Cut (some) Taxes

Governments legitimately tax to provide services the people cannot reasonably provide for themselves. But taxes are destructive. The authorities coerce citizens to give up resources they otherwise would use themselves. So taxes are like fire: necessary & useful, but destructive & dangerous. Be careful with them.

The U.S. is consistently one of the most competitive countries in the world. The key reason is that our government is relatively unintrusive (hard as that is to believe) and our taxes are relatively low. Governments don't produce the products people want and need and when government gets involved in the economy it creates a misallocation of resources. And high taxes discourage investment and savings. The more government allows people to make decisions about their own business, the richer they become. But we need government and goverment must tax in order to exist.

HOW we tax is important. Regular readers of this blog know that I think the price of gas is too low, even at today’s prices. I think we should tax it even more to discourage consumption and encourage alternatives. This, IMO, is an efficient tax. On the other hand, our corporate taxes are a drag on the economy. American firms pay the HIGHEST TAXES IN THE WORLD. The Irish have the lowest rates. Even the Swedes have a lower rate. In fact, to repeat the obvious, since we are the highest every major country has a lower rate than we do. Worse, we charge our firms on their worldwide income. That means that an American firms operating in Ireland pays about three times as much in taxes as an Irish firm or a firm from most other countries operating in Ireland.

When Ireland cut its corporate taxes, its economy flowered. Others are following.

For those of you concerned with the poor, you have to know that a corporate tax is regressive because it tends to drive up the price of the goods and services the firm produces. In this way, it is akin to a round about sales tax, but a sales tax that makes our firms less competitive.

Firms are just transfer points. Wealth is not manifest until it is consumed by individuals. That is where you need to tax. I am not fond of taxes, but if I had to trade corporate taxes for individual taxes, I think it would be a good deal, with the caveat the government not grow bigger.

Posted by Jack at April 25, 2006 8:26 PM
Comments
Comment #143135

Jack,

Taxes are not just about welfare any such.

There is a huge infrastructure in this country that has gone wanting for quite some time.

We have and highways and bridges that are sorely in need of repair.
We have levees and dams that have gone unmaintained.
Our prison system could use an upgrade.
With the exception of tollways and brodges these don’t fall under the pervey of the private sector.

I don’t need a tax cut. America is one of the least taxed countries on the planet, and all we do is bitch.
I would think that there are plenty of us that are confortable enough that a percent or two isn’t an issue.
We don’t need a new TV, or stereo, or etc.

We are supposed to be in a war.
Who’s going to pay for that?

Posted by: Rocky at April 25, 2006 8:42 PM
Comment #143137

Rocky

I am not advocating giving you (or me) a tax cut. In fact, I would redistribute the tax burden and it might even raise our rates.

WHen I am talking about services, I mean taking care of those things you are talking about. The welfare aspect is one of the less legitimate reasons to tax.

Posted by: Jack at April 25, 2006 8:51 PM
Comment #143139

Sorry Jack I jumped in before I read the entire post.

We have, however seen record profits in recent years.
How does that square with big business coming to us with hat in hand?

Have you flown lately?
The airlines don’t deserve to make a profit because the service sucks.

How about we cut some of the pork out of the budget instead.

Posted by: Rocky at April 25, 2006 8:55 PM
Comment #143141

Yes, cut the size of government and the pork.

The tax on firms doesn’t punish firms; it punishes you and me and hurts competitiveness. Firms don’t feel pain, joy or sorrow. If you raise the cost of doing business, they raise the prices to consumers. In a round about way, that gets at consumption, but it does so in a way that misallocates resources.

Posted by: Jack at April 25, 2006 9:00 PM
Comment #143145

Jack:

Nice to see you supporting the current minimum wage and the astronomical salaries CEO’s get.

Posted by: Aldous at April 25, 2006 9:15 PM
Comment #143147

Jack,

“If you raise the cost of doing business, they raise the prices to consumers. In a round about way, that gets at consumption, but it does so in a way that misallocates resources.”

Firms only understand what affects their bottom line.
Most of the corporations have shown no loyalty what so ever to those that have made those firms their lifes work.
A profit is important, but the profit doesn’t all come from sales. It comes from employees that know what they are doing and do it to the best of their ability.

When it is time to give the CEO a raise, it is only about how much money he made the stockholders, not how good the product is.

Posted by: Rocky at April 25, 2006 9:19 PM
Comment #143148

Aldous

I think CEOs are paid too much and most people make more than the minimum once they get some experience, but I don’t really have a dog in that fight.

Posted by: Jack at April 25, 2006 9:19 PM
Comment #143149

The ‘welfare’ card is played keenly by Republicans. They know that the average Joe Citizen believes that lower economic class blacks and white trash sitting around gobbling up our tax dollars. This is just a smoke screen. The amount of money spent on poor families with children is a pitance compared to government giveaways to the wealthy. Farm subsidies, commodity subsidies, military defense complex spending, on an on…

The angry white mob ready to end the ‘welfare’ state will not be so eager when they find that it is Great Aunt Bertha and Grandma Jones’ support system that they are ending. Besides, the way businesses are dealing with retiree plans and benefits, most will not want to depend on them for support if their savings and investments peter out. On top of that, the way wages are dropping for the middle and lower middle class, there is little opportunity to save.

Taxes redistribute wealth… there I said it. I know it is heresy to Republicans. They like the monopoly game way of business. If you are smart, work hard, and play well, you get to keep the reward and live on Park Avenue…

One small problem. There will only be a few winners and most will lose. If you are a rational person like Jack and like to look at the numbers… go look. Look at the trends in income by groups. Look at the trends of who is winning this monopoly game. See the wealthy own more and more and more of the wealth in this nation each year. Not only that, see the trends in what they have to pay in taxes as a percent of their income. (yes, they pay the bulk, but MY GOD, see what they EARN!!) See the trend in what the ratio of CEO:employee earnings have done. From about 25:1 to over 400:1 in a few short years. Risk/reward my butt! There is reward but no more risk.

Jack’s ideal economic system will result in one thing… anarchy and revolution. Just try to play the monopoly game with someone’s life for real. Park Avenue will not be the same surrounded by double brick walls and concertina wire… besides, can you really trust your security guards when they know how much you have? This is the game played by many wealthy in South America. It is a scary game indeed.

Jack, your party got their tax cuts… IT’S NOT WORKING!!! There is a better way. Everyone must be able to work and live. We were getting there a few short years ago… before Bush.

BTW, I am a Liberal, but I work hard as does my wife and we earn a very substantial income. This is not sour grapes… I just don’t want to have to build a wall around my house and go shopping with armed guards. And I want my kids to have a good life as I have.

Proud American Liberal

Posted by: LibRick at April 25, 2006 9:21 PM
Comment #143150

But if they take more money from me I’ll buy less TVs and that will hurt businesses. I mean, wasn’t the the strategy behind Bush’s money giveaway, I mean tax cut, that you are constantly saying was so great for the country?

Posted by: Max at April 25, 2006 9:22 PM
Comment #143152

Jack:

No offense , Jack, but your stated position DOES mean you support the salaries CEO’s get. You may not want people to know it but its easy to see.

Posted by: Aldous at April 25, 2006 9:33 PM
Comment #143153

However, I would love it we taxed gas, cigs, beer, guns, SUVs, garbage (seriously, but not recycled pick ups), TV usage, all that stuff. Great idea Jack.

Posted by: Max at April 25, 2006 9:33 PM
Comment #143156

Max

I have said many times that the 2003 round of cuts, those that targeted investments. The earlier cuts probably helped stimulate demand in the post 9/11 world, but they didn’t do much lasting good.

I am not talking here about cutting taxes overall, just moving them around a bit. If you read my last paragraph you see what I mean.

Lib rick

The same goes for you. The change in the tax structure would not affect the distribution of wealth, just make more of it available generally.

Re Clinton - If you look at the numbers, you see that inequality grew faster under Clinton and diminished a little under Bush.

Inequality has been growing worldwide as globalization creates efficiencies and opportunities. The fact that it is happening in so many places with so many different systems indicates that it will not be easily addressed by raising or lowering American taxes.

Posted by: Jack at April 25, 2006 9:39 PM
Comment #143157

Corporations use the infrastructure in this Country. Corporations require governement resources to monitor their conduct.Corporations contribute to political campaigns, which should be against the law,and require the services of the police and fire departments. Why on earth should they not pay taxes.

Posted by: j2t2 at April 25, 2006 10:30 PM
Comment #143158

Jack,

If you are for removing all taxes on a corporations revenue then do you believe the dividend tax should be reinstated? Or should those shareholders who live off their dividends not pay income taxes at all?

Posted by: bushflipflops at April 25, 2006 10:33 PM
Comment #143159

Thanks for the economics lesson Jack. What a shame that most of those who read your post are hearing it for the first time. By the way who gives a shit about equality? Even the idiots know that in order to achieve equality you must supress the doers and bring them down to the lowest level of third world mutts. If they cant raise themselves up to the level of americans why should we lower ourselves to their level

Posted by: JC at April 25, 2006 10:34 PM
Comment #143160

j2t2

Because they don’t pay taxes. You do in a round about way. You can tax the owners of the corporation, you can tax the workers and managers of the corporation, and you can tax the customers. But you can’t tax the corporation.

The corporate taxes are just pass through. It makes some sense to tax corporations locally so that you can equalize the provision of services they require locally, but that’s it and that’s the reason.

Posted by: Jack at April 25, 2006 10:37 PM
Comment #143161

Bushf

Now you are taxing twice. If you don’t tax at the corporate level, I would have no objection of taxing at the individual level.

JC

Equality itself is not a goal, but reasonable opportunity is one. You just cannot properly achieve it by taxing in ways that dampen the general productivity and wealth creation.

The world is catching up. That is what is happening with globalization. It is a good thing if prosperity becomes more generally available.

Posted by: Jack at April 25, 2006 10:43 PM
Comment #143164

Jack
We made our own opportunitys in this country. Against all odds I may add. Globalization is just another word for socialism. If the world is catching up then we need to run faster to stay ahead. Only a liberal would run a race to lose.


Posted by: JC at April 25, 2006 10:55 PM
Comment #143165

If corporations are not taxed would they not have an unfair advantage over smaller business types such partnerships, LLC,s sole proprietors that are in essence performing the same function as a corporation?

Posted by: j2t2 at April 25, 2006 11:00 PM
Comment #143168

In a recent article in Forbes Magazine, it was reported that the world now has 793 billionaires, with more in the United States than in any other country. Furthermore, there was an increase of 102 from the previous year; 44 of those were in the U.S., again more than in any other country. Most of these gains in riches resulted from after-tax gains in the stock and bond markets.
So, how can anyone with a sound mind and a straight face contend that income taxes are too high on capital gains, interest and dividends? Then the question arises as to who among us owns most of these stocks and bonds. Over 50 percent is owned by 1 percent of all taxpayers, and 85 percent is owned by 10 percent of all tax-paying families.
As to the estate tax, in 2003, 2,448,488 Americans died, but only 30,276 left behind enough to owe any estate tax. Please note that the 30,276 taxable estate tax returns represented only 1.24 percent of all people who died in 2003. Of those filing, 520 taxable estates worth over $20 million paid more than a quarter of the estate taxes. Out of the total filings, were 3,494 taxable estates worth more than $5 million, and they paid 62 percent of all federal estate taxes.
Don’t miss the point: In spite of all income and estate taxes, we still had an increase of 44 billionaires in the U.S. during 2003. Taxes are too high on the rich? To say so is pure, unadulterated, Karl Rovian bull shit.
It may be a good idea to eliminate corporate taxes, and to then quit treating corporations as American citizens, but the same folks who wish to eliminate corporate taxes generally believe the rich should also get a break. Phooey!

Posted by: Marysdude at April 25, 2006 11:12 PM
Comment #143170

marysdude:

Im certainly not rich but I have enough sense to know that the rich pay my wages. I dabble in real estate and would really like to pay less capitol gains on the little extra I make every year. It sounds to me like you hate the rich and want them to pay a penalty for having the gall to get ahead.

Posted by: JC at April 25, 2006 11:43 PM
Comment #143173

While I would love to see taxes cut, until our elected idiots get the budget balanced and the national debt under control, they’re not very feasible. It’s asking for financial disaster to cut taxes the way thing are right now.
The last I knew we’re borrowing $1,000,000,000 a day just to pay the interest on the national debt. And I wouldn’t be surprised if someone doesn’t correct me on that with a higher figure.
If the Government was only spending what it took in and the national debt was being paid down, and maybe a surplus being seen then a tax cut might be OK.

Posted by: Ron Brown at April 26, 2006 12:46 AM
Comment #143179

JC, the rich do not pay our wages. Most Americans are employed by small to medium-sized companies, and the owners of small to medium-sized companies are not rich. Most don’t even pay themselves as much as they pay their top employees.

And I can’t believe people let Jack get away with posting statistics from the notoriously wrong Heritage Foundation. In fact, a quick Google search brought up several contradictory corporate tax rankings on the HF site itself.

The Cato institute ranks US corporate tax rates as fourth highest and Japan’s Ministry of Finance ranks us lower than Japan, France, Germany and the UK.

It’s fun to fix the numbers around your economic policy (to borrow a phrase), but the fact is, the corporate tax rate in the US is only 35%.

Posted by: American Pundit at April 26, 2006 1:36 AM
Comment #143180

Jack, for all your ranting about highest taxes on corporations, which has been the case for over a half century, American corporations are some of the wealthiest corporations in the world. The reality entirely contradicts your rant against corporate taxes.

For if it were true that corporate taxes killed corporations, America would not have any corporations. We have the both the highest corporate taxes and most profitable corporations with worldwide reach for markets.

Me thinks you doth protest too much, Jack. Come back to the real world like some Congress persons on both the right and left are beginning to. I heard Republican Senator Kay Baily Hutchison today on TV say that 16 million dollars income for an oil company exec is obscene. She must be having caniption fits over some of the others with compensation packages in the area of 50 million per year and retirement package for one CEO of 400 million. I see lots of room here for lowering the price of gasoline… and I am joined by more and more Congress people on both sides of the aisle.

Time to rejoin the real world, Jack. It will do your arguments a world of good.

Posted by: David R. Remer at April 26, 2006 1:42 AM
Comment #143182


I know that 35 or 40 years is a lifetime to many on the internet. But, I can remember when corporate tax rates were 70% and we were still the greatest richest country on Earth and a new mustang cost 2500 dollars.

Posted by: jlw at April 26, 2006 2:01 AM
Comment #143215

JC

I think the race metaphor is incorrect. We should remain the best possible and be competitive. That is one reason I advocate changes in the corporate tax structure. But we all benefit when others become wealthier. When people are poor or underemployed, when resources are misallocated, it costs all of us. The poor unemployed guy is a burden on you and me. When he goes to work and gets rich, he is a partner.

J2

You still would tax the owners of each. Of four partners clear $100 in profits, they would be taxed on that. If four owners of the corporation do the same, they would be taxed the same. The form your business takes depends on what you plan to do with it.

Marys

Most taxes are destructive. Some are less so. Taxing corporations and taxing capital gains are different things anyway. I am just saying you should change the locus of the tax from the corporation, which is just a transfer point, to individuals who actually use the money. You can tax capital gains or not. That tends to be a way to dampen investments, but that is a decision you can make. The fact that people are rich makes no difference to this calculation. If you make firms more competitive and efficient, you will create wealth. That is a good thing. How that wealth is distributed in another matter.

I hope you are not among those who oppose creating wealth become some people get richer than others.

Ron

We have a chicken and egg argument. Politicians don’t balance the budget. Then they want a bigger allowance. If you give that to them, eventually they find new things they need to spend money on. If you doubled most people’s income, they would find ways to use that money and soon be short of cash again. Government is even worse.

Ideally, you should tax to pay exactly what you spend and spend only what you need. Who does that?

David & JLW

Competitors have lowered their corporate taxes in the last 15 years. This is a relatively new development. And we have seen from this that it helps create wealth. I am not saying anything about the total tax burden. American does very well in this respect. But if you move the place where taxes are paid, we would all be better off. Let’s be clear taxing corporations is NOT a way to tax the rich. It is just a sneaker way for government to tax everyone while appearing to fight for the little guy.

BTW Lots of things were different in the 1960s. If we remember them clearly, and not thorough the haze of memory (or for some of us other haze) they were not so good.

Posted by: Jack at April 26, 2006 9:01 AM
Comment #143219

Jack-
What’s destructive is not low or high taxes so much as inappropriate taxes. When we build up these incredible amounts of debt, we end up paying the price.

The Problem is, the Republicans are centering most of their economic policy on taxes, because it’s the one thing they can manipulate in the economy without looking like they’re trying to do a command economy. Tax breaks sound better than subsidies, even though they amount to the same thing.

These tax breaks are sort of like stock options with top execs- expenses within the company not recorded as such. The real corporate tax rate, with all the shelters and breaks figured in, is probably much lower in practice than in theory. I’ve heard of some companies essentially paying no taxes. The question is, who pays the difference? Typically we do, either by having to pay back the debt spending, or paying for them directly by a greater share of the taxation.

Corporations can wield great power in society. When Microsoft sneezes, the computing world gets a cold. When the oil companies overcharge, everybody slows down. The question you should ask is whether this is a nation ruled by dollars and a socioeconomic aristocracy, or one ruled by laws and Democracy. This is our nation, and include there is both them and us.

Now every corporation is treated legally like an individual. If that is the case, why not tax them like we do all individuals? Why not give them the obligations of being a person in the eyes of the law as well as the benefits? If you want to talk about being fair, don’t treat corporations like they’re a special case.

We cannot run the government for their benefit, but instead the public’s. Corporations have an obligations to work towards the profit of the shareholders. There will be times when that interest runs counter to the best interests of the country, and those politicians with dual allegiences will find themselves serving one or both masters poorly.

The Government should act in the public’s best interests. If that just happens to benefit the public’s best interest, fine. Otherwise, we should not have our officials, elected or otherwise, involved in a conflict of interest that leads them to do things that are against the interests of their constituents.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 26, 2006 9:59 AM
Comment #143220

Pardon me:
The Government should act in the public’s best interests. If that just happens to benefit the corporation’s best interests, fine. Otherwise, we should not have our officials, elected or otherwise, involved in a conflict of interest that leads them to do things that are against the interests of their constituents.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 26, 2006 10:03 AM
Comment #143226

Just two quick observations.

Savings has been metioned a couple of times. What savings? Americans in general do not save, they spend beyond their means. If they do save, it has to be taken from their paychecks before they get their hands on it.

I do not think it is a fair argument to compare corporate taxes in foriegn countries without also looking at their individual tax rate. In many western european countries, the individual tax rates can exceed eight five percent. When I lived in Europe, a high school teacher was in the sixty percent bracket. Sales taxes were twenty five percent. You have to look at the whole picture.

Posted by: jwl at April 26, 2006 10:34 AM
Comment #143228

TO ALL:

Having been the Controller for a mid-sized “C” corporation for many years and a current business consultant to “S” corps, LLC’s, Non-Profits & Sole-Proprietors, I would like to offer my two-cents.

Corporations make up about 9% of all businesses in America. While Partnerships are approximately 20%, the remaining 71% of all businesses are owned by Sole Proprietors. Taxes for each of these entities is based on Net Income. In addition, corporations are organized under state & federal statutes and have HUGE amounts of additional administrative & compliance costs in comparison to small businesses.

So if a corporation makes large profits, the stockholders are happy to receive dividend checks, the employees generally have better benefit packages, and the CEO can receive huge raises. (Although, a million-plus annual salary seems huge, compared to its gross profits the salary is usually a relative administrative expense.) And these highly compensated employees all pay personal taxes, too.

Everyone screams about large corporate profits, but corporations account for nearly 90% of business receipts and it’s their business taxes that pay a significant portion of our infrastructure, social programs, security, judicial system, and just about every other government program.

Partnerships & Sole-Proprietors account for the other 10% of business receipts.

In a free market, everyone has the opportunity to be an entrepreneur from MaryKay & Tupperware consultants to Orange County Choppers. It’s about hard work and determination.

With all that said, I would rather see the tax burden lowered for all businesses so profits are used for wages, reinvestment, and growth. The more money circulating in our economy, the greater the GNP from consumers spending that extra money. The Federal Government needs to be much smaller and let the states manage social programs.

The problem is: How do we cut back now that we’ve used every last dollar of taxes to spend, spend, and spend? Social Security would be completely solvent if LBJ would have kept the funds in the original trust. Instead, he allowed social security taxes to be used as a slush fund for borrowing & appropriating money to other government programs.

There is no simple answer, but the answer is not increasing taxes on any individual or entity. If we ran our personal budgets like the government runs theirs, we’d all be bankrupt. The government, our legislators, need to “buck up” and stop spending like there’s no tomorrow.

Posted by: Cathy at April 26, 2006 10:44 AM
Comment #143229

Great post Cathy.

AMEN!

Posted by: jwl at April 26, 2006 10:47 AM
Comment #143233


Societies distribution of the wealth.

Steak and eggs for the corporate capitalists.

Pork for the corp/caps, small business and small gov.

Daily bread for the peons.

This is fair and balanced because the brain that built the nation is at the top in the head and the body that built the nation is below the head.

But, if most of the food is brain food and the body is undernourished and in pain from hunger, sooner or later the body may start beating it’s head against a wall and the brains may get scrambled.

Posted by: jlw at April 26, 2006 10:54 AM
Comment #143235

Thanks, jlw!

Posted by: Cathy at April 26, 2006 11:01 AM
Comment #143240

Jack
Like you are saying, the SOMEONE has to pay.
So the way I see it
Corporations will be more competitive (cause they don’t have to raise prices to pay the tax)
But who exactly is going to buy their “competitivly priced product” if the bill goes to the US consumer anyway?
It appears that the situation in the US would not change (the taxpayer would take the bite one way or another) — so this is just to increase corporate profits by allowing them to be more competitive for overseas customers?? (who will no longer have to share in paying taxes to pay for the infrastructure that allows this corporation to flourish??)
Sorry Jack, this dog won’t hunt
There’s a bill to pay and someone has to pay it.
and it all flows down to our level in some way.
So why let the corps off the hook?
By the way, as long as we increase the debt, the service on that debt sort of makes the “welfare contribution” look like peanuts, and remember, what is going to happen when interest rates start going up — Hmmmmmm, the percentage of the budget marked “Service on the unHoly National Debt” will start going thru the roof, and WHO will be benefiting from that??? can you say China?
Have you been brushing up on your Chinese lately?
Taxpayers get bit once again!!!

Posted by: Russ at April 26, 2006 12:03 PM
Comment #143241

I can’t take another it’s not fair rant!I don’t read fairness equals freedom, if an individual can work hard and achieve great wealth so be it. Freedom doesn’t mean unlimited success, it means the ability to fail, start over and fail again until you reach your dream. I have never made more than $50K a year in my life, nor have I taken a company from nearly bankrupt to the top of the industry, employing thousands along the way. The wealthy are the single greatest helpers of poor individuals in the world, american poor would be worse off if we continued to put greater burdens on the wealthy - the natural tendency is to protect their wealth so they find every available method of avoiding taxes through the disjointed and mazelike taxcode. I for one can’t understand why successful people have to take on a greater burden when it comes to government coffers, they are the innovators, the businesses that employ american workers and should be the model for those who dream the american dream. One last thought, when in our lives have we cashed a paycheck from a business whose CEO wasn’t wealthy?

Posted by: JR at April 26, 2006 12:05 PM
Comment #143244

JR
Those who forget the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them.

The good ol’ — the Wealthy look out for the poor routine????
Give me a break?
Where were you in History 101 when they discussed Robber Barons, and the obscenities of the past that the wealthy visited on the “middle class” — oh yea, I forgot, there wasn’t a middle class then.

You compare some of the wealthy in the old days and their buying power and many of them would make Bill Gates look like a pauper!

They were able to “maximize profits” because they didn’t have to worry about the welfare of their workers — neither in costly safety measures, nor in wages and benefits.
Yea, let’s all leave those poor wealthy philanthopists alone — they will “do right by us”
Yea, and I got a bridge in Brooklyn to sell ya.

As stated before, the wealthy ARE NOT the ones creating the jobs, nor the opportunities — they are merely cashing in and exploiting.
People making money thru stocks and the market are merely speculators, NOT investors, nor entrepeneurs.
get real

Posted by: Russ at April 26, 2006 12:16 PM
Comment #143245

Money is never destructive if it’s spent and used wisely. Taxes keep you safe at night.

Posted by: God at April 26, 2006 12:16 PM
Comment #143246

You said a mouthful, JR! Thanks!

Posted by: Cathy at April 26, 2006 12:17 PM
Comment #143249

Hey “God”, I would probably change your name to “god” lest the Almighty hit His “smite” button & obliterate you!!

Posted by: Cathy at April 26, 2006 12:20 PM
Comment #143253

>>Controller

Posted by: Cathy at April 26, 2006 10:44 AM>>Controller

Posted by: Cathy at April 26, 2006 10:44 AM

Comptroller?

Posted by: Marysdude at April 26, 2006 12:33 PM
Comment #143262

Stephen

The corporation is not a final consumer of anything. That is why it differs from a physical person. It is like taxing the beer in your cup. The beer doesn’t pay a thing, only you do.

Jwl

I am looking at the full picture. The good thing about the U.S. is that the government is small compared to most others. I don’t want to expand the size of government to reach Euro levels, but we could tax in ways that are a little more like theirs concerning the split between corporations and individuals, or should we say transfer points and consumers.

Russ

That whole Robber Baron thing is largely a myth. It was a mixed bag for particular business people, but between the end of the Civil War and WWI (roughly the era) the wealth of the U.S. increased many times and the wellbeing of most people did too.

When you read history, try biography and read carefully. When you read biographies of people before this time, you realize how abysmally poor most people were. Those picturesque cabins, with their leaky walls and roofs, housed large families. Now you would not even spend one night in them unless you were “camping”. Or visit some historical places and tell me if you would want to trade places with any of these guys, working almost all the time, dying young. Whatever these guys did to build American industry worked.

Re biography, particularly read the biography of John D. Rockefeller (Titan by Ron Chernow). You will come away with a different point of view.

And the guys creating the jobs are the innovators and the entrepreneurs. They tend to BECOME wealthy. But you are taxing the productive parts of the economy when you go after the corporations. You should be taxing the rich guys who don’t work, the idle rich who live off the fat of the land. You don’t get them by the corporate tax, or at least not very directly.

I don’t like rich people who do nothing useful. I don’t want to benefit them. I do want resources to flow to the clever innovators who will do and make useful things.

Idleness is a “sin”, whether it is the rich or the poor doing it.

Posted by: Jack at April 26, 2006 1:12 PM
Comment #143263

Terrific posts here by Rocky, LibRick, Max, Marysdude, AP, David, and Russ.
Maybe some of you will want to read this disgusting Cleaveland Plain Dealer article from today: 18 rich families pay for campaign to kill estate taxes

Posted by: Adrienne at April 26, 2006 1:15 PM
Comment #143264


Let us all bow down and worship the capitalists. Without them we would all just be monkey’s sitting in a tree scratching our fleas.

I wonder how many millions that great innovator that conquered fire recieved for his great contribution to civilization.

Capitalists are not inovators, they are exploiters and the instrument of their exploitation is corporations.

Long term planning for the greater good of our nation and society is not a concern of theirs. Their bottom line is an ever increasing profit margin. Any corporation that doesn’t reach or excede these short term profit margin goals has its working capital reduced or eliminated.

It is becoming increasing hard for corporations to achieve the profits demanded by capital thru innovation of new products, so they must cut costs (primarily by cuting labor costs thru layoff’s and outsourcing) and by tax cuts.

The government, because of it’s pandering to the demands of capital, must borrow to meet it’s other obligations. And, the poor and the working class are the scapegoats.

Posted by: jlw at April 26, 2006 1:15 PM
Comment #143266

Marysdude:

I’m not sure what your question/point is, but either term is acceptable. My corporate title was “Controller”. For further explanation, see below:

A comptroller is an official who supervises expenditures. Comptrollers include both royal-household officials and public comptrollers who audit government accounts and sometimes certify expenditures. A well-known comptroller in the United States is that of the government office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

A comptroller is also a controller, one of the chief financial officers in a corporation charged with managing the cash flows of the organization.

Posted by: Cathy at April 26, 2006 1:23 PM
Comment #143268

When compared to the high paid actors C.E.O’s are not even in the same ball park. But you libs never bitch about you buddy George Clooney. What you libs fail to realise the major shareholders in a company are usually people with pension plans,, and are not wealthy.

Posted by: nathan at April 26, 2006 1:43 PM
Comment #143274

Hi Adrienne,

I don’t want my children & grandchildren to be taxed on the earnings & assets that I have already paid taxes. I want to leave them the net value of my estate without them having to borrow or sell assets to pay for estate taxes.

The “Estate Tax” is just one more way the government uses to get its hands into our pockets. I say to the 18 families, “Go for it!” It’s not those 18 families I’m worried about, it’s the rest of us!

(And when is say “government” I mean past, present & future.)

18 rich families pay for campaign to kill estate taxes

Wednesday, April 26, 2006
Sabrina Eaton
Plain Dealer Bureau

Washington — Eighteen of America’s wealthiest families, including the Timkens of Canton, are bankrolling efforts to permanently repeal estate taxes that would save their families a total of $71.6 billion, according to a report released Tuesday by public interest groups.

Posted by: Cathy at April 26, 2006 2:09 PM
Comment #143284

“I don’t want my children & grandchildren to be taxed on the earnings & assets that I have already paid taxes”

There lies the problem Cathy.
You still believe it is YOUR money that YOU have earned and believe that it is YOU who should dictate where it goes.
How dare you work hard and plan for your and your childrens future. Don’t you know the govt and other people that know better than you, will do it for you?
People like you, and those evil Corporations, that are successful, should be punished for that success.
I envy you.

Posted by: kctim at April 26, 2006 2:35 PM
Comment #143285

“The “Estate Tax” is just one more way the government uses to get its hands into our pockets. I say to the 18 families, “Go for it!” It’s not those 18 families I’m worried about, it’s the rest of us!”

This is the spin — but it’s horseshit which intelligent people shouldn’t fall for. This is a deceptive campaign to convince the American public that estate taxes cause widespread problems for average folks when they actually only affect the super rich. These people should truly be considered the Robber Barrons of our new century, and true to form, they’ve already got assholes like Grover Norquist out there claiming that it’s the: “tired rhetoric of hate and envy.” Why average Joes and Janes are actually buying this hook, line, and sinker, I’ll never know.

Posted by: Adrienne at April 26, 2006 2:35 PM
Comment #143286

Ha, ha, ha, ha, Jack. This is a page right out of the Rovian playbook, and as transparent a play as they come. “Attack the other side for what you are blatantly doing. That way, those not up on the issues think that both sides are doing it and it’s just a word war.” There has been no administration, not even the Reagan era, where science has been so politicized by those in government. Yet we have the spectacle of Jack throwing stones at scientists (note that they form “the other side” of this debate the Rovian formulation) for “politicizing science.” Here that amounts to insisting that the science be properly represented by the government who paid for that science and not be twisted or suppressed. This is what Jack’s heroes consider politicizing science. It’s like that Will Farrel lampoon of GWB talking about global warming. “What kind of book do you want me to use? One with facts? Yeah, I bet you’d like that!”

When science produces politically inconvenient truths, the administration flaks simultaneously attack the scientists who produce the science, find a few crackpots who claim to be scientists to gainsay the findings, and produce attacks like this.

I’m feeling more and more that Jack no longer is seeking to discuss issues, but rather is one outlet for trial-ballooning the administrations attempts at deflecting accurate criticism. His posts smell more and more of Rovian attack strategies and less and less of an attempt at intellectual discourse. He would have to be an idiot to not recognize the Bush administrations political manipulations of science, yet he comes up with this? I am bereft of any other explanation.

Posted by: Mental Wimp at April 26, 2006 2:39 PM
Comment #143288

Sorry, I seem to be living up to my nick. That post belonged on a previous column.

Posted by: Mental Wimp at April 26, 2006 2:42 PM
Comment #143291

Re: estate taxes

For what it’s worth, my dad passed away on 1 June 05, and so I’ve been dealing with estate issues for the past 11 months.

Estate taxes are very simple: no federal estate taxes are assessed unless the estate is worth more than $1,500,000. The estate is taxed for value OVER $1,500,000.

So, leave your heirs a nice $1.5 million nest egg, they get it tax free.

Leave your heirs $1,750,000, they pay taxes on $250,000. Not bad.

Doesn’t seem to be a huge problem to me.

Posted by: Arr-squared at April 26, 2006 2:49 PM
Comment #143294

Jack:

You and I are on opposite poles. You want people to pay taxes and not corporations. I would rather corporations pay taxes.

You say:

“For those of you concerned with the poor, you have to know that a corporate tax is regressive because it tends to drive up the price of the goods and services the firm produces. In this way, it is akin to a round about sales tax, but a sales tax that makes our firms less competitive.”

Everything you say revolves around business. How about the fact that if corporations do not pay, people pay more. THIS is what I call regressive.

I am cocerned with people, not corporations. Corporations are artificial things formed for the purpose of making money. Because of this they are the perfect vehicle to tax.

Most of us depend on corporations and other business units to earn our money. Instead of taking the taxes out of us, let’s take the taxes out of the corporations. This will save all of us a lot of heartache.

Posted by: Paul Siegel at April 26, 2006 2:51 PM
Comment #143306

Paul

This is not a policy choice you can make. You cannot tax corporations in a way that makes “them” instead of “us” pay. When you tax a corporation, you tax the people who buy the product. That is why I said it is like a sales tax and it is regressive. But in some ways it is even worse than a sales tax, since in addition to being regressive, it is inefficient and hurts innovation.

I don’t suppose the idle rich object to taxes on corporations, since they go theirs already. It tends to hit those on the way up.

Since they are artificial creations, corporations don’t consume anything for their own benefits. All is passed along to somebody. If I double the cost of doing business, customers will pay probably more than double, since we will also hurt efficiency.

Jlw

Centralized long term planning is good in theory, but horrible in practice. Government can sometimes be useful to set directions, but it is not good at details. That is where the market comes in. Government is by definition a large monopoly. We know how monopolies innovate.

Remember the success of the Soviet Union and all those third world potentates. You cannot plan on that kind of scale. I suppose if you had a government the size of a firm, you could do it, but nothing big or diverse.

Arr

I suppose it depends on how many kids you have and also your type of business. Say you have even three kids. 500K really is not very much money.

Many farms are worth more than 1.5 million, but many of those farmers don’t have much in cash and would be forced to sell to pay taxes.

I have mixed feelings about estate taxes. I don’t want to make it possible for anyone not to work to earn a living. But I figure the rich can find ways to give their money to heirs before they take the road to glory. It just that more of it goes to the lawyers and accountants.


Posted by: Jack at April 26, 2006 3:32 PM
Comment #143308

To kctim & Adrienne:

I just happen to be one of those intelligent citizens who, instead thinking everything is a conspiracy to make our lives miserable, lives in the real world.

Have either of you gone through the process of settling an estate? I have…the house that was left for the adult children had to be sold to pay taxes, nursing care and funeral expenses, what was left were a few bucks and some nice memoirs. It’s a killer to see your folks work their entire lives so the government can get the inheritance.

You don’t think it will affect you someday? It will…

You better get busy doing some long-range planning. Put your assets into your children’s names when they are of legal age by filing a “quit claim” deed. Make sure you have prepared a Will. You can even give each of your children & grandchildren up to $11,000 per year tax-free.

My husband & I have a short time until retirement and have spent countless hours making sure our family is not burdened at the time of our deaths. We don’t want them borrowing thousands of dollars to bury us and have estate taxes on top of that.

My folks had an annual income of $33,000 at the time of their passing. My dad owned & operated his own business for over 50 years. Their net worth was $364,000 and they had no debt.

We have a joint income of $82,000 per year, own our home along with an older boat, motorcycle and 2 older cars. Our net worth is around $100,000 which is the net value of our home, vehicles, life insurance & pensions less debt settlement. My health isn’t the best, so I’m no longer working fulltime. My advice is plan now! Do it while your living…it will be one of the nicest things you every did for your children.

Posted by: Cathy at April 26, 2006 3:39 PM
Comment #143309

ADDITION TO PREVIOUS POST:

By the way, the Tax-free gift limit has gone up to $12,000 and when I referred to my folk’s net worth, I was referring to the amount over $1,000,000. This was the base at the time of their passing and before the 2004 increase to $1,500,000. Like I said, my Dad built up a huge business over 50 years and sold it for hefty profit. It was all his blood, swear & tears…see even the average Joe can succeed in America.

Posted by: Cathy at April 26, 2006 3:51 PM
Comment #143310

Arr,

So what happens if you have a family business worth $8 million that will generate about $100k in income for one of the heirs? Aside from the asset of the business, the remaining estate is actually in debt $200K. Buy, buy lifetime income, hello one-time windfall that will only last about ten years. Gee that seems fair.

Posted by: Rob at April 26, 2006 3:57 PM
Comment #143313

If the rich earned it, it’s theirs to enjoy. Stop complianing because you ain’t got money

Posted by: TNT at April 26, 2006 4:13 PM
Comment #143315

>>That whole Robber Baron thing is largely a myth. It was a mixed bag for particular business people, but between the end of the Civil War and WWI (roughly the era) the wealth of the U.S. increased many times and the wellbeing of most people did too.
Posted by: Jack at April 26, 2006 01:12 PM

Hardly a myth…the railroad barons, big ranchers, ship builders, steel kings, etc were certainly not myth. Neither were the sweat-shops, child labor unsafe work conditions, etc. Wellbeing of the masses did not occur until the union labor movements.

Wealth has little meaning if normal people can’t use some of it. That is what is happening now. Plenty of wealth, just count the billionaires, but people are losing spendable income. That will come back to bite the billionaires, but probably too late to help very many of us losers.

Posted by: Marysdude at April 26, 2006 4:16 PM
Comment #143316

Jack, your ignoring what corporations do with profits. Sure some profits go to shareholders and exec percs, but, very large amounts of it go toward monopolization. What large profitable corporation hasn’t tried to buy out a competitor and garner ever more of the market share. Oil companies are now so few, that they can wink and nod at each other and act just like a monopoly without ever giving evidence of collusion. They are called oligopolies, or monopolies made up of a few, instead of one. Then they control prices and supply and demand with all of their business tools, advertising, redirected supplies, and profit diversion into so called expenses like 400 million retirement packages for CEO’s or 50 million annual salaries.

At some point, the consumers need to have a voice other than doing without. I am pleased to see politicians on both sides of the aisle responding to their constituents demand for doing something about obscene profits and profit diversions into “so called” expenses. I call them largesse expenses, which is the reward for monopolization or oligopolization in America where a government favors corporations over consumers, like we have now.

Posted by: David R. Remer at April 26, 2006 4:19 PM
Comment #143318

David,

What happens to the money spent to create the monopolies though? It goes into someone’s pocket right? I worked for a company that got bought a couple of years ago. The buyer paid the shareholders of the company above market for the company. That money went into the shareholders pockets (whether they wanted it to or not), and those of us that participated in the employee stock purchase plan all had some more money to spend or invest (and pay taxes on as a result).

Push comes to shove, Jack’s right, corporations are a transfer point for money and the money that they take in ends up in someone’s pocket.

As to the expenses argument, it seems like class-baiting and envy to me. In reality the number of people that receive these kinds of huge salaries and perks are less than the highly compensated athletes of the major pro sports, not to mention the actors and those from the minor sports. If we are going to go after the exec’s, why not Tiger Woods?

Posted by: Rob at April 26, 2006 4:35 PM
Comment #143319

Cathy, Be careful about giving advice re estates. Each state has its own laws, limits, restrictions, etc. aside from the feds. What works for one isn’t necessarily good for another. A quitclaim deed to your kids isn’t always the right thing. Best advice would be to discuss it with one of those “evil” lawyers.

Posted by: legal eagle (not) at April 26, 2006 4:37 PM
Comment #143321

that’s supposed to say evil lawyers

Posted by: legaleaglenot at April 26, 2006 4:38 PM
Comment #143324

You are right, legaleagle. Our experience was in Minnesota and we did have 3 lawyers - more estate expenses.

It’s a very emotional event and it’s always best to be prepared. Sometimes doing nothing creates a world of hurt & problems for those left behind.

Posted by: Cathy at April 26, 2006 4:50 PM
Comment #143330

Rob, absolutely go after Tiger Woods and sports figures and hollywood figures knocking down 50 to 100 million a year. Bottom line inflation creep is aided by this growing number of gluts.

Posted by: David R. Remer at April 26, 2006 5:41 PM
Comment #143332

For the Love Of Money is the root of all Evil…”
[The Apostle Paul, from 1 Timothy 6:10]

America prints (Illuminatingly enough) “In God We Trust” on its Money.

The God they Trust in being, necessarily, Mammon…


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Discourse_on_ostentation#Materialism


Novus Ordo Seclorum? Ewige Blumenkraft.

Posted by: Betty Burke at April 26, 2006 5:42 PM
Comment #143334

Only a Republican would propose to cut taxes and simultaneously be at war.

All while our men and women are fighting with junk armor and hummers that are made of tin foil.

And you call your party the one with the ideas? What’s next? Cutting education? Oh wait, that already happened.

Posted by: Vincent Vega at April 26, 2006 5:51 PM
Comment #143336

Ron Brown,


“While I would love to see taxes cut, until our elected idiots get the budget balanced and the national debt under control, they’re not very feasible. It’s asking for financial disaster to cut taxes the way thing are right now.
The last I knew we’re borrowing $1,000,000,000 a day just to pay the interest on the national debt. And I wouldn’t be surprised if someone doesn’t correct me on that with a higher figure.
If the Government was only spending what it took in and the national debt was being paid down, and maybe a surplus being seen then a tax cut might be OK.”

Well said.

Posted by: Vincent Vega at April 26, 2006 5:55 PM
Comment #143354

Betty,

Random enough that you made me look. Weird enough string of obscure motto’s that I think that I actually got your point.

Not sure at all how it applies to the given post in anymore than a pile on to the emotional argument that the rich are bad and should be taxed back to the middle classes.

But you definitely get two points for teaching me a couple of new things.

Posted by: Rob at April 26, 2006 7:27 PM
Comment #143355

David, how to propose going after them? I assume via taxation; am I right? If so, how much is there fair share, and where do we draw the line?

Posted by: Rob at April 26, 2006 7:29 PM
Comment #143360

Marys

Conditions 100 years ago are terrible by our standards. Conditions 100 before were terrible by their standards. My guess is that people will look back at us in 2106 and wonder how we got along without —. Working people in the U.S. lived very well by world or historical standards 100 years ago. By our standards, no. Everything is in the comparison.

Unions were good and useful in their time, which is largely past. But you have to recall that they could only distribute wealth that had been created. If you distributed all the wealth in human hands in 1700, everybody would be poor.

And don’t get into complaining how poor we are today. Poverty by world or historical standards barely exists in the U.S. A person in poverty today has more buying power than a middle class person of 1950, and that was not that long ago. Most of today’s poor own cars and televisions. Most homes have air-conditioning. Back in 1950 only the well off had these things. The definition of poverty is a moving target and it has been moving UP since 1750.

I also find it interesting that one of the biggest problems for the poor is obesity. That was never a problem before.

David

What corporations do with their profits is beside the point. Presumably they will behave that way with or without the cash and the complex tax code actually favors the bigger ones, since they can afford the better lawyers, accountants and lobbyists.

Betty

The corporation is a transfer point. Those who love money and are overcome by it can suffer or not regardless. A more efficient tax system creates more wealth. What happens to it is not related. If you believe it is better to keep everyone poorer, you can make the argument. (Some people find beauty in poverty. I do not.) Otherwise the whole mammon argument misses the point.

Vincent

I advocate moving the tax burden to make it more effective and to help our economy grow. That helps everyone and allows us to buy more body armor as well as everything else. 10% of $100 is more than 10% of $10. if you create wealth, you can get more in taxes for less pain.

Posted by: Jack at April 26, 2006 8:03 PM
Comment #143393

There are some ever learned opinions tossed out here but it is all bull. Please go read what a real genius and a true patriot; Dr. Ron Paul has to say. Then go change your voter registration.
SHUT UP AND GET BACK TO WORK POLITICIANS NEED YOU!

“For most people, their income tax return represents their most meaningful interaction with the federal government. It requires them to confess their actions over the past year to the IRS in excruciating detail. It’s an annual ritual guaranteed to elicit strong feelings of disgust.”
“why change the tax structure if spending stays the same? Once we accept that Congress needs $2.7 trillion from us, the only question is how it will be collected. The current answer is the labyrinthine tax code, which pits taxpayers against each other in a political scramble to make sure the other guy pays. The truth is that Congress does not need $2.7 trillion, or anything close to it, to fund the proper constitutional functions of the federal government.”
“America did just fine without a federal income tax for the first 126 years of her history. Prior to 1913, the government operated with revenues raised through tariffs, excise taxes, and property taxes, without ever touching a worker’s paycheck. Even today, individual income taxes account for only approximately one-third of federal revenue. Eliminating one-third of the proposed 2007 budget would still leave federal spending at roughly $1.8 trillion— a sum greater than the budget just 6 years ago in 2000! Does anyone seriously believe we could not find ways to cut spending back to 2000 levels? Perhaps the idea of an America without an income tax is not so radical after all.”

http://www.house.gov/paul/tst/tst2006/tst041006.htm

Posted by: R. Paul Gani at April 26, 2006 10:31 PM
Comment #143416

R. Paul,

“Does anyone seriously believe we could not find ways to cut spending back to 2000 levels?”

Gee, ya think George will give it all back?

Posted by: Rocky at April 27, 2006 12:24 AM
Comment #143421

Jack

Many farms are worth more than 1.5 million, but many of those farmers don?have much in cash and would be forced to sell to pay taxes.

Are you talking just the land? Or land, buildings, equipment, and livestock?
My land is only worth $630,000. With buildings, equipment, and livestock, the farm is worth around $928,900. That’s a little below the $1.5 your talking about but then most family farms have between 600 and 1,200 acres. I have 350 acres.

Posted by: Ron Brown at April 27, 2006 12:57 AM
Comment #143492

To Vincent Vega,

cutting taxes increases revenue to the treasury everytime it’s done. JFK, Reagan and W too! Increased revenue means no loss of money to the deficit, spending on the other hand is the problem!! Reagan brought in X amount of increased revenue, the Dems spent a $1.90 to every $1.00. As is the case with any party in power the Repubs haven’t been much better. Please drop the bad body armour and tin can hummer rant - problem seen, problem solved.

Posted by: JR at April 27, 2006 11:37 AM
Comment #143575

I support an Estate Tax/Inheritance Tax.
It should be the same flat 17% that all income above N times the poverty should be taxed.
GIVEN:

  • a flat income tax of 17% ,

  • and a poverty level of $12K ,

  • and an N factor of 1.5

  • therefore, low-income-exemption-level is 1.5 x $12K = $18K

  • and six persons with different gross incomes:
    A earned $15,000 per year.
    B earned $50,000 per year.
    C earned $90,000 per year.
    D earned $200,000 per year.
    E earned $900,000 per year.
    F earned $9,000,000 per year.

Therefore, the income tax for each person (after subtracting the $18K exemption) is :
A tax = $0 since $15K is less than $18K; that is 0% of $15K ;
B tax = $5,440=0.17 x ($50K-$18K); that is 10.9% of $50K ; and 17% of $32K
C tax = $12,240=0.17 x ($90K-$18K); that is 13.6% of $90K ; and 17% of $72K
D tax = $30,940=0.17 x ($200K-$18K); that is 15.5% of $200K ; and 17% of $182K
E tax = $149,940=0.17 x ($900K-$18K); that is 16.7% of $900K ; and 17% of $882K
F tax = $1,526,940=0.17 x ($9,000K-$18K); that is 16.97% of $9,000K ; and 17% of $9,982K

Above the exemption, that is a linear tax scale (income versus tax), which is most fair, avoids the common argument that plague the graduated tax systems as being unfair by taxing higher income at increasingly higher tax rate percentages, and does does not punish the poor, due to the low-income-exemption-level exemption. Everyone pays the same 17% on all income above the low-income-exemption-level. This is also contingent an the elimination of all deductions, tax loop-holes, and tax shelters.

It would be nice if it could be lower than 17%, but the $8.4 trillion National Debt, Social Security being $12.8 trillion in the hole, and PBGC being $450 billion in the hole, Medicare trillions in the hole, and $200 billion to $400 billion deficits forecast for a decade, simply will not work. Anything lower than 17% would require massive cuts, and that 17% is already on our bloated government also cutting spending by about 6% (i.e. about $130 billion).

Of course, this is all a pipe-dream, because irresponsible, bought-and-paid-for, FOR-SALE, incumbent politicians like the tax system just the way they have perverted it, and they’re not about to reform it or any other badly-needed, common-sense reforms that might reduce their power, opportunities for self-gain, or the security of their incumbency. No reforms are possible until voters feel enough pain and misery to start voting out irresponsible incumbent politicians, like they were supposed to be doing all along.

Posted by: d.a.n at April 27, 2006 2:50 PM
Comment #143577

There would not be so much bitchin’ and complainin’ if taxes were reasonable.

But, taxing people over 20% on anything is legal plunder.

Posted by: d.a.n at April 27, 2006 2:53 PM
Comment #143581

Interesting note
Bill Gates has given away more money — from his “personal stash” than most countries have as an annual budget.
His father was against getting rid of the Estate Tax, (I am not sure what Bill’s position on it is — however he has stated that he is not interested in leaving his heirs much of the wealth he has accumulated — he wants them to earn their own way)
Those are people I respect
I get disgusted by the people with millions who are willing to spend tons of money on accountants and lawyers to try to get out of paying taxes.
I know that if I were in their position I would just figure out the basic taxes — cut the check and include a letter to the IRS saying here’s the check, now leave me alone.
I would rather use the remainder of the money (more than enough for most of those greedy bastards) to enjoy life, and perhaps help others in need and deserving of help — but that’s me
And for those of you pointing fingers at Movie and Sports Stars — again there are good ones and bad ones
the good ones use their wealth and influence for the betterment of everyone — the bad ones are selfish and greedy — the same goes for CEO’s — good ones and bad ones.

Posted by: Russ at April 27, 2006 3:06 PM
Comment #143600

Jack
You slay me!!!
I’m sorry I should construct an alter to those great benefactors of the earlier eras.
who brought exploited the poverty and pain
No, early life was rough, and made rougher by banks that scamed on poor farmers and foreclosed on their lands
By monopolies that controlled prices and drove many to become nothing more than indentured servants
The companies that operated company owned stores and housing, charging prices that ensured their employees could never rise above their current state (can you say effective Slave labor?)
Henry Ford was one who saw a little beyond the short term gain of indentured servants — many other CEO’s thought he was nuts when he started paying his assembly line workers double the going rate — but he knew that they would then be able to buy the very product they were building!!
But the main gains were not until the Big Bad Gov’t started reining in the Monopolies and some of the worst of the labor practices that the middle class began the slow climb out
note that it really wasn’t until AFTER WWII that the middle class actually began getting ahead.
Oh yea, forgot the big one that the greedy baffoons foisted off on us
The Great Depression — there was alot of horseplay going on there — Mainly unregulated GREED that led to that economic downfall
So yea, let’s all leave the poor downtrodden, abused and beat up (400 million retirement notwithstanding — gosh, how WILL he survive retirement??) CEO’s and corps.

I would rather see some simple flat type of tax and put the IRS auditors and the Tax preparers out of business and use the money saved to pay down the national debt.
Biographies — you might want to be selective there as well

Posted by: Russ at April 27, 2006 3:29 PM
Comment #143605

JR, you are just plain wrong, and the Comptroller of the United States under the Bush administration just said so in the last two weeks, by stating that tax cuts do not ordinarily pay for themselves as historical records demonstrate.

Don’t feel bad, the Newt Gingrich and crowd have been peddaling that falsehood for so long, many Americans believe it. But, the chief financial officer of the United States has reviewed the books and says unequivocally, they don’t generate an equal or greater amount of revenue for increased economic activity than is lost through the initial tax cuts. Though it common sense that increased economic activity compensates for some of the tax cut revenue losses. But as Walker said, they rarely equal the tax cuts and on the rare occasion they do, it is for a short period of time like months, when the total picture over years of a tax cut policy demonstrate net losses.

Posted by: David R. Remer at April 27, 2006 3:37 PM
Comment #143640

Rob poked:

Random enough that you made me look.

Hail, Eris!

Weird enough string of obscure motto’s that I think that I actually got your point.

Er, ah… Hail Eris!

Not sure at all how it applies to the given post in anymore than a pile on to the emotional argument that the rich are bad and should be taxed back to the middle classes.

Did you know, my Intellectually Curious friend, that whether or not to allow the existence of Corporations was hotly debated (for years) amongst the Founding Fathers of this land? You see, they knew of the horrific Damage and Abuses which Corporations had wreaked in the Old Country: England. So the very concept of “Legal Entities” was a matter of contention between the Two Sides of those who argued for Revolution. Against the concept were those among the Founders who fought for Freedom and Liberty. The “pro-Corporate” side consisted of those Founders whose chief reason for War was that they didn’t like Taxation.

Obviously, the wrong side won this particular debate.

And so, we now have these run-amok behemoths, serving only “their” One True God: Mammon, destroying the Environment, the authority of Government (by, for, and of The People, remember?), and the American Ideal itself. Pollution, Lobbying, Tax-Dodging, Corporate Welfare, War-Profiteering - all can be laid at the feet of Corporate Money-Worship. Novus Ordo Seclorum. A New Order of magnitude of Greed, Rapine, Pillage, and Destruction. America The Booty-full.

They have taken away your Bill Of Rights, and handed you a Bill Of Sale!

But you definitely get two points for teaching me a couple of new things.

I live to serve. Thank you for making my day! :o)

Posted by: Betty Burke at April 27, 2006 4:57 PM
Comment #143852

All this talk about the oil companies’ profits, did you know that, out of $1, the oil companies make about 9 cents; 50 cents, of that dollar, is from taxes. That’s insane!!

So, if you really want to cut taxes, the taxes from gasoline is where you should start. My goodness…

Posted by: rahdigly at April 28, 2006 1:51 PM
Comment #143859

Digly,

You lie, and I call you on it. Provide a source that says 50 cents of each gasoline dollar goes to taxes.

The federal gas tax is $0.18 PER GALLON. 18 cents of federal tax for each GALLON of gas. States also levy gasoline taxes. My home state, MO, adds $0.17 per gallon in state taxes, for a total of 35 cents per gallon.

Since gas here in MO is currently $2.67 per gallon, that means that about 10 cents of each gasoline dollar is spent on taxes.

You just make things up.

Posted by: Arr-squared at April 28, 2006 2:00 PM
Comment #143938

R^2,

Sigh!


http://www.news-leader.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060428/OPINIONS03/604280327/1006/OPINIONS


“The federal government gets 18.4 cents for every gallon and the states average 23.6 cents per gallon in taxes. That’s 42 cents per gallon in taxes! Last year, oil companies made profits of just under 9 cents per gallon. “


Posted by: rahdigly at April 28, 2006 5:00 PM
Comment #144048

rahdigly, that link goes to domain registration. So your point was?

Posted by: David R. Remer at April 29, 2006 12:31 AM
Comment #144062

rah changed his claim from 50 cents on the dollar to 50 cents on the gallon without batting an eye…must of taken his economy lessons from Cheney/Bush…

Posted by: Marysdude at April 29, 2006 1:44 AM
Comment #144119

Yes, I admitt I misspoke when I said “on the dollar”, rather than “on the gallon”; I didn’t even realize it until Mary pointed that out. My bad.

However, be that as it may, it seems that you missed the point (once again). If the National average in taxes is 42 cents per “GALLON” and the oil companies are making less than 9 cents per gallon, it still comes out that the taxes more than quadruple what the oil companies make in profits.

R^2 was wrong in his calculations of the MO tax, by the way. Yet, none of you seemed to bother to correct that. Let’s go after the digster. Yeah, that’s smart. Ok, back to R^2 calculations. He said that with 35 cents per gallon of gas (17 cents state; 18 cents Fed) and the gas costs $2.67, that comes out to 10 cents of each dollar is spent on taxes. That’s wrong! It’s actually 13 cents. And, the most important part, that R^2 left out, was the fact that the oil companies profit is about 3.4 cents on the $.


So, there you have, it’s the taxes that are the burden, not the oil companies’ profits. But, you can go on thinking that it is. Ha!


By the way, David R, I’m not sure why that link didn’t go right to the article; it worked from my computer. I did paste the quote though.

Posted by: rahdigly at April 29, 2006 11:01 AM
Comment #144248

rahdigly, this has gone on long enough.

Last year, Exxon Mobile’s sales in thousands of barrels per day increased by less than 1/2 of a percent. Conversely, their earnings have been increasing by more than 27% and have rocketed to the highest earnings in the history of the U.S.

Clearly, billions of dollars ARE going to the oil companies and it isn’t just the government.

Do not try to argue this one because the facts are simply not on your side.

Posted by: Zeek at April 29, 2006 10:26 PM
Comment #144297
Chuck Zehnder wrote: I don’t understand why everyone blames the oil companies for high gasoline prices. The federal government gets 18.4 cents for every gallon and the states average 23.6 cents per gallon in taxes. That’s 42 cents per gallon in taxes! Last year, oil companies made profits of just under 9 cents per gallon. That’s about 21 percent of what the government received! In addition to the government receiving 42 cents for every gallon of gasoline, they also received from Exxon Mobil alone $23 billion in income taxes. The best two ways to see lower prices at the gas pumps is for more domestic supplies to be developed, along with refinery capabilities, and a reduction in government taxes on gasoline.

According to Citizens Against Government Waste, our government spent more than $24 billion on pork- barrel projects in the 2005 Transportation Equity Act. It’s not oil companies. It is wasteful government that hurts us at the pumps.

I could not agree more.
Total pork-barrel in 2005 was $27.3 billion, and forecast to be $29 billion in 2006.

Then there is the missing $25 billion:

Buried in the Department of the Treasury’s 2003 Financial Report of the United States Government is a short section titled “Unreconciled Transactions Affecting the Change in Net Position,” which explains that these unreconciled transactions totaled $24.5 billion in 2003.[2]
The unreconciled transactions are funds for which auditors cannot account: The government knows that $25 billion was spent by someone, somewhere, on something, but auditors do not know who spent it, where it was spent, or on what it was spent. Blaming these unreconciled transactions on the failure of federal agencies to report their expenditures adequately, the Treasury report con­cludes that locating the money is “a priority.”
The unreconciled $25 billion could have funded the entire Department of Justice for an entire year.

Part of the problem is not just the rampant waste of do-nothing government, but the complete lack of vision and leadership.
Congress is truly pathetic.
It really makes you wonder if they are of any net benefit at all?

The only thing worse is perhaps the voters that keep re-electing them.
Voters have programmed their politicians to be the way they are.
Only the voters can change it now, but must they always wait until everything is in shambles?

True, corporate profits are at 45 year highs.
That’s because government is bought-and-paid-for.
Government is FOR-SALE.
Bought-and-paid-for incubment politicians answer to their big-money donors, first.
Not voters. Voters will re-elect them no matter what they do, no matter how illegal or unethical. And, even if they ever get caught, they can get a presidential pardon.
Who says crime doesn’t pay?

But, windfall profit taxes are a bad idea.
There is something very sinister about that.
It’s a slippery slope when government can target anyone they like with special taxes. And, the thing is so hypocritical when taxes ($0.42 per gallon of gas) are 467% higher than profits ($0.09 per gallon).

The best thing is to let the market drive the incentive to develop new technologies to replace the need for oil. Not more taxes. Also, gasoline prices have not changed that much over the years compared to other things:

But, this problem, like our many pressing problems can never be adequately addressed until slumbering voters finally experience enough pain to motivate them to do what there were supposed to be doing all along.

We can blame government all we want, but they are only 51% of the problem. Complacent, apathetic voters are 49% of the problem, since they have the power to change it, right there under their very noses, but don’t.

Posted by: d.a.n at April 30, 2006 9:59 AM
Comment #144300

“Clearly, billions of dollars ARE going to the oil companies and it isn’t just the government.”

Yet, more money (per gallon) is going towards taxes than the oil companies’ profits. Oil companies are making money off of this; they’re just not making (nearly) as much as the gov’t.


“Do not try to argue this one because the facts are simply not on your side.”


Yes they are. They’re the same facts that you ignored. Oil companies make billions of dollars. Yes, wow, you really established a cold, hard fact there. So do Insurance companies, Software companies and Pharmaceutical companies; they’re all billion $ companies.

The fact still stands that, per gallon of gas, taxes quadruple the oil companies profits. Period! Now, either dispute this fact or find someone else to orate to.
:-)

Posted by: rahdigly at April 30, 2006 10:59 AM
Comment #144578
Clearly, billions of dollars ARE going to the oil companies and it isn’t just the government.
The fact still stands that, per gallon of gas, taxes quadruple the oil companies profits.

Technically, you are both correct.

The federal government gets $0.184 tax per gallon, the states average about $0.236 tax per gallon. Governments take about $0.42 tax per gallon. Oil companies get about $0.09 profit per gallon.

Looks like the big pig, as usual, is our bloated, do-nothing, irresponsible, fiscally and morally bankrupt government.
Oink ! Oink ! Oink !

Posted by: d.a.n at May 1, 2006 2:41 PM
Comment #145997

Re Clinton - If you look at the numbers, you see that inequality grew faster under Clinton and diminished a little under Bush.

Jack

Please provide a link to the data where I could find those numbers. (Gov. sites only please) I have the Federal Reserves Survey of Consumer Finances and their numbers give a different impression.

I agree with you in some ways about changing the tax structure for corporations. I would suggest zero taxes for the corp. on money paid out in dividends. Any profit held for more than a short period of time to be taxed at a very high rate.

I would also favor taxing all forms of income under one tax schedule and a progressive one at that. The idea that a rentier deserves a more favorable tax schedule than a laborer is absurd as is the idea that an investor will quit investing if they have to pay taxes on the same schedule as their employees.

Cathy

Social Security would be completely solvent if LBJ would have kept the funds in the original trust. Instead, he allowed social security taxes to be used as a slush fund for borrowing & appropriating money to other government programs.

This from the Social Security web site:
http://www.ssa.gov/history/InternetMyths2.html
The Social Security Trust Fund was created in 1939 as part of the Amendments enacted in that year. From its inception, the Trust Fund has always worked the same way. The Social Security Trust Fund has never been “put into the general fund of the government

Posted by: Arm Hayseed at May 7, 2006 4:47 AM
Comment #191159

I just listened to pres bush about the advantages of tax cuts today If taxes are lowered and consumer prices go up how much more money gets directed into the consumers pocket versus into tax coffers

Posted by: lee at October 28, 2006 3:41 PM
Comment #191160

I just listened to pres bush about the advantages of tax cuts today If taxes are lowered and consumer prices go up how much more money gets directed into the consumers pocket versus into tax coffers

Posted by: lee at October 28, 2006 3:42 PM
Comment #191161

I just listened to pres bush about the advantages of tax cuts today If taxes are lowered and consumer prices go up how much more money gets directed into the consumers pocket versus into tax coffers

Posted by: lee at October 28, 2006 3:42 PM
Comment #191162

I just listened to pres bush about the advantages of tax cuts today If taxes are lowered and consumer prices go up how much more money gets directed into the consumers pocket versus into tax coffers

Posted by: lee at October 28, 2006 3:49 PM
Comment #261679

OBAMA!!!! FOR 08

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