Obama’s Millionaire Tax won’t Provide Serious Deficit Reduction

Posted by PITHOCRATES - September 18th, 2011

Deficit Reduction is Important Enough to Raise Taxes but not Important Enough to Cut Spending

Hmmm, a Democrat deficit reduction package.  I wonder what that could mean. Spending cuts?  Or tax hikes?  Well liberal Democrats like to tax and spend.  And Barack Obama is a liberal Democrat.  So it must be tax hikes (see Obama to offer his own debt reduction package by Jim Kuhnhenn, Associated Press, posted 9/18/2011 on Yahoo! News).

Administration officials see the task of attending to deficits as necessary but not necessarily urgent, compared with the need to revive the economy and increase employment.

What do you know about that?  It’s tax hikes.  What a surprise.

Translation?  It’s important enough to raise taxes to cut the deficit.  But not important enough to cut spending.  In other words, it will be government as usual.  More Keynesian ‘stimulus’ spending.  Which is code for rewarding political friends and allies.  With taxpayer money.  And more class warfare.  Blaming the Obama recession on Republican tactics.  Namely, responsible governance.

The White House signaled its approach Saturday by highlighting a proposal in the president’s plan that would set a minimum tax rate for taxpayers earning more than $1 million.

The measure — Obama is going to call it the “Buffett Rule” for billionaire investor Warren Buffett — is designed to prevent millionaires from using tax-avoidance schemes to pay lower rates than middle-income taxpayers. Buffett has complained that he and other wealthy people have been “coddled long enough” and shouldn’t be paying a smaller share of their income in federal taxes than middle-class taxpayers.

Coddled?  You tell me if we’re coddling these people.

Compare the numbers.  A $60,000 middle class salary pays a current top marginal tax rate of 25%.  That’s somewhere around $11,000 in federal income taxes.  One of these coddled ‘Warren Buffet‘ millionaires may earn $40 million on a half billion dollar investment portfolio.  Taxed at 15% that’s a capital gains tax of $6 million dollars.  So one ‘coddled’ millionaire pays the equivalent of 3,636 middle class taxpayers.

If you look at it this way, rationally, without your head up your keister, you can only arrive at one conclusion.  You don’t want to raise tax rates on the wealthy.  You want to breed them.  With tax policy that encourages the making of more Warren Buffet-class millionaires.

For each new ‘coddled’ millionaire that’s another 3,636 middle class people that could receive significant tax relief.  How?  Lower tax rates across the board.  The middle class pay less.  And more millionaires pay more tax dollars.  The ultimate goal of tax policy.  If you’re not a liberal Democrat, that is.  Whose ultimate goal is, of course, class warfare.  So you can advance policy that is detrimental to the economy.  But beneficial to growing government.  And rewards political friends and allies.  With taxpayer money.

Business Owners Understand their Businesses and Fiscal Policy and are Tiring of being Cash Piñatas

If you’re of the older persuasion you’ve no doubt heard these arguments before.  And after hearing them all these years they don’t fool you anymore.  If you ever were in the first place.  Still, it doesn’t stop them from trying (see Sorry, But The Republican Arguments Against A “Millionaire’s Tax” Are Just Preposterous by Henry Blodget posted 9/18/2011 on Business Insider).

The rest of the Republican counter-arguments are just silly, self-serving, or obstructionist. Let’s take them one by one, ending with the one that seems most persuasive to reasonable people.

“Taxes are a form of theft.”  This is just ridiculous. It’s like arguing that paper money is illegal.

Government is a necessary evil.  Government takes money earned by others.  To pay for public goods.  Everyone understands this.  What people don’t understand is the bastardization of the meaning of public goods.

A public good is a thing that an individual can’t buy.  An individual can’t buy an army and navy to protect himself.  Or herself.  A private individual can’t buy a fresh water and sewage system for himself.  Or herself.  These are public goods.  We pay for these things with taxes.  Everyone pays a little to enjoy the benefits of these massive and costly things.

But we can feed ourselves.  Provide for our own retirement.  Pay for our own healthcare.  We can do these things.  It may be harder for some than others.  But it can be done.  So these things are not public goods.  But government today treats them as public goods.  Taxing us far more than they should.  So they can curry favor with voting groups.

So buying votes with tax dollars may be legal in the strictest sense.  But it is closer to theft than legitimate tax policy.  And printing paper money to fund even more of this spending is generational theft.  A millionaire tax just facilitates more government spending for things government shouldn’t be paying for.

Here is a list of the arguments Blodget says are typically made against raising taxes on millionaires.  Which he goes on to repute.  But I think the arguments speak for themselves.

  • Raising taxes on millionaires will kill their ambition and discourage them from working
  • Raising taxes on millionaires will punish successful people for being successful
  • Raising taxes is always a terrible idea–the problem is spending
  • Taxes are a form of theft: The government has no right to take our money away
  • Raising taxes in a weak economy will further weaken the economy

These are all true.  People like to point to that top marginal tax rate of 1950s when the economy was booming.  But no one paid it.  People hid their earnings in tax shelters to avoid that 90% rate.  Contrary to popular belief on the Left, they didn’t whistle a happy tune and pay it.  They fought it.  And won.  It was a joke.

High taxes do influence rich people.  They will redirect their wealth from income producing.  To wealth preservation.  When tax rates are high.  Just like middle class people do with their 401(k)s.  When they approach retirement.

If a small business earns $1+ million a year, and the owner “passes through” all this income and pays taxes on it, Obama’s “millionaire’s tax” will encourage this owner to do the following:

  • Pay him or herself less
  • Hire more people or otherwise reinvest the money in the business (so it won’t be taxed)

These moves, in turn, should do two things:

  • Help create new jobs (which will help the overall economy)
  • Help grow the owner’s business, thus increasing his or her net worth

Yeah, it could work out like that.  Or it could go another way.  The small business owner can look at this tax policy as a sign that government has no intention of cutting their irresponsible spending.  Which means deficits will only continue to grow.  Which means there will be more taxes in the future.  As there will have to be if they don’t cut spending.  And baseline budgeting keeps increasing that spending every year.  Not to mention all those off-budget spending obligations.

Now business owners live in the real world.  They have to pay payroll taxes with every payroll.  And deal with other taxes and regulatory costs on a daily basis.  They don’t have the luxury of sitting back and prognosticating how tax policy should make business owners behave.  Instead, they’re acting ahead of policy.  They’re listening to this debate and preparing for the worst.  Even before tax policy changes.  Because if they don’t it may be too late when it does.

So this kind of talk is already keeping them from hiring new people.  They are deleveraging left and right.  Because they, unlike government, understand their businesses.  And fiscal policy.  They see what they are to government.  Big, fat cash piñatas.  And they’re tired of being whacked.

They Need to Tax Millionaires because They’re Making Spending Commitments no Amount of Taxation can Sustain

A millionaire tax.  That’s where it starts.  But it’s not where it will end.

People need to understand why government ‘needs’ to tax millionaires.  It’s not because they haven’t been paying their fair share.  It’s because of record deficits.  And record debt.  Caused by record spending.  Just look at the numbers.

Adjusted for inflation, Ronald Reagan‘s largest deficit was $442.614 billion.  George W. Bush‘s largest deficit was $462.56 billion.  In Obama’s first year in office his deficit was $1,416 billion.  In his second year it was $1,294 billion.  They project it to be $1,650 billion in 2011.  And one thing we know about Barack Obama is that he’s not going into the history books as a tax cutter.  So these deficits aren’t from tax cuts.  They’re from spending.

Because of baseline budgeting this spending stays on the books.  And it will only grow.  And all those off-budget spending obligations are growing right along with it.  Such as the trillions the government owes to the Medicare and Social Security trust Funds.  And on top of all of that is Obamacare just waiting to add to our fiscal woes.  This is why they ‘need’ to tax millionaires.  Because the government is making spending commitments no amount of taxation can sustain.  So they will start with millionaires.  Work their way through the middle class.  Then they’ll have no choice but to start rationing benefits.  Followed by austerity.  Then the anarchy comes.  Like in Greece.

This is why we should not add a millionaire tax.  It will not address the spending problem.  And will only facilitate more spending.  Delaying the inevitable day of reckoning.  And making it ever more painful.

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Obama wants a Millionaire Tax to Pay for his Political Stimulus Bill and Shrink his Deficit

Posted by PITHOCRATES - September 17th, 2011

Going Green is Just Another Excuse to Raise Taxes, Grow Government and Transfer more Wealth from the Private to the Public Sector

Big government has big ideas.  And big taxes to pay for them (see Crippling energy bills are YOUR fault, says Huhne as he claims families could treat themselves to a mini-break if they shopped around by Glen Owen and Jonathan Petre posted 9/17/2011 on the Daily Mail).

Utility price rises have pushed the average household energy bill to almost £1,300 a year, partly driven – as critics pointed out yesterday – by ‘green’ taxes imposed by Mr Huhne’s [Energy Secretary] department.

The stealth levies, introduced to fund Britain’s investment in wind and solar power, are costing families an average of £200 a year…

This represents an increase of between 15 and 20 per cent on the average domestic power bill. The money is being used to help fund the building of 10,000 wind turbines and the proposed installation of £7 billion worth of smart meters in homes.

To make your tomorrow better we will make your today worse.  You’re welcome.

Green energy may be good for the planet.  To combat ‘global warming’.  But it’s not good for your wallet.  Or purse.  And the kicker is this.  What kind of science is global warming based on?  Fraudulent science.  And if this doesn’t tell you why governments are pushing for green energy nothing will.

It’s about the money.  It always is.  And always was.  It’s another excuse to raise taxes.  To grow government.  And transfer more wealth from the private to the public sector.  So politicians can play god.  Which is something narcissists are wont to do.

Higher Tax Rates Discourage Growth, Deter Investment, Kill Jobs and Prolong Recessions

That was in the UK.  Over in the USA their government is going green, too.  Because there’s big money in going green.  They recently invested a half billion dollars in Solyndra.  President Obama visited the plant.  Vice President Joe Biden made a video clip praising those 1,000 new jobs.  That were permanent jobs.  And they were.  Right up to that mass layoff.  As the company went belly up this month.

But it was good while it lasted.  Throwing around such massive amounts of money.  Having the power to pick winners and losers.  It really strokes a narcissist’s ego.  Even if their winners turn out to be losers.  I mean, it’s not like they have to repay that half billion dollars.  They’ll just turn to the taxpayers for more taxes.  And blame the rich for not paying their fair share (see Obama Tax Plan Would Ask More of Millionaires by Jackie Calmes posted 9/17/2011 on The New York Times).

President Obama on Monday will call for a new minimum tax rate for individuals making more than $1 million a year to ensure that they pay at least the same percentage of their earnings as middle-income taxpayers, according to administration officials…

Mr. Obama, in a bit of political salesmanship, will call his proposal the “Buffett Rule,” in a reference to Warren E. Buffett, the billionaire investor who has complained repeatedly that the richest Americans generally pay a smaller share of their income in federal taxes than do middle-income workers, because investment gains are taxed at a lower rate than wages.

We should note, though, that it’s not the size of the rate that matters.  But the pile of money that it taxes.  Someone earning $60,000 a year with a top marginal tax rate of 25% may pay a puny $11,000 in taxes.  But someone with a 15% tax rate on an investment return of $40 million will pay an obscene $6 million in taxes.

Now, in case you’re not good with math.  Or you are a liberal Democrat.  Let me help.  $6 million is more than $11 thousand.  A lot more.  About 54,000% more.  The rich person may pay a lower tax rate.  But he or she pays more tax dollars.  Way more.

The rich pay more.  The less-rich pay less.  The rich pay for benefits.  The less-rich consume benefits.  We take money from the rich.  And give to the less-rich.  Sounds like redistribution of wealth, doesn’t it?  So you can see this is less about paying your fair share of taxes then it is about redistributing wealth.  To garner more votes come election time.

The Obama proposal has little chance of becoming law unless Republican lawmakers bend. But by focusing on the wealthiest Americans, the president is sharpening the contrast between Republicans and Democrats with a theme he can carry into his bid for re-election in 2012…

Mr. Obama’s proposed Buffett Rule puts a new spin on that pitch, as he tries to put Republicans in Congress and in the presidential race on the defensive for their rigid stand against higher taxes.

Using class warfare for the 2012 election.  Why?  Because he sure can’t run on his record.  For his record sucks.  His economic policies have been a disaster.  And are on track to put us back into recession.

So he will employ this ploy.  To make the Republicans look like heartless bastards.  Protecting their rich patrons.  While the rest of the nation suffers the ravishes of the Obama recession.  A recession Obama blames, of course, on George W. Bush.  That rich Texan oilman.  Despite that Recovery Summer in 2010.  When he, Barack Obama, ended the Bush recession.

Mr. Obama has been citing Mr. Buffett as he promotes his $447 billion job-creation plan. He proposes to offset the cost of that plan and reduce future budget deficits through higher taxes on the wealthy and on corporations after 2013, when the economy will presumably be healthier.

Ah, yes, his political stimulus bill.  That thing he calls the American Jobs Act.  Which no Congress person has yet to introduce into the House of Representatives.  Including no Democrat.  Which is telling.  Next year is an election year.  And the way this bill reeks of politics they want nothing to do with it.

Rich people invest their wealth.  They may buy corporate bonds.  Which will allow a business to grow.  Create jobs.  And you know nothing helps that process more than higher taxes.  You know, if you’re living in insanity land.

Higher tax rates don’t make economies healthier.  They make them sicker.  They discourage growth.  They deter investment.  They kill jobs.  And prolong recessions.  The economy will not be healthier in 2013.  Not with higher tax rates on the very people that can make it healthier.

Even Mr. Buffett probably paid a higher effective rate than he claimed, Mr. Mankiw [an economics professor at Harvard] added, because much of his income came from corporate income that had been taxed before it was paid out to individuals.

That’s right.  The money Mr. Buffet earns on his investment?  Uncle Sam already taxed it.  At the corporate income tax rate.  His tax is the second tax paid on those earnings.  Which begs the question how much is enough?  How much of our money is enough for the government?  And the answer is no matter what we pay it will never be enough.

The Danger of Raising Taxes on the Rich is that it doesn’t Address the Problem of Excessive Spending

We pay enough in taxes.  In fact, we pay too much.  The government is just spending too much.

The problem is baseline budgeting.  And tax and spend liberalism.  Not only are they spending a lot today but they will be spending even more tomorrow.  More programs.  More benefits.  Guaranteed.  At least they’re guaranteed as long as we continue to use baseline budgeting.  Where this year’s budget is last year’s budget plus more.  Automatically.

And this is the danger of raising taxes on the rich.  It doesn’t address the problem.  This excessive spending.  In fact it facilitates it.  Like an addiction.  Which means they will make this argument forever.  As they have forever.  The problem is this.  There will never be enough taxes.  Not to sustain continuous increases in spending.  Which we will always have.  As long as we continue to use baseline budgeting.  And continue to elect liberal Democrats.

If the current system favors the rich then here’s a novel idea.  Tax the less-rich at the rich tax rates.  Then everyone pays their ‘fair’ share.  But what about government you may ask.  How will they get by on less?  Well, that’s easy.  They can ask any one of us.  Because we’ve been doing it for years.

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