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Warren Buffett just walked by.
In The New York Times, Warren Buffett has laid out some new details for what he thinks the new tax rates should be. It's a follow-up to his 2011 op-ed in the Times about not coddling the super-rich. That piece sparked a presidential theme about the unfairness of a tax code under which Buffett's secretary pays a higher federal income tax rate than the billionaire does. And that led to the Buffett Rule, President Obama's proposal that anyone earning a million or more dollars a year should pay a minimum tax rate of 30 percent.

Like its predecessor, Buffett's latest essay is getting a lot of media attention and a lot of flak from the usual suspects.

The essay is notable not so much for what the Sage of Omaha has to say about the specifics of a boosted rate for the mega-rich, which he's pretty much said already, but rather his calling out of Grover Norquist, the drown-government-in-the-bathtub man. Investors aren't going to stop investing if their income taxes go up, Buffett says. That's not how it works. If there is money to be made, even if a bigger hunk of it will go to the government, investors will invest, he says.

President Obama should send the guy around to encourage all the "signers" of the Norquist no-tax pledge to wise up, although that cohort of Congress is dwindling on its own.

As before, Buffett writes that the ultrarich, including him, are getting off ultra-easy under the current system and that he therefore supports Obama's plan to raise their taxes. He puts the cut-off point at $500,000 instead of the $250,000 level to which the president has said he is firmly committed. Writes Buffett:

Additionally, we need Congress, right now, to enact a minimum tax on high incomes. I would suggest 30 percent of taxable income between $1 million and $10 million, and 35 percent on amounts above that. A plain and simple rule like that will block the efforts of lobbyists, lawyers and contribution-hungry legislators to keep the ultrarich paying rates well below those incurred by people with income just a tiny fraction of ours. Only a minimum tax on very high incomes will prevent the stated tax rate from being eviscerated by these warriors for the wealthy.

Above all, we should not postpone these changes in the name of “reforming” the tax code. True, changes are badly needed. We need to get rid of arrangements like “carried interest” that enable income from labor to be magically converted into capital gains. And it’s sickening that a Cayman Islands mail drop can be central to tax maneuvering by wealthy individuals and corporations.

That would be an improvement. But not enough.

The Times botched the headline on Buffett's op-ed with "A Minimum Tax for the Wealthy." The tax rates he proposes are on big incomes, not big wealth. Obviously, big incomes usually lead to, or emerge from, big wealth, but they are not the same. Buffett's adjusted gross income last year was $62.86 million. But his wealth is in the $47 billion range. For 2010, he paid $6.9 million to the IRS, an effective tax rate of 11.06 percent. Based on his own marginal tax rates proposal, he would have paid $21.3 million. If, however, he had paid a wealth tax based on Daniel Altman's recent proposal of 2 percent (on net assets), Buffett would have paid $940 million in taxes. Even at a tenth of that rate, he would have paid four times more than he actually did.

Of course, there are big problems with a wealth tax: It would take considerable constitutional finagling and probably an amendment to make legal; capital flight has been a problem for at least some of the countries, such as France, that impose a wealth tax (France's is a progressive one topping out at 1.8 percent; liquidity is a problem; and the amount of revenue raised hasn't been very high.)

So, while the equity of it makes sense, a wealth tax is almost certainly out of the question. But neither Buffett's nor Obama's plans would boost rates on the highest incomes to where they ought to be. In addition to that minimum 35 percent rate for the mega-rich, their proposed top marginal rate would max out at only 39.6 percent. That is, the rate it was raised to from 31 percent under Bill Clinton in 1993. But other than that precedent, what makes 39.6 percent the magic number?

A couple of prize-winning economists who have done extensive work on inequality of income and wealth are Emmanuel Saez and Thomas Piketty. Even if you've never heard of them, you're probably aware of one of the fruits of their work—discovering U.S. income inequality in 2007 to be as bad as it was as anytime since 1917 as shown in this graph. A later graph showed the effects of the recession.

Saez and Piketty think the Buffett Rule would not do much to reverse that inequality. And they don't think much of tax rates that top out below 40 percent. They want a more graduated tax rate system, with added higher brackets:

As much as Mr. Piketty’s and Mr. Saez’s work has informed the national debate over earnings and fairness, their proposed corrective remains far outside the bounds of polite political conversation: much, much higher top marginal tax rates on the rich, up to 50 percent, or 70 percent or even 90 percent, from the current top rate of 35 percent.
Far outside the bounds of polite conversation, perhaps. But what's polite about the current economic circumstances of tens of millions of Americans?
“The United States is getting accustomed to a completely crazy level of inequality,” Mr. Piketty said, with a degree of wonder. “People say that reducing inequality is radical. I think that tolerating the level of inequality the United States tolerates is radical.”
Absolutely on the money, pun intended.

One of the expressions that has gotten a lot of play in the past few years on a variety of subjects in public discourse is "all options on the table." No reason Saez and Piketty's idea shouldn't be one of those options that gets discussed in polite company (or otherwise). If a 70 percent marginal rate on income over, say, $10 million can be put on the table, perhaps it will be negotiated down to 50 percent in exchange for something like a progressive estate tax. After all, inequality can't be moderated with a single change.

If we're destined for a serious discussion about taxes, let's make it serious.

•••

teacherken has a post discussing the subject here.

Originally posted to Meteor Blades on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 01:57 PM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos Economics and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I agree, but we seem a long way (18+ / 0-)

    from that.  Buffet's plan is an improvement.  When working people in Ameirca get fed up with impovrishment and inequality, perhaps they will force suhc plans to the table.

    I'm glad Barack Obama is our President.

    by TomP on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 02:00:25 PM PST

  •  Why Would an Amendment Be Needed for Wealth (8+ / 0-)

    tax? Article 1 gives congress authority to levy "taxes" to pay for promoting the general welfare.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 02:03:40 PM PST

  •  If we want to deal with the inequality in (26+ / 0-)

    wealth, which is even far more marked than the inequality in income, we need steeply progressive inheritance taxes. Inheritance is one place were we certainly can say--you didn't build that.

    •  Hear, hear. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Eric Nelson, countwebb, Aunt Pat, TFinSF

      I suggest:

      Over $2.5M = 10%
      Over $10M = 20%
      Over $25M = 30%
      Over $50M = 40%
      Over $100M = 50%

      The Class, Terror and Climate Wars are indivisible and the short-term outcome will affect the planet for centuries.

      by Words In Action on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 06:33:27 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  In addition I want 90% on any income offshored or (5+ / 0-)

        income made from offshoring U.S. businesses! Current economic condition makes making money off these things almost treasonous. At the very least, unpatriotic.

      •  In fact, inheritance taxes were 50% all the (4+ / 0-)

        way down to the bottom of your list -- and even below that amount -- for many years.

        50% is the minimum for wealthy people, imho.  Leaving $1,000,000 to your heirs is enough.  

        Besides, there are all sorts of trusts and other schemes by which the taxes are avoided - always by the richest, of course.

        50%. Period.

        "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

        by YucatanMan on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 08:35:06 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  How much should someone inherit just for being (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jmcb132oprn, tofumagoo

        born to rich parents? Why should they inherit anything? Heck, their parents already probably provide them with a great education, cultural enrichment, connections, etc.

        I'd start with 100% of everything over $1 million and then, perhaps, bargain down to:

        Over $1M = 50%
        Over $5M = 60%
        Over $20M = 70%
        Over $50M = 80%
        Over $100M = 90%

        •  Why should they inherit anything? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          tofumagoo

          We have assumed for may centuries (in Western culture) that there is some right to inherit.  But where would that right come from?  There are certainly some good reasons to allow some wealth to pass on.  The welfare of a surviving spouse or disabled child; the continuity of businesses which provide needed services, products and economic activity, are arguably good reasons.  Would $5 million in allowable inheritance cover all those concerns?  Perhaps there is another schema.  But at some point, there is no good reason to protect the larger inheritances.  Once we decide an amount to be protected, the rest should be taxed at 100%.    

          BTW the estate tax and the gift tax, as they currently exist, are a tax imposed on the transfer of property without consideration.  They are not a death tax or an inheritance tax.  

          •  Good points (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            tofumagoo

            But note:

            On firm continuity: the people who work for the firm should inherit the firm, not the idiot son or the crazy niece of the owner.

            On surviving spouse: estate taxes usually don't apply until both spouses have died.

            Disabled child: why should the disabled children of rich parents be treated better than the disabled children of the poor?

            On the other hand, being able to help your children does motivate people to work hard, so passing on some wealth has some valid social benefit. But I think $1 million should be a pretty good incentive.

    •  And taxing inheritance unlike income or investment (6+ / 0-)

      has no downside from the constant Right-wing squealing about "incentives"

      If you tax income you hurt incentives to produce

      If you tax capital gains you hurt incentives to invest

      If you tax inheritance you hurt incentives to... have your relatives die?

      Death needs no incentives to work.

      •  Actually, they have been screaming about this (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Aunt Pat, blue jersey mom, tofumagoo

        all along:  The Death Tax.  "Why should the government collect a dead person's money?"  etc, etc, etc.

        The inheritance tax is one of the earliest taxes the Founding Fathers supported.  Conservatives are anti-American.

        "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

        by YucatanMan on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 08:36:23 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Has no one made the counter argument (4+ / 0-)

          that the government is not collecting a dead person's money, but the live inheritor of that money?

          Another argument that the Right always trots out is that this is the tax that causes family farmers to lose their farms.  Seems like an exemption could be written into the inheritance tax "reform" bill that would cap the rate on a family owned and operated farm.  If there is one thing congress knows how to do, it's exempt entities from punitive tax rates.

          "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

          by SueDe on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 09:00:55 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  A lot of "family owned and operated farms" are (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Leo in NJ

            worth millions of dollars.  The day when a farmer had a few cows, chickens, pigs and farmed 80 or 160 acres are long gone.  Many remaining "family farms" are huge affairs owned by wealthy people.   The concept of the small family farm we all had in the 1950s is long gone.  

            "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

            by YucatanMan on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 10:52:25 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Going to have to disagree with you here (3+ / 0-)

              I can drive 30 minutes east of Austin, Texas and be smack in the middle of hundreds of small family farms with maybe a few dozen chickens, a couple cows, a heard of goats, and a ton of guard dogs. These are generally very "poor" people by modern standards but they literally feed and fuel the local sustainable food movement in Austin. They are exactly the types who would, quite literally, "lose the farm" if they weren't exempted out of an inheritance tax.

              •  That is the case around Austin, but it is not the (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                tofumagoo

                case, generally, throughout the nation.

                If they are that small - truck garden farms is what we call them - then they shouldn't worry about inheritance taxes on estates over a million dollars, etc.  

                A friend just bought a quarter section of good wheat, corn, soybean farmland in Oklahoma - 160 acres - to farm as absentee landlord.  It cost him around $250,000 and his return is around $36000 per year, net.  He hires everything done.   That's a 14% return.  

                Four times that much land would put him close to the one million dollar mark, and over $100,000 per year in net income, no work on his part.

                Anything over that should have an estate tax.  And, honestly, corporate farms should be prohibited, but that's just me. :-)

                "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

                by YucatanMan on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 09:48:04 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  I'm with you on that one! (0+ / 0-)

                  Texas is having a small independent farm culture revival right now, but it's having trouble penetrating parts of the state that are home to corporate farms like the south Texas valley. Coincidentally, these are parts of the state that have the most farm workers and the highest poverty levels. The guys I know who own their own small farms make out pretty well for themselves. They don't have much in the shape of liquid assets, but their quality of living is fairly high in regards to how they spend their time and how they live. In contrast, corporate farms exploit the local and migrant workforce while delivering inferior GMO products.

      •  Oh, but they always figure out a way (0+ / 0-)

        They call it the "Death Tax," right?  And go on and on about how it does things like Hurt Family Farmers and Small Businesses, ostensibly because so much of the Family Farm or Family Business gets taxed away by the evil gubmint that they have to sell or liquidate.  At least, I think that's how (they say) it works.

        Remember: actual numbers and facts, like the fact that this would affect some tiny sliver (2%, 5%?) of family farms and businesses -- those things don't actually matter.

        And Democrats are, more often then not, too cowardly to call them out.  We let them dominate the rhetorical landscape, losing both the battle and the war.

    •  The founding fathers were strongly in favor of (9+ / 0-)

      steep inheritance taxes because they'd seen what generationally accumulated wealth had done in Europe.  All the wars and strife caused by various dukes, princes, and so forth.  They spoke and wrote about strong inheritance taxes as being necessary for democracy to work over time.

      "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

      by YucatanMan on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 08:33:06 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I don't like the wealth tax. (3+ / 0-)

    Warren Buffet leads a rather modest life style.  Almost all his wealth is in the stocks he owns.  I don't have a problem with people accumulating wealth by growing the real economy.  It's when they buy the huge mansions, car elevators, private jets... that actually drags on the economy, that's the stuff we have to stop.

    Forcing people to sell huge amounts of stocks isn't going to be very good.  When they choose to sell their investments in the real economy, then it becomes income and that's the time to collect the taxes.

    •  How about a 70% marginal tax rate? n/t (13+ / 0-)

      Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

      by Meteor Blades on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 02:28:48 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Agree (4+ / 0-)

      Very difficult to administer. And what about someone who is land-poor? You could have inherited a property that's been in your family for generations but only be barely above the poverty line. It doesn't make any sense to me. I think there are 2 major changes we need to the tax code: merging capital gains into income and capping deductions. The elimination of the social security cap would also help a lot. Personally, I don't like the mortgage interest deduction but I don't see that changing any time soon.

      For if there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life. - Albert Camus

      by Anne Elk on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 03:38:46 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  As long as there is a real estate industry (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Anne Elk

        the mortgage interest deduction - at least on a first home - is not going anywhere.

        "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

        by SueDe on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 09:05:50 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Jefferson disagreed with you. As did (4+ / 0-)

      Thomas Paine and Adam Smith:

      With Thomas Jefferson taking the lead in the Virginia legislature in 1777, every Revolutionary state government abolished the laws of primogeniture and entail that had served to perpetuate the concentration of inherited property. Jefferson cited Adam Smith, the hero of free market capitalists everywhere, as the source of his conviction that (as Smith wrote, and Jefferson closely echoed in his own words), "A power to dispose of estates for ever is manifestly absurd. The earth and the fulness of it belongs to every generation, and the preceding one can have no right to bind it up from posterity. Such extension of property is quite unnatural." Smith said: "There is no point more difficult to account for than the right we conceive men to have to dispose of their goods after death."

      The states left no doubt that in taking this step they were giving expression to a basic and widely shared philosophical belief that equality of citizenship was impossible in a nation where inequality of wealth remained the rule. North Carolina's 1784 statute explained that by keeping large estates together for succeeding generations, the old system had served "only to raise the wealth and importance of particular families and individuals, giving them an unequal and undue influence in a republic" and promoting "contention and injustice." Abolishing aristocratic forms of inheritance would by contrast "tend to promote that equality of property which is of the spirit and principle of a genuine republic."

      Others wanted to go much further; Thomas Paine, like Smith and Jefferson, made much of the idea that landed property itself was an affront to the natural right of each generation to the usufruct of the earth, and proposed a "ground rent" — in fact an inheritance tax — on property at the time it is conveyed at death, with the money so collected to be distributed to all citizens at age 21, "as a compensation in part, for the loss of his or her natural inheritance, by th

      e introduction of the system of landed property."

      Of course, the "original intent" Justice Scalia would never agree with those particular intentions, would he? Funny isn't it?

      "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

      by YucatanMan on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 08:41:21 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  BTW, if any one person holds so much stock (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LilithGardener, sunny skies

      that his death causes stock prices to dip, then that has been far far far too much wealth for one person to hold, as well as that person being utterly inept at finding attorneys and accountants to structure his estate into trusts to avoid the inheritance taxes.

      Personally, I'd tax 50% of all wealth over $1,000,000 at death, trust or no trust.   Let everyone plan to whittle down their wealth in ways they prefer before death, rather than building power and wealth over many generations.

      We don't need any dynasties.  We need responsible citizens. Even with as much good as the Kennedys have done, we also have the Bushes and others who are much more evil.

      "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

      by YucatanMan on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 08:44:49 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  when people buy (0+ / 0-)

      mansions, jets, etc., don't they generated employment for the people who build those things, rather than just having that money accumulate?

      "Okay, until next time. Keep sending me your questions, and I will make fun of you... I mean, answer them." - Strong Bad

      by AaronInSanDiego on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 11:14:04 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  exactly. Saez and Piketty are encyclopedic on this (11+ / 0-)
    “The United States is getting accustomed to a completely crazy level of inequality,” Mr. Piketty said, with a degree of wonder. “People say that reducing inequality is radical. I think that tolerating the level of inequality the United States tolerates is radical.”

    yksitoista ulotteinen presidentin shakki. / tappaa kaikki natsit "Nous sommes un groupuscule" (-9.50; -7.03) 政治委员, 政委‽ Warning - some snark above ‽

    by annieli on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 02:34:35 PM PST

  •  How much is DailyKos worth on any day? (6+ / 0-)

    If a wealth tax were to be used, businesses not traded via the open stock market would have to be valued under some other methods, which could yield highly variable amounts.  Having to get such a valuation annually could be a PITA as well as costly for many types of businesses, particularly family-owned ones.

    My Karma just ran over your Dogma

    by FoundingFatherDAR on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 02:42:56 PM PST

  •  This Diary (4+ / 0-)

    And Buffet's op-ed sounds exactly like what I proposed in a diary last week. I laid out the economics behind it too, and why we, as progressives, need to stop ceding the tax debate to Right-wing framing and rhetoric.

  •  Buffett could well respond: "I welcome their (4+ / 0-)

    hatred."

    "A young man who wishes to remain a sound Atheist cannot be too careful of his reading. There are traps everywhere ". C. S. Lewis

    by TofG on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 03:00:57 PM PST

  •  I hate to admit it about GOP negotiations but.. (12+ / 0-)

    ..this..

    If a 70 percent marginal rate on income over, say, $10 million can be put on the table, perhaps it will be negotiated down to 50 percent in exchange for something like a progressive estate tax. After all, inequality can't be moderated with a single change.
    ..is what we Dems don't do enough during negotiations.

    Do it

    And just because I'm hearing this republican meme lately, from Cantor this morning: "we're willing to put revenue on the table and that is big" as a in a big deal. I'm calling bullshit on that right now.
     This is a total bluff. They are willing? - they don't control whether Bushes tax cuts expire.  We the Dems do.
    Just trying to put out the word.

    •  Start with The peoples budget which.. (13+ / 0-)

      ..lines up well with Emmanuel Saez and Thomas Piketty recommendations (except higher rates in the top marginal tax brackets - would be even better start) Overview of the Peoples Budget

      Individual Income Tax Policies
      • Allow the Bush-era tax cuts to expire at the end of 2012, but extend marriage relief, credits, and
      incentives for children, families, and education
      • Immediately rescind the upper-income tax cuts in December’s tax deal
      • Index the AMT for inflation for a decade (the AMT patch is fully paid for)
      • Schakowsky millionaire tax rates proposal (adding 45%, 46%, 47%, 48%, and 49% top rates)
      • Tax all capital gains and qualified dividends as ordinary income
      • Progressive estate tax (Sanders’ estate tax, repeal of Kyl-Lincoln)
      • Limit the rate at which itemized deductions can reduce tax liability to 28%for high earners
      • Replace the tax exclusion for interest on state and local bonds with a subsidy for the issuer
      .............................................
      corporate reform and much more is covered next
      After a year of GOP repeatedly claiming that the Dems had no budget. Here it is -where it's always been, not in the forefront
      Lets put it there, no matter what the republicans say or do. Bring the Peoples Budget front and center - repeat.
      technical analysis by Economic Policu Institute

      mini-rant - done now

    •  Yep, Dems still suck at negitiations (5+ / 0-)

      They still seem to be afraid to look mean and nasty and want to be liked and seen as fair and cooperative (whether genuinely or as cover). To hell with that. We're dealing with predators who are trying to literally kill us. You don't make nice with predators. You dispatch them (in this case politically). This has to be a "Chicago Rules" sort of thing. Whatever they demand or we want, we demand twice or three times as much. Bring in experienced labor negotiators to help.

      "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

      by kovie on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 08:42:39 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not So Sure Dems Aren't Doing What They Are Paid (0+ / 0-)

        ... to do.  

        Ideally, I would believe that the Democrats have the people's interest at heart, but given their "negotiation methods" and what we continue to end up with, I have to say that the Dems are doing exactly what they they are being paid to do, protect the interest of the powerful and wealthy.  Campaign contributions and post-congress jobs don't grow on trees, doncha know!

        Poor man wants to be rich. Rich man wants to king. And the king ain't satisifed until he rules everything. B.Springsteen

        by howd on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 07:13:00 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Just eliminating any difference between (10+ / 0-)

    capital gains and income for tax purposes would be a big step forward. There is absolutely no evidence that there is any benefit to the economy by taxing capital gains as anything other than income. In fact, it has become - as we learned from Mitt Romney - a major way in which the wealthy avoid taxation of their income.

    For if there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life. - Albert Camus

    by Anne Elk on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 03:32:40 PM PST

    •  Some capital gains should probably be taxed lower (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wbr, RandomNonviolence

      E.g. selling one's home after years of living in it. We don't want to force people to live longer in their homes than they want to, and discourage a healthy level of turnover in available housing stock. Or, retired people selling off assets to live on. But definitely, capital gains as everyday business activity, be it flipping houses or trading, should be taxed higher. Enough of this free ride.

      "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

      by kovie on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 08:39:05 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  There is already a limit to cap gains taxed (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RandomNonviolence

        on the sale of a residence.  Last I heard I think it was the first $200K on the sale price was exempt, although it may be more now.

        "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

        by SueDe on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 09:17:52 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  IRS has the answer (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          howd, SueDe

          in Publication 523:

          ...You can exclude up to $250,000 of the gain (other than gain allocated to periods of nonqualified use) on the sale of your main home ...

          ...You may be able to exclude up to $500,000 of the gain (other than gain allocated to periods of nonqualified use) on the sale of your main home if you are married and file a joint return and meet the requirements listed in the discussion of the special rules for joint returns, later, under Married Persons...

          •  Ah, it has gone up. (0+ / 0-)

            Thanks Random.  I didn't have time to look it up this morning.

            "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

            by SueDe on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 02:08:11 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  Buffet, and those of like mind, could have sent (0+ / 0-)

    as much as they wanted to to the Treasury. Why do they need to be forced by legislation?

  •  Shift the focus.... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    winsock
    If we're destined for a serious discussion about taxes, let's make it serious.
    What is the end game here?  Feeling better about punishing the rich?  Or solving the income inequality problem?

    Just taking money from the rich is necessary, but not sufficient to solve the problems facing the middle and lower classes.

    As long as we frame the argument in a way so we are punishing someone, instead of solving the existential problem of our generation, we will fail.  

    Lets talk about industrial policy, Pell grants, job training, incentives for manufacturing plants in the US, etc, and then lets have a serious conversation about how to pay for it.  

    Which will of course raise taxes.... but we are going about this in a way that makes serious change politically infeasible.

    •  I think Obama has said it best (7+ / 0-)

      Rates on top earners don't need to rise as a punishment - they need to rise because we simply can't afford it. Whether you want to talk about investing in America or paying down our $16 Trillion debt, that's why rates on top earners have to rise.

      Filibuster reform now. No more Gentleman's agreements.

      by bear83 on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 08:14:04 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It is not punishment. It is paying what they owe (10+ / 0-)

        to a nation which has made their wealth possible. From the legal system to the military to the postal system to the highways, streets, and roads, to communications.... a huge list.  It all makes their wealth possible.

        And as the wealth rises disproportionately higher, the taxes need to rise as well.

        "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

        by YucatanMan on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 08:47:33 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Goal of High Marginal Tax Rates (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          YucatanMan

          ... is not to take money from the rich, it is to keep the rich from taking all the money for themselves!  

          In the 50's and 60's the marginal tax rate was high (90-70%) and, as a result, the gains of the economy were distributed equally among all the people in the country which resulted in a strong middle class.  This was because if a CEO paid himself a excessive income he had to pay 70-90% taxes on the income, thus he didn't take the income but rather spent the money hiring more people or buying new equipment to grow the business.

          In my opinion, liberals make a mistake in framing higher marginal tax rates as a way to pay down the debt or to pay for infrastructure rather than simply stating that the value of the high marginal tax rates is to ensure a more equal distribution of the economic gains which will result in more jobs, better jobs and more tax revenues for the US.

          Poor man wants to be rich. Rich man wants to king. And the king ain't satisifed until he rules everything. B.Springsteen

          by howd on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 07:33:57 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Some of us have been talking about... (4+ / 0-)

      ...industrial policy, job training, incentives for green manufacturing, an all-the-time WPA, better funding for infrastructure and for education for quite some time.

      And every time we do, the plutocrats say there's not enough money to do this (and, of course, they say government shouldn't be doing that stuff anyway).

      It is NOT punishment for the rich and ultra-rich to pay their fair share.

      Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

      by Meteor Blades on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 08:27:07 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes...but.... (0+ / 0-)

        You can take all the money the rich have (and yes we should take more or it) and it will not solve the deficit or fund the programs we need to get the middle class working again in great jobs.

        So sure...advocate 70% tax rates, and feel better about taking money from the rich, but be clear, it will not solve our problems.

        Which is why I think this approach will not be successful.

        •  But "take all the money the rich have" is a ... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          wsexson, RandomNonviolence

          ..straw man. Nobody is making that argument. And Saez and Piketty themselves say between 45% and 70%. My view is that, as progressives, we should start the ask high and, as we extract other concessions, lower it in negotiations. This, of course, requires that we be in a position in which negotiations are entered into in good faith and with our having the clout to make our political fear us and respect our clout. Right now, they do neither

          Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

          by Meteor Blades on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 10:19:54 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  "their fair share" is a very nebulous term. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RandomNonviolence

        Why not just assert that the rich should pay more of the taxes because they have a lot more of the money?

        I could go into why higher corporate tax rates actually spur more investment than low corporate tax rates, but that's a comment for another time.

        "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

        by SueDe on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 09:26:03 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  "High taxes" is nebulous, too. But we... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          howd

          ...here that term tossed around all the time, which is a joke, whether comparing income taxes historically in the U.S. or comparing the effective rate of corporate taxes in countries outside the U.S.

          Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

          by Meteor Blades on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 10:13:52 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  I predict sneering disdain from CNBC... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JML9999, Eric Nelson

    blowhards manana.
    Of course, I won't know because I ignore that wasteland of corporate lunacy.

  •  Exactly (6+ / 0-)
    If we're destined for a serious discussion about taxes, let's make it serious.
    Just because taxes revert to Clinton-era rates in January, the Clinton-era rates don't have to be the absolute cap on tax rates. A more progressive system could be put in place.

    Filibuster reform now. No more Gentleman's agreements.

    by bear83 on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 08:11:14 PM PST

  •  What an echo ... (7+ / 0-)
    “People say that reducing inequality is radical. I think that tolerating the level of inequality the United States tolerates is radical.”
    Just as those who say we are radical to want to end carbon pollution, when it is the polluters rushing to change the atmosphere who are the real radicals.

    Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

    by A Siegel on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 08:12:01 PM PST

  •  Relatedly... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kovie, LilithGardener, wsexson

    I just saw that clip of Lloyd Blankfein sneeringly insist that workers need to wake up and realize they aren't gonna get the benefits they expect.

    Gag.

  •  I do not think... (0+ / 0-)

    ...and nor do I think it will be politically palatable, for any income at any level to be taxed at greater than 50%.

    Secondly, I'm not even sure that 'inequality' is a horse one wants to hitch one's wagon to (at least too much). The point of taxation is supposed to be to get the resources we need for national priorities, not to narrow income gaps.

    The argument that the rich should pay a little more is a good argument. I think that taxation as a method of major social engineering is a loser argument, both politically and otherwise.

    (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
    Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

    by Sparhawk on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 08:29:18 PM PST

    •  Wealth disparity is the original social engineer.. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wsexson, howd

      ..historically.

      Higher marginal tax rates combat the worst aspects of the social engineering that takes place otherwise - Oligarchy. It's our past

      As Kossack wu ming put it:

           close the loopholes, and crank up the top brackets of the income tax. the point is not only to get revenue (although that's important), it is also to limit a permanent plutocracy with the financial power to destroy the economy and democracy with their accumulated capital.
      by wu ming on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 06:24:08 PM PDT
    •  As you might expect, I don't agree... (4+ / 0-)

      ...with your view that taxes are solely for the purpose of raising revenue. That certainly wasn't the sole purpose of tariffs from the beginning of the nation until 1913, when they became much less of a revenue source for the federal government. One of their key purposes, as outlined by Alexander Hamilton, was to spur industrialization by imposing high rates on foreign goods investors wanted to make domestically. Beginning in 1933, and ever since, the income tax has been partially but deliberately used to redistribute income, however imperfectly.

      Even at a 70% marginal rate, the rich wouldn't be hurting. And, as Buffett says, they will not stop investing in economic arenas where there is a return to be made just because taxes are high.

      As for palatability, the U.S. had an effective tax rate of 51% to 60% on top incomes in the 1950s, a period of significant prosperity.

      Germany, one of the most prosperous nations in the world, has a personal top income tax rate of 45% plus 5.5% "solidarity" tax to reintegrate the two Germanys. That top rate kicks in at €250,731 for an individual.

      Capital gains taxes on shares of stock sold in Germany run from 25% to 60% depending on how big a portion of an investment they are. The effective corporate tax rate in Germany, by the way, is 30%-33% compared with 12.1% in the U.S. in 2012.

      Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

      by Meteor Blades on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 10:10:10 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Love the Uncle Scrooge pix (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cassandra Waites, howd
  •  I'm neither a lawyer nor an economist (4+ / 0-)

    But I'm sure that perfectly constitutional ways can be found of taxing existing wealth without directly taxing wealth. Such as creating tax and other incentives to investing or spending money on certain things that would be beneficial to the economy, vs. parking the money or doing things with that money that would be harmful to the economy, for which there would be disincentives, like higher taxes.

    For example, creating tax credits for investing in green energy or affordable housing, while increasing captial gains taxes on short-term trades or luxury housing. Rich people usually don't park their money. They spend it on things they want or invest it in whatever they think will yield the highest return. Exploit this fact to yield more tax revenue from the sorts of things that rich people are most likely to do with their money, and discouraage the sorts of things they do that are harmful or not beneficial to the economy.

    Get the rich to do more productive and beneficial things with their money and overtax them when they don't. You'll increase tax revenue, encourage good economic activitity and discourage bad economic activity.

    I.e. a "wealth tax" that also redirects investment capital to where it should go.

    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

    by kovie on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 08:32:25 PM PST

  •  We have to start making the case (3+ / 0-)

    that high tax rates on the rich are required to prevent the emergence of oligarchy. I've already provided the historical background of how the Founders had a specific idea of how large inequalities in wealth are due entirely to aristocrats corrupting the political process.

    But more importantly, we need to articulate a theory of political economy of oligarchy that explains why and how letting the rich keep too much of their wealth dooms an economy to collapse. I'm thinking of something well past Pickett and Wilkinson's vital 2011 book, The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger.

    Large concentrations of wealth are innately conservative, in that they seek to protect what they are invested in, and to maximize the return of that investment. This is entirely understandable, basic human nature. But this creates a huge, dangerous problem for society, which can actually threaten the survival of society. To understand this, you must discard the definitions of economics, and of wealth, found in all economics textbooks.

    First, economics is how a society organizes itself to gather and/or extract, process and/or manipulate, and distribute what is needed to sustain and reproduce human life at ever higher material and cultural levels. Water, food, clothing, and shelter are the three irreducible basics; but modern industrial economies can easily meet these basics. Where they fail to, the problem is almost always one of distribution, not production. This escape from the economics of scarcity is humanity's great achievement of the Industrial Revolution. But water, food, clothing, and shelter, of course, are really a very small part of a modern economy. The point is, not to lose sight of what an economy is. This gives us the proper basis on which to understand what wealth is.

    Wealth is not money. Or stocks, or bonds. Wealth is not even material possessions. To help you understand this, (continued below)

    A conservative is a scab for the oligarchy.

    by NBBooks on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 08:35:34 PM PST

    •  Wealth is not even material possessions. (0+ / 0-)

      Wealth is not even material possessions. To help you understand this, assume that you are proud owner of a hundred square miles of wilderness land that contains motherlodes of gold, silver, petroleum, whatever gems or ores, or minerals you hold most dear. But you are not allowed to bring any tools or machinery onto this land. No bulldozers, no drills, not even a shovel and pickaxe. Are you wealthy?

      No, you are not. You might be sitting on millions of ounces of gold, but without the physical means of extracting the gold ore from the ground, and applying the proper chemicals and amounts of heat, you can never actually extract, let alone use, any of that gold (or whatever gems or ores, or minerals you think valuable).

      The point is, what wealth really is, is the ability to transform some natural resource into some useful form. What if you were allowed to bring equipment and tools onto that land - but were not allowed to bring people with the skills and knowledge to operate and use that equipment and tools? You may be sitting on the potential for massive wealth, but you don't really have any wealth until you can actually apply human ingenuity and know-how to your land. The ingenuity of design of a bulldozer, and the know-how of operating it safely, correctly, and efficiently.

      So, wealth is society's accumulated human genius and ingenuity applied to the problem of economy (refer above to our definition of economics). We call this technology, and the act of creating technology, we call science.

      However, there is a huge problem. Because the natural resources available to a society are strictly limited within the modes of technology extant within a certain period of time. These are the physical limits Jared Diamond writes about in his book, Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed.

      For society to survive, it must breakthrough the limitations of its natural environment, by using science to create new technology. This allows us to create new resources (what was oil before the development of the internal combustion engine?), find new ways to extract resources (we can go back to old, played out oil fields and get more oil out - that's what fracking is all amount) and to make more efficient use of resources (we can increase the mileage our cars and trucks get).

      I've argued this in the past: the most important economic activity a society undertakes is science.

      Now, what happens when rich people have too much political power? What happens when rich people have too much political power, meaning they have become an oligarchy? They tend to try to protect their investment in the prevailing mode of technology. And that hampers or even stops society's fundamental need for scientific and technological progress. No more clear example can be imagined that the Koch family interest pouring hundreds of millions and billions of dollars into conservative think tanks and political lobbies that not only deny global climate change, but also actively oppose the development of clean energy technologies. (continued below)

      A conservative is a scab for the oligarchy.

      by NBBooks on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 09:02:27 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The problem of oligarchy, continued (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Eric Nelson, howd

        In fact, certain economic statistics show the effect of the transformation, since the Reagan regime, from a republic to an oligarchy. As Paul Buchheit reported last week,

        According to both Marketwatch and economist Edward Wolff, over 90 percent of the assets owned by millionaires are held in a combination of low-risk investments (bonds and cash), personal business accounts, the stock market, and real estate. Only 3.6 percent of taxpayers in the top .1% were classified as entrepreneurs based on 2004 tax returns. A 2009 Kauffman Foundation study found that the great majority of entrepreneurs come from middle-class backgrounds, with less than 1 percent of all entrepreneurs coming from very rich or very poor backgrounds.
        Now, we began this by talking about the problem of a large inequality of wealth. We were using the word "wealth" incorrectly, because, if my argument is correct, money, stocks, bonds, and other investments are really not wealth. Well, then, what are they?

        They are legal fictions that society provides a structure for the creation of. That structure is a banking and financial system, with a legal system to provide some semblance of order. These legal fictions simply make it easier to make the real wealth of human ingenuity, of technology, less abstract, and allow it to be traded and exchanged more readily. So, what we really have is a vast inequality in the legal fictions that we usually fall into thinking of wealth. So, when someone agglomerates too much of those legal fictions, and are using them in ways that don't actually help society create real wealth, society, in its own interest of self-preservation, MUST take those legal fictions away, somehow, someway. Voila! Taxes!  

        This, then, is what statesmanship is all about. Political leaders must be knowledgeable enough about the frontier of science, and the present state of technology, to be able to judge when the inherent conservatism of accumulated, concentrated wealth, becomes a danger to, or drag on, the most important economic activity society engages in - science.

        And just look at the dismal record of America since the emergence of the new American oligarchy. Moon colonization mission canceled. Manned space exploration curtailed. Space station "down-sized" to fit "budget constraints." Complete lack of replacement for the space shuttle. The decision not to build the large particle collider. Human stem cell research banned on specious moral grounds. I'm sure there's more such indicators of which way the wind blows, and I invite you add them in comments.  

        A conservative is a scab for the oligarchy.

        by NBBooks on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 09:23:22 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  More.... (0+ / 0-)

          Let the rich flee. We would be better off without them. They are not entrepreneurs or wealth creators or job creators. According to both Marketwatch and economist Edward Wolff, over 90 percent of the assets owned by millionaires are held in a combination of low-risk investments (bonds and cash), personal business accounts, the stock market, and real estate. Only 3.6 percent of taxpayers in the top .1% were classified as entrepreneurs based on 2004 tax returns. A 2009 Kauffman Foundation study found that the great majority of entrepreneurs come from middle-class backgrounds, with less than 1 percent of all entrepreneurs coming from very rich backgrounds.

          This is fully in accord with the Patriots' belief at the time of the American Revolution that most rich people were merely royal courtiers, who rose because of their brown nosing of the British oligarchy, and not through actual business or commercial acumen. The problem with most rich people is that they become more interested in preserving the value of the investments they have already made, and oppose new economic potentials and capabilities that might supplant those investments. Thus, "old money" actually very rarely assists in economic growth and job creation. Economists have a term for this behavior of old money - rent seeking.

          So, the U.S. financial sector does not generate new wealth for the nation, but only monetizes and extracts already existing wealth. This is what Romney, Bain, and private equity in general do under what they call "restructuring" a company. This is why after the past four decades of tax cuts by Reagan and Bush Jr., the U.S. economy and industrial sector especially is even less competitive than ever, with many countries having surpassed the U.S. in technological capabilities. The U.S. does not even rank in the top 20 worldwide for internet broadband deployment and access. We no longer have the capacity to do cutting edge research in particle physics - U.S. scientists go to CERN in Europe for that. We have allowed the Space Shuttle to become obsolete with coming up with a replacement. Advances in jet propulsion applied to space research are coming out of Europe, not the U.S.

          Get rid of the stupid rich people that are funding groups like American Enterprise Institute and Heritage Foundation, and fighting to preserve the fossil fuel economy, and we'll start moving forward as a nation again!

          A conservative is a scab for the oligarchy.

          by NBBooks on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 09:35:19 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  The sham of republican talking points is showing, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aunt Pat, LilithGardener

    even before Obama policies prove them wrong.

  •  CEOs and Financial emp make more than all unions (5+ / 0-)
    Corporate executives and financial employees make up just  one-half of 1%  of the workforce, but with nearly a trillion dollars of annual income ( 11.3% of $8.12 trillion ), they make more than ALL 15 million unionized workers in the United States, and almost as much as ALL  21 million  government workers. Much of their income  derives from minimally-taxed capital gains . Meanwhile, the great majority of their private company employees toil as food servers, clerks, medical workers, and domestic help at below-average pay.
    http://www.alternet.org/...

    To Goldman Sachs in according to their desires, From us in accordance with the IRS.

    by Bluehawk on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 09:22:28 PM PST

  •  Last "class traitor" was FDR n/t (0+ / 0-)

    Evolution IS Intelligent Design!

    by msirt on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 09:46:11 PM PST

  •  70% marginal rate? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RandomNonviolence

    Sounds far less radical than cutting social safety net programs IN THE MIDDLE OF A FUCKING RECESSION!

  •  The Rich Rule (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RandomNonviolence, howd

    My rule would be that the top tax rate should be 50% plus the unemployment rate.

    Let's say the unemployment rate was 8%. Then the top rate would be adjusted the next year to 58%. If it went down to 7%, then the top rate would drop to 57% the following year.

    Call it, "pay for performance". You and your rich buddies get together and employ more people--bam!--your tax rate drops! Gives the Republicans a chance to prove that people with money really can create jobs!

    Now, I just need a few billion so I can get my proposal in the NYT. Anyone want to help???

  •  i think we always have to make it clear (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RandomNonviolence

    just why we advocate higher taxes on the wealthy, and why income inequality is such a problem. Part of it is not just that a few people make too much money, but more importantly, in my view, is that too many people are in poverty or close to it, or have other needs that aren't being met. If taxing wealthy people more helps to alleviate that, great. If not, then i think we have to look at other factors as well.

    "Okay, until next time. Keep sending me your questions, and I will make fun of you... I mean, answer them." - Strong Bad

    by AaronInSanDiego on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 11:31:07 PM PST

  •  Well I think we do need (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RandomNonviolence, howd

    To ask for more. If we start seriously proposing 70% marginal tax rates and show the right that we're serious, maybe they'll stop their infantile resistance to raising taxes and we could get a true compromise.

    "Mediocrity cannot know excellence." -- Sherlock Holmes

    by La Gitane on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 11:50:12 PM PST

  •  Estate Tax will drive investments (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RandomNonviolence

    Contrary to the conservative mantra that taxes discourage investment, I believe an estate tax is the #1 motivator for investment.  If a wealthy family knows that its fortune will be taxed every 30 years or so, it will work more aggressively to increase its wealth in the meantime.  Nothing says "low risk" more than knowing you can live off the interest of the old money ad infinitum.

    The Virtue of Selfishness is not a driving manual

    by bondibox on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 02:00:49 AM PST

  •  OK, I have had enough of the USPS (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bontemps2012

    For the eight years I have lived at this address, the letter carrier has never once succeeded in ringing my door bell to get the required signature. (UPS guy has no problem, FedEx guy has no problem...) I always get one of those orange notes that say, "No one was home when we rang the bell..."

    Well, I WAS home, lazy lying cocksucker, (exactly once I remember I was actually out) and nobody rang the bell, liarliaaarpansonfire. . I have been compllaining about exactly this for 8 long years .I hardly ever go out. I don 't walk well (only 7 toes left), I'm agoraphobic, I don't have a regular job elsewhere.I'm almost always home, and my doorbell works (except during blackouts cause by hurricanes or other disasters, which covers the last time he claims he rang the bell. I guess the majic doorbell fairies were on strike.

    So the latest saga is this: "Nobodty was home" on Nov 24 (I was home, as usual. I signed the form to say "redeliver in the 21st".Didn't show up. So I said (in writing, again), "redeliver on the 23". Didn't show up. Next I went to the website and said "redeliver on the 26" Guess what, Kiddies? Still don't got it.  The last piece, containing my bank card, vanished entirely. How can I replace it if it can't be delivered?

    I sat on the porch all morning until the lazy cocksucker showed up and told him his negelt was "intoerable" aand that I expected the mail today. I sure hope it shows up. I also wish I had a printer that worked and didn't have to wait to show him a copy of the letter I've drafted to the FBI, but I can tell him about it, and as where is the return reciept from the certified letter of complaint I sent to his boss last week.

    Did you know that the penalty for interfering with the delivery of US mail is only 6 months in jail? That means I'm going to have to send myself at least 20 certified letters to teach the bastard any kind of lesson.

    Don't let millionaires steal Social Security.
    I said, "Don't let millionaires steal Social Security!"

    by Leo in NJ on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 04:52:15 AM PST

  •  or (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RandomNonviolence
    If a 70 percent marginal rate on income over, say, $10 million can be put on the table, perhaps it will be negotiated down to 50 percent in exchange for something like a progressive estate tax.
    or put 90 on the table and bargain down to 70
  •  Wealth Tax requires a constitutional amendment. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RandomNonviolence

    So let's get to work on it. there's a diary:

    Wealth Tax -- Amendment XXVIII Tax Intangible Property

    The text for this amendment parallels XVI that enables Income Tax. Language is straightforward:

    Amendment XXVIII

    The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on wealth, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.

    Keep It Simple, Stupid.

    Democratic Party took 20 years getting through the income tax. And that only went through because legislators saw it applying mostly to the big money on the Eastern Seaboard. Here's the money for Wealth Tax:

    The Top One Percent of wealthy Americans own 43% of Total Financial Assets. The next 19% own 50% of TFA.  A tax levied on Intangible Property with a floor at the $10,000,000 level will only affect the Top One Percent.

    Apply to shares alone:

    $8.6-trillion TIMES 1% YIELDS $86-billion a year.

    Apply to all IP assets, calculated on Net Worth:

    $23.7-trillion TIMES 1% YIELDS $237-billion a year.

    Hardly chump change. This approach exempts housing, though vacation houses and such are hard to defend as exemptions.

    Republicans lie about what a Wealth Tax would do. Of course, they're Republicans. They lie about everything from abortion to Reagan getting 241 killed at the Beirut, Lebanon barracks in 1983. There's nothing they can't lie about.

    Consider this with the 1% tax rate.

    Over 20 years the full 100%-of-Intangible-Property version would pay down $5-trillion of the Federal debt.

    That's a plan.

  •  I am so fuckinnng pissewd at USPS (0+ / 0-)

    This is a draft of the ltter I'm sending to the FBI tomorrow. Just waiting to find out whether ttey've actually lost my certified letter like they did the last one (bank debit card, what a pain!)

    For the eight years I have lived at this address, the letter carrier has never once succeeded in ringing my door bell to get the required signature. (UPS guy has no problem, FedEx guy has no problem...) I always get one of those orange notes that say, "No one was home when we rang the bell..."

    Well, I WAS home, lazy lying cocksucker, (exactly once I remember I was actually out) and nobody rang the bell, liarliaaarpansonfire. . I have been compllaining about exactly this for 8 long years .I hardly ever go out. I don 't walk well (only 7 toes left), I'm agoraphobic, I don't have a regular job elsewhere.I'm almost always home, and my doorbell works (except during blackouts cause by hurricanes or other disasters, which covers the last time he claims he rang the bell. I guess the majic doorbell fairies were on strike.

    So the latest saga is this: "Nobodty was home" on Nov 24 (I was home, as usual. I signed the form to say "redeliver in the 21st".Didn't show up. So I said (in writing, again), "redeliver on the 23". Didn't show up. Next I went to the website and said "redeliver on the 26" Guess what, Kiddies? Still don't got it.  The last piece, containing my bank card, vanished entirely. How can I replace it if it can't be delivered?

    I sat on the porch all morning until the lazy cocksucker showed up and told him his negelt was "intoerable" aand that I expected the mail today. I sure hope it shows up. I also wish I had a printer that worked and didn't have to wait to show him a copy of the letter I've drafted to the FBI, but I can tell him about it, and as where is the return reciept from the certified letter of complaint I sent to his boss last week.

    Did you know that the penalty for interfering with the delivery of US mail is only 6 months in jail? That means I'm going to have to send myself at least 20 certified letters to teach the bastard any kind of lesson.

    Don't let millionaires steal Social Security.
    I said, "Don't let millionaires steal Social Security!"

    by Leo in NJ on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 08:31:05 AM PST

  •  "Fairness" vs. a functioning democracy (0+ / 0-)

    This was debated rather extensively over the last couple of days in my thread entitled "Taxing the rich: it's not about 'fairness'"

    My original point was that arguing for "fair" taxation is a loser because it's basically impossible to define.

    A more powerful justification for higher taxes on the wealthy is simply that excessive wealth concentration is inherently bad for democracy, and it imposes costs (externalities) on the rest of us that need to be redressed.

    What is valued is practiced. What is not valued is not practiced. -- Plato

    by RobLewis on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 11:03:28 AM PST

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