Stop Coddling the Super-Rich

From the NY Times:

OUR leaders have asked for “shared sacrifice.” But when they did the asking, they spared me. I checked with my mega-rich friends to learn what pain they were expecting. They, too, were left untouched.

While the poor and middle class fight for us in Afghanistan, and while most Americans struggle to make ends meet, we mega-rich continue to get our extraordinary tax breaks. Some of us are investment managers who earn billions from our daily labors but are allowed to classify our income as “carried interest,” thereby getting a bargain 15 percent tax rate. Others own stock index futures for 10 minutes and have 60 percent of their gain taxed at 15 percent, as if they’d been long-term investors.

These and other blessings are showered upon us by legislators in Washington who feel compelled to protect us, much as if we were spotted owls or some other endangered species. It’s nice to have friends in high places.

Last year my federal tax bill — the income tax I paid, as well as payroll taxes paid by me and on my behalf — was $6,938,744. That sounds like a lot of money. But what I paid was only 17.4 percent of my taxable income — and that’s actually a lower percentage than was paid by any of the other 20 people in our office. Their tax burdens ranged from 33 percent to 41 percent and averaged 36 percent.

If you make money with money, as some of my super-rich friends do, your percentage may be a bit lower than mine. But if you earn money from a job, your percentage will surely exceed mine — most likely by a lot.

15 Comments

  1. I’ve noticed pundits have started using the word “punish” when talking about taxing the rich. How come for me it would be called a tax hike, but for billionaires it is punishment? Our populace needs to read about the French revolution.

    1. I’ve been hearing a lot of talk about the French Revolution lately. I’m not sure whether that makes me happy or scared, but for the record, I am neither nobility nor a sans-culottes.

      My point is: please don’t kill me.

      1. I think it is scary. People could very quickly decide that riots are a good course of action. Look at London. I would not be surprised if mobs started burning buildings and raiding gated communities. I don’t know if the super rich ever think about that. I don’t think they understand that cops and security companies are not equipped to handle such an event. I don’t think it would be a good thing, but it may come down to it.

      2. Everyone blames the rich, but they’re not the ones making the laws. Granted some have influence over those who make the laws, but the majority are just getting a lucky break. I don’t hate wealthy people for being rich – I hate the people that keep giving them (actually themselves) those breaks. Also the ones that squawked and screamed when there was a threat of taking away the Bush tax cuts.

      3. Rich people and corporations fund the spin machine that convinces people to vote against their own interests, and successfully lobby for the priviledge of low taxes and loopholes that lower them even further. So, yes, you can blame the rich. Yes, I understand that not all wealthy people are part of the problem. But there is a class of sociopathic people who have a stranglehold on the rest of the country, and it will have to end at some point. That breaking point has the possibility of being a violent one.

  2. Links links links… (Hope the URLs work):

    Why We Must Raise Taxes on the Rich
    http://robertreich.org/post/4344201496

    Tax rates and GDP growth
    http://www.addictinginfo.org/2011/07/12/tax-rates-and-gdp-growth/

    FDR talking trash towards the rich:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IjSTQwamo8M&NR=1

    Trickle down has failed
    http://www.nypress.com/article-22306-tax-the-rich_.html

    Millionaires for Tax Increases:
    http://patrioticmillionaires.org/

    (These are links from a recent HB idea: http://www.halfbakery.com/idea/SMT_20-_20Simple_20Millionaire_20Tax )

  3. It always seemed to me that the middle and lower classes tend to invest a whole lot more into the economy in general than the upper classes do. At middle class and lower you tend to have a lot of people living paycheck to paycheck. Every thing that they earn is going straight back into the economy almost instantly. Meanwhile the rich are doing everything they can to keep as much money for themselves as possible. When they do invest it’s always with the aim of getting more out of it than they put into it. My (probably extremely naive) conclusion is that while the middle and lower classes tend to invest 100% of their money in the economy, the upper upper classes tend to actually have a negative percentage investment in the economy.

    But what the hell do I know? I took an intro to economics class at my local community college about 10 years ago and that’s pretty much the extent of my economic education, so it’s very likely I have no idea what I’m talking about here.

    1. I think you make an important point. It leads back to that bullshit trickle down theory. “Hey, if we give the rich MORE money, they will create jobs! And give money to the poor! And free cotton candy for homeless kids!! EVERYONE WILL WIN!!!” Complete and utter nonsense. The rich stash money, as much as they can, at any cost. Everyone else could just die for all they care.

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