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Old 08-13-2011, 09:35 AM   #41
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The percent of total taxes paid by income group has nothing to do with the progression of the tax curve. The chart posted by Stella Barbone (provenience unknown) shows a similar curve to the data I posted in post #5 (subsequently ignored even though there were requests for hard data) and this data coincides with what I have seen elsewhere. In effect, once incomes move above poverty the effective tax rates paid are almost flat, with very little progression at all.
MichealB, it was not ignored at all, and it was appreciated. I also want to see 'the big picture' and that must include all taxes (though, if we are talking federal issues, limiting to federal taxes could be appropriate, FIT, FICA, Medicare, gas tax, plus x,y,z?) I took that data and put it in a spreadsheet (not easy as the pdf formatting hosed up copy/paste for me). So it took a while.

At that point, I was trying to run a few calculations on it, to try to answer my own question -"How much would we need to raise overall rates on 'the rich' to reach our 1.4x spend/revenue gap?"

Here's the ss with just the data from that pdf (plus a few columns on the right with basic calcs), if anyone else want to run some scenarios.

edit/add for recent post:

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Virtually everything put out by ALEC and the Koch brothers is organized-spin.

JohnP
JohnP, practically everything put out by anybody is organized spin. We need to parse out the facts and try to make our own sense of it.


-ERD50
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Old 08-13-2011, 09:43 AM   #42
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At that point, I was trying to run a few calculations on it, to try to answer my own question -"How much would we need to raise overall rates on 'the rich' to reach our 1.4x spend/revenue gap?"

-ERD50
But a combination of spending cuts and tax increases might make this more palatable, as well as more passable...
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Old 08-13-2011, 09:50 AM   #43
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But a combination of spending cuts and tax increases might make this more palatable, as well as more passable...
As might a combination of spending cuts as well as increased revenues from both the rich and the middle class. What many object to is proposals to cut to the bone with no new revenues whatsoever.
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Old 08-13-2011, 09:59 AM   #44
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Man, I just love satire!
Look out! This is not impossible.

AND you would be surprised how government looks at 'savings'. Savings is anything that is not spent by a household. So, if they take it in taxes, it is by definition, 'savings'.
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Old 08-13-2011, 10:09 AM   #45
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Uh oh. I think I see a mod headed this way...
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Old 08-13-2011, 10:09 AM   #46
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I am shocked, GregLee
Why? H/she met my expectations ...)
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Old 08-13-2011, 10:13 AM   #47
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Few rich people hate the not-rich.

Ha
Yes, IMHO that is a true statement ...

I don't regret sharing the "blessings" that I/DW have received in this life, but I do have a problem with those that "demand" that which we sacrificed to accumulate to just give to them.

If they made the same sacrifice that I/DW made to achive our financial status and failed, I would look at possibly sharing to make things equal.
But to ask us to finance those who don't give a dam*? Sorry, that's not going to happen.
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Old 08-13-2011, 10:16 AM   #48
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Any one who can afford to pile money into a retirement program simply has too much discretionary income.
And how would you prepare for retirement, assuming you get SS and nothing else?
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Old 08-13-2011, 10:58 AM   #49
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But a combination of spending cuts and tax increases might make this more palatable, as well as more passable...
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As might a combination of spending cuts as well as increased revenues from both the rich and the middle class. What many object to is proposals to cut to the bone with no new revenues whatsoever.
I agree. That's why I wanted the raw numbers - we can play with them anyway we want.

I'm not trying to delve off into the politics of this, but to just look at the numbers and say "what is feasible". Not to elaborate on this, but just to get it out there to put this in context, I'm fine with revenue increases if ti comes about by simplification of the tax code. And I'm probably be fine with a more progressive tax rate ( additional 'knees' at something above $250K is one thought) - I just don't want it overstated as to how much that can help. I get the impression that many in the general public think that we can keep spending where it is by simply taxing the rich. I need to futz with that ss some more to see if that is feasible.

I think this is a good discussion. Hopefully, there aren't a rash of extreme posts getting deleted that cause the mods a lot of work. I'd hate to see it get closed because some others can't follow the rules and be respectful.

-ERD50
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Old 08-13-2011, 11:37 AM   #50
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My satire was really more of black humor. You may rest assured that this idea is much more seriously considered that we want to accept. My personal opinion is that some form of this action is going to be absolutely necessary as the debt grows larger and larger and as the plight of the lower and middle income groups deteriorates.

The one critical idea I wish I could get across is this. Every one on this board, people who have enough assets that they can or can even contemplate retirement, are the rich!

There are few absolutes in this world but this is one. As a person with assets and a comfortable non working life style, our idea of paying our "fair share" is going to be radically different from the next voter who is working as hard as they can who is having trouble just keeping the lights on and the water running. Desperate voters will make desperate choices at the polls.

In a nut shell the question is not how much more should we tax the "rich" but is there anything that we can and should do to guide our country towards a more productive out come so that the average person in the country can be more secure , have a productive job, and can have a reasonable hope of having a reasonable retirement.
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Old 08-13-2011, 11:48 AM   #51
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My satire was really more of black humor. You may rest assured that this idea is much more seriously considered that we want to accept.

As a person with assets ...
What I really fear is, this might take some form of Net Worth measurement to determine who is 'wealthy' (as alluded to in your post).

The specific fear is that someone with $1M portfolio will be looked at as 'wealthy', while someone with a $40,000 COLA pension and nothing in the bank will be looked at as 'poor'. And taxed accordingly.

-ERD50
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Old 08-13-2011, 11:56 AM   #52
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Welcome Stella. I don't think that the government will have a problem if you'd like to send some extra money in each month.

IMHO the government is spending our money like they are drunk. I read today that over a Trillion dollars is missing and the government can't account for it. Please, send some extra money in because they can't seem to find the other money you already sent.
Such good advice to Stella, but the same advice can be given for those who advocate cutting government spending.

People advocating lower spending can simply not apply for SS, or withold their Medicare card when getting treatment. If they're too young to qualify for these programs, they can give a check to their parents in exchange for their parents not accepting government transfer payments. They can also choose not to claim 'tax expenditure' items that look identical to cash subsidies, like the mortgage interest deduction or dependent exemptions and credits.

Plenty of ways individuals can facilitate lower government spending.
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Old 08-13-2011, 12:07 PM   #53
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Such good advice to Stella, but the same advice can be given for those who advocate cutting government spending.

People advocating lower spending can simply not apply for SS, or present their Medicare card when getting treatment. They can choose not to claim 'tax expenditure' items that look identical to cash subsidies, like the mortgage interest deduction or dependent exemptions and credits.

Plenty of ways individuals can facilitate reducing government spending.
Interesting view. It sounds good on the surface, but I think there is a problem with it.

A $1 increase in revenue is a $1 increase in revenue. Period.

Most people who want to see spending cuts want to see targeted cuts. Cut the waste/fraud in programs. Cut ridiculous subsidies like "cash for clunkers", or paying my neighbors to install 'green' stuff that might reduce their energy bill (why am I paying for it?), or subsidies for electric cars that pollute as much/more than other cars, or maybe I don't think it is so important to re-pave this or that street. It's tough to be selective.

-ERD50
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Old 08-13-2011, 12:12 PM   #54
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I think this chart needs to be stickied to the top of the forum so that we can instantly post it when people start saying "but the rich already pay all of the taxes".

We've spent the last ten years cutting the taxes of the wealthy. That has a little something to do with our deficit issues.


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Total taxes are pretty flat:

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Old 08-13-2011, 12:12 PM   #55
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Yup, lots a ways to figure out ways for the government to keep more money. Problem is that they won't keep it, they will just figure out other ways to toss it in the garbage.

I plan on getting every dime that is due me and will pay our government as little as possible. It amazes me how they can't even keep track of what we've already given them.

But on the other hand, if you are one of the ones who want's to give more, Have at it!
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Old 08-13-2011, 12:14 PM   #56
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Have you ever listened to a group of wealthy people talk about people on welfare? In my experience, there is some hate involved there.

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I understand why many rich people don't give a crap for the not-rich. Because the not-rich not only do not give a crap for them, many of them actively hate them.

Few rich people hate the not-rich.

Ha
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Old 08-13-2011, 12:19 PM   #57
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Interesting view. It sounds good on the surface, but I think there is a problem with it.

A $1 increase in revenue is a $1 increase in revenue. Period.

Most people who want to see spending cuts want to see targeted cuts. Cut the waste/fraud in programs. Cut ridiculous subsidies like "cash for clunkers", or paying my neighbors to install 'green' stuff that might reduce their energy bill (why am I paying for it?), or subsidies for electric cars that pollute as much/more than other cars, or maybe I don't think it is so important to re-pave this or that street. It's tough to be selective.

-ERD50
Funny, you complain above about people who wrongly assume that the budget can be balanced by only taxing the rich and then repeat here a wrong assumption that the hobbie horses of 'waste fraud and abuse' and 'green subidies' are in any way significant to our budget issues. What's even more humorous is that I'm 100% certain you know the items you list are insignificant, but for some reason decided to thow up the smoke screen anyway.

The simple truth is, if you want the government to spend less money, you can simply choose not to accept government money in all of its various forms. And yes, $1 dollar you don't accept from the government is exactly $1 less the government spends. True, you don't get the ability to cut $1 someone else receives while continuing to collect your $1 . . . which I think is your complaint.
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Old 08-13-2011, 12:23 PM   #58
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What I really fear is, this might take some form of Net Worth measurement to determine who is 'wealthy' (as alluded to in your post).

The specific fear is that someone with $1M portfolio will be looked at as 'wealthy', while someone with a $40,000 COLA pension and nothing in the bank will be looked at as 'poor'. And taxed accordingly.

-ERD50
Sure that could happen, but it won't. We, the wealthy, have far more political power than the poor. It hasn't happened in 200 years and it won't happen in the next 200 years. Raising taxes to 1993 levels is hardly violent wresting of your hard earned money. Hyperbole doesn't really move the conversation forward. Gatordoc believes that there is a level of taxation that suppresses effort. I absolutely agree with him, but there is also a level of taxation that is so low that a country can not invest in it's citizens. There's a big gap between those extremes and within that gap it appears from empirical data that taxation levels have little effect on productivity. Right now we have a level of federal taxation that has not been seen since the 50s -- before Medicare, the interstate highway system, NASA, large investments in secondary education, etc. If we let taxes rise to the levels that we had under Johnson, Nixon, Reagan, or Clinton, I doubt that we would suppress growth. The idea that the American "left" is anything other than center-right may help the other side win elections, but it's just not an accurate picture. I'm an ex-engineer and I tend to be pretty pedantic, so you will forgive me, but data is important to me.

Third world countries often have levels of taxation that are inadequate to build the necessary infrastructure to thrive. One of Colombia's tools for getting their violence problem under control has been higher taxes on the wealthiest citizens. A certain peripatetic former American president was enlisted to convince the upper crust that paying a bit more in taxes was in their best interest. Charming old rogue that he is, he succeeded and Colombia is much more stable as a result.

The chart I posted was from Citizens for Tax Justice. It's based on 2010 tax data.

I get sent to moderation when I post links, but James Fallows and others had a relevant charts about the sources of the current deficit and debt drawn from.CBO data. You can see them in the July 25th blog postings. The problem really is those damn wars and the Bush tax cuts, Medicare part D didn't help, either.
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Old 08-13-2011, 12:29 PM   #59
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This thread is getting a too political for its own good.

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