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The Robin Hood Budget

President Obama today unveiled a fiscal year 2010 budget proposal that is dazzling both in the scale of its ambitions and its deficits. It is also the most detailed blueprint yet for the profound course-change that Obama promised in his campaign.


White House budget director Peter Orszag describes the budget proposal to reporters this morning. (Bill O'Leary/Post)

"You know, there are times where you can afford to redecorate your house and there are times where you need to focus on rebuilding its foundation," Obama said this morning "Today, we have to focus on foundations."

What he didn't mention was that he was also ripping out some of the foundations that were laid by the previous administration.

Obama's budget would dramatically increase taxes on the wealthy, while cutting payments and subsidies to insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, agribusiness and defense contractors -- and mandating a system to charge polluters for their carbon emissions.

It would, in short, reverse the redistribution of wealth that took place during the Bush era. This time, the rich will be subsidizing the poor, not the other way around.

The revenue increases -- supplemented by staggering deficit spending -- would pay for tax cuts for non-wealthy Americans and hugely ambitious plans in the areas of energy, health and education that, as Obama insisted on Tuesday night are necessary to assure the country's long-term prosperity.

Realizing they had some explaining to do, Obama's budget team points the finger at the last guys: "[F]or far too long, the resilience, optimism, and industriousness of the American people have been frustrated by irresponsible policy choices in Washington," the budget document says.

"Prudent investments in education, clean energy, health care, and infrastructure were sacrificed for huge tax cuts for the wealthy and well-connected. In the face of these trade-offs, Washington has ignored the squeeze on middle-class families that is making it harder for them to get ahead. Our Government has spent taxpayer money without making sure the numbers add up and without making it clear and understandable to the American people where their money was being spent. Tough choices have been avoided, and we have failed to make the wise investments we need to compete in a global, information-age economy....

"This is the legacy that we inherit — a legacy of mismanagement and misplaced priorities, of missed opportunities and of deep, structural problems ignored for too long. It’s a legacy of irresponsibility, and it is our duty to change it."

The projected deficits are nothing short of astronomical. The budget assumes a $1.75 trillion deficit this year. And while annual deficits would drop to $533 billion in 2013, they would then start going up again (although they would stay basically flat as a percentage of gross domestic product). The national debt, which went up from $7 trillion to $10 trillion in the Bush era, would be $20 trillion in 2016.

The scale of just about everything in this budget will inevitably lead many in Washington to suggest with increasing alarm that Obama is trying to do too much, too fast. (It begins.) They may be right. But they should also ask: Is Obama right that doing less is actually more risky? Isn't this what the voters elected him to do? And does the fractured, already marginalized Republican party really want to define itself as the party of tax breaks for the rich and the special interests?

Lori Montgomery has the big numbers on washingtonpost.com: "President Obama's proposed budget includes an additional $250 billion that could be used to bail out struggling banks this year, bringing the expected 2009 budget deficit to a soaring $1.75 trillion, officials said this morning. The government's yearly shortfall would equal 12.3 percent of the nation's annual economic output, a level not seen in generations."

Jackie Calmes and Robert Pear have the big picture on nytimes.com: "By redirecting enormous streams of deficit spending toward programs like health care, education and energy, and paying for some of it through taxes on the rich, pollution surcharges, and cuts in such inviolable programs as farm subsidies, the $3.55 trillion spending plan Mr. Obama is undertaking signals a radical change of course that Congress has yet to endorse."

Bloomberg's Ryan J. Donmoyer looks at the revenue side: "President Barack Obama proposed almost $1 trillion in higher taxes on the 2.6 million highest- earning Americans, Wall Street financiers, U.S.-based multinational corporations, and oil companies, to pay for permanent breaks for lower earners....

"The tax increases, which Obama vowed to implement as a presidential candidate, would be the first on high-income earners since 1993 and would reverse a course set by Bush of lowering the tax burden on the nation’s wealthiest people.

"'It’s a clear repudiation of Bush’s policy,' said Peter Morici, an economist at the University of Maryland in College Park. 'It’s more Obama Robin Hood.'"

Noam N. Levey writes in the Los Angeles Times that with this budget, Obama is "[m]aking good on populist rhetoric he has employed since he was a candidate."

Ceci Connolly writes in The Washington Post about how "Obama is proposing to begin a vast expansion of the U.S. health-care system by creating a $634 billion reserve fund over the next decade, launching an overhaul that most experts project will ultimately cost at least $1 trillion.

"The 'reserve fund' in the budget proposal being released today is Obama's attempt to demonstrate how the country could extend health insurance to millions more Americans and at the same time begin to control escalating medical bills that threaten the solvency of families, businesses and the government."

Juliet Eilperin and Steven Mufson write in The Washington Post: "A mandatory cap on the nation's greenhouse gas emissions, which President Obama embraced on Tuesday as central to his domestic agenda, would be designed to generate badly needed revenue for the government while addressing arguably the world's most pressing environmental issue....

"[O]nly hours after Obama's speech Tuesday to Congress, the cap-and-trade proposal triggered a heated exchange among senators on a key committee, underscoring that efforts to come up with a system that limits emissions, puts a price on carbon and allows industries to trade pollution allowances will be a difficult sell on Capitol Hill, especially in the current economic crisis.

"A federal cap-and-trade program, which many scientific and policy experts see as key to curbing dangerous levels of global warming, would create a new commodity -- in the form of the allowances permitting industries to discharge specified amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere -- and a market for that commodity that would be worth tens or perhaps hundreds of billions of dollars, along with a complex new regulatory system."

Congressional Republicans are already gearing up against Obama's agenda.

Jackie Kucinich writes for Roll Call (subscription required): "Determined to present a unified front against the White House and a Democratic-run Congress, Republicans plan to use the budget release today to kick off a five-week campaign that will highlight areas where they believe the administration’s blueprint is flawed.

"A senior GOP aide said the campaign would include the circulation of coordinated talking points and the melding of the documents from the House and Senate Budget panels and Republican Conference committees."

But it may be asking too much even of Democrats.

Shailagh Murray and Paul Kane write in The Washington Post that Obama's agenda "confronts the era's most intractable problems, from a tattered financial system that has helped fuel a deepening recession to health-care, education and energy policies that have long defied meaningful reform.

"It amounts to a long work order for a legislature that has seen its productivity sag in recent years. Mired in partisan divisions, Congress has produced few bills of sweeping impact since the end of President George W. Bush's first term. Now Obama is asking lawmakers to deliver legislation on the scale of the No Child Left Behind education bill or the Medicare prescription drug benefit -- two of Bush's signature achievements -- roughly once a month....

"Many Democrats have expressed trepidation about the lofty expectations that Obama has set and are keenly aware that the party could pay a steep price in the 2010 midterm elections if the promises are not fulfilled. At a White House meeting yesterday with House and Senate leaders, Obama noted that polls showed the Democratic Congress's popularity rising with the passage of the stimulus bill, despite Republicans' near-unanimous opposition because of the package's heavy spending programs."

Obama's speech Tuesday continues to elicit reaction.

Joe Klein writes for Time: "Let it be recorded that Barack Obama came into full possession of the U.S. presidency toward the end of his February 24 budget speech to a joint session of Congress. He had just read a letter from a South Carolina schoolgirl, pleading for help with her dilapidated school. 'We are not quitters,' the girl had written. The President's eyes brightened as he repeated that phrase, and he seemed barely able to control his joy and confidence as he attacked his peroration: that even in the toughest times, 'there is a generosity, a resilience, a decency and a determination that perseveres.' This was the chord that had been missing in the first dour month of Obama's presidency — not so much optimism as confidence, the sense that he was not only steering the presidency, but loving the challenge of it."

Obama seems to have lost David S. Broder, who writes in his Washington Post opinion column: "Is he naive? Does he not understand the political challenge he is inviting?...

"The size of the gambles that President Obama is taking every day is simply staggering. What came through in his speech to a joint session of Congress and a national television audience Tuesday night was a dramatic reminder of the unbelievable stakes he has placed on the table in his first month in office, putting at risk the future well-being of the country and the Democratic Party's control of Washington....

"When we elected Obama, we didn't know what a gambler we were getting."

And William Kristol, in his Washington Post opinion column, calls for obstructionism and delay: "Conservatives and Republicans...should do their best not to permit Obama to rush his agenda through this year. They can't allow Obama to make of 2009 what Franklin Roosevelt made of 1933 or Johnson of 1965. Slow down the policy train. Insist on a real and lengthy debate. Conservatives can't win politically right now. But they can raise doubts, they can point out other issues that we can't ignore (especially in national security and foreign policy), they can pick other fights -- and they can try in any way possible to break Obama's momentum. Only if this happens will conservatives be able to get a hearing for their (compelling, in my view) arguments against big-government, liberal-nanny-state social engineering -- and for their preferred alternatives."

By Dan Froomkin  |  February 26, 2009; 1:55 PM ET
Categories:  Obama v. D.C.  
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Comments

I am one of those evil people who make over $250,000 a year. I also live in a $200,000 house and drive an eight year old Toyota. Also, I employ 29 people. Do you really think this strategy of paying for $trillions$ in borrowed spending by taxing people like me is going to make me hire more people??? Or pay who I have more? Or want to expand my business? Also, how many of you reading this have jobs from people who make less than $250,000 a year? It's popular to rail against "rich folks" but in the end it will hurt us all.

Posted by: Revcain777 | February 26, 2009 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Might I point out that Robin Hood was a thief? He may have stolen from the rich to give to the poor, but he was still a thief.
It is so ironic that everyone in this country wishes they were rich, but hate the rich, until they themselves become rich.
Poor people don't provide jobs. Rich people do. Particularly people who earn between $250K to $1M per year--these are America's small business owners. Revcain777 is right, this is no way to encourage small business owners to hire more workers. Quite the opposite will occur.

Posted by: pwkickice | February 26, 2009 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Those of us who are in public service [education] at local levels are facing zero raises, salaries cut by 3-5% and layoffs. I find it disingenuous that the President is proud to propose an honest budget that LIMITS federal pay raises to 2-3%. For the last 8 years of my serivce, a 2-3% pay raise for educators in a GOOD economy was fortunate. If you demand that the "wealthy" class and business owners pay this deficit bill, want to limit fund manager bonuses etc, then the least that should happen is frozen pay scales at the Federal level for the next two years, until the deficit is shrunk.

Posted by: Justlistening | February 26, 2009 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Revcain777,

The facts are starkly against your argument.
America tried reverse robin hood tax policy for 8 years, and look where it got us!

If we follow Obama's tax plan, which is much like the Clinton tax plan that brought record prosperity to ALL Americans, you will see that once the people who really need the money actually get a tax break, then we will have money to spend on products/services rendered by YOUR business... putting more money in YOUR pocket and, probably, in your employees' pocket.

History is proof that this policy is better for EVERYONE!

Posted by: jgarrisn | February 26, 2009 2:40 PM | Report abuse

The tax rates on the rich are merely going back to what they were under Bill Clinton. The rich will not be subsidizing the poor. We will simply go back to a more fair and balanced tax system that helps to create and maintain a middle class which is vital for America to thrive. If President Obama can get universal healthcare done, he will have accomplished the greatest thing since the establishment of Social Security for our elderly workers. I pray for his success. The budget reflects his priorities for the country, emphasizing what needs to be done. I really do not think I can stand the whining of the rich on this. I don't think anyone can. It was the rich that got us into this hole. They should hang their heads in shame for their selfish, greedy,profligate ways that cost people their life savings, their jobs, their homes, their health care, their children's education. President is trying to right this now and we need to support him.

Posted by: anitapreer | February 26, 2009 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Revcain777: Nice straw man you've erected there, but nobody's calling you evil or "railing against 'rich folks'". They *are* saying that we need to back off the inordinate breaks recently given to the most affluent among us (and I'm not far from that mark myself). You know, go back to those dark and dreary days when the "class warriors" managed to produce a balanced budget, our economic institutions actually worked, and we weren't facing a possible depression.

Posted by: ww12 | February 26, 2009 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Yes, I agree. we need more tax cuts for the rich and ... another war ... maybe Iran. That will fix'er all up.

Posted by: 4thson | February 26, 2009 2:43 PM | Report abuse

"This time, the rich will be subsidizing the poor, not the other way around."

What an ignorant statement. Is Froomkin ignorant of the fact that the poor pay almost no taxes and the rich almost all? If you want to say that the new tax structure is more "fair" or better in some other way, that is fine. But this phrasing is absurd.

Posted by: bobmoses | February 26, 2009 2:43 PM | Report abuse

I guess Kristol is right. The last thing we need during tough economic times is another Franklin Roosevelt.

Posted by: spidey103 | February 26, 2009 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Justlistening,

I'm sorry, but you must be listening to the 'do nothing' right wing media talking heads.

The Obama plan will give BILLIONS to education! The money Obama has provided for education is extremely significant considering the Bush administration did NOTHING as teacher salaries froze and some teachers were laid off!

The Obama plan gives BILLIONS to public education that must be used to renovate schools (which, by the way, creates jobs) AND to PREVENT layoffs!

This is good news to those who understand that EDUCATION is the key if America wants to once again lead the global economy!


(I'm a teacher, so I've followed this closely)

Posted by: jgarrisn | February 26, 2009 2:45 PM | Report abuse

you are a complete moron, the poor have never, ever subsidized the rich

Posted by: ross4 | February 26, 2009 2:47 PM | Report abuse

ww12 said:

"Nice straw man you've erected there, but nobody's calling you evil or "railing against 'rich folks'"."

Right after "anitapreer" said:

"I really do not think I can stand the whining of the rich on this. I don't think anyone can. It was the rich that got us into this hole. They should hang their heads in shame for their selfish, greedy,profligate ways that cost people their life savings, their jobs, their homes, their health care, their children's education."

As usual, angry liberals don't let facts get in the way of their silly arguments.

Posted by: bobmoses | February 26, 2009 2:47 PM | Report abuse

How the hell is this progress??? Tax breaks for the rich?? The rich still pay the highest % of taxes on their current incomes. Reagan's years of growth were noted for reducing the top marginal rates to 28%. Bush 1 and Clinton raised those rates ultimately up to 39%... and Bush's cuts never got near the Reagan tax amounts.

And let's be honest here... please froomie.. be honest. The tax breaks that Bush instituted, affected EVERYONE!! Everyone that paid taxes got a cut in their income tax rates in 2001. What you Froomie and other of your ilk choose to do is focus on the amount of money the different classes kept, rather than the % of income saved from taxes. This is complete class warfare intended to make lower income earners feel like they were getting the shaft. If the lower income earners wanted to save more money from taxes... then they should look to find other work or other income streams.

Posted by: alutz08 | February 26, 2009 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Let us see what the Big O will do when there is no wealthy people left and therefore no one will be hiring... :lots of luck on that...What a bunch of people with the IQ of a snall jealous child.

Posted by: djmelfi | February 26, 2009 2:49 PM | Report abuse

If David Broder did not know what a "gambler" we were electing, it was because he wasn't listening. We voted for Obama because we wanted to REVERSE the course of the last eight years of ruinous Republican profligacy, lies, cronyism, divisiveness, greed, militarism, dithering, and kicking the can down the road to the next generation. We wanted a leader who could see clearly, explain things, make wise decisions, and inspire -- in other words, LEAD. We knew damn well what we were voting for, and now we are ready to do what needs to be done.

Posted by: herzliebster | February 26, 2009 2:50 PM | Report abuse

pwkickice wrote "Poor people don't provide jobs. Rich people do."

WRONG! Customers provide jobs. Consumer demand drives our economy, not luxury good purchases by the Forbes 400. Our economy is tanking not because the Forbes 400 are staying away from Tiffanys, but because the average American isn't buying a new car. Demand by average Americans drives the economy and provides jobs.

Feudalism is dead. Looks like you haven't heard.

Posted by: Garak | February 26, 2009 2:53 PM | Report abuse

I am one of those evil people who make over $250,000 a year. I also live in a $200,000 house and drive an eight year old Toyota. Also, I employ 29 people. Do you really think this strategy of paying for $trillions$ in borrowed spending by taxing people like me is going to make me hire more people??? Or pay who I have more? Or want to expand my business? Also, how many of you reading this have jobs from people who make less than $250,000 a year? It's popular to rail against "rich folks" but in the end it will hurt us all.

===============================
YES actually...and ...factually

MORE Importantly

You may not have to FIRE any of them..

Fei Hu

Posted by: Fei_Hu | February 26, 2009 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Dear Spidey...

The policies of Roosevelt extended the depression years in the 1930's. It wasn't until we were forced into WWII, that our economy actually picked itself up. Real jobs were created and people were employed. You credit Roosevelt for bringing us out of the depression, but it was WWII that actually got us out.

Posted by: alutz08 | February 26, 2009 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Here comes the crying and whining from the wealthy. Oh dear me! You clowns need to look at income statistics for the last decade or so. While the wealthy citizens income has skyrocketed the rest of our incomes have actually decreased when inflation is taken into account. You boys didn't seem to have a problem at all while you increased your financial position at the expense of ours. You act like without you nice fellas we would be nothing, when in reality it is very much the other way around. Your businesses would not exist without OUR labor. Look at history for some valuable lessons. I recommend paying particular attention to the French Revolution. I will cheerfully drag out the guillotine and you jerks can form a line if that is what you really insist on.

Posted by: kgeakin | February 26, 2009 2:56 PM | Report abuse

All remains to be seen. No person can say with certainty that this plan will work. I don't care what he does, just as long as it works.

Posted by: aperkins1 | February 26, 2009 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Froomkin swallows horse semen for fun.

Posted by: ImpeachObama | February 26, 2009 2:59 PM | Report abuse

My tax break during the Bush years ( I am solidly middle-class) ALMOST was enough for a tank of gas for the truck I use for my remodeling business. If the tax breaks for the wealthy championed by the right actually produced jobs that paid a decent wage, they might be defensible. Wages stagnated during the Bush regime, only the wealthy made advancements. Without the middle class earning decent wages, especially in a 'service'economy...no one will make money, as evidenced by the last 15 months.

Posted by: waltej1 | February 26, 2009 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Impeachobama; yours is the insightful commentary that leaves us all in awe of the intellectual prowess of the right wing.

Posted by: waltej1 | February 26, 2009 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Obama is doing exactly what the country needs. It is so wonderful to see competent leadership in action. Go Obama!

Posted by: DWinFC | February 26, 2009 3:02 PM | Report abuse

"Do you really think this strategy of paying for $trillions$ in borrowed spending by taxing people like me is going to make me hire more people??? Or pay who I have more? Or want to expand my business?"

If people don't have money to spend on the goods or services that you produce, then you won't be able to expand your business anyway.

Honestly, business owners think they are God's gift to American society. Try running a business without consumers willing to buy what you peddle and see how that works for you. Meanwhile, stop the whining.

Posted by: castanea | February 26, 2009 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Pulitzer prize winner Guns, Germs, and Steel argues that invention is the mother of necessity. It is a nice chapter. There will always be products that people knew they wanted-but I never expected to enjoy online chats/blogs/ comments so much. That would be the day I became a supply-sider in a traditional sense (a tax rate reduction doesn not pay for itself). It's a different perspective.

Posted by: JimDandy1 | February 26, 2009 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Can someone explain to me how the poor have been subsidizing the rich?

Posted by: bobmoses | February 26, 2009 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Clinton's era benefited from the .com boom and it really boosted the economy rich and poor.

Posted by: bdunkadunk | February 26, 2009 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Dear Mr Garrison...

Throwing money at an issue usually doesn't solve the problems. Now since I am sure you are a member of the teacher's union, you won't like anything I have to say about diversifying education opportunities. Such as Charter Schools, School vouchers for choice, or other measures that increase the competition in education to provide better education for our children. Usually the government billions that are thrown at at education will end up in a beauracratic black hole that is reserved for additional administration and support staff & programs that has no direct impact on the actual teaching and education of our children in K-12. Quality teachers are what drives the quality education.... not the expensive frills that come with additional budget money.

Here is the bottom line, Bush did increase education budget in the federal budget, with the support of Ted Kennedy. The problem is the local level school boards & state boards of education are improperly applying the money to where it will have the most impact. Pumping up the federal budget for education dollars doesn't solve problems... it creates opportunities for government pencil pushers to spend on things that do not affect the education of students.

Posted by: alutz08 | February 26, 2009 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Ummmmm......gee, I think bobmoses must have missed that bit of recent news about UBS getting caught helping wealthy Americans hide their income in numbered Swiss accounts for the purpose of tax evasion. The wealthy and corporations DO NOT pay their fair share of the taxes in this country. Bigger and better examples of that come to light nearly daily. I personally make about 50k a year and don't have a problem with paying higher taxes if necessary to support our country. Why is it that many the wealthiest go to great, and illegal, lengths to pay none?

Posted by: kgeakin | February 26, 2009 3:05 PM | Report abuse

The Post hates the rich that isw why their profits shrank 77%

Posted by: whiteja55801 | February 26, 2009 3:08 PM | Report abuse

I notice here and elsewhere that the new Republican talking point is that Roosevelt and the New Deal were a failure and that *only* WWII brought the country out of the depression. Presumably Rush Limbaugh is broadcasting this, or the sheep wouldn't be repeating it everywhere I go. Like Bush, the Repubs believe that it absolutely is possible to rewrite history, so long as they say it often enough and the people are dumb enough.

Posted by: gposner | February 26, 2009 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Hey alutz08

The revisionism about FDR is old hat. It is true that FDR's recovery lagged but that was becasue he stopped his stimulus program too soon. he treid balancing the books again in 37 instead. And that caused the recovery to stall..
And it is true that WWII finally pulled the US out of depression. Becasue of the massive stimulus of all that deficit spending for WWII. SO What you are arguing for is that Obama enhance and increase the current stimulus to match the money spent in WWII. Instead of guns and bombs, it will bein schools, road etc. leaving a more lasting legacy... Very wise of you...

Posted by: rpp1 | February 26, 2009 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Gosh, where did this ultralib blabbermouth come from?

Posted by: teeballou | February 26, 2009 3:12 PM | Report abuse


All you business owners out there making over $250K:

Your payroll and your capital investments are expenses that you DEDUCT before figuring your taxes.

BY DEFINITION, any money you (or your corp) pay taxes on, is profit, ie money you didn't spend on payroll or business expansion.

So if you really want to pay less in taxes, you should keep your salary under $250K and hire more people.

Posted by: mikeinmidland | February 26, 2009 3:13 PM | Report abuse

I am one of those evil people who make over $250,000 a year. I also live in a $200,000 house and drive an eight year old Toyota. Also, I employ 29 people. Do you really think this strategy of paying for $trillions$ in borrowed spending by taxing people like me is going to make me hire more people??? Or pay who I have more? Or want to expand my business? Also, how many of you reading this have jobs from people who make less than $250,000 a year? It's popular to rail against "rich folks" but in the end it will hurt us all.
---------------------------------------
Dude, buy a new car and update your house. And, considering that you start by bragging about how cheap you are, I'm sure the wages you pay are not helping the economy that much.

Posted by: SuperPants | February 26, 2009 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Currently the US ranks 92nd worldwide in wealth inequality. In other words, we have the income demographics of a third world country. Without the reforms Mr. Obama proposes we will soon be a third world county in fact.

Posted by: Blue_Moose | February 26, 2009 3:17 PM | Report abuse

It's funny how riled up conservatives get when they are asked to pay out of their disposable income for the privileges they receive while being wealthy in this country.

revcain... The fact that you make more than $250,000 and drive an old car and live in a $200,000 house shows that trickle down doesn't work. Are you saying that raising your taxes incrementally on what you make over $250K/year would cause you to fire an employee, or make the decision to not hire one?

bobmoses... what facts get in the way of the liberal argument? The economy grew while the upper bracket marginal tax rate was 39.6% AND the budget was balanced. How'd that deficit do under Reagan and the trickle down?

alutz08, how'd those tax breaks do for everyone? How's the economy been since those tax breaks? Further, class warfare is necessary because otherwise, the status quo becomes de facto feudalism, where few own most of everything and live not off the fruits of their own labor, but off the labor of the indebted.

djmelfi... Only someone shrill and spiteful would not hire needed workers because of a tax increase. It's poor business. There will never be no wealthy people, and these days people rarely hire anyone with their own money.

Posted by: gilmanc | February 26, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Actually mr Posner...
Or should I say Poser???

While Roosevelt's plan went into action, the depression era unemployment continued to grow for several years, before stagnating for most of the 1930's. Please read up on actual economic studies of this time and not depend on the word of mouth crap that you are taking from Democrats as gospel. There is a very powerful tool available to the masses for research...called the internet. Maybe you have heard of it?? I suggest you use it and see for yourself and avoid sites that are fronted by political organizations or causes while you are looking.

Folks believe that Roosevelt led us out of the depression because, under his extremely long presidency, it eventually did. Its just so happened that during his presidency a little thing called WWII broke out and put our out of work folks in either military boots, or in military factories.

Posted by: alutz08 | February 26, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse

"Poor people don't provide jobs. Rich people do." ... "when there is no wealthy people left and therefore no one will be hiring" ... etc.

I hereby declare this thread the Official Interweb Museum for Thoroughly Discredited Trickle Down Economics Scams.

Please don't feed the exhibits.

Posted by: BigTunaTim | February 26, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Froomkin has enjoyed tearing into Bush for years. Looks like he can't break the habit. I don't know if I should feel happy for him now that there is someone he idolizes now in the Oval Office. Where does he direct all that suppressed outrage? Poor fellow.

Posted by: whughes1 | February 26, 2009 3:21 PM | Report abuse

My wife and I earn over $250K. We'll pay higher taxes. That is OK with me. Civilization is expensive. I'm so, so tired of Americans calling themselves patriots and then whining about paying taxes. Our soldiers give their life for America. All that is being asked of you is money.

Posted by: martiniano | February 26, 2009 3:21 PM | Report abuse

martiniano -

That's great and all, but the problem is that there is no evidence that the money being taken will result in any positive benefits.

BTW: I love seeing liberal question people's patriotism for not sharing their policy views. After hearing the straw man for years that liberals have had their patriotism questioned, it is laughable to the see quickness with which they have embraced that tactic. Kind of like how liberals have been peeling those "dissent is patriotic" stickers off their bumpers.

Posted by: bobmoses | February 26, 2009 3:25 PM | Report abuse

gilmac -

"It's funny how riled up conservatives get when they are asked to pay out of their disposable income for the privileges they receive while being wealthy in this country."

And who was paying for it before? Give me a break.

Posted by: bobmoses | February 26, 2009 3:26 PM | Report abuse

People need to calm down. The "rich" (actually the rich plus the upper middle class) will pay about the same taxes they paid under Clinton. That level of taxation did not destroy capitalism, democracy or the "American Way." The country was prosperous, and people had work. The abuse some people are heaping on Obama for taking the same approach is just fear mongering.

We tried it the Bush way (low taxes plus low regulation as the remedy for every problem), and it brought the country to its knees. We are done with that way now.

Posted by: rice1234 | February 26, 2009 3:27 PM | Report abuse

"bobmoses... what facts get in the way of the liberal argument? "

If you could read you would see that I was commenting on the fallacious comment that "no one is railing against the rich" right after a post that was doing just that.


Posted by: bobmoses | February 26, 2009 3:28 PM | Report abuse

I don't understand all the vilification of "rich" people either. If you want people on your side use honey, not a stick. I'm in sales. The past 4 years I was in the evil "rich" tax bracket. I'm not a business owner. I work for one. Along with my nice income the past 4 years (70% commissions) I bought a 3 bedroom townhouse in DC where I pay 3 times the property taxes of the average DC citizen (and the market value is way lower than the assessed tax value from the city). I also have to pay for very expensive student loans for myself and my wife - who was laid off recently. I haven't received a commission check for two quarters straight as times are tough. However, I saved most of my commissions and I'm keeping up. Now taxes are going up. Great. The only good news (really?) is that I'm selling only half of what I used to so my income will be less than half of what it has been the past several years.

I hope things turn around in the next year because I can't keep up, and as an evil rich person, I can't expect anyone else to help out. I'm supposed to do my fair share and then some.

Posted by: mbyrd28 | February 26, 2009 3:30 PM | Report abuse

alright... libs... go ahead a laugh and yuck it up. Believe with blind faith in the enormous spending that Obama has set forth without questioning where it will be spent, and not asking how will it improve our country.
Go ahead and don't question the new programs and ask how similar programs have worked in other countries?

For all of Froomkin's ranting the last 4 years about being better watchdogs of government... it sure looks like he and the rest of you are ready to roll over and be the Obama family's pet pooch... rather than sticking up for the proper role of questioning government.

One thing that I haven't seen here is what this massive run-up of debt will do to inflation here and what the value of the $$ will become? Is inflation really going to make our lives better? Will blindly spending money on NEW goverment programs uplift this country?
Did the framers and father's of this country, that most everyone hold in high esteem... really intend for the government to become as vast in its power as it currently is??

The United States is becoming less about the States, than it is about the Federal level. It happened under Bush, Clinton, W, and now it appears to be happening faster than ever under Obama... in just under a month's time in office.

Posted by: alutz08 | February 26, 2009 3:30 PM | Report abuse

"Clinton's era benefited from the .com boom and it really boosted the economy rich and poor."

First of all, Clinton had nothing to do with the .com boom. Second of all, that boom (like all booms) led to a recession when it turned bust. Anyone remember Pets.com or Excite.com? Their investors do, but the rest of us don't.

Posted by: bobmoses | February 26, 2009 3:30 PM | Report abuse

"

I am one of those evil people who make over $250,000 a year. I also live in a $200,000 house and drive an eight year old Toyota. Also, I employ 29 people. Do you really think this strategy of paying for $trillions$ in borrowed spending by taxing people like me is going to make me hire more people??? Or pay who I have more? Or want to expand my business? Also, how many of you reading this have jobs from people who make less than $250,000 a year? It's popular to rail against "rich folks" but in the end it will hurt us all.

Posted by: Revcain777 | February 26, 2009 2:24 PM "

Like most Republicans, you are convinced it's all about YOU!

Posted by: thrh | February 26, 2009 3:31 PM | Report abuse

How does the Washington Post allow something like this that is factually untrue be published: the allegation that until now the poor subsidize the "rich." The top 2% of earners pay 60% of all taxes and more than half of Americans pay no tax at all. None. Of course any tax cut will disproportionately affect higher earners as they pay almost all of the taxes.

If you do not pay taxes, tax cuts will not help you. That is a simple point the media seem to miss.

I am a small business owner in DC and under Obama's plan I will pay a tax rate, all in, of 75%. Yes, 75%. Is that not enough? Oh and it kicks in at $150,000 for me, not $250,000 as I am single.

And the $250,000 number that is endlessly repeated is family income. For single people the onerous rates kick in at $150,000. That is not rich in any way shape or form for someone living in DC, SF or NYC. That is a good income, in some places upper middle class, but what is wrong with that. Do we want to craft our policies so that we basically destroy the ability to get ahead.

Posted by: jessica2 | February 26, 2009 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Um....not to put too fine a point on it, but the Bush tax cuts lowered taxes for ALL Americans, not just those at the top.

Posted by: mcgcruiser@aol.com | February 26, 2009 3:32 PM | Report abuse

rpp1 wrote
"It is true that FDR's recovery lagged but that was becasue he stopped his stimulus program too soon. he treid balancing the books again in 37 instead. And that caused the recovery to stall..
And it is true that WWII finally pulled the US out of depression. "
==========================================

Actually the reason the multi-year stimulus stopped is because Roosevelt and Congress discovered that it WAS NOT WORKING!!

Posted by: alutz08 | February 26, 2009 3:33 PM | Report abuse

Froomkin did not call "rich" people "evil." Read the article again. Neither did Obama.

For some reason, some of you are calling yourself evil. It does not help your argument.

Posted by: rice1234 | February 26, 2009 3:34 PM | Report abuse

I'm sorry "rich" is a very subjective term. Frankly in this day in age I don't feel that $250K is rich. My husband and I don't make that much....yet - but we are college educated and could one day. I don't live in a dream home and drive a dream car. Frankly I have a condo (my first home) that I've lost $100K worth of value on (because I bought a home I could afford). What is my incentive to succeed in the country? I put myself through college and now can't even deduct the full interest of my student loans because I "make to much". I don't have kids yet because well - they are expensive!! So I'm sorry that I'm against having "Peter give to Paul" my hard earned money and giving me NOTHING in return. I won't even get a stimulus check yet those who don't pay taxes get a check?!! The top 1 percent of income earners pays 40% of the total taxes, a majority of Americans mistakenly believe that middle and lower income citizens pay the highest tax rate.

Geez talk about those "rich" people not paying their fair share....

Posted by: amr2 | February 26, 2009 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Those making over $250K had quite a windfall under Bush. I live in a VERY Republican area with many fortunate people, and to hear them complain is quite an experience. Most of them get their information from Fox News and papers like the NY Post. Over the past 8 years, they got used to an extravagant lifestyle, with McMansions, big SUV's, and second homes. There are many soccer moms with 2 or 3 kids in my town with Hummers, Escalades, and Range Rovers for no practical reason. The increase in big SUV's is effident just by picking up the kids from school. The traffic jams caused by these gas-guzzling traitors are much worse than a decade ago. At least the leaders of OPEC love them.
If the top 5 per cent of wage-earners expected this level of support from society to continue forever, then I have no sympathy for them. I do not hate the rich---I just expect them to pay their fair share, which is still much less than the taxes paid by affluent citizens of most other industrialized nations.

Jgarrisn summarized this issue well..."If we follow Obama's tax plan, which is much like the Clinton tax plan that brought record prosperity to ALL Americans, you will see that once the people who really need the money actually get a tax break, then we will have money to spend on products/services rendered by YOUR business... putting more money in YOUR pocket and, probably, in your employees' pocket."

Posted by: woolleyjfw | February 26, 2009 3:34 PM | Report abuse

right, the poor have not subsidized the rich. It's the middle class who have subsidized the rich during the Bush years.

What goes around comes around. Too bad.

My wages are frozen. I am a legal secretary. Our firm is laying off, like so many DC law firms, and we worry about losing our jobs. I am 67 years old and don't see how I can retire anytime soon.

My husband is 74 and to make ends meet, he works at the WaWa for $9.00 an hour.

Does my heart bleed for the richies? Heck no

Posted by: JaneDoe4 | February 26, 2009 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Certain employers love to boast about "giving" people jobs. I boast about "giving" them my labor and skills and work ethic.
A tax rate of 39 percent is not exorbitant and it's far lower than it was even under Reagan. If you're so averse to paying a little bit more as your fair share, maybe you should earn less. And maybe you should do all the work yourself so you wouldn't have to "give" people jobs. The last decade has seen the greatest transfer of wealth to the upper incomes in our history. It's time to rebalance the scale.

Posted by: bdunn1 | February 26, 2009 3:35 PM | Report abuse

"right, the poor have not subsidized the rich. It's the middle class who have subsidized the rich during the Bush years."

Be specific. How have you subsidized the rich.

Posted by: bobmoses | February 26, 2009 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Bush didn't actually reduce my taxes. He just shifted them around. Slightly lower federal income tax, higher local sales and property tax. Bush very effectively shifted the burden of paying for services from the wealthy onto the working classes. Didn't do anything to help small businesses in the area either - just the big ones. The chamber of commerce meetings got kind of tense as people started realizing that the Bush economy wasn't actually a plus for us.

Posted by: ath28 | February 26, 2009 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Um....not to put too fine a point on it, but the Bush tax cuts lowered taxes for ALL Americans, not just those at the top.

Thanks for posting Jessica. AMEN

Posted by: amr2 | February 26, 2009 3:37 PM | Report abuse

rice1234 -

Well, plenty of angry liberals are demonizing the rich here.

Posted by: bobmoses | February 26, 2009 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Jessica2 wrote:
"How does the Washington Post allow something like this that is factually untrue be published: the allegation that until now the poor subsidize the "rich."

Because my dear jessica.... Froomiekins is an opinion writer (I will not call him a columnist since he is not published in print), and that gives the WPonline an extra nitch market for liberal online crazies. Froomie is not subjected to the same editorial reviews that Robinson, Dionne, Will, etc get because his material is never printed. Its like a daily blog. And since our favorite Frooms is moonlighted as an editor in previous years, he doesn't require supervision. Whatever gets people to flow internet clicks to the WaPo....

which I am sad to say is working.... look at us.

Posted by: alutz08 | February 26, 2009 3:39 PM | Report abuse

thrh -

"Like most Republicans, you are convinced it's all about YOU!"

Read all the comments and you will see that there are plenty of angry liberals who think it is all about THEM.

Spare us your hypocrisy.

Posted by: bobmoses | February 26, 2009 3:40 PM | Report abuse

You could count on the screaming and yelling from those who benefited from the Bush tax cuts. Unfortunately, many of them are of the Pundit class, especially on television and the likes of David Broder.

I remember times were pretty good during the Clinton years. Things started tanking during the Bush years - and the middle class in particular got further and further behind.

We shall see how this all plays out. If the pundits have their way, Obama will only be a four year president. I can't believe the negativity of people against the plan (CNBC is particularly bad). I don't remember them yelling and screaming in similiar fashion about the Bush Budgets. I don't remember them pointing out the budget tricks, like not bothering to add the cost of Iraq.

Posted by: jowc123 | February 26, 2009 3:40 PM | Report abuse

"It would, in short, reverse the redistribution of wealth that took place during the Bush era. This time, the rich will be subsidizing the poor, not the other way around."

uh ... WHAT?

Posted by: Waffle1 | February 26, 2009 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Well in my world it IS all about ME because I'm obviously the only person looking out for me and MY family. Obama is no friend of mine.

Posted by: amr2 | February 26, 2009 3:41 PM | Report abuse

bdunn1 -

Your argument is silly. The point is that 90% of new jobs in this country are created by small businesses. This tax plan makes it less likely that new businesses will be created, because the risks don't measure up to the rewards.

You folks are going to see the results of this soon enough. You think 8% unemployment is bad? Just wait.

Posted by: bobmoses | February 26, 2009 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Waffle1 -

Oh didn't you hear? The people that don't pay taxes used to subsidize the people that did pay taxes ;)

Posted by: bobmoses | February 26, 2009 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Robin Hood budget? Commissar would be more accurate. Stalin would be proud.

Posted by: mhr614 | February 26, 2009 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Dan, you have got to be kidding me with your claim that during the last eight years the poor subsidized the rich.

First of all, the tax code actually became more progressive under Bush. Fact.

Secondly, approx. the bottom quarter of income earners pay no federal income tax.

A final thought -- the "richest 2%" -- keep in mind that two-thirds of small business profits are made within households making $250k or more per year. Raising taxes on small business profits is not helpful for those seeking employment, because the small business has less money to expand.

Thank you.

Posted by: nospam778 | February 26, 2009 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Dear alutz08,

WW II did not end the depression. The war caused the federal government to spend freely to stimulate the economy. All of the government spending finally brought the depression to an end, not the war.

Posted by: patk1 | February 26, 2009 3:55 PM | Report abuse

gilmanc asked of alutz08:,

"how'd those tax breaks do for everyone? How's the economy been since those tax breaks? Further, class warfare is necessary because otherwise, the status quo becomes de facto feudalism, where few own most of everything and live not off the fruits of their own labor, but off the labor of the indebted."

1. It increased the amount of take home pay.
2. The economy boomed due to tax breaks, employement went down below 5%, until the housing bubble burst and banks were stuck with bad loans that Congress and Clinton demanded lending institutions issue from their Federal Housing Acts that they enacted in the late 1990's.

3. You speak of what you don't know and what you fail to see is coming. By ceding more control of our lives to the federal government through additional regulations, additional agencies, Pending Universal health care, Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security, what is available on the radio, where and when you are allowed to use cell phones, mandatory GPS tracking devices in cars so you can be taxed per mile driven, etc....... When does it stop?? We become more in the Government's control.

We become dependent on THEM of the welfare of our daily lives. Continuing down this path... we are not indebted to our employers... we become indebted to the Government.

Our founders warned of having too strong of a federal system and opted for a republic of states. This is going in the opposite direction.... and there are many ignorant dunces that are letting the pied pipper lead the way.

Posted by: alutz08 | February 26, 2009 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Having lived in Sweden, with it's fair graduated income tax, I'd say its about time we emulated them. In this country, the gentleman making more than $250,000 a year and all of the other super wealthy have wrought so much harm, that it's time we pulled their teeth. That means prying from their greedy hands the bulk of income in excess of $250,000 a year. What do they do with the amount in excess of that? Usually they buy political influence, meaning things like doing away with Roosevelt's regulations that led directly to our financial institution's failures. Or, they seek to garner even more by importing cheap foreign workers like the horde's of H1-B and L-1 visa guest workers that have cost millions of American workers their jobs and placed the whole future of this country in jeopardy. So, from where this reader stands, some steep tax increases for these vermin seems entirely appropriate and way past due.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | February 26, 2009 3:59 PM | Report abuse

The same old argument, back and forth: "The rich pay too much; the poor don't pay enough. The poor pay too much; the rich don't pay enough."

What makes me laugh is the solution is so obvious, but no one will argue it. So I will.

Repeal the Sixteenth Amendment. Replace it with a consumption tax, like the Fair Tax.

The government will shrink, in numbers and cost, because the IRS will disappear.

There will be capital for investment, billions of dollars worth, because it won't be tied up in the tax lawyers and accountants currently on the staffs of corporations, wrestling daily with a tax code even the IRS doesn't understand.

No one can avoid it, because everyone has to buy something, even if it's only food. This includes CEOs, soccer moms, "Joe the Plumber," illegal immigrants, drug dealers, prostitutes and every member of Congress.

It will give an incentive to foreign companies to employ Americans, by eliminating the layers of taxation currently built into the system.

Pres. Obama complained that "21st century American business shouldn't be governed by 20th century regulations." And it shouldn't be taxed by a 19th century tax system, designed to penalize the "robber barons" of early last century.

Posted by: srpinpgh | February 26, 2009 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Froomkin writes: "This time, the rich will be subsidizing the poor, not the other way around."

Huh? Doesn't the existing pre-Obama tax structure derive the vast majority of tax dollars from upper income folks? Don't "the poor" (at least those who work at the bottom of the income ladder) not only pay NO taxes at all, but get money back in the form of the Earned Income Tax Credit. Kind of an income re-distribution system.

BTW, I'm not rich; never have been. But I do like supposed journalism that's accurate. And honest. Even when it's only on a website.

Posted by: mftill | February 26, 2009 4:00 PM | Report abuse

I love how rich people always go on to say "if I get more of the tax burden, that will mean fewer jobs and less prosperity for all". What a bunch of BS.

We've tried trickle down "voodoo" economics and all it leads to is higher concentration of wealth among the rich.

If the middle and lower classes increased their earnings at the same pace as the rich, that's one thing, but for the rich to get richer while the middle and lower classes stagnate or do worse is criminal.

I'm sorry that you may have to put up some more cash, but this country isn't made to make yourselves the only ones who become prosperous. This country is for all Americans, and we desperately, desperately need the investments Obama outlined if we stand ANY chance of long-term prosperity for all citizens.

In the long run, this will benefit the rich and the poor. But rich people only care about their own wealth. It is scary how fast other countries are catching up and surpassing the US in technology. We have no choice but to make foundational changes in priorities.

Posted by: atacoma | February 26, 2009 4:02 PM | Report abuse

One of the biggest lies being paraded around by the right and by the free trade crowd is that Smoot-Hawley had no effect or that it worsened the Depression. Smoot-Hawley was enacted after our GNP had allen by more than 45%. Subsequent to it's passage, the GNP grew at a minimum of 3.3% annually. The GNO grew from 71.1 billion to 106 billion, completely outside of any ramp of of war spending. Unemployment fell from more than 25% to 12% during the same period. In fact, until government regulations reigned it in, we experienced a mini-depression in 1937 and 1938 when profiteers ran amuck, outsourcing jobs, at the beginning of our ramped up defense spending (part of Lend-Lease). The fact is, Wall Street, the wealthy and privileged, and corporations have always been inimitable to the health and well being of this country. We need to control them.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | February 26, 2009 4:06 PM | Report abuse

There is no filibuster on Budget measures, so Obama doesn't need Republican consent or support.

I'm all for balancing the tax burden. The rich complain about their tax burden a lot, but what they usually fail to realize is that they gain much more from the public goods that the government produces than a poor person.

If the government didn't provide for social and economic stability, the poor person couldn't be that much worse off. They might go from working at Mcdonalds to joining a militia. The rich person's business would be completely obliterated. They would go from wealth to poverty.

In short, the rich gain more from government, because they have much more to lose. Thus they should pay much more for its services.

Posted by: zosima | February 26, 2009 4:07 PM | Report abuse

The top tax bracket in this country peaked in the forties. At its highest, if you made more than $200,000 up to 90% of your earnings could be paid in taxes.

Through the eighties the highest tax bracket was 50%. Today it is less than 40%. I don't see anyone arguing for a return of the taxes that let us pay for WWII, but at least we can roll things back to where they were in the early eighties before profligate deficit spending became the norm.

Posted by: fletc3her | February 26, 2009 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Oh and all you idiots who think this will hurt small businesses. Hello, if you're business is making a profit of over $250,000 a year, you aren't a small business! Less than 5% of small businesses will be affected by Obama's tax proposals.

So stop bellyaching.

Oh, and only money over 250,000 a year will be taxed at a higher rate. So if you make 300,000 a year (a very high salary), only the last 50,000 bucks are taxed at the higher bracket. It's not like all your money is taxed at the highest rate.

Only the super wealthy who make millions a year will owe income tax close to the highest rate. Those earning 500,000 or less probably won't pay that much more in taxes that it's actually a burden.

Although, I'm not sure how many burderns you could possible have if your net income is $500,000 a year.

Posted by: atacoma | February 26, 2009 4:08 PM | Report abuse

"I am one of those evil people who make over $250,000 a year. I also live in a $200,000 house and drive an eight year old Toyota. Also, I employ 29 people..."

Wait! Joe The Plumber? Is that you?

Ok, assuming you're not just another Joe-The-Non-Plumber-Who's-Not-Named-Joe-And-Pulls-Down-$35k-A-Year, here's what I think: I think you're going to do whatever it takes to grow your business. It really is funny how business people in America act as though pursuing naked capitalism is some kind of selfless act.

Yes, you'll hire as many people as necessary, and you'll pay your taxes. Alternatively, you can move to some third-world country and set up shop there.

Best of Luck!

Posted by: icoleman | February 26, 2009 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Increasing taxes on the rich is perfectly acceptable. The Rich have just spent the past 8 years destroying the Nation for their own benefit.

Posted by: AnonPoster | February 26, 2009 4:09 PM | Report abuse

"I'm all for balancing the tax burden. The rich complain about their tax burden a lot, but what they usually fail to realize is that they gain much more from the public goods that the government produces than a poor person."


Sigh..... did you get this dribble off of the Daily Kos or something like it??

Posted by: alutz08 | February 26, 2009 4:11 PM | Report abuse

And, no, in fact the proposed tax structure does not redistribute any wealth. We all pay not just federal income tax, but also social security and medicare taxes. It might be more fair to say that those in the lowest tax brackets will have their social security and medicare subsidized. Not to mention sales tax, state income tax, transit taxes, property taxes, gas and cigarette taxes, etc.

Posted by: fletc3her | February 26, 2009 4:11 PM | Report abuse

"The top tax bracket in this country peaked in the forties. At its highest, if you made more than $200,000 up to 90% of your earnings could be paid in taxes.

Through the eighties the highest tax bracket was 50%. Today it is less than 40%. I don't see anyone arguing for a return of the taxes that let us pay for WWII, but at least we can roll things back to where they were in the early eighties before profligate deficit spending became the norm."

Fletcher.... top marginal Federal tax rates in the 1980's were cut to 28%. They went up eventually to 39% in 1993... and only came down slightly with Bush's measures in 2001... but not down to the 28% from the 80's.


Posted by: alutz08 | February 26, 2009 4:14 PM | Report abuse

The same old argument, back and forth: "The rich pay too much; the poor don't pay enough. The poor pay too much; the rich don't pay enough."

What makes me laugh is the solution is so obvious, but no one will argue it. So I will.

Repeal the Sixteenth Amendment. Replace it with a consumption tax, like the Fair Tax.

The government will shrink, in numbers and cost, because the IRS will disappear.

There will be capital for investment, billions of dollars worth, because it won't be tied up in the tax lawyers and accountants currently on the staffs of corporations, wrestling daily with a tax code even the IRS doesn't understand.

No one can avoid it, because everyone has to buy something, even if it's only food. This includes CEOs, soccer moms, "Joe the Plumber," illegal immigrants, drug dealers, prostitutes and every member of Congress.

It will give an incentive to foreign companies to employ Americans, by eliminating the layers of taxation currently built into the system.

Pres. Obama complained that "21st century American business shouldn't be governed by 20th century regulations." And it shouldn't be taxed by a 19th century tax system, designed to penalize the "robber barons" of early last century.


I've never understood why no-one will give this idea serious consideration.

Oh, and for the Sweedish guy that said people making over $250K a year were using all that extra cash to influence the government. You've got to be kidding me. The only government officials I've ever met were the postman and the traffic cop. I'm afraid you have to be in the million dollar range to get an audience with a politico.

Posted by: mbyrd28 | February 26, 2009 4:15 PM | Report abuse

I am one of those evil people who make over $250,000 a year. I also live in a $200,000 house and drive an eight year old Toyota. Also, I employ 29 people. Do you really think this strategy of paying for $trillions$ in borrowed spending by taxing people like me is going to make me hire more people??? Or pay who I have more? Or want to expand my business? Also, how many of you reading this have jobs from people who make less than $250,000 a year? It's popular to rail against "rich folks" but in the end it will hurt us all.

Posted by: Revcain777 | February 26, 2009 2:24 PM
*********************
That someone making $250K and employing 29 people is spending any time here is odd, but I'll take you at your word. (I'm tempted to quip, "If you worked a little harder, maybe you'd make $500K?")

But what's most interesting here is your refusal to address the obvious and enormously destructive redistribution of this nation's wealth from the middle class to the wealthiest. I don't make any where near $250K and I'm disgusted that the rich have benefited so enormously under Bush/Cheney. The historic compact in the 20th century has been that the rich will bear a greater burden for the support of the nation. That has in no way impeded productivity or creativity. That policy has permitted the ascendancy of what has made America the greatest bulwark for democracy: the strength of its middle class. Watching that erode over the past eight years, throwing more and more Americans in destitution and despair, is what has made me angry. The wealthy have co-opted the ignorant under the GOP and have absconded with more than money: they've damaged this nation's soul.

Posted by: abqcleve | February 26, 2009 4:16 PM | Report abuse

"Only the super wealthy who make millions a year will owe income tax close to the highest rate. Those earning 500,000 or less probably won't pay that much more in taxes that it's actually a burden.

Although, I'm not sure how many burderns you could possible have if your net income is $500,000 a year."

Atacoma:

Its not just the taxes, stupid. Its the gross expansion of government that is the problem, and the debt that will never be repaid because of it. Its the new government entitlement programs that almost always never get cut down after enactment.

Posted by: alutz08 | February 26, 2009 4:19 PM | Report abuse

>>>

Not to pick on anyone, but why are people still extolling the virtues of the low tax, low regulation government ideology, ie, the Bush way? That model sounded fine in theory. Bush implemented it, and most people would agree that it failed.

The economy was better when taxes were higher and the financial industry was better regulated under Clinton.

Yes, some deregulation was initiated by Clinton but Bush made it a centerpiece of his Presidency. Yes, there was a tech bubble under Clinton, but there were also budget surpluses (not so with Bush). And when the bubble burst, it was the end of an economic cycle, not the catastrophe that we now find ourselves in.

Once something like the low taxes/low regulation model fails in practice (even if it sounded like a good idea 8 years ago), we should drop it. That doesn't make us a bunch of communists. It doesn't make the people who originally believed the idea crazy, either. But let's move on.

>>>

Posted by: rice1234 | February 26, 2009 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Something left out of this right wing screed is that fact that thousands of our wealthiest citizens dodge paying their taxes by locking the money up in offshore banks like UBS. There are at least 8,000 accounts, for U.S. citizens, in UBS that total more than 1 trillion dollars. There are thousands more in banks in India, the Caribbean, and elsewhere. How about this, give these treasonous swine 60 days to come forward and declare that money and pay any taxes and penalties owed. If they don't confiscate it, every penny. And this government has the ability to force the Swiss and other tax havens to release that information and those monies, too.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | February 26, 2009 4:22 PM | Report abuse

The people complaining about having to pay more taxes need to be more open minded - what Obama is trying to do is to make this a better country by making more kids better educated, making health care available to all Americans, and make us less dependent on other countries for our energy needs. If you would try to be objective, you would see why more Americans voted for Obama than a Republican this election - Republicans and their base appear to think that if you aren't working, you're lazy; if you have no access to affordable health care, tough; and if you worry about what kind of world we will leave our kids and grandkids, you're just a liberal greenie.

I've worked hard all my life, not just at work but also at home; I've taken care of elderly in laws for years; we're not rich but definitely better off than a lot of people. I don't mind paying more taxes to help this country become better than it already is.

I've also seen plenty of people in our local communities lose jobs because their business owners shipped their jobs overseas. I guess if some of the posters here who are business owners won't be hiring because of higher taxes, somebody in Mexico or China will be out of a job.

Posted by: southernbutnotstupid | February 26, 2009 4:22 PM | Report abuse

alutz08

So how do you suggest we keep America competitive? Without investment in infrastructure, education, science and technology, how on Earth will we compete with China, South Korea, India, the EU, etc in 50 years.

The prosperity of the US is a direct result of technological superiority that has slowly eroded over 50 years and is poised to decline more rapidly.

The private isn't doing what we need it to do.

Posted by: atacoma | February 26, 2009 4:23 PM | Report abuse

A few minutes ago, I saw that "Joe the Plumber" was brought into the conversation.

How ironic!

I just employed Joe the Plumber to unclog my toilet. Now, my plunger is drying out in the bathroom closet.

Posted by: woolleyjfw | February 26, 2009 4:24 PM | Report abuse

" If you would try to be objective, you would see why more Americans voted for Obama than a Republican this election - Republicans and their base appear to think that if you aren't working, you're lazy; if you have no access to affordable health care, tough; and if you worry about what kind of world we will leave our kids and grandkids, you're just a liberal greenie."

How many straw men arguments can you fit in one post?

Posted by: bobmoses | February 26, 2009 4:26 PM | Report abuse

I think by nature conservatives are not forward thinkers and they can't comprehend the long-term consequences of their policy.

The forces of the free market don't always coincide with what is in the best interests of the country.

The government has to exert forces to move the free marker in a direction that benefts the interest of all citizens, not corporate profits.

We are falling behind in science and technology, health care, infrastructure. If you don't believe this doesn't have long term consequences, that is probably why you voted for John McCain.

Until Republicans get this, instead of railing against volcano monitoring, expect to keep losing elections. We saw what happened under Bush, and I never want to see that again.

Posted by: atacoma | February 26, 2009 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Dan Froomkin - are you serious about the poor subsidizing the rich during the Bush admin? Did I miss those tax increases on the poor that were passed? Even by lowering the top bracket effective rate - the "rich" were still paying the vast majority of all taxes. What is extraordinarily troubling is that this guy is a non-biased reporter publishing with free rein in one of the leading newspapers in the US - you know, we can rely on him to just provide the facts. "Progressives" wonder why talk radio and Fox became so popular - well they wouldn't have if outlets like WaPo, NYT provided even-handed reporting. The right wing outlets may not be fair and balanced, but they sure have to swing that way just to even out our established media.

Posted by: Wise111 | February 26, 2009 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Was Robin Hood a thief? Yeah maybe, but what about the rich of his days, taking the tributes from the farmers? I certainly prefer Robin Hood to Bernie Madoff and other Wall Street star players.

Fromkin writes:
"It would, in short, reverse the redistribution of wealth that took place during the Bush era. This time, the rich will be subsidizing the poor, not the other way around."

Wouldn't it be nice for a change, to have the rich payback some of their wealth to the poor and the middle class. It's not like they found their wealth at the end of the rainbow. It came from the people, and should go back to the people. And by the way, the wealthy will still be wealthy after Obama's fair, but modest shake down....

Posted by: h4sweden | February 26, 2009 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Funny, the rich always complain about how they "pay the highest tax rates", but they never mention FICA taxes! I make a paltry $88K a year being a Professional Engineer with almost 20 years experience. I pay a much higher percentage of my income into FICA taxes than somebody making $250K.

Posted by: bushisacrook | February 26, 2009 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Funny how Cons complain about Obama's "enormous spending"- now how much has Iraq cost so far?

Posted by: bushisacrook | February 26, 2009 4:34 PM | Report abuse

There's one undeniable fact that should be considered. It is the poor who's son's and daughters are dying, paying the ultimate sacrafice in Iraq & Afghanistan. The Rich and Conservatives like to tout "Country First" but they never pay the ultimate sacrafice. So let's just look at this as them doing their Patriotic Duty! For Love of Country!

Posted by: minco_007 | February 26, 2009 4:34 PM | Report abuse

the very rich don't need to take a paycheck or have a profitable year, they can keep investing in lets say real estate because now it's so cheap until the day there is a new administration...
sooner or later obama is coming after ALL OF US...

Posted by: DwightHCollins | February 26, 2009 4:35 PM | Report abuse

I would pay higher taxes if they went to paying down the debt rather than futily attempting to capitalize insolvent banks, creating more wasteful government, and exacerbating our problems with Keynesian claptrap that has never worked in the history of humanity. I'd also pay to clothe and shelter and many as I could afford as long as the money was going straight to people it would help instead of parasitic, nose-picking, pension receiving bureaucrats that can't be fired. Excuse the generalization but you get my drift.

Posted by: nesta6480 | February 26, 2009 4:43 PM | Report abuse

Well, I'll start by saying I'm a business owner who doesn't make $250,000 year. Would I like to? Sure. And if I did, I'd be happy to pay a higher tax rate.

Let's have a civics lession...there are some things (defense, highways, in other countries health care, etc.) that can only be done by all of us working together, in other words by government. Collective responsibility, taxes in other words, is the only way to make some things affordable. Those of us who make more money have benefited from a strong legal system, working (maybe) markets, infrastructure, and the other things we've all paid for in this country. We didn't create a business all by ourselves, no matter how much we'd like to think so. We need to pay taxes to maintain the conditions that let us succeed.

In the dream world lived in by "conservatives" every dollar paid in taxes is stolen and individuals succeed or fail strictly on their merits. Sure, individual qualities make a huge difference, but the Ayn Rand view of the world is nonsense, and always has been. If you want to see the tax-free, no-regulation paradise envisioned by conservatives, move to Somalia. No government meddling there baby!

Posted by: jrw2 | February 26, 2009 4:45 PM | Report abuse

The point is that 90% of new jobs in this country are created by small businesses. This tax plan makes it less likely that new businesses will be created, because the risks don't measure up to the rewards….
Posted by: bobmoses | February 26, 2009 3:42 PM
********************

Two can play your silly game. Do you want to explain exactly what the new tax plan has to do with business risk and reward? As others have aptly observed here, if you have a small business, your costs for employing others are deductible: you're taxed on the profit you take home as owner. If you plow everything into the company--take greater risk--you pay less tax. If you believe you deserve more, you pay more.

It's really quite simple: it's entirely spurious to argue that a wealthy business owner is likely to hire fewer people because they're paying a higher tax rate. A wealthy business owner will hire fewer people, possibly, because their business volume doesn't support their expenses and they don't see immediate growth potential.

New business creation has nothing to do with tax policy. New businesses are created by people driven by their "good ideas" who have access to capital.

And lastly, Mr. Blowhard, according to the SBA, your "small business creates 90% of all new jobs" is complete smoke:

Small firms:
• Represent 99.7 percent of all employer firms.
• Employ about half of all private sector employees.
• Pay nearly 45 percent of total U.S. private payroll.
• Have generated 60 to 80 percent of net new jobs annually over the last decade.
• Create more than half of nonfarm private gross domestic product (GDP).
• Hire 40 percent of high tech workers (such as scientists, engineers, and omputer workers).
• Are 52 percent home-based and 2 percent franchises.
• Made up 97.3 percent of all identified exporters and produced 28.9 percent of the known export value in FY 2006.
• Produce 13 times more patents per employee than large patenting firms; these patents are twice as likely as large

As you can see, these stats are highly complimentary of the important role small business plays in our economy; but you do yourself and your nation an enormous disservice when you just make stuff up.

Posted by: abqcleve | February 26, 2009 4:48 PM | Report abuse

"So how do you suggest we keep America competitive? Without investment in infrastructure, education, science and technology, how on Earth will we compete with China, South Korea, India, the EU, etc in 50 years.

The prosperity of the US is a direct result of technological superiority that has slowly eroded over 50 years and is poised to decline more rapidly.

The private isn't doing what we need it to do."

Atacoma,
The private firms and private technological research is responsible for the computer you are using today to tout Big Government reforms. Government did not give us the technological superiority that we have today. (granted Al Gore will disagree)
Its the innovative spark from guys like Steve Jobs, and Bill gates that helped push computer technology to what it is today... not government spending.

The world is smaller today than it was 50 years ago. Our technological breakthroughs in communcation and computers helped that, and were adopted around the globe.... so of course the technology gap has shrunk... its only a quick google search away. Not to mention government mandated foreign student programs that soak in education here and take it back to their countries, etc...

Also, we can't spend our way to education superiority. Look at Washington DC public schools as a prime example. They have the highest funding/per student of ANY school system in the US... and it ranks in education quality and results as one of the worst.
How is throwing money at a problem going to solve it??? It sure hasn't in DC.

Posted by: alutz08 | February 26, 2009 4:52 PM | Report abuse

One change I would like to see in healthcare is in the er. When one doctor is there at night to treat 150-200 patients; some patients have to wait so long that they go home to die rather than wait forever. I would be nice if this was improved with all this spending taking place. Obama is claiming to improve healthcare but we need more than words.

Posted by: artg | February 26, 2009 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Since the rich steal from the poor, it is only right that they should reimburse them. The usurious lending practices and excessive profits they make are sacrosanct, but they are not. The very same Christianity that the rich have used to shore up the dwindling membership of the Republican Party, their party, traditionally, at least until the 19th century rise of the ideology of capitalism, forbade such practices among Christians. The rich have foisted a philosophy of greed upon us; we have been brainwashed by them to accept that greed and avarice must be unchecked for us to experience opulence and share in the "ownership" society. We are seeing today that, as has been the experience of the abjectly poor of the third world, that the riches of capitalism go to the capitalist (the real owenrs); having some of their 401ks invested in a common stock mutual fund doesn't make the working stiuff a capitalist, i.e. and owner. The rich are quick to tell us that they are the only producers of wealth; it is only the greed of the poor and the working class that brings about economic calamity. Today Obama and the Democrats are continually being accused of inciting class warfare; this is from the same people that launch continual invective against unionized workers. Their constant begrudging of allowing the working and poor class to organize to bargin for a minimally comfortable lifestyle and basic healthcare is not class warfare? What can you call people that spend tens of thousands on a dress or suit and hundreds of thousands of jewelry for an ensemble that may only be used once? Again we have ample proof that there are two types of justice, one for the average guy and one for the rich, in the house “arrest” of Bernie Madoff; what, is he too good to be exposed to the violence and degradation visited on J.Q. Public when they are thrown in the drunk tank or county jail while awaiting arraignment? Make no mistake, the rich get far more than their fair share, and have plenty to give.

Posted by: csintala79 | February 26, 2009 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Civics lesson guy -

The Constitution wasn't written for the federal government to take the red marker to it, annoint Bush and Obama despots, and create this onerous monstrosity we are living under. Are these never-ending financial bailouts not enough to convince you robots that Obama is as much on the side of allowing these corporate monstrosities to survive the creative destruction of capitalism at all costs? Were ruled by one group of idiots (Republicrats) and we are too busy fighting each other to do anything about it.

Posted by: nesta6480 | February 26, 2009 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Atacoma wrote:
"I think by nature conservatives are not forward thinkers and they can't comprehend the long-term consequences of their policy.

The forces of the free market don't always coincide with what is in the best interests of the country.

The government has to exert forces to move the free marker in a direction that benefts the interest of all citizens, not corporate profits.

We are falling behind in science and technology, health care, infrastructure. If you don't believe this doesn't have long term consequences, that is probably why you voted for John McCain.

Until Republicans get this, instead of railing against volcano monitoring, expect to keep losing elections. We saw what happened under Bush, and I never want to see that again."


Its a bit scary when Vladimir Putin, last week, publicly expresses concern for the road that Obama is pointing the US down. He warns, in a public address, that the former Soviet Union tried what Obama is starting to aim for.... and it didn't work and led to their collapse.

And what I don't want to see is the US trying to control so much of our everyday lives...that you start to see lots of similarities between what we are and what Russia was. Come one we are better than that....

Posted by: alutz08 | February 26, 2009 4:59 PM | Report abuse

Love to stay and chat a while bit...I am busy converting all my assets to cash and all my cash into silver and gold. Keeping a little stash in the Caymans and a nice little property in Belize too.

Wish Texas and Alaska would come together and secede

Posted by: Straightline | February 26, 2009 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Dear federal government,

Please find yourself another parasitic host to attach to.

Sincerely,
The United States of America

Posted by: nesta6480 | February 26, 2009 5:03 PM | Report abuse

Oh come on, alutz08, your US domestic policy guru is Vladimir Putin? Do you seriously think the US is going to be like the Soviet Union? Jesus, what planet to you people live on? Or did Rush say that and so now you have to?

Posted by: jrw2 | February 26, 2009 5:08 PM | Report abuse

Its a bit scary when Vladimir Putin, last week, publicly expresses concern for the road that Obama is pointing the US down. He warns, in a public address, that the former Soviet Union tried what Obama is starting to aim for.... and it didn't work and led to their collapse.
And what I don't want to see is the US trying to control so much of our everyday lives...that you start to see lots of similarities between what we are and what Russia was. Come one we are better than that....
Posted by: alutz08 | February 26, 2009 4:59 PM
****************

Your argument would carry a lot more weight if you investigated it a little more instead of just parroting what you hear.

Putin’s observation, as reported by the WSJ, was that the US should not exercise “excessive intervention in economic activity and blind faith in the state’s omnipotence.” The vast majority of Americans would strongly disagree that Putin’s observation has any relevance here: are you arguing that we should listen to Putin?

What part of Obama’s stimulus plan (actually, it's Congress’, but he signed it, so distinction without difference, eh?) calls for “the US trying to control so much of our everyday lives....” I think of Bush/Cheney’s “counter-terrorism” initiatives and GOP insistence on controlling women’s health choices as being far more dangerous and undermining of individual liberty.

The Ruskies are no threat to you. We are in no danger of becoming Ruskies. Stop listening to the self-admitted delusional Glenn Beck.

Posted by: abqcleve | February 26, 2009 5:09 PM | Report abuse

Obama has cast away the title of "messiah" in favor of "Robbin' Obama." He's obviously declared war on individual initiative and prosperity. And his lies are becoming more and more outrageous. His forecast of $2 trillion in "savings" is actually comprised of tax increases plus "found money" that would have been spent in Iraq through 2019. Who does the math on this? Obama's daughters?

Posted by: judithod | February 26, 2009 5:09 PM | Report abuse

"It would, in short, reverse the redistribution of wealth that took place during the Bush era. This time, the rich will be subsidizing the poor, not the other way around."

###

Statements like this are so dumb it's mindblowing. Under Bush, EVERYONE received tax cuts, and the middle class saw their taxes cut by a larger percentage than everyone else!

Yet, the "wealthy" still pay the substantial bulk of taxes in this country. The top 10% of taxpayers pay over 70% of federal income tax in this country! Who is subsidizing who???

Some days I just have to shake my head in disbelief...

Posted by: _virginian_ | February 26, 2009 5:10 PM | Report abuse

Okay nesta6480, what's the solution? Let me guess, you're a Paul-tard. Bring back the gold standard, keelboats, and butter churns! We'll all live off the land and wear buckskins. You think we're living under an "onerous monstrosity"? Compared to what? How is your life made onerous by some monstrosity? Really, tell me.

Posted by: jrw2 | February 26, 2009 5:13 PM | Report abuse

I would encourage Mr. Froomkin, and others like him, to consider taking a remedial math course. The "wealthy" already heavily subsidize the rest of the US population. The top 5% pay over 50% of the income tax collected. The top 25% pay over 80% of the income tax collected. Yet Mr. Froomkin seems under the impression that they haven't been paying their "fair share".

Yes, income tax rates were reduced under the Bush administration. Unfortunately they didn't practice fiscal restraint at the same time. This doesn't change the fact that asking the "rich" to subsidize the rest of us a little less was the right thing to do.

Three cheers for Obama who's already hard at work laying the groundwork for a Republican comeback.

Posted by: ncjeff | February 26, 2009 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Until the Comrades in the Bush Socialist Party can stop whining and trying to take the game ball home, America won't listen to you.

Try coming up with some ideas instead of your insane Tax Cuts for Billionaires that never worked and never will work.

America is BACK.

And we're moving FORWARD.

Posted by: WillSeattle | February 26, 2009 5:13 PM | Report abuse

jrw2-

The United States of America will not remain a great nation or a free republic because we were one in the past; our freedom requires the people's vigilance and responsibility. Don't think anything is promised to you because it isn't. Screw Rush, Hannity, and W., but don't leave out Pelosi, Frank, Dodd, and Reid. We are traveling a very dangerous road with Obama, don't let your hatred for the right get you twisted.

Posted by: nesta6480 | February 26, 2009 5:16 PM | Report abuse

It was never the "other way around". I fail to see how poor have subsidized the rich. Currently, 3% of the population pays 40% of the income taxes. That will only increase under this new administration. It would make more sense to stop our ludicrous spending while we are ahead rather than tax our most successful individuals and corporations to the point where they cannot afford to grow our economy.

Posted by: danieloconnell99 | February 26, 2009 5:19 PM | Report abuse

...Yes, income tax rates were reduced under the Bush administration. Unfortunately they didn't practice fiscal restraint at the same time. This doesn't change the fact that asking the "rich" to subsidize the rest of us a little less was the right thing to do.

Three cheers for Obama who's already hard at work laying the groundwork for a Republican comeback.

Posted by: ncjeff | February 26, 2009 5:13 PM
******************

I've got news: American's aren't listening to the garbage anymore. They'll clearly see that the only folks getting "hurt" under the new (old) tax policy are the same robber barons who were handed enormous tax breaks, far exceeding those offered to the middle class, under Bush/Cheney.

The vast majority of voters (as opposed to campaign contributors) aren't going to see their taxes go up: period. They'll vote for Obama again in 2012. The wealthy will try to foist Sarah Palin on the country in a grossly misjudged attempt to appeal to their other primary constituency--the ignorant--and it'll be a fine time for all on the blogs.

Posted by: abqcleve | February 26, 2009 5:22 PM | Report abuse

To atacoma:

Yes, you are correct when you say that only 5% of small businesses will see higher tax rates.

However, that is not the key metric.

The key metric is that two-thirds of small business PROFITS fall within households making 250k or more per year. Those profits would be subject to higher taxation. This is not helpful to anyone -- the business owner, the employees, or those seeking work.


Posted by: nospam778 | February 26, 2009 5:26 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: jrw2 | February 26, 2009 5:13 PM

You got me, I do think we would be a lot better off with Ron Paul. I'm not with him all the time but he makes more sense than anyone else in Congress, and he's not a grandstanding, arrogant sycophant. I think the gold standard is a good idea, butterchurns and buckskins are fine if that's your thing. I think it is a problem when people view advocates of following the Constitution retards. I don't think it's good enough to say "at least were not Russia" either. Let's see where the Bush-Obama bailout/debt plan takes us and then maybe you'd consider something else.

Posted by: nesta6480 | February 26, 2009 5:27 PM | Report abuse

It appears to me that we have spent the last 8 years incenting the upper 1-3% of the income distribution at the expense of the lower 97%. The net result was a drop in real GDP growth. This new strategy is brilliant when you think about it. By incenting those citizens who actually do the work of this nation, we ought to be able to grow ourselves out of a lot of the debt we are spending for the stimulus. This combination of incenting the workers and investing in business facilitating infrastructure and human captial has tremdous economic potential.

By the way, ultimately this strategy should trickle up to the upper 1-3%, because (especially now) they need customers more than tax breaks.

Posted by: DrS1 | February 26, 2009 5:32 PM | Report abuse

No wonder newspaper rags are going bankrupt, with silly, ignorant people writing such bull. The poor can't subsidize the rich because they don't pay any taxes. The truth is we should all unite and go after the federal reserve banking system, that's the real Robin Hood. But both parties are too ignorant to ever propose that.

Posted by: FatLibertarian | February 26, 2009 5:32 PM | Report abuse

You gotta love stuff like this...

"Under Bush, EVERYONE received tax cuts, and the middle class saw their taxes cut by a larger percentage than everyone else!

Yet, the "wealthy" still pay the substantial bulk of taxes in this country. The top 10% of taxpayers pay over 70% of federal income tax in this country! Who is subsidizing who???"

This is the standard Republican myth that the only real taxes are income taxes. Sure, some people pay little or nothing in income taxes. Yet these same people pay a disproportionate share of their income to payroll and Social Security taxes. Not to mention sales taxes. And duh, of course, the wealthy pay most of the income taxes. They make most of the income. But they make a far higher percentage of total income than their percentage of the tax burden.

So, shake your head in disbelief all you want. Trouble is, it's true.

Posted by: jrw2 | February 26, 2009 5:34 PM | Report abuse

"The key metric is that two-thirds of small business PROFITS fall within households making 250k or more per year"

Link to this statistic, please. I simply don't believe it. Profits of an incorporated business are subject to corporate tax. What the owners pay themselves in salary is taxed at individual rates. It makes no sense whatsoever to say business profits fall within household income.

Posted by: jrw2 | February 26, 2009 5:38 PM | Report abuse

The Robin Hood Budget

You don't like paying poor people to do nothing? Give them meaningful jobs. The people with the power have total responsibility for the welfare of everyone in the society. The rich need to start thinking in terms of neighbors instead of flakes and employees.

Posted by: kengelhart | February 26, 2009 5:45 PM | Report abuse

jrw2- I checked on this, too, and there isn't anything even remotely like it anywhere. I suspect it is an invented number. In that spirit, how about "Studies have shown that 83.2% of all self described conservatives are pedophiles...."

Posted by: mibrooks27 | February 26, 2009 5:47 PM | Report abuse

Robbin' Me for the 'Hood called Capitol Hill. Terrific. Hope and change. Can you believe in it? Me neither.

Maybe I can get a Cabinet position qualified by the label "Tax Payment Optional" and get Secret Service detail. Sign me up for that one, please.

To the "Obamacans" from the campaign trail, how do you like what you see on all fronts after these 37 daze?

Not to wish my life away - November 6, 2012 cannot come soon enough.

Posted by: xto1969 | February 26, 2009 6:01 PM | Report abuse

One of the main reasons that we've had such a deficit, which will have to grow bigger, is because George W. Bush (the Liar in Chief) never bothered to actually perform the job of President of the United States. No Child Left Behind, about which he bragged, wasn't even HIS idea. But he promoted it, then refused to fund it because he was too busy giving tax cuts to the upper 1% of our society. His tax cuts were all a lie too. By the way, I lost a bundle in the stock market in 2001 when he started his shenagins. So when people that make $250,000 and think that they shouldn't contribute more to the welfare of our society; then I wonder why they don't find ways to lower their income? There are multiple legal ways to do so, since the income tax code far benefits the rich than the average working stiff. The number of ultra rich increased greatly under Bush and they don't need it. Oh I'm sure that people who earn $250,000 say they need that amount of money to survive and why is that? When we were attacked on 9/11/01; we were told to go SHOPPING in order to save our society. Instead of holding the war criminals accountable; when they attacked a sovereign nation without just cause, we were told that it was the CIA's fault for providing bad data. They didn't have the necessary information for the war criminals to pre-emptively attack Iraq. It would be very interesting to know exactly what happened in the 2001 Energy conference that Cheney held. Were they told that Bush would attack Iraq and they could get THAT oil? Apparently, the Repugnican'ts are standing together without any concern about protecting our society. What PIGS!

Posted by: sailorflat | February 26, 2009 6:07 PM | Report abuse

Obama is being true to his word. I voted for him for exactly theses policies.

Posted by: beenthere3 | February 26, 2009 6:14 PM | Report abuse

I applaud jrw2, the business owner making less than 250,000, for his short civics lesson. I applaud President Obama for being courageous and realistic about what it will take to get the economy growing again.

To the naysayers I say, take your Ayn Rand books and go live in a cave.

Posted by: pbarnett52 | February 26, 2009 6:18 PM | Report abuse

Ok, jrw2, chew on this for a while---the top 10% of taxpayers pay 55% of all federal tax liabilities. Still, seems to me that the rich are subsidizing the poor, not the other way around.

Posted by: _virginian_ | February 26, 2009 6:28 PM | Report abuse

I do believe that if you make $250,000 a year, paying taxes on that amount, not some small percentage squeezed out by your bank of accountants, is affordable. How long have the poor and middle class been subsidizing the wealthy, between fighting their wars, building their roads, homes, growing their food and all the other labor done by the peons of lower classes. It is about time someone step up and speak for the little guys. The rich will always be rich, no one will lose their home over this new tax, but many many people have lost their homes because of the greed of the rich.

Posted by: wendystevens | February 26, 2009 6:32 PM | Report abuse

"... the rich will be subsidizing the poor, not the other way around.

LOL! What a novel idea. You mean we in the middle class won't be subsidizing all those spoiled brats on Wall Street who were complaining a couple of weeks ago about how hard it was to get by on just $500K a year? No wonder the Republicans are foaming at the mouth today.

Posted by: laSerenissima2003 | February 26, 2009 6:54 PM | Report abuse

I'm chewin', virginian, but them's empty calories. The top 10% pay 55%? Link please. But, even if it's true, so what?

Chew on this:

http://sociology.ucsc.edu/whorulesamerica/power/wealth.html

You'll see that the top 10% of earners own 80% of the country's financial wealth, and have 71% of the net worth. So, paying 55% of the tax liability is a bargain, isn't it? Good thing they don't live in some mean socialist country.

And I guess if you think every dollar you pay in taxes is a subsidy to someone else, there's no way you'll ever believe in taxation at all, let alone progressive taxation. Taxation is not about subsidies, it's about funding common purposes.

Posted by: jrw2 | February 26, 2009 7:01 PM | Report abuse

Gee, anybody out there still pooh-poohing "change?" How about "empty suit?" Haven't heard that one in a while. Hardly anybody has mentioned Obama's pastor, or his birth certificate. I guess you've got better things to worry about now, eh?

"Omigod, they're going to tax rich folks. there go all the jobs!" Ple-e-eeze. Go ahead, tell me about how job creation soared under Bush's tax cuts for the rich. Oh that's right, it didn't. It dwindled. Job creation did much better under (gasp) Clinton. Gee, if we roll those cuts back, maybe will get more job creation.

The guy who thinks he likes Ron Paul, hey, did you vote for him in the primaries? Or were you too busy registering Democratic so you could vote for Hillary?

Posted by: fzdybel | February 26, 2009 7:10 PM | Report abuse

It's refreshing to see the wealthy complaining here, for a change. I suspect the poor things will manage, somehow.

Obama is on the correct course, which also happens to be the one he promised and which got him elected.

Steady as he goes, Mr. President.

Posted by: nhmarna | February 26, 2009 7:12 PM | Report abuse

The priorities are right, the dreams brilliant, the mechanisms ... to be determined. The message? We can slosh toward the future a bit quicker with an Evinrude than a pair of cracked oars.

Face it, Obama's great gamble has tremendous upsides for the nation, unlike the gambles of his recent predecessors ('nuf said).

Roll the dice! Even a loss gains on our current hopelessness.

Posted by: fr3dmars | February 26, 2009 7:16 PM | Report abuse

I have read and re-read Dan's opinion piece look for where he describes affluent americans as "evil" was. Couldn't find it. But I did listen to Rush Limbaugh today. And I believe that he did. I also listened to Sean Hannity and he may have described the wealthy as "evil" or at least he wanted his listeners to think his straw man named "librul" did. I would describe both Sean and Rush as evil wealthy americans though. All in all I think Dan's opinion pieces are pretty fair. Bill Kristol is included this one. And the WaPo in general has certainly more conservative opinionists than liberal ones. Also some of the comments lead me to believe that 12 year olds are posting comments to Dan's comment section.

Posted by: mickster1 | February 26, 2009 7:35 PM | Report abuse

Dan's got more trolls! Lots more.
And they're shrill!

Not to worry. Froomkin's blog is successful; he makes money for the Post. He's not going anywhere.

All of you neo-con Bush fans screaming and yelling over the tax rates that President Obama proposed (which are less than those under R. Reagan, the hero you all seem to worship), please do take your ball and go home.

National Airport has connections to the Caymans, doesn't it? If not, then Dulles should. Don't let anything keep you here since taxes are SUCH a burden on you. Having adults in charge bothers you so much, LEAVE.

Posted by: crix | February 26, 2009 7:38 PM | Report abuse

"It would, in short, reverse the redistribution of wealth that took place during the Bush era. This time, the rich will be subsidizing the poor, not the other way around."

GREAT!!!!!!

Hope you all have a source of food next season after eating all the seed corn. This is one sheep you may be able fleece just once. If we have to pay our own way and everyone else; then we might as well create only the wealth we can keep. What are you going to tax after that, comrade?

Posted by: Spitfires | February 26, 2009 7:38 PM | Report abuse

My heart cries for all those folks who complain that their taxes will increase because they make over 250K a year. I make about 35K a year and manage to live decently. Nevertheless, I'm prepared to contribute a few dollars to help the poor men and women who cannot get by on 250K a year.

Posted by: carlfer | February 26, 2009 7:48 PM | Report abuse

It seems that many of these statistics that people are quoting are not fully understood.

For example this (I'm not taking a stance on The Tax Foundation, just using their numbers since they come from IRS data):
www.taxfoundation.org/news/show/250.html
shows 2006 numbers. The top 10% of individual returns paid 70.79% of total income taxes in 2006. This is the top 10% of the total number of returns that showed a positive adjusted gross income (AGI). You'll notice that the cutoff point for income for the top 10% is > $108,904.

This means that 90% of returns in the US (122,147,244 out of 135,719,160) made less than $108,904 in AGI in 2006. 50% of returns in the US (67,859,580 out of 135,719,160) made less than $31,987 in AGI IN 2006. The top 1% of returns had more AGI than the all of the bottom 50%.

So, salient points:

Using the 2006 numbers, to get the top 1% of earners to pay only 1% of total taxes you would have to decrease their average tax rate to 0.57% and then make the other 99% pay the $398 billion difference. If the bottom 50% in 2006 of returns paid 50% of the income tax, they would have to come up with about $512 billion dollars, which is a little more than half of the bottom 50%'s AGI.

Even if you instituted a flat tax of 10% across the board in 2006, the top 1% would still end up paying 22% of the total taxes. Because they make a large portion of the total AGI. The bottom 50% would only pay 12.5% of the total.

So, unless you institute a regressive income tax (the higher the income, the lower the tax rate) OR the difference of income between the highest earners and the lowest earners was very small, wealthy people will always contribute a greater amount to the total income taxes.

Nota bene: If someone tries to institute a regressive income tax, I fear for their safety.

Posted by: reticulatednoise | February 26, 2009 7:56 PM | Report abuse

Oh give me a break. The progressive income tax isn't new -- it's traditional and our most propsperous times have come prior to reducing the taxes paid by the wealthiest. Giving away those revenues to the wealthy is the legacy of Bush and it, along with a stupid elective war adventure in Iraq has bankrupt our Treasury. We need to go a LOT further down this road, but this simple reversal of an ignorant policy doesn't rise to "Robin Hood" status.

Posted by: dolph924 | February 26, 2009 7:57 PM | Report abuse

Re: Request for Facts on Small Business Taxes under Obama proposed tax hikes. (DIY Hint: open a browser window and google "small business income taxes" and then do a little digging)

Check here:

http://money.cnn.com/2008/10/15/smallbusiness/small_biz_taxes_factcheck.smb/

Bottom Line:

Out of 34.7 million filers with business income on Schedules C, E or F, 479,000 filers fall into the top two brackets, according to an analysis of projected 2009 filings by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center.

(I wonder how many of these filers live in Louisiana?)

The other 34.3 million - or 98.6% - would be unaffected by Obama's proposed rate hike.

But I doubt taking a look at the facts will cause any right-wingers to change their minds. This is just an example of "librul logic" at work. Are they just helpless RushBots or is that DittoBots?

Posted by: mickster1 | February 26, 2009 7:58 PM | Report abuse

World War II brought us out of the depression - true. FDR started the process, but then tried prematurely to balance the budget in 1937 - which was a mistake. WWII provided a huge "spending program" that finally brought us out of the depression.

Not sure why the poster above felt that this supports the argument that a spending program is not helpful during a severe recession/depression. In fact, it shows just the opposite.

The statement that the wealthy "give" workers jobs is absurd. Remember what Henry Ford figured out? If workers couldn't afford to buy his cars, he would have no wealth.


Posted by: jgwlaw | February 26, 2009 7:59 PM | Report abuse

FROOMKIN: It would, in short, reverse the redistribution of wealth that took place during the Bush era. This time, the rich will be subsidizing the poor, not the other way around.

WTF are you talking about Froomkin? The top 5 percent of all income earners pay 55 percent of all federal taxes. The bottom 30 percent pay ZERO. It has been that way for YEARS. Pull you head out already, Froomkin.

Posted by: lt1z28 | February 26, 2009 8:12 PM | Report abuse

Thank you, reticulatednoise, for the numbers. I'm glad to note that I'm a ten-percenter and glad to stand by my previous support of progressive taxation and letting the tax cuts expire for those earning more than $250,000.

The most interesting part of your post was this: "...OR the difference of income between the highest earners and the lowest earners was very small,..." There's the answer to the I'm-subsidizing-the-poor crowd, minimize the third-world economic disparity in this country and the rich will pay less as a percentage.

Posted by: jrw2 | February 26, 2009 8:18 PM | Report abuse

It's easy for those who have to not want to give back but get more. Our country was founded by those who didn't know being left out and wanted a chance to live better. The South grew to be one of the richest parts of the US on the hard work of those who got nothing. Later immigrants were used and still are to make the US richer. People making over 250,000 would rather continue the Bush Policy and really don't care about those who get paid little for their work. Weathy people who understand sharing the wealth makes you richer. Getty, Ford and others knew by sharing they got more. Now we have those who think they should get more and let those who work should get less. If McCain/Palin had gotten in office we'd see a Pottersville. Obama showed the real moral/values of a business owner who didn't keep the 60 million for himself but shared it with current and former employes. Like Revcain777 thinks that getting more while others labor for little is the American way. It makes since with the spending and giving those friends for the pass 8 years which brought our debt to 11 trillion dollars. Why not have the poor pay that bill off while anyone making 250,000 gets more to spend. Real Wealthy people understand and that's why they freely give but those who don't understand wealth look to get what they can for those who have little. Bush was the Robin Hood who stole from Americans to give to Afghanistan/Iraq and saying they will not have to pay it back.

Posted by: qqbDEyZW | February 26, 2009 8:30 PM | Report abuse

Taxing the rich a little more to pay for much needed infrastructure and provide oportunity is exactlty what the country needs. it is what made us great in the mid century, and what will pull us out of the economic malaise created by decades of conservative ideology.

It is far better for average people to have opportunity, for there to be roads, renewable energy, schools, university, health care, than for rich people to have gold plated toilets and an extra jet.

Posted by: John1263 | February 26, 2009 8:34 PM | Report abuse

Robin Hood was only a thief to those who were stealing the bread from the tables of the working people of his day. He fought against an oppresive oligarchy, an unjust system that used torture and violence to suppress the rights of citizens, and a legal system that was a tool of the well connected.

In other words, he was a hero because he fought for justice and took what was rightfully the people's since they had created it and took it away from those who squandered it on luxury and showing off.

Posted by: John1263 | February 26, 2009 8:37 PM | Report abuse

The rich will subsidize the poor? Umm, I think you are quite mistaken. It will actually be the Chinese, Arabs, etc. who subsidize this massively irresponsible spending spree. I can't believe this is actually happening - the Republicans were so right when they warned us about "tax and spend Democrats." There is absolutely no way we can ever pay for this. Obama will be remembered as the most irresponsible President ever, abetted by the most irresponsible Congress ever. When the bill comes due Democrats will have no one to blame but themselves, and not even left-wing mouthpieces like the Washington Post will be able to cover it up.

Posted by: get_it_right | February 26, 2009 8:47 PM | Report abuse

It's high time the rich began to pay their fair share of taxes instead of reaping undeserved benefits from the criminal GWBush tax cuts. Let them pay, through the nose preferably. America needs to return to a fair and equitable progressive tax system. Don't forget, by the way, that many of these rich who are whining are Wall Street brokers and traders, bankers, contractors, real estate agents and brokers and mortgage lenders. In other words, the same rich folks who brought disaster down upon America with their avarice and greed. Make them pay!

Posted by: dsrobins | February 26, 2009 8:49 PM | Report abuse


I'm starting to feel all fearful and clingy.

Posted by: WylieD | February 26, 2009 8:54 PM | Report abuse

Ahhh.. class warfare all over again. I think we all need to step back and simply frame this in terms of the sort of country that we want to leave to our kids (I have 3 under the age of 7 myself).

The bottom line is that it is indisputable that income inequality has grown dramatically in the last 20 years, and that for the first time in history the takehome wages of the average middle class actually declined in real terms. We should all ask ourselves the following questions:

1) Do we care (as someone else pointed out) that the US is beginning to resemble a 3rd world country in terms of income inequality?
2) Is this inequality due to the middle class not working hard enough or somehow not living up to their compact with society?
3) Can and should tax policy be used to address income inequality?
4) Does having a vibrant middle class create a rising tide that enriches everyone (including the wealthy) in the country?

So I would challenge everyone to answer these simple questions -- if your answer to Qs 1, 3 and 4 are "no," and to "2" is "yes" then by all means we should retain the Bush-era tax policy.

If not, then a new approach is probably suggested.

Posted by: ekpeterson | February 26, 2009 8:58 PM | Report abuse

I do not consider 250,000 income per family rich. Rich is 1 million. 250,000 merely affords you to live comfortably. However, you work for it, usually 60-80 hrs/week. I for myself would not do that anymore, if everything is taxed away. I would downsize to fall below the threshhold. I bet this is what is going to happen with many business owners. I am not against taxing the rich, but if poor think they can cash in and somebody else is dumb enough to work themselves to dead, they might be wrong.

Posted by: kunzhalder | February 26, 2009 9:13 PM | Report abuse

Here is what folks refuse to recognize:

Taxing small businesses to the point where nobody will want to start small businesses will hurt the poor far more than it does the rich. The folks who have the skills and experience to start small businesses will move into jobs where they work for larger companies will do just fine. However the 90% of new jobs that are created by small business will fall away and those who would have been employed by those businesses will be on the outside looking in and will moev down the income ladder.

Think 8% unemployment is bad? Wait until this plan goes into effect. The masses of the poor will grow dramatically and those who are poor now will become destitute.

The folks on this blog who hate "the rich" so much should be careful what they wish for. They are about to get it.

Posted by: bobmoses | February 26, 2009 9:25 PM | Report abuse

Why does it aways take a Democrat being in the White House for Republicans to discover the national debt. I remember Reagan stating emphatically in a debate with Mondale "The debt doesn't matter." The only other time the Republicans discovered the national debt was when Clinton was in the White House.

Posted by: gschultens | February 26, 2009 9:26 PM | Report abuse

bobmoses wins the straw man award! Where in Obama's plan is there anything about taxing small business? Where? Point it out. He's talking about letting the tax cuts expire on personal income over $250,000. Your post contains so many falsehoods and bogus assumptions, it could have been written by noted tax expert Joe the Plumber.

Do you really believe the stuff your write? I mean, really. Or do you just parrot something you've heard?

Posted by: jrw2 | February 26, 2009 9:34 PM | Report abuse

This time, the rich will be subsidizing the poor, not the other way around.

Really?

The poor pay taxes?

Really?


Posted by: waterfrontproperty | February 26, 2009 9:36 PM | Report abuse

"bobmoses wins the straw man award! Where in Obama's plan is there anything about taxing small business? Where? Point it out. He's talking about letting the tax cuts expire on personal income over $250,000."

You have no idea what you are talking about. Most small businesses are LLCs or S-Corps. In those companies, the gross revenue is treated as personal income. I know. I own an LLC.

Posted by: bobmoses | February 26, 2009 9:39 PM | Report abuse

It is a good start to roll back the welfare for the big corporations and tax breaks for the rich. If they don't like it they can move to Russia, a corrupt oligarchy, much like America under the Bush administration

Posted by: rkerg | February 26, 2009 9:41 PM | Report abuse

Oh look at all the pathetic well-off people whining! You make over $250,000?? SHUT UP! You have not been paying your fare share for YEARS, so stop whining, you big babies.

And for those of you threatening not to "hire" people, GMAB! Like you would have anyway. Or paid them more than minimum wage (which you of course were totally opposed to raising) anyway.

Posted by: solsticebelle | February 26, 2009 9:42 PM | Report abuse

jrw2 -

Let me be more clear.

Most small business owners are operating their businesses under Subchapter-S Corporation or an LLC, a Limited Liability Corporation. These legal structures allow these individuals to operate their businesses with most of the legal protections afforded regular corporations, but without some of the more onerous accounting and financial requirements. These Sub-S and LLC business owners do not file corporate tax returns. All of their business earnings are reported on their personal tax returns as personal income. So, if you're running a dry cleaner, a restaurant or manufacturing company; if you're a doctor, lawyer or dentist; if you own a construction company or any other small business as a Sub-S or LLC you will report the earnings from that company on your personal tax return.

Posted by: bobmoses | February 26, 2009 9:45 PM | Report abuse

solsticebelle -

Super. I just hope for your sale that you don't work for a small business. You will probably be in for a pay decrease if you don't lose your job all together.

Posted by: bobmoses | February 26, 2009 9:46 PM | Report abuse

First off, every American, regardless,of what their income is, and I do make over 250k a year, needs to remember we will fall as a nation and we will rise as one. People are ignorant, if they don't understand it will take billions to get our country jump started, it took billions to get us,where we are NOW!!!!. Also our taxes are not being raised, it is going back to this previous mark. We can complain how this will hurt us, but we have to remember if the middle and poor class have no money to spend, then we go out of business, and add to the ever increasing unemployment. And please stop with the money is going to the poor, it is going to our healthcare, our children's education and our future as a counrty. But since some of you think you work so much harder than the minimum wage, why don't you switch shoes with them, I'm sure you will be rudely awakened.

Posted by: veteranSquared | February 26, 2009 9:52 PM | Report abuse

It is unfortunate that most people who are so in favor of this tax plan have no idea about the impact it will have on small businesses. You folks are about to get a real education.

Shout in caps, call names and demonize small business owners all you want. When these small businesses cease operations, you are going to feel the impact, regardless of whether you have a problem with "the rich" or not.

Posted by: bobmoses | February 26, 2009 9:52 PM | Report abuse

Okay, bobmoses, do you make over a quarter million a year? I doubt it, and neither do the vast majority of small business owners. Do you think you will someday? Good luck, pal. Otherwise, stop worrying about paying taxes on income you'll likely never earn.

Back to my point, where does Obama's plan talk about taxing small business? It doesn't and you know it. Stop with the straw men.

And tell me, do you hire more employees when you get a tax cut? No, you put that money in your pocket, if you're smart. You hire more employees when there's a market for your products or services and you business needs to expand. Don't puff yourself up as the noble job creator. In business, we hire people when it's good for business, not because we're feeling charitable.

Posted by: jrw2 | February 26, 2009 9:55 PM | Report abuse


When the Obama's made $250K early in this decade, they contributed less than 1% of their income to charity.

So they were rich and stingy.

Posted by: WylieD | February 26, 2009 9:55 PM | Report abuse

"But since some of you think you work so much harder than the minimum wage, why don't you switch shoes with them, I'm sure you will be rudely awakened."

Frankly, I don't want to work for minimum wage and none of my employees work for anywhere near the minimum wage.

If it is so easy to run a successful business, why don't all of those minimum wage earners do so?

Posted by: bobmoses | February 26, 2009 9:55 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: alutz08 | February 26, 2009 3:56 PM


Please read this post. It is perfect.

Posted by: waterfrontproperty | February 26, 2009 10:02 PM | Report abuse

jrw2 -

You still don't understand.

My business does make over 250k per year. However after paying my employees and my other expenses, I make far, far less than that. Despite the fact that my take-home income is far, far less than 250k, I will be taxed as if I do. As a result, I will be better off shutting down my business, firing my employees and getting a job in the corporate sector. How does that benefit my employees?

As my posts try to explain, most small business are taxed as individuals, so there is no straw man.

I also don't consider myself "noble" for employing people. That is actually a straw man argument.

If I pay less taxes, I have more discretionary money to expand and pursue additional opportunities and hire more staff. If I pay more taxes, I don't pursue more opportunities, assuming it is worth it to me to stay in business.

There is no reason to be hostile to me. I am just a guy trying to make a living and save some money to put my kids in college. What is so bad about that?

Posted by: bobmoses | February 26, 2009 10:03 PM | Report abuse

Is the goal of this plan to create jobs or make life fair? It seems that most supporters of the tax increases are focused on punishing the "rich".

I am explaining why the plan will destroy jobs. Can any of the supporters of the tax explain why the plan will create jobs?

Posted by: bobmoses | February 26, 2009 10:08 PM | Report abuse

It is very, very hard--in fact nigh impossible--for a rich person to get into heaven. About as hard as a camel to walk through the eye of a needle. The meek are getting ready.

Posted by: medogsbstfrnd | February 26, 2009 10:11 PM | Report abuse

medogsbstfrnd -

"It is very, very hard--in fact nigh impossible--for a rich person to get into heaven."

Does that include Obama?

Posted by: bobmoses | February 26, 2009 10:14 PM | Report abuse

Just curious. Do all of the folks here demonizing "rich" people hate their dentist? It is easy to hate people you don't know, but try to personalize things and realize that the people you are hating aren't intrinsically bad people because they run a business that grosses over $250,000 per year. There are plenty of people that you respect who do so, whether it is the politicians that you favor or the guy who fixes your teeth.

Posted by: bobmoses | February 26, 2009 10:18 PM | Report abuse

I see how you could come to think Obama's budget is a Robin Hood Budget... but this case is more opposite to the fairy tale than it is alike.

The real Robin Hood stole from a very evil King who was starving and torturing his subjects.

In this case it is Obama who is stealing money from hard working law abiding citizens who already donate generously to the poor through charitable giving and it is Obama who is stealing this money not to give it to the abused or starving but to give it to those who are lazy or unambitious with their time and talents.

Obama is much more a Prince John and he is nothing like a Robin Hood. Barry's demeanor, class warfare ambition and utter disrespect and hatred for our Constitution and the founding fathers makes him a traitor not a hero.

Posted by: StarsAndStripesForever | February 26, 2009 10:29 PM | Report abuse

Hey bobmoses, the vast majority of European countries (and Canada) have massively higher tax brackets than this country. Oh, but that's right. . . Germany and England are Third-World countries where everyone is stupidly allowed to get healthcare.

Feel grateful you're able to make a quarter of a million dollars, you greedhead. A lot of us out here pay a crapload percentage of our salary (like, say, ME) but we're not whining about it. Somebody has to pay for your [because I know you're a Republican] precious wars and bombers, and for our schools and roads.

So, please, bobmoses, STFU.

We are finally going to undo the GOP nightmare we've been living with since 1981.

Welcome to the Political Wilderness, "conservatives". Enjoy your long stay.

Posted by: Christian_in_NYC | February 26, 2009 10:38 PM | Report abuse

Yes. It's about time. Bush policy of giving tax breaks to the wealthy of this country has not worked and look where we are. Thank goodness we elected Obama. His agenda is definitely ambitious but brave. Obama is right in saying that we cannot address only one part of the problem without addressing the whole. This is truly the time we all have to come together and make necessary sacrifices. You don't have to be a rocket scientist to realize that the crisis we are facing is perhaps even more grave and onerous than 9/11. If we do not, we are sunk for good for decades and decades to come.

Posted by: pelohoki | February 26, 2009 10:51 PM | Report abuse

I find it quite AMUSING that the Republican theme during the 2008 Presidential Campaign was "COUNTRY FIRST", and yet most of them making over 250K a year are whining about having to pay a few more dollars in taxes for their COUNTRY.

What happened to Country First? I guess that theme was another lie that the Republicans told.

Posted by: lcarter0311 | February 26, 2009 10:52 PM | Report abuse

maybe it works or not, but what's wrong with trying a coupla years of Robin Hood after last 8 years of Bush Admin's Sheriff of Nottingham approach -- steal from the poor, and keep it.

Posted by: ithejury | February 26, 2009 10:57 PM | Report abuse

Let the class warfare begin! I can take it. Bring it on.

Posted by: tomohara3147 | February 26, 2009 11:04 PM | Report abuse

By the way Robin Hood stole from the government and gave it to the people. Obama steals from wage earners and gives it to the Government!

Posted by: tomohara3147 | February 26, 2009 11:07 PM | Report abuse

I see a lot of beer gulping un-employed jerks on this post claiming ot be rich people(EXAMPLE Revcain777) . Republicans tend to write such crap even when they are poor.So go Obama. Repair the economy. Good Night

Posted by: rksingh1987 | February 26, 2009 11:16 PM | Report abuse

I just posted and I'm posting again. Hey BobMoses, yeah I hate my dentist. I just read that dentists are the most profitable professionals. Why? Because they're so flippin' expensive to begin with, hardly anybody has dental insurance, so they don't have to negotiate managed care, dental insurance coverage doesn't go far, and their prices always go up. I just lined up some work for my son, and I got the usual speech in December, well our prices are going up 3% in January. I asked, why? Nobody else's are.

And if you put off the work, well, ha ha, you'll go back later and then it will really cost you. Dentists are as inevitable as death and taxes. The irony.
On the downside for them, I have heard that they have a higher than average suicide rate.

No good answers. Dentists have a racket going that's bigger than the pharmaceutical companies, and I hope like heck that universal healthcare includes dental coverage.

Posted by: KathleenHusseininMaine | February 26, 2009 11:20 PM | Report abuse

Oba mao

I will be tightening the wallet now, I see the huge taxes coming and deficit spending. Time to batten down the hatches and hold onto what I have. Both wolves at the door, stock market or Obama are looking to pillage what I have left. I think this tightening of the wallet will be played out by many of those who pay 75% of the taxes. It isnt going to be good for this country but Obama's going to find out the hard way. Honeymoon will be over soon.

Posted by: snapplecat07 | February 26, 2009 11:29 PM | Report abuse

God bless America,Obama, and Robin Hood.

Posted by: Bajiquan | February 26, 2009 11:36 PM | Report abuse

I posted something that never came up. Maybe I swore. Here's my thing: Henry Ford knew if he paid people a decent wage, and made a decent product working people could afford, he'd get rich.

I respect entrepreneurs. I respect people who are numerate, who work reallyl hard and take risks. I don't respect people who think they're better, that they're winners and we're losers, and that we're all looking for a handout. We're looking for some balance. We've tried it your way, and it's not working. Now we're going another way. If we ended up more Canadian-social model, well cry me a river. Most entrepreneurs I know are losing money now, are having to let people go, and are scared to death that they're going to go under. If you end up having to pay more taxes on your OVER $250,000 income, I'd say that means you're hanging in there just fine. Change is hard. Letting this country go down the tubes is harder.

Posted by: KathleenHusseininMaine | February 26, 2009 11:37 PM | Report abuse

Look, the real problem with our economic system has nothing to do with class warfare between the rich and poor.

The BANKS are the heart of our capitalist economic system, pumping liquid cash through the limbs of rich and poor alike. Right now they are particularly anemic - our economic system suffers from a bad heart.

Unfortunately, now, our body has only two solutions.

One: find a suitable transplant and a qualified surgeon. The only donator the Democrats can find has been made from our own aborted stem cells and is promising but unprecedented. The Republican donation comes from a corpulent, old white man who died 36 hours ago.

The only surgeon America has is the GOVERNMENT, whose past actions have clearly demonstrated their ability to tear us apart and stitch us up.

The second solution is to pump lots of and lots of blood into the defective heart and hope it will eventually pump out SOMETHING.

Hmm, decisions, decisions...

Posted by: waldrake | February 26, 2009 11:38 PM | Report abuse

Bobmosses, let me explain it to you in a form of problem solving. If a person -let calls him person rich A makes - 250000 a year, he/she will have to pay 6K a year in SS + the progressive tax rate for every different income bracket he is in. Now also assuming that there exists 5 poor people B who all make 50K a year. All 5 of these people who pay 12K for SS + the progressive tax rate in their income. Now factoring that since 50K income is not likely able to afford houses so there most likely will use standard reduction while the person A will likely able to afford mortgage and itemize reduction include mortgage interest.

That will be your assignment for today. BTW, we make 300K a year

Posted by: reefer | February 26, 2009 11:47 PM | Report abuse

YES.
The proposed spending bill is huge, but here's the fact. This time we are spending on our own country here at home. We are going to have a progressive tax were the wealthy will pay more of their fair share. Spending will be transparent, unlike the unspoken for billions that went into the Iraq war toilet! I'm a patriot. I will be happy to spend some more of my tax dollars to make this nation great again for our children. This is the vision that Obama is asking us to have. Yes we can rise above short term selfishness for the greater good. Yes we must!

P.S. Read veteranSquared

Posted by: drum_sing | February 26, 2009 11:49 PM | Report abuse

Froomkin misrepresented facts when Bush was President to make things seem worse, now its easily apparent how he's misrepresenting them with Obama to make the "facts" look better. He has one thing right though - the rich will be subsidizing the poor. Obama is trying to create a general welfare state with free healthcare.

Posted by: politicsrfun111 | February 26, 2009 11:53 PM | Report abuse

the top 20% pay 80% of all taxes. These are the people Obama wants to wack. of course the 80% who dont pay are saying "hoorah". Its always easy taking someone elses money and rationalizing how wonderful it is.

Posted by: snapplecat07 | February 26, 2009 11:58 PM | Report abuse

Reading the whining and kvetching, I'm reminded of the old joke about the guy in the Cambridge, MA, supermarket who goes to the express register (limit, 15 items) with a cart that's brimful, 30 items or so. The checker says, "Are you from MIT and can't read, or from Harvard and can't count?"

From The Post's lead article on the proposed budget (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/02/26/AR2009022600783_2.html?hpid=topnews&sid=ST2009022601699):

"[For I]ndividuals who earn more than $200,000 a year and families who make more than $250,000 the top income tax rate would rise to 39.6 percent from 35 percent . . ."

Let's see what that means. Suppose you and your spouse together have a taxable income of $1,000,000 next year. You'll pay an extra $34,500, which means that you'll only get to keep -- cue the mournful violin music! -- a mere $643,925. Yes, it's brutal, I know, but times are hard. But this only starts in 2010. You still have time to move to Antigua.

But there's a catch. Did you miss it? The catch is that the tax is levied on "taxable" income. For anyone who makes seven figures, there are dozens of kluges and tricks that can be used to hide money from the IRS. These aren't going to disappear anytime soon. So you don't have to put the yacht up for sale yet.

Posted by: donnolo | February 27, 2009 12:00 AM | Report abuse

BTW, the top 20% pay about 80% of all income tax -- but they make 95% of all the income.

Posted by: donnolo | February 27, 2009 12:04 AM | Report abuse

BobMoses: I listened to Rush today too. He insists that "libruls" hate rich people. I got a clue for you Bob. Rush is making all the stuff up you hear on the radio out of his febrile and oxycontin addled brain so he make can 20 million bucks a year selling advertising to the rubes who for some reason need to believe that we are being taxed to death by commie muslim "libruls" who hate rich people. You have been tricked my friend. Rush is lying so he can make more money off his army of mindless DittoBots. The big lie as they say in propaganda 101. Read here and then listen to Rush or Obama or me and then decide More here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Propaganda


Posted by: mickster1 | February 27, 2009 12:05 AM | Report abuse

I just don't understand how Obama, after declaring a new age of responsibility and shared sacrifice, would ask a segment of the population to pay more without asking the rest to do so, too.

My wife and I together make more than 250,000, and I would not mind paying more to help the country if those making less than 250,000 were to pitch something in as well. Why not roll back the Bush tax cuts for every income bracket?

I also do not understand the cut on the mortgage interest deduction. Does the real estate market need a suppressant at this time?

I also do not understand the cut on the charitable contribution deduction. He wants to discourage charities?

Posted by: John_in_LA | February 27, 2009 12:15 AM | Report abuse

It turns out that two thirds of the so called small businesses in America have NO EMPLOYEES.
They are just individuals who are filing as small businesses to take advantage of tax breaks. SO much for the republocults oft repeated lie about these "job killing higher taxes". You have to remember, if their lips are moving, they are lying, as for two thirds of these so called "small businesses", there are NO EMPLOYEES.

Posted by: rkerg | February 27, 2009 12:21 AM | Report abuse

Interesting site: contains a matrix showing the top marginal tax rates for 1913 thru 2003. A must read to shed some light in the "we're being taxed to death" view of world.

http://www.truthandpolitics.org/top-rates.php

The following are useful as well:

http://www.taxfoundation.org/taxdata/show/2140.html
http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20081225084902AAQJ0yO

A history of tax policy from 1791 to present day. a quick and easy read.

You know it would be interesting to plot the movement of gdp against top marginal tax rates and the growth of small business.

As responsible citizens its always a good idea to have the facts at hand when raving about income taxes.


Posted by: mickster1 | February 27, 2009 1:33 AM | Report abuse

Wake up and get behind the Fair Tax y'all.

Posted by: nesta6480 | February 27, 2009 2:54 AM | Report abuse

TAXES, WAR AND SPECULATION

Anyone here who is griping about paying higher taxes should realize that the last six years is the first time in US history that we fought a war and lowered taxes. (BTW, make that 2 wars). The Income Tax Amendment was passed during WWI premised on the fact that those who aren't putting their lives in danger should pay. If you are for lower taxes during war time, than you should question your ethics.

Secondly, the tax code today promotes SPECULATION. Some of the riskiest trades on Wall Street pay the lowest taxes (i.e. writing a broad-based index option at 10% tax rate). In the 1970s short term trading was taxed at 50% to 70% depending on your marginal tax rate. When Reagan lowered the marginal income tax rate, s/t cap gains tax came down as well. Plus we don't tax investment real estate gains if the proceeds are re-invested in six months. Wonder why we have of a speculative bubble in RE?

Tax rates on S/T cap gains should be up to 80% for 6 month holding period. Graduate the rate down with a longer holding period to when the l/t gains (plus 5 years) are down to 2% tax rate for the first $100,000. After $100,000, tax rate would start to increase. All derivative contracts should be taxed at 80%.

The tax code should support long term, steady investors, not the Las Vegas minded, MIT trained quant trader.

Posted by: Acetracy | February 27, 2009 7:40 AM | Report abuse

Milbrooks27 wrote: "...thousands of our wealthiest citizens dodge paying their taxes by locking the money up in offshore banks like UBS. There are at least 8,000 accounts, for U.S. citizens, in UBS that total more than 1 trillion dollars."

Of COURSE the tax-dodgers should be stopped. But how about starting with closing those escape hatches and THEN see
what additional tax money is needed from people who already pay their taxes. I don't quite undestand why you think such a point of view, Milbrooks, is "a wing screed."

Posted by: mftill | February 27, 2009 8:28 AM | Report abuse

"First of all, Clinton had nothing to do with the .com boom. Second of all, that boom (like all booms) led to a recession when it turned bust. Anyone remember Pets.com or Excite.com? Their investors do, but the rest of us don't."

I didn't say Clinton had anything to do with the .com boom, but he was sitting pretty with it watching the US economy go up. It was a bust when all the illegal accounting practices emerged and the Bush administration inherited all of these problems and then 9/11 came in and made it much worse.

Posted by: bdunkadunk | February 27, 2009 9:36 AM | Report abuse

When people here complain that they're taxes are going to go up because they're making $250,000 a year, they have to clarify whether that's gross income or net income.

If you are making $250,000 a year after deductions, you are an extremely wealthy person. It's hard to conjure up sympathy for you; no offense.

Unemployment declined sharply during the first few years of FDR's presidency. It spiked around 1937, but the trend is downward. To distinguish between "short term jobs" and normal jobs is disingenuous, and to say that the New deal "prolonged the Great Depression" is meaningless. Compared to what? Hoover's policies, which exacerbated the situation? Do the people who make this claim have a "control" version of the USA that they've been experimenting on for 233 years?

It was, indeed, World War II that brought us completely out of the Great Depression, but if you're against the stimulus package, you probably don't want to bring that up. World War II was basically profligate borrowing and spending on a huge project that no-one dared to question (the prosecution of the war). The things we produced didn't help the economy, like bridges and infrastructure improvements might; they were tanks, ships and planes that either got shot up overseas, or rotted in depots after the war. Saying World War II got us out of the Depression is essentially arguing for an enormous stimulus package. By the way - those manufacturing jobs were "short term" as well.

We've been at engaged in hostilities for 7 years, unemployment is going up, the credit markets are sluggish, and many of our biggest states are facing big deficits. We have had 8 years of relaxed Federal tax burdens. It looks like we are now going to have to have 8 years of more aggressive federal taxation. This is not the end of the world.

Posted by: bearhands2001 | February 27, 2009 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Interesting site: contains a matrix showing the top marginal tax rates for 1913 thru 2003. A must read to shed some light in the "we're being taxed to death" view of world.

http://www.truthandpolitics.org/top-rates.php

The following are useful as well:

http://www.taxfoundation.org/taxdata/show/2140.html
http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20081225084902AAQJ0yO

A history of tax policy from 1791 to present day. a quick and easy read.

You know it would be interesting to plot the movement of gdp against top marginal tax rates and the growth of small business.

As responsible citizens its always a good idea to have the facts at hand when raving about income taxes.


Posted by: mickster1 | February 27, 2009 1:33 AM
_________________________________________
Mickster, thanks for the info.

Posted by: crix | February 27, 2009 10:44 AM | Report abuse

I find fascinating the idea thrown about on this board that it isn't small business doesn't create jobs, but rather customers. Small business doesn't creat jobs, but somehow government is going to create jobs. Government is going to fix the economy. Government is the answer to all that ails us.

Posted by: alfuries | February 27, 2009 5:30 PM | Report abuse

I don't know the source for the statement in the post that the national debt rose from 7 trillion to 10 trillion dollars during the G. W. Bush years but I think it is not quite right. According to the figures published by the Bureau of Public Debt, the debt at the beginning of 2001 was $5,728,739,508,558.37, and the debt at the end of 2008 was $10,699,804,864,612.13. That represents an increase of just under 5 trillion dollars, not 3 trillion.

Posted by: dschwa2222 | March 1, 2009 11:50 PM | Report abuse

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