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Tilting at Windmills

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April 5, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

SUPER RICH IN AMERICA....Back in 2003, here's how the Bush administration explained its proposed dividend tax cut:

Everyone who invests in the stock market and receives dividend incomeespecially seniorswill benefit from elimination of the double taxation on dividends. About half of all dividend income goes to Americas seniors, who often rely on those checks for a steady source of retirement income.

That's a heartwarming portrait, isn't it? All those seniors relying on Bush's dividend tax cut to help pay the rent and keep their pantries stocked with something better than Alpo.

Fast forward to 2006 and you will be unsurprised to learn that an analysis by the New York Times demonstrates that the reality turned out to be a wee bit different:

Americans with annual incomes of $1 million or more, about one-tenth of 1 percent all taxpayers, reaped 43 percent of all the savings on investment taxes in 2003....The analyses show that more than 70 percent of the tax savings on investment income went to the top 2 percent, about 2.6 million taxpayers.

By contrast, few taxpayers with modest incomes benefited because most of them who own stocks held them in retirement accounts, which are not eligible for the investment income tax cuts. Money in these accounts is not taxed until withdrawal, when the higher rates on wages apply.

Sure, half of all dividend income goes to America's seniors America's super-wealthy seniors, that is. By contrast, the kind of middle class senior that puts money into a retirement account doesn't benefit at all from dividend and capital gains tax cuts.

It's a good time to be super rich in America. A very good time.

Kevin Drum 2:08 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (130)

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Comments

This is hardly a notable issue given all the other major screwups of this administration and its successful attempts to slowly chip away at our rights with applaud from the Republican amen corner of the Congress.

Posted by: lib on April 5, 2006 at 2:14 AM | PERMALINK

Given the constiuences for government sponsored social programs (Medicare, SS, etc.) are well entrenched, isn't the fundamental question facing the United States whether we are prepared to tax the rich and super-rich to pay for these programs?

When will the public take notice of this question? What will it take?

Posted by: mkultra on April 5, 2006 at 2:21 AM | PERMALINK

Oh yeah, my grandmother is always on the phone with Charles Schwab and looking through Forbes and the Future Markets...

At this point, the Bush Admin can tell me the sky is in fact a shade of green and enough will believe it to keep them in power...

Posted by: Goo on April 5, 2006 at 2:23 AM | PERMALINK

For an animated movie of the distribution of income, taxes, and effects on growth of all this, go to to http://ecolanguage.net and scroll down to "The Bush Tax Cuts."

Posted by: Lee A. Arnold on April 5, 2006 at 2:28 AM | PERMALINK

It's a good time to be super rich in America. A very good time.

And it should get so much better now that we're importing even more nannies, gardners, maids and, as Mayor Bloomberg would note, groundskeepers for his golf courses.

Posted by: Derek Copold on April 5, 2006 at 2:29 AM | PERMALINK

Nothing new here. Look at taxes, income distribution, household incomes, minorities success, etc., etc. from 1980 to today. Watch the plot and see the blip in the mid-late 90s.
But the Dems can't convince the majority of the US they are better off not voting Republican. How is this message getting so completely lost?

2001-05 has only been a worse version of '81-93.

By the way, before the Rs get to it, the latest tax cuts by GW were judged by the Budget Office (I think?) to perhaps contribute 0.1% to growth. Any decent economist will tell you about marginal propensity to consume and that tax cuts for growth would be better distributed to the poorer end of the economy. But that wasn't really the point, was it? We live in Dubya in Wonderland where all is what they want it to mean, neither more nor less, and the Dems seem incapable of getting the truth out.

Any ideas?

Posted by: notthere on April 5, 2006 at 2:45 AM | PERMALINK

If anyone complains about the outrageous givaways to the super-rich in times of war, record deficit, and massive cuts to programs that protect children, the environment, and the public at large, we — not they — are accused of practicing class warfare just for discussing it. Never forget: It is Mr. Bush and the Republicans who are practicing class warfare — the super-rich against everyone else.

Posted by: Joel Rubinstein on April 5, 2006 at 2:47 AM | PERMALINK

By contrast, few taxpayers with modest incomes benefited

This doesn't take into account the greater level of investment which people have put into stocks and investment because they know they won't be double taxed anymore. This greater investment creates more jobs at higher wage. So even taxpayers with modest incomes benefit from the stronger economic growth and improved job market.

Posted by: Al on April 5, 2006 at 2:49 AM | PERMALINK

ideas?

Challenge the myth of Horatio Alger - it's the pernicious influence of the American Dream (so beautifully named - it's American, and it's just a dream).

By this, I mean the ingrained myth of the ability of everyone to get ahead in the US, based on personal hard work. From log cabin to White House; as if the students at Yale live in log cabins any more.

Th

The US has the lowest rates of social mobility of any industrialised nation. Hell, you have more chance of starting poor and becoming rich in the north of England than you do in the US.

This is not a criticism of the US system as such - it's a criticism of the way the US system disguises its shortcomings in such a way that they become invisible. Then, working class and poor people in the US support the party that tells them they will be rich, won't tax them when they do, even though the chances are damn low. People also don't want to be told they need government help, even when they do, because it challenges their view of themselves, their life chances, and the nature of the country they live in.

The facts are there - but the myth drowns them out.

Posted by: floopmeister on April 5, 2006 at 2:59 AM | PERMALINK

Al:
you're all wet

Last year the US had a net dissaving. The figures show that almost all levels below the top 10% are worse off either absolutely or relatively. In the top 10% the top 2% are widening the gap on those immediately below them. We are heading towards S.American plutocracy or a replay of the Robber Barons. No "American Dream" actually going on.

You are repeating the Bush claptrap. Let us see: US are dissavers, government runs deficit, we run a huge trade/current account deficit, we don't want foreigners to actually buy anything here.

Mmmm. Doesn't look like US citizens are actually NET investors. I wonder who . . . ?

Posted by: notthere on April 5, 2006 at 3:02 AM | PERMALINK

Whether it's People magazine or this blog, it's more fun to read about the rich than the poor. Bill Gates is a perennial subject. And how could Fortune have stayed in business in the 1990s without worshipful articles about Jack Welch? Of course, the poor are stupid, illiterate, stinky, and suffer from a range of maladies. The rich have good hair, good cars, great teeth, smell good, and tend to do Chapt. 13's rather than 7's when cash flow problems land them in federal court.

It is hardly surprising that the super-rich purchase politicians to advance their interests, but it is surprising how many Americans view themselves as pre-rich or even pre-super-rich. The super-rich Bob Dylan even wrote a song about it:

Oh, the streets of Rome are filled with rubble, Ancient footprints are everywhere. You can almost think that you're seein' double On a cold, dark night on the Spanish Stairs. Got to hurry on back to my hotel room, Where I've got me a date with Botticelli's niece. She promised that she'd be right there with me When I paint my masterpiece.

Oh, the hours I've spent inside the Coliseum,
Dodging lions and wastin' time.
Oh, those mighty kings of the jungle, I could hardly stand to
see 'em,
Yes, it sure has been a long, hard climb.
Train wheels runnin' through the back of my memory,
When I ran on the hilltop following a pack of wild geese.
Someday, everything is gonna be smooth like a rhapsody
When I paint my masterpiece.

Sailin' 'round the world in a dirty gondola.
Oh, to be back in the land of Coca-Cola!

I left Rome and landed in Brussels,
On a plane ride so bumpy that I almost cried.
Clergymen in uniform and young girls pullin' muscles,
Everyone was there to greet me when I stepped inside.
Newspapermen eating candy
Had to be held down by big police.
Someday, everything is gonna be diff'rent
When I paint my masterpiece.


Posted by: kostya on April 5, 2006 at 3:09 AM | PERMALINK

floopmeister:
with you there. This is the land of Hollywood. Mythic "reality" replaced the real. But I think most of us in the US would really recognize the truth if representaives would speak as if they really mean it. You think truth might win out over cynical manipulation. But Washington is the biggest game. I can't say who is whole hearted; all compromise to the lowest common denominator and the right wing Repubs have managed to skew the whole view.

Posted by: notthere on April 5, 2006 at 3:11 AM | PERMALINK

Why would representatives speak the truth if they're in the top percentage that is doing well out of the system?

Mr Smith goes to Washington is also a mythic view, I think.

That isn't meant to be cynical - the best thing that could happen to the US is to get more political parties. It's no accident that you also have the least real choice of political representation of all the industrialised countries...

Independents dion't cut it - you need third (or fourth or fifth) party Senators causing a ruckus. Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum will never allow real change in the US system.

Posted by: floopmeister on April 5, 2006 at 3:19 AM | PERMALINK

But the Dems can't convince the majority of the US they are better off not voting Republican. How is this message getting so completely lost?

That's exactly the problem. If a small percentage of the population gets a great deal and they can convince a majority that they should vote for them because of gay marriages, abortion, or Saddam, then doesn't that majority deserve to get screwed?

Posted by: JS on April 5, 2006 at 3:45 AM | PERMALINK

floopmeister:
Almost impossible. At the local or state level an independent or green might win a seat or 2 here and there. Even when Jesse Ventura was governor in MN and had a lot of momentum going, his ego got in the way of lifting independents in any way. The whole system is rigged against a third party. Even a third presidential candidate will be excluded from debates by collusion not only of the Rep and Dem but the press, too.

It would take something cataclysmic to generate the momentum needed to get a third party off the ground. Not that it's a bad idea!

So, the counter force has to be generated within the parties. As at present, that can be in both parties at the same time. If the repubs can be embarassed sufficiently while the Dems actually have an agenda. In Hope!

Posted by: notthere on April 5, 2006 at 3:54 AM | PERMALINK

This was an issue in the 2004 elections and debates. Bush would claim something like, "50% of all people who receive tax cuts are middle class or senior citizens," etc. Which might be technically true. Yes, 50% of the people who receive any amount of tax cut might be middle class, etc., but 95% of the money will be going to a very small percentage of people.

If you gave 1 cent to 99 poor people and one million dollars to one person, you could technically claim that 99% of the people who received money were poor. But it'd be a bit misleading.

The inability of Dem politicians (dumbass Kerry and advisors) to make this point clearly amazed me at the time.

Posted by: luci on April 5, 2006 at 4:10 AM | PERMALINK

...the momentum needed to get a third party off the ground.

If you think the answer is more parties, one idea is to get a more modern vote allocation system, e.g. the D'Hondt method. At any given moment, the US system is failing to give voice to a large chunk of the population.

I would qualify any change to a different vote allocation system with a requirement that only serious parties could be allowed on the ballot. When a relative of this method was introduced in Russia, there was a beer-drinkers' party.

Posted by: kostya on April 5, 2006 at 4:11 AM | PERMALINK

kostya:
At this point, what could possibly be wrong with a beer drinkers' party?

Seriously, I'm off to bed and I'll have to look up D'Hondt method. But it doesn't matter what system, proportional, whatever, if the incumbent interest is to block any change or reform. That's why it needs a cataclysm, something to really rock that status quo.

This old-boys club is very well established and, except for the odd aberrant, they all slurp at the same trough. It's just a question of degree.
G'night.

Posted by: notthere on April 5, 2006 at 4:35 AM | PERMALINK

kostya:
OK. Got it. Proportional but with an allocation that trips a non-participatory level. Makes sense over pure proportional.

That might not be the end of the beer-drinkers' party, though. Just love the name of that. The double entendre is too seductive.

Posted by: notthere on April 5, 2006 at 4:44 AM | PERMALINK

If anyone complains about the outrageous givaways to the super-rich in times of war, record deficit, and massive cuts to programs that protect children, the environment, and the public at large, we not they are accused of practicing class warfare just for discussing it. Never forget: It is Mr. Bush and the Republicans who are practicing class warfare the super-rich against everyone else.

Posted by: Joel Rubinstein

A list of Congress critters who aren't worth $1 million (at least) will be a short one.

How can a system of government of the rich, by the rich and for the rich, NOT be a form of class warfare against the poor?

In America, class warfare is the rule, not the exception.

Posted by: slanted tom on April 5, 2006 at 4:45 AM | PERMALINK

Given the constiuences for government sponsored social programs (Medicare, SS, etc.) are well entrenched, isn't the fundamental question facing the United States whether we are prepared to tax the rich and super-rich to pay for these programs?

When will the public take notice of this question? What will it take?

Posted by: mkultra


For one thing, a list containing the names and addresses of the "rich" and 'super rich" would help. Loss of anonymity will cause these people to act responsibly or find out why programs for the poor were instituted in the first place.

Posted by: slanted tom on April 5, 2006 at 4:52 AM | PERMALINK

It all works because the little people are taught to guard their little piles as jealously as the big people guard their big piles.

Posted by: dr sardonicus on April 5, 2006 at 5:14 AM | PERMALINK

Tax cuts benefit the rich ?

I'm shocked. SHOCKED !
.

Posted by: VJ on April 5, 2006 at 6:21 AM | PERMALINK

'Al' posted:

"This doesn't take into account the greater level of investment which people have put into stocks and investment because they know they won't be double taxed anymore."

How can they have been "double taxed", when corporate America pays little or no taxes ?

.

"This greater investment creates more jobs at higher wage."

It's NEVER happened.

.

"So even taxpayers with modest incomes benefit from the stronger economic growth and improved job market."

Nope.

You're spouting "Trickle Down", but every time taxes are cut, the economy is worse and unemployment increases, hence those with "modest incomes" get TRICKLED ON instead.
.

Posted by: VJ on April 5, 2006 at 6:26 AM | PERMALINK

that puts money into a retirement account doesn't benefit at all from dividend and capital gains tax cuts.
-----------
Not if its a 401(k)
And if its not he still benefits from the pension fund not doing a GE

Posted by: mcA on April 5, 2006 at 7:05 AM | PERMALINK

Given kevin's efforts to import billions of poor people into this country, it is no wonder the income gap is rising.

Posted by: Matt on April 5, 2006 at 7:29 AM | PERMALINK

Two words:

Constituent service.

As for the rest of us, at least we're free from the specter of gay marriage, and that's a bargain at any price....

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on April 5, 2006 at 8:01 AM | PERMALINK

Actually, I have always thought the tax break was done backwards. Instead of lowering the tax rate on the individual taxpayer, we would have been well served by making dividends deductible at the corporate level. Corporations should be encouraged to pay dividends. That way even the folks with a few shares benefit.

Posted by: Ron Byers on April 5, 2006 at 8:14 AM | PERMALINK

The Top 50% pay 96.54% of All Income Taxes
The Top 1% Pay More Than a Third: 34.27%.
A large portion of Americans pay no taxes and in fact get earned tax credits and get checks for no taxes paid. So lets keep it simple.
Someone who pays no taxes gets 0% tax cut because they pay no taxes. Those who pay taxes do get a % tax break as tax payers.

If you read most economic advisors articles, they all agree that the tax cuts and rebates through Pres Bush administration has brought more money back into the economy, as every dollar not given to washington turns 2 1/2 times through the economy.
If it were not for the weathy investing in stocks (companies would have no financial backing) If it were not for the wealthy investing in bonds (government would not be able to pay its debts).
I prefer to back those tax payers, than those who do not pay any taxes. I guess thats why last year the only state in the Union that lost population was Mass. also known as Taxachusets.

Posted by: daveyo on April 5, 2006 at 8:23 AM | PERMALINK

"If it were not for the wealthy investing in bonds (government would not be able to pay its debts)."

No, not really. If it were not for the Chinese government investing in bonds, the US government would grind to a halt. Bonds *are* an instrument of debt, not a way of paying off debt.

Posted by: Joel on April 5, 2006 at 8:36 AM | PERMALINK

daveyo

Only the most devoted koolaid drinkers believe the line "a large proportion of americans pay no taxes" any more. Everybody pays sales tax, and most important, every working person pays 15% hard in payroll taxes. The Earned Income Credit helps some a little, but still employers pay the hidden 7.5% portion of the social security and medicare taxes in any event.

Start paying attention. The old Republican talking points don't work anymore. Didn't you get the memo.

Posted by: Ron Byers on April 5, 2006 at 8:36 AM | PERMALINK

Dontcha just love how stat quoting rightists focus exclusively on "income tax" as if that was the only tax that was relevant to the discussion?

What about payroll, excise and of course, corporate taxes, which, as we all know, simply gets passed along to the consumer.

Posted by: Rick DeMent on April 5, 2006 at 8:38 AM | PERMALINK

As to the rest of your comment about tax cuts and rebates bringing more money into the economy, well daveyo, just what economy are you talking about? The US economy? The world economy? I have a hunch that a lot of the tax cut money is being invested in India and China and third world countries. In short the money might be trickling down, but it isn't trickling down on us.

Posted by: Ron Byers on April 5, 2006 at 8:41 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin:
"By contrast, the kind of middle class senior that puts money into a retirement account doesn't benefit at all from dividend and capital gains tax cuts."

You pay capitol gains when you sell a house and make a profit. *shrug* You don't have to be super rich or even mildly well off to sell a house and make a profit. That's achievable by pretty much everybody.

Posted by: Lurker42 on April 5, 2006 at 8:45 AM | PERMALINK

And it is those super-rich older American Republicans who re-cycle a portion of their wind fall from the tax cuts back to the party. This is why we call aWol & Co. a kleptocracy.

Posted by: Hedley Lamarr on April 5, 2006 at 8:49 AM | PERMALINK

The ghosts of America in the 1940s still haunt us . . .

They handcuffed Casey and they took him to Jail
And then he got away.
And he met Tom Joad on the old river bridge,
And these few words he did say, poor boy,
These few words he did say.

"I preached for the Lord a mighty long time
Preached about the rich and the poor.
Us workin' folks got to all get together,
Cause we ain't got a chance anymore.
We ain't got a chance anymore."

Wherever little children are hungry and cry
Wherever people ain't free.
Wherever men are fightin' for their rights
That's where I'm gonna be, Ma.
That's where I'm a gonna be.

Posted by: pj_in_jesusland on April 5, 2006 at 8:49 AM | PERMALINK

'daveyo' posted:

"The Top 1% Pay More Than a Third: 34.27%."

Yet more than HALF of the nation's income flows to them.

They are WOEFULLY UNDERTAXED.

.

"If you read most economic advisors articles, they all agree that the tax cuts and rebates through Pres Bush administration has brought more money back into the economy"

Nope.

You must be reading RightWing propaganda, as according to the U.S. Treasury and the Congressional Budget Office, as a direct result of the four rounds of Bushie tax cuts for the Rich & Corporate, federal income tax revenues have plummeted to 1959 levels, thus creating massive and record federal deficits and federal debt.

Not to mention the wages of working Americans has gone BACKWARDS every year over the last five years, Poverty has INCREASED every year of the last five years, and both bankruptcies and home foreclosures are at historic record HIGHS.

Oh, and the stock market is DOWN for the fifth year in a row, as the Dow would need to be at 13,000 just to get back to where it was on election day in November of 2000 (Dow closed Tuesday at 11,203)

WAKE UP YOU FOOL !
.

Posted by: VJ on April 5, 2006 at 8:50 AM | PERMALINK

So what does the assembled Washington Monthly readership think the top tax bracket should be? And at what income level?

Posted by: Simon on April 5, 2006 at 8:58 AM | PERMALINK

This doesn't take into account the greater level of investment which people have put into stocks and investment because they know they won't be double taxed anymore. This greater investment creates more jobs at higher wage. So even taxpayers with modest incomes benefit from the stronger economic growth and improved job market.

For five years we've heard this mantra and, of course, for five years it's been gibberish. No amount of contrary evidence will dissuade people like Al.

If there weren't so many, we could afford pity for them.

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on April 5, 2006 at 8:59 AM | PERMALINK

Dear northern extinct ones. So you would run on the platform that we should raise taxes. I moved from missouri to florida. In missouri I paid 6% state employment tax and 1% tax for working downtown plus 5 1/2% to 6% sales tax and of course a high gasoline tax. In florida I pay 0% state tax 0% to work in the city. We have 2 weeks where there is no tax on items for childrens school supplies including clothing. WE have 2 weeks where there is no tax on hurricane preparedness items. During the huricanes we suspended all tolls on toll roads. In each of the past 5 years the state has cut its taxes and increased its revenue. This is not old r' history, this is what is the model for states today. In the 90's the d's past a luxury tax to really hit those bad rich people. Very quickly boat manufacturers closed, upscale stores closed, becaused they realized that adding a tax will only stiffle spending. So very quietly they removed this luxury tax. I do favor the flat tax or simply a national sales tax, sounds balanced to me. But I guess it is not enough for some that they don't pay any taxes, they want to make sure that the wealthy are so taxed they no longer spend money that support their jobs. Any wonder libs are extinct?

Posted by: daveyo on April 5, 2006 at 9:02 AM | PERMALINK

Ok, fine. I propse to get some of this revenue back we reduce the Social Security checks of these super-wealthy, dividend receiving seniors by 80%, and we treble their Medicare premiums. Any takers?

Posted by: P.B. Almeida on April 5, 2006 at 9:05 AM | PERMALINK

daveyo

I own a house in Florida and one in Missouri. I live in Missouri. There is no free lunch. Take a look at your property taxes.

Posted by: Ron Byers on April 5, 2006 at 9:10 AM | PERMALINK

Daveyo

There is another Florida tax called the intangibles tax that doesn't exist in Missouri.

There is no free lunch. Don't believe the hype. All states gotta balance their budgets and they all gotta provide the same basic services. No matter how you cut it states tax people, or the people don't receive the services they expect. In Florida, the seniors don't want to fund schools. A lot of the school systems are absolutely shitty even by comparison to Missouri which is not the best example. Have been for a long time.

Posted by: Ron Byers on April 5, 2006 at 9:16 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin - we're all sure you are leading by example, and giving your tax cuts back to the federal government, giving up your membership at the tennis club, selling your BMW and giving the proceeds to the poor. And seeing as how you live in a rich neighborhood, we're sure you will sell your house and give the proceeds to the underclass. Right?

Posted by: Frequency Kenneth on April 5, 2006 at 9:16 AM | PERMALINK

In any event, the money daveyo saved on taxes obviously did not go towards furthering his education.

Posted by: solar on April 5, 2006 at 9:16 AM | PERMALINK

Frequency Kenneth

How about setting a rate that requires the super rich to pay their collective Federal taxes at the same effective rate as somebody making $90,000. Are they going to have to down size their yachts at that rate?

Posted by: Ron Byers on April 5, 2006 at 9:18 AM | PERMALINK

Ah, more regurgitation from the Dogma Mills.

The Top 50% pay 96.54% of All Income Taxes
The top 20% of Americans own 84.4% of all privately held wealth. (2000 census)

The Top 1% Pay More Than a Third: 34.27%
The top 1% own 33.4% of all privately held wealth. (2000 census)

I would prefer more recent numbers but the Bush Administration has chosen not to release them.

Someone who pays no taxes gets 0% tax cut because they pay no taxes. Those who pay taxes do get a % tax break as tax payers.

And yet, under the Bush administration, that "% tax break" you wave your hand at has been very, very different, depending on how much money you make; not just in nominal terms, but in percentage terms.

From the New York Times, June 2005:

"President Bush said during the third election debate last October that most of the tax cuts went to low- and middle-income Americans. In fact, most - 53 percent - will go to people with incomes in the top 10 percent over the first 15 years of the cuts, which began in 2001 and would have to be reauthorized in 2010. And more than 15 percent will go just to the top 0.1 percent, those 145,000 taxpayers.

"Under the Bush tax cuts, the 400 taxpayers with the highest incomes - a minimum of $87 million in 2000, the last year for which the government will release such data - now pay income, Medicare and Social Security taxes amounting to virtually the same percentage of their incomes as people making $50,000 to $75,000.

"Those earning more than $10 million a year now pay a lesser share of their income in these taxes than those making $100,000 to $200,000."

"The Bush administration says that the tax cuts have actually made the income tax system more progressive, shifting the burden slightly more to those with higher incomes. Still, an Internal Revenue Service study found that the only taxpayers whose share of taxes declined in 2001 and 2002 were those in the top 0.1 percent.

"But a Treasury spokesman, Taylor Griffin, said the income tax system is more progressive if the measurement is the share borne by the top 40 percent of Americans rather than the top 0.1 percent.

"The Times analysis also shows that over the next decade, the tax cuts Mr. Bush wants to extend indefinitely would shift the burden further from the richest Americans. With incomes of more than $1 million or so, they would get the biggest share of the breaks, in total amounts and in the drop in their share of federal taxes paid.

"One reason the merely rich will fare much less well than the very richest is the alternative minimum tax. This tax, the successor to one enacted in 1969 to make sure the wealthiest Americans could not use legal loopholes to live tax-free, has never been adjusted for inflation. As a result, it stings Americans whose incomes have crept above $75,000.

"The Times analysis shows that by 2010 the tax will affect more than four-fifths of the people making $100,000 to $500,000 and will take away from them nearly one-half to more than two-thirds of the recent tax cuts. For example, the group making $200,000 to $500,000 a year will lose 70 percent of their tax cut to the alternative minimum tax in 2010, an average of $9,177 for those affected.

"But because of the way it is devised, the tax affects far fewer of the very richest: about a third of the taxpayers reporting more than $1 million in income. One big reason is that dividends and investment gains, which go mostly to the richest, are not subject to the tax.

"Another reason that the wealthiest will fare much better is that the tax cuts over the past decade have sharply lowered rates on income from investments."

- end NYT quote

In other words, the tax cut has gone to the super-rich. The amount directed to other taxpayers has been tiny if not actually negative.

If you read most economic advisors articles, they all agree that the tax cuts and rebates through Pres Bush administration has brought more money back into the economy

So you have read "most economic advisors articles"? Somehow, I doubt that. If you want to use expert opinion, cite them. Otherwise your statement is simple fabrication.

as every dollar not given to washington turns 2 1/2 times through the economy.

And money that goes to the government does what? It gets spent, and cycles through the economy. Who pays Lockheed Martin? This statement is stupid on its face.

I guess thats why last year the only state in the Union that lost population was Mass. also known as Taxachusets.

The assumption that tax rates are the sole determinant of state population is laughable. Further, Massachusetts has lower tax rates than many other states. For instance, Utah.

Also, wherever you are obediently cutting and pasting from is out of date, as last year at this point was 2005 and I daresay Louisiana lost some population. Your numbers fit 2003-2004, though of course in most cases population growth or decline was in the thousands or tens of thousands.

You know, the scariest part of this whole thing is that the government no longer releases data about the American economy that it has produced for years. How Orwellian is that?

Posted by: S Ra on April 5, 2006 at 9:19 AM | PERMALINK

It's a good time to be super rich in America. A very good time.

Class war! Class war! Agitator!

Posted by: sglover on April 5, 2006 at 9:24 AM | PERMALINK

At this time the U.S. has the highest percentage and the highest number of home ownership in its history. Immigration is of big concern because of the failure of other countries. Unemployment hovers around 4%. It appears communism and socialism have failed, but as I continue to point out no d will run as a lib because they do not want to be associated with your ideas. However, I believe this you have such great convictions that you should pick up the slack and pay more taxes than you owe, do not take any tax breaks. Here in florida we have "save our homes" which allows a homeowner to pay roughly 60% of what they would have owed without this tax break. This is regardless of income. So here is a suggestion, why don't you run for office and straightened out all the problems that you list. At least you would finally be doing something other than complaining.

Posted by: daveyo on April 5, 2006 at 9:26 AM | PERMALINK

Ah, yes, double taxation -- a concept that conveniently applies only to income received mainly by the ultrarich, for some reason.

Posted by: KCinDC on April 5, 2006 at 9:31 AM | PERMALINK

Thanks, S Ra, for the NYT quote. I was going to bring up the fact that capital gain and dividend income are exempt from the Alternative Minimum Tax, so you only have to pay 15% tax on your cap gains and dividends, no matter how much money your stocks and other capital investments earn for you. But you've beaten me to it.

And this is why all the chatter about how Bush 'must' fix the AMT is hogwash. From a Bush perspective, it's already perfect, since it exempts capital gains and dividend income, while taxing earned income.

Posted by: RT on April 5, 2006 at 9:42 AM | PERMALINK

Daveyo, as to your Florida tax break on property taxes, read what I said about shitty schools. What the hell do you care, your grandchildren go to school in Missouri, or even better Massachusetts and the children of the Honduran who takes care of your yard don't need to go to school.

Posted by: Ron Byers on April 5, 2006 at 9:49 AM | PERMALINK

Ron Byers, I am sorry that you have not been able to follow the progress of Florida schools. In addition to the FCAT scoring and grading systems for our schools, if a school has 2 successive F's then the children in the district have the option to transfer. In addition Jeb has instituted private vouchers for the poor to be able to have school choice. We have one of the highest percentages of state dollars spent on education as anywhere in the nation. But I guess you missed that information. It is true that migrants from Honduran, NY and Mass flock here at the rate of 1000 new residence a day. What a success story that is.

Posted by: daveyo on April 5, 2006 at 9:53 AM | PERMALINK

Al,
Every time you post something that can easily be verified, it is verified as false.

If I had the time, I could easily verify your latest claim as being false. But what would be the point, since you post your crap and run.

Posted by: DR on April 5, 2006 at 9:58 AM | PERMALINK

Doing an awful lot of complaining here Daveyo remember were not in power. You guys don't like what we preach. So pick up your marbles and leave. Sit out on your tax exempt lawn and share the air with the voucher educated kids.Polish up your concealed carry gun. If you you still have time slap a coat of wax on that suburban assault vehicle.

Posted by: boy george on April 5, 2006 at 10:14 AM | PERMALINK

You pay capitol gains when you sell a house and make a profit. *shrug* You don't have to be super rich or even mildly well off to sell a house and make a profit. That's achievable by pretty much everybody.

No, it's not. In New York City, for example, where I live, the average price of an apartment -- an apartment, mind you, not a house -- is now somewhere around $1.4 million. It's rather difficult to buy a house here unless you're at least "mildly well-off."

Posted by: Stefan on April 5, 2006 at 10:18 AM | PERMALINK

boy george yes you are not in power. I assume that only those who agree with you can participate in this arena as it is so difficult to define or defend your point of view. If you read what I wrote in was to show the success not the failure of what is working. Thank you for painting for me the picture of what you view as a conservative, the reflection from this painting helps me better understand the artist.

Posted by: daveyo on April 5, 2006 at 10:20 AM | PERMALINK

Daveyo, the migrants from NY and Massachusetts are retired folks like you looking for a free lunch. The Hondurans are looking for work. They are a net plus. Their kids need to be educated and they need a chance to become citizens. As to your schools, all I know is what residents tell me about their schools. Republican efforts to privatize education to one side, tell me how your students do on national tests? As to having one of the highest percentages of your budget spent on education, you yourself have alluded to how low your state taxes are. Since not even Jeb can conjure something out of nothing, what other regular services are you doing without?

Posted by: Ron Byers on April 5, 2006 at 10:21 AM | PERMALINK

Wages are reported to the Internal Revenue Service, but (under-taxed) capital gains are not. Anyone who cares about this egregious tax inequity should get behind S.2414, introduced by Senator Evan Bayh of Indiana, which follows the recommendation of National Taxpayer Advocate Nina E. Olson and would require third-party reporting of capital gains by brokerage houses and mutual funds. Employers report wages; investment institutions should report capital gains. It's that simple.

Posted by: Gerald Scorse on April 5, 2006 at 10:27 AM | PERMALINK

Is anyone surprised? For the rich: liberation from Mere America. For the not rich: fear, ignorance, and superstitions as a distraction. And for anyone not stupid enough to endorse it or rich enough to benefit from it: the lable of "liberal."

And then they do it all over again.
.

Posted by: Grand Moff Texan on April 5, 2006 at 10:31 AM | PERMALINK

I assume that only those who agree with you can participate in this arena as it is so difficult to define or defend your point of view. If you read what I wrote in was to show the success not the failure of what is working. Thank you for painting for me the picture of what you view as a conservative, the reflection from this painting helps me better understand the artist.

Thank you. My point is you sound no different than us soy milk, latte loving, Volvo driving, elitist Lenin loving socialist liberals.

Even though we are not in power it's all our fault.We have no ideas. Lot's of ideas here. But we can't run on them according to you guys. So let me just say piss off to the lot of you.

Posted by: boy george on April 5, 2006 at 10:31 AM | PERMALINK

So even taxpayers with modest incomes benefit from the stronger economic growth and improved job market.

The majority of American jobs are provided by small businesses. Most small businesses are privately owned and don't pay dividends.

Most of the super rich got super rich before the dividend tax cuts and the didn't need tax cuts to
encourage them to invest their money.

The rich are going to invest with or without tax cuts. The dividend tax cuts just influence where they invest.

Tax cuts targeted to specific types of income are
the economic equivilant of "social engineering".

Posted by: Stephen on April 5, 2006 at 10:33 AM | PERMALINK

OK, Pelosi/Reid/Kennedy/Dean - when do you announce your proposal to raise taxes????

Posted by: BigRiver on April 5, 2006 at 10:33 AM | PERMALINK

daveyo {heart}'s anecdotes!

Posted by: Patrick Meighan on April 5, 2006 at 10:35 AM | PERMALINK

Daveyo, obviously the product of some illiterate-producing factory somewhere, looks approvingly on Florida public schools. Why? He wants more illiterate (and innumerate) company.

So where do Florida schools rank?

40th in per pupil spending
48th in graduation rate (unless you use Jeb's! cooked figures)
40th in 8th grade reading (this is the neighborhood daveyo feels comfortable in)

These numbers change year by year and are different source by source. The bottom line in all, however, is that Florida public schools suck-hard.

I guess daveyo gets all his education information from "Honduran", wherever that may be.

P.S. About 1,900 people per day move to Florida. Net population growth is about 1,000. If daveyo had gone to a real school (or, c'mon, even a Florida school), he would understand the difference.

Posted by: solar on April 5, 2006 at 10:40 AM | PERMALINK

"Even though we are not in power it's all our fault.We have no ideas. Lot's of ideas here. But we can't run on them according to you guys. So let me just say piss off to the lot of you"
Boy George, I believe this might be too long for a bumper sticker, but maybe you can use it at your next rally. I certainly do believe you can run on your liberal ideas and are more than welcome to them. I simply note that you can't get elected with them as there are so few of you and no d outside of the most liberal pockets will have anything to do with you. I also agree it is not your fault that our economy is cranking out jobs, has low unemployment, high home ownership, we will take the blame for those.

As for the seniors moving to florida, my neighbor from new jersey said he was getting his pension taxed there and thus moved here.

Please let me know what race you will be entering so I can track how well your ideas catch on with the voters.

Posted by: daveyo on April 5, 2006 at 10:41 AM | PERMALINK

Big River have you looked at the debt and the rate at which it is accelerating? I do believe this occurred under the leadership of the wingnut party. Do you guys think the tooth fairy is going to pay this off. At some point taxes will be raised. Think the rich are gonna pay? After the repubs get done with you that Big River is gonna be a little stream. Just another example of trickle down economics.

Posted by: Dirty white Boy on April 5, 2006 at 10:48 AM | PERMALINK

Daveyo, your Florida comments are bullshit. We moved from Florida to New York because it was cheaper to live in New York state than it was to live in Florida. Sure, taxes are low or nonexistent in Florida, but that's because the place has had a net in-flow of population for the last 20 years or so. Once the population stabilizes, you'll see the taxes go up just like anywhere else. As for property taxes, they are low also, but good luck finding a house that you can afford. In New York state (not NYC), you can find a house for about 1/3 the price of Florida, and even with the higher property taxes, you're still better off. In addition, the higher property taxes mean that we can send our kids to *very good* public schools. In our small city, our daughter goes to a public high school that offers Japanese, German, Spanish, French, Latin, orchestra, general band, woodwind symphony, jazz band, various art courses, ice hockey, football, swimming, basketball, volleyball, baseball/softball, track and field, and on and on. Our city even has an all-city orchestra that my son is in (violin). And trust me, this is not a wealthy area - most people here consider it a middle-to-lower class area. But, we fund our public schools and it shows. Florida schools are a joke. If you want your kid to have a decent education and not get lost in the mass of children they are shuffling through the overcrowded school systems in Florida, you've got to pay ~$5000-10000 a year for private school (possibly slightly less if it's a parochial school). I went to middle school and high school in the 80's in Florida and it sucked big time.

Not to mention the crime in Florida. There are murders, shootings, kidnappings, and all sorts of random violence all over the news. Most of this is due to the number of transients that move in and out of Florida all the time. There's no stability in the communities. The last murder here in our city was in the early 80's.

Our quality of life is better here also - less traffic, more inexpensive family activities available, less "keep up with the Jones" type of spending, our children can walk to school on safe city streets, etc.

Only people that are either rich, dishonest, or are living in a gated retirement community (or all three) would try to paint the picture that you have tried to paint. Florida certainly has low taxes, but that is hardly the entire picture.

Posted by: OhNoNotAgain on April 5, 2006 at 10:53 AM | PERMALINK

Please let me know what race you will be entering so I can track how well your ideas catch on with the voters.


I'll work on that Daveyo in the meantime I guess I will have to be content watching the GOP meltdown. You know the party of ideas. Too bad none of them work.

Posted by: boy george on April 5, 2006 at 10:53 AM | PERMALINK
I would qualify any change to a different vote allocation system with a requirement that only serious parties could be allowed on the ballot. When a relative of this method was introduced in Russia, there was a beer-drinkers' party.

So? If they don't get enough votes to win seats, who cares? And if they do, they are, in the only sense that has relevance in a democracy, a "serious" party.

Posted by: cmdicely on April 5, 2006 at 10:57 AM | PERMALINK

floopmeister: This is not a criticism of the US system as such - it's a criticism of the way the US system disguises its shortcomings in such a way that they become invisible. Then, working class and poor people in the US support the party that tells them they will be rich, won't tax them when they do, even though the chances are damn low. People also don't want to be told they need government help, even when they do, because it challenges their view of themselves, their life chances, and the nature of the country they live in.

This is an extremely important point. One of my largest gripes with the Democratic Party is its continual failure to capture and communicate the message: Vote according to who you are, not who you wish you were or hope you can be. What is your family's reality, not your fondest desire? Here's what it actually means to your family when you vote Republican.

Republicans have been extremely successful at painting every government program as the province of the loser. They pound home the message that real people do it all on their own without any governmental assistance or oversight, and voters believe they're bootstrappin' Davy Crocketts even as they take full advantage of Democratic-won programs galore.

It's hurting us now that the DNC reinforced this crap all through the Clinton years, although there were reasons for that that had to do with electability and expediency particular to that time.

Posted by: shortstop on April 5, 2006 at 11:02 AM | PERMALINK

OhNoNotAgain It would appear that you were able to get a good rate on a moving van as so many come to the state and leave empty. Let's see you want to compare crime in NY versus florida. You honestly believe the property values are 1/3 in NY as they are here in florida. By the year 2010 Florida will pass NY in population. So for all of us warm floridians let me thank you for making room for the masses that are moving here from your new state. I am sorry that you were unable to get an education.


Boy George "I will have to be content watching the GOP" yest most of the liberals take your approach of simply watching, that is another of your great strategies that have done so well.

Posted by: daveyo on April 5, 2006 at 11:02 AM | PERMALINK

I'm sorry; I meant DLC, not DNC.

Posted by: shortstop on April 5, 2006 at 11:03 AM | PERMALINK

How to disguise tax cuts for the ultra rich?

Refer to the ulta rich as small businesses. That way people will imagine Joe DirtFarmer struggling along instead of Daddy Warbucks.

Ooooh, call them 'seniors' too. People will imagine poor Granny at the home.

Refer to them as 'hard workers' and 'innovators,' even though the great majority inherited their wealth and are raised to produce nothing. Indeed, for the extremely rich pursuing a trade is considered rather gauche.

If you really have to then give pennies to the masses and mega-dollars to the mega-rich. That way you can appear egalitarian.

And, of course, keep the ultra-rich hidden. They need to shun publicity - hiding away at there private estates not visible from the road. They may only flaunt their wealth to each other, never publically.

Posted by: Tripp on April 5, 2006 at 11:04 AM | PERMALINK

"I am sorry that you were unable to get an education."

And daveyo, everyone who wades through your illiterate crap returns the sentiment.

For example, if you weren't such an uneducated nitwit you could look up the FBI's crime stats for Florida and New York. For 2004 (the last full year reported) violent crime in Florida was 711 per 100,000 vs. 441 for New York. Murder rates were 5.4 vs. 4.6.

Tell us, what is it like to be completely ignorant about everything?

Posted by: solar on April 5, 2006 at 11:13 AM | PERMALINK

Boy George "I will have to be content watching the GOP" yest most of the liberals take your approach of simply watching, that is another of your great strategies that have done so well.


Posted by: daveyo on April 5, 2006 at 11:02 AM | PERMALINK

Sometimes watching and waiting works better. When we go deer hunting we sit silently and wait. Dick Cheney wheels drunkenly around shooting up everything in his path. Sounds like GOP policy. As for the rest of your fairy tales low unemployment high homeownership what was the last one successful foreign policy? I'll dissect the other two through out the day.

Posted by: boy george on April 5, 2006 at 11:15 AM | PERMALINK

But Republicans are going to take 100 percent of both houses! The American people love what we've been doing! They can't get enough of us!

Posted by: daveyoyo on April 5, 2006 at 11:16 AM | PERMALINK

Let's start here daveyo

Posted by: Dirty white Boy on April 5, 2006 at 11:25 AM | PERMALINK

There is another point to be made about the Bush tax cuts. Given the cost of the war in Iraq, and the "cut taxes and spend" mentality of the Republicans in power, how do we pay for our misadventures? Currently it seems we are borrowing money from other countries, China for example, to finance national spending. How are we going to pay off these debts, and what are the national security implications of being so indebted to foreign interests?

"Cut taxes on the rich and the terrorists win"

Posted by: coldhotel on April 5, 2006 at 11:26 AM | PERMALINK

daveyoyo thank you for the compliment of taking on my forum name. We will not take 100 percent of both houses, however, not one d will come out and say they will gain control of either. Thus when 2006 elections results roll in they can call a 2 seat gain a major victory.
Of all the yak I have recieved back why is it no one has responded to "no d can win as a liberal, except in those few pockets that are left out there, where r's proudly stand with conservatives".?????????

Posted by: daveyo on April 5, 2006 at 11:28 AM | PERMALINK

Name Wealth Source Residence Personal
1. William Gates III $46.5 billion Microsoft WA, Medina 49yo - Married, 3 children
2. Warren Buffett $44.0 billion Berkshire Hathaway NE, Omaha 74yo - Widowed, 3 children
3. Paul Allen $21.0 billion Microsoft, investments WA, Seattle 52yo - Single
4. Lawrence Ellison $18.4 billion Oracle (database s'ware) CA, Silicon Valley 60yo - Married, 2 children
5. S Robson Walton $18.3 billion Wal-Mart AR, Bentonville 61yo - Divorced, 3 children
=6. Jim Walton $18.2 billion Wal-Mart AR, Bentonville 57yo - Married, 4 children
=6. John Walton $18.2 billion Wal-Mart DIED in plane crash June 05 AR, Bentonville 59yo - Married, 1 child
8. Michael Dell $16.0 billion Dell (world's biggest PC maker) TX, Austin 56yo - Married, 4 children
9. Sheldon Adelson $15.6 billion casinos, hotels NV, Las Vegas 71yo - Married, 5 children
10. Steven Ballmer $12.1 billion Microsoft WA, Redmond 49yo - Married, 2 children

Enlighten me conservative folk why are you so interested in kissing up to these people

Posted by: boy george on April 5, 2006 at 11:34 AM | PERMALINK

I am sorry that you have not been able to follow the progress of Florida schools. In addition to the FCAT scoring and grading systems for our schools, if a school has 2 successive F's then the children in the district have the option to transfer. In addition Jeb has instituted private vouchers for the poor to be able to have school choice.

Really? Your opinion, not a fact.

It is true that migrants from Honduran, NY and Mass flock here at the rate of 1000 new residence a day. What a success story that is.

Listen--> I've lived and worked in Florida for more than twenty years. The quality of life here is great (for the RICH!). For the rest of us it's getting worse.

go eat some paste, pal
D

Posted by: slackdaemon on April 5, 2006 at 11:37 AM | PERMALINK

Name Wealth Source Residence Personal
1. William Gates III $46.5 billion Microsoft WA, Medina 49yo - Married, 3 children
2. Warren Buffett $44.0 billion Berkshire Hathaway NE, Omaha 74yo - Widowed, 3 children
3. Paul Allen $21.0 billion Microsoft, investments WA, Seattle 52yo - Single
4. Lawrence Ellison $18.4 billion Oracle (database s'ware) CA, Silicon Valley 60yo - Married, 2 children
5. S Robson Walton $18.3 billion Wal-Mart AR, Bentonville 61yo - Divorced, 3 children
=6. Jim Walton $18.2 billion Wal-Mart AR, Bentonville 57yo - Married, 4 children
=6. John Walton $18.2 billion Wal-Mart DIED in plane crash June 05 AR, Bentonville 59yo - Married, 1 child
8. Michael Dell $16.0 billion Dell (world's biggest PC maker) TX, Austin 56yo - Married, 4 children
9. Sheldon Adelson $15.6 billion casinos, hotels NV, Las Vegas 71yo - Married, 5 children
10. Steven Ballmer $12.1 billion Microsoft WA, Redmond 49yo - Married, 2 children

Enlighten me conservative folk why are you so interested in kissing up to these people
Posted by: boy george

Of the group, only Gates and Buffet do something with their money that benefits others. Furthermore, Buffet and Gates, Sr. (Bill's father) are two of the nation's biggest proponents of the inheritance tax.

Allen, Ellison (who thinks he's a reincarnated samurai), Dell and Ballmer are dicks with little sense of social responsibility. And we all know what a swell, employee oriented company the Waltons own.

Posted by: Jeff II on April 5, 2006 at 11:48 AM | PERMALINK

The problem with homeownership today is that it doesnt look like America today. Homeownership remains a difficult goal for many who want to own a home of their own.

Though homeownership has increased among minorities over the last two years, there is still a disparity between ownership levels for different groups.

The homeownership rate for African American households the first quarter of 2005 was 48.8 percent, while Hispanic households were at 49.7 percent. The homeownership rate for Asian, Native Americans, and Pacific Islanders was 59.4 percent. By comparison, 76.0 percent of non-Hispanic whites were homeowners.

Low- and moderate-income families, as well as minorities, are the groups that homeownership eludes the most.

In response to that challenge, plus the need to increase housing opportunities for all, NAR and several minority-based housing groups in 2001 partnered to establish new awards program to recognize outstanding contributions to minority homeownership. The HOPE Awards (Home Ownership Participation for Everyone), a national program developed to promote minority homeownership, honors up to seven organizations and individuals every two years who are making outstanding contributions to the cause of increasing minority homeownership

from realator.org

Posted by: boy george on April 5, 2006 at 11:53 AM | PERMALINK

Bushies like to talk about the "investor society" but much of the investment is in 401 (k) accounts and the like and these accounts are already tax deferred, so these investors gained nothing from the tax cuts.

Posted by: save_the_rustbelt on April 5, 2006 at 11:53 AM | PERMALINK

Class warfare, that is the propertied classes versus every other American, is as old as the Republic itself.

And I agree that real reform isn't going to happen until we get some sort of proportional representation voting system in Congress. Hell, why not an Admendment to change the House to a proportional body and leave the Senate the way it is?

Yeah, granted it's only a partial solution and the good it would do would be stymied by the Senate. But it's a hell of a lot better than the present system.

Posted by: Dr. Morpheus on April 5, 2006 at 12:04 PM | PERMALINK

Something has to change Dr.Morpheus. A lot of issues need to go under the microscope. Globalismn,... the list is long.

Posted by: Neo the commissar on April 5, 2006 at 12:07 PM | PERMALINK

Have we ever had an administration that just tried to brazen its way on so many levels, working against the public good for as long as it thought it could get away with it? (i.e. eight years.) I guess Reagan came close, but these crooks will be hard to top.

Posted by: Kenji on April 5, 2006 at 12:10 PM | PERMALINK

So even taxpayers with modest incomes benefit from the stronger economic growth and improved job market.

Benefit from the what and the which?

Man, some jokes just write themselves!
.

Posted by: Grand Moff Texan on April 5, 2006 at 12:12 PM | PERMALINK

Last night on The History Channel, two hours of 'Countdown to Armageddon: Recent world events lead some to believe that the end is near'.

Posted by: cld on April 5, 2006 at 12:22 PM | PERMALINK

cld, you crack me up with your running "History" Channel report!

Posted by: shortstop on April 5, 2006 at 12:26 PM | PERMALINK

Jeff II,

"Of the group, only Gates and Buffet do something with their money that benefits others."

It took me about 30 seconds with Google to find the homepage of the Dell Foundation, a charitable endeavor founded by Michael Dell and his wife, with an endowment of more than $1 billion. I'm almost certain your claim is false with respect to the other people you list, too.

Do you lie in every single one of your posts, or just 99% of them?

Posted by: jibjab on April 5, 2006 at 12:29 PM | PERMALINK
Hell, why not an Admendment to change the House to a proportional body and leave the Senate the way it is?

This is one place where the devil is in the details; a national party-list proportional system is easily attacked on the lack of specific direct accountability, it also substantially alters the theoretical relationship between the states and the federal government, by making the House representative of the citizenry at large rather than the several states.

A system that acheives proportionality by using candidate-centered voting in smaller multimember districts either has to do the same thing (abandon ties to states) or radically increase the number of representatives in the House.

And, of course, any Constitutional Amendment has to be passed in the present political structure; any proportional system attacks the institutional powerbase of both major parties, and thus has no natural constituency in the Congress or the state legislatures, so needs even more public pressure to get passed than would be the case of an Amendment that served the institutional interests of one of the parties.

So, the challenge is finding a broadly acceptable specific proposal and building a massive, national coalition in support of that specific proposal. I'd personally like to see proportional preference voting (e.g., an STV-like method) in small multimember districts (5 members/district) acheived by increasing the size of the House and either abandoning ties to state borders or setting the the "quantum unit" of apportionment to 5 members -- the simplest form, then, being simply quintupling the size of the House and turning each current single-member district into a 5-member district. But getting a broad national consensus against the resistance of the established power structures in both parties is a daunting task.

Yeah, granted it's only a partial solution and the good it would do would be stymied by the Senate.

I'd recommend reducing the power of the Senate along with increasing the representativeness of the House; of course, you could also make elect the Senate by a multimember proportional system -- expand the Senate to 3/state, keep the rolling 1/3 every 2 years system but elect each state's Senators simultaneous in a proportional preference election.

Posted by: cmdicely on April 5, 2006 at 12:31 PM | PERMALINK

They're just plain evil and out for themselves. They will prostitute their souls for that extra vacation home and all others can eat cake.

Posted by: tourist on April 5, 2006 at 12:40 PM | PERMALINK

You pay capitol gains when you sell a house and make a profit. *shrug* You don't have to be super rich or even mildly well off to sell a house and make a profit. That's achievable by pretty much everybody.

Actually, when you sell your house only the profit that exceeds $500,000 (for a couple) and $250,000 (for an individual) is taxable as capital gain.

Most middle-class couples are not looking at profits that exceed $500,000 when they sell their houses, so they are not subject to the capital gains tax. ALso, how many times do you sell a house (at a profit) in your lifetime vs. the super-rich who receive capital gains income every year?

Posted by: DCNative on April 5, 2006 at 12:46 PM | PERMALINK

It is mystifing as to the hold the present washington crowd has on many people in this great nation ! they could have a party and serve $1000.00 a plate dinners of bullshit and horse biscuits and even the people that can not afford this , will borrow money if they can gain entrance to the affair.
Talked with some of these people ( 35 - 57 ) just yesterday and they still think the sun rises and sets in GWB ass ; most have college degrees, pitiful ! !

Posted by: THEY ARE WATCHING YOU KNOW on April 5, 2006 at 12:59 PM | PERMALINK

"It's rather difficult to buy a house here unless you're at least "mildly well-off."

I didn't say anything about buying a house. I was talking about the cap gains tax when selling a house. If you're going to use that money as part of your retirement or for anything except re-investing then you're going to pay cap gains. The reduction of cap gains benefits everyone in this case. Not just the rich.

NYC huh? Ya like it there? I'm from upstate. Never cared much for the city though.

Posted by: Lurker42 on April 5, 2006 at 1:09 PM | PERMALINK

Daveyo writes:
The Top 50% pay 96.54% of All Income Taxes
The Top 1% Pay More Than a Third: 34.27%.

Viewed another way, the top 1% own 38% of the wealth in this country, but only pay 34% of the taxes.

From The Growing Divide: Some Facts about Inequality in America

To put this in perspective, the top 1 percent of households had more wealth in 1997 than all of the households in the bottom 95 percent combined (Collins et al. 1999)...
In 1999, the richest 1 percent had as much annual income to spend as the bottom 100 million Americans.

Posted by: Daryl McCullough on April 5, 2006 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

daveyo:

"In missouri I paid 6% state employment tax and 1% tax for working downtown plus 5 1/2% to 6% sales tax and of course a high gasoline tax."

In Missouri, you paid 17 cents per gallon state gas tax, with no additional state gas tax.

In Florida, you pay 13.6 cents per gallon state excise tax, plus 16 cents per gallon additional state tax, totalling 29.6 cents/gallon of gas.

http://www.energy.ca.gov/gasoline/statistics/gas_taxes_by_state_2002.html

Another "conservative" who can't fact-check.

Posted by: Arr-squared on April 5, 2006 at 1:29 PM | PERMALINK

I don't have time to do any number crunching, but did anyone notice the right-hand side of that table in the New York Times? How could the headline have been rewritten around that?

A few comments/questions:

--If you do some simple math based on the effective tax rates shown at the far right, income, and number of people in each bracket, those 6,000 people on the top of the scale appear to pay as much in taxes as the 92 million at the bottom. This doesn't include payroll taxes on the lower end, but it doesn't include property taxes at the top end, either.

--Do the "super rich" include individually-owned businesses? Like mine? Are Schedule C's included?

--I'm assuming payroll taxes aren't in this mix. What would the right-hand side of that table look like with those thrown in? It would even it out some, since it hits the lower end hardest.

--That map of the "dividend counties" in the NYT article is cool. It might be fun to lay it over this map and see what you get.

--The article is based on a model from the Citizens for Tax Justice, with some additional work by the New York Times. If it had been based on a model from the Heritage Foundation, would you have thrown the article out? Why?


I guess the next obvious step is to write your Senators and Congressmen and demand massive tax increases on the rich. Go for it.

Posted by: tbrosz on April 5, 2006 at 1:32 PM | PERMALINK

--The article is based on a model from the Citizens for Tax Justice, with some additional work by the New York Times. If it had been based on a model from the Heritage Foundation, would you have thrown the article out? Why? Posted by: tbrosz

It wouldn't have been thrown out because the Heritage Foundation never would have produced such a study. If they had, at the very least they would have distorted the data to make it look like the wealthy in American were being over-taxed.

Posted by: Jeff II on April 5, 2006 at 2:00 PM | PERMALINK

Hey tbrosz, do you really think the property taxes of those 6000 people is really close to 40% of their Federal Income Taxes? Fully 30% of all Federal Receipts come from Social Security taxes. Crunch all you want, it won't help you.

As to the chart, if that's the one you mean then I guess the headline could have been re-written around that to say "Big Gain for Ultra-Rich Seen in Tax Cuts for Investments," since they have an effective rate lower than the merely rich.

And as for asking our Senators and Congressmen to raise taxes - why aren't you doing the same? After all, Bush invaded Iraq for you - don't you think you should pay for it?

Posted by: heavy on April 5, 2006 at 2:52 PM | PERMALINK

The debt worry isn't what amount of debt China (or anybody else) holds now,it's what will it cost to get them to hold the new debt.
The debt held by the public ratio to GDP shows the relative ability of the country to service the debt. At $4.5 trillion versus a GDP of close to $12 Trillion,the level is manageable.
The continuation of deficits,as well as the trade deficit,likely leads to higher carrying costs of the debt. The monthly treasury reports combined with the budget forecasts show this increase in debt service costs is already occurring. The treasury is thinking about selling 30 year bonds again to lock in some of the debt at relatively low rates.
There is no risk comparable to say Brazil or Argentina in the 80s defaulting on the debt. The US debt held by China et al is denominated in $s. To repay them,just print $s. The real trick is selling them the next batch of notes.

Posted by: TJM on April 5, 2006 at 3:04 PM | PERMALINK

the humans that are marching in the streets with flags of your nation proclaming that you pay income , social security and medicare taxes don't show me the flag of your homeland ; show me the stars and stripes and your W-2 / income tax return ! ! !

Posted by: PROVE IT on April 5, 2006 at 3:18 PM | PERMALINK

I was talking about the cap gains tax when selling a house.

You don't pay cap gains if the house you are selling is your primary residence or you only lived in it for a very short period of time.

ie..you only pay cap gains on a house if you bought it as an investment or a vacation home.

Posted by: Stephen on April 5, 2006 at 3:34 PM | PERMALINK

'BigRiver' posted:

"OK, Pelosi/Reid/Kennedy/Dean - when do you announce your proposal to raise taxes????"

The American people FAVOR re-raising taxes on the very wealthy by VERY WIDE margins.
.

Posted by: VJ on April 5, 2006 at 3:46 PM | PERMALINK

All this talk about Florida makes me wonder how much real estate prices are going to go up as land area above sea level decreases.

Daveyo - how far above current sea level do you live?

Posted by: kenga on April 5, 2006 at 3:46 PM | PERMALINK

'daveyo' posted:

"In the 90's the d's past a luxury tax to really hit those bad rich people. Very quickly boat manufacturers closed, upscale stores closed, becaused they realized that adding a tax will only stiffle spending."

I'm afraid that's merely RightWing propaganda. The luxury yacht manufactures sales had plummeted well before the so-called "luxury tax" was ever proposed.

.

"I do favor the flat tax or simply a national sales tax, sounds balanced to me."

Both horribly regressive and heavily favorable to the wealthy. No wonder it "sounds balanced" to you.

.

"At this time the U.S. has the highest percentage and the highest number of home ownership in its history."

We already had that by 2000, and it's only up a smidge from there. But we didn't have the predatory lending, the record high level of home foreclosures, or the record high level of bankruptcies back then.

.

"Unemployment hovers around 4%."

Scam. It's at 9%.

There are fewer workers in the national workforce now, as a percentage, than there were in 2000. How could Unemployment possibly be 4% ?

Stop being so gullible.
.

Posted by: VJ on April 5, 2006 at 3:49 PM | PERMALINK

"It would appear that you were able to get a good rate on a moving van as so many come to the state and leave empty."

So what ? Many people come there for vacation and make the mistake of thinking that that's how everyone lives there. It's too bad, because they really don't know what they're getting into. Think 1 to 1/2 hour commutes each way to and from work, for example.

"Let's see you want to compare crime in NY versus florida."

Hell yeah, I'll put the crime rate of this area up against any area that I lived in in Florida.

"ou honestly believe the property values are 1/3 in NY as they are here in florida."

It's a fact - they are 3 times more expensive than here if you want to live anywhere near a populated area in Florida. My brother's house in the Orlando area that is appraised at $380,000 (6-7 years old at least, stucco, 5-bedroom split-level, nothing special) would go for around $140-150,000 in this area.

"By the year 2010 Florida will pass NY in population. So for all of us warm floridians let me thank you for making room for the masses that are moving here from your new state."

Wow, burned me with a "warm" joke, huh ? I like it with the change of seasons. In Florida, it's over 80 degress by 10:00am almost every day for 8-9 months out of the year. If you have to actually work for a living instead of sitting on your ass in a retirement community or at the beach, then you spend a huge amount of time in air conditioning, and as soon as you get out into the warm air you start sweating your balls off. It gets old very fast. Here in NY we get a nice spring with all of the flowers, a great summer with warm, but not real hot weather, a great fall with the leaves, and a great winter with pond hockey, snow during Christmas, etc. We also don't have half-sand/half-crab grass that passes for a yard, random roach, ant, and termite infestations, hurricanes, out-of-control wildfires, and water restrictions and all of the other numerous problems you have in Florida due to overpopulation. You do realize that they are trying to undo all of the fresh water drainage canals that they built for the Everglades in order to try and stem the problems they have with running out of fresh water ? It seems they figured early on that they needed that land for homes, but damn, they were wrong.

"I am sorry that you were unable to get an education."

I'm sorry that you can't comprehend what I've written.

Posted by: OhNoNotAgain on April 5, 2006 at 3:58 PM | PERMALINK

The US debt held by China et al is denominated in $s. To repay them,just print $s.

After all, just printing tons of money worked for Weimar Germany, didn't it....

*sigh* I suppose he's never heard of hyper-inflation, has he?

Posted by: Stefan on April 5, 2006 at 4:35 PM | PERMALINK

Sigh, I guess Stefan,in a hurry to put up yet another opinion, didn't bother to read the rest of the comment. sigh. I guess when you consistently pick and choose your rhetoric,you lose the sense of the comment very quickly.
I have heard of Weimar. In fact,I have a few stamps from the period.

Posted by: TJM on April 5, 2006 at 5:33 PM | PERMALINK

"The debt held by the public ratio to GDP shows the relative ability of the country to service the debt. At $4.5 trillion versus a GDP of close to $12 Trillion,the level is manageable."

Heh, now thats some regular american reasoning: "My debt is only half my income, so I'm good!"

All we have to do is raise taxes about 20% overall and we can even stop the debt from increasing.

Posted by: jefff on April 5, 2006 at 5:39 PM | PERMALINK

jefff,that's some regular ciphering there,37% becomes 50%. Lots of companies do quite well with debt to equity ratios of 2.5 to 1. ($4.7 trillion to $2 trillion income).Math not a skill for you? Sort of like ESL?

Posted by: TJM on April 5, 2006 at 7:14 PM | PERMALINK

Heh, I think my joke is no further from reality than your corporate debt/equity vs federal debt/GDP comparison. Equity is not at all similar to GDP or income.

Debt to sales seems to me to be a much closer corporate analogy to federal debt to tax revenues, and 2.5 would be a very high ratio. The telecom industry averaged .85 circa 2003, and that is a very capital intensive debt heavy industry that was then enduring a lot of bankruptcies, Ford is at about 1.4 another very capital intensive and troubled company. A company with a 2.5 debt to sales ratio would probably be showing up in lists of companies likely to go bankrupt. Being a national government is certainly a wierd industry, however so I don't find such comparisons all that informative.

I get alarmed by more basic things, like 10% of the federal budget going to pay interest on a growing debt.

Posted by: jefff on April 5, 2006 at 9:37 PM | PERMALINK

It's actually more akin to debt to operating income and 2.5 is sort of in the middle. The real question is what would it take for the Congress to reduce expenditures in order to stop using Social Security taxes to finance operating deficits. If for example,defense spending was reduced to 3% of GDP (higher than every other country but less than today),the country just raised 360 Billion of incremental debt service.
All these ratios are attempts to predict. Unfortunately,people are involved and as Poe pointed out in the opening of the Murders in the Rue Morgue,that's complicated.

Posted by: TJM on April 5, 2006 at 10:07 PM | PERMALINK

Why's everybody always pickin' on me?

Posted by: paris hilton on April 5, 2006 at 10:59 PM | PERMALINK

The current federal debt stands at 65.7 percent of GDP.

"Manageable" ?

Hardly.

To finance the current account deficit with the rest of the world, the federal government has to import $2.6 billion in cash. EVERY WORKING DAY. That is 80 percent of the entire world's net savings.
.

Posted by: VJ on April 5, 2006 at 11:27 PM | PERMALINK

If you are that much in debt. Aren't illegal mexican workers RICHER ON AVERAGE than Americans?

They don't bring debts with them!

Posted by: McA on April 5, 2006 at 11:39 PM | PERMALINK

Another reason it's good to be super rich in America (maybe elsewhere the same reason - don't know) is that banks etc. pay higher interest rates on bigger accounts. Since any dollar earns the bank the same, they should pay the same interest rate on all accounts. This should be a big populist issue, but somehow doesn't (?) get talked about.

Posted by: Gadfly on April 6, 2006 at 10:11 AM | PERMALINK

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