Social Question

Dutchess_III's avatar

Why are the super rich, the top 1%, so fixated on tax breaks?

Asked by Dutchess_III (42253points) July 3rd, 2018

When you have that much money it seems to me like you’d barely even notice any taxes. Whereas a substantial tax break for middle or lower class families could make a huge difference.

Since I have no idea what it means to have that much money, educate me, please.

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80 Answers

ragingloli's avatar

Greed.
Just like a fat guy just can not stop eating.

zenvelo's avatar

It is Money.

As my mediation yesterday said:

Money is not a product of nature. Money doesn’t grow on trees. . . . Money is an invention . . . a fabrication. . . . Money still facilitates the sharing and exchange of goods and services, but somewhere along the way the power we gave money outstripped its original utilitarian role. . .

We have made money more important than we are, given it more meaning than human life. Humans have done and will do terrible things in the name of money. They have killed for it, enslaved other people for it, and enslaved themselves to joyless lives in pursuit of it. . . .

gorillapaws's avatar

It’s easier to generate revenue by manipulating politicians than through actually innovating and making better products/services. Mainstream Democrats and Republicans alike are very cheap investments for huge returns.

notnotnotnot's avatar

It also helps control workers. Since all tax cuts eventually hurt working people, it ensures that future workers will be less economically-secure and more compliant.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Are they all that evil?

gorillapaws's avatar

@Dutchess_III I’m sure they’re not ALL that evil, but there are plenty of evil ones. See this article about a reporter sneaking into a secret Wall Street party.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, I’m glad I’m not them. And I looked up foie gras, and I’m REALLY glad I’m not them.

johnpowell's avatar

I would think it is sort of like a video game that has a leaderboard. The game is no longer fun but you still grind to climb up.

I imagine the Forbes 500 wealthiest list is like that covered in the semen of a billionaire.

Zaku's avatar

Gorillapaws’ story is closer to what’s really running the world, than their puppets in government, BTW. Maybe I can remember the link for the next time someone asks a question of the sort “Why does the USA [insert foreign policy issue as if there were really a coherent not-thoroughly-business-corrupted reason for US policy]?”

gorillapaws's avatar

@Zaku I think to the 0.01% the world is a joke and the 99.9% are the punchline.

Dutchess_III's avatar

But even the moderately rich just…don’t care. I’m talking those who are making $200,000 or $300,00 a year, or whatever. They just don’t care.

stanleybmanly's avatar

How many people have you met in your lifetime who believed they had enough money? Have you ever met anyone complaining of too much wealth? Re-read and commit to memory what not says about tax cuts. It isn’t universally true. tax cuts CAN be arranged to benefit the man on the street. Such things as a reduction in payroll taxes, but you NEVER see such proposals even suggested, and each and EVERY tax reduction I can recall inordinately benefitted the rich. Those cuts amount to either an increase in deficits or a reduction in services, but here’s the real scam. Those receiving the lopsided benefits always claim that their windfall stimulates the economy and allows them to hire more folks. We’ve all heard the bullshit every time. 9 times out of 10 the rich either pocket the money, offshore it, or get this-take the money they formerly paid in taxes, lend it to the government, thereby financing the debt created largely for their benefit, and collecting interest on money they SHOULD pay in taxes. That’s the way it works folks. That’s how wealth is engineered to defy gravity and ALWAYS flow uphill.

flutherother's avatar

We might want to look at why, in a democracy with one man/woman one vote, the 1% get their way so much of the time.

LadyMarissa's avatar

They have the money to buy what they want from the wannabes who are willing to do ANYTHING to get that rich!!!

seawulf575's avatar

It’s human nature. Greed is inherent in all of us. It always has been.

johnpowell's avatar

The bible disagrees.

LadyMarissa's avatar

Money is the root of ALL evil!!!

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

” Since all tax cuts eventually hurt working people” In what universe is that statement true.

Working people are taxed into oblivion. So much so that there is not really much of a middle class to speak of left. Roughly 50% of a working persons income is stolen in various taxes. Almost none of it will they see back in benefits. A good percentage of what is left then may go to healthcare and hopefully there is enough remaining to cover basic necessities like, um… food. REAL tax cuts most certainly help. Every dollar matters.
It’s sickening to see how tax money is spent. This country practically flushes it down the fucking toilet. A good portion of tax dollars go right into the coffers of the 1%. They love taxes that benefit them and they have any manner of loophole imaginable to separate their money from taxes levied on themselves. Taxation has become a crony capitalist weapon to be used against competition who has not bought or underbid the right politicians.

MrGrimm888's avatar

Yup. Greed. Think Bernie Madeoff. He kept stealing, even after getting billions. To the uber wealthy, there is never enough.

Pinguidchance's avatar

Why are the super rich, the top 1%, so fixated on tax breaks?

We aren’t.

We’re far too busy with charitable causes.

JLeslie's avatar

Not everyone in the top 1% feel the same way about it. Having said that, those most opposed in the top 1% are driven by greed and they likely have a lot of wealth, partly because they watch their money, meaning they hold onto it once earned.

The thing I think everyone should remember is there are a whole hell of a lot of people in the 99%, in fact you can go way below that to very average income earners, who defend fervently against taxing the rich. Isn’t that way more puzzling to you than the people in the 1% who want to protect their own money?

MrGrimm888's avatar

Yes. Republicans make no sense.

notnotnotnot's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me: “Working people are taxed into oblivion.”

nonsense

@ARE_you_kidding_me: “So much so that there is not really much of a middle class to speak of left.”

We know why the middle class disappeared, and it has nothing to do with being taxed too high.

@ARE_you_kidding_me: “Roughly 50% of a working persons income is stolen in various taxes.”

Nope. Less than half that.

@ARE_you_kidding_me: “Almost none of it will they see back in benefits. A good percentage of what is left then may go to healthcare and hopefully there is enough remaining to cover basic necessities like, um… food. REAL tax cuts most certainly help. Every dollar matters.”

You even mention healthcare. Come on.

Ok, let’s try this. Taxes (as in income taxes) are at least supposed to be progressive. Of course they are not nearly progressive enough. But they’re based on income. Same goes for wealth. This means that people are taxed (conceptually) on what they can afford to pay towards a public good or service.

Cutting taxes starves these public goods and services, making cuts seem inevitable. When a public good or service becomes a private one, the “taxation” then becomes regressive.

Let’s take an easy one. You even mentioned it: healthcare. If we had a single-payer system, working class people would pay less for their healthcare, because funding based on taxation could be progressive (higher rates for the wealthy). But because a basic human right is privatized, the “taxation” is regressive. Working and poor people pay a much higher percentage of their income on it.

Whether it’s the good old “welfare” of the past or social security, public roads, police, fire, public schools, etc – the rich would love to privatize. This means less burden on them, and pain for the working class.

Now, what our taxes go towards is another issue. But saying that you don’t benefit from every program is missing the point. You are not supposed to. You live in a society with different needs. But paying your peanuts in taxes isn’t the reason you’re not living the good life. It’s what makes the difference between a decent society and a Libertarian nightmare. I’m anti-capitalist, and would love to see a complete change in our economic system. But if you have any interest in maintaining private power, calling for a privatization of everything is not the safest route, but that is for another topic (see: why the New Deal happened).

seawulf575's avatar

I still say that we need a flat tax on income. Not just earned income…all income. No deductions, no loopholes. Set it at 10% to start and see where we are. That would eliminate the view that the rich are not paying their fair share.

Response moderated
ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

@notnotnotnot I don’t think you understand how money actually works, how it flows where all the various taxes are hidden and why tax and spend is not some robin hood scenario.

notnotnotnot's avatar

^ compelling response

Dutchess_III's avatar

@LadyMarissa…It’s ”for the love of money is the root of all evil.” I’m glad I discovered that disclaimer at some point. I don’t think money by itself is evil. But the things people will do to get more and more and more of it can be evil.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

@notnotnotnot
Enlighten me then how working class tax burden is only 25% (spoiler: it’s not) how the middle class has really disappeared or how spreading the obscene costs of healthcare around will magically make it affordable. You say you are anti-capitalist but even you should understand that healthcare issues are centered around cost and regulating how much something should cost is a much better approach than just splitting the bill.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Controlling those costs is the best argument yet for socialized healthcare, and one of the big reasons all other first world nations have elected to embrace it.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Good regulations on the economics driving up the cost of healthcare does not equate to socialism. Socialism is not a bad thing either provided it’s not too draconian and can be run efficiently and fairly. I’m for free markets just not laissez faire capitalism. To keep things “free” market we must regulate to keep it fair. Americans have been subsidizing the “socialist” healthcare programs of other countries far too long. Instating our own is not likely to have the effect many think that it will. Not until this is rectified.

MollyMcGuire's avatar

Because they are the ones who pay the taxes. It’s not rocket science.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I meant so they save $50,000 in in a year…but they have millions and millions and billions of dollars. They can’t even feel that money. It would be like you or me just obsessing over whether or not we got that extra 25¢ deposited into our checking account. What is the big deal? Just pay your taxes, like the rest of us.

MrGrimm888's avatar

@MollyMcGuire . The wealthy in America, could not be so elsewhere. They reap all the benefits of the country, and yet go out of their way not to pay their share. You have to force wealthy people to contribute. Otherwise, they wouldn’t pay a dime…

Dutchess_III's avatar

@MollyMcGuire… it just hit me what you said….are you from America? Do you think the wealthy are the only ones who pay taxes?

stanleybmanly's avatar

Did you ever notice how it is always the rich who complain loudest about how they are being soaked and so heavily overtaxed, yet somehow manage to be the only segment of the society consistently growing richer?

Dutchess_III's avatar

Lacking for nothing. Lacking for absolutely nothing. Vying over who has the most expensive yacht.

seawulf575's avatar

It’s an interesting thing about money. You never seem to have enough. If you are making $60k a year, you know you could use lots more money for things to make your lives better. If you are making $6M a year, you have more stuff, but you are always looking for just a little more. Greed is greed. If I was making millions each year, I wouldn’t care about the taxes because I have a much simpler life style. But my lifestyle could change and get more expensive, requiring more money for me to feel comfortable. The problem we run into with today’s society is that there are a whole lot of people trying to decide how much someone should have and what they should do with their money. That is a slippery slope. What if someone one day decided you make too much and suddenly thought you should use your money differently?

MrGrimm888's avatar

^But that’s not a fair assessment of the situation.
I don’t try, or have the resources to hide my earnings, and pay as little taxes as possible. All the while manipulating a system designed to keep the wealthy as rich as possible. The right offs, offshore accounts, and other shady dealings are benefits that the majority of people cannot take advantage of.

It’s not like the wealthy pay a fair share to begin with. Not at ALL…

seawulf575's avatar

There are absolutely loopholes. That’s why I am such a fan of a flat tax with no deductions and no loopholes. But my comment was not on whether the rich pay enough or not. My comment was on human greed and how we look at it. And I find it sadly humorous at how many point fingers. I have seen in the past times where things have changed and suddenly one that was pointing fingers was suddenly being pointed at. Human kind has always had the haves and have nots. Always. It is a fact. And the haves always want more and will go to great lengths to get it. The have nots always want more but, lacking the force to take it, point at the haves. Just a fact of life.

stanleybmanly's avatar

the have nots always have the force to take it, because THEY have the numbers a fact of which the haves are crucially aware, and the have nots clearly are not. Any effort to raise awareness of this basic truth must therefore be suppressed and distorted above all. The illusion is strenuously proliferated that the society is democratic while in fact the haves own and control the government which is utilized to assure that the haves take ever more from the have nots even as the clueless have nots shrivel in front of them. The whole scam would be impossible were it not for that significant percentage of (conservative) have nots while visibly wasting away remain convinced that reversal of the process of theft from themselves amounts to a crime against their tormentors. Go figure.

stanleybmanly's avatar

But you shouldn’t fret. Eventually the greed of the haves will force the ever expanding crowd of ever more deprived have nots to take BACK what’s been stolen.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I think @seawulf575 has a good point. No one ever has enough money. I have an income now that is 5X what I was making as a single mom…still not enough.

Was it @ragingloli that said it’s like the fat man who can’t quit eating? Like that.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

@Dutchess_III It’s perspective. Even when I was making little more than minimum wage in my first apartment it was “enough” When I was making around 30k as a 20 something living in a starter home it was “enough” and now mid-career I have “enough” People usually try to have things they can’t afford. I was always able to save something and it all centered on living a little below your means and being happy with what you have.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I agree. However, I have someone in the house who doesn’t really go for that philosophy. Very frustrating.

gorillapaws's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me The problem is that most of the expenses that Americans are spending on these days are non-optional. Elizabeth Warren gave an amazing lecture breaking down Americans’ expenses and how they’ve changed over the past generation. She goes into depth on how the 2 income household causes many new economic challenges that didn’t occur when there was only 1 breadwinner. It’s long but really worth watching. Also this was way before she ever became a politician and is based on her research into bankruptcy as a professor.

seawulf575's avatar

The hard part of stopping income inequality is recognizing the things that will lead to it as they are suggested, not after they are implemented. If all the money in the world was suddenly redistributed evenly between all adults, I predict that in a few years there would be a similar situation to what we have today…some have a lot, others have little. The rules that lead to that disparity are many, but on the surface don’t sound so bad. Example: There is a tax deduction for mortgage interest paid. That is in place to help people buy homes which gives them something of their own as well as helping provide jobs for a plethora of other business (paint stores, power companies, yard equipment and supplies, etc). Sounds good. But if I suddenly have extra money and buy several houses, now I get to write off more in taxes. If I turn some of that into rental properties I can then write off all repairs and upkeep. There are loopholes that allow me to take extra off my taxes. But if the next person decides he/she doesn’t want to invest in real estate, they are not offered those same deductions. They are available for all, but as you gather more money, your investments can grow and diversify. Eventually you have Warren Buffets or Bill Gateses running around.
But the problem you run into when you talk about wanting to stop income inequality is that what you are saying is that you want to dampen drive. You want to stifle ingenuity and creativity. How do you tell someone you want them to be creative and work for their dreams but tell them that they aren’t allowed to make TOO much money?

notnotnotnot's avatar

@seawulf575: “But the problem you run into when you talk about wanting to stop income inequality is that what you are saying is that you want to dampen drive.”

Fuck “drive”. If drive means sitting around making money off of others and making sure that people have to decide whether to get healthcare or feed their kids, then drive is a cancer that needs to be destroyed.

However, if “drive” really is a natural state of people wanting to work and contribute, then any talk about reducing income inequality and its negative effects on drive is complete horseshit.

@seawulf575: “You want to stifle ingenuity and creativity. How do you tell someone you want them to be creative and work for their dreams but tell them that they aren’t allowed to make TOO much money?”

What does this even mean?

What is this “drive” and “creativity” that you speak of? And please explain how it’s a) a good thing, b) and only possible with extreme inequality

gorillapaws's avatar

@seawulf575 I agree that evenly distributing all wealth would be short-lived and sub-optimal. In my opinion, having a steep progressive tax structure, limits on campaign financing to prevent special interest loopholes among other things, a breaking up of massive corporate conglomerates to create more competition and innovation, vigorous enforcement of white collar crimes, decriminalizing drugs and treating addicts as a health issue, a strong social safety net including a Medicare-for-all single-payer system, and taking equality of opportunity to the extreme, would yield the most optimal outcome (no system will ever be perfect).

In other words, if you’re a kid born in the inner city, your education and opportunities for success should be as good in every way as a wealthy kid born in the suburbs going to a private school or a kid born in a very rural area. If we do this then the very best, hardest working Americans will rise to the top, and that will be the best thing for the country and the economy in the long run. The poorest Americans will have their basic needs met like food, clothes, shelter, healthcare, and educational opportunities to better themselves. The richest will still have yachts and private planes, but they may have to settle for 2 or 3 private planes instead of a dozen. I think a society like that should be the goal.

Scandanavia is far from utopia (it’s a snowy nightmare half of the year for one thing), but they’re kicking our ass in many metrics: they are living several years longer on average, they are much happier based on polling, they out-educate us on nearly every metric, they spend much less per person on heathcare and generate better health outcomes, not to mention covering everyone’s care so citizens don’t have to worry about loosing a job and not being able to get treatment. They have less poverty and much higher upward mobility See Figure 3H on this report from 2011 (note: shorter bars are better). This site also has good info: http://www.equality-of-opportunity.org/ I think there’s a lot we can learn from them.

MollyMcGuire's avatar

The top 1% in America pay more than half of all Federal Income tax received by the government. The top 20% pay 95% of all Federal Income tax received by the government.

@Dutchess_III

gorillapaws's avatar

@MollyMcGuire What about capital gains? Conveniently left that out… Include interest income, payroll taxes and reanalyze.

MollyMcGuire's avatar

@gorillapaws I didn’t leave out anything. If you don’t know what Federal Income Tax returns involve, look it up.

seawulf575's avatar

@notnotnotnot Drive, creativity and ingenuity are all characteristics of people that want to “succeed” in this life. Take Warren Buffet for instance. He started off delivering newspapers and selling golf balls. He started into college at the age of 16 and graduated when he was 20. In his lifetime he has become one of the wealthiest men in the world. He did that by learning about the stock market, learning what to invest in, taking some chances and eventually he built an empire. Take Bill Gates. Now his parents were a little wealthier, but certainly not in computers. Bill recognized a market. He learned about how computers worked and more importantly, how the software worked. He started off in his garage. He was a college drop out. These people had a drive to succeed. They had creativity and ingenuity. They made things happen for themselves. Yes, I’m sure they were shady at points…I know Gates was. But regardless, that came later…not in the beginning years of the dream.
Drive is what makes people go out and earn what they want. Drive is something that maybe you don’t have. Maybe you feel others should give you what you say you need. But here’s something you need to think about: Somebody somewhere has to have the drive, ingenuity, and creativity to make the things you want. They followed their dreams to maybe become a doctor to provide healthcare. Maybe it is to create an insurance company to sell health insurance. Might be a person that designed the car you want. Might be someone that figured out a way to extract oil from the ground or create a better way to process it. But all you can see is that someone is making money. That is a sad statement.

gorillapaws's avatar

@MollyMcGuire I’m aware of what they involve, the thing is, billionaires get most of their income from investment income, not paychecks (Steve Jobs used to be paid $1/year). Investment income is taxed differently than income tax. That’s why your stat grossly distorts the total picture of taxation in the USA. The payroll taxes are a much larger percent of total income for most Americans than they are for the 1% because of caps. Again, this further illustrates that the stat you presented is very misleading.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Sure it’s possible to figure out the rigged system and game it at the expense of the guy next to you (and many more like him). And the surest way to enable your achievement regarding the fixed games in the casino is through control of the government, for it is the government which determines the extent to which I can fleece the the dupes mentioned earlier. And at the forefront of this enterprise of extracting the wealth from the non rich are the tax codes.

notnotnotnot's avatar

@seawulf575: “They followed their dreams to maybe become a doctor to provide healthcare.”

So, please explain why you believe that people won’t want to practice medicine unless there are those who have to eat out of trash cans? Why is the existence of extreme inequality a necessary requirement for someone to want to practice medicine?

MollyMcGuire's avatar

It’s not misleading at all. 95% of what’s received is 95% of what’s received. You are trying to argue tax law which is not relevant to the premise of this question. The envious monkey on the shoulder is a killer. Or maybe it’s a gorilla in this case.

@gorillapaws

stanleybmanly's avatar

@MollyMcguire The 1% may claim to pay more than 50% of the taxes, but they pull in better than 85% of the wealth. What difference does it make if they paid 90% of the revenues collected if the rest of us can’t earn enough to pay anything? And that is just what that 90% represents. It is proof that most of us are falling behind.

MrGrimm888's avatar

If the only thing driving me, was to be one of the wealthiest, I would just give up. Not a good argument. Standard conservative bullshit. “If you’re struggling, just work harder.” Total bullshit….

seawulf575's avatar

@gorillapaws You and I are not so very different. But some of the differences are drastic. I entirely disagree with a steep progressive tax structure. Why penalize someone for being successful? All you do with that is take away incentive for making money. You make it so that as you become more successful, the benefit all your hard work is taken by others. I’ve said it before….I fully support a flat tax on gross income. No differentiation between business or personal income, No different rate for stock dividend returns, no loopholes, no deductions. Everybody pays the same rate. The person making $20k per year would pay $2k, the person making $1M per year would pay $100k. Everybody would pay the same. You may say that $2k would hurt the person making $20k more but there are some things to consider. Both are 10% of their gross income. The person making $20k is probably taking advantage of a lot more public assistance than the individual making $1M. Lots of differences.
Limits on Campaign financing? ABSOLUTELY!!!! I say that no candidate for president, congressman, or senator should ever be able to raise more than $1M on a campaign. That starts off showing us that they know how to spend money wisely, not wastefully. If they want to spend more of their own money on top of that, that would be okay. But when someone is spending a billion dollars to get an office that pays only $400k per year for 4 years, you know he/she is crooked or is owning favors.
Breaking up conglomerates are silly. It, again, punishes success. Most of these big companies end up breaking up anyway. It is unsustainable due to human greed. However, I am fully against monopolies. I am also against price gouging. That sort of leads us to the next part…the white collar crime. I am a firm believer that white collar crime needs to be punished more harshly than most blue collar crime. The impacts are usually more far-reaching. If a guy walks into a liquor store, sticks a gun in the clerks face, cleans out the till and gets away with a couple hundred dollars, the overall impact is relatively minor. The clerk lives, the store can probably survive a couple hundred dollar loss. But the criminal can be facing 25 years in prison for armed robbery. However, when you have a white collar criminal such as Charles Keating or Michael Milliken that took down the Savings and Loan industry, wiping out the life savings of millions of people and ruining their lives, that impact is far worse. Keating spent 4.5 years in jail. Milliken spent under 2 years in jail. My feeling is that each person that lost money because of their actions should have been treated as a separate victim at their trials and the punishment should have been, at a minimum, 1 year per person. Considering many of these people lost everything, even that is a small punishment.
I disagree with decriminalizing drugs. Having been through the grinder with a child that got addicted to heroin, I have a pretty deep insight into the legal system when it comes to drugs. Addicts hurt those around them in many ways. Parents that are addicts neglect their children or worse. Children that are addicts inevitably steal from their family and then, when that is all gone, from others. Women will turn to prostitution to get money for drugs. It, again, is far reaching. Heroin addiction is indeed a health issue. But what everyone forgets is that the treatment only works if the addict wants it to work. Our local law enforcement has tried treating drug related crimes as health issues. Addicts spend minimal time in jail and are sentenced to rehab instead. It has become a sad joke. Many of the addicts come out, do their mandatory rehab, and go right back to the drugs when they are done. Addiction is not something you can go get a shot for. It is something that you have to deal with. Many drug addicts don’t want to deal with it. It’s easier to just be an addict. In the end, they die. It’s that simple.
And you and I disagree on socialized medicine. I was in the US Navy. Military care is a perfect example of socialized medicine. You don’t pay into it, but you definitely get what they give you. And if they screw up, there really is no way to hold them accountable. I knew of a doctor that went to deliver a baby while he was drunk as a skunk. He caused problems for the baby. Oops. He got a letter in his file. The parents had to deal with the aftermath. I went into the doctor with a sinus infection. Classic symptoms…green snot, pressure in the sinuses…you know the drill. I told the corpsman on my boat what was going on. He agreed it was a sinus infection, but he wasn’t allowed to give me antibiotics…he was just a corpsman. He sent me to the base hospital. I saw the doctor, told him what was going on, told him what the corpsman had recommended. Instead of just giving me antibiotics, he sent me down for x-rays. They took 5 x-rays of my head, screwed up 3 of those, retook the 3, screwed up 1 of those, and retook it. 9 x-rays. A while later the doctor looked at the x-rays and told me the problem was that I had congested sinuses in my head. What a surprise…that’s what I told him when I came in. He still didn’t prescribe antibiotics. He prescribed pain pills instead with the instructions to take one when I felt pain. No sir, I don’t support this sort of medical care.
Education is indeed an important key. But much of the onus for the quality of the education rests with the parents as well as the schools. If the children are going into schools, being disruptive, cutting class, causing fights, attacking teachers, selling and doing drugs…it is an unhealthy situation. But it isn’t the school that should be teaching discipline to these children…it is the parents. Having raised children in public schools I can tell you that being active with the school is vital. Introduce yourself to the office staff, visit with the teachers. If your children are having problems with another child or with a class or teacher, deal with it. Go down and straighten it out. Don’t let it go on. If YOUR child is the problem at the school, deal with that as well. These children need guidance to be active, healthy members of society. That guidance has to come from role models and the most effective role model a child can have is a good parent. And before you start with white privilege or wealthy parents, let me tell you that I was a single parent, working to make ends meet. I made the time for my children’s education because it was important to me. And yes, it was tough sometimes.
Scandanavia might be doing better than we are, but they are also facing problem. Sweden is looking at a crisis coming at them. They don’t have enough workers to provide the tax dollars to keep the socialized everything going. They don’t have enough government workers to administer all the programs. That is the down side of it all. At some point, someone has to actually work and make money.

stanleybmanly's avatar

you’re beginning to catch on, but you need to CATCH UP. Milliken & Keating are but throwaway tokens in the financial sector crimes of the the century. But the bottom line is that the tax codes are now so rigged that the progressive income tax is punitive only for those in the middle class staring at the back of the train of financial security receding in the distance. A flat tax is a particularly onerous solution to rectifying the tax code, because despite it’s honesty, it shifts the tax burden considerably more to those without. It should not require any depth of understanding to appreciate that depriving a man with $2000 of $200 is a hardship, while 200 million from 2 billion is not.

stanleybmanly's avatar

And get over that incentive argument. Neither Germany nor Sweden have any problem incentivizing ambition nor achievement in their heavily socialized highly taxed systems. And for my final argument, I would remind you that this, our country led the world in development and innovation when the income tax ceiling was 91%.

gorillapaws's avatar

@stanleybmanly “Neither Germany nor Sweden have any problem incentivizing ambition nor achievement in their heavily socialized highly taxed systems.”

I heard they almost had to shut down Mercedes because CEO Dieter Zetsche wasn’t content with his ~$8,000,000 annual salary, and nobody in Germany was interested in a job earning that due to the high taxes. Everyone was just so content doing nothing and living off of the minimum government benefits… Their unemployment rates must be well over 90% with such moronic progressive tax policies disincentivizing work…

Dutchess_III's avatar

@MollyMcGuire You’re talking like the top 1% pays 50% in income tax, which is not true, of course.

You’re also insinuating that the top 20% pays 95% of their income in taxes, which is also not true.

They make a hell of a lot more money than anyone else, so it is simply logical that they pay a hell of a lot more in taxes than anyone else, even if they’re taxed at 15% like everyone else.

seawulf575's avatar

@Dutchess_III and @MollyMcGuire here is an interesting website I found. It breaks down percentage of income tax paid by the income bracket. It is only current through 2014, but looking at past years it seems to be fairly consistent.

https://taxfoundation.org/summary-latest-federal-income-tax-data-2016-update/

What it shows is that the bottom 50% of income earners earned 11.27% of all AGI, but only paid 2.75% of all taxes. The top 25% of income earners earned about 68% of all AGI but paid almost 87% of the income tax. The top 1% earned 20.85% of the AGI but paid 39.48% of the income tax. This is all federal income tax and doesn’t go into state or local taxes. While @MollyMcGuire was a little high on her estimates she wasn’t that far off. And what it does show is that the rich actually are paying more than their fair share of the income tax, by far. @stanleybmanly was way off, however on his claim of the upper 1% making 85% of the wealth. There is a huge difference between 85% and 20.85%.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

@seawulf575 This is just income tax. The lower and middle brackets get hit harder with the hidden taxes. They have to spend most of their income on necessities and “stuff” while the top end of the bracket has more disposable income to work for them. *I am not supporting the source of this information, they are a corporate backed think-tank. Just using it as an example of what is often simply overlooked.

MrGrimm888's avatar

@seawulf575 . Perhaps you mistook my post for Stanley’s. I said 83% of the Trump tax rape, went to the top 1%. As I mentioned, I no longer have the article in front of me…

If that’s not what you were referring to, please excuse me…

seawulf575's avatar

@notnotnotnot I guess I have to ask the question: Why is it wrong to have disposable income? You make it sound like it is wrong somehow? I looked at your citation and see that we all get hit with hidden costs due to taxes. This isn’t news. Everyone pretty much knows it. And it hits everyone, not just lower or middle class people. If you pull up to the gas pump and take a minute to look you will probably see a sticker somewhere on the pump that tells how much of the cost is state taxes. If you look at your power bill, same thing. These aren’t really “hidden”, but aren’t overly advertised. I certainly wouldn’t object to taxes going away, but some are necessary. My biggest complaint is that our elected officials have no fiscal responsibility. They allow waste, fraud, and abuse to grow and flourish with our tax dollars. Then, when they want more, they create more and more debt for us. We, in this country, truly need to take a break from politics to actually get the job done. They need spend the next year going line by line in the budget, auditing and looking for duplication of effort and waste. They (congress) needs to justify every cent they are authorizing to be spent.

seawulf575's avatar

@MrGrimm888 no, you’re good. I was looking at @stanleybmanly‘s post where he claimed the rich only paid 50% of the taxes.

MrGrimm888's avatar

@seawulf575 . That’s something that I never understood about our government. Not just fiscal responsibility, but accountability in all aspects of their jobs.

Take government shutdowns. If you and I were managers at a McDonald’s, and we couldn’t meet payroll, or had to shut down the store, we’d be fired. Right?

The people governing our country, should be held, at least, to the standards of one of the worst companies in the world. Right?

There are hundreds of millions of people (billions really) that count on America running as normal. If our officials cannot manage to coexist enough to, at least keep the lights on, they should be terminated.

I have NO doubt in my mind, that if we held politicians to the same standards as low level management in any corporation, there wouldn’t be shutdowns…

But…. No ramifications, no motivation….

seawulf575's avatar

@MrGrimm888 exactly. Here’s the part I find really disturbing about the government shutdowns: The government shuts down and no one really notices. It isn’t stopping anything that people really miss. So why are we spending money on these things. I remember with the sequestration, Obama tried closing free parks to make it look as bad as possible. Even paid to have signs made up blaming the closure on sequestration. So we will close parks, but won’t stop paying the president and the Congress and their entourages? And we will say there is no money but will pay for signs to be made? And please don’t take this as a slam on Obama…this is a symptom, not a cause. My personal feeling is pretty basic: We have a budget, stick to it. I have a personal budget. I have to live to that budget. I can go a little into debt strategically…car payment, house payment, maybe a new roof…things like that. But I can’t just keep going deeper and deeper into debt. It doesn’t work and I end up filing bankruptcy. Yet for as far back as I can remember, our government has had deficit spending. That is effectively living on credit cards year after year after year. Our government feels they have to pass amendments to make them balance a budget. Our leaders pass budgets that are literally thousands of pages long without actually reading them, analyzing them, or ensuring they are not wasteful. We are running our country on political pull, not ethical behavior and intelligence.

MrGrimm888's avatar

^GA.

The system is crazy.

When I lost my last home, because of the third flood, I was sort of a refugee. I was homeless for about 6 months.
To pay for the deposit on my new place, I sold almost everything I had left. So. Most ofmy possessions are gone. Killed by floodwaters, or sold to move on.

It’s hard to live this way, and watch our government be so irresponsible. They should have to pawn the Washington Monument, or something, to keep the government running. That’s what I have to do…

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Something people don’t realize is that most Gov’t agencies and departments cannot carry money over from year to year. Each fiscal year they get a budget and if they don’t spend it generally next year’s will be cut. This does not work in areas where some years there are huge expenses and others there are not. There is a considerable amount of waste here because near the end of each fiscal year there is all of this panic spending and a lot of it is done needlessly.

MrGrimm888's avatar

Oh, I realize it. The roads are CONSTANTLY under construction/repair. Gotta dig a hole in the road, or less money next year…..

MollyMcGuire's avatar

Read it again, @Dutchess_III
I said neither.

JLeslie's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me @MrGrimm888

Private business does it to some extent also. Non-profits can’t show a profit, so end of year if they will be over they spend, when possibly that money could have been useful to keep in a kitty instead for future use when needed. New laptops are bought, or new furniture, and all sorts of things that might be nice to have, but not necessary at the time.

For profit private owners don’t want to show a profit to avoid taxes, so they often spend at the end of the year also making it harder to save for a rainy day if the business dips down.

I don’t like it in government or in business.

Zaku's avatar

It was interesting for me just now catching up and skimming over the last 30 messages or so, and see people on both sides seeming to miss what the other was talking about.

The “tax the rich less” people were talking about the total amount of income of the rich and how much total money they were paying in tax and comparing those numbers in some cases suggesting it were unfair that the rich should pay more.

The “tax the rich more” people were talking about how much income people had and what percentage of that they could afford to be taxed without hardship.

But it seemed rare that either side noticed or acknowledged that the people they were disagreeing with were not talking about the same things.

JLeslie's avatar

@Zaku The tax the rich less people don’t care about the percentages. I used to think a lot of them (I don’t mean jellies here) were just ignorant, not good at math, and not thinking it through, and if they understood the percentage explanation they would change their minds. After years of thinking it, I see that they just don’t care about the percentages. They believe rich people spend more money if they have more money and that that will help everyone. I do sometimes still explain though just in case.

The republicans who don’t have much money often do have the tax laws wrong in their head. That is an ignorance thing, lots of people on both sides don’t understand tax law, not just the republicans. Basic things like people think when you are in the 30% tax bracket all your adjusted gross income is taxed at 30%. They don’t know that there is a $5million estate exemption when you die (it’s going to be higher under Trump). They don’t know people with money give their kids thousands and thousands tax free before they die aside from the $5milliin. They believe bunches and bunches of families lose land every year to estate taxes, and they just don’t, it’s extremely rare, but that’s what they believe.

Ok, so let’s assume for now that all I just said is simply true, and when they do understand all of it they still don’t care. They don’t care because they are against taxes anyway. They feel like the federal government overspends and that’s the problem. If they are very religious, it is mixed with their religion. Especially, when our central government is occupied by Democrats they see it as the socialist, secularists, anti-God people are trying to harm the country and our people. It’s an entire moral and ethical code for that subgroup of the Republican Party. I’m sure you know, it’s hard to argue with religious beliefs.

The hardest thing is, if there is a grain of truth in a person’s belief then they won’t hear the rest. Our federal government does spend some money badly, so the side that wants to give it as little as possible will just hang onto an example of ineffective spending, or spending they hate (like believing the money goes for abortion) and believe everything said by their leaders even if there is a lot of untruths. People do some of that on the liberal side too.

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