Rich Americans Need Your Help

Special Guest Blog/ Exclusive to The Big Picture Report

A Plea For Your Help, From People for the Ethical Treatment of Rich Americans

by List of X/ December 30, 2012

 

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Every day, the nation is creeping closer and closer toward the so-called fiscal cliff.  Going over the cliff will mean, among other things, that the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 will expire and marginal tax rates will rise for everyone, including the top 1% of earners.  Since keeping the low tax rates on the top 1% isn’t very popular with most Americans but favored among the Republican Party leadership, the GOP had recently formed PETRA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Rich Americans), to help advance their case for protecting the tax cuts for the top 1%.  Today, PETRA has released the following statement:

We realize that our name may appear similar to PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), but our organizations are very different.  Unlike PETA, which  tries to protect all kinds of useless vermin, our organization’s mission consists of protecting just one very important and highly unique species, known to all of us as ‘Rich Americans.”

People sometimes think of Rich Americans as predators and parasites who only hurt others, but this is a misguided perception.  Rich Americans (Latin name Affluentis Americanis Jobcreatorius) serve a crucial role in a society by ridding it of its weaker and less useful members, and thus make the society stronger.  They accumulate excessive wealth from the rest of the nation, thus preventing inflation, and their wealth discharges (also known as “trickle-down”) provide rich nutrients to everyone near the bottom of the food chain. These trickle-downs help support millions of Regular Americans (Latin: Lazyus Moocherus Vulgaris). Finally, Rich Americans provide evolutionary inspiration to all other American species, and their flamboyant mating rituals (think Donald Trump or Kim Kardashian) are among the most awe-inspiring wonders of Nature.

Bush-era environmental and economic policies saw the population of Rich Americans increase to healthy levels.  President George W. Bush signed multiple laws aimed at protection of Rich Americans, preserving and expanding their natural habitats such as offshore tax havens, capital gains taxes, and carried interest loopholes.  However, several natural disasters, such as the housing crisis and financial collapse (for which Rich Americans were absolutely not responsible) resulted in the drop of their population to dangerously low levels. In the last couple of years their population had started to rebound again, but the improvement had been markedly slow.

Today, their way of life is under serious threat from the thoughtless actions of the Obama administration. As our nation approaches the fiscal cliff, all the conservation efforts instituted by the Bush administration will be reversed. Even if the nation’s tax collectors harvest just 4% more in taxes from the Rich Americans than they do now, it will have on profound effect on the behavior of Rich Americans.  They will become less active and their wealth discharges will become less frequent. And worst of all, they may migrate to more hospitable climates, and that will throw the entire American econ-system off-balance.

Please write, call, and e-mail your Congress representative and demand that they do everything in their power to keep the laws protecting the Rich Americans.  Act now!  Remember, destruction of natural habitats of Rich Americans is harmful to all of us.

List of X specializes in, well…lists of 10. His entertaining website is on the BPR blogroll.
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25 Responses to Rich Americans Need Your Help

  1. Arlen Grossman, my irritation with people who have a left-leaning ideology (you being an exception) stems from my perceptions that they seem to be too narrow minded and inflexible in their way of thinking. I can adjust my way of thinking if someone presents me with information, facts, data, opinions on a story that I believed to be true, however, my initial perception being proven wrong. I will do the best I can not to be too harsh with my comments. However, so there is no misunderstanding, I am not saying anything about you at all.

    • I understand, Jeffrey.I do not take your criticisms personally, but they are broad generalizations. I think the behavior you are describing here is true of both the left and the right, especially on the extremes. But when you get down to it, that is normal expected human behavior. Minds do not change easily, especially if your news sources are ideologically narrow, and in the last decade or so people’s sources have become even more rigidly narrow than ever. It’s no wonder our country is so divided. Sometimes Americans cannot agree on basic facts.Of course, the worst example of all of this is our president.

  2. Arlen Grossman, I am opposed to the estate tax personally. Having said that, if it had to be retained, I do not think the rate for the estate tax should exceed 15%. In my personal opinion, money is better spent in the private sector. Besides, the family that earned that money should be able to keep a good share of it, as well as being able to pass it on to whoever they wish. Yes, the family heirs would be getting money that they have not earned, however, if the estate tax was retained to some degree, that would lead to more revenue for the government, as well as the other taxes that pay for the functions of government. Now, regarding Rick Santorum’s idea, what would it take in your opinion to make sure that more benefits went to the poor and middle income families than to the rich?

  3. Arlen Grossman, when I said that Rick Santorum’s idea should appeal to both sides of the aisle, I mean that in the sense that both sides would win. How? It keeps the tax rate, which keeps more money in the private sector. So the conservatives get something they want. Another thing is that it does not give people who get the share of their income from capital gains an excuse to avoid paying the taxes on the gain. The liberals also win in this case. From the standpoint of working people, if they get more money in their paychecks as a result of this plan, however, the taxes are shifted more toward the rich regardless, would you be good with that?

  4. Arlen Grossman, you had said that Rick Santorum had some good ideas in his presentation. He had said that you would have a tax-free threshold of $60, 000.00 to $70, 000.00 under his plan, which means that a family that made less than that would be paying nothing in federal income taxes. What does this mean? A big win for low income and poor families. Even though I said subject capital gains tax to a sliding scale in one post, if I had to pay 20% on a potential gain. I would have no problem with this. When I had said that if my tax dollars were spent responsibly, I could care less how high my taxes are, you told me that a lot of people feel as I do. What most people who object to a flat tax do not seem to grasp is that it is not meant to benefit solely the wealthy. Yes, they would reap some benefit, however, if you have a tax-free amount, with a flat rate on anything above that, we all win. People who presently pay no income taxes at the federal level would still be free of any tax liability. I would say that if you earn $50, 000.00 a year or less, you should pay nothing. If you earn $58, 000.00, you would pay 20%, with capital gains being taxed at 20%. Part of the inequality issue is that we do not provide incentives in the tax code that encourage savings and investment.

    • Wait a second, Jeffrey. If the rich pay less than they do now, and the poor don’t pay anything, who will be funding the government? Wouldn’t there be increased taxes on the middle class? And if you say fund the government less, I would respond: then what would get cut? If it’s the military and tax subsidies for the rich, then it might work for me.

      • Arlen Grossman, if I had any say so, I would look for areas where government is demonstrably proven to waste taxpayer money and reduce the ability of the government to waste it. Regarding the estate tax, I am personally opposed to it. Having said that, if it was retained, I would make the estate tax 15%. People who have families that they leave behind at the time of their deaths should be able to leave the lion’s share of their assets to them.

        • Jeffrey, if you really want to know where I stand, read this article by Them Hartmann, someone I very much admire. https://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/they-are-coming-your-social-security-and-medicare. It’s a bit long, but covers all the important matters.

          • Arlen Grossman, I read that story thoroughly. Here are quotes from it that I take issue with: “Ever since the election of Ronald Reagan, Republicans have been working overtime to kneecap institutions that support the American middle class. And, as any working-class family can tell you, the GOP has had some substantial successes, particularly in shifting both income and political power away from voters and toward billionaires and transnational corporations.” “These programs, along with free public education and progressive taxation, are the core drivers and maintainers of the American middle class. History shows that without a strong middle class, democracy itself collapses, and fascism is the next step down a long and terrible road.” “Instead, unregulated markets—particularly markets not regulated by significant taxation on predatory incomes—invariably lead to the opposite of a healthy middle class: they produce extremes of inequality, which are as dangerous to democracy as cancer is to a living being.” “Tragically, Republicans are today planning to destroy both our nation’s progressive taxation system and our social safety net, in obsequious service to their billionaire paymasters.” Progressive taxation is a Communist/Marxist originated concept. Unless a rich person comes out and says, “The government is not taxing me enough,” all calls for taxes on the rich are based on spite and envy. A tax on our labor is reprehensible, as would be a tax on investment if the tax is to high. The estate tax is also immoral.

          • I’m glad you took the time to read Hartmann’s article. Of course, Jeffrey, the quotes you disagree with are the core of the article, and from my point of view, are very important.  I don’t understand your hostility toward taxes. Taxes are necessary in order to have a society worth living in. Taxes are needed to fund that kind of society. And those who have most benefited from our system and taken advantage of favorable breaks, should pay the most to fund it. I may not agree with how our tax money is spent, but I am glad we pay taxes in order to fund the military, infrastructure, medical advances, education, social security, Medicare, etc., and help fellow Americans who have fallen on hard times or are struggling to put food on the table. I see taxes as the price we pay to live in a decent, not selfish, society. The quote “History shows that without a strong middle class, democracy itself collapses, and fascism is the next step down a long and terrible road.” I worry we are heading down that long and terrible road with Trump and the GOP.

          • The hostility is misinterpreted. As I had said, if my tax dollars were spent responsibly, I could care less how high my taxes are. Just let me be the one to decide where that money goes, not some bureaucratic political types who cannot handle our money responsibly.

          • As I probably said before, Jeffrey, everyone thinks they can spend our tax dollars more wisely. Me included. But it will never happen because it’s not workable. So you either work together with others to make society better or you enrich yourself.  That’s about all the choices you have.

          • Arlen Grossman, the estate tax is fundamentally immoral. Just saying, “It’s unfair for someone to leave a large estate and a wealth of assets to heirs that may not have earned it” indicates an attitude of envy and spite. What if someone wants to use that money to open up a business? Why should the government be able to take a large bite out of that apple?

          • The estate tax is a joke, anyway. An individual starts paying it only after $11+ million dollars. The super-wealthy should pay the tax. We don’t need any more Donald Trumps. If you dropped the estate tax only privileged white people would benefit and become super-wealthy for doing nothing. The Walton family alone has more wealth than the bottom 40 percent of Americans. You may be okay with that but I find it obscene.

          • Arlen Grossman, even if we keep the estate tax, I say that the rate should not exceed 15%. The fact of the matter is that people who work hard and pay a multitude of taxes anyway should not be forced to fork over half of what they want to leave to their living family members to a government that cannot keep its fiscal house in order. The “it’s not fair” line of argument that those on the Left make regarding the assets that non-leftist types want to leave to future generations indicates an attitude of wanting to mooch off of these people. Yes, I get that those on the Left are freeloaders for the most part, however, these people need to stop asking for handouts so often and work for a living. Just like the minimum wage, which is basically by legal dictate, why should a business owner pay one person a set amount of money for their labor and another person the same amount if the other person does not work as hard?

          • I could live with a 15% estate tax (for those having more than $5 million). I think what you don’t take into account, Jeffrey, is how much the wealthy get in subsidies and huge tax breaks from the government (after all, they own Congress). I know you think all poor people are moochers, but the truth is that many of them are working, but don’t receive enough to live on. Hence the need for a livable wage somewhere around $15 an hour (so the government won’t have need to subsidize the working poor, which happens now. Many Walmart workers have to get food stamps to get by). And if a employer wants to pay his best workers more, he can do that. No problem there.

          • I do not think poor people are moochers. The real moochers are the big corporations and big CEO types who cheat their employees out of their fair share of the profits the business earns. With the estate tax at 15%, it may be low percentage wise. However, if it hits the wealthy people more than the rest of the population, I see no issue with that. Perhaps my generalization of those on the Left may seem harsh. You are one person who seems to be very reasonable. The issue as I see things is how these people do not seem to actively think through what their professors teach them without questioning the validity of what the teachers teach. You made a very valid point with my Joe and Steve example, where Joe who works hard would earn more money and lazy Steve would get laid off or fired.

          • You sound very reasonable in this response, Jeffrey. It’s a good thing when we see things similarly. Now if only Congress can do the same.

  5. Arlen Grossman, I know that in a marginal tax rate system you pay taxes on any dollar amount above a certain threshold. From a marginal standpoint, I do not believe the tax rate should exceed 20%. If that is not good enough, eliminate or cap most of the deductions to make up the difference. Even though I had offered an idea where capital gains was taxed on a sliding scale, even if I had to pay 20% in taxes on the potential gain, it would not deter me from making an investment if it still generated a sizeable return, ultimately resulting in more money in the long run. Here is a video for you: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XsZVTDdQvFY I do not agree with Rick Santorum on everything he says. However, this plan should appeal to both sides of the political aisle.

    • There are some good ideas in Santorum’s presentation, Jeffrey, especially the simplicity of it, and that capital gains taxes would be the same as other income.
      But I would like to see the finished numbers, because if it ultimately just helped the rich more than working people, then you would lose me. The part about repealing Obamacare bothers me, too, as that is something that has helped a lot of mid-to-low-income Americans. But still, I can see the appeal of this idea.

      • Arlen Grossman, if we had a flat tax where earned income and capital gains were treated the same, this would still technically mean that the rich are paying more. As far as estate tax goes, I say get rid of it. Quite honestly, I believe that people should be able to keep most of what they earn. Personally, I like Rick Santorum in a lot of ways. My only issues with him are his stance on foreign policy, which seems too interventionist, his opposition to gay marriage, as well as his stance on drug legalization.

        • I believe in a higher estate tax. When you say ‘I believe that people should be able to keep most of what they earn” let’s not forget that they are dead. Their heirs would be getting money they haven’t earned.

          • Arlen Grossman, no argument there. When I say keep most of what these people earn, which they bust their asses for, I was speaking of people who are among the living. If they want to pass that money onto future generations, as well as income that was saved after taxes I see no issue with that.

  6. Arlen Grossman, many factors can contribute to economic ills/woes. To scapegoat rich people is not an adequate solution. These people who argue for top marginal tax rates of 91% correctly note that it is a disincentive to sit on the money they have. However, to answer another argument that these people will make is that the wealthy people would put money that they would have paid themselves back into their businesses, as well as other things that give tax write-offs and have that money flow back into the economy, that point cannot be dismissed. My only real issue with the tax the rich crowd is that for the most part, these people want to mooch off of the labor of other people and feel like they are entitled to what other people have.

    • It’s not that complicated, Jeffrey. The rich have more than enough money (some even have obscene amounts, like Jeff Bezos). At the same time, millions in this country are hungry and/or homeless. The rich should be paying a lot more in taxes to help this huge inequality among Americans. They used to pay a lot more and the economy worked just fine.

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