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http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/15/opinion/stop-cod...

Apparently Warren thinks the government will spend his money better than he can. He keeps mentioning this shared sacrifice thing, but I fail to see any sharing since over half this country shoulders no burden.

The government does not have a right to your earnings. We, the people, give it the funds to function. The government doesn't kindly let us keep our money, it should grovel and prostrate itself in homage to the tax payer.

I am glad I didn't read this bullshit before I met him. Made me lose all respect I have for the man.

Comments (150)

  • Flake's picture

    That pinko commie bastard.

    Under my tutelage, you will grow from boys to men. From men into gladiators. And from gladiators into SWANSONS.

  • ProdigyOfZen's picture

    The one big secret about Warren Buffet is the fact that ever since he started "investing" he has hitched his wagon to the government. Just look at most of the business's he owns in his portfolio, a lot of them have some sort of subsidy or mandate from the government.

    Ahem Geico..... forced car insurance mandates from the government.

    Think about it.

    The one who does not fall, does not stand up

  • In reply to Flake
    UFOinsider's picture

    Seriously, since when do the super wealthy have to pay taxes? That's sooooo middle class. For fuck's sake, the problem is too much spending, not lack of funds!

    Get busy living

  • PossumBelly's picture

    Warren has done little more than talk his own book for two decades.

    And I always find it comical when he mentions that "the rich" should pay higher taxes. We would never put someone making 41k in the same tax bracket as someone making 410k. But we seem to have no problem putting the 410k guy in the same bracket with the 410MM guy. Create 2 more higher brackets so Warren can feel better about himself.

  • D M's picture

    For how much I love the guy, I really hate his politics

    "You stop being an asshole when it sucks to be you." -IlliniProgrammer
    "Your grammar made me wish I'd been aborted." -happypantsmcgee

  • In reply to ProvincialPeasant
    Blue Star's picture

    ProvincialPeasant wrote:
    A new capital gains tax rate for Buffet should be created.

    Someone might be able to make that a successful campaign platform.

  • Cash4Gold's picture

    I'm pretty sure he was one of the biggest beneficiaries of TARP. Don't quote me on that though.

  • Midas Mulligan Magoo's picture

    I can never tire of saying this: socialism is the GREATEST WEALTH HEDGE known to man.

    For those worth a ton of money, giving it away and encouraging a centralization of fiscal policy is the absolute top method of excluding the young, ambitious and capable of overtaking them at society's peak. This is precisely why, so many of very wealthy lean so far to the left whether we are talking about the ultra-old money attitude of FDR, or the jolly old wealth spreads of Soros and Buffet they all have a common goal.

    The continuation of the war on ideas and abilities, vis-a-vis the class warfare apparatus.

    For those who have 45 minutes this may be the best and simplest explanation of who they are and why they so easily and readily find allies among the stupid and petty.

  • ....'s picture

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

    I think that's the point Buffett was trying to make. It's not that taxes should just be higher because the government can do it better than he can, it's that the rich shouldn't be paying such a lower effective rate relative to the other 98% of society. I agree with him on that.

  • Revolution's picture

    GEICO

    Government Employees Insurance Company..

  • In reply to ....
    UFOinsider's picture

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

    I think that's the point Buffett was trying to make. It's not that taxes should just be higher because the government can do it better than he can, it's that the rich shouldn't be paying such a lower effective rate relative to the other 98% of society. I agree with him on that.


    Agree. There are too many conservatives that scream SOCIALIST, COMMUNIST, AHHHHH!!!! whenever taxes come up. Why SHOULD a guy who makes $10MM a year pay at the 18% bracket and I pay at 33%?

    Until I see someone stand up for the rest of us getting out taxes lowered, I see no reason to side with the big guy at the top of the heap. Taxing him more will not stop me from moving up in the world. ANT, you don't make $1MM+ a year and likely won't anytime soon, why do you think this is so unfair.....the difference falls on your shoulders and mine.

    Get busy living

  • txjustin's picture

    We need total tax reform. Lower tax rates, a couple more brackets for upper income earners and close all loopholes.

    People like Buffet make me sick when they say this. That fuck can pay more taxes if he wants or he can contribute more to the governement debt if he wants. Talk is Cheap Warren...

  • In reply to txjustin
    UFOinsider's picture

    txjustin wrote:
    We need total tax reform. Lower tax rates, a couple more brackets for upper income earners and close all loopholes.

    People like Buffet make me sick when they say this. That fuck can pay more taxes if he wants or he can contribute more to the governement debt if he wants. Talk is Cheap Warren...


    Hah! "Buffet cuts huge ass check to gov't" .....yeah right.

    Get busy living

  • In reply to UFOinsider
    ....'s picture

    txjustin wrote:
    We need total tax reform. Lower tax rates, a couple more brackets for upper income earners and close all loopholes.

    People like Buffet make me sick when they say this. That fuck can pay more taxes if he wants or he can contribute more to the governement debt if he wants. Talk is Cheap Warren...

    That's a bullshit argument, and you know it. By that logic, why don't we just do away with all mandatory taxes, and shut down all government that people don't want to pay for. No more police, no more fire-fighters, no more judges, no more hospitals, no more research grants, no more public education of any kind, no more prisons, no more immigration to protect our borders, no more FBI, no more federal reserve, no more CIA, no more nukes, no more FDIC to protect us from bank runs, no more USDA to certify your food isn't poisonous, no more army, navy, marines or air-force to protect us from other countries - and that's just off the top of my head.

    It's easy to forget sometimes, but the government is NECESSARY. And it only works if EVERYONE pays for it in an EQUITABLE way. Our society cannot function with a volunteer government that gets paid with charity money. What Buffett has a problem with is that the mega-rich only pay 15% in taxes, while the middle class pays closer to 40%. That's not fair and we collectively suffer as a result.

    By the way, Buffet DOES pay more taxes to society - he's donated more money to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation than anyone who reads this will make in their lifetimes. So STFU.

  • TNA's picture

    Buffet pays 15% in taxes because he takes advantage of the various incentives built into the tax code. I wouldn't be surprised if his massive charitable donations lower his taxes. Regardless, his tax rate is his business. The USA should not raise rates because one guy manages to only pay 17%.

    To the poster above, you seem to be confused. Local property taxes pay for free public schools. Police, fire, etc are all paid through state and local taxes. Thruways are paid for by tolls. 911 is paid for by cell phone taxes. Prisons are state finance issues. Research grants are largely private and really don't need government funding to skew things.

    Think about it like this. Imagine if people kept more of their hard earned money. They would spend more, invest more, have the money to pay for better food, better schools, etc. They would make economic decisions which would benefit them the most, provide the most utility. Increased taxes only means increased government and increased waste. Once that dollar you give to the government goes through all the agencies and federal workers, it comes out a fraction of what went in.

    1) The money you earn is fundamentally yours. No one else.

    2) Government exists to do things the individual cannot (ie. national defense, police, etc).

    3) The government has taken on a role of quasi parent. It adds layers of costs to businesses and individuals.

    I think we should cut spending. I think 1/3rd of a mans wages is enough. How anyone could advocate the government taking 50% of what someone earns is beyond me. The government has no right to that money. It wastes so much money as it is. We are not broke, we just poorly manage what has been given to us.

    This BS about low tax rates always kills me. Suppose you are a millionaire in NYC. You not only pay the top tax bracket on the Federal level, but you get dinged in the state and city. On top of that you pay sales tax, tolls, cell phone tax, liquor tax, fees and fines, etc. You get bled dry by a million little cuts that are not called taxes, but are effectively the same thing.

    If Buffet wants to cut the government a check, he is free to do so. He has no right to speak for other free Americans. Frankly, I find it sickening that he would even advocate this. Especially from Buffet, who donates money directly to the cause. Taking money that he would otherwise donate, to fund this bloated and disgusting entity we call an ever growing government is shameful.

  • In reply to TNA
    ....'s picture

    ANT wrote:
    Buffet pays 15% in taxes because he takes advantage of the various incentives built into the tax code. I wouldn't be surprised if his massive charitable donations lower his taxes. Regardless, his tax rate is his business. The USA should not raise rates because one guy manages to only pay 17%.

    The incentive you're referencing is the capital gains tax being at 15%.

    People who make their income through manufacturing or services pay a regular tax rate as follows:
    up to 25% on income up to $83k
    28% on income up to $175k
    33% on income up to $380k
    35% on income above that.

    My understanding is that those who make money through capital gains pay 15% no matter what their income level is. This would make sense if capital gains had some overwhelming positive social impact that couldn't be internalized, but it doesn't. The injustice is compounded by people like Buffett making billions of dollars anualy through capital gains. The amount of money they make isn't unfair (in my opinion), but that tax rate is.

    ANT wrote:
    Think about it like this. Imagine if people kept more of their hard earned money. They would spend more, invest more, have the money to pay for better food, better schools, etc. They would make economic decisions which would benefit them the most, provide the most utility. Increased taxes only means increased government and increased waste. Once that dollar you give to the government goes through all the agencies and federal workers, it comes out a fraction of what went in.

    This makes perfect sense in theory, but tax cuts have shown to have almost no multiplicative effect.

    Was our economy really that much better off under Reagan than it was under JFK, when taxes were much higher?

    Was our economy really better off under Bush II than it was under Reagan, when taxes were much higher?

    Get ready for the coup de grace!

    Is our economy really better off under Obama than it was under Bush 2? Obama is essentially presiding under the lowest tax rates for all tax brackets since FDR. Corporations pay almost nothing in taxes. Hedge fund managers pay almost nothing in taxes. It doesn't seem to be doing much for the economy.

    ANT wrote:
    To the poster above, you seem to be confused. Local property taxes pay for free public schools. Police, fire, etc are all paid through state and local taxes. Thruways are paid for by tolls. 911 is paid for by cell phone taxes. Prisons are state finance issues. Research grants are largely private and really don't need government funding to skew things.

    Would be nice if you mentioned me by name =) But no, I'm not that confused, I wasn't talking about federal taxes, I was talking about mandatory taxes in general. The attitude people have when they say "Buffett should just write the government a check" is that taxes shouldn't be mandatory for people who don't want to pay them. What if I don't feel like paying property tax? If you want to pay property tax so our neighborhood can have a good school, go ahead and cut the local government a check. I'll send my kids to that school for free. I'll also use the police and firefighters for free. I don't want to pay my federal income tax. Do you like having a military? Go ahead and write Obama a check then. I'll just go ahead and get protected by that military for free.

    Can you see why this doesn't make sense? I'm only really making two points
    1) Some taxes and government are necessary.
    2) Taxes and government only work if everyone pays into them equitably.

  • LIBOR's picture

    This is the same guy who spoke out against derivatives when his firm has $63 billion of them on the books, right?

  • TNA's picture

    We all pay taxes. If Buffet feels compelled to pay additional taxes, he is free to do so. I am not saying taxes should be voluntary, but the argument to raise them because I think I don't pay enough is BS.

    How do you get investment income? You earn it at some point. What does investment income do? It provides capital so companies and entrepreneurs can grow and expand their business. It provides a social benefit, that is why it is taxed lower.

    Capital gains, in most cases, is also double taxes. Companies pay 30-40% and then the investor pays 15%. This is why dividends are usually the worst use of excess cash. The company should buy back shares, invest in positive IRR ventures, etc.

    Yes, governments need taxes. I think paying 1/3rd of your income to the government is plenty. God only asks for 10% tithe.

    Equitable? Well you're not talking about the USA. Equitable would mean everyone paying into the system we benefit from. Right now half, if not more, pay nothing. The middle, upper middle and rich shoulder all the burden.

    I am a simple man. I believe the USA provides opportunity and freedom. Sometimes life is hard, sometimes easy, but if you consistently fight and work hard you will do fine. If you slip and fall, we are there with plenty of safety nets to catch you.

    Unfortunately, for some people, that is not enough. They look at others who have more than they do and they hate them. They don't think someone who worked should have what they don't. They blame life, unfair, circumstance, everything but themselves. They want the government to punish the rich to make them feel better.

    Increasing taxes on the rich will not close the budget gap, make the poor smarter or healthier, anything measurable. It will simply make them feel better that they are sticking it to the "man". This type of base pleasure is something that should not be encouraged or fed.

    1/3rd of a mans wages is enough. If you cannot make due with that you need to become more efficient or cut spending. Sorry, but I do not believe that the government is entitled to half what someone makes.

  • In reply to ....
    txjustin's picture

    redninja wrote:
    txjustin wrote:
    We need total tax reform. Lower tax rates, a couple more brackets for upper income earners and close all loopholes.

    People like Buffet make me sick when they say this. That fuck can pay more taxes if he wants or he can contribute more to the governement debt if he wants. Talk is Cheap Warren...

    That's a bullshit argument, and you know it. By that logic, why don't we just do away with all mandatory taxes, and shut down all government that people don't want to pay for. No more police, no more fire-fighters, no more judges, no more hospitals, no more research grants, no more public education of any kind, no more prisons, no more immigration to protect our borders, no more FBI, no more federal reserve, no more CIA, no more nukes, no more FDIC to protect us from bank runs, no more USDA to certify your food isn't poisonous, no more army, navy, marines or air-force to protect us from other countries - and that's just off the top of my head.

    It's easy to forget sometimes, but the government is NECESSARY. And it only works if EVERYONE pays for it in an EQUITABLE way. Our society cannot function with a volunteer government that gets paid with charity money. What Buffett has a problem with is that the mega-rich only pay 15% in taxes, while the middle class pays closer to 40%. That's not fair and we collectively suffer as a result.

    By the way, Buffet DOES pay more taxes to society - he's donated more money to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation than anyone who reads this will make in their lifetimes. So STFU.

    No it's not a bullshit argument. It's the typical Democrat argument. By the way, that argument is do as I say, not as I do. That's the Democrat creed. I never said anything about a bunch of shit in you reply so don't put words in my mouth. I'm not going to argue everything you stated, it would take forever.

    The 15% you are referring to is capital gains. Do you blame him for legally taking advantage of it? I thought not.

    Before you speak to me again, know that I'm a Libertarian and believe in limited government.

    I know he contributes a lot to charity, that's one of my points against raising taxes. You raise taxes on the rich and they will donate less. Seems like common sense to me.

    Last thing, I am in absolute agreeance with total tax reform, adjusting/adding tax brackets and closing of loopholes.

    Oh ya, you STFU.

  • In reply to txjustin
    ....'s picture

    ANT wrote:
    Equitable? Well you're not talking about the USA. Equitable would mean everyone paying into the system we benefit from. Right now half, if not more, pay nothing. The middle, upper middle and rich shoulder all the burden.

    ...

    1/3rd of a mans wages is enough. If you cannot make due with that you need to become more efficient or cut spending. Sorry, but I do not believe that the government is entitled to half what someone makes.

    Who ever said that half the US population paying taxes is a good thing? The fact that the poor and lower middle class don't pay taxes is as much a disaster as the extremely low effective tax rate that the rich pay. I love how conservatives and libertarians are always the champions the cutting taxes for the super-rich, and point to the poor paying "nothing" as their justification. What kind of justification is that? That's just eye-for-an-eye logic, and now both ends of the spectrum are causing the decay of american infrastructure with the middle class is left bearing the burden by itself.

    That's not to say that there should be a flat tax. The current tax rates for different incomes make sense, largely because those with lower incomes pay a large percentage of their incomes to the secret taxes you mentioned earlier. When someone who makes $10k a year and someone who makes $10m a year both pay a $1 sales tax on a movie ticket, the person making $1 is disproportionately affected. This is offset by a lower income tax rate, but that effective rate shouldn't be 0% for the poor, or 15% for the super-wealthy. The EFFECTIVE tax rate should be roughly 30%-40% for everyone, and honestly ANT, I think you agree with me there.

    txjustin wrote:
    No it's not a bullshit argument. It's the typical Democrat argument. By the way, that argument is do as I say, not as I do. That's the Democrat creed. I never said anything about a bunch of shit in you reply so don't put words in my mouth. I'm not going to argue everything you stated, it would take forever.

    The 15% you are referring to is capital gains. Do you blame him for legally taking advantage of it? I thought not.

    Before you speak to me again, know that I'm a Libertarian and believe in limited government.

    I know he contributes a lot to charity, that's one of my points against raising taxes. You raise taxes on the rich and they will donate less. Seems like common sense to me.

    Last thing, I am in absolute agreeance with total tax reform, adjusting/adding tax brackets and closing of loopholes.

    Oh ya, you STFU.

    I apologize, I was being an asshole and you didn't deserve that. I just find the whole "he should just send the government a check" argument to be off-putting. Here's something else I believe: If something is legal, we can't blame people for doing it. If there is a loophole that lets people pay lower taxes by cheating, I don't believe you should blame people for using it. Similarly, if corporations can essentially by our government by financing political campaigns, then we shouldn't be blaming them for destroying our political system. They have a fiduciary duty to maximise their profit, and Buffett (like all people) has a personal responsibility to maximise his cash flow.

    What should be done, however, is fixing the system so people can't take advantage of it. Those loopholes the rich use should all be closed. Campaign finance reform is pretty important as well. As long as these loopholes exist, Buffet is doing our society a service by advocating against them. If all his multi-billionaire friends are paying 15% effective tax by using loopholes, then he's entitled to do that as well, but unlike most other billionaires, at least he's arguing that those loopholes should be closed so he and his ilk should pay a fair share. Just because Buffett uses the loopholes doesn't make his argument that the loopholes should be closed wrong.

    Anyway, I'm curious about your opinion on the whole lower taxes > better economy argument that libertarians love (sorry, this is from an earlier post):
    - Was our economy really that much better off under Reagan than it was under JFK, when taxes were much higher?
    - Was our economy really better off under Bush II than it was under Reagan, when taxes were much higher?
    - Is our economy really better off under Obama than it was under Bush 2?

    Whether you like it or not, since FDR we have seen a gradual decline in taxes. Here's a graph of top marginal tax rate: http://www.jaysrants.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/0...

    Tax rate used to be 90%. That'd criminal. Under Nixon, it was 70% That's criminal. Under Reagan, it was 50%. That's actually pretty legit. My opinion is that when you start bringing it down to 30% official, 15% effective, then we can't fund important things like education or infrastructure and everyone suffers. As a libertarian, how low would you like to see these tax rates go?

  • TNA's picture

    30-40% for everyone? Please let me know where you got that crack you are smoking,

    Always amazes me how people can just happily say that 40% of what you work for should be taken by the government. How about everyone pay 20% and the government becomes more efficient and smaller?

    Sorry, but no way on earth someone else should be entitled to 40% of what I earn. No fucking way.

  • TNA's picture

    50% is criminal to the highest degree.

    I'm sorry, at 50% I either work for cash or stay home. No way in hell I am going to kill myself so someone else can be taken care of.

    Man oh man, this country is going to hell.

  • In reply to TNA
    ....'s picture

    ANT wrote:
    Yes, governments need taxes. I think paying 1/3rd of your income to the government is plenty. God only asks for 10% tithe.

    ...

    1/3rd of a mans wages is enough. If you cannot make due with that you need to become more efficient or cut spending. Sorry, but I do not believe that the government is entitled to half what someone makes.

    ANT wrote:
    30-40% for everyone? Please let me know where you got that crack you are smoking.

    ... are you serious? You do know that 1/3 = 33%, and 33% is between 30% and 40% ... right? I was pretty sure we agreed on this...

    Also, you act like the government takes this money and burns it. It uses it to do stuff that benefits you IMMENSELY, but you wouldn't pay for otherwise because of free-rider principles.

    Imagine if we didn't have government-run police enforcement or jails. If you wanted someone jailed, you would have to personally purchase a police officer to arrest them, rent a jail-cell to house them, purchase a prosecutor and a judge and rent out a courtroom to try them in, and then continue to pay rent for the cell they occupy until their sentence is served. Nobody would do that, and there would be madness. When the government takes x% of money from everyone's paycheck and uses it to pay for stuff like police officers, judges, courthouses and jails, you're getting your money's worth.

    Does the government waste some money? Absolutely, but it doesn't waste 50 cents of every dollar you give it. That's why it's been so hard to cut federal spending. Here's a breakdown of discretionary spending for 2011 under the plan just passed: http://davidw57.files.wordpress.com/2011/08/discre...

    What parts would you like to cut out?

  • Jorgé's picture

    Warren can say whatever he wants about taxes but fact of the matter is his investing success came from the fear of paying them.

    Agree with Midas as well, that's why Soros and the rest of these limousine liberals are so hot on ramping up taxes, most of us here dream of taking them down but how can we if we have to give most of it to the government?

    People like Coldplay and voted for the Nazis, you can't trust people Jeremy

  • ProvincialPeasant's picture

    Sort of reminds me of something a friend said regarding the taxman song by the Beatles. He guaranteed me that before they were rich, they probably wanted the rich to be taxed more.

  • In reply to ....
    txjustin's picture

    redninja wrote:
    ANT wrote:
    Equitable? Well you're not talking about the USA. Equitable would mean everyone paying into the system we benefit from. Right now half, if not more, pay nothing. The middle, upper middle and rich shoulder all the burden.

    ...

    1/3rd of a mans wages is enough. If you cannot make due with that you need to become more efficient or cut spending. Sorry, but I do not believe that the government is entitled to half what someone makes.

    Who ever said that half the US population paying taxes is a good thing? The fact that the poor and lower middle class don't pay taxes is as much a disaster as the extremely low effective tax rate that the rich pay. I love how conservatives and libertarians are always the champions the cutting taxes for the super-rich, and point to the poor paying "nothing" as their justification. What kind of justification is that? That's just eye-for-an-eye logic, and now both ends of the spectrum are causing the decay of american infrastructure with the middle class is left bearing the burden by itself.

    That's not to say that there should be a flat tax. The current tax rates for different incomes make sense, largely because those with lower incomes pay a large percentage of their incomes to the secret taxes you mentioned earlier. When someone who makes $10k a year and someone who makes $10m a year both pay a $1 sales tax on a movie ticket, the person making $1 is disproportionately affected. This is offset by a lower income tax rate, but that effective rate shouldn't be 0% for the poor, or 15% for the super-wealthy. The EFFECTIVE tax rate should be roughly 30%-40% for everyone, and honestly ANT, I think you agree with me there.

    txjustin wrote:
    No it's not a bullshit argument. It's the typical Democrat argument. By the way, that argument is do as I say, not as I do. That's the Democrat creed. I never said anything about a bunch of shit in you reply so don't put words in my mouth. I'm not going to argue everything you stated, it would take forever.

    The 15% you are referring to is capital gains. Do you blame him for legally taking advantage of it? I thought not.

    Before you speak to me again, know that I'm a Libertarian and believe in limited government.

    I know he contributes a lot to charity, that's one of my points against raising taxes. You raise taxes on the rich and they will donate less. Seems like common sense to me.

    Last thing, I am in absolute agreeance with total tax reform, adjusting/adding tax brackets and closing of loopholes.

    Oh ya, you STFU.

    I apologize, I was being an asshole and you didn't deserve that. I just find the whole "he should just send the government a check" argument to be off-putting. Here's something else I believe: If something is legal, we can't blame people for doing it. If there is a loophole that lets people pay lower taxes by cheating, I don't believe you should blame people for using it. Similarly, if corporations can essentially by our government by financing political campaigns, then we shouldn't be blaming them for destroying our political system. They have a fiduciary duty to maximise their profit, and Buffett (like all people) has a personal responsibility to maximise his cash flow.

    What should be done, however, is fixing the system so people can't take advantage of it. Those loopholes the rich use should all be closed. Campaign finance reform is pretty important as well. As long as these loopholes exist, Buffet is doing our society a service by advocating against them. If all his multi-billionaire friends are paying 15% effective tax by using loopholes, then he's entitled to do that as well, but unlike most other billionaires, at least he's arguing that those loopholes should be closed so he and his ilk should pay a fair share. Just because Buffett uses the loopholes doesn't make his argument that the loopholes should be closed wrong.

    Anyway, I'm curious about your opinion on the whole lower taxes > better economy argument that libertarians love (sorry, this is from an earlier post):
    - Was our economy really that much better off under Reagan than it was under JFK, when taxes were much higher?
    - Was our economy really better off under Bush II than it was under Reagan, when taxes were much higher?
    - Is our economy really better off under Obama than it was under Bush 2?

    Whether you like it or not, since FDR we have seen a gradual decline in taxes. Here's a graph of top marginal tax rate: http://www.jaysrants.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/0...

    Tax rate used to be 90%. That'd criminal. Under Nixon, it was 70% That's criminal. Under Reagan, it was 50%. That's actually pretty legit. My opinion is that when you start bringing it down to 30% official, 15% effective, then we can't fund important things like education or infrastructure and everyone suffers. As a libertarian, how low would you like to see these tax rates go?

    To me it is not as important about how low the tax rates can go, rather how those taxes collected are spent. The government is as wasteful as they come. I shouldn't have to give examples of that. In case i do, USPS, SS, Medicaid, Medicare, etc.

    I am a big proponent in a fair/flat tax hybrid system. I know this won't come to fruition anytime soon, but one can wish...

  • In reply to ....
    txjustin's picture

    redninja wrote:
    ANT wrote:
    Yes, governments need taxes. I think paying 1/3rd of your income to the government is plenty. God only asks for 10% tithe.

    ...

    1/3rd of a mans wages is enough. If you cannot make due with that you need to become more efficient or cut spending. Sorry, but I do not believe that the government is entitled to half what someone makes.

    ANT wrote:
    30-40% for everyone? Please let me know where you got that crack you are smoking.

    ... are you serious? You do know that 1/3 = 33%, and 33% is between 30% and 40% ... right? I was pretty sure we agreed on this...

    Also, you act like the government takes this money and burns it. It uses it to do stuff that benefits you IMMENSELY, but you wouldn't pay for otherwise because of free-rider principles.

    Imagine if we didn't have government-run police enforcement or jails. If you wanted someone jailed, you would have to personally purchase a police officer to arrest them, rent a jail-cell to house them, purchase a prosecutor and a judge and rent out a courtroom to try them in, and then continue to pay rent for the cell they occupy until their sentence is served. Nobody would do that, and there would be madness. When the government takes x% of money from everyone's paycheck and uses it to pay for stuff like police officers, judges, courthouses and jails, you're getting your money's worth.

    Does the government waste some money? Absolutely, but it doesn't waste 50 cents of every dollar you give it. That's why it's been so hard to cut federal spending. Here's a breakdown of discretionary spending for 2011 under the plan just passed: http://davidw57.files.wordpress.com/2011/08/discre...

    What parts would you like to cut out?

    I don't think anyone is arguing over police officers, judges, jails, etc. I will say this, government needs to get out of education. They have done nothing but drag it down since the day they got in the education business.

    I say everything takes a 5-10% haircut with defense taking a 10-15% haircut and ending all wars by year end and getting our military home by next summer.

  • MrJetSet's picture

    How many of you guys are "super-rich" enough to be complaining about Buffet's proposal? I bet all of you guys don't even gross 300K a year lol.

  • txjustin's picture

    That's not the point jetset. Your reply is what's wrong with America today. The typical lets cut cut cut, but not my SS or medicaid or medicare or anything that has to do with me. Let's fuck the other guy...

  • ....'s picture

    That's because we PAID for medicare and social security. It's like if you put $1000 in your bank account every year for 10 years, and then when you go to the bank on the 10th year to get your money out, they tell you they already spent it. Wouldn't you demand to get your money back? Or is that socialism too?

    That's basically what happened. We used the Social Security Surplus to pay for the wars, then when people came to ask for the money they've been paying into the social security fund for the last 50 years, you tell them that they're what's wrong with America. There's a reason it's called an "entitlement." You're "entitled" to it because you PAID for it.

  • txjustin's picture

    Are you fucking retarded? Aspergers?

    I never said not give people their money back. I never even gave any options on that front.

    A lot more politicians have had their hand in that ponzi scheme pot than warmongers.

  • In reply to txjustin
    ....'s picture

    Very mature, Justin. No, I don't have autism, nor do I disrespect people who do. And not giving people their money back is exactly what you're advocating.

    > When you cut SS, you're telling people that paid into an account their entire life that they can't have that money back when they retire.
    > When you cut Medicare, you're telling people that have been paying into medical insurance their entire lives that they can't get the benefits they've been promised when they need them.
    > When your raise the effective tax rate on the super-rich from the 15-20% of their effective income they currently pay, you're ensuring that their tax burden is equitable to the other 99% of Americans.

    txjustin wrote:
    That's not the point jetset. Your reply is what's wrong with America today. The typical lets cut cut cut, but not my SS or medicaid or medicare or anything that has to do with me. Let's fuck the other guy...

    What you JUST said was jetset attitude of "it's ok to tax the super-rich" is what's wrong with America. You went on to clarify that that attitude of trying to protect SS and Medicare is what's wrong with america. So just to make sure we're on the same page: no, I don't have autism, and yes, you're advocating that we not give people their money back.

  • TNA's picture

    Social Security is a current pay system. A ponzi scheme. If you think there is a magic bank account with your savings, then you are dreaming.

    How is cutting social security screwing anyone anymore than me paying for welfare that I don't use, paying for children's education that I don't have, etc. Social security is a tax with a nice name.

    Also, no one is talking about closing the door on these programs. We are talking about a gradual phase out.

  • TNA's picture

    "When your raise the effective tax rate on the super-rich from the 15-20% of their effective income they currently pay, you're ensuring that their tax burden is equitable to the other 99% of Americans"

    Please tell me how increasing the top tax bracket to around 50% makes things equitable? You are stealing from people because YOU DONT THINK they will miss it. Half this country gets a free ride, how about me truly make things equitable and have everyone pay into something that benefits all of us.

    How about everyone with two cars gives one to someone without. This whole mindset that there is a limit to how much someone can have before the just arm of the government comes and takes their money "to make things equitable" is what I like to call Socialism boys and girls.

    This is not Robin hood. The rich are not taxing the poor and forcing them to be their slaves. People are free, have opportunity and have a safety net. If you still CHOOSE to fail, you need to live with it. If someone is hungry and goes out for more, they should have it.

    I make plenty of money. More than I need. I didn't magically wake up one day like this. I went to 6+ years of school after high school. While all my friends got high and wasted their life I was busting my ass. Please tell me why they are all of a sudden entitled to the fruits of my labor while they had fun and I suffered.

    Let them eat cake.

  • alexpasch's picture

    People who bitch about capital gains fail to realize that that money is earned before it is taxed. For example, someone gets an income, and then reinvests it in companies gets a capital gain. Sure, some people get capital gains without it first being taxed as income (founders of companies, fund managers, etc.), but it's still good to point out that it's sometimes a double tax (often a triple tax, you earn income, invest it in a company, the company pays taxes, and then when you sell it or get dividends, you pay taxes on that too).

    Honestly, the only services I like from my government are what the city and state provide me. Let's see what the Federal government provides me. It's basically Medicare, Medicaid, SS, defense, and a bunch of other minor discretionary programs, most of which are totally useless. So let me see, a bunch of transfer payments to the poor, and a bloated defense system that also sucks in way more than it should. Like newsflash guys, we have nukes; no one's EVER going to invade us. We should just beef up homeland security by bringing all the troops home. Medicare is a total waste, as is Medicaid. Why do I have to be someone's nanny? So they can buy an ipad instead of saving for healthcare? I'm all for a safety net, but we should have a policy of never borrowing to provide a safety net. That makes no sense because the ROI is negative. Same for social security. You want a retirement? Then save your own motherfucking money, you don't need the government to do that for you. The Federal government is the plague, not the city and state governments. America used to be great when the Federal government was tiny and generally inconsequential. There once was a time that basically the only service the Federal government provided was defense. That was literally it. Not surprisingly, that's when America became the global superpower. As the New Deal and the Great Society became implemented and were never modified for changing demographics, not to mention the implementation of income taxes, a new interpretation for the Commerce Clause, etc., the Federal government has become so bloated that it's destroying this country.

    Consultant to a Fortune 50 Company

  • In reply to alexpasch
    ....'s picture

    alexpasch wrote:
    America used to be great when the Federal government was tiny and generally inconsequential. There once was a time that basically the only service the Federal government provided was defense. That was literally it. Not surprisingly, that's when America became the global superpower. As the New Deal and the Great Society became implemented and were never modified for changing demographics, not to mention the implementation of income taxes, a new interpretation for the Commerce Clause, etc., the Federal government has become so bloated that it's destroying this country.

    This fantasy America you speak of doesn't exist. It's easy to look back on the 1700s and 1800s and talk about how awesome they were, you just have to ignore slavery, the genocide of native americans, and the civil war. It's easy to look back on the early 1900s and talk about how awesome they were too. You just have to ignore the stock market crash and the Great Depression with unemployment that makes today's economy look like the golden years.

    What changing demographics are you talking about? Are you talking about the influx of poor immigrants from Mexico? America is THE country of poor immigrants. The irish and the italians used to be the hated outsiders - one population associated with drunkenness and the other associated with organized crime (think Mafia). The asians used to be the hated other too. Do you remember the clamp-down on chinese immigration? The internment of japanese americans?

    Demographics are always changing. In short time immigrants from south of the border will also assimilate and find success, and we'll find some new minority to blame for all our problems.

  • TNA's picture

    You mean the legal Italian and Irish immigration? Are you comparing LEGAL immigration with ILLEGAL immigration?

    How is slavery, killing Indians and civil war related to the size of the government?

    Keep looking to the government to solve your problems bro. Guess your parents didn't do a good enough job of teaching you to be self sufficient.

  • txjustin's picture

    Red, I was just fuxing with you earlier with the vulgar name calling. Just my sense of dark humor.

    Now on to bidness. Are you even in the slightest bit saying the SS, medicare, and medicaid is sustainable?

  • In reply to TNA
    ....'s picture

    ANT wrote:
    "When your raise the effective tax rate on the super-rich from the 15-20% of their effective income they currently pay, you're ensuring that their tax burden is equitable to the other 99% of Americans"

    Please tell me how increasing the top tax bracket to around 50% makes things equitable? You are stealing from people because YOU DONT THINK they will miss it. Half this country gets a free ride, how about me truly make things equitable and have everyone pay into something that benefits all of us.

    How about everyone with two cars gives one to someone without. This whole mindset that there is a limit to how much someone can have before the just arm of the government comes and takes their money "to make things equitable" is what I like to call Socialism boys and girls.

    It's downright amazing what's happened to political discourse over the last few decades. What used to be called a moderate position is now called socialism, what used to be called a conservative position is now the Democratic position, and what used to be known as libertarianism is now the Republican position. The top marginal income tax under Ronald Reagan was 50%, he raised taxes almost a dozen times and raised the debt ceiling even more than that. By your definition, he'd be a militant communist.

    In any case, I don't believe in socialism any more than you do. I don't think we should have public education, or health care, or infrastructure, or safety nets because it's "the right thing to do" or because it's "moral" or "ethical" or any of that crap. Nor do I believe we should be taxing the rich because they don't deserve their money or they're not going to miss it.

    I have two underlying rule for how the government should function:
    1) If there is a good or service that creates a positive externality that the private sector can't capture, the government should tax the population equitably and provide this good or service.
    2) If there is a good or service that creates a negative externality that the private sector doesn't completely internalize, the government should either make it illegal, or tax it to discourage it's existence.

    Why? Because it makes economic sense to do both those things. That's it. No Christian morals. No sympathy for the poor. No "It's not fair" this or "bleeding heart" that.

    Here is a very simplistic example:

    According to the DoJ, roughly 1 in every 15 Americans will spend time in prison. This number is quite significant, not just because it's really high compared to other nations (We're #1!!), but also because it costs about $40k to send an inmate to prison. The average prison term is 4 years, so the cost of a single inmate averages out to about $160k + court and lawyer fees. As a society, we have to pay this cost, and as a resident of the US, you have to bear some of that burden. Thus, if there was a way for us to invest money such that for every $1 invested we would decrease this burden by more than $1, we would be better off.

    Well, according to the census, 12% of adults aged 20 or over did not graduate from high school. Despite only being 12% of the population, high-school dropouts make up 60% -80% of prison inmates, depending on the state. Lets say it costs $150k ($12.5k a year x 12 years) to give a child an education good enough for them to graduate high school. If that spend can take someone who would have gone to prison, and keep that person out of prison, saving us a $160k of spending, then we are better off. Ignoring all the other economic benefits to having someone be educated (they buy more, they make more, etc), on prison costs saved alone, this spending was worth it.

    There it is. I'm not advocating paying for the education because it's not fair, or because they're poor, or because of their race, or because my heart is bleeding, or because I'm a communist, or any of those reasons. The only reason is because we will all be better off for it, economically speaking.

  • TNA's picture

    So economics is your god and master? That is cool, but it would make much better economic sense to lower the cost of prison, force those who are imprisoned to simply work to repay their cost or simply to kill them. We do have 8 billion people, a few million will not be missed.

    I mean if we are going to detach morality and just look at things from an economic perspective I am cool, but don't stop half way. Go to the logical end of things.

  • In reply to txjustin
    ....'s picture

    txjustin wrote:
    Red, I was just fuxing with you earlier with the vulgar name calling. Just my sense of dark humor.

    Now on to bidness. Are you even in the slightest bit saying the SS, medicare, and medicaid is sustainable?

    Let's get real, when SS was passed American life expectancy was 70 years. Now it's 80 years. Of course it's not sustainable forever. As people live longer, the age of retirement has to be pushed up. But it's also not a crisis, not is it fundamentally flawed. For the same reason as the education example I just gave, having our senior citizens be homeless causes a huge drain on society.

    Medicare has the same problem of not being sustainable because it's not flexible enough, not because it's fundamentally flawed. I don't believe that medicare should cover the cutting edge super-expensive medical treatments, but I do believe that if you've paid into Medicare your whole life, you deserve to get what you paid for.

  • In reply to TNA
    ....'s picture

    ANT wrote:
    So economics is your god and master? That is cool, but it would make much better economic sense to lower the cost of prison, force those who are imprisoned to simply work to repay their cost or simply to kill them. We do have 8 billion people, a few million will not be missed.

    I mean if we are going to detach morality and just look at things from an economic perspective I am cool, but don't stop half way. Go to the logical end of things.

    I'm pretty sure that's unconstitutional.

  • TNA's picture

    Just send them to Guantanamo Bay. Outside of the US and realm of the Constitution. Problem solved.

  • In reply to ....
    txjustin's picture

    redninja wrote:
    txjustin wrote:
    Red, I was just fuxing with you earlier with the vulgar name calling. Just my sense of dark humor.

    Now on to bidness. Are you even in the slightest bit saying the SS, medicare, and medicaid is sustainable?

    Let's get real, when SS was passed American life expectancy was 70 years. Now it's 80 years. Of course it's not sustainable forever. As people live longer, the age of retirement has to be pushed up. But it's also not a crisis, not is it fundamentally flawed. For the same reason as the education example I just gave, having our senior citizens be homeless causes a huge drain on society.

    Medicare has the same problem of not being sustainable because it's not flexible enough, not because it's fundamentally flawed. I don't believe that medicare should cover the cutting edge super-expensive medical treatments, but I do believe that if you've paid into Medicare your whole life, you deserve to get what you paid for.

    I'll speak for myself and Ant when I say this. We are talking about phasing the above out, not immediately cutting them off.

  • In reply to TNA
    TheKing's picture

    ANT wrote:
    So economics is your god and master? That is cool, but it would make much better economic sense to lower the cost of prison, force those who are imprisoned to simply work to repay their cost or simply to kill them. We do have 8 billion people, a few million will not be missed.

    I mean if we are going to detach morality and just look at things from an economic perspective I am cool, but don't stop half way. Go to the logical end of things.

    Is this straw man really your response?

    Also, still get a kick out of your extreme libertarianism...unless the topic is gay marriage or bank bailouts.

  • TNA's picture

    What fucking straw man bro? The guy is talking about making economic decisions. How about we make prisoners pay for their room and board? I didn't realize that was so out there.

    Also, I have zero fucking issue with gays forming a legal bond. I honestly think anyone should be able to go to the court house and sign a paper and be legally joined. I don't know why the government has anything to do with it.

    Furthermore, I am 100% against child tax credits, mortgage interest deductions, tax credits for being married or any of the bullshit the government tries to pass off as nothing but social manipulation.

    As for the bank bail outs, I support them because I think they would of been cataclysmic to this country. This isn't about stepping in to save everything and anything, but if you sat on your hands and let everything fail this country would of gone back to the stone age.

    Yeah man, sorry that I love liberty. I mean last time I checked I was an American, a country founded on liberty, but what do I know. Bring on big government and others making decisions for me.

  • ....'s picture

    It's bad for the genetic pool...

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