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6 months from the largest tax increases in history (pg. 11)
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Shakka
quote:
Originally posted by Comrade Stalin
What do you have against tax cuts expiring for the top 2% of income earners? Gee, those millionaires are reeeeeally going to have a tough time huh? After all, Clinton-era tax rates for the top 2% did so much bad in the 1990's right?:o


IT'S NOT THE GOVERNMENT'S ING MONEY.

You're not in their shoes so you don't know how tough it will or won't be for them, but that's not even the argument--that is the diversion. Furthermore, Buffett is hardly representative of the "rich" considering he is the second richest man in America. If he wants to give more money, nobody is stopping him, but it doesn't make the case for legal extortion by the government. Somehow that is a rationalization of what constitutes "fair."

IT IS NOT THE GOVERNMENT'S ING MONEY TO CONFISCATE AT WILL BECAUSE THEY CAN'T MANAGE TO CUT THE FAT.

If only I had a money tree in my back yard that I could shake-down every month when my expenses outstrip my income. But hey, I'm "rich" so I get no sympathy.

But if you must, and you certainly don't speak for me, please send this to all of your friends and encourage them to make a contribution since it's such a good idea.

http://www.fms.treas.gov/faq/moretopics_gifts.html

quote:

How do I make a contribution to the U.S. government?

Citizens who wish to make a general donation to the U.S. government may send contributions to a specific account called "Gifts to the United States." This account was established in 1843 to accept gifts, such as bequests, from individuals wishing to express their patriotism to the United States. Money deposited into this account is for general use by the federal government and can be available for budget needs. These contributions are considered an unconditional gift to the government. Financial gifts can be made by check or money order payable to the United States Treasury and mailed to the address below.

Gifts to the United States
U.S. Department of the Treasury
Credit Accounting Branch
3700 East-West Highway, Room 622D
Hyattsville, MD 20782

Any tax-related questions regarding these contributions should be directed to the Internal Revenue ServiceExit the FMS Web site at (800) 829-1040
Comrade Stalin
quote:
Originally posted by Shakka
IT'S NOT THE GOVERNMENT'S ING MONEY.


You're right. It's the "People's" money.

quote:
You're not in their shoes so you don't know how tough it will or won't be for them, but that's not even the argument--that is the diversion. Furthermore, Buffett is hardly representative of the "rich" considering he is the second richest man in America. If he wants to give more money, nobody is stopping him, but it doesn't make the case for legal extortion by the government. Somehow that is a rationalization of what constitutes "fair."


The top 2% can certainly afford to pay Clinton-era tax rates. The tax increase is not unreasonable, given the current deficit problems.

quote:
IT IS NOT THE GOVERNMENT'S ING MONEY TO CONFISCATE AT WILL BECAUSE THEY CAN'T MANAGE TO CUT THE FAT.


Typing in all caps doesn't prove a point ;)

How about cutting the fat AND raising taxes to a reasonable rate.

quote:
If only I had a money tree in my back yard that I could shake-down every month when my expenses outstrip my income. But hey, I'm "rich" so I get no sympathy.


We have a national problem that requires a national solution. Part of that is setting tax rates at a fair rate, and right now, that rate is disproportionally biased towards those who really don't need a tax cut.

quote:
But if you must, and you certainly don't speak for me, please send this to all of your friends and encourage them to make a contribution since it's such a good idea.

http://www.fms.treas.gov/faq/moretopics_gifts.html


Aww, poor millionaires, they'll have to pay their fair share. :rolleyes:
Shakka
quote:
Originally posted by Comrade Stalin
You're right. It's the "People's" money.


It belongs to each individual that worked for it. The government did not create the wealth, it is not theirs to redistribute as they deem appropriate[/quote]

quote:
The top 2% can certainly afford to pay Clinton-era tax rates. The tax increase is not unreasonable, given the current deficit problems.


Just because they can doesn't mean they should. The ends don't justify the means.


quote:
Typing in all caps doesn't prove a point ;)


No, but it conveys exasperation and frustration with the class warfare rhetoric.

quote:
How about cutting the fat AND raising taxes to a reasonable rate.


OK, so what is reasonable? Whatever it takes? Giving our elected politicians access to more money will only encourage them to recklessly spend more.

quote:
We have a national problem that requires a national solution. Part of that is setting tax rates at a fair rate, and right now, that rate is disproportionally biased towards those who really don't need a tax cut.


Who are you to determine what people do and don't need? I notice Mr. Buffett makes all of this noise about how he should pay more taxes yet he doesn't do it. Talk about hypocrisy. He's just pandering.

quote:
Aww, poor millionaires, they'll have to pay their fair share. :rolleyes:


Again, define "fair share". What is the magic number for you? 50%? 90%? Whatever gets the job done = fair? The top 2% are already paying more than 50% of aggregate taxes while the bottom 50% are paying no federal income tax at all. Clearly those ing rich bastards aren't paying their "fair" share! I posted an article earlier in this thread that was a study published by one of those great bureaucracies that said higher marginal tax rates only encourage those rich folks to more aggressively avoid (not evade) paying higher tax rates. While it may provide a short-term boost in government tax revenues, over the long-term it results in lower tax receipts (however you and a couple of other posters continue to argue that somehow that is a mathematical impossibility).

Also, if you think your proposal is "fair" then I'm sure you think it would be equally fair if we did away with the 1 person 1 vote system and instituted a progressive voting system whereby your vote counted proportionally relative to the taxes you pay into the system.
Comrade Stalin
quote:
Originally posted by Shakka
It belongs to each individual that worked for it. The government did not create the wealth, it is not theirs to redistribute as they deem appropriate


Then why pay taxes at all? If I pay $0.01 in tax, that would be communistic wealth distribution ay? The fact of the matter is there needs to be a balance between social welfare and individual freedom. How about this? Don't ever again complain about the national debt or deficits if you are going to subscribe to the notion of giving millionaires a tax cut. If you're going to take away the means for the government to get its fiscal house in order, then don't complain when they aren't able to do it.

quote:
Just because they can doesn't mean they should. The ends don't justify the means.


The end is to pay the deficit. The means is to get the income to do it. The ends do justify the means.

quote:
No, but it conveys exasperation and frustration with the class warfare rhetoric.


It's a pretty simple equation. We need to pay the deficits. Who can afford a tax increase at this point? It's not people making less than $250,000 a year. Are you going to argue with me, that in the 10% unemployment rate we currently have, there is a single millionaire in that number?

quote:
OK, so what is reasonable? Whatever it takes? Giving our elected politicians access to more money will only encourage them to recklessly spend more.


Clinton-era tax rates. This has been said over...and over...and over again.

quote:
Who are you to determine what people do and don't need? I notice Mr. Buffett makes all of this noise about how he should pay more taxes yet he doesn't do it. Talk about hypocrisy. He's just pandering.


I am nobody which is why the government does it for me. Why should Buffet pay more than he is required to? It's the tax code that needs to change, not Buffet.

quote:
Again, define "fair share". What is the magic number for you? 50%? 90%? Whatever gets the job done = fair? The top 2% are already paying more than 50% of aggregate taxes while the bottom 50% are paying no federal income tax at all. Clearly those ing rich bastards aren't paying their "fair" share!


Clinton-era tax rates. You can hyperbole all you want, it's not going to work with me. Clinton-era tax rates are not unreasonable in the least bit.

quote:
I posted an article earlier in this thread that was a study published by one of those great bureaucracies that said higher marginal tax rates only encourage those rich folks to more aggressively avoid (not evade) paying higher tax rates. While it may provide a short-term boost in government tax revenues, over the long-term it results in lower tax receipts (however you and a couple of other posters continue to argue that somehow that is a mathematical impossibility).


It's simple math in my book. The government needs to pay the deficit, they have to raise taxes. Who can afford a reasonable tax increase the most? The top 2%. This isn't class warfare, a communist takeover, or robbing from the rich. It's common sense.

quote:
Also, if you think your proposal is "fair" then I'm sure you think it would be equally fair if we did away with the 1 person 1 vote system and instituted a progressive voting system whereby your vote counted proportionally relative to the taxes you pay into the system.


It's already like that. It's called special interest.
Comrade Stalin
To bridge this ideological gap some, I am going to inform you, that I support a national sales tax, with the abolition of all other federal taxes. I'm not a commie after all :gsmile:
Capitalizt
quote:
Originally posted by Comrade Stalin
To bridge this ideological gap some, I am going to inform you, that I support a national sales tax, with the abolition of all other federal taxes. I'm not a commie after all :gsmile:


FYI, this completely contradicts your idea of taxing the rich at a higher rate than the poor..and only giving tax cuts to people who "need it". A flat tax is more objectively fair to everyone, but it completely throws the "need" factor out the window. Someone making $200k doesn't need to spend all that money. They could easily live on $40-50k and bank the rest with a 0.00% tax rate..meaning you are giving them a big tax cut. I'm all for a low flat tax, because I am against the idea of punishing success with punitive rates..and cuz the people who are good at generating wealth tend to be doing productive things that are good for the economy (much better than the government could do with the $$). I think a low flat tax will give the economy a tremendous boost..but we'll need some major spending cuts to go along with it.
Shakka
quote:
Originally posted by Comrade Stalin
Then why pay taxes at all? If I pay $0.01 in tax, that would be communistic wealth distribution ay? The fact of the matter is there needs to be a balance between social welfare and individual freedom. How about this? Don't ever again complain about the national debt or deficits if you are going to subscribe to the notion of giving millionaires a tax cut. If you're going to take away the means for the government to get its fiscal house in order, then don't complain when they aren't able to do it.


No. Even a fool knows that there are basic government services that are expected to be provided and for which we all pay taxes (well, except for half of us). The problem is that the government has piled on more and more entitlement programs and has over-bulked up other expenses over the decades that we now have the quandary we are in. But that doesn't, to me, scream that somehow it's the wealthy people's responsibility to make up for the government's profligacy. Why must rich people by default become the "Brother's Keeper" when everything else goes to hell in a hand basket?


quote:
The end is to pay the deficit. The means is to get the income to do it. The ends do justify the means.


Nuff said. These words will come back to haunt you. You support legalized extortion by the government to solve their problems. I guess you supported water boarding and pre-emptive war after all. ;)


quote:
It's a pretty simple equation. We need to pay the deficits. Who can afford a tax increase at this point? It's not people making less than $250,000 a year. Are you going to argue with me, that in the 10% unemployment rate we currently have, there is a single millionaire in that number?


$250K is such an arbitrary number. I like how you frame the debate as if $250K suddenly puts one at the same level as Warren Buffett and his $60B net worth.

quote:
Clinton-era tax rates. This has been said over...and over...and over again.


Again--arbitrary but somehow you have determined that it is a mathematical formula that got you here.


quote:
I am nobody which is why the government does it for me. Why should Buffet pay more than he is required to? It's the tax code that needs to change, not Buffet.


Because you talk about how he says he should be paying more taxes. If he really believes that then why doesn't he make excess contributions to the government? Nobody is stopping him from doing what he claims is the right thing.


quote:
Clinton-era tax rates. You can hyperbole all you want, it's not going to work with me. Clinton-era tax rates are not unreasonable in the least bit.


No hyperbole here, thanks.


quote:
It's already like that. It's called special interest.


No it's not. Elections are still cast with majority rules voting (with the Electoral College caveat). My vote counts no more and no less than Boobs McGillocutty. Special interests impact legislation, not necessarily elections (at least they don't give a "rich" person more say than a "poor" person).

Look, my problem isn't so much that I don't think there is a proper place for taxes (I believe they are a necessary evil to have such a great society). However, I do have a problem when 50% of the population doesn't even pay the price of admission to live in such an amazing country with so many opportunities (and so many people so often decry this country as not giving them an opportunity even though we have the freest system which has created the highest standard of living (even for our worst off members of society) in the developed world). What I am sick of is the default argument that the solution to our problems is simply more taxes (specifically on the wealthy) and more regulation (never mind we have plenty of regulations, but incompetent regulators). Our elected leaders have created most of our problems and the default position is simply to punish the wealthy to bail them out of their fiscal profligacy. I find that to be incredibly unfair, unreasonable and un-American. One would have hoped that a guy like Obama could come in with some good ideas but he is increasingly relying on the same old bull class warfare that hasn't solved a problem in 200+ years. We need people with NEW ideas that aren't afraid to defy conventional (faulty) wisdom. We need to throw the bums out of Washington and replace them all. This country is way too divided and the political climate in D.C. is currently only making that worse. Funny how Obama can come on CNBC and sound all conciliatory and say he needs to make nice with business but when he's in a different setting he reverts to the same populist bull that is such a turn-off to so many people. I'm sick of the same . There is no change, why should I have hope?
Shakka
Hey, speak of the devil! No mention of Mr. Buffett, but perhaps he'll feel nice enough to throw a couple billion to the Treasury after reading the article...

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/24/b...tml?_r=1&ref=us

quote:

Small Gifts Sent to Ease U.S. Debt
By SEWELL CHAN

PARKERSBURG, W.Va. — In a fifth-floor cubicle in a federal office building here is a wire-frame basket labeled “Gifts.”

Every few days, an envelope arrives, and a Treasury Department employee opens it. Inside, usually, is a check, often with a letter explaining why the sender wants to do his or her part to help reduce the federal debt of the United States.

A very small part, to be sure.

Last year, the Bureau of the Public Debt recorded $3.1 million in gifts, more than has been usual since the government began accepting such donations in 1961. At that rate, it would take millions of years to retire the $13.4 trillion the country owes its creditors, foreign and domestic.

While concerns about the economy, especially taxes and spending, have dominated the midterm election, it is hard to find officials who have made voluntary contributions to improve the nation’s balance sheet.

Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner has not pulled out his checkbook, and fiscal conservatives, for whom the record debt is a rallying cry, have hardly mentioned the idea of giving.

Since the program began, Americans have given about $80 million. Recent donors include a class of Alabama sixth graders who raised $324.50 by selling cookies; a Maryland man who learned of the program in an evening accounting class; and Margaret E. Taylor, 98, of Findlay, Ohio, who died in 2006 and bequeathed $1.1 million to the cause.

“I get mixed reactions,” said John W. Krupansky, 56, a software developer in Midtown Manhattan who started reading about economics during the dot-com crash a decade ago, and has blogged about his tax deductible gifts, nine so far, of $25 each. “Some people are annoyed; they think the right thing to do is complain about the debt, not actually do something about it. Other people are amused that anyone would waste their time to do such a thing.”

This fiscal year, through July, the bureau has logged $2.7 million, about 9 percent less than at the same point last year.

Donors can send in a check or money order, or give online using a credit or debit card. The government does not advertise the program, and officials avoid drawing attention to it. The program tends to come up, they said, only when journalists ask about it.

Van Zeck, the commissioner of the bureau, oversees sales of Treasury securities and savings bonds; accounts for the debt to the penny; and ensures that the debt does not exceed the statutory limit, which Congress raised in February to $14.3 trillion.

Asked why the program was little known, he said soliciting donations might “seem straightforward and benign” but could rub taxpayers the wrong way.

“Whether to advocate that people do more financially to help the government than they already do — that’s not the kind of question that’s mine to answer,” he said.

The program was the idea of Representative Charles E. Bennett, a Florida Democrat who served 44 years in the House. Mr. Bennett, who died in 2003 at age 92, also wrote the law requiring that currency bear the motto “In God We Trust.”

He was known for public spiritedness. A World War II veteran, he returned his military disability and Social Security checks to the government. When he retired, he gave most of his campaign funds to charity and the Treasury.

Mr. Bennett’s law helped clarify the government’s authority to accept gifts dedicated to debt reduction.

While the White House believed that “such authority almost certainly already exists,” the legislation was “intended to encourage such gifts” and to create a way to accept them, according to a 1961 memorandum, now in the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston.

But although the memorandum confirms that the gifts are counted toward debt reduction, the amount of giving has no real impact on government spending and borrowing.

“There does not appear to be any intention to put control of the actual level of the debt in private hands, although those who make such gifts may be under the impression that they are exercising such control,” Phillip S. Hughes, an assistant budget director, wrote in advising President Kennedy to sign the bill.

For some people, that makes the program toothless.

“It’s just good money after bad,” said Representative Jeff Flake, who with Senator John McCain, a fellow Arizona Republican, has introduced legislation that would let taxpayers designate up to 10 percent of their federal income tax for debt reduction and require Congress to come up with an equal amount in spending cuts.

Mr. Flake said he had only a “vague recollection” of the gifts program, but that he did not support it. “I don’t think taxpayers should be on the hook more,” he said. “We already pay enough.”

But contributors have argued that shared sacrifice is what is most needed to revive the economy.

Teri Gisi, a teacher at Dalraida Elementary School in Montgomery, Ala., who coordinated the bake sale that sixth graders held last year after learning about the debt in class, said the recession was on their minds.

“We’ve had some students who’ve had to move in with their grandparents, students who’ve lost their homes to foreclosure,” she said. “Some of them didn’t even have new shoes for the start of school.”

Despite hardships, the students made debt reduction their cause. “Three hundred dollars to them is a large amount,” Ms. Gisi said. Even when a math teacher explained how large the debt was — “he showed them all the zeros,” she said — “they didn’t get discouraged.”

Treasury officials said they were prohibited from identifying donors. But in Parkersburg, a few employees shared stories.

A widow turned over the estate of her late husband, who had made regular gifts to express patriotism. Naturalized citizens, thankful for the opportunities afforded immigrants, have contributed. A man sent in a trove of rare coins, which were auctioned for far more than their face value.

Many taxpayers have simply signed over and mailed in their rebate checks, including members of Amish and Mennonite communities who have explained that their religious beliefs do not permit them to accept government assistance.

The bureau tries to make donors feel appreciated. Anyone who mails a check receives a thank-you form letter from Sherlyn West, a manager here.

“Your contribution will help ensure that we do not burden future generations with a huge debt,” it says.
Capitalizt
Heard a stat on Kudlow the other day. He says there is over $1 trillion in excess reserves just sitting with the fed. All the money the fed printed last time isn't doing a damn thing cuz the banks are just sitting on it. The market is already flooded with liquidity so a new round of QE isn't going to help at all.. What we need is some FISCAL certainty. I'm convinced that is what is holding the markets down now. The unprecedented interventions since 2007 + the prospect of income tax hikes, carbon taxes, regulatory reform, etc is simply scaring the sh!t out of employers..so they are freezing like a deer in headlights..uncertain of what rules are going to change or what kind of taxes they will be paying next year. The fed/Obama need to give us some certainty..something concrete investors can look at and plan for. They need to announce they are going to sit on their hands for 6-12 months..refrain from changing anything for a set period of time. Give people some foresight, let the market stabilize, then 12 months later they can decide what actions need to be taken based on the signals sent to them by a calm and rational market.
Shakka
As Bernanke quipped: "Unusually uncertain." John Chambers echoed those words on the last Cisco earnings call.

The17sss
quote:
"The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money."
— Alexis de Tocqueville


This thread has taken an interesting turn. I want to back some of the points Shakka is making here. I especially want to make the distinction on all this "tax cut" lingo that may help those who don't get it, especially Lebezniatnakov who keeps parroting Democrat talking point nonsense about "tax cuts costing us $700 billion" and how we can't afford tax cuts. Thank about that for a minute! What does that really mean... we can't afford them? Who is "we"? That whole line of thinking that tax cuts are not paid for is rooted in the premise that government revenue must always increase no matter what. You don't "pay" for tax cuts... like Shakka mentioned, what you earn is your money- your private property- until the government taxes it and takes it from you. How is leaving more money in individuals' hands to spend as they see fit costing "us"? Following Bush's tax cuts in 2003, a record $2 trillion went to the treasury. Again in 2007 after another cut, another record of $2.5 trillion went to the treasury. We're not "paying" for cuts, cuts create wealth.

Now pay attention because this is important: What Obama is talking about is not cutting peoples' taxes at all! He is talking about keeping the current tax code as is. If those tax rates expire and we go to what the rates were before Bush's cuts, then what we have is a tax increase. Extending them for the middle class or whoever is simply leaving the current tax code in place; nobody will see actual decreases in their income tax rates AT ANY POINT... yet the Kool Aid drinkers continue to push the idea that tax cuts, by definition, are on the table.

Shockingly, even MSNBC hack Chris Matthews can't tolerate the bull any longer, and said this on his show last week:
quote:
Chris Matthews: He [Obama] should stop saying that giving people tax cuts is giving people money. It's their money. A tax cut is when the government doesn't take our money. It's an important distinction. He talked today, for example, about people getting a check from the government in the form of a tax cut. That's not the way it works. If tax rates are kept lower it's a matter of the check going to the government being smaller. Again, it's an important distinction.


Meanwhile, we keep hearing about the wonderful tax cut that 95% of Americans graciously received under Obama. 95% of people got what... a $250 check right? And, Obama's pushing of the "Making Work Pay" tax credit... yeah that averages out to $7 per week in your paycheck. And this is the ruse that keeps the supporters blindly proclaiming "Obama cut taxes!" Haha... so we can't afford Bush's tax cut extension, but 95% of Americans getting a tax cut is now a good thing? And, I'll repeat it one more time- 42% don't even pay income taxes, so 95% of the people getting a gubment check isn't a tax cut; tax credits are not tax cuts... get it strait.
http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.co...-talking-about/


BTW- is TARP paid for? The Stimulus? Medicre? Social Security? The Dept. of Education? Parks and Rec? TRILLIONS in unfunded public sector union pension and healthcare liabilities? All the other things in the grab bag of entitlements? Now those are things that sure as aren't paid for.. all stuff that's added up as pieces of the entire deficit. But we only hear about unfunded wars and unpaid tax cuts. lol what a ing joke. The private sector individual is on the hook to pay for everything Obama is borrowing and spending money on that we can't afford... for generations. You think he feels the pain of the little people?

I heard someone make an interesting point today on CNBC that makes great sense. Nancy Pelosi said we are, overall, paying less in taxes than we have in years. If that's true, it's because so many ing people are out of work, or have had their wealth substantially marginalized to the point where there's so much less income out there to pay taxes on!
Shakka
Some Keynesian insight from Ned Davis today:

quote:
One-Handed Keynesians

Harry Truman once said, "Give me a one-handed economist! All my economists say, on the one hand, on the other hand." Well, Truman has finally gotten his wish. Most of the Keynesian economists today are for deficits and spending only on the one-hand. I am a fan of John Maynard Keynes, but I feel his policy views have been badly distorted. From CNN Money: "Political economy professor Allan Meltzer...says doctrines of the revered economist have often been misinterpreted. For one, Keynes was not a big proponent of long-term structural debt. He thought government debt should be temporary and used as a way to stimulate the economy. What's more, the mistake many governments make applying Keynesian economics these days is to target spending on consumption rather than investment, which in turn could spur steady job growth."

Thus, my study of Keynes is that he would only use debt to increase spending in truly bad times. The problem (flaw) is that politicians always think times are bad, so the deficits and spending never stop. Particularly in the last 30 years, the government has continued to use deficits and spending almost non-stop. Government spending is now at record levels. (For those who feel that government spending is due to the War on Terror or debt service on the debt, I would look at [chart] which excludes these items from government spending.)

And what have we gotten for all that spending? In the past 30 years, government spending has been 21.5% of GDP, and GDP growth has been 5.8% per annum. In the prior 30 years, government spending was only 18% of GDP and GDP growth was 8.0% per annum. It seems to me that we have not gotten our money's worth from deficit spending. In fact, I mostly agree with a one-handed editorial in a recent Wall Street Journal by Daniel Henninger entitled, "It's the Federal Spending, Stupid."
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