Tuesday March 11, 2014
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Sorry Representative Gosar, your charts left out the three most important parts of our current budget problem.
Obscene medical charges.
The rich using tax loopholes.
A GOP now controlled by the ultra-rich.
As to #1: The medical charges are so obvious that I'm tempted not to comment on them, but I'll quote some numbers from one hospital system which claims to be tax exempt because of charitable work: the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Here are some facts for you to consider:
a. Profits in 2011-12: Just under $1 billion
b. Percent of yearly budget spent on charity care 2%.
c. Federal tax break: $200
d. Salary of CEO: $6 million
e. Salaries of 15 next highest paid administrators: $1 million each.
f. Perks of CEO:
g. The perks of the other administrators were largely unreported, except for this one:
"Executive kitchen that serves thousands of guests every year."
h. Spending which makes non-profit status doubtful:
Millions spent on "palace like" facilities instead of lowering charges or spending more on charity cases.
Closing hospitals in poor neighborhoods and reopening them in affluent ones.
i. Comment of hospital spokesman Paul Wood, who argues that "if research and Medicaid patients are included" in the calculation it would be more than 2%.
Can you imagine anyone wanting to count medical research done through federal grants, and Medicare paid by by our taxes as "charity."
Okay. Have your say about that and I will come back with the real numbers on the tax situation.
When hospital spokesman Paul Wood was speaking, he was speaking about the lousy 2% of medical care done which was charity cases. So what he meant was that "if research and Medicaid patients are included" in the calculation then the percent spent on charity would be more than 2%.
Can you believe that anyone would have the nerve to call Medicare "charity?"
One billion $ in profit? It's unconscionable and disgusting to me. CEO salary of $6 million? Wow...! If the hospital had 10,000 patients in a year, and gave each of them a refund of the billion split equally, they would each get $100,000.
I observed first hand the damage from privatization of health care. All the money instantly went into COE profits and most the patient services were cut, except the pharma budget. Literally, the first year the Az DBHS privatized, the med director made at least 25 mil profit per fiscal quarter and the company was based out of Virginia.
I observed the same thing in New Mexico. A large group of professional nurses lobbied a bill, giving NP's prescriptive privileges (if I remember correctly, I was the 21st in the state, with such privilege.) We were made a promise by GOV Richardson that he would cap admin fees in health care privatization. He red lined this section. We then found out that he was a major share holder in a HMO that benefited from non-capped admin. thief.
robbin, what are you talking about with the privatization of health care. Obama care is distroying health care in this country. My wife was a hospital admin. for years. And yes...she was a nurse and also achieved a masters in health admin. And AGAIN your comments are inaccurate and uninformed. It is amazing how you can be so wrong about so many issues on this blog. I do commend you though, for keeping to the topic.
I actually remember when Blue Cross and Blue Shield--the very first health care plans--came out. I was working assistant manager in a store, having just gotten out of the Air Force a year before in 1953, wanting to go to college to study chemistry but unwilling to waste my time doing it because I'd been told by a High School Counselor that being color blind I could not pass the lab courses, and trying to decide whether civilian or military was for me. The company gave us all Blue Cross and Blue Shield at no cost to us; just a good company that believed that loyalty was a two way street.
I had an accident. Car blown out from under me at night by a drunk who zoomed across a four lane highway through a stop sign and flashing red light. I was hurt, but not as badly as my passenger (I only had a broken neck). In a follow-up visit to a doctor where each of us had exactly the same checkup, Blue Cross was charged $78 for me; the passenger paid $22.
That, I think, says it all.
I do not know when, or what era, Robbin is referring to. Can't tell. Prior to 1953, the only two types of health care were pay-as-you-go or charity. Most major health care was charity. It had to be. No one could afford to ay for a major operation except someone who was wealthy.
Our health care system at the moment is very good; in fact incredibly good. The charges, however, are not tied to costs, and the profit motive runs much of the billing. A genuine health care reform bill would address charges and place controls on hospital charges instead of focusing on doctor visits.
Obamacare is a sellout by Obama et al to insurance companies in hopes of being able to put through a bill which would garner more votes.
You all know me; I am no extremist. I simply speak what I beleive to be the plain truth.
What needs to be done is for the country to sit down and discuss what we are all about. At what point should we require people to contribute to their own health care. How much, and what for? What channel will we use to effect that? (I would favor payroll deductions.)
I'll discuss taxes in a separate post.
Please understand that this is all right off the top of my head. There's a lot to think about, and a lot more to be said about any part of it. But in general, here's what I believe to be wrong with what we have and how it can be fixed.
We first have to decide who we are and what we want to spend money on. Then we we have to see how much we need to do it. having done that, we need to take a few logical steps. For what it may be worth, here's what I would probably do.
Establish a reasonable standard deduction based on things we want to promote. Most of the standard deductions we have now are good ones (interest on mortgages, child deductions, etc).
Eliminate ALL incentive deductions; they are unproven and are based on arguments posed by economists who can't even agree among themselves. If you earn it, you pay taxes on it--at the same rate for your bracket as anyone else, no exceptions and no loopholes.
Make all perks taxable, and rigidly enforce the rules.
Make individuals who break the law--not the corporations they work for--responsible for paying the penalty, including any monetary penalties; in cases of corruption, the intent being to pauperize those guilty of the offense.
Limit the percentage of corporate expenses which can be paid to administrative employees.
Take whatever steps are necessary to ensure 100% employment. If that means placing protective barriers against imports, or barring the sending of American factories overseas, then do it.
To avoid future recessions caused--as they always are--by speculation, create laws which eliminate all types and forms of speculation in which sales are not fully paid for, in cash, by the purchaser. In other words, if you think that something is a good buy because it is going to go up in value, then pay for the d-mn thing!
Totally eliminate payment of campaign funds other than that provided equally to each candidate by the government. If it takes an amendment to the Constitution, so be it.
Rex, The mental health services in AZ were provided by the DBHS, until they "privatized." This is completely accurate information. Where are you confused? I saw the transition with my own eyes and the damage as a result. The private insurance companies collect money from generally healthy individuals, but as soon as someone becomes "disabled" they are shuffled into the Medicaid or Medicare system. So, in essence this business practice is robbing our health care system blind. And, yes Obama care has become an albatross, and completely corrupted by the health insurance companies and big pharma (the largest congressional lobbyist.) The only sane way to fix this is Universal Health Care. For the life of me, I cannot understand why some people think they are "entitled" to health care, while others are not. Any illegal can come here and get services, but if an American doesn't have coverage, then they get bankrupted if they need major health services. Primary health care goes a long way and prevents major illnesses, that are much more costly to treat. But this current system is set up in a way that is actually causing a society of illnesses and sick people.
Rex, Sorry got pulled away. Prayers to you and your wife. I do not have a masters in admin like your wife. What I saw in NM is that when the HMO's became "privatized," what that meant was a new way to do business. Essentially, an HMO will be given a block grant of money to serve a group of people and whatever "they" don't spend on services, "they" get to keep. Prior to this "privatization" scheme, most of the health care dollars were spent on services and not to line CEO pockets. The health care system here in America, is in fact, poor in comparison to other "civilized" countries. But, if you have good health coverage, it would be hard to notice.
If you are over 50 and belong to AARP be sure to read your Bulletin this month.
If you aren't over 50 find someone that is. There is a lot about medical care, hospital shake up and where health care is going.
"The only sane way to fix this is Universal Health Care."
Sorry, Robbin; I would characterize that as an "insane" solution, not a sane one.
In essence there is nothing wrong with our health care "system." The best thing about it is that is ISN'T a system; that is to say it is not a monolithic one-solution-fits-all solution, which is what socialized medicine is. Here's how it is supposed to work:
a. For the wealthy: You've got the money, pay for your health care.
b. For the working people:
Got a good employer with health care plan? Good.
Can afford health care insurance? Okay.
Not enough money for health insurance? Medicaid.
Aging? You paid into Medicare all your life; now you're entitled to a return on your money. You probably want a second policy to cover some things Medicare doesn't cover?
c. For the mentally or physically handicapped who cannot work, Medicaid.
"Any illegal can come here and get services, but if an American doesn't have coverage, then they get bankrupted if they need major health services."
The answer to that apparent conundrum is simple. WHY doesn't that American have enough coverage? The answer, except for those in b3 and c, above, is "it was a matter of choice." Guess what? Wrong choice. You could have paid for insurance. you didn't. You chose to live above your means. Now you pay the price.
Bottom line: It is not a lack of a good system that is what is wrong with health care. It is the same old problem we have in so many other areas: blood sucking, greedy leeches without whom the world would be better off.
So? Fix the %$#@! charges!
When Obama got elected on a campaign promise of "change" that's what people thought he would do: give us real change, by making genuine reforms. Instead, what he did was "change" us to a higher level of more of the same. Nice trick! Don't try it again. It won't work.
I spent 29 years as a Firefighter/EMT on the streets of SoCal. I saw the result of "political correctness" or perhaps call it "Good old American compassion" literally ruin the healthcare system in that region and I suspect most others. We had a system where we delivered our patients to a local base station hospital. More and more over time, those patients were NOT American citizens and did not have the resources to pay for one cent of their care. And almost every time we made a delivery to the ER's, they were crowded with similar people who came there on their own. So who paid for all this? Every person who had the means to pay for the "service" of healthcare paid for it in increased premiums and reduced services. Over time, even putting the burden on the "customers" to fund the care of those who not only should not have been the recipients of those services, most all of who should not even have been in this country, many of the ER's simply closed their doors. That put an even greater burden on the remaining receiving centers and the quality and availability of service fell dramatically and the costs went up.
I am not so naïve as to believe that there were not people in the healthcare industry that did not take advantage of the situation by inflating costs and enlarging their profit margins. But one of the MAJOR disagreements I have with your view is, healthcare is a "service". It is provided to those who have the means to pay for it as with any other service. Utilities, food, clothing, homes, etc. It appears you have joined the litany of so many others with the absolutely utopian idea that somehow healthcare is a "right". It's simply not! It is a business, plain and simple and as with all businesses it is driven by profit motive. DUH!! That you might wish it were somehow a "right", doesn't alter the reality one iota. I will await your providing us all with something in our founding documents, most of which are very clear as to what "inalienable rights" we have and those with which the government cannot infringe upon, that even comes close to implying that everyone has a "right" to healthcare services. Your views are anti-capitalism and are more appropriately found in the description of pure socialism.
Wasn't it the govt. that decided on abortions?
Drs. are not allowed to treat minors without a parent with them but a girl can go to planned parent hood and pick up birth control pills with no exams, medical history or parent consent.
Who made the decision that ER's can't ask for insurance or turn anyone away even if they can see the patient has nothing life threatning wrong. Like a broken toe..
Most ER's get the busiest right after 5:00 PM because drs. offices are closed and they don't have to accept a patient if they don't have insurance. I couldn't get in to see one of the drs. here in Payson when I first moved back because I didn't have insurance. I had just come out of the ER and they told me I needed to see a cardiologist. I told the receptionist I will give you a check when I make an appointment but was told no.
No insurance no appt. Glad he is gone, later he was the one that almost let my daughter die from a heart attack.
We do have a good cardiologist here now.
You all have made my point. Illegals get care, we pay for it in higher insurance premiums. There are millions of working poor Americans, who absolutely cannot afford health insurance, so when they have minor health issues and can't afford treatment, they end up in emergency situation and cannot pay, they now become "debt slave" to the hospital and financial system. I do believe that being healthy is a human right and falls under the beginning of the United States Constitution. "In Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America." In order to do that there must be a healthy system. We would save billions of dollars with a universal care health system. Jesus healed the sick.
Sorry Robbin, I have to disagree with you. I do not believe that medical care is a right. I do, however, feel that it is a duty. I feel that way on two levels. One is as a Christian; the other is as a caring citizen of a nation in which the individual is supposed to be paramount.
I do not, however, support a "universal health care system," which I take it is your name for socialized medicine, or a health care system paid for entirely with public money. I oppose that for several good reasons.
a. I have seen it; it doesn't work.
b. As with many things done through the government it is immediately pounced on the greedy and used as a cash cow.
c. Those who have the money to pay for their own health care should not be a burden on others.
The illegal thing is immaterial. Illegals, by simply being here, and by taking advantage of laws passed by venal politicians to garner votes, place a burden on the system. But the fault is not theirs; they are simply taking advantage of something that was set up as a safety net for Americans. The solution is, of course, to send them home and get rid of the politicians who are failing to serve the people.
As to profit-taking in health care, it is of course natural that anyone who works for a living wants to get paid. It is the charges over and above all reason which are another problem with medical care. It would not be too difficult to set charges at their proper levels if it were not for politicians who write laws to get votes, not to do the jobs they were elected to do.
In truth, when we begin arguing about medical care we are falling directly into the trap set by people like Representative Gosar who love nothing better than keeping us focused on spending instead of on getting the taxes out of the rich and ultra-rich which they should be paying.
How can we function as a nation when you and I pay our fair share of the taxes and those who are wealthiest don't? In truth, I made a mistake when I even bothered mentioning the hospital. It was only a small part of this string. I have been sitting here with the rest of it and waiting to post it, but should have not posted the first part at all. When I said, "The medical charges are so obvious that I'm tempted not to comment on them, but I'll quote some numbers from one hospital system which claims to be tax exempt" I intended to come right back with the part of this string which is important. I'll put it up now, so you can see where the real problem lies.
This was to be the second post in this string. We talked about medical care so long it never made it in.
The problem with the national budget is not over-spending; it is under-taxation of the wealthy through abuse of the system.
Those in the highest brackets do not pay the taxes they are supposed to pay. WE do, but THEY don't.
Here are some facts:
Since 1979 the average pre-tax income for the bottom 90% of households has decreased by $900, but that of the top 1% increased by over $700,000.
From 1992-2007 the top 400 income earners in the U.S. saw their income increase 392% and their average tax rate reduced by 37%. So how can they claim they are paying the share they are supposed to pay?
We are supposed to have a graduated tax system in which the more you earn the more you pay. The reason for the system is obvious. There are some things--like food, shelter, clothing, a car, and medical care--which everyone needs. They take a large slice out of income for most people. Paying for them leaves most people with very little "disposable" income. But the rich are still rich even after they have spent megabucks on such things.
One purpose of a graduated tax system is to arrange life so that the working people have a few bucks left after taxes. The other is to prevent the wealth of the nation from accumulating in a few hands. Unfortunately, that is what has happened. The result is that money, not people, now controls the country. Today's Golden Rule is: Those with the gold, rule.
We are supposed to have 7 tax brackets, staring at 10% and ending at 39.6%. Here they are. I have chosen to show maximum joint filing income before taxes because that's what most of us look at. It is rounded off to nearest thousand.
Up to $18,000: 10%
Up to $73,000: 15%
Up to $146,000: 25%
Up to $223,000: 28%
Up to $398,000: 33%
Up to $450,000: 35%
Over $450,000: 39.6%
As Representative Gosar knows full well, that isn't even close to what we actually collect. It isn't even in the ballpark.
These actual percentages are taken from government numbers. They show the AVERAGE income before taxes and the actual percentage being paid. Again, the numbers are rounded to the nearest thousand dollars.
Lowest 20%: $18,000 of which they pay 2%
2nd lowest 20%: $43,000 of which they pay 9%
3rd lowest 20%: $65,000 of which they pay 13%
4th 20%: $94,000 of which they pay 16%
Top 20%: $265,000 of which they pay 20%
But that only tells a small part of the story. Notice that there is little or no progression in taxes paid even within the top 20%.
Top 10%: $395,000 of which they pay 20.7%
Top 5%: $611,000 of which they pay 20.9%
Top 1%: $1,873,000 of which they pay 20.6%
And if you look at the top 400 people it's even worse.
Top 400 people: $344,831,000 of which they pay 16.6%
So, as you can see for yourself, NO ONE in the top tax bracket is paying the intended 39.6% after deductions as intended.
You are paying far more than your proportion of the cost of running a nation of which you own little or nothing, while those who own almost everything are not paying their share. That's why the rich are getting richer while the rest of us are getting poorer. Go check the numbers; it is getting worse every year.
There are other budget problems, but the tax loopholes that allow all this to happen are the main ones.
Representative Gosar, get rid of the tax loopholes. Allow the rich and ultra rich to deduct nothing except what the working people can deduct, let them pay the same tax rate on ALL of their earnings--as the working people do--and we will be up to our armpits in national income.
The only fair way to tax us is to call earnings earnings. No matter how you made the money it's still money, isn't it? All the hype and tripe about fancy deductions for the rich and ultra rich were just devised as means of getting around paying taxes. If someone sitting in a 39.6% bracket is paying 20% there is obviously something wrong with the system, true? So fix it. Get rid of ridiculous things like the oil depletion allowance, which allows an oil-rich billionaire to take a huge deduction because when he pumps oil out of his wells and makes megabucks he doesn't have as much oil to pump out next year. How the hell is that--and the other 170 loopholes--fair?
Look. Last year we earned $14.5 trillion. We paid $2.3 trillion in taxes. We spent $3.8 trillion. That means that $12.2 TRILLION was kept by someone. How much of it did you keep, folks? Not a hell of a lot, I'll bet. But the CEO--just an ordinary employee--who paid himself $143 million, and made $370,000 a day for 365 days, paid almost nothing in taxes. Is that fair? Is that right?
Of that $14.5 trillion earned, those of us who earned ANY percentage of it, paid almost exactly the same percentage of it in. In other words, if your tax bracket earned 19% of all the money, then your tax bracket paid in 19% of all the taxes. Is that a graduated tax system? Of course not. Congress has fixed it so that the rich can deduct so many things that they NEVER pay their intended share of taxes. Except for the lowest brackets, the tax brackets are smoke and mirrors, there to make us think the rich are paying taxes they aren't paying.
Sorry, Representative Gosar. Your numbers leave out too many important facts. Go tax that CEO who made $143 million the way he should be taxed. Go get Congress to put back all the money they stole from the Social Security Trust Fund. And then come back and talk to us about cutting Medicare.
Go back to Washington, plug the loopholes, come back and tell us about it, and we'll carry you around on our shoulders. Otherwise, this place is headed straight down the tubes and we are all going down with it--including the fats cats, who just don't seem to get it. They can't keep on using Congress to enrich themselves without at long last destroying what we created in 1787.
Tom, Private corps do as they wish. Again, no Constitutional protection against them. Do you have any idea how many people the current health care system kills every year? Approximately 80 thousand in just drug overdoses alone (last I checked.) Way more deaths than guns and auto accidents combined. I have a huge problem with health care CEOs making such profits, but literally, nothing has or will be done about this until they just collapse the system. Then we will end up with universal care anyway, but not until "they" take all the profits out first. Why should a congress man get better health coverage than "average Joe?" What would make them so special? Now you have to understand that much of the money for the private corps is coming from Medicare and Medicaid anyway. So "they" take our tax dollars, do not provide good care, and line their pockets with our health dollars. The current system is completely corrupted. And, why would "they" have a different tax bracket, what makes them so special? This is a really good plan if you want to collapse an economy.
"Why should a congress man get better health coverage than "average Joe?""
He doesn't. That's a myth. Congressmen are not in a special health care system. They are part of the same system all federal employees enjoy. Go look it up.
I agree that those running corporations are out of control, but please take notice that I never attack corporations per se. A corporation is a business, neither good nor evil. Its reason for existence is to make a profit; I am all for that. I say that to make absolutely sure that no one can improperly characterize me as anti-business in hopes of muddying the waters.
But you are deal right when you point the finger at those who are employed to manage corporations; they use those corporations as cash cows, doing as much damage to the business as they do to the nation. We need regulation to do three things, each equally important:
One, to protect corporations from employees who siphon off profits into their own pockets while harming the business and stealing from those who have a right to a fair return on their investment.
Two, to protect the nation from the same people when they try to rewrite laws in ways that allow predatory business practices.
Three, in the event of the commission of a crime by a corporation it should be recognized that the corporation itself, which is nothing more than a paper entity, is innocent of all guilt and that it is the people who committed, or aided and abetted said crime, who must be punished; therefore no fines should be assessed against corporations, both prison time and fines should be assessed on the men and women who have broken the law.
in other words, we need to strengthen the corporations against looting, thereby making them longer lasting and profitable, while at the same time protecting ourselves against improper business practices, and punishing those who engage in them.
To give you an idea of how many American companies have been ruined by leeches who sucked the life out of the, I'll compile a partial list and put it up when I can.
Here's a shortlist of about 90 closed American businesses.
Look at those names and tell me if you ever thought there was any chance that any of them would shut their doors.
Abraham & Straus
American Motor Car Company
Big A Auto Parts
Checker Motors Corporation
Continental Can Company
Eastern Air Lines
Elgin National Watch Company
F. W. Woolworth Company
G. Fox & Co.
Lafayette Radio Electronics
Lehigh Crane Iron Company
Martin Mariettta aircraft
National Steel Corporation
Old America Stores
Pan American World Airways
Rogers Silver Co.
S. H. Kress & Co.
Schwinn Bicycle Company
Seth Davis Clocks
Sylvania Electric Products
Trans World Airlines
United States Rubber Company
W. T. Grant
Waltham Watch Company
Again I take exception to your view as to how "Rights" are determined. Your approach is very much similar to the one the Supreme Court took in making Roe v Wade the law of the land by interpreting abortion (infanticide) under the guise of a "woman's right to privacy" under the Constitution. I can only imagine if the original drafter's of that founding document were witness to that "stretch" in interpretation they would be appalled.
One part of the problem with our "HealthCare" industry, and that is what it is, it's a business (industry), is that the Federal government has seen fit to insert itself into the market dynamics of that industry, not unlike they have done over time in the farming industry, mining, oil, etc. Since healthcare is a "business", in a Capitalist system that has given us the quality of life and standard of living the envy of most of the world, the "market" determines costs for goods and services. In a "free" market, those CEO's we all agree are considerably over compensated, would see their part of that "industry" disappear due to the costs of their goods and services trying to support such compensation. Competition would eventually deal with that sort of extravagance. But once the "Federal Treasury" is accessible via government involvement beyond simple regulation, we get what we have currently. Ike warned us of the Military/Industrial Complex after WW2. He should have warned of the Medical/Industrial Complex as it has evolved into a much greater threat to our Constitutional Republic.
Meanwhile, back at the subject.....
Unless you demand that something be done about these numbers this nation is doomed:
Top 20% earn an average of $265,000 of which they pay 20%
Top 10% earn an average of $395,000 of which they pay 20.7%
Top 5% earn an average of $611,000 of which they pay 20.9%
Top 1% earn an average of $1,873,000 of which they pay 20.6%
Top 400 people earn an average of $344,831,000 of which they pay 16.6%
Every one of those people is supposed to be paying 39.6%. If that situation is not corrected we will continue to go deeper and deeper into debt. That is the bottom line.
If you do not listen to what the people who want your vote are saying, and vote only for those who swear they will end tax loopholes for the wealthy, there is NO hope for this nation. We will slide into bankruptcy.
•In 2002 the latest year of available data, the top 5 percent of taxpayers paid more than one-half (53.8 percent) of all individual income taxes, but reported roughly one-third (30.6 percent) of income.
•The top 1 percent of taxpayers paid 33.7 percent of all individual income taxes in 2002. This group of taxpayers has paid more than 30 percent of individual income taxes since 1995. Moreover, since 1990 this group’s tax share has grown faster than their income share.
•Taxpayers who rank in the top 50 percent of taxpayers by income pay virtually all individual income taxes. In all years since 1990, taxpayers in this group have paid over 94 percent of all individual income taxes. In 2000, 2001, and 2002, this group paid over 96 percent of the total.
About.com US Government Info
Gotta" love statistics. And the above data is even with all those "loopholes" they enjoy. I know we are coming at this issue from different analysis, but it is my impression that unless we rid ourselves once and for all of the IRS and this whole monstrosity called the Tax Code and resort to some type of "flat tax" on every person who spends one penny, we certainly will "slide into bankruptcy". The "rich" that you point to didn't get that way by being stupid or reckless with their finances. I suspect they have the ability and where with all to pretty much relocate to any country of their choosing and take their tax contributions with them. I'm certainly no expert on where that locale might be that provides them with better tax advantage, but I'm certain they do. Many Americans take that very same approach by moving to states with a more "tax friendly" environment. Why should the high earners be viewed any differently?
Surely you're not saying that my numbers are wrong. How could they be? They came straight from the U.S. Government. The tax brackets could not conceivably be wrong; they are matter of public record. And here's what I said about the percentage of taxes paid in each of the five brackets: "These actual percentages are taken from government numbers."
I do not use statistics taken from partisan sites. The numbers are for 2012, not 2002.
Statistics can seem to say one thing when they actually say something else or are totally irrelevant. For example this stat:
"Taxpayers who rank in the top 50 percent of taxpayers by income pay virtually all individual income taxes."
Well, of course they do. By lumping the entire upper half of the nation together you include people like you and me, who actually pay the tax required by their tax bracket. Those above us don't. That's fudge and smudge statistics.
By the way, I do NOT want a flat tax.
"The "rich" that you point to didn't get that way by being stupid or reckless with their finances."
No they didn't; they got that way by being crooked and by bribing politicians to make laws that allow them to pay less than their fair share.
Ron, we are not talking about people like you and me. We are honest, God-fearing Americans who work hard, pay their share, and are happy as long as the nation is safe. These are the same people we had to fight in 1776--the greedy, the amoral, the wife-cheaters, the "I'm better than you" types, and the lackeys who work for them in Congress.
There is nothing I would rather see than the greedy and amoral types stuck on a boat and sent somewhere else. The facts are simple and self-evident: The United States happens to be blessed with great natural resources, as are other parts of the world, but we are also blessed with a nation of hardworking, creative, intelligent people who were filtered by the immigration process, where people who were willing to take a chance on a new land gave up all they had in search of the dream of equality. History chose us to be the people who first rose up and said, "Enough!" We fought to create a nation of equals under the law. If we got rid of the greedy, amoral animals who are feeding off us we would still be the richest nation in the world; the difference is we wouldn't have to feed the pigs before we feed ourselves.
"Why should the high earners be viewed any differently?"
Read about them. The answer to your question is because they abuse the system. They are criminals protected by laws which do not punish their particular form of crime.
Answer this: If you and I form a gang, and the gang robs and steals, what will happen when the gang gets caught? Will the gang be fined while you and I go free? No? Then why is it that when a corporation robs and steals and is caught doing it, the corporation is fined, but the people who profited from it walk away free and clear?
Happens every day. Explain it.
" Explain it."
Can't, other than provide an opinion. You are painting with a pretty broad brush in your assault on "the rich". You are well aware I'm sure that the number of wealthy that pay the greatest percentage of the total income tax collected are far outnumbered by folks that pay absolutely nothing, even get a "rebate/refund" on having paid no income tax what so ever.
" We are honest, God-fearing Americans who work hard, pay their share, and are happy as long as the nation is safe. " Nice patriotic view. Only that it were true across the board. You know it isn't. Seen way too many "slackers", especially union slugs that reap the benefits of the labor of others all the while growing fat and slovenly while contributing zilch . Tom, if we are going to deal with those "super rich" (and you will have to define that term for me as when Clinton was President, he defined middle earners in Kalifornia as "super rich"), then we are also going to have to address the large and ever growing segment of the population that are perfectly happy to let the "nanny state" provide for all their needs.
Now as I am often want to do, I am playing the devil's advocate in this discussion. I too am angry when the likes of Solindra, and others who took large amounts of taxpayer money given by a corrupt Federal leadership and then file bankruptcy. Too many CEO's getting compensated far above their worth. Unions being "subsidized" so they will remain politically loyal. You actually are making my point with every one of these repugnant situations, in that I say the system is beyond salvation and needs to be dismantled top to bottom and we need to begin fresh. Certainly going to be painful and not real pretty and it's anyone's guess as to whether we could even do something like that successfully. I am well aware of all the 'issues" you bring forth on this blog. I'm simply of a different view as to how those things are corrected. It seems you would rely on the very corrupt and dysfunctional government system to resolve the problems, while I say it is that very government system, without exception, that IS the problem Never thought I would propose rebellion, but I honestly see little other recourse. They (government) have over time, insulated themselves from any effort we might bring forth through our supposed system of justice. That leaves little else for us to do.
You all keep talking about the rich. What income and/or assets make a person be considered
Have to do something tomorrow morning, so am posting this late on Saturday. See you all on Monday.
You're right. It always troubles me to say "rich," or "wealthy," or whatnot. I'm the kind of person who cheers on anyone who is working hard, making money, and doing well. I would fight anyone to the wall who tried to interfere with private enterprise. It is the natural way of life, and the only way of life I support. Make no mistake about that.
The only reason I use the term at all is to let people know that the vast majority of people who slip through the tax net are wealthy. Shoot! That's how most of them get that way. If they got wealthy by working hard and paying the taxes they honestly owe you wouldn't so much as hear a peep out of me.
My sole objection is a very simple one: There is no justice whatsoever in counting all my pay, and your pay, and Pat's pay as earnings while other people make far, far more and are able to count a very large proportion of what they make as some special kind of income which is taxed at a lower rate.
This is how the 400 people in the tax table I showed earned an average of $344,831,000 of which they paid just 16.6%. Now that is ridiculous and we all know it. That comes to $57,270,000 apiece, but if they had paid the 39.6% they should have paid it would have come to $136,620,000 apiece. That means they are paying about bhalf theb taxes they owe.
Gee! If someone earned $345 million, think of how bad off he would be if he were left with a miserable $208 million to scrape along on for a whole year. Ye gads! A whole year! Why, he'd only have $570,000 a day to scrape along on. How could he possibly make it on a pittance like that?
You see where I'm coming from? We aren't talking about people who have to scrimp and save. We are talking about people who are getting so much more than they deserve that even talking about it is ridiculous. It is cheating plain and simple. You and I can't do it, and neither should they be able to manipulate congress into making laws that make it possible for them to do it.
And talking about union slugs, or anyone else who bellies up to the trough, does not change that. We need to fix it, end of subject.
And if something else needs fixing? Good! Fix it! But there's just no point in talking about not fixing one ill because there's another one that needs fixing.
The bottom line in this is that we have a Republican Party which is under the control of the wealthy and is being manipulated by them. THAT MUST STOP!
"...in that I say the system is beyond salvation and needs to be dismantled top to bottom and we need to begin fresh."
Amen! Do I ever agree with that!!
I have a plan which would forever stop such manipulation by the ultra rich and by the other pack--the elitist progressive vote peddlers. Some day I'll put it up. It has a problem, though. It would require a complete overhaul of the election system, and that means a Constitutional Convention or a revolution.
Personally, I would prefer the Convention. :-)
Pat, I think you can see that when I say wealthy, I am not out to keep anyone from using the private enterprise system to make megabucks. That's good. Just pay your damned taxes, quit stealing from the company that employs you, don't cheat and steal, and quit trying to manipulate the system. Do that and you can roll a platinum ball the size of the moon home every day because honest business enriches all of us.
"....... we have a Republican Party which is under the control of the wealthy and is being manipulated by them. THAT MUST STOP!" You know, I've been hearing this charge since I was a kid. Yet I continually see Hollywood, Silicon Valley, Large Wall Street Interests, etc., throwing large sums of money at .......wait for it...... the Democratic Party. No one, and I mean no one ascends to Federal office unless some big monied person or persons bankrolls their efforts. And the motive for throwing all that money into the "pot? Paybacks!! They all do it. All those "poor, disenfranchised poor and minorities" that make up the large majority of the Democratic Party are hardly able to financially support those individual candidates who simply want to keep them all "on the plantation". Heck, if not for their benefactors in Washington, most couldn't rub two, self-earned pennies together. I am not beating up on the poor, but I do have eyes and can see real clearly just how this game is being played and I think it stinks to the core. I haven't felt like an "American" for some decades now as I fully recognize I am simply a serf, peasant, common person who's purpose is to be taken advantage of, lied to, and manipulated by those "elitists" in the higher echelons of our society. I hope it ends in some type of "French revolution" as that is the only course of action they are leaving us.
Right, Ron. There's another group of wealthy who are using the Democratic Party to do what they want. That's who I mean when I talk about progressive elitists. They have their own agendas. Some of them are extremist environmentalists who haven't got a clue what conservation is. Others are the anti-gun group; anti-guns for us, but not for them. Others are prohibitionists who have turned the country on its ear trying to keep people from smoking, drinking, or doing other things that harm no one--if anybody!--except themselves. Others work on making parents "perfect." Others want to control what people can eat. And the list just goes on. They are all people who have never learned that there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. And they peddle votes for things like welfare and socialized medicine.
All this happened because of integration. It's not that integration was not a good or a right thing; it was. But it tore the Democratic Party apart. Prior to the civil rights era the southern wing of the Democratic Party was the true "conservative" party in this country. But when the south turned away from the Democratic Party the Republicans saw a way of attracting conservatives. The GOP is NOT conservative; if it were it would be fighting for ALL our rights, which is distinctly does not. Oh, it fights for gun rights because that gathers votes, but then it turns right around and grinds us into the ground by failing to tax properly, or to regulate businesses so they can't cause recession after recession by speculation, or to punish crooked businessmen.
And you are right, Ron. This whole thing stinks.
The proof? Just look at the numbers: (Don't get worried, I don't mean tax numbers.) :-)
The latest numbers show that 31% of Americans are Democrats and 29% are Republicans. Hey! Wait a minute! What happened to the other 38% of us? Guess what? They're independents.
What! The largest political group in this nation is not represented by either party? Right! You got it! That's us! That's you and me. And what's even worse is that many of the people who say that are D or R are just saying it because that's more or less the way they vote. The suspicions are that if a third party called the Independent Party were to be created, and laid down its party platform as a strict interpretation of the Constitution according to its original principles (basically the Bill of Rights) people would swarm to it.
Why? Because at any given time over 65% percent of the people from any given district in the country are not represented!
Now if we could just tweak our lousy winner-take-all system a bit, we could change the nation overnight, change it right back to what it was supposed to be at first. All we would have to do is let people vote ONLY on who will represent them IN THEIR OWN PARTY! And then send the people elected to Congress and the White House. For example: Three senators from each state; one Dem, one Rep, one Ind. Each one has a vote equal to the percent of the people he represents.
Since money would no longer affect elections very much we'd get people in office who actually represented a point of view.
Beats having to get out the guillotine, dust it off, and crank it up again, although there are some people I could name who genuinely deserve very short haircut. :-)
When I was a young Marine, I could have cared less what race, religion, or political affiliation the guy in the foxhole with me was, as long as I could trust him to "have my back" as I was just as dedicated to cover his. I honestly cannot point to one single individual currently in Congress, regardless of political stripe, that I could put that kind of trust in. Sad commentary, since their decisions affect the security and welfare of so many more people than just a couple of jarheads trying to keep one another alive.
I know what you mean. I just got done reading a book by an Air Force Major who was the man who carried the football around for Clinton. I was never quite so stunned as when I read that when we were about to get Bin Laden and the major was assigned the job of getting Clinton on the phone to okay the hit, he could not get the President of the United States to take a minute out of his golf game to answer the phone to approve the hit. As a result we missed our best ever chance; nothing was fired for what was an almost certain kill. Later, Clinton authorized a different hit for political reasons, but that was iffy nd we missed him. That first hit, the one that almost certainly would have taken Bin Laden out, was long before 9-11, which probably would never have occurred without Bin Laden.
Not only that, but I read another book, this one by the FBI agent who was in charge of doing the background checks on White House people, who said that Clinton used to sneak out of the White House through a back gate and go to a local hotel to shack up with some woman--without the knowledge of that major, who never realized that the man he was holding the football for was not where he belonged.
Trust someone like that? Not me!
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