The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

It’s Never Enough for Liberals

Posted on | January 4, 2013 | 37 Comments

Having just raised taxes — before the “ink from the autopen” is even dry — Democrat Maxine Waters is demanding still more:

The first thing that we’ve got to do is look at where we still have unfairness in the tax system and make sure that the people of influence, the billionaires and the millionaires and the corporate interests are paying their fair share.

Meanwhile, Donald Douglas reports, liberal talk-radio host Thom Hartmann wants America to “outlaw billionaires“:

I think we should have a wealth tax in the United States and I think all wealth over $1 billion should be taxed at the 100 percent rate. If you can’t make it on a thousand million dollars, a billion dollars is a million dollars a thousand times, if you can’t make it on a billion dollars, well, there is no therefore. There’s nobody who can’t make it on a billion dollars. So, any wealth over a billion dollars, a hundred percent of it goes to help those of us who have less. You can call it redistribution of wealth, that’s fine, I am perfectly comfortable with that language. I think we should outlaw billionaires.

Eliminationist rhetoric“! But what about those Qatari billionaires who just bought Al Gore’s Current TV? Should they have been outlawed before or after they paid Gore a cool $100 million?

Bookmark and Share

Comments

  • http://twitter.com/RickBulow1974 Rick Bulow

    This is S (tandard) O (perating) P (rocedure) for “Mad” Maxine Waters.

    Anyone remember this beaut with the Oil Companies in 2009?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O00vEv8QXLU -Maxine Waters Admits She’s a Socialist

  • http://alanye.com/ Dai Alanye

    An income tax is a penalty on working for a wage, while a wealth tax is a penalty on the hoarding of money and money equivalents. In addition, an income tax is a means of preventing the accumulation of wealth. By all the standards I know of, an income tax is one of the worst methods of paying for government.

    Warren Buffett and George Soros, among many others, want an increase in income tax rates because it will hardly affect them, while making it seem they are “paying their fair share.”

    A tax on wealth makes more sense than on income, although 100% is beyond ridiculous. But we can be certain that a wealth tax (on ALL forms of wealth, no exemptions) of as little a 2% a year would cause Warren Buffett’s head to explode, and would bring in an appreciable amount of money, near to a billion bucks per year from him alone.

    There’s also a strong argument for bringing in more money through higher tariffs, even though it would slow foreign trade. Anything that would hurt China more than the US sounds like a good idea to me.

  • http://opinion.ak4mc.us/ McGehee

    You know what would make even more sense than bringing in more revenue?

    CUTTING SPENDING.

    Besides, if the purpose of the tax code is to raise revenue (as it ought to be), it makes more sense to tie it to economic activity than to plunder people’s savings.

  • Cube

    if you can’t make it on a billion dollars, well, there is no therefore

    Tell that to the US government. Sauce for the goose, etc

  • http://twitter.com/Alvin691 Alvin691

    So the kids pooping on police cards (OWS) get their way and the people told to be part of the system and be civil (Tea Party) are ignored and called dead.

  • http://alanye.com/ Dai Alanye

    It goes without saying that spending is always the main problem, for individuals and private businesses as well as government. But…

    1. The income tax doesn’t relate directly to economic activity any more than does wealth accumulation or any other private use of money.
    2. If you examine the fortunes of our federal legislators you’ll see exactly why they favor a tax that hits the low end of the economic scale far more than the upper end.
    3. The question from the fiscal point of view isn’t WHETHER to plunder people’s savings but WHEN–before they save or after. Income tax grabs the money before it can be utilized for any taxpayer’s purpose.
    4. By and large, a tax policy favored by Buffett and Soros is one we ought to oppose.

  • jsn2

    There are to many able bodied freeloading Americans who choose not to work and therefore pay no taxes. We feed them, give them a place to live, pay their utilities, provide cash for miscellaneous expenses, provide healthcare, send them unemployment of disability payments, pay them to have children and provide daycare for those children.
    A freeloader and make the equivalent of up to $36,000.00/year.

    That is what’s unfair. Maxine Waters can shove it.

  • scarymatt

    Yes, and 640K ought to be enough for anyone.

  • scarymatt

    A wealth tax also seems like a sure fire way to maximize economic distortion with taxes. The first thing (as we keep saying) is to cut out stuff that the government shouldn’t be spending. Then we should figure out ways to raise enough revenue while distorting the economy the least.

    One thing that I’m amazed never comes up is increased oil / gas revenues from public drilling. It seems like almost like free money, when you consider the consumer benefits due to increase in supply plus overall increased economic activity taking place here instead of Canada or Mexico or Saudi Arabia. Probably not a major revenue stream, but then neither were the current tax increases.

  • http://opinion.ak4mc.us/ McGehee

    5. Once I’ve earned the money, what I do with it shouldn’t be any of your business, unless I’ve created the job you’ve been hired to do, in which case I’ll sign your paycheck.

    6. Just because Buffett and Soros are hypocrites doesn’t mean all wealth should be thrown to the pigs.

  • http://www.thepiratescove.us/ William_Teach

    Outlaw billionaires? That would be a bummer for Dems, who have Warren Buffett, Larry Ellison, Mike Bloomberg, George Soros, a few of the Google guys, Mark Zuckerberg, and others on their side who make massive campaign contributions.

  • http://www.thepiratescove.us/ William_Teach

    “In addition, an income tax is a means of preventing the accumulation of wealth”

    The point of an income tax is to provide government with the means to perform their core legal duties, not to be a means to control behavior and the lives of citizens, either through punishment or reward.

  • http://alanye.com/ Dai Alanye

    Every tax causes economic distortion of one type or another. If Obama manages to tax the air we breathe we’ll immediately begin looking for ways to avoid deep breathing. The question is which tax is preferable.

    As far as increased production of hydrocarbons, there would be tax benefits brought about by an improved economy even if the production itself weren’t taxed.

  • http://alanye.com/ Dai Alanye

    Re 5: Sorry, but the income tax doesn’t agree with you. Once you’ve earned money a portion of it immediately belongs to the government.

    Re 6: Buffett, Soros and others in that range make use of wonderful loopholes and investments that avoid the taxes you and I (well, I, at least) are subject to. Trust funds, annuities, special treatment of specific investments are far more useful to the rich that to persons of modest income. Consider even charitable deductions, many of which go to pressure groups that advance the political views of the donors. Even if the average individual were supplied free with the services of tax lawyers and accountants he wouldn’t have much to work with.

    And our Congress-critters are part of this group. It’s difficult to find anyone who’s been in Congress for more than a couple terms who isn’t a millionaire. The opportunities to make money somehow seem to flow to them.

  • http://alanye.com/ Dai Alanye

    All taxes, whether for stamps on public documents, poll taxes or income taxes are tacitly a means of affecting behavior. ALL taxes. Some cause rebellions against a distant parliament, others merely prevent the rise of hard-working individuals. Each and every tax has a secondary function, whether deliberate on the part of the government or simply incidental. As I see it, the secondary effects of the income tax–penalizing work and limiting saving–are among the worst. Withholding taxes from wages aggravates the problems.

  • scarymatt

    My point was that the wealth tax is worse than the income tax, which seems to be the opposite of what you seemed to be saying.

    You said, “a wealth tax is a penalty on the hoarding of money and money equivalents.” Another way you might describe “hoarding” might be successful investing.

    But yes, I can see few downsides to increased public drilling, except maybe for the private land holders who have to face more competition for getting someone to exploit the resources to which they own the rights. It’s even an environmental plus, since we’re generally more careful than other countries are about that sort of thing.

  • JeffS

    Maxine can kiss my ass.

  • http://alanye.com/ Dai Alanye

    We’re in dispute on which is the worse tax, but no matter. Any tax is harmful, and our goal should be to minimize them, which ultimately translates into cutting spending.

    I began a while back to argue in favor of a wealth tax for billionaires in opposition to a higher income tax rate for the “super rich” who make $200,000 per year. In other words, if Obama wants to make sure the rich pay “their fair share,” let’s go after his buddies (in many cases) the truly rich, and in a way that they can’t avoid.

    But I’d be fairly happy if we simply closed some of those loopholes that allow Warren Buffett to live high on the hog while his poor secretary scrabbles to live on her mere $150,000 or whatever she makes. When we see the disappearance of gimmicks such as hedge funds we’ll know that progress is being made.

  • scarymatt

    I’m against all arguments for taxation due to emotional fairness arguments. I prefer to consider the tradeoffs involved between revenue and consequences.

    And I think it’s impossible to overestimate the creativity of people when it comes to avoiding taxes, which means that there will always be more unintended consequences.

    Given there just isn’t that much money (from Leviathan’s point of view, anyways) to be gotten in the first place from some sort of billionaires tax, such an endeavor seems very highly likely to have more consequences than revenue.

  • http://alanye.com/ Dai Alanye

    You do realize, I hope, that it’s Obama making the claim for “fairness,” a highly subjective concept at best.

    I also hope you aren’t arguing in favor of the income tax, a fiscal swindle the founders overlooked, thereby requiring an amendment to the Constitution. (Although so would a wealth tax, I suppose.) In the final analysis I say only this, that the income tax should go, as should loopholes and exemptions that protect the extraordinarily wealthy but do little for the rest of us.

  • scarymatt

    Here I’m only arguing in favor of the income tax relative to the proposed wealth tax.

  • http://alanye.com/ Dai Alanye

    Glad to hear it. You’re mistaken, of course, but at least our ideals coincide. ;~}

  • http://thecampofthesaints.org Bob Belvedere

    I favor neither the Income Tax nor a Wealth Tax for many of the reasons laid out by you Gentlemen in your discussions.

    The one national tax should be a single amount flat tax levied on every person eighteen years of age and older. The Congress should be required to pass a budget for the fiscal year [01 October] at least five months before the start of it. The amount needed to fund it should be calculated, divided by the number of 18+ citizens, and bills issued in July [perhaps on the 4th] with payments due on 01 September [or maybe Labor Day].

    Anyone not paying the tax would not be allowed to vote for elections to the Congress or for Presidential Electors.

    Possible alternative: Only property owners and their spouses should be taxed and allowed to vote.

  • Pingback: Friday Free For All: A Tough Road Ahead « Nice Deb

  • physicsnut

    google “daily kos how to ban guns step by step”
    google “The Economist gun control that works”
    They say it, not me.

  • Finrod Felagund

    Make the tax bill due on Election Day.

  • Pingback: Don’t Blame Me « Obi's Sister

  • http://twitter.com/bjm2009 bjm2009

    Actually Buffett is an unusual billionaire, he lives rather modestly, not “high on the hog”.

    Given that much of Buffett’s wealth is invested in commodities, manufacturing and railroads, not sitting in a bank, I’m not sure how the govt would prohibit earnings or confiscate it. However, in the end we’d be paying the tax, not Buffett, as prices are raised on goods & services produced by his investments. In the marketplace taxes are a pass-through expense, not a pool of money.

    When will voters realize the simple fact that the more something is taxed the less you will have of both tax revenue and the thing taxed.

    As you can see by the whining as the SS tax holiday ended that ordinary taxpayers are not happy working to pay extra taxes. What makes you think the wealthy are any different? They would would adjust earning or holdings to avoid the tax ceiling.

    Closing loopholes sounds great until Progressive Pols realize that it hits voters in blue states the hardest. The real money is in middle class deductions, not business or the wealthy.

    Means testing the mortgage deduction has been whispered, but the ceiling would have to be very high to avoid massive default in states like CA, FL & NY. It wouldn’t bring in significant revenue without inflicting financial damage to homeowners barely hanging on or underwater. The real estate market would implode even further bringing the banks back to the brink. So I think we can agree, that’s a non-starter,

    Let’s look at a few more;

    Medical expense and/or health insurance deductions? Child-dependent deductions? Educational deductions? EITC for moderate-low income earners? Charitable deductions? IRA or other tax deferred retirement plan contributions?

    How many of these deductions, aka loopholes, can you afford to lose? How many do you think the Dems would vote to means test or close?

    The largest pool of assets/money still resides with the middle class, Once the pool of billionaire/millionaire money is exhausted, which won’t take long, they’ll work their way down to the rest of us, bracket by bracket, loophole by loophole and Oprah will still have her pillow fluffers and private chefs. Life is not fair.

  • http://alanye.com/ Dai Alanye

    Thanks for simplifying things so I can understand. ;~}

    But you’ve used an awful lot of words to get across a simple message, which seems to be, “We’re doomed! Nothing can be changed for the better. It’s all downhill from here.”

    Naah, I don’t think so. Unconstructive loopholes and harmful special deals can be rescinded at a moderate speed so as to do minimal damage. I’m talking evolution here, not revolution.

    Yet changes must be made, or at least attempted so as to put the Dems on the spot. We know that Obama, through ignorance and narcissistic ego gratification, will resist anything constructive, but we ought to give it a try.

  • http://profiles.google.com/rob5136 Rob Crawford

    You’d risk letting that filthy orifice near your anus?

  • http://profiles.google.com/rob5136 Rob Crawford

    So?

  • http://twitter.com/bjm2009 bjm2009

    “1. The income tax doesn’t relate directly to economic activity any more than does wealth accumulation or any other private use of money.”

    What?

  • http://alanye.com/ Dai Alanye

    My statement was in response to a claim that the income tax was somehow more beneficial than other taxes since it related directly to economic activity. (What bull, eh?)

    We’re being exceedingly subtle and nuanced on this thread. Fail to pay close attention, or miss the context, and you fall behind the curve.

  • SDN

    Day before. You want the voters to have overnight to stoke the rage.

  • Patrick Carroll

    A tax of 100% on everything over a billion dollars will ensure nobody will try to be worth more than a billion dollars. Well, within the USA, anyway. Wealth will either not be created, or will be exported. The end result is we’ll all be poorer.

    Politicians may know about rabble-rousing, but they know very little about economics.

  • Wombat_socho

    I see what you did there.

  • Pingback: From around the blogroll « THE FIRST STREET JOURNAL.