Social Question

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Should society really punish the rich or is it just sour grapes of the poor?

Asked by Hypocrisy_Central (26798points) November 10th, 2010

Is the bitterness against the rich just sour grapes of the poor? Why shouldn’t the rich enjoy the fruits of their labor? In a Nightline interview even President Obama alluded to the fact that punishing the rich for living the American dream is not the way to go. He said that is why so many want to come here, they have the opportunity to make money with out the government swooping in and stealing it from them. That a man or woman can come to America build a quality product or provide a needed service and possibly earn a lot from it. Sure, there are some bad apples who cheated their way to the top and those who got there on the coat tails of their parents, but to penalize all the people who did it right—those you hardly hear about—-, would be like penalizing all gun owners for was the Columbine and Beltway snipers did? When someone acts like a jerk with a gun we don’t punish everyone in the NRA, so why try to punish all the rich for the few Berny Madoffs out there.

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60 Answers

Cruiser's avatar

IMO Tax wise, I think the rich punished plenty, it is that 50% of the wage earners who pay little or no income tax and many of them actually get money back. That I think is a pretty unfair way to pay for the freedoms and benefits we all enjoy. Plus it is this 50% of those wage earners who pay little or no taxes are the ones who bitch the loudest about how crummy our government is. Go figure!

josie's avatar

Society does not punish the rich.
Ammoral politicians punish the rich.

GeorgeGee's avatar

I personally like a society where it is possible to get rich, and where more effort and better ideas translate into better living.
But this became warped in the US recently. It became “let the rich rape their own companies. When they cry that their companies have no money left, have the US Treasury print some more money to re-fill the coffers, because they’re too big to fail.” The average citizen, his children and grandchildren, will be paying for these excesses for the next century.

absalom's avatar

The problem with this question is that it presumes taxation is a punishment.

Response moderated (Flame-Bait)
marinelife's avatar

What is with this obsession with the rich? Why do you assume class warfare? Why do you assume that everyone is as obsessed with the rich as you are?

Also, why do you assume a fair amount of taxation is “punishment”? It is simply the rich paying their fair share.

kess's avatar

If society seeks to punish the rich,
Where then will the cycle end?
Who is going to throw the first stone?

Most societies are driven by the desire to be rich.

So the poor will cast stones until they are being stoned themselves.

iamthemob's avatar

Taxes are not punishment at all. I wouldn’t argue they’re perfect, but consider this: In 2007, the top 5% of income earners paid over half of the federal income tax revenue. However, as of 2004, the top 5% hold 59.2% of wealth. The top 1% of income earners paid 25% of the total income tax revenue. Again however, the top 1% hold 23.5% of wealth.

Despite the systems many, many faults, that’s an almost perfectly fair coordination. What taxes do in many ways is function (at least they should) like an insurance policy against massive wide-spread poverty. Sure, the wealthy could keep it all. But most countries that allow the wealthy to do that have to deal with the fall out from the kind of poverty found in dictatorships and theocratical regimes.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I don’t see the rich being punished.

iamthemob's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir – is casting wads of cash the same as casting stones?

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@iamthemob Nice q, can you elaborate?

iamthemob's avatar

more sass than content, @Simone_De_Beauvoir – since stoning was considered a penalty back in the day (and now sometimes unfortunately) I was wondering if we considered hurling big wads of cash at the rich as some modern form of the punishment. ;-)

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@iamthemob I think it’s pandering is more like it, rather than punishment.

iamthemob's avatar

If that’s how you pander, @Simone_De_Beauvoir – you can pander me all night long

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@iamthemob If you wear capris, I will

wundayatta's avatar

When did taxation become punishment?

The US government provides all kinds of benefits that allow people to get rich. There are all kinds of regulations to level the playing field. There is an economic infrastructure that stabilizes the forms of exchange that we use, and that create trust in that infrastructure. There is the physical infrastructure and tax breaks used to support the means of making money.

I’d say it’s more like should society continue to let the rich steal from them by not paying their fair share of the taxes?

iamthemob's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central – can you clarify what you meant by punishment at some point?

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

Everyone else has commented on the whole “why is taxation punishment” thing, so I’ll comment on the sour grapes of “the poor”. Do you know why “the poor” are entitled to feel sour about “the rich”? Because most of “the rich” wave it around so much and demand special treatment because of their financial status, that they might as well be waving their asses in the faces of “the poor” and demanding a kiss.

CMaz's avatar

And then their children grow up thinking that behavior is normal.
Expect you to kiss their ass. ;-)

YARNLADY's avatar

@WillWorkForChocolate Name one person who does that, besides Sarah Palin. I, personally, know of thousands of rich people who are nothing like that. You are way off base.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

@YARNLADY I’m way off base? You’re in denial. I personally live in a town with thousands of wealthy people who are exactly like that. And many of “the rich” are like that even if you don’t see it with your own eyes. And by waving it around, I mean even having a 5 car garage filled with high end cars that cost more than three times what my house cost.

And their kids are so fucking spoiled that I have to shell out more money than what I have on my daughter’s clothes, otherwise a lot of her classmates would make fun of her. And yes, I do know that for a fact, because we moved here when I was 10 and I lived through the horrors of being a poor teenager who couldn’t afford Prada and Gucci. It’s horribly damaging to the self esteem. So I have good reason to know what I’m talking about and to know exactly what “the rich” are like.

I’m not saying 100% of them are like that, but most are. If they’ve got it, they flaunt it. And it pisses me off.

YARNLADY's avatar

@WillWorkForChocolate Wait, you are blaming your own envy and low self esteem on someone else? Answer me this, if you were rich, would keep it a secret from everyone, and wear cheap clothes, live in a cheap house, and drive an old clunker of a car. I think not.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

@YARNLADY I have no envy, but I did have self esteem issues for a long time because of the way the rich teens treated me. And no, I wouldn’t keep it a secret, but I wouldn’t be crass enough to be showing off either. There’s a difference between having money and flaunting money. If you can’t see that, then it’s on you dear.

jerv's avatar

Define “punish the rich”.

I do not see altering the tax system such that the rich do not have a lower effective marginal tax rate than the middle-class to be “punishment”.

I do not see having the top 1% of income earners paying around 25% of all income tax as punishing when you consider that they earn nearly 25% of all the income. If you want to pay less taxes, lower your income!

I do not see limiting CEO compensation to a mere 100 times the median income of that company’s workers to be especially punishing; it still rewards success without leading to an economic collapse due to an over-centralization of capital. If you make all the money then how are other people going to buy what your company is selling?

I do not see taking back ill-gotten gains as especially punishing either. Some people did get rich legitimately, but many got rich at the undue expense of others, whether it be denying necessary medical care and killing people to enhance the corporate bottom line (and thus your performance bonus), or quadrupling your own income while the wages of your workers remain flat.

I believe that hard work and ingenuity should be rewarded… and those rewards shouldn’t go only to the hard-working and/or ingenious people that already have “fuck you” money.

iamthemob's avatar


I’m there with you – except when it comes to salary caps. Companies get to decide what they pay their people, and the only limitations should be what the minimum they pay is.

What needs to happen is the SEC needs to ADVERTISE the compensation decisions in a way that everyone can understand. Public companies are required to make full disclosure of the compensation – including much of the individual contracts, and these are posted on its site. Transparency is pretty good – it’s just really difficult to get the bullet points, which is what the public needs.

The SEC needs to figure out what everyone needs to know, and know that not everyone’s going to be able to pour through everyone’s 10ks and 8ks.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@absalom @marinelife The problem with this question is that it presumes taxation is a punishment. The problem with the answer it is assumes it is about taxes. I don’t recall mentioning taxes and I wrote it, so,…………

@iamthemob can you clarify what you meant by punishment at some point? Even though this is suppose to be the enlighten more wise Q&A I often have to lay the bread crumbs right to it when taking into account the whole thread. What I envisioned falling under this punishment was somewhat but not limited to the comments @WillWorkForChocolate. Governments would be the ones to punish the rich because they are the only ones who can tax the rich. Society on the other hand deals it out in different ways, maligning them, insulting them, giving them the cold shoulder to even vandalizing their property. The Boorish rich even I don’t like but I also don’t like the Boorish poor either. I can see part of this punishment is to expect or think that if the rich use their wealth to acquire what it can bring they should feel bad about it because those who can’t afford it will feel bad. Do we expect those who are poor and on the government dole to not look poor in case some hardworking tax payer see then heading off to the store with her EBT card and 3 small children in tow? Maybe be should forgo some of that cereal so she can buy better shoes and look as if she worked for the money and is a member of the working class so some hardworking tax payer don’t just assume she is a lazy welfare queen mooching off the system? If she looks poor because she is poor that is life. If some bloke can spend $180 on sunshades something I think is stupid let him. I don’t want to be told I have to by this car or that TV because “_I don’t want to have to think maybe I am supporting you somehow through my taxes”_.

iamthemob's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central thanks – I asked because I wasn’t sure how taxation came into the conversation…and didn’t want to start assuming that this was the only possibility.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central I have no idea why you were directing a government punishment comment to me, since I didn’t say anything about the government or taxation at all. As for the rest of the comment, I have no clue how it was relevant to what I said.

jerv's avatar

@iamthemob Part of me wants to agree with you and let companies pay their CEOs whatever they want to, but part of me says that there isn’t a company in the world that has survived solely by having a good CEO. For instance, when Apple was tanking, Steve Jobs managed to turn it around and save Apple from oblivion, so I would agree that he added considerable value to the company, but not by himself.
If you show me a CEO that can draw up a business plan, and single-handedly execute it, then I will show you a guy that is worth what many of these guys are getting. I don’t see the average insurance company CEO personally processing all of the claims and answering every phone, so I am going to say that the people underneath him provide enough value to the company to at least be worth cost-of-living raises and maybe a little profit-sharing. A lot of companies won’t do that, and some even reward failure in their top execs with golden parachutes when they should be kicked to the unemployment line like any other employee that fails to perform the duties of their position.

I agree that transparency and bullet points would be a good thing. It;s hard enough for the public to make informed decisions even when they do have enough information to do so, so why make it harder by continuing the current obscurity/secrecy?

YARNLADY's avatar

@jerv I like when the company stock is tied to the salary of the executives and employees. Then they get the salary they deserve.

jerv's avatar

@YARNLADY I like the idea of a rising tide lifting all boats.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@WillWorkForChocolate I was not directing it your way, just using the sentiment many have against the rich as to why society punishes the rich in ways other than being taxed. I guess I failed to say it was not you specific, but a class thing. I know many working class and poor; even some middle class people that share your view, Because most of “the rich” wave it around so much and demand special treatment because of their financial status, that they might as well be waving their asses in the faces of “the poor” and demanding a kiss. That was the only thing that made you revlevant to the answer is because many others think that way. And you are fine to believe it, this is America.

absalom's avatar


I’d love to respond to what you’re saying but – and I mean this in all seriousness – I can’t understand a single sentence you’ve written here. Can you explain it more coherently?

Are you implying that the occasional bitter comment or ‘cold shoulder’ is any substantial kind of ‘punishment’ imposed on the rich? I have been received a cold shoulder from rich people, but that’s not punishment. Why call it what it’s not?

Let me go back to your original question, which is written more clearly and which, contrary to what you’re saying, refers to taxes.

Why shouldn’t the rich enjoy the fruits of their labor?

One of the first things you wrote in the details. This is what seems to me (and many others, I’m sure) to be alluding to taxation. What else could possibly prevent the wealthy from ‘enjoying the fruits of their labor’? Do malignant people or cold shoulders affect, in any substantial way, how they spend and enjoy their money? No, of course not. This question is why we thought you were referring to taxes. We also probably thought no one would be silly enough to believe that the occasional class warfare (in the form of frozen shoulders, no less) could be considered anything substantial (viz. ‘punishment’ – really?).

I’m always kind of amused and bemused by this question, which people tend to ask to rhetorically interrogate the legitimacy of anything from socialized health care to tax increases within certain brackets. It’s a specious question because it implies something is actually greatly inhibiting the wealthy from enjoying their wealth. Nothing is, not actually.

He said that is why so many want to come here, they have the opportunity to make money with out the government swooping in and stealing it from them.

Oh, look, another reference to taxes. What do you mean the problem with my answer is that it assumes you’re talking about taxes? What else were we to assume?

… but to penalize all the people who did it right—those you hardly hear about—-

(It hardly happens.)

… would be like penalizing all gun owners for was the Columbine and Beltway snipers did?

What? Again, I’m not seeing what kind of penalty the rich are subjected to.

When someone acts like a jerk with a gun we don’t punish everyone in the NRA, so why try to punish all the rich for the few Berny Madoffs out there.

What? Again, I’m not seeing what kind of punishment the rich are subjected to.

I clicked originally on your question hoping to find details (you know, in the details section), some kind of evidence of the punishment that you’re talking about. But you gave me nothing. You just asked the same question several times in different and increasingly nonsensical ways.

Your question presumes that the rich are being punished somehow. Okay, fine. Now give me examples. That is your job. And don’t respond by bemoaning the fact that you need to lay ‘bread crumbs’ down for us, as though we’re too stupid to understand your question. (In fact it’s your question that’s too stupid to understand)

If you’re going to use incredibly vague language, then you’re going to have to provide bread crumbs at some point. Otherwise a discussion is impossible.

Now, please, explain yourself.

iamthemob's avatar

@absalom – I get your frustration. I don’t know if you’re going to get a real clear answer, though. With some of @Hypocrisy_Central‘s threads…it’s best to throw out examples of what you think it means, or could mean, etc. ... taxation is a good example of what it could mean…I think salary caps are another example.

I think that there is a social stigma attached to the super-wealthy as well. Many times, I think that people are appalled when rich people complain about anything – particularly acts of government, etc. – that will reduce their pay. I can see how there is an argument that they may be the only segment of society that are expected not to complain.

jerv's avatar

@iamthemob In many ways, the uber-rich have just as much right to complain as anyone else. However, when they bitch about taxes, they lose a bit of credibility since they often pay a lower marginal rate than the merely wealthy.
Of course, many of the things they bitch about are things that they can change or things that don’t affect them nearly as much as they affect us mere mortals. I am more likely to take complaints about the price of gas seriously if the complainer has to cut back on their food budget to get to work than if they are somebody who can buy their own personal refinery.

iamthemob's avatar

@jerv – I completely agree. I always get very, very afraid when I hear people resorting to regressive taxing or pricing solutions.

Cruiser's avatar

@jerv You approached your points about the Uber rich rather diplomatically but what you and many do forget to take into account is that much and and in some cases all of the income of the uber rich comes from investment income. Dividends and capital gains are taxed at a much lower rate and rightly so as that investment was already taxed once before at a much higher rate. So when a gazillionare’s tax return has a lower effective rate IMO they earned that rate and already paid once to get and are getting a second reaming of it every year thereafter. Add the 2 tax events together and throw in the corporate taxes many uber rich paid along with it to earn those investments and the amounts are staggering.

iamthemob's avatar

@Cruiser – that math isn’t right, I’m pretty sure. Capital gains taxation is based on the earnings of the originally taxed principle. Therefore, the money is not taxed twice, much the same as you’re not taxed when you sell your home as if you had earned the entire cost of the house…but rather the difference between the base and the sale price.

Like this:

Earner receives 200,000 annual income in 2010 from employer, taxed at 40%, means 120,000 in take home pay.

20,000 of the earnings from that year are invested in stocks of Company A.

At the end of 2011, the owners of the stock of Company A receive a dividend of 2000.

Earner receives 220,000 annual income in 2011 from employer and 2000 from the dividend for 240,000 total. 220,000 taxed at 40%, means 132,000 in take home pay, and the 2000 is taxed at 25% for 1500 to Earner. Therefore, total net earnings for Earner are 133,500 for the year 2011.

All the income was earned in that year – therefore none of it has been taxed. If it had all been salary, the Earner would have been taking home only 133,200 (240,000 taxed at 40%) instead of 133,500.

Because the income from investments isn’t made until the investment itself is made, I don’t see how you are seeing the double taxation here…

Cruiser's avatar

@iamthemob You are correct in your clarification there. But I never said taxed twice but was illustrating that the original taxed money that was invested made profits and those profits are taxed at the lower rates which was to explain these lower tax rates of the rich and also further illustrate just how much taxes overall the rich really do pay and add them all up and the amounts truly are staggering.

Just how much tax should any one individual pay when such a huge percentage of our society pay little of none at all???

iamthemob's avatar

@Cruiser it was this line: So when a gazillionare’s tax return has a lower effective rate IMO they earned that rate and already paid once to get and are getting a second reaming of it every year thereafter. that made me think you considered the capital gains a tax on already-taxed amounts (a double tax). More clear now.

The amounts of the tax paid are staggering, to be sure. However, the amounts earned are even more staggering, so it’s not really fair to look at one side and not the other.

Further, as outlined above, those wealthy enough to have disposable income to invest end up earning more and paying less on it. Someone who earns just enough income to pay bills and put a little bit away doesn’t benefit from the system. I think lower cap gains tax is good because it stimulates investment – but it’s easy to see why that seems unfair as it accelerates the rich getting richer faster.

Finally, regarding the tax burden on smaller portions of the population, I’ll reference this again: in 2007, the top 5% of income earners paid over half of the federal income tax revenue – however, as of 2004, the top 5% hold 59.2% of wealth; the top 1% of income earners paid 25% of the total income tax revenue – gain however, the top 1% hold 23.5% of wealth.

So here’s the thing – if you have 5% of the population with 60% of the revenue, and they’re paying 60% of the taxes, and lets say taxes eat up 30% of the total revenue, then the top 5% is taking home 40% of the revenue in the country. The other 95% of the population has the rest of the 40% of the gross revenue, and after the tax is taken out, they take home 30% of the money.

Therefore, in the end, 5% shares 40% of the annual revenue, and 95% share 30% of the annual revenue. Looking at it this way, we see that tax increases for the most wealthy affect the smallest part of the population that can handle it the most. If you spread the tax out across the population, then the wealthy are relieved of a burden they barely notice, but the rest of the country has to reevaluate their budget.

Put some cash on it. There are 100 people, and $100 for them. 5 of the people pay $20, and take $40 to split between them…so each person gets $8. the other 95 pay $10, and take the remaining $30 to split…and get 32 cents a piece. If we need to take $10 more dollars out for taxes, and we spread it evenly, the rich 5 pay $6 of it, and therefore split $34, and now have just under $7 ($6.80) a piece. The poor 95 pay $4, split $26…and now have only 27 cents a piece.

Now, if that entire burden is shifted to the top five, there’s a big drop in their take home, and it works out that they take home $6, and the 95 keep the 32 cents. If we assume that the 32 cents is enough to live on…then each of the top five, even in this situation, is making 19 times what they need to live. If we spread the cost, the 95 lose about 15% of their income and the 5 are making 21 times what they need to live.

Looking at it solely from the tax side, therefore, it’s difficult from a cost-spreading perspective to justify burdening 95% of the population with a 15% drop in their pay to something potentially below a living wage when they can shift the whole burden to the top 5% and those 5% would still be making enough to feed, cloth, and provide health care for themselves 19 times over.

jerv's avatar

@Cruiser One thing that a lot of people seem to forget is that the reason a lot of people pay little/no taxes is that they barely earn enough to live on in the first place. For someone like my parents, a 1% increase in the tax rate means the difference between vacationing in Europe and vacationing in Arizona. For someone like me, it means the difference between being self-sufficient and being on food stamps… and I am on the low end of those who make enough to have to pay federal income tax, so there are tens of millions worse off than me. People for whom that 1% may make the difference between living inside with regular meals or living on the street eating out of dumpsters and ineligible for food stamps due to lack of an address.

If you want to complain about the fact that nearly half of Americans pay no income tax then how about doing something about the fact that a rather large percentage of Americans really have no income to speak of? Or are you in favor of forcing people to rely on government assistance, thus increasing the amount of revenue needed and the size of the government required to administer such programs (thus increasing revenue requirements even further)?

I really have to wonder how many Conservatives have ever actually been homeless, and how many of those realize how lucky they are to have been able to get out of that situation since it really takes more than just hard work to do so; it requires at least a little luck, especially in the current economy where unemployed people need not apply for many jobs. Yes they do discriminate

I would feel much differently if homelessness and starvation did not exist, but they do. And since they do, I have a real hard time with people bitching about how the rich are victims when there are so many people that don’t even have a cardboard box and a pack of Ramen noodles, and many more that work a lot harder than those fatcats just trying to keep a roof over their heads and food in the table.

Disparity in income leads to disparity in tax burden. Cope.

Cruiser's avatar

@jerv My line of thinking is that if people actually paid some taxes to this behemoth machine they call our Government they may actually give a shit about what it does with their money! These same non paying taxpayers are the ones voting these jamokes into office because hell it doesn’t matter to them what they do as long as they get their free ride!!

jerv's avatar

@Cruiser Maybe in your neck of the woods, but I know a lot of people from many income levels and most of them are too disenfranchised to vote period, or vote based on other issues… except for the rich who don’t want an end to their free ride.

Most poor people don’t want a free ride, and assuming that they do is no better than racism. There are some freeloaders, but there are many more who just want a chance to earn their keep, or be paid a living wage for the hard work that they do.

My line of thinking is that you don’t have to pay taxes to give a shit about what the government does. Nobody wants wasteful morons in power, but the definition of “wasteful” seems to vary along party lines. Many Conservatives consider anything that affects the bottom line to be bad and are all too willing to disregard the human factor as people don’t have a dollar value. Many Liberals are the opposite; help people regardless of what it does to the economy. And you can find that Conservative mindset in the lower income brackets as well, so it doesn’t seem like whether or not you pay taxes really affects political ideology the way you think.

But back to my original point, why not raise incomes to the point where more people pay taxes while still having enough money left over to live on independently? Are huge executive bonuses and eight-digit salaries for the elite so important to you that you would let tens of millions of people (including children) suffer so that those fatcats can pay about half the tax rate of the middle class?

Cruiser's avatar

@jerv Too idealistic a desire. Companies have already shipped a monster portion of our jobs overseas and attempting to raise pay just because it is the right thing to do will only push more jobs offshore. The real change would come from the wasteful spending and unnecessary Government programs and projects. The ones I am talking about are not the ones that provide help and support for those that need it, nor tax breaks for the wealthy but military spending, programs that build bridges to nowhere, governmental perks at a time when everyone else is suffering. There is so much pork and waste in our government it makes me ill. I see it that those are MY dollars going to waste and I vote accordingly and my vote is cast for real concerns not emotionally like I see so many others do. Just my humble opinion.

jerv's avatar

@Cruiser I agree that it is idealistic, but I don’t see any reasonable way to lower the cost of living. Now, if I could get free rent then I would gladly work for the sort of wages normally associated with Mexican farmhands, but so long as 50% of my gross income goes straight to my landlord (and I live in a relatively inexpensive place for the area) then you know damn well that I won’t work cheap.
Of course, I also don’t see how raising average pay would increase overall expenses unless the top guys insist on maintaining the widest pay gap in the history of the world, so I chalk it up to pure American corporate greed.

Personally, the only pork I want to see in government is on the menu at the commissary. But I disapproved of excessive government spending nearly a decade before I was even old enough to vote or pay taxes; I was only 10 when I wrote a rather detailed paper (”Megabucks Mushrooms”) about Reagan’s defense spending. I reiterate that I don’t think you need to pay in to hate government waste, and I know of a lot of people who pay in quite a bit who actually support a lot of the waste, or who vote based on emotion rather than reason, so I see that as a non sequitor.

How about if we had a smarter voting pool? One who was more concerned about Capitol Hill than Jersey Shore? I think we can both agree that that would help things out a bit.

Cruiser's avatar

@jerv I completely agree with your Jersey Whore analogy but people loose sight of Reagan’s Star Wars program is what kept Russia back on their heels and was only second to the Bay of Pigs to how close this country came to nuclear annihilation. Ronalds friendship with Mikael was what kept your pack n play from being a glow in the dark play pen.

jerv's avatar

@Cruiser So our future was sold to creditors in an attempt to transcend Mutually Assured Destruction and our grandkids will be buried in debt as a result, eh? Well, we can argue about the need for military overspending some other time/place.

Even then, it was more like certain companies getting “sweetheart deals” on no-bid contracts. You didn’t have nearly the personal income disparity that you have nowadays. In other words, we had a different set of issues back then. And many of our current problems are a result of having to pay for the Reagan era defense spending (among other things).

YARNLADY's avatar

@jerv Please take a moment to reflect on the possibility that you are the owner of a successfl business. In order to continue to make a profit, you must cut the expenses to the absolute minimum, and that means using foreign production. Why would you deprive your family of a decent income just to remain unprofitable by using domestic labor?

jerv's avatar

@YARNLADY That doesn’t quite fit the situation the way I see it. An analogy more appropriate to the way I see things is, “Are you willing to sell your private villa in the Bahamas and reconsider buying that Gulfstream V so that your company can remain profitable?”.

I have worked for a few successful companies that had to cut costs to the bare minimum in order to remain competitive with foreign competitors. One of my old employers lost the bi-weekly chair massages and the General Manager held off on buying a new Toyota Tacoma due to a cut in his salary, and a few other changes, but we peons all managed to do our 40 hours with no layoffs, and we didn’t pay a single dime more for health insurance despite five years of rising premiums. Hell, we still managed to get profit-sharing! Sure, we didn’t get raises, but the increased employer contribution to our insurance was practically a raise so those of us smart enough to do the math didn’t complain.

My point is that you can cut costs and not screw people over or outsource your labor… unless you are the type of business owner who doesn’t care about people or the quality of your product and is only concerned with the bottom line and your own personal percentage of it. And these days, that is more the rule rather than the exception.

Of course, it would be easier for a small business (and the majority of businesses in the US are small businesses) to be profitable if the big guys paid corporate taxes as that would lower the business tax rates on the little mom-and-pop businesses. But, just like the personal income tax, we would rather go after the moderately successful people in the middle than the big guys at the top. Then again, the big guys can just move offshore completely so you really can’t go after the if you tried…

Basically, we are either stuck with a system that naturally leads to a severe inequality, one that makes our current dichotomy look like a Socialist commune, or we revamp things in a way that will scare many people and piss off quite a few who were doing well under the old system.

There is a way to make the playing field more level than it is while not going so far as to not reward success, but our current system seems to only reward luck, lineage, and ruthlessness, and there are many people who are afraid to change that since they have delusions that they too will become one of the elite if the system remains the same but will lose everything if it changes.

YARNLADY's avatar

the majority of businesses in the US are small businesses says it all. The small businesses in the U. S. are our salvation.

jerv's avatar

@YARNLADY And most of them seem to be more ethical than their bigger cousins :P

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@jerv Of course, it would be easier for a small business (and the majority of businesses in the US are small businesses) to be profitable if the big guys paid corporate taxes as that would lower the business tax rates on the little mom-and-pop businesses. What about if government wasn’t so wasteful? I think more money is lost there and heaped on the back of John Q citizen than what extra any corporation is not paying.

jerv's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central Hard for me to say without doing more data-sifting and number-crunching than I care to do without being paid for it. But considering their revenue compared to that of the US government (including taxes collected from small businesses), I seriously doubt that. Sure, government is inefficient, but not that inefficient!

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@jerv I don’t see or have heard of any corporation or wealthy people sucking 4+ billion that is billion with a B dollars out of the economy every month as the government has done the past 8+ years and counting. Not to mention the waste state side, I would say they are that ineffective and wasteful.

jerv's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central No single corporation has. Of course, there are more rich people and corporations than there are US governments.

Ummm… how much money has outsourcing sent overseas? Or transferring wealth in ways so as to avoid US taxation?

stanleybmanly's avatar

You have it backwards. It’s the rich who punish society. Or rather it is the rich who have arranged the society such that they might punish it, and then do so with great enthusiasm.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

^ Or rather it is the rich who have arranged the society such that they might punish it, and then do so with great enthusiasm.
That would allude to the rich having politicians in their pocket to pull strings at their will, if that is the case why are the tax laws not changed in favor of the rich that they can keep their wealth and not have to give to charity to get exemptions? Should someone take risk, and prevail, or make the right moves it is some conspiracy that it obtained them the wealth they have? That would go back to saying there is a real a succinct ”C-note ceiling” and some wealthy people in some wealth consortium is in control of it deciding who gets to get through and who doesn’t.

stanleybmanly's avatar

“Why are the tax laws not changed in favor of the rich?” What makes you suppose that tax laws don’t already favor the rich?

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

^ What makes you suppose that tax laws don’t already favor the rich?
They favor some just as the tax code favor some of the truly destitute.

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