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Keep Paying My Taxes Reverse Psychology

Tex

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Op-Ed Contributor

Stop Coddling the Super-Rich

By WARREN E. BUFFETT

Published: August 14, 2011

Omaha

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Kelly Blair

Related in Opinion

Editorial: The Truth About Taxes (August 7, 2011)

OUR leaders have asked for “shared sacrifice.” But when they did the asking, they spared me. I checked with my mega-rich friends to learn what pain they were expecting. They, too, were left untouched.

While the poor and middle class fight for us in Afghanistan, and while most Americans struggle to make ends meet, we mega-rich continue to get our extraordinary tax breaks. Some of us are investment managers who earn billions from our daily labors but are allowed to classify our income as “carried interest,” thereby getting a bargain 15 percent tax rate. Others own stock index futures for 10 minutes and have 60 percent of their gain taxed at 15 percent, as if they’d been long-term investors.

These and other blessings are showered upon us by legislators in Washington who feel compelled to protect us, much as if we were spotted owls or some other endangered species. It’s nice to have friends in high places.

Last year my federal tax bill — the income tax I paid, as well as payroll taxes paid by me and on my behalf — was $6,938,744. That sounds like a lot of money. But what I paid was only 17.4 percent of my taxable income — and that’s actually a lower percentage than was paid by any of the other 20 people in our office. Their tax burdens ranged from 33 percent to 41 percent and averaged 36 percent.

If you make money with money, as some of my super-rich friends do, your percentage may be a bit lower than mine. But if you earn money from a job, your percentage will surely exceed mine — most likely by a lot.

To understand why, you need to examine the sources of government revenue. Last year about 80 percent of these revenues came from personal income taxes and payroll taxes. The mega-rich pay income taxes at a rate of 15 percent on most of their earnings but pay practically nothing in payroll taxes. It’s a different story for the middle class: typically, they fall into the 15 percent and 25 percent income tax brackets, and then are hit with heavy payroll taxes to boot.

Back in the 1980s and 1990s, tax rates for the rich were far higher, and my percentage rate was in the middle of the pack. According to a theory I sometimes hear, I should have thrown a fit and refused to invest because of the elevated tax rates on capital gains and dividends.

I didn’t refuse, nor did others. I have worked with investors for 60 years and I have yet to see anyone — not even when capital gains rates were 39.9 percent in 1976-77 — shy away from a sensible investment because of the tax rate on the potential gain. People invest to make money, and potential taxes have never scared them off. And to those who argue that higher rates hurt job creation, I would note that a net of nearly 40 million jobs were added between 1980 and 2000. You know what’s happened since then: lower tax rates and far lower job creation.

Since 1992, the I.R.S. has compiled data from the returns of the 400 Americans reporting the largest income. In 1992, the top 400 had aggregate taxable income of $16.9 billion and paid federal taxes of 29.2 percent on that sum. In 2008, the aggregate income of the highest 400 had soared to $90.9 billion — a staggering $227.4 million on average — but the rate paid had fallen to 21.5 percent.

The taxes I refer to here include only federal income tax, but you can be sure that any payroll tax for the 400 was inconsequential compared to income. In fact, 88 of the 400 in 2008 reported no wages at all, though every one of them reported capital gains. Some of my brethren may shun work but they all like to invest. (I can relate to that.)

I know well many of the mega-rich and, by and large, they are very decent people. They love America and appreciate the opportunity this country has given them. Many have joined the Giving Pledge, promising to give most of their wealth to philanthropy. Most wouldn’t mind being told to pay more in taxes as well, particularly when so many of their fellow citizens are truly suffering.

Twelve members of Congress will soon take on the crucial job of rearranging our country’s finances. They’ve been instructed to devise a plan that reduces the 10-year deficit by at least $1.5 trillion. It’s vital, however, that they achieve far more than that. Americans are rapidly losing faith in the ability of Congress to deal with our country’s fiscal problems. Only action that is immediate, real and very substantial will prevent that doubt from morphing into hopelessness. That feeling can create its own reality.

Job one for the 12 is to pare down some future promises that even a rich America can’t fulfill. Big money must be saved here. The 12 should then turn to the issue of revenues. I would leave rates for 99.7 percent of taxpayers unchanged and continue the current 2-percentage-point reduction in the employee contribution to the payroll tax. This cut helps the poor and the middle class, who need every break they can get.

But for those making more than $1 million — there were 236,883 such households in 2009 — I would raise rates immediately on taxable income in excess of $1 million, including, of course, dividends and capital gains. And for those who make $10 million or more — there were 8,274 in 2009 — I would suggest an additional increase in rate.

My friends and I have been coddled long enough by a billionaire-friendly Congress. It’s time for our government to get serious about shared sacrifice.

Warren E. Buffett is the chairman and chief executive of Berkshire Hathaway.
 

Mike

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The moment a person tells a lie, he is a liar for life.

He keeps saying that he wants the ultra rich to pay more taxes yet he goes to every imaginable expense to avoid them?

The old man is almost senile and is participating in a scam with Buckwheat to stifle the economy so that he can buy up more struggling businesses.

Don't you get it?
 

Lonecowboy

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I'm not positive, but I believe that if Mr. Buffett sent the IRS a check I bet they would cash it. he can pay as much as he wants to.
 

Mike

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Lonecowboy said:
I'm not positive, but I believe that if Mr. Buffett sent the IRS a check I bet they would cash it. he can pay as much as he wants to.

Tax dollars are part of what made Buffett ultra rich:

Buffett's holding company, Berkshire Hathaway, profited from TARP in several ways according the the Bee story:


Overall, Berkshire owns more than $13 billion of stock in the top recipients of TARP funds – including Goldman Sachs Group Inc., US Bancorp, American Express Co. and Bank of America Corp., all considered by analysts to be in deep trouble before the federal infusion. The more the bailout props up these financial companies, the more secure Berkshire's investments.


That total, The Bee found, ranks Berkshire fifth among all investors in TARP-assisted companies. Berkshire's TARP holdings constitute 30 percent of its publicly disclosed stock portfolio. That proportion reflects at least twice as much dependence on bailed-out banks as any other large investor.


Buffett increased his bank holdings in September, while openly pressing Congress to pass the bailout.

The Obama administration has been blaming Republicans for the economic mess (and there is some culpability there too), yet the Democrats keep showing up with millions of dollars in their pockets. Senate Banking Chairman Chris Dodd received special treatment from Countrywide on his mortgage, Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel received about $300,000 for very little work at Freddie Mac, former Clinton OMB Director Franklin Raines reaped about $90 million from Fannie Mae by inflating profits -- and the list goes on.


But what is really troubling is the chicanery that Warren Buffett and other Democrats employ to blame eveything on Wall Street when it is Washington that is largely to blame.
 

Tex

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Mike said:
Lonecowboy said:
I'm not positive, but I believe that if Mr. Buffett sent the IRS a check I bet they would cash it. he can pay as much as he wants to.

Tax dollars are part of what made Buffett ultra rich:

Buffett's holding company, Berkshire Hathaway, profited from TARP in several ways according the the Bee story:


Overall, Berkshire owns more than $13 billion of stock in the top recipients of TARP funds – including Goldman Sachs Group Inc., US Bancorp, American Express Co. and Bank of America Corp., all considered by analysts to be in deep trouble before the federal infusion. The more the bailout props up these financial companies, the more secure Berkshire's investments.


That total, The Bee found, ranks Berkshire fifth among all investors in TARP-assisted companies. Berkshire's TARP holdings constitute 30 percent of its publicly disclosed stock portfolio. That proportion reflects at least twice as much dependence on bailed-out banks as any other large investor.


Buffett increased his bank holdings in September, while openly pressing Congress to pass the bailout.

The Obama administration has been blaming Republicans for the economic mess (and there is some culpability there too), yet the Democrats keep showing up with millions of dollars in their pockets. Senate Banking Chairman Chris Dodd received special treatment from Countrywide on his mortgage, Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel received about $300,000 for very little work at Freddie Mac, former Clinton OMB Director Franklin Raines reaped about $90 million from Fannie Mae by inflating profits -- and the list goes on.


But what is really troubling is the chicanery that Warren Buffett and other Democrats employ to blame eveything on Wall Street when it is Washington that is largely to blame.

Mike, I have a diverse portfolio that contains these companies too and I am totally for going after Franklin Raine's absurd income by inflating Fannie's stock.

Taxing these guys who make over a million a year is not some conspiracy to get these company's stock to go down, it is a conspiracy by the rich to continue to skim off the economy while they destroy it.

Our wealth and income distribution in the U.S. is skewed because of activities like this. I am surprised you fall for not taxing this income more and instead you and I having to pay for it.

It completely astounds me but I guess if that is what Fox News wants you to believe and you are willing, then why not?

When we put balancing the budget (even partially) by dipping into SS benefits, we are allowing the rich to not pay their fair share and taking it from people who paid into the SS system. That is what Fox and the republicans are saying to do. We will not get out of our financial crisis with this kind of policy and the "little guys" who don't make over a million a year in income will end up paying for it while the mass media continues the false information. They will enslave the nation.

Tex
 

hypocritexposer

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When President Obama pushes the idea of “taxing the rich” he’s actually talking about taxing those who are trying to get rich. His desired wealth increases won’t so much impact the “millionaires and billionaires” who draw his derision as it will cripple those eager strivers who hope someday to become millionaires and billionaires. The federal tax authorities don’t go after wealth but rather grab their share from income, hampering earning not luxurious living.

This explains the puzzling predisposition of progressive plutocrats who live primarily off their investments (or who won life’s lottery with inherited fortunes like the Kennedys or Rockefellers) to favor high tax rates on top earners. It’s not really noble or unselfish for those who have already earned their pile to seek to place new obstacles on hard-driving, up-and-coming challengers who seek to enter the charmed circle of privilege.

Those obstacles, however, will hardly benefit the nation as a whole. Isn’t it obvious that America needs more, not fewer, millionaires? And we want the numbers of poor and dependent people to shrink, not multiply.

While the left tries to foment indignation against wealth-creators, conservatives should respond with outrage at the moral inversion at the core of contemporary liberalism. Though progressives trumpet “fairness” as its guiding priority there’s nothing fair about society and government conferring generous dispensations on dysfunctional, dependent conduct and onerous special burdens on those who enrich both themselves and others. It is both unwise and, at the deepest level, unjust to promote hatred and resentment where gratitude is due and to offer indulgence and support for values that require correction.


http://townhall.com/columnists/michaelmedved/2011/08/10/the_war_on_wealth_isnt_just_stupid_--_its_wrong
 

hypocritexposer

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Why Is California Broke? Because it Taxes the Rich!

Being so dependent on super-rich people is great when times are good, because revenues soar. But the trouble is that the earnings of super-rich people are super-volatile, so when times are bad, or even mediocre, tax revenues plummet.

http://www.businessinsider.com/why-is-california-broke-because-they-tax-the-rich-2011-3#ixzz1Hoo3F4QP
 

Steve

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Keep Paying My Taxes Reverse Psychology

for starters..most Americans are clueless when it comes to taxes, and corporate tax structure..

it is complicated..

one should ask Why are the rich begging for more taxation?

one would have to dig deep to see a motive.. but I would be willing to bet they are literately banking on congress not understanding the tax structure any better then the average American..

if you look at events that surround each "begging" op ed.. you will see a will to fix loop holes..

and then all of a sudden some super rich guy steps out and says just raise my taxes and it will fix everything..

Why.. because compared to the loop holes the $34 billion is chump change.. and they know it..

They want congress to take the eye off the dull boring loopholes and tax the shiny "rich " ball tossed at them..

glad to see the uninformed fell for it again...

I could go into depth on this.. really deep and complex.. but if you can't see past the shiny rich ball, you would never understand the dull balls and how much the loopholes are worth..

Tex, you appear to try to look smart.. but your arguments are shallow..

take a few classes in corporate tax law. .. do a bit of research on the loophole structure.. and then see why the super rich are tossing you a shiny rich ball ..

to start this ball game.. think about this.. if Buffet and his 400 friends played... and were taxed as he begs for.. by most accounts $34 billion
and this is presuming they don't find any loophole and pay less..

but it would pretty much take taxes, reform and loopholes off the table as an issue for now...

but how much would it be if congress dove into closing loopholes..
It’s well reported that Microsoft – like other tech companies such as Google – uses overseas tax loopholes. The strategies, known as Double Irish and Dutch Sandwich because of a loophole through the Netherlands, are used mainly by tech companies and cost the United States up to $60 billion in annual tax revenue last year, Bloomberg News reported in May 2010.

lets see one loop hole.. $60 billion..

tax the rich.. $34 billion.

well Tex.. that about sums it up.. and I bet Buffet knows it as well..
 

Steve

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hypocritexposer said:
When President Obama pushes the idea of “taxing the rich” he’s actually talking about taxing those who are trying to get rich. His desired wealth increases won’t so much impact the “millionaires and billionaires” who draw his derision as it will cripple those eager strivers who hope someday to become millionaires and billionaires. The federal tax authorities don’t go after wealth but rather grab their share from income, hampering earning not luxurious living.

This explains the puzzling predisposition of progressive plutocrats who live primarily off their investments (or who won life’s lottery with inherited fortunes like the Kennedys or Rockefellers) to favor high tax rates on top earners. It’s not really noble or unselfish for those who have already earned their pile to seek to place new obstacles on hard-driving, up-and-coming challengers who seek to enter the charmed circle of privilege.

Those obstacles, however, will hardly benefit the nation as a whole. Isn’t it obvious that America needs more, not fewer, millionaires? And we want the numbers of poor and dependent people to shrink, not multiply.

While the left tries to foment indignation against wealth-creators, conservatives should respond with outrage at the moral inversion at the core of contemporary liberalism. Though progressives trumpet “fairness” as its guiding priority there’s nothing fair about society and government conferring generous dispensations on dysfunctional, dependent conduct and onerous special burdens on those who enrich both themselves and others. It is both unwise and, at the deepest level, unjust to promote hatred and resentment where gratitude is due and to offer indulgence and support for values that require correction.

by most accounts the US has always looked at income or earnings for taxes and allowed wealth or assets to be deductions..

basically if you look at our tax structure, the US taxes property at the local level, and allows it to be deducted at state and federal level.

who does this favor?
 

Tex

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You assume I would support taking loopholes off the table if taxes were increased.

This is a wrong assumption.

Of course if you start making up assumptions that I don't agree with, then of course you can break them down.

Of course you would be arguing with yourself the whole time and not me.

I think the income tax does have its problems and one of them is that it is only an income tax and not a wealth tax. More income does lead to more wealth but we should make sure we have an economy where the super wealthy do not ride that train.

None of this taxing more that I support means that we shouldn't still cut government spending or politicians buying voters with their power over the purse. We should never give taxpayer subsidies to the wealthy, for instance. They can pay the full bill all on their own without taxpayers paying for part of it. They already get to be in the world's greatest nation even as they tear its strength down.

Some of you need to stop drinking the kool-aid.

Tex
 

Steve

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Tex said:
You assume I would support taking loopholes off the table if taxes were increased.

This is a wrong assumption.

Of course if you start making up assumptions that I don't agree with, then of course you can break them down.

Of course you would be arguing with yourself the whole time and not me.

I think the income tax does have its problems and one of them is that it is only an income tax and not a wealth tax. More income does lead to more wealth but we should make sure we have an economy where the super wealthy do not ride that train.

None of this taxing more that I support means that we shouldn't still cut government spending or politicians buying voters with their power over the purse. We should never give taxpayer subsidies to the wealthy, for instance. They can pay the full bill all on their own without taxpayers paying for part of it. They already get to be in the world's greatest nation even as they tear its strength down.

Some of you need to stop drinking the kool-aid.


Tex


no Tex I don't assume much..

other then Congress, liberal and Obama chasing after a shiny rich ball..

and others backslapping them on the way..

besides.. I can't drink your kool-aid.. someone beat me to the picture and it's empty..
 

Tex

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Steve said:
Tex said:
You assume I would support taking loopholes off the table if taxes were increased.

This is a wrong assumption.

Of course if you start making up assumptions that I don't agree with, then of course you can break them down.

Of course you would be arguing with yourself the whole time and not me.

I think the income tax does have its problems and one of them is that it is only an income tax and not a wealth tax. More income does lead to more wealth but we should make sure we have an economy where the super wealthy do not ride that train.

None of this taxing more that I support means that we shouldn't still cut government spending or politicians buying voters with their power over the purse. We should never give taxpayer subsidies to the wealthy, for instance. They can pay the full bill all on their own without taxpayers paying for part of it. They already get to be in the world's greatest nation even as they tear its strength down.

Some of you need to stop drinking the kool-aid.


Tex


no Tex I don't assume much..

other then Congress, liberal and Obama chasing after a shiny rich ball..

and others backslapping them on the way..

besides.. I can't drink your kool-aid.. someone beat me to the picture and it's empty..


So we encouraged the super rich and the hedge funders to leverage up our economy by having a lower tax on investments than income, they asked for more tax breaks, they got them, then the economy tanked and you say this is what we should be doing?

I will agree that the kool-aid jug is empty. You must have had such a fill of it that you are still satisfied.

Tex
 

TexasBred

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Business and individuals take deductions that are allowed...plain and simple. These have been put in place from time to time since IRS was established. They are not loopholes. They are legitimate deductions. And forget percentages. You can't spend them. Thing Dollars !!!! That's all that matters and all you have to spend. Stay within that budget.

Companies like Exxon/Mobile pay a small percentage in American taxes yet they still pay billions in tax dollars. Why?? Because their american business is only about 10% of their total and all foreign taxes are deducted from the American tax bill. No more illegal than me going gambling in Louisiana, winning big, paying LA taxes yet deducting the same from my federal tax bill. All perfectly legit.

Pass the flat tax !!!!
 

Steve

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Tex said:
Steve said:
Tex said:
You assume I would support taking loopholes off the table if taxes were increased.

This is a wrong assumption.

Of course if you start making up assumptions that I don't agree with, then of course you can break them down.

Of course you would be arguing with yourself the whole time and not me.

I think the income tax does have its problems and one of them is that it is only an income tax and not a wealth tax. More income does lead to more wealth but we should make sure we have an economy where the super wealthy do not ride that train.

None of this taxing more that I support means that we shouldn't still cut government spending or politicians buying voters with their power over the purse. We should never give taxpayer subsidies to the wealthy, for instance. They can pay the full bill all on their own without taxpayers paying for part of it. They already get to be in the world's greatest nation even as they tear its strength down.

Some of you need to stop drinking the kool-aid.


Tex


no Tex I don't assume much..

other then Congress, liberal and Obama chasing after a shiny rich ball..

and others backslapping them on the way..

besides.. I can't drink your kool-aid.. someone beat me to the picture and it's empty..


So we encouraged the super rich and the hedge funders to leverage up our economy by having a lower tax on investments than income, they asked for more tax breaks, they got them, then the economy tanked and you say this is what we should be doing?

I will agree that the kool-aid jug is empty. You must have had such a fill of it that you are still satisfied.

Tex
to quote a famous well respected politician "there you go again"...

now who is assuming something... and the kool-aide comeback of yours is really lame..


if you had read, and comprehended my posts, you would clearly see the problem I have with the Buffet plan is that it takes the eye off the real prize. loopholes..

I didn't say we can't do both... and I really hate giving liberals advice..

but if you fall for taxing the rich.. then that will be about all you will get.. a simple tax increase and more deductions.. (loopholes)

but if you keep your eye on the right ball loopholes..

and once loopholes are closed you can go back to tax the rich.. cuase for you guys is is simple enough easy ot say, ,and never seems to get old..

but please.. spend any political capital you liberals have left.. use it all and get a puny little shiny ball..

then what will you say.. tax the not quite filthy rich?
 

Steve

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TexasBred said:
Business and individuals take deductions that are allowed...plain and simple. These have been put in place from time to time since IRS was established. They are not loopholes. They are legitimate deductions. And forget percentages. You can't spend them. Thing Dollars !!!! That's all that matters and all you have to spend. Stay within that budget.

Companies like Exxon/Mobile pay a small percentage in American taxes yet they still pay billions in tax dollars. Why?? Because their american business is only about 10% of their total and all foreign taxes are deducted from the American tax bill. No more illegal than me going gambling in Louisiana, winning big, paying LA taxes yet deducting the same from my federal tax bill. All perfectly legit.

Pass the flat tax !!!!

I agree just add a simple 1% flat tax on all earnings. (the money you put in your pocket) with no deductions on the added 1% ,.. it would scare the crap out of the rich, the wealthy and wall-street.. you would hear them squeal all the way to France..

I only commented on this thread to show how easily liberals are manipulated by the rich..
 

Tex

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Steve said:
TexasBred said:
Business and individuals take deductions that are allowed...plain and simple. These have been put in place from time to time since IRS was established. They are not loopholes. They are legitimate deductions. And forget percentages. You can't spend them. Thing Dollars !!!! That's all that matters and all you have to spend. Stay within that budget.

Companies like Exxon/Mobile pay a small percentage in American taxes yet they still pay billions in tax dollars. Why?? Because their american business is only about 10% of their total and all foreign taxes are deducted from the American tax bill. No more illegal than me going gambling in Louisiana, winning big, paying LA taxes yet deducting the same from my federal tax bill. All perfectly legit.

Pass the flat tax !!!!

I agree just add a simple 1% flat tax on all earnings. (the money you put in your pocket) with no deductions on the added 1% ,.. it would scare the crap out of the rich, the wealthy and wall-street.. you would hear them squeal all the way to France..

I only commented on this thread to show how easily liberals are manipulated by the rich..

I think you are right on this Steve, increase the tax 1% until we have a budget that is balanced. I would, however, tax everyone the same. The SS tax should be increased up to the total income, including investment income until that program is fixed.

Continue to do the same with the income tax until there is a balanced budget but exempt the average income until the rich are paying the same in SS taxes on all their earnings, not just their limited amount they have politicians into doing.

The greatest damage is that we are continuing to kick this can down the road so our kids have to fix it.

If the rich want to take their money and go to France, let them go. Devalue the dollar so that our economy actually works again and we are not having continual trade deficits--ie--play the Chinese game of manipulating the currency and forget the tariff argument.

I couldn't care less if all the rich people went to France and took all their money with them. It will make inflating our currency and deflating the value of their money easier. Perhaps you would suggest the super rich go to Africa or England. That would be fine too. If they want to run away instead of making this country actually work, then let them go. Keep the gold in Fort Knox.

I would start playing hardball because future generations deserve it.

Tex
 

Steve

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Tex said:
Steve said:
I agree just add a simple 1% flat tax on all earnings. (the money you put in your pocket) with no deductions on the added 1% ,.. it would scare the crap out of the rich, the wealthy and wall-street.. you would hear them squeal all the way to France..

I only commented on this thread to show how easily liberals are manipulated by the rich..

I think you are right on this Steve, increase the tax 1% until we have a budget that is balanced[/i]. I would, however, tax everyone the same. The SS tax should be increased up to the total income, including investment income until that program is fixed.

Continue to do the same with the income tax until there is a balanced budget but exempt the average income until the rich are paying the same in SS taxes on all their earnings, not just their limited amount they have politicians into doing.

I would start playing hardball because future generations deserve it.

Tex


Tex, once you allow any exemption they will chip away at it.. and soon it will be as bad as any other tax.. and by adding in all the other ideas such as SS limits you have would make it to complicated for congress to handle.. a flat tax is just that flat.. once it is income or earnings it is taxed..

and again,. I really hate helping the liberals.. but.. I will try..

just to clarify.. the 1% is on top of existing taxes.. so the poor/average income would only still pay 1%

as for the balanced budget.. I would hinge the 1% to the budget..

if the budget is 20% over.. that years flat tax would be 1.2%

if it is really bad like Obama's is.. 2%

I bet the pressure for a balanced budget would be so loud we would not need to tamper with the Constitution for balanced budget amendment.

and you could still yell tax the rich every year..
 

Steve

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now before everyone Thinks I have flipped...

consider this.. a 1% flat tax is not alot.. but it is a start to an easier fairer tax system.. once the camels nose is in the tent it would gradually over time be phased in..

a 1% flat tax hinged to a balanced budget would cause such a backlash that budgets would be balanced..

and liberals will always scream "tax the rich".. we just can't fix that..
 

Tex

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Steve said:
now before everyone Thinks I have flipped...

consider this.. a 1% flat tax is not alot.. but it is a start to an easier fairer tax system.. once the camels nose is in the tent it would gradually over time be phased in..

a 1% flat tax hinged to a balanced budget would cause such a backlash that budgets would be balanced..

and liberals will always scream "tax the rich".. we just can't fix that..

You have flopped, Steve, and you are probably right about it being too complex for Congress to handle.

And, yes, Larry, it is a spending problem but it won't be solved as long as the rich get to get away without having to pay for it too. They have to have an interest in Congress following a budget instead of it constantly being put on the nation's future generations.

Tex
 

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