quit spending so much damn money?

    And of course, by deliberately causing inflation by printing money (aka qualitative easing), the government is in essence raising taxes, particularly on the poor, as everything costs more to buy.

    1. The 47% that don't pay taxes actually do pay taxes, just not income taxes. They pay a disproportionate amount of sales tax wrt their income, and buy much more alky, cigs, and lotto tickets (ie the stupidity/despair tax).

      1. All local taxes.

        The only federal tax they pay is SocSec/MA. And a good chunk of them get that back.

      2. Get rid of the fucking sin taxes too.

  40. The Fantasy of a President in tights.

    The audacity to believe the job of a president should be a modern day Robinhood. Since when is it the responsibility of rich people to support the "poor?"
    This president not only violates the freedom to become all you can be in America, but to think he can pass the buck to what the government has failed onto the rich people.
    This president don't have a clue to what he would be doing to this country if this becomes his only plan.
    First of all, this country would be bearing the dumbest people in the world. Tell me, what is the incentive to go to college if your government takes away what you worked hard for through college years? Can you imagine trying to become a doctor? a lawyer? or a Scientist?
    All those hard learning years and not to mention the tuition that was racked up during those years of education? How do you expect a doctor to repay his/hers loans and support the less fortunate by the time they retire? Instead of concentrating on job creation he is looking for hand-outs or should I say, to rob from the rich.
    Here's an idea. In order to bail out the governmental failures why not mandate the mediators, loosen up the EPA standards and start digging for our own resources! Hundreds of thousands of jobs will be created there, not to mention the bills will be paid caused by the over-spending government through oil sales, instead of having it shipped in to us?

  41. lol, taxing the rich will never happen. The Rich have all the law makers bought and paid for.

  42. Alt-text! Never give up, never surrender!

  43. I fully support increasing taxes for those who make more than I do. To make it even more fair, we should index the tax bracket to my income plus $1. Thank you Mr. President.

  44. So he's going to "help" the deficit by raising capital gains taxes. Again. He JUST FUCKING RAISED THEM.

    Fuck you, Obama.

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