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Loaded and flawed rhetoric

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* From WLS AM

A lot of reaction Wednesday morning to Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky’s interview with Don Wade and Roma.

Schakowsky said that Americans don’t deserve to keep all of their money because we need taxes to support our society.

The WLS headline is: “Schakowsky: Americans don’t deserve to keep all of their money.”

* You have to, uh, wade through a whole lot of DC talking point goofiness from both sides, but this exchange occurred near the end of the interview

Don Wade: Out of every dollar that I earn, how much do you think that I deserve to keep?

Jan Schakowsky: What is really your question here? Do you think you should not contribute to firefighters…

DW: No. It’s a very simple question. Out of every dollar that I earn, how much do you think that I deserve to keep?

JS: No, it is not a simple question. I think…

DW: Very simple.

JS: I’ll put it this way. You don’t deserve to keep all of it. And it’s not a question of deserving. Because what government is, is those things that we decide to do together. And there are many things that we decide to do together like have our national security, like have police and fire.

DW: OK, national security, police, fire, got it…

JS: What about the people that work at the National Institute of Health who are looking for a cure for cancer? Do you think we ought to do that together? Those are real jobs and those are things that you help pay for and I think that’s a good thing.

DW: OK, so let me ask again. Out of every dollar I earn, how much do you think that I deserve to keep?

JS: I’m not going to give you a percentage, I don’t know what your income is.

DW: Well, what does my income got to do, I’m just asking you how much…

JS: I think you need to pay your fair share, in order to do the things that we’ve decided are national priorities.

DW: So, wait, hold on, who’s deciding what my fair share is?

And that’s when I had to stop listening.

Don Wade is apparently too dense to understand that tossing around a fun little talking point over and over again doesn’t actually mean anything. and also cannot fathom that tax rates are set by duly elected officials. And Schakowsky apparently lacks the self awareness to realize that appearing on that show means she’ll get punked and made to look stupid because she doesn’t have what it takes to defend her ideals in a coherent manner on morning radio (I deleted all her “ums” because otherwise this post would’ve been as unreadable as her radio appearance was unlistenable).

Question: Out of every dollar I earn, how much do you think that I deserve to keep?

Answer: Absolutely every penny that you’re entitled to keep as a law-abiding citizen of a republican democracy. And if you think you deserve to keep more, then by all means you should vigorously participate in the governance of your country. That’s what America is really all about.

Jan Schakowsky believes some people and some corporations should get to keep less. There’s no shame in saying that, and she should’ve just come right out and said it, for crying out loud. But if the above conversation is how the Democrats intend to compete next year, they’re in a huge world of hurt.

* Speaking of rhetoric, RedState’s Stephen DeMaura, completely demolishes Amazon’s anti-tax argument from the right

Amazon.com, the biggest dog in the online retailer market, has created confusion by co-opting conservative language to position itself as a victim of allegedly greedy politicians who just want to raise taxes on good American businesses to pay for bigger government. Rather the opposite is true. The true victims are the local businesses who do not have the favorable tax status that Amazon has long enjoyed. Take, for example, Amazon’s response to a recent California law demanding it collect sales taxes at the point of purchase, just like thousands of Main Street retailers are required to do. It immediately challenged the state legislature and the governor by threatening to spend tens of millions of dollars on a ballot referendum to avoid collecting hundreds of millions in sales taxes.

The result? Amazon sees record revenues with its preferred tax status while small and community-oriented Main Street retailers foot their bill and struggle to stay alive.

But the story Amazon has been telling is fictitious. And its use of conservative nomenclature to do it has been cynical. The fact that Amazon relented and has agreed to begin collecting sales taxes in California beginning next year proves it.

California legislators threatened Amazon by pushing the same legislation that Illinois passed. The company fought back hard, but in the end agreed to a compromise and the company will begin collecting California sales taxes next year. Illinois should revisit this issue. We’ve lost at least two companies that are Amazon affiliates because Amazon refused to do business with affiliates based here after Illinois passed similar legislation. California became the tipping point. Perhaps a compromise can now be reached in Illinois.

posted by Rich Miller
Thursday, Sep 15, 11 @ 11:19 am

Comments

  1. I have been very concerned and aghast at this attack on the “rich” in our country. I believe in fair taxation, but, as RM points out, I have not heard any coherent, sophisticated arguments from the left — only “let’s get the rich” rhetoric. If the “rich” (whatever that means) are not paying their fair share of taxes, then lay out the argument why that is the case — but the only argument I keep hearing is basically that they have money and we need. I cannot support that type of mentality.

    Comment by Just Observing Thursday, Sep 15, 11 @ 11:31 am

  2. You DON’T deserve to keep all of your money. Because as we are often told by the right… freedom isn’t free.

    Comment by South of Sherman Thursday, Sep 15, 11 @ 11:32 am

  3. sorry, my problem with this particular question is that it assumes that money you pay in taxes isn’t your’s. but it’s your government. you pay for it, you benefit from it, you own it.

    so the money you pay in taxes is, under this particular line of questioning, your’s. i’ve heard people like claim over and over that they were going to “take back their government,” admitting their ownership. so the money they pay in taxes is, well, their’s. (i know, i know, what they really meant is that they want to bankrupt it, but not before stealing the rest of us blind, but still…)

    Comment by bored now Thursday, Sep 15, 11 @ 11:33 am

  4. The loaded word is “deserve.” And she walked right into it.

    Comment by Louis G. Atsaves Thursday, Sep 15, 11 @ 11:35 am

  5. Just Observing: i find your comment kind of silly. the infrastructure of this country is built around supporting the needs of the wealthy. please find me a family in poverty on the southside of chicago that has use of an embassy in a foreign country. or flies around the country being bothered by the senselessness of airport security. or who can take advantage of the interstate highway system. oh, they’d probably love to take advantage of the internet — you know, that little research project that the u.s. government paid for — but privatizing it has made it too expensive for a family in poverty to be able to afford. geez…

    Comment by bored now Thursday, Sep 15, 11 @ 11:38 am

  6. I agree with RM that Jan Schakowsky (D-9th) ought to stop appearing as a guest on talk radio shows. She comes off sounding mixed up and is unable to defend her brand of liberal/left of center politics in an intelligent or coherent manner. The folks at WLS-890 AM Radio clearly like to book Schakowsky in order to make fun of her.

    If all of the voters in the 9th Congressional District had to judge Schakowsky solely on the basis of her radio appearances, I doubt that she could be nominated or elected.

    Comment by Esquire Thursday, Sep 15, 11 @ 11:40 am

  7. Debbie Wasserman Schultz is a very articulate Dem spokesperson who could verbally rip Wade to pieces. That’s why they don’t have her on. There are others. Wade is a no talent disc jockey who got rich talking on the radio for a few hours a day. He should have to pay double taxes for polluting the air for so many years.

    Comment by Bill Thursday, Sep 15, 11 @ 11:42 am

  8. Reminds me faintly of Blago’s stints on the Daily Show and Letterman, where his vanity of being seen and heard, combined with his falling into the hosts’ traps, resulted in his appearance as a bumbling idiot. And I thought JS would be smarter than Blago.

    Comment by Six Degrees of Separation Thursday, Sep 15, 11 @ 11:52 am

  9. Bored Now: Your examples are extreme and not reflective of society. According to you, there is only the “rich” and poor people living on the south side of Chicago with nothing in between. Furthermore, your examples of embassies and airports are silly. Embassies do not exist solely to provide services to the rich visiting a foreign country, and I don’t know if you have ever been to an airport lately, but its not just the rich that use airports and air travel. Regardless, you completely mis-interpreted what I was saying — I wasn’t saying the “rich” shouldn’t pay their fair share or we shouldn’t have a progressive tax structure, all I’m saying is that I don’t hear anyone making intellectual arguments as to why we should target the “rich” for more money other than people wanting the money.

    Comment by Just Observing Thursday, Sep 15, 11 @ 11:54 am

  10. I haven’t heard of a Republican who will oppose Rep. Schakowsky, in 2012. Her new district will include most of New Trier, Northfield, and Wheeling Townships, areas that have a lot of Republicans. I hope that a conservative township official or mayor will run.

    Comment by Conservative Veteran Thursday, Sep 15, 11 @ 11:55 am

  11. Bored Now: Your examples are extreme and not reflective of society.

    I partially agree with him, but I’d wager there are plenty of south side low income households that have basic internet service and whose members have driven a car on the Ryan, Bishop Ford or I-57.

    Comment by Six Degrees of Separation Thursday, Sep 15, 11 @ 12:06 pm

  12. I am not a Jan Fan. the Dems really need to take a hard look at just how silly she comes off and stop using her. restrict her to her district. talking uber left on Wrong Wing radio is a really bad move with Jan. Was her aide Bob Creamer in tow?

    Comment by amalia Thursday, Sep 15, 11 @ 12:07 pm

  13. Don, Roma and Jan — I get a headache just thinking about it.

    Comment by wordslinger Thursday, Sep 15, 11 @ 12:21 pm

  14. How much food do you deserve to eat?

    Comment by D.P. Gumby Thursday, Sep 15, 11 @ 12:23 pm

  15. WLS-AM has been a stridently conservative republican bastion for a long time now, pretty much all their programming is highly partisan, and even Roe Conn’s show, which is relatively centrist and at least entertaining, gets conservative talking-point tidbits from Wade and Proft and the like forcibly injected into it, during the commercial breaks, if ypu’re listening online.

    There is no percentage in appearing on that station for any democrat, none. They will not give you a fair shake, If you do go into the lion’s den and make out okay, they will continue to bash you by editing and misquoting you and making one-sided arguments against you, after you have gone and can no longer defend yourself. It’s a conservative echo chamber of logical fallacies and ingenuous pretense of fairness. Much like the Tribune. ;-)

    Comment by Newsclown Thursday, Sep 15, 11 @ 12:38 pm

  16. Jan is just the fool that listeners love to hate. She is an intelligent person, but comes across as whiny and arrogant–bad combination. The repubs just love when she is put on display as she embarrasses her side and amuses the other.

    Comment by Tired of the Mess... Thursday, Sep 15, 11 @ 12:44 pm

  17. As I see it, one of the major reasons for increased progressive taxation on the rich these days, is the country is facing massive deficits and also higher income inequality than it’s seen since the Gilded Age of the 1920s. As Obama said in his speech, this comes down to math. We can continue to run massive deficits down to future generations, or we can somewhat increase taxes on the rich. There isn’t some huge pool of money on the South or West Side waiting to be tapped. I still have never seen a detailed plan from the GOP explaining how we get close to a balanced budget in the next 20 years, without at least expiring the Bush tax cuts; if such a plan exists somewhere (and I’m talking actual details, not just “We’ll reduce government by X percent,” with no actual info WHAT you’ll cut), I’d be interested to see it.

    Comment by ZC Thursday, Sep 15, 11 @ 12:46 pm

  18. A better question for the congress woman would have been …how much government do we need? Those on the far left are seldom satisfied with the extent of government’s role in our lives.

    Comment by Keyser Soze Thursday, Sep 15, 11 @ 12:58 pm

  19. Who are “the rich”, ZC? Specifically, who are they? That is the question. Otherwise it’s just talking points and campaign rhetoric. A lot of people (including me) have no problem whatsoever with Warren Buffet paying much more in taxes, or Trump or Oprah, or LeBron (and especially Adam Dunn). But my dentist and his wife? Your kid’s principal and her plumber husband? Even Gordon Beckham? Do let me know when these obviously middle class Americans make a campaign commercial asking to be taxed more because they are so wealthy.

    Comment by Responsa Thursday, Sep 15, 11 @ 1:02 pm

  20. ===Those on the far left are seldom satisfied with the extent of government’s role in our lives.===

    I think you’ll find if you open your eyes that pretty much everybody on both sides of the aisle have advocated for greater government involvement in private lives, one way or another.

    Comment by Rich Miller Thursday, Sep 15, 11 @ 1:03 pm

  21. Jan is not stupid, she just believes that those that have money should give it to the government, who can in turn spend it foolishly.

    I do not think Don Wade’s question is stupid at all. Right now, the taxes the upper income people pay is bordering on ” confiscatory “.

    Comment by MOON Thursday, Sep 15, 11 @ 1:04 pm

  22. === Right now, the taxes the upper income people pay is bordering on ” confiscatory “.===

    Try looking at American history. Even recent American history.

    Comment by Rich Miller Thursday, Sep 15, 11 @ 1:15 pm

  23. I would have said: Simply, you should get to keep 80%. Because I believe that we should limit taxes at 20% of income individually as a country. It would take a major tax code overhaul but I believe in the concept of 60/20/20… a suggestion that I’ve also sent to the super committee. It means the goals that I have for our country are to limit our debt to 60% of GDP; limit our taxes to 20% and limit our revenues to 20%. If we can first agree to some goals then we can find a way to make it happen.

    Comment by Y2D Thursday, Sep 15, 11 @ 1:22 pm

  24. ===
    Bored Now: Your examples are extreme and not reflective of society.

    I partially agree with him, but I’d wager there are plenty of south side low income households that have basic internet service and whose members have driven a car on the Ryan, Bishop Ford or I-57.

    ===

    Agreed. There’s also internet in the public libraries. Those are “free” the last time I checked. Particularly to low income folks who pay zero income tax. Not to mention the massive expansion of the social welfare state since the Great Society. We’ve gone WAY beyond just basic infrastructure like roads, bridges, police & the court systems.

    ===
    the country is facing massive deficits and also higher income inequality than it’s seen since the Gilded Age of the 1920s.
    ===

    Even if you taxed all profit at 100% above $500K per year, it’d only make a dent in our debt & deficit. Not to mention that it’d totally kill all incentive to be more productive than making over $500K per year. We primarily have a spending problem, not a revenue problem.

    A major reason for income inequality is crony capitalism. The more regulations & special carve outs and special government programs there are, the more you get companies & individuals that prosper not based on their merit, but through regulatory monopolies. At least in the true free market, it’s dog-eat-dog and weaker companies die a natural death without artifical insulation from competition. But with this maze of regulations, subsidies & special tax loopholes, it creates bizzare distortions in the marketplace. The people who can game the system get fabulously wealthy. Those who can’t suffer the consequences. Another factor is the declining marriage rate in the country. Single motherhood is the single leading cause of poverty. Now, whether poverty causes divorce or whether divorce causes poverty is an open question. Or perhaps it’s actually a correlation instead: people who are responsible, act in a mature manner, have fairly reasonable social skills, and don’t engage in addictive behaviors have the ability to statistically maintain relationships & jobs better than others. People who are impulsive, immature, or behave in chronically destructive ways tend to destroy meaningful relationships (romantic, friendship & family) as well as destroy job opportunities.

    Lastly, shifting power and money to the government doesn’t change human behavior. People will just use clout & political favors rather than trying to compete on an even playing field in the marketplace. We’re in Illinois–we should know better as we see it first hand everyday here.

    Comment by John Galt Thursday, Sep 15, 11 @ 1:24 pm

  25. Responsa, et al,

    Rich & poor depends on if you’re taxing or doling out money.

    One of Rod’s health care programs had a cut-off of about $83,000 … so I guess under $83K is poor. One of the tax proposals started increased taxes at $40,000 … so I guess over $40K is rich. The middle class is trapped between those two definitions; on the one hand we’re poor, on the other we’re rich.

    Seriously, the problem of defining the rich / poor break is a result of defining the tax system as being progressive (higher rates at higher income levels) as opposed to flat (same rate at all income levels). With a flat rate, you don’t have to define it; you just have to tax it.

    We all have our preferences, but personally I would prefer one simple flat tax rate (like Illinois’ current income tax system). I also understand that if such a system were implemented at the federal level that my income taxes would likely increase from the current total rate of about 11% (after deductions) to something around 18% (no deductions allowed).

    The other advantage of a flat tax, from my perspective, is it gets government out of choosing winners and losers based on government policies (where we invest our money such as tax free bonds or the stock market, whether we own a home with a mortgage, if your business shows a loss on paper, etc.). It stops social engineering by government.

    Of course, the same exact logic applies to lowering and broadening Illinois corporate tax to all businesses while eliminating deductions and give backs …

    Comment by Retired Non-Union Guy Thursday, Sep 15, 11 @ 1:27 pm

  26. === Right now, the taxes the upper income people pay is bordering on ” confiscatory “.===

    Small point here, but all mandatory tax (payroll, income, etc.) is confiscatory. Doesn’t matter how much or how little it is. That’s distinct from other taxes like sales taxes, user fees, etc. where if a person really wanted to, they could just avoid buying that product or using that service. That’s why even though I think the toll road fee hike is absurdly high, it isn’t the end of the world. If people really want to, they can always use the surface streets.

    Same with the “sin” taxes on alcohol and tobacco and sugar. As an aside, I’ve always seen that as a tacit admission that taxes hinder activity and lower taxes encourage it. Folks on the left frequently act is if taxation doesn’t discourage productivity. But advocating the sin taxes or advocating a tax credit to encourage the film industry to come to Chciago, for example, is a tacit admission that tax rates do indeed influence behavior.

    Comment by John Galt Thursday, Sep 15, 11 @ 1:31 pm

  27. The “ums” are something that I’ve notice with her too. I’ve never understood why people view her so highly. She simply does not present well.

    Not to digress, but she’s also big on “Actuallllyyy.” Between the “ums” and the “actuallys” it is hard to get the substance.

    Comment by Skeeter Thursday, Sep 15, 11 @ 1:32 pm

  28. If you think today’s tax rates are confiscatory, how about the 90% tax rates of the 1950’s? Imagine if sombody proposed that today.

    Comment by Anonymous Thursday, Sep 15, 11 @ 1:38 pm

  29. I’ve noticed whenever I ask about a plan(which to be fair, is not that often - I genuinely invite a response, it could be out there), skeptics tend to change the subject or immediately interpose their own demands.

    I’ll rephrase. A plan to balance the budget, in the next 20 years, without raising taxes on -anyone- (which is now the position of every GOP candidate running for President; they raised hands on it at the debates).

    Does such a GOP plan exist, or not? If so, where is it?

    Comment by ZC Thursday, Sep 15, 11 @ 1:39 pm

  30. ==Who are “the rich”== In terms of taxation pretty much every proposal I have heard for the past several years defines this as those with an income above $250I. This does not include anyone’s dentist or plumber or teacher. In fact I just happened to find out how much one of the executives at my company makes (I had to prepare a bid sheet listing everyone’s salaries) and was surprised to find out it was only $160K. If I was to look around and pick out someone I know who would fall into the category of “the rich” I might pick this guy but no, even though he is a regional supervisor for an international consulting firm he is well below. But when he hears about proposals to tax “the rich” he too probably thinks they are talking about him and the people he knows.

    And again IIRC the tax increases that have been proposed would only be on the income ABOVE the $250K. So someone who made $300K would only see an increase on $50K of his/her earnings.

    Comment by Lakefront Liberal Thursday, Sep 15, 11 @ 1:41 pm

  31. Just Observing asserts “According to you, there is only the “rich” and poor people living on the south side of Chicago with nothing in between.”

    obviously, i said no such thing. i would strongly suggest you re-read what i wrote and feel free to point out where *i* said “there is only the “rich” and poor people living on the south side of Chicago with nothing in between.” it should be clear then that not only did you mis-represent what i said, but apparently didn’t understand, either…

    Comment by bored now Thursday, Sep 15, 11 @ 1:42 pm

  32. Sorry — that first sentance should read $250K, not $250I. :-)

    Comment by Lakefront Liberal Thursday, Sep 15, 11 @ 1:45 pm

  33. I just wish there was some talk from the democrats on reforming and reducing the Federal Corporate Tax Rate. How can Romney, Bachmann (20%), Gingrich(12.5%), Perry(0%), and Huntsman(25%) all have a plan to reduce the Federal Corporate Tax Rate and close loopholes while the Democrats have nothing. I voted for Obama and hopefully will again, but the vast majority of the Fortune 500 are declaring losses in America and $6 Billion in Switzerland with no factories there to avoid the 35% American Federal Corporate Tax Rate. And if this doesn’t stop through some sort of carrot and stick, America will fundamentally not be able to pay bills. Obama talked about it in the January 2011 State of the Union. Where has that plan gone?

    Comment by JBilla Thursday, Sep 15, 11 @ 1:48 pm

  34. “Sorry — that first sentance should read $250K, not $250I. :-)”
    LL - I thought so also, but then, isn’t it disengenous to speak of “millionares and billionares” with a tax increase proposal starting at $250k? I think that is where the confusion over “rich” comes from– conveniently changing the dividing line depending on rhetoric to please certain audiences.

    Comment by Anonymous Thursday, Sep 15, 11 @ 1:56 pm

  35. I still don’t get why Rep. Schakowsky can’t just state a %. Not that hard….of course, this is the Same Jan Schakowsky who wanted Joe Berrios to lower her property taxes on her own house…

    Comment by JP Thursday, Sep 15, 11 @ 2:17 pm

  36. One of the big reasons why the rich should pay more is that many of them pay less right now. Capital Gains taxes are at 15%. The rich are smart enough and can afford hiring accountants that are great at making virtually all income fall under capital gains. Some of these republican candidates have talked about making capital gains tax free. That is basically an attempt to allow the wealthy to pay 0 taxes.

    Comment by anon Thursday, Sep 15, 11 @ 2:17 pm

  37. “the rich should pay more”
    to echo Don Wade…what is that number?

    Comment by JP Thursday, Sep 15, 11 @ 2:19 pm

  38. While I would have no objection with finding a compromise
    Between the pre bush tax rate and the current tax rate I do believe we need to take a serious look at the fact close to 50% of the population pays no Taxes. It is crazy that we are at this point. A broader tax base would certainly help.

    Comment by Fed up Thursday, Sep 15, 11 @ 2:21 pm

  39. ===I still don’t get why Rep. Schakowsky can’t just state a %.===

    I finally forced myself to finish listening and she does state a percent. The link is available. You could click it, too, ya know.

    Comment by Rich Miller Thursday, Sep 15, 11 @ 2:22 pm

  40. ===50% of the population pays no Taxes===

    Try to be a little more precise, please. That’s federal income taxes. There are plenty of other taxes out there.

    Comment by Rich Miller Thursday, Sep 15, 11 @ 2:23 pm

  41. Yes, I heard that yesterday.

    The nuisance part of the interview is Rep Schakowsky refusing to answer a simple repeated questions.

    If I were Don, I would have given up a long time ago, as this is the typical interview between Don, Roma and Rep. Schakowsky…but Rep. Schakowsky likes to go on WLS, so this is what you get.

    Comment by JP Thursday, Sep 15, 11 @ 2:25 pm

  42. ===Yes, I heard that yesterday. ===

    OK, so if you heard it yesterday, why were you demanding that she give a percentage?

    Comment by Rich Miller Thursday, Sep 15, 11 @ 2:27 pm

  43. 50% pay no federal income tax and that is to high. The income tax needs to be broadened so that more people pay it.

    Comment by Fed up Thursday, Sep 15, 11 @ 2:27 pm

  44. Fed up, while I don’t disagree, you ain’t gonna get much money that way.

    Also I often think that this stat is put out there to distract from the true glaring problems in our tax system: they’ve been completely gamed by those at the very top.

    Comment by Rich Miller Thursday, Sep 15, 11 @ 2:30 pm

  45. To add to Sherman’s remark: “You DON’T deserve to keep all of your money. Because as we are often told by the right… freedom isn’t free.”

    You always have the option to stop paying for your freedom.

    Of course, then you’ll end up losing your freedom.

    You can be Blago’s cellmate.

    And of course the rich need to pay more, they benefit far more from the government actions than the middle class or the poor.

    Just to name a few things that the government does that benefits the wealthy and the powerful individuals (which, these days, includes corporations):
    Highways, trade agreements, defense spending (whether you’re a defense contractor, or an oil company, or an airline, or a trucking company, or any other company that spends a lot on fuel), the courts, the FDIC (this benefits banks a lot more than average people. bank runs used to be as common as the changing of the seasons), a multitude of banking regulations that benefit the banks (everything they call “deregulation” is just re-regulation in favor of the bank’s managers and stockholders), airports, schools and universities (after all, businesses need an educated workforce), the federal reserve, seaports, research grants, sewerage systems, water systems, police protection, fire protection, roads, farm subsidies, and more and more and more.

    Sure, a lot of those things benefit people down the economic line, but this country (therefore, it’s rich people and businesses) would be a lot poorer without all that spending.

    This country’s years of prosperity peaked in the post-war years, when taxes were pretty much at their highest rate ever. By the way, so was the national debt as a percentage of GDP.

    That doesn’t mean that high tax rates = prosperity. But it does mean that high tax rates do not equal national impoverishment, either. In fact, given the poverty rate, it seems like low taxes on the people at the top correlate better with enhanced poverty for the many.

    Comment by jerry 101 Thursday, Sep 15, 11 @ 2:31 pm

  46. Rich, I won’t disagree that the wealthy do pretty well in taxes here. However the 50% not paying income taxes stat is as good an argument for tax reform and broadening as the Warren Buffet pays lower taxes than his secretary argument. Both show their is room for improvements.

    Comment by Fed up Thursday, Sep 15, 11 @ 2:40 pm

  47. A broader tax base doesn’t do a whole lot of good if the people not paying federal income tax are not making much income.

    As much as we’d like to think the money we make comes solely from our own abilities, everything is bolstered by the infrastructure, protection, and services government provided by a reasonably functional, modern government. Some of that benefit needs to be cycled back into government to keep that going, and I expect that people who are making more are benefiting more. The math of that may be beyond my skill set, but it makes sense to me.

    Comment by In 630 (formerly Elmhurst) Thursday, Sep 15, 11 @ 2:41 pm

  48. John Galt: there’s been a lot of research about the digital divide. i’m sorry that you are ignorant of such. google can be your friend, but trying to create new facts because you aren’t happy with the real ones undermines your argument.

    i use the internet as an example because so many of you newbies (people who are new to the internet) have the belief that the internet was created out of nothing. the internet was created because the federal government “has a spending problem.” yep, the government paid for it, from the beginning, but this is america so you are free to be both a hypocrite and to criticize the very fact that people like you take advantage of your hypocrisy. your pettiness about those among us who are so well off betrays you. we spend so little on those with so little and so much on those who don’t need it. that’s simply fact.

    i’m always amazed at the people who pretend that they are proud to be an american but can’t wait to change everything that we stand for…

    Comment by bored now Thursday, Sep 15, 11 @ 2:43 pm

  49. *OK, so if you heard it yesterday, why were you demanding that she give a percentage?*

    It would be a better interview if she just answered the question the 1st time, rather than 14 repetitions to get a straight answer.

    I can understand why Don is exasperated with her, but as it is show-biz, they get more traffic by confrontation than straight Q&A.

    JBP

    Comment by JP Thursday, Sep 15, 11 @ 2:48 pm

  50. “Absolutely every penny that you’re entitled to keep as a law-abiding citizen of a republican democracy. And if you think you deserve to keep more, then by all means you should vigorously participate in the governance of your country. That’s what America is really all about.”

    Best answer ever given to that question. Hopefully someone from the DSCC, DNC, DCCC will happen upon your post…..

    Comment by Chevy owner/Ford County Thursday, Sep 15, 11 @ 2:48 pm

  51. God forbid, Chevy. lol

    Comment by Rich Miller Thursday, Sep 15, 11 @ 2:55 pm

  52. Veering slightly off topic here, the “digital divide” is as much a rural/urban issue than a rich/poor issue, maybe more so. I can’t get true high speed internet at home at any price (although I could well afford it), while someone on the south side could probably get a basic home hookup that equals my $70 a month “sorta OK” 3G service for $20 or less a month.

    Comment by Six Degrees of Separation Thursday, Sep 15, 11 @ 3:07 pm

  53. The problem with that answer is that we fall back on the question of why she won’t give a percent. It’s a gotcha question, there is no way to answer it because it’s loaded from the get go.

    I once had someone point out to me that without the government providing everything it does, you would be free to keep all of your wages, but those wages wouldn’t do you any good because there would be no mechanism for you to secure your property without the military, police, firefighters, etc. Money’s just a number, a shell game, a way of arbitrarily dividing up resources. Without the government, your money is worthless. Instead of asking how much of YOUR money you get to keep, the better question to ask is “How much of this country’s resources should you be allowed to control?” Right now, we as a nation have decided that 10% of our population should control 23% of its resources. And that 10% is not the portion of the population that raises or educates our kids, that keeps their neighbors safe, that work on curing diseases or making innovations that can provide jobs and technological advances. That 10% simply controls the money that determines which of the aforementioned activities happen.

    http://motherjones.com/politics/2011/02/income-inequality-in-america-chart-graph

    Comment by Colossus Thursday, Sep 15, 11 @ 3:08 pm

  54. That should be 2/3 of its resources (66%) - forgot whether I was dealing with fractions or percent! Kind of takes the wind out of the sails, though…

    Comment by Colossus Thursday, Sep 15, 11 @ 3:09 pm

  55. We do not tax wealth in this country. If one has a lage pile of money and make investments on a long term basis, long term capital gains sit at 15%, furthermore one can buy municipal bonds that are Federal tax free, further lowering the overall tax rate on the earning.

    Now if you were to take the same money as ordinary income instead, you hit the standard tax rates which are much higher than 15%.

    It seems to be a way of preventing the middle class from ever earning enough to become rich.

    Comment by Plutocrat03 Thursday, Sep 15, 11 @ 3:11 pm

  56. Bored Now: I realize you did not specifically say there is nobody in between the “rich” and the poor of Chicago’s south side, but your contention basically assumes that. Your whole premise is that the rich predominantly benefit from federal spending which is clearly incorrect. I think EVERYONE benefits from defense, food inspections, highways, scientific research, etc.

    Lakefront Liberal: First, there are dentists that make $250,000-plus. Regardless, just because most people/professions make less than 250,000 does not mean we should focus in on these people with zeal for their money. I make nowhere close to $250,000 but I respect people’s right to keep their own property/money, except for fair taxation. Moreover, $250,000 to someone living in Chicago is not the same as someone making $250,000 in Des Moines — the Des Moines person is “richer” than the Chicagoan.

    Comment by Just Observing Thursday, Sep 15, 11 @ 3:19 pm

  57. So middle class people should start their own shop and pay themselves with dividends….then feel welcome to the good life as a small business owner.

    Comment by JP Thursday, Sep 15, 11 @ 3:22 pm

  58. Surely, that was snark, correct?

    Comment by Rich Miller Thursday, Sep 15, 11 @ 3:23 pm

  59. We can start the tax the wealthy program with Congress. Set the tax rate for lawyers and other congress critters at 100% after the first $50K of income … that way they can learn to live like the average American.

    Comment by Retired Non-Union Guy Thursday, Sep 15, 11 @ 3:27 pm

  60. Yes, snark Rich. anyone who gets into small business for the presumed tax benefit is kidding themselves.

    Comment by JP Thursday, Sep 15, 11 @ 3:32 pm

  61. As a public person, Jan’s never been big on self-awareness. Too much time, in too cozy a district, with too little reflection about the rest of the world. Fuse that with her raging sanctimony, and you have a recipe for messaging disaster.

    Comment by Corduroy Bob Thursday, Sep 15, 11 @ 3:56 pm

  62. That crowd at 890 AM ain’t what it used to be. It was better when they took cash from pop singers agents.

    Comment by Top 40 Thursday, Sep 15, 11 @ 4:06 pm

  63. bored now:

    I don’t even get what you’re trying to say. I’m not “new to the internet.” And exactly how was I being petty about people who are well off? I don’t begrudge people who make a ton of money, provided that it isn’t through theft or fraud. Or through crony capitalism, which is a form of fraud through political bribery.

    Of course there’s a digital divide. But as somebody else pointed out, it’s more of a “last mile” problem for rural communities rather than a rich/poor divide. And even this is going away with WiFi & 3G/4G technology and a competitive marketplace making data packages cheaper for people. And there’s still the public libraries. Hop on a bus and you can get onto the Internet from any or all Chicago Public Libraries. And I still hear that libraries actually have these things called “books” that people can read or heck, even check out for free and take home. Or if one is illiterate, get audio books or start attending free adult literacy courses.

    As for super high-speed data, there’s a diminishing return there. Google books, Wikipedia, numerous news websites, etc. are free. So are numerous audio podcasts and other online content. People don’t require an HD high speed video download to learn something.

    The world is literally at people’s fingertips. And it’s basically FREE if one is willing to haul their behind to a public library or prioritize an internet connection over having cable TV or a DVR. Or actually attend public school & do their homework.

    As for government research: I’m not opposed to all government research. I could easily see an argument that the Internet is akin to an infrastructure project that no single person, company, or private non-profit entity would research. Same thing with very early NASA programs (although by now I think launching satellites & doing routine manned orbital flights could be done by private entities whereas cutting edge projects ought to still be done by NASA). I haven’t looked it up, but I assume the Internet came from some sort of military or government defense project via DARPA, or in conjunction with some type of research grant through various universities.

    And I simply don’t agree with your final point. We have a massive social safety net. And yes, much of the crony capitalism is absurd as well. Both proliferate because politicians of all stripes use them to buy votes from various voting blocks by offering “free stuff” and telling them that the other guy is going to pay for it. But that method of governing defies both logic and history.

    Creating a culture of dependency is not what Ameria’s about. Her people may be generous in the private sector and offer voluntary charitable aide in various communities. But it was never founded to be a bureaucratic cradle-to-grave guarantor to ensure that people never have to worry about earning a living. Although well intended, it winds up making people effective wards of the state–either because folks become infantalized dependents of government hand-outs or because the productive set ends up being tax serfs since so much of their income is handed over to politicans the instant they earn it.

    Either way it’s deeply cruel and dehumanizing.

    Comment by John Galt Thursday, Sep 15, 11 @ 4:13 pm

  64. ==I think a more proper number is 42% of the population pay no income taxes. We musn’t forget though that many get the earned income credit meaning they get back considrably more than they generally have witheld from their wages.==

    And the EIC was the brainchild of the conservative hero Milton Friedman.

    Why should the wealthy pay more? Because they have more and benefit more. According to Michael Moore, “Just 400 Americans — 400 — have more wealth than half of all Americans combined.” This has been rated “true” by politifact Wisconsin. details here: http://www.politifact.com/wisconsin/statements/2011/mar/10/michael-moore/michael-moore-says-400-americans-have-more-wealth-/

    This concentration of wealth does the country little, if any good. The wealth needs to move to power the economy and create jobs. If the government raises taxes, the wealth will move for two reasons: 1) the government will take it and spend it on something 2) the wealth holders will spend it so the government doesn’t take it.

    With the current state of the economy and the current tax climate (courtesy of the Bush Admin and Republican Congress) the smart thing to do (if you are wealthy) is to take your money and sit on it. If taxes go up, there is a big incentive to spend that money to upgrade your business to avoid taxes. The upgrades result in hiring workers and buying new equipment, which puts the money back into circulation.

    Comment by Pot calling kettle Thursday, Sep 15, 11 @ 8:08 pm

  65. –That crowd at 890 AM ain’t what it used to be.–

    For what it’s worth, WTTW is doing a show right now on the old National Barn Dance on WLS. Some good Ol’ Timey music.

    Comment by wordslinger Thursday, Sep 15, 11 @ 8:14 pm

  66. Concerning your comments about Amazon. Every business or individual has every right to legally utilize every tax deduction available. Amazon is doing nothing wrong here. And just what do you do when a State or Congress writes unconstitutional law? You fight it of course, and that’s exactly what Amazon is doing in CA, CO, NC, IL, NY, and other States that passed Affiliate Nexus Law. Only Congress can address this issue, not the States. Unfair advantage to B&Ms? What a MYTH. What law prevents a B&M from selling online? WalMart does, and with their 3rd party sellers, they don’t collect Sales Tax either for out of state sales. Online does not have the same tax load on a community that a B&M does, as less fire, police, sanitation is needed, nor does online require city fathers for a bond issue to build a 6 lane hwy to the mall.
    You buy online, you owe Use Tax. Sadly, over 60% of the public is unaware that such law exists. It is not my problem that State DORs are unwilling to educate or enforce existing laws on the books now. This is a consumer issue, not one for online retail.

    Comment by xcergy Friday, Sep 16, 11 @ 11:55 am

  67. ===And just what do you do when a State or Congress writes unconstitutional law? You fight it of course, and that’s exactly what Amazon is doing in CA===

    You know, of course, that Amazon has cut a deal with CA. So, there goes your entire premise.

    Comment by Rich Miller Friday, Sep 16, 11 @ 12:05 pm

  68. Amazon is not done cutting deals either. Once affiliates were cyt loose, amazon is under no law to collect CA sales tax.

    Comment by xcergy Friday, Sep 16, 11 @ 3:56 pm

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