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I have been waiting 4 years for Barack Obama to raise my taxes.  He has twice beaten 'no new taxes' Republicans, with a campaign theme of raising taxes on those making over $250k.  My wife and I are both professionals, and we fall into that category.  We still supported Obama, and even supported him in his idea that our taxes needed to go up.  In a way I felt a party to both the Us (those wanting to raise taxes) and Them (those whose taxes would be raised.)  I was not alone.  In 2008, exit polls showed that those making over $200k preferred Obama by 6 points.  However, as the fiscal cliff debate went on, reports in the media bounced my family out of the Them, back into, and eventually out of Them.

I don't buy the class warfare argument of those who oppose tax increases on the highest earners.  I viewed myself as a strong rejoinder: I was one whose taxes would increase and supported those increases vigorously.  For the most part, I agree with what the federal government spends money on.  Someone has to pay for it.  I look at my family - immediate family, in-laws, extended family (17 aunts and uncles, 20 cousins), my wife's extended family - and I cannot reason how my household is not the one that should shoulder the increased burden first.  I boiled it down to a simple question for my extended family: "whose taxes should go up, mine or yours?"

However, as the fiscal cliff debate went on, feeling my tax rate go up, stay the same, and pogo around for a few weeks, I felt a carving out of a small group whose taxes would go up and how there was becoming a clearer delineation of the two groups*.  I had not before felt the sharp divide and thought that it could make for bad politics at some point.

The root cause of the problem was the artificially imposed Crisis Deadline.  It was born out of the original sin of allowing the Bush tax cuts to be temporary, and the brinksmanship of the debt ceiling that gave us the sequester and fiscal cliff.  We should not have rushed these measures through a lame-duck Congress.

There are a couple of ideas I start from on taxes: we have a large deficit, and those making the most have seen dramatic decreases in their net tax rates, along with dramatic increases in their incomes.  This leads me directly to the ideas that we need more revenue, and the tax code needs to be more progressive.  I'm not sure that the fiscal cliff bargain Obama struck was the best way he could do things**.  I am sure that it is only a half-step to a better more progressive tax code.  I fear Obama used up his leverage and this issue will not be revisited in a substantive way for a while.

*I understand that everyone's taxes are going up due to the payroll tax going back up to 6% for the employee, but no one in the media seemed to care about that tax, and fewer still see how that funds the fed's biggest program and how much low-to-middle income Americans pay into that system.

**To those who counter every criticism with 'what would you do', some of the things I would like to see are:
1. More tax brackets, the complexity of our tax code is completely unrelated to the number of brackets, and someone making > $1Mil is living much differently than someone making $250k.
2. Increase personal exemptions and standard deductions to increase the minimum income to trigger the first tax bracket.
3. Further raise capital gains taxes, and reduce methods used to rename income as capital gains to reduce taxes.



Whose taxes should be raised?

37%10 votes
7%2 votes
44%12 votes
0%0 votes
7%2 votes
0%0 votes
3%1 votes

| 27 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  I would prefer that nobody pays taxes on the first (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    $50K of income. It takes that much at the present time to be able to live a decent life, whether single or married. Then progressive tax brackets with the final tax rate at 93% for income of over $50 million per annum. I figure if a person needs $50 million a year to live, it is beyond ludicrous.

    Poverty and Income Inequality isn't Democratic, Justice or American. It is Tyranny.

    by Wendys Wink on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 05:36:52 AM PST

    •  More like $200K to live a decent life, not $50K. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Wendys Wink

       Even today if you make $100K your Effective tax rate for a family of 4 with two kids in college is about 5% or 5% too much. Since "payroll taxes" are basically pension payments and not really taxes, they should not be changed. But that 5% is still too much to live a decent life especially in NY or SANFRAN or DC, so there is no need to have taxes on anyone making less than $200K. The pursuit of happiness, aka, decent life, is of course precidented on how much money you have. Everyone should watch happy movie.

      "If the past sits in judgment on the present, the future will be lost." Winston Churchill

      by Kvetchnrelease on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 06:01:40 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Agree 100% - esp. footnotes - but ... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Urban Owl, Kvetchnrelease

    I have a quibble about the wording of your poll -- the same quibble I have with virtually every fiscal cliff news report.  The phrase "raise taxes on those who make more than X" is seriously misleading  -- in a way that is unfavorable to our position.

    The correct description is "raise taxes on income that exceeds X."

    Warren Buffet, the Koch brothers, and their peers pay the same tax rate on their first X dollars of "earned income" as any other Jane or Joe (in the unlikely event they aren't able to claim none of their income is "earned").  The only income that will be taxed at the new nearly 40% rate is that starting from dollar 450,001 on up (for a couple).  The first $450,000 "earned" are taxed just like everybody else's.  

    Moreover, most folks who reach this level are able to call much, if not most, of their income "capital gains," which is now taxed at half the top earned-income rate.  And last time I did my taxes, I discovered that the cap gain rate didn't even apply to all my cap gains.  First, lower earned-income rates apply until that gets you up to the total income level where the cap gain rate is lower. Second, at least for me in 2011, there was some sort of a "donut hole" in cap gain taxation, kinda like like the one you hear about in Medicare drug coverage -- except this one was in my favor.

    Bottom line: all the crying you hear over the loss of incentives for the "makers" to be productive and employ the "takers" is a fairy-tale.  The fiscal cliff tax increase is barely a pinprick to the tiny segment of taxpayers it impacts.  And don't get me started about the radically increased estate tax cap.  Are we trying to reestablish heriditary nobility in the USA 240 years after our patriotic forefathers revolted against it?

    Now, if we want to get serious about tax fairness and "entitlement" costs, the first thing to do is eliminate the FICA cap!

    •  Do citizens own their wealth or does the state? (0+ / 0-)

      If the State owns citizens wealth, then the State can parcel out whatever level of wealth they deem appropriate or a better term, what is fair. If all wealth is owned by the State upon citizen death, then hereditary nobility is eliminated and allows state to control more and more property. After a few generations, private property will be eliminated and State can own all wealth.

      "If the past sits in judgment on the present, the future will be lost." Winston Churchill

      by Kvetchnrelease on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 07:57:22 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Agree on the wording (0+ / 0-)

      Thanks for the correction.  I rushed the writing of the poll, and was using media-speak.  Most people don't understand taxes, like the people who say once they make $250k for a year they will stop working so they don't get a tax penalty.  Similarly, most people did not understand what was happening with the 'fiscal cliff'.  That is mostly the media's fault.  They focus on the horse race and don't give the paragraph's space needed to actually tell people what is happening, outside who's winning political points.

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