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December 23, 2009


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This is a very scattered argument that does not have a cohesive string to it other than to rail against taxes. This commentary quotes a lot of statistics without references (always a red flag when reading these types of commentaries.) This argument focuses on one small piece (income tax) of a very complex problem (funding our government). Where is the discussion of a VAT (coincidentally, the VAT, not income tax is the higher tax burden for most Europeans)? Where is the discussion of the debt? You can not talk of taxes without talking about the cost of governemnt.
The argument here is that overtaxing the rich forces people to not want to be rich. When was tha last time you heard an NFL superstar declining to accept a new contract because he was offered too much money, increasing his tax burden.
This is the first post I have seen on FMF where I am actually disappointed with the intellectual level of the commentary.

Loved the post!! actually i have loved the posts from marotta. Hey FMF what is your policy on reposting?

This is the latest in a long string of posts by Marotta that are disappointing. Pull the plug, FMF!

zyxuzpf --

What do you mean exactly?

spivey --

Ha! I had one reader who emailed me to say it's one of the BEST he's seen here. ;-)

You ran this exact article on 12/8/09.

I usually don't like Marotta, but I certainly like the subject of this article.

I encourage everyone to read Ron Paul's books. Don't vote how the media tells you to vote.

cmadler --

Not intentionally. Here's what happened:

1. I usually write posts ahead of time, especially when I plan time off.

2. I got this post, set it up, and instead of setting it to publish on 12-23 (as I meant to do), I hit "publish now" and it went up on the site for maybe three minutes.

3. I realized the mistake right away, took it down, and changed the date to now.

4. That didn't stop it from being in some feedreaders, so that's where you likely saw it before (unless you're sitting at your computer constantly hitting "refresh" on this site.) ;-)

5. If you'll notice, it's not in my archives for 12-8 as a result of these changes.

The example of the NFL player completely misses the mark. An NFL player has a job to do. The amount of money they get paid doesn't change the amount of work they have to do to complete that job (in fact, the lower paid players are often harder workers without the same level of natural talent).
For a small business to earn more money, unlike an NFL player, the business has to increase its workload. There's a marginal cost to do so, and that marginal cost is measured in time. At some point you have to decide if the cost (time) is worth the increased profit. Anyone who owns a business can tell you that true profit is measured on a net basis, not gross, making the tax implications very important.

Unfortunately, I think the new health care bill is just another (large) step in the wrong direction. Obama (and the rest of the Dems) seems to think he can cram whatever he wants through Congress. Nevermind his campaign promises of having C-Span cameras in the room while business is done. A vote for that large of bill took place at 1 a.m.??? Doesn't sound like the right thing is being done here. Not to mention the absurd amount of earmarks it took to buy enough votes to get the bill passed.

Sure, some people will get even more (free) services from the governement. But someone has to step up and pay for this. The problem is, people in the US typically have a what's in it for me attitude, without considering the impact to their friends and neighbors (much less thier grandkids).

That selfish attitude is what gets a person like Obama elected in the first place. People can say, well yes, getting all these free services would be great for me, so I will vote for that guy.

Nevermind the fact that the United States of America might not exist in the near future at the current rate we are spending money on governmental programs.

If you thought the last year was bad with the housing crisis and related economic meltdown. Just wait until the US is essentially bankrupt (which we baiscally are now). Who do you think will provide a bailout then?

Is it just me or does this post totally ignore the difference between marginal and effective tax rates. Understandably it's easier to make your point if your pointing at the marginal rate but aren't most business' (and peoples for that matter) effective taxes FAR lower?

Also, it seems inaccurate to conflate small business owners with high wage earners who are still employees of businesses (football players, surgeons, etc.).

While this article does have some interesting points, in general it is just a rant against taxes.

I'm happy to pay my taxes. I am happy to pay for our society. While I'm not in the top 5% of annual income, I am in the top 25%. And if you are in the highest tax bracket, then even 50% of your earnings should dwarf the money you spend outsourcing things like cleaning or gardening.

My taxes should be high enough to pay for the services the government provides. I'm personally willing to see my taxes go up slightly to pay for subsidized health care, to pay for unemployment benefits, and to pay for many other services. Because while I don't need the help now, I might some day. And so might friends, family, or complete strangers. Having large safety nets in place makes society better for everyone.

Are there problems with the current implementations of these programs? Certainly. And certainly earmarks in the budget are a problem (although more of a philosophical one than a waste of a large percentage of our tax revenue). But I would rather have imperfect programs than none at all.

There are other solutions than just lowering tax rates. How about simplifying the tax code, so that there are aren't as many loopholes and it is easier to determine what every person's and company's true tax burden is? Or going to a purely consumption based tax like the Fair Tax? Every different idea has problems and strengths. But I would like to have some discussion about plans to change the system rather than rants about taxes being too high.

P.S. I too would like links to sources to do more background reading about some of these statistics.

My NFL example was arguing against the "The top 5% of taxpayers pay over 60% of the income tax collected by the federal government" discussion. This goes back to my primary problem with the post that is he argues both the income tax and corporate/business tax issues as if it were the same argument.
If he were arguing income versus a VAT or income versus corporate he may have made more sense.

A reference for you Arimack: Here you will see the individual income tax data from 1980-2007. The top 5% of individual tax payers do in fact pay 60% of the tax burden (the top 1% pay 40% of the tax burden).

About myself - I am 75, Wealthy, and a retired engineer - I am a Democrat - I structure our portfolio to pay the absolute Minimum in Taxes.
I have heard the Republican position many times from the Super Wealthy family of my daughter's ex husband.
It goes like this - If everyone was like us, worked hard, saved hard, built a successful business, and stood on our own two feet, this would be a far better country and taxes would be much lower.

What this argument totally ignores is that unfortunately Americans are not created equal. Many have mental and physical disabilities of varying degrees. Many have had tremendous setbacks that were outside of their control and not caused by their own actions. In an agricultural society such as existed in the early 19th. century where the majority worked on the land there was a place for such individuals, their families found work within their capabilities to perform and took care of them.

Once we entered the industrial age, there was a gradual movement away from the farms and into the cities. Those that were strong physically and mentally succeeded, but life was very different for those that couldn't compete in the big city. I enjoy books and movies written about that era in Britain - the extremes were the wealthy landowners living in huge manor houses with many servants, the ordinary workers living in primitive conditions in small cottages, and the "rejects" living in the Workhouse or in Debtor's prisons. Government programs to help the underprivileged did not exist.

The Western European countries today have primarily socialist forms of government that provide healthcare and education at little or no cost and all manner of expensive programs to take care of those that cannot take care of themselves. Of course this does not come without a high price. The VAT tax being the one that is paid every time you spend money or add value to a product. This tax is hidden away in the price you pay for everything. There are also many other types of taxes just as in the USA.

I am one of the fortunate citizens in the USA. My wife and I have everything we need and are getting wealthier and wealthier every year that passes. In addition to our own efforts to succeed we also benefited greatly because our working lives coincided with very good economic times. We have now entered a period of bad economic times that may last for quite a few years and future retirees may be a lot less fortunate than us.

What's the solution? Higher taxes are bad for the economy - higher national debts and deficits are bad for the economy - millions of people are hurting badly - 1 in 10 are on Food Stamps. I don't have the solution.

@Old Limey

I saw that your a democrat and remembered this email I got. I have nothing against dems or repubs, but wanted to post a funny email

Yes, it's that magical time of year again when the Darwin Awards are bestowed, honoring the least evolved among us.

Here is the glorious winner:

1. When his 38 caliber revolver failed to fire at his intended victim during a hold-up in Long Beach, California would-be robber James Elliot did something that can only inspire wonder. He peered down the barrel and tried the trigger again. This time it worked.

And now, the honorable mentions:

2. The chef at a hotel in Switzerland lost a finger in a meat cutting machine and after a little shopping around, submitted a claim to his insurance company. The company, expecting negligence, sent out one of its men to have a look for himself. He tried the machine and he also lost a finger. The chef's claim was approved.

3. A man who shoveled snow for an hour to clear a space for his car during a blizzard in Chicago returned with his vehicle to find a woman had taken the space. Understandably, he shot her.

4. After stopping for drinks at an illegal bar, a Zimbabwean bus driver found that the 20 mental patients he was supposed to be transporting from Harare to Bulawayo had escaped. Not wanting to admit his incompetence, the driver went to a nearby bus stop and offered everyone waiting there a free ride. He then delivered the passengers to the mental hospital, telling the staff that the patients were very excitable and prone to bizarre fantasies. The deception wasn't discovered for 3 days.

5. An American teenager was in the hospital recovering from serious head wounds received from an oncoming train. When asked how he received the injuries, the lad told police that he was simply trying to see how close he could get his head to a moving train before he was hit.

6. A man walked into a Louisiana Circle-K, put a $20 bill on the counter, and asked for change. When the clerk opened the cash drawer, the man pulled a gun and asked for all the cash in the register, which the clerk promptly provided. The man took the cash from the clerk and fled, leaving the $20 bill on the counter. The total amount of cash he got from the drawer... $15. [If someone points a gun at you and gives you money, is a crime committed?]

7. Seems an Arkansas guy wanted some beer pretty badly. He decided that he'd just throw a cinder block through a liquor store window, grab some booze, and run. So he lifted the cinder block and heaved it over his head at the window. The cinder block bounced back and hit the would-be thief on the head, knocking him unconscious. The liquor store window was made of Plexiglas. The whole event was caught on videotape.

8. As a female shopper exited a New York convenience store, a man grabbed her purse and ran. The clerk called 911 immediately, and the woman was able to give them a detailed description of the snatcher. Within minutes, the police apprehended the snatcher. They put him in the car and drove back to the store. The thief was then taken out of the car and told to stand there for a positive ID. To which he replied, "Yes, officer, that's her. That's the lady I stole the purse from."

9. The Ann Arbor News crime column reported that a man walked into a Burger King in Ypsilanti, Michigan at 5 A.M., flashed a gun, and demanded cash. The clerk turned him down because he said he couldn't open the cash register without a food order. When the man ordered onion rings, the clerk said they weren't available for breakfast. The man, frustrated, walked away. [*A 5-STAR STUPIDITY AWARD WINNER]

10. When a man attempted to siphon gasoline from a motor home parked on a Seattle street, he got much more than he bargained for. Police arrived at the scene to find a very sick man curled up next to a motor home near spilled sewage. A police spokesman said that the man admitted to trying to steal gasoline, but he plugged his siphon hose into the motor home's sewage tank by mistake. The owner of the vehicle declined to press charges saying that it was the best laugh he'd ever had.

*** Remember..... They walk among us!!!***

And, they reproduce and vote Democrat!!

Old Limey - that's 1 in 8 now:

There is a solution, but it's not a good one. We need to let the process of collapse finish. Let the businesses fail, let the currency fail and step down from the Global Leader role. Once the collapse is done, only then can we start rebuilding the economy and nation without the systemic mistakes of the past. Who knows what our tax burden would end up being if we weren't policing foreign nations or were forced to renegotiate the social contract or didn't float our currency on margin? It's hard to tell, but without collapse the mistakes of the past do not go away - just like without bankruptcy, you can't remove the financial burden from your person and start anew. Rise and fall is a healthly part of every civilization's history; it's what makes us get better at being a civilization.

Arimark -- for small business owners, it's often the same thing. LLCs, partnerships and S-Corps generally use pass-through taxation, so the taxes are paid at the marginal income tax rate. In effect, for small businesses, it's a merging of the income/business tax issue.

Jim must be on xmas vacation, I can't see his calm fact checking comment yet. Come back Jim!

Wonder how many "billions (yes billions) of hours" are spent on the health insurance issue in small businesses? I don't live in the US any more, but used to attend annual board/senior management meetings for a past employer where that took up 75% of the time.

The last major country that collapsed not too many years before I was born was Germany. Their currency became worthless, fortunes were wiped out, and there was much misery throughout the land.
Then along came an inspirational leader, with a great vision and some good ideas for the country under Fascism, as described in his book, Mein Kampf (My Struggle). Gigantic rallies were held at Nuremberg and elsewhere, the people loved him and his dream of building the Third Reich and returning the Fatherland to its former Glory. The autobahns were built and a people's car (the Volkswagen) developed, but it didn't stop there.

I don't need to go on any further, we all know how that story ended. It took a second great World War that got rid of both Fascism and Communism in Europe and caused 56,000,000 deaths in the process before Germany again became a prosperous, united, and peaceful nation. I hope that's not the solution that you are suggesting.


What you call the "Republican position" is a very poor rendition of it.

Most people want to take care of their families and enjoy the fruits of their labor. Most people don't mind taking care of others (such as those with disabilities) as long as those others legitimately need it. Most people don't mind taking whatever the government offers them. And most people are responsive to financial incentives (in other words, the way we structure our tax laws.) So we should structure our tax laws (etc.) appropriately in order to encourage people to be productive, and we should structure our charities (government or otherwise) in order to help the people who need helped while minimizing waste.

The Republican/Conservative position is that across-the-board tax reductions (from current levels) and reforms of many programs (possibly moving federal programs to the state or local level, or replacing them with private charities) would greatly improve the situation for most of the country. Eventually you reach a point where taxes are "low enough", but we're nowhere near that point right now.

LotharBot nailed it. I tend to view issues from a conservative almost libertarian perspective, however, I agree that some federal government programs are necessary. I don't even have a problem with the concept of welfare, but I very much against the programs that are making citizens dependent on the system It's supposed to be a short term fix, not a permanent solution.

Reading D's post reminded me of an email that I received...

There are few topics as complex, frustrating, and as misunderstood as taxes. T. Davies, professor of accounting at the University of South Dakota, explains the impact of tax reduction through a remarkably understandable analogy that is both entertaining and informative.

"This is a very simple way to understand the tax laws," says Professor Davies. "Read on, as it does make you think!" Here's his analogy:

"Let's put tax cuts in terms everyone can understand. Suppose that every day, ten men go out for dinner. The bill for all ten comes to $100. If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this:

the first four men, the poorest, would pay nothing;
the fifth would pay $1;
the sixth would pay $3;
the seventh would pay $7;
the eighth pays $12;
the ninth would pay $18;
and the tenth man, the richest, would pay $59.
"That's what they decided to do. The ten men ate dinner in the restaurant every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement --- until one day, the owner threw them a curve (in tax language a tax cut).

"'Since you are all such good customers,' he said, 'I am going to reduce the cost of your daily meal by $20. So now dinner for the ten only cost $80.00.

"The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes. So the first four men were unaffected. They would still eat for free. But what about the other six--the paying customers? How could they divvy up the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his 'fair share?'

"The six men realized that $20 divided by six is $3.33. But if they subtracted that from everybody's share, Then the fifth man and the sixth man would end up being PAID to eat their meal. So the restaurant owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man's bill by roughly the same amount, and he proceeded to work out the amounts each should pay:

as before, the first four men paid nothing;
now the fifth man also paid nothing;
the sixth man now paid $2;
the seventh paid $5;
the eighth man paid $9;
the ninth man paid $12;
leaving the tenth man with a bill of $52 instead of his earlier $59.
Each of the six was better off than before. And the first four continued to eat for free.

"But once outside the restaurant, the men began to compare their savings. 'I only got a dollar out of the $20 reduction,' declared the sixth man, but he, pointing to the tenth. 'But he got $7!'. 'Yeah, that's right,' exclaimed the fifth man, 'I only saved a dollar too; it's unfair that he got seven times more than me!'

'"That's true,' shouted the seventh man, 'why should he get $7 back when I got only $2? The wealthy get all the breaks!. 'Wait a minute,' yelled the first four men in unison, 'We didn't get anything at all. The system exploits the poor!'

"The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up. The next night he didn't show up for dinner, so the nine sat down and ate without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered, a little late what was very important. They were now Fifty-Two Dollars short of paying the bill. Imagine that!

And that, boys and girls, journalists, and college instructors, is how the tax system works. The people who pay the highest taxes get the most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up at the table anymore.

Personally, I'd rather pay for healthcare than for welfare. And I'm a democrat! I cannot think of a reason why anyone who is young and healthy and of sound mind should be paid *not* to work.

On the other hand, if you're sick and there is a treatment or cure out there, I cannot call myself moral if I stand by and let you suffer just because I don't want to spend the money.

I do believe that all the proud independent republicans who claim that they don't need the gov would be singing a different tune if the gov suddenly ceased to function. Who will enforce your contracts, then? Who will build the roads and trains that you rely on to transport your goods? Who will educate your workers?

It's interesting that several posters have remarked that taxes are too high and that they should be reduced.
I am all for reducing our taxes as long as we can also balance our budget.
Obviously our budget is so far out of balance that even more extreme spending cuts are required.
Unfortunately tax revenues are in decline at both federal and state levels and essential services have already been severely cut to the bone.
You and I cannot last very long with our budget this out of balance because we are unable to print money.
Does anyone have any intelligent ideas where we go from here, other than just saying that taxes are too high?

I find it funny that somebody out there still refers to John Galt without much reflection. That is why I only skimmed the article.

The US is still one of the wealthiest places on earth (measured in per capita purchasing power). You say it "is no virtue when 95% of our country puts over 60% of the burden on the remaining 5%." It does not seem like this "burden" has hindered the success of the US. I would rather argue that misguided tax cuts under Bush turned a budget surplus (smaller government) into a huge deficit (bigger government) which will hinder the long-term success of our country. Who is the real John Galt?

If I ran the country I would be able to solve our fiscal nightmare, they way I had to make drastic cuts in the business I took over to get it to survive. Here are the steps I would take:

1. 20% wage reduction for anyone in the Federal Govt earning over $100k per year, salary freezes for all other positions.

2. All government pensions would be capped at the PBGC maximum annual level, or about $60k per year.

3. Social Security benefits kick in at a retirement age that increases 1 year every 2 years in the future until this gets to 72 for men, 75 for women at which point the age increase stops.

4. Revoke the mortgage interest deduction and let housing prices come back to be being stabilized by the equivalent rent and being equal to a multiple of 2-3X annual salaries.

5. Eliminate corporate contributions for elections - creates a massive conflict of interest.

6. No taxes on interest income from savings accounts, this is to encourage savings and not punish this behavior.

7. Universal coverage is ok but there needs to be a major push to reduce the cost of healthcare. This would happen by allowing reimportation of drugs back into the US and challenging the annual caps set by AMA to fix wages of doctors.

8. The presence of soldiers in overseas bases (I'm talking about places like S. Korea, Phillipines, Germany, etc) must decrease by 20% per year.

9. Income tax system remains the way it is for now and a National VAT of 5% is implemented.

10. If congress cannot pass a budget without a surplus of 3% of the federal budget there is an immediate re-election called for, this will guarantee fiscal discipline comes first.

11. Surpluses go towards paying off the national debt.

Ok, that's about it. Now I'll wait to get flamed!


This post certainly divides the readers into two camps. But, those arguing against this post tend to think that we owe those in society who can't care for themselves some form of assistance. I don't think any person, Rebpub, Dem, Libertarian, etc, would argue that we shouldn't help those that are TRULY less fortunate. However, I think those against this post put too much faith in the government as the mechanism to deliver to those needing assistance.

The government is inefficient and run by people interested solely in maintaining or increasing their power. While their rhetoric suggest otherwise, their actions don't. Just look at the sell out in the health care bill. Or, how about the bailout of banks, which are now receiving the largest bonuses in history. This is from the party of the people and the man who advocates hope for the common man.

In almost every instance, we can find a charitable organization or private foundation that provides to the needy better than the government. Look at Katrina - the churches and non-profits got aid to those that needed it, not FEMA. Even now, Brad Pitt is helping to rebuild New Orleans more than the government. Most charitable organizations that help the homeless tend to focus on improving the homeless' lot in life through job training or education. In fact, most mandate some sort of improvement to continue the financial assistance. Welfare prevents recipients from improving their income as the money will be stopped. Further, it does a poor job of improving the recipient's lot in life.

Plus, our founding fathers created a system that favored the individual's rights, more than the government's authority. As the government interferes in more facets of our life, we find our rights dwindle, whether they are social rights or economic ones. I see no reason to give a third or more of my money to the government. Why should I work until May every year to hand it over to an organization that can't manage its own affairs and will sell out to the highest bidder. I would much rather give my money to charitable organizations to help others and know that the money is working as intended.

The only role our government should serve is to protect the citizens from foreign threats, enforce laws that keep us from harming one another, and serve as an independent arbitrator when two parties have a legal difference. (Even in these respects the government could be more thrifty with our money).

Maybe the original writer of this post should learn a bit more about the financial and monetary system. The PROBLEM is created at the source, on HOW WE CREATE MONEY. The founding fathers of the USA intended something different than the usurious system you now live within. Read Web of Debt, your eyes will be opened.

The world we live in is our own fault, only we can change it for the better.

You won't get flamed by me. I'm in agreement with you on just about everything, though your suggestions will cause immense hardship to a lot of people.
Whatever happened to the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings law enacted in 1986 to control budget deficits? Probably huge expenses such as the two wars are "Off Budget" items.
Along with most of the American public, I am also against the war in Afghanistan, as I was with the Iraq war.
The extremely costly and very lengthy system by which general elections are held also needs to be rethought from the ground up.

As for the reimportation of drugs back into the USA, I have met several Kaiser patients recently that needed brand name medications that Kaiser did not cover but referred them to a supplier in India that will mail them genuine, brand name drugs, at prices far below the cost here. To give you an example, my wife uses two new inhalers, Spiriva (made in Germany) which retails at $496, and Advair (developed in the UK) which retails at $588, for a 90 day supply, we are fortunate enough to be in the Lockheed group plan of an HMO that covers brand name drugs at a cost of $50 per prescription for a 90 day supply so we don't need to get them from India where they are priced far lower of course. Many years ago when I owned stock in a couple of pharmaceutical companies I was astounded to discover from their financial reports what huge profit margins they had - that's why they were good stocks to own.

I feel like I should post a chain email in this thread also ;)

Old Limey,

Gramm-Rudman-Hollings was supplanted by budget enforcement act of 1990

I know my proposals would cause hardship, I would still advocate welfare programs for the indigent so hopefully nobody goes hungry, but wouldn't you agree that these steps would make significant progress to fix the hole we are in.

Certainly it's better than the status quo of keep digging till we pop out on the other side (in China..., oops we owe them too much money, bad idea). They seem to forget that if we dig deep enough we will hit molten rock before coming out the other side!


Couple of thoughts-

1) We learn in the original post that Europeans on average have on average 50% more leisure than Americans. Their quality of life is roughly equivalent ( wiki/List_of_countries _by_GDP_%28PPP%29_per_capita), particularly in terms of health care and the social safety net. So far, it seems like raising taxes increases leisure time in a society with no corresponding loss of income. I'm in. Lets raise taxes higher.

2) In the restaurant analogy, the people at the table split the bill, but the wealthy person also gets a whole lot more of the meal-their quality of life in America is vastly superior.

3) I don't think its reasonable to claim that 5% of the population actually provides 60% of the economic value. Wealth congregates, and rent seeking is a real phenomenon. Taxing people for lucking out in the economic lottery is no sin.

4) Basically, America already has a flat tax ( Its only if you focus on income tax (our most progressive tax) that it looks like the rich pay a ridiculous percentage.

5) I think tax rates should rise to meet our spending needs. I'm happy to cut military spending, but increasing spending to get national health insurance would reduce some inefficiencies in our economy. I care much more how the average person in America is doing than how much money America in total is making.

6) Deficit spending in a recession is a great idea-its good for the government to be offsetting the reduction in national spending. However, next time we get a surplus, after the economy recovers, maybe that president will actually save some money for the next financial crisis, rather than blowing it on tax cuts for the wealthy.

STL Pastor,

I disagree with most of your points as follows:

1. Increasing taxes does have an impact on income. You can compare European countries and see the difference. Look at the tax rates in Denmark and income levels versus those of other European countries.

2. The restaurant analogy - the wealthy person is NOT getting the same multiple of quality (as you suggest) versus what he/she paid. It just demonstrates the proportion of what is being paid.

3. Taxing for "lucking out"? While some may inherit weatlh ( a small percentage), many have wealth through hard work, saving, etc. That is hardly lucking out.

4. The Federal income tax receipts are by far the largest. Within that system, it is clear that we do not have a flat tax. Further, we are creating a larger and larger problem in that the tax base is shrinking. A growing percentage are no longer facing a Federal tax burden.

5. Spending needs??? Look at the waste. Take a look at all the pork that gets added to every piece of legislation. Our government is just a reflection of personal spending habits in which we spend more than we earn. If someone has a spending problem, do you hand them another credit card? No.

6. This one is the most surprising. How can a pastor who reads the bible and sees what God says about avoiding debt then say it is okay for us to take on more debt. Your other suggestion is what we should be doing which is saving money for times of trouble.

Mike Hunt,

Although I find your comments interesting I tend to believe that the only changes we can make (however unlikely) that can possibly turn things around are these...

1) All bills put forward in either the Congress or Senate must be limited to a single proposed item and the bill must be limited to a single 8 1/2" x 11" piece of paper done in Courier 14 Point font and triple spaced.

2) The Congressman or Senator (or multiples if more than one co-authors the bill) are, upon submission of the bill for consideration, immediately removed from chambers and put to death.

The simple fact that due to the loss of morality and ethics in the USA there can be no other way to reign in the horrible future (or lack of a future) that this country has. The only alternative is complete collapse and civil war.

From reading all of the posts it is very obvious that the country is extremely polarized in its opinions on governance and we have a stalemate on almost everything for much of the time. Occasionally one party will have sufficient majorities to make some changes, only to see them undone when the other party gains sufficient majorities.
Meanwhile the Nationa Debt and the Budget Deficits keep growing. Unfortunately they cannot keep growing forever. Unless some drastic actions are taken there will be a day of reckoning that nobody will like, and for a country like the USA to collapse is a scenario that I hope I never experience.

I was hopeful that in September 2000 when the largest budget surplus in American history was announced and projections were made that the National Debt could be retired by 2008 that America had turned the corner and that even better things were in store. How totally wrong I was. The following 8 years were an unmitigated disaster, exacerbated by deregulation of the financial industry that allowed greed to go unchecked at many levels. I don't really care about political labels, I just care about having the USA run its affairs the same way that successful private citizens run theirs.

Good point, Old Limey... if only the government would takes some clues from the private sector. I dont see that happening anytime soon though, as you probably remember the post that FMF had up recently with the net worths of our representatives in Congress. On both sides of the aisle, there are reps with atrocious personal financial situations (by our standards anyway). So if those are the folks we've elected into office... well, I think you can see where I'm going with this.

I think you forgot to add your disclaimer about being sarcastic. You're kidding, right?

Its interesting that the health care system is described as "inefficient" since the government has been intervening in that market since medicare/medicaid and the anti-trust exemption for health care providers. This is exactly what the Austrian economists predict: government intervention brings about inefficiencies, which leads to further calls for government intervention.

Further, the last 8 years were not "unbridled capitalism" actually there was significant government intervention in the housing market (and every market).

We desperately need to teach basic economics in our schools.

Wow. I haven't read so many backwards, misinformed, and illogical comments in a really long time. Some of you get it, most of you do not.

Get rid of all the elected officials in 2010 and 2012. Start fresh and remind them all that they work for us and not the other way around. There is too much power in Washington and soon they will control everyone with this health care bill.

Do not fool yourself, everything in DC is about control and power and not for the good of the people.

Elections have consequences.


You forget that incumbents and candidates from both sides of the aisle get contributions from the big banks and other special interests. Hard to have change when all candidates are in the pocket of the lobbyists.


People, high taxes aren't necessarily 'noble' or 'social'. Nor are low taxes anti-social. The question is: is the money used to feed and shelter the needy, or to finance a mighty army of paperpushers, soldiers, and totally inefficient health care.

You don't help someone who can't manage his money by giving him more.

[continued] ...and that applies to governments just as well as to individuals.

I see little value in posting stuff like this. Its purely political opinion.

"The top marginal total tax burden is currently 44.6%. It is expected to rise to 62.4% by 2011 when the current tax relief law expires"

Where do those numbers come from?? Top marginal income tax rate is currently 35%. Is the 44.6% adding in a state rate or something? And I have no clue where someone would come up with 62.4%.

FLAT TAX people, fight for the flat tax. Equality for all!

"As if that is not discouraging enough, businesses spend billions (yes, billions) of hours struggling to understand and abide by the requirements of our current intricate tax code. These costs impose a surcharge equal to more than 20 cents on every dollar actually collected by the government."

So you're saying that simply complying with taxes costs us 20% of our total wealth?? How does such a number pass even a simple common sense test?

Tax Foundation posted a study in 2006 saying that tax compliance was costing around $250B then and they projected it to be about $350B now. Thats around 2-3% of GDP.

"If these captains of industry were ever to decide to cut back, or worse yet go on strike, the other 95% of society would suffer, no longer able to enjoy their free ride."

"95% of society" is getting a "free ride"? Is this meant as a joke or something?

So basically this is saying that if you are not one of the top 5% of the people running the countries finances then you're basically some sort of leach on society.

"Higher taxes, especially targeting those earning over $250,000, result in small business owners hunkering down to make sure they don't go out of business."

How does a high marginal tax rate make you go out of business? You pay taxes on profits as a business. If you have profits then you shouldn't be going out of business. If you don't have profits then you don't pay taxes. There is really no rational way that someone is paying high marginal income taxes and going out of business because of it. This is a bogus scare tactic based on faulty logic.

OK I'll stop now. But Marotta really needs to substantiate his claims.

This is one of the best articles I've read on FMF, so far. I'm in college and I'm working and studying 20 hours a day to run a business while also study. I'm of average intelligence and middle class background. I didn't attend public school -- I educated myself on the Internet.

I just hit a six figure income while still in college.

So should I pay a higher tax rate than most of the kids who will graduate with me in 4 years? Absolutely not. The idea that most people who are poor can't help it is a disgusting joke. I've met maybe a dozen who can't help it -- the rest are just living the consequences of a mediocre dedication to material success.

I'm not saying they're making the wrong choice, but I am saying they MADE a choice. So have I... don't penalize me for it.


That felt great. ;-)

PS: Whatever happened to equal treatment under the law?

Everyone is in favor of lower taxes, but show me someone who will volunteer to have a social service they use defunded. Have you written to your congress person asking them to vote against bringing federal money to your district? If not, get started.

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