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15 March 2010 @ 10:31 am
Life in these Untidy States: Eat the Rich.  

AlterNet runs the numbers.



In the 1950s the marginal tax rate on those earning more than $3 million a year (in today’s dollars) was 91 percent. By 1990 it was 28 percent. The IRS says that the top 400 richest tax filers actually paid a rate of just 16 percent in 2007 (the latest numbers we have). Yep, the richest earners — people who took in an average of $343 million each — probably paid a lower rate than you did. Something to consider as you sign your 2009 return.

By the way, those 400 people who do so well on tax day have a combined net worth of nearly $1.37 trillion. [...] If we had progressive taxes that reduced their wealth to a trifling $100 million each, we’d have enough money to set up a trust fund whose interest could provide tuition-free higher education for students at every public college and university in perpetuity. [...]


Note that "if" the article proposes is still far less than the upper-bracket tax rate of the 1950s.

And aren't the 1950s the mythical Good Old Days of Prosperity and Civic Responsibility that the Conservatives point to as the pinnacle of US culture?


Your Obedient Serpent has found that when he includes article quotes, people frequently just read the quoted passage, and leave comments raising objections that were dealt with handily in the original source. Please don't do that, or I'll have to stop including passages, and start including well-earned bitchslaps.
 
 
I feel: pissed offpaying attention
 
 
 
Paka: coyote photopaka on March 15th, 2010 06:08 pm (UTC)
mythical Good Old Days... that the Conservatives point to

"Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes you can do these things. Among them are H. L. Hunt (you possibly know his background), a few other Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or business man from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid."

"Only Americans can hurt America."

Same guy came up with both of these.
Your Obedient Serpent: We The Peopleathelind on March 15th, 2010 06:18 pm (UTC)
Tombfyretombfyre on March 15th, 2010 07:48 pm (UTC)
Yeesh, I had known that the upper tax brackets had been lowered, but I didn't know it was THAT low. Hooray for making sure the rich get richer, while the lower peon supports the state.

I'm not sure how things work at those kind of income levels up here in the land of hockey and maple syrup. But in general income tax is fairly low, all told.
(Deleted comment)
Tombfyretombfyre on March 16th, 2010 02:02 am (UTC)
Not everywhere. ^^ There's only one sales tax out here in Alberta.
(Deleted comment)
Tombfyretombfyre on March 16th, 2010 04:20 am (UTC)
Now yah do! We've only got the 5% GST. There's also different Provincial income tax brackets which tack on to the federal scaling system.
Terminotaurterminotaur on March 16th, 2010 02:48 am (UTC)
It depends your income level. I've been told that at the lower income levels you do about the same or better than the US. It of course also depends on which province you live in, just as it does what state you're in.

As to taxes on purchases, while there is a federal and provincial sales tax (except Alberta with no provincial. Where I live its a combined total of 10%), there are exemptions on what is taxed, like food, clothing, and a few other things. I'm not aware of any city that can levy such taxes though, which wasn't the case in Chicago when I went there :P. Also, below a certain income there are rebate checks issued to help offset the damage such a tax can have on lower brackets.
Moral Explorernotthebuddha on March 16th, 2010 04:56 am (UTC)
The US's lower peons (of which I am one) pay negative income tax. There are plenty of real flaws in the system, no need to make up new ones.
Tombfyretombfyre on March 16th, 2010 06:26 am (UTC)
Negative eh? One must get it back much like we do, in the form of rebate cheques and the like.
Moral Explorernotthebuddha on March 16th, 2010 07:23 am (UTC)
yes - I've just used part of my "refund" for new glasses and to pay my car loan through the summer. Of course, I still pay Social Security and FICA taxes.

A problem with progressively taxing those 400 richest US taxpayers' wealth down from 1.37 trillion to 40 billion is that the 1.33 trillion difference in largely equity in the largest megacorporations and conglomerates - if you liquidate them to endow the universities, you could remove a majority of the jobs for them to pursue.

Then again, I'm at the one of the smallest campuses of a big university system, so Pell grants already cover my tuition and books, and a big piece of my living expenses already.



Your Obedient Serpent: GRINathelind on March 16th, 2010 02:21 pm (UTC)
Once again: did you read the whole article, or just my quoted passage?

Did you even read my footnote?
Moral Explorernotthebuddha on March 16th, 2010 08:28 pm (UTC)
Yes, I read the footnote and clicked through to read the Alternet article, I think it was 2 pages there. But I'm more interested in what my LJ acquaintances and their acquaintances have to say about it than some complete strangers. Please don't hit me.

I really can't consider the idea "handily" dealt with when the author refers to the remaining $100 million as both wealth and income within a couple of sentences, and answers a concern about killing existing jobs with a review of how new jobs failed to materialize. Wouldn't you have to count off points for a student who confused a rate with an amount when they were running the numbers in science class?

I'm no fan of accumulated gigawealth but like I said earlier, this is a plenty ugly thing for a writer to risk discrediting himself and his cause by trying to make it look uglier still.
Tombfyretombfyre on March 16th, 2010 03:07 pm (UTC)
Well that's most definitely fortunate for you then. ^^