People are getting too caught up in the politics of how this whole “class warfare” debate is going. The simple fact of the matter is that the rich people in this country don’t want to pay 3 to 4 percent more in taxes then they already do, as if it’s going to cause them some financial instability. Let’s say you make one million dollars a year, 36 percent of one million is 360,000 dollars. That leaves you with 640,000 dollars left that year. I know I’m not including other obligatory bills, but a cable bill isn’t 500 dollars a month. Your Internet bill isn’t 100 dollars a month. I’m not sure of the exact amount of money is taxed to people who make one million dollars is, but it doesn’t make sense that these rich millionaires and billionaires are complaining about this. They have the tenacity to call it class warfare, as if we are targeting them because they are rich, saying that it will hurt them as job creators. Well of COURSE we are targeting you, you rich son-of-a-bitch!
While, from a purely bureaucratic standpoint, the notion that percentages should be the same makes perfect sense, if you look at the situation logically, it doesn’t. I’m not saying that people who make one million dollars should pay the same tax rate as someone who makes 25,000 dollars because it makes absolutely no sense. Someone who brings in a million a year doesn’t pay $175 for a meal at Taco Bell, should they decide to stoop to the level of the eating habits of commoners. Those who earn the most money in our country could even be paying 80% and still live very comfortably (of course, I wouldn’t put the rate that high — just an example). You don’t NEED a mansion to live in — you want one. You don’t NEED four BMWs, twelve-star restaurants daily, eight-thousand-dollar prostitutes, monthly vacations in Paris, or shoes that are worth more than my neighborhood. You also don’t NEED to do your best to help balance out the economy or show any of the spirit of altruism on which the USA was founded because you have the right not to — it’s your prerogative, not ours. But such decisions are quite a shame, and, whether you believe in Buddha, the Tao, Jesus, Donkey Kong, or just PEOPLE, I’d call it a pretty immoral one.
Taxing works, and it works well. And when you reduce taxes on people with ridiculous amounts of money, they don’t know what to do with it so they just sit on it. It pulls money out of the economy and then there’s problems. One percent owns 36% of all the property and assets in the US. Why the hell would anyone advocate NOT increasing taxes on 1/3 of the country? Simple math: a 10% hike in taxes on everyone immediately increases revenue by greater than 3%, just from the top 1%… or 4 trillion dollars. That clears up the budget gap.
The percentage should be different for two reasons. First, the less money you make, the less money you have to spend. Sure groceries are tax free, and so is rent. But fuel, clothes, cleaning supplies, electronic devices, and many other necessities are not. Now sure you could say, they can buy cheap clothes and you don’t NEED a TV (except that you really do). You need a computer and a lot of new things that didn’t exist a century ago if you want to have a chance to pull yourself up by the bootstraps. If you make less than $30,000 a year you are solidly in the bottom 50% and paying 1%, $300, is a big deal. That is half a month’s rent for most working poor, maybe less than half. And almost all working poor already live paycheck to paycheck. Me and both of my parents (who are both attorneys) are living check-to-check, barely able to afford groceries in between paychecks. Paying 9% ($2700), of $30,000, is a massive hardship. When faced with jail for not paying taxes or semi-starvation for not paying for food, which one are you going to skimp out on paying? There is a poisonous myth that the poor are in that state because they are lazy or they deserve it. It’s pure Puritan crap. Look at Paris Hilton and you’ll see there are worthless sacks of crap at every income level. I watched some TV show the other day, displaying celebrities and the things they buy. Some female celebrity bought a pair of sunglasses for 25,000 dollars! Are you fucking kidding me! Those sunglasses cost more than the house my parents bought. But just like you and your friends, most people at every level are working hard to get by and build a better life for their families.
Second, because the rich benefit more from society. Whether they were born in the bottom 99% (very rare and getting rarer in recent decades) and especially if they were born into it, our powerful army, our education system supplying workers, our transportation system, and most importantly investment in the future of the country. Here’s the real secret, high taxes on the rich isn’t to get at the money of the rich and give it to the government. When we were taxing the rich 90% from the 1930s to the end of the 1960s, we also created tax loopholes so that they would spend and invest. All that money went back into business as wages and investments. It went into commerce buying goods and services. Which meant better wages for the working class, safer working environments, and better quality goods being made here in America. It’s 2011 and how often do you see the products you buy are being made in America?
Now a lot of economists were saying 90% was too high. Then it lowered to 70%. Then Reagan lowered it to 50%, then later to under 40%. Somewhere in the early 1980s, wages stopped growing and started shrinking. So the right number is probably somewhere in between 50% and 70%. But there is no magic number necessarily (or if there is, we don’t have enough data to say for sure). In hard times, the number might need to be higher (because we need the rich to spend to spur growth), in good times it can be lower (because we don’t want growth to get out of hand). But despite having good times for parts of the 80’s and 90’s, we know that below 50% is bad news. And currently it is 36%, and apparently it isn’t doing any good.
Now when you combine equal taxes on rich and poor, you get lower wages, run away power of influence of the wealthy against EVERYONE else in government, and eventually you get a terrible depression because low taxes on the rich has the effect of taking from the poor and giving to the rich, and that is unsustainable. It happened in the 1850s, it happened in the 1890s, it happened in the 1920s, and it happened 3 years ago. How many times do we need it to happen before we start to understand basic economics instead of pretending that things will be better if everyone pays their “fair share”? Even Adam Smith, father of capitalism recognized that the rich would need to pay more than their fair share because they could afford to and it was necessary to keep the burden off the poor and keep society healthy where everyone has some chance of success. Reagan reduced the top tax rate (on $200k) from 70% to 34%. That tax rate was paid for by increasing taxes on the middle class. Suddenly, recession starts. The next thing to happen was reduced revenues, which meant budget cuts. When there’s budget cuts what’s the first thing to go? Education and social programs (mental infrastructure) and physical infrastructure, not to mention worker protections (Reagan showed it was ok to bust unions when he nearly fired the air traffic controllers) and financial regulation (which lead to 2008’s fiasco).
Here we are 30 years later and America consistently ranks in the 30’s in world rankings of any field of education. Reaganomics has clearly failed and the only thing these morons can come up with is more of the same thing that got us into this mess in the first place. And Republicans will never take responsibilities for the results of their failed Reaganite policies and will definitely NOT start now. Think of this country as a person with a credit card. We are in debt TRILLIONS of dollars because our last President maxed out his credit card. Now that Obama is in charge of the credit card, everyone expects him to pay off the debt. It simply isn’t possible to do in a matter or 4 to 8 years. Can you pay off your credit card bill tomorrow? I highly doubt it. We need to establish a plan to slowly pay off our debt. And having the rich pay less taxes, or pay the current rate of taxes isn’t helping. Tax the rich and get them to create more jobs themselves instead of having us bail them out. You have to spend money to make it. And even though major corporations are STILL making record breaking profits in this time of economic burden on the 99% blows my mind. Use those profits to create jobs with better wages, so we can actually by things we want, and not just the necessities like food and clothing. It is simply illogical to call this whole thing about taxes being raised 4%, when it needs to be even higher, class warfare and you and I and they know it.