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In reply to an earlier post on Jun 18, 2012 2:36:43 PM PDT
VRWC says:
I have no idea what you are talking about.... California received billions as part of the stimulus just like every other state.

as for California going independent.... that is delusional. we have over $500 billion in unfunded pension liabilities and heaven knows how much more off the books and in local governments.

we are more broke than Greece and as soon as the muni bond market gets a clue, california will be toast.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 18, 2012 2:46:43 PM PDT
D. Mertins says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 18, 2012 3:01:53 PM PDT
VRWC says:
Yeah because "old" Mexico has been such a big success....

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 18, 2012 4:38:00 PM PDT
*TS: I also referred to the false belief that holding Securities (effectively IOUs)had any real value!

They are the full fath and credit of the US government. Basically they are backed with the soverign power of the US government. Effectivly it is based on the power to tax borrow or print money. Not like people are going to start claiming government assetts and selling them for their piece of the pie.

TS: Which is what I keep saying:

the government will have to raise taxes ELSE borrow more money -- to pay the cash back to the SS fund.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 18, 2012 4:46:18 PM PDT
JMC: Even so I have a problem with the top 10 or 5% getting government checks. We have to stop sending top wealthy people government checks and over time scale back and cut off the richest people from getting a check.

TS: How do you figure that, if they have paid into SS too. Is it because you recognize the returns on SS is higher than many would have paid in.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 18, 2012 4:48:12 PM PDT
TS: "I saw him say a tax of 15% on the top 1% would pay about half the deficit."

MD: According to your figures the top 1% already pay 20.1%.

TS: No you mix up net worth with income.

* The richest 1 percent of Americans:
-- owned 33.8% of the nation's private wealth in 2007, more than the combined wealth of the bottom 90 percent.

"The Forbes 400 wealthiest Americans own about as much wealth as the poorest 50 percent of American households."

Source:
http://www.csmonitor.com/Commentary/Opinion/2011/0315/Are-CEOs-300-times-more-valuable-than-their-lowest-paid-workers

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 18, 2012 4:52:49 PM PDT
visionary says:
ts [[TS: Did you see me post this before?]]

Yes. And I'm glad you posted it again. A fine illustration of what pigs the wealthy are and those who back them.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 18, 2012 4:57:30 PM PDT
visionary says:
super [[They should of let them all go broke !]]

That's what's called a knee jerk reaction. The bailout saved the world finance system. That is why those who are voting out of office the saviors are nothing but slow-wits. What should be done is prosecution of those responsible for the crisis with heavy prison time.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 18, 2012 4:57:34 PM PDT
TS: "The richest 400 taxpayers only paid 16.6% in taxes vs even 20.9% is why that is relevant.....No, they are paying lower tax rates at the top."

Even 16.6% is a higher effective tax rate than the bottom 80%.

TS: The bottom 40% has an average income of $42,500
Why should they pay the same rate as a person that is a mega millionaire or billionaire --

or more to the point, why am I paying more than a mega millionaire or billionaire.

Especially when we have massive deficits right now.

=========================================================================

TS: "Notice the top 1% pay a rate of 20.6 and the top 5% pay a rate of 20.9%. Notice it is regressive here."

These are all the wealthiest taxpayers who pay a higher effective rate than the other 95%. Selecting the top 400 out of the top 1% or 5% does not make the entire structure regressive because each quintile pays a higher tax rate than the lower quintiles.

TS: It sure does. It means the top WEALTHIEST class pays a rate comparable to the top 40%, and lower than the top 20%, 10%, 5% and 1%.


Editorial: The Truth About Taxes (August 7, 2011)

OUR leaders have asked for "shared sacrifice." But when they did the asking, they spared me. I checked with my mega-rich friends to learn what pain they were expecting. They, too, were left untouched.

While the poor and middle class fight for us in Afghanistan, and while most Americans struggle to make ends meet, we mega-rich continue to get our extraordinary tax breaks. Some of us are investment managers who earn billions from our daily labors but are allowed to classify our income as "carried interest," thereby getting a bargain 15 percent tax rate. Others own stock index futures for 10 minutes and have 60 percent of their gain taxed at 15 percent, as if they'd been long-term investors.
These and other blessings are showered upon us by legislators in Washington who feel compelled to protect us, much as if we were spotted owls or some other endangered species. It's nice to have friends in high places.

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

If you make money with money, as some of my super-rich friends do, your percentage may be a bit lower than mine. But if you earn money from a job, your percentage will surely exceed mine - most likely by a lot.

To understand why, you need to examine the sources of government revenue. Last year about 80 percent of these revenues came from personal income taxes and payroll taxes. The mega-rich pay income taxes at a rate of 15 percent on most of their earnings but pay practically nothing in payroll taxes. It's a different story for the middle class: typically, they fall into the 15 percent and 25 percent income tax brackets, and then are hit with heavy payroll taxes to boot.

Back in the 1980s and 1990s, tax rates for the rich were far higher, and my percentage rate was in the middle of the pack. According to a theory I sometimes hear, I should have thrown a fit and refused to invest because of the elevated tax rates on capital gains and dividends.

I didn't refuse, nor did others. I have worked with investors for 60 years and I have yet to see anyone - not even when capital gains rates were 39.9 percent in 1976-77 - shy away from a sensible investment because of the tax rate on the potential gain. People invest to make money, and potential taxes have never scared them off. And to those who argue that higher rates hurt job creation, I would note that a net of nearly 40 million jobs were added between 1980 and 2000. You know what's happened since then: lower tax rates and far lower job creation.

Since 1992, the I.R.S. has compiled data from the returns of the 400 Americans reporting the largest income. In 1992, the top 400 had aggregate taxable income of $16.9 billion and paid federal taxes of 29.2 percent on that sum. In 2008, the aggregate income of the highest 400 had soared to $90.9 billion - a staggering $227.4 million on average - but the rate paid had fallen to 21.5 percent.

The taxes I refer to here include only federal income tax, but you can be sure that any payroll tax for the 400 was inconsequential compared to income. In fact, 88 of the 400 in 2008 reported no wages at all, though every one of them reported capital gains. Some of my brethren may shun work but they all like to invest. (I can relate to that.)

I know well many of the mega-rich and, by and large, they are very decent people. They love America and appreciate the opportunity this country has given them. Many have joined the Giving Pledge, promising to give most of their wealth to philanthropy. Most wouldn't mind being told to pay more in taxes as well, particularly when so many of their fellow citizens are truly suffering.

Twelve members of Congress will soon take on the crucial job of rearranging our country's finances. They've been instructed to devise a plan that reduces the 10-year deficit by at least $1.5 trillion. It's vital, however, that they achieve far more than that. Americans are rapidly losing faith in the ability of Congress to deal with our country's fiscal problems. Only action that is immediate, real and very substantial will prevent that doubt from morphing into hopelessness. That feeling can create its own reality.

Job one for the 12 is to pare down some future promises that even a rich America can't fulfill. Big money must be saved here. The 12 should then turn to the issue of revenues. I would leave rates for 99.7 percent of taxpayers unchanged and continue the current 2-percentage-point reduction in the employee contribution to the payroll tax. This cut helps the poor and the middle class, who need every break they can get.

But for those making more than $1 million - there were 236,883 such households in 2009 - I would raise rates immediately on taxable income in excess of $1 million, including, of course, dividends and capital gains. And for those who make $10 million or more - there were 8,274 in 2009 - I would suggest an additional increase in rate.

My friends and I have been coddled long enough by a billionaire-friendly Congress. It's time for our government to get serious about shared sacrifice.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/15/opinion/stop-coddling-the-super-rich.html?_r=2&smid=tw-nytimesbusiness&seid=auto

=============================

And yes, you would get these tax rates, if you paid close to the full 35% full rate on earned income + Social security and had not inherited a lot of investment where most of your earnings now were cpaital gains.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 18, 2012 5:03:06 PM PDT
You answered your own question, Superman:

The highest-paid federal employees are doing best of all on salary increases. Defense Department civilian employees earning $150,000 or more increased from 1,868 in December 2007 to 10,100 in June 2009, the most recent figure available.

I have relatives in the military -- and sign on bonuses, etc are EXTREMELY generous.

Superman: Jessica Klement, government affairs director for the Federal Managers Association, says the federal workforce is highly paid because the government employs skilled people such as scientists, physicians and lawyers. She says federal employees make 26% less than private workers for comparable jobs.

TS: That's what I had heard.

Superman: The trend to six-figure salaries is occurring throughout the federal government, in agencies big and small, high-tech and low-tech. The primary cause: substantial pay raises and new salary rules...

TS: here we can agree.

In the last 2 years, pay raises have been small [Bush gave a large one before leaving office I remember reading].

BUT raises is another matter?

hy did the TEaParty FORGET about pay raises??? I have heard that IS substantial.
And in this economy that is absurd.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 18, 2012 5:05:04 PM PDT
visionary says:
super [[King Barry voted "yea" to bail out the banks on Wall St & Fannie Mae & that is a FACT you can't dispute. ]]

Of course BO voted 'yes.' He though about you and didn't want you living in a box.

[[I would be much wealthier if they had let their buddies investment banks fail. ]]

You have a strange idea of reality. How would you be much wealthier if the global economic system had collapsed? But, I can tell you how you would be much wealthier now. Care to know?

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 18, 2012 5:05:19 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 18, 2012 5:08:18 PM PDT
*TS: What is the budget action for that? Answer spending. What is the result. The deficit goes up AN ADDITIONAL TRILLION.

Then stop spending. Some people won't be getting their government check. This a main reason why you want to keep as much control over your own future because based on poor managment and political inability you go hungry. Better to have kept that 12% in your control.

TS: Did you miss I said Social Security is one of the 100 ton gorillas in the room that have to be addressed if we have any hope of curtailing the deficit.

The other ones are (1) raising taxes and (2) cutting defense and (3) cutting retirement benefits, and likely Medicaid.

Increasing taxes is probably the most important, per David Stockman (remember him, Mr Reaganomics himself)?

He also said, that if you don't touch Social Security, Defense, or retirement benefits [can't remember where Medicaid was ] -- the MOST he figured that was left that could be cut was about $50 billion.

He wants to reverse the Bush tax cuts -- for everyone -- says they went way too far.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 18, 2012 5:06:45 PM PDT
DM: *We simply can't compete, especially with teachers. They're raising our kids to compete in the future and they're losing..... even though they're the highest paid teachers on earth

JMC: What about the individual responsiblity to seek and value education. There are too many people that just don't value education and the best teachers can't do much for kids that don't see a value in learning.

TS: Exactly!

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 18, 2012 5:12:44 PM PDT
super [[They should of let them all go broke !]]

That's what's called a knee jerk reaction. The bailout saved the world finance system. That is why
those who are voting out of office the saviors are nothing but slow-wits. What should be done is prosecution of those responsible for the crisis with heavy prison time.

TS: Exactly.

<<There's a long way to go before the economy, and people, recover from wounds inflicted by the financial meltdown. The value of homeowners' equity -- most Americans' biggest single financial asset -- is down $4.7 trillion, about 41%, since June 2007, according to the Federal Reserve. The U.S. stock market has lost $1.9 trillion of value, by Wilshire Associates' count. Even worse, we've got fewer people working now -- 142.3 million -- than then (146.1 million), even though the working-age population has grown. So while plenty of folks are doing well and entire industries have recovered, people on average are worse off than they were. Bad stuff.

Myth No. 1: The government should have done nothing.

There's an idea gaining currency that everything the government did, from the Troubled Asset Relief Program (the now infamous TARP) to the Federal Reserve's innovative lending programs and rate cutting, just made the problem worse. And that we should have simply let markets do their thing.

Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! During the dark days of 2008-09, when giant institutions like Washington Mutual and Wachovia and Lehman Brothers failed and the likes of Citigroup (C), Bank of America (BAC), AIG (AIG), GE Capital (GE), Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley (MS), Goldman Sachs (GS), and huge European banks were near collapse, letting them all go under would have brought on the financial apocalypse. We could well have ended up with a downturn worse than the Great Depression, which was the previous time that failures in the financial system (rather than the Federal Reserve raising rates) begat a U.S. economic slowdown.

You want to let big institutions fail? Okay, look at what happened when Lehman was allowed to go under in September 2008. (The Treasury and Fed insist there was no way to save the firm, though I wonder if they would have devised one had they not gotten tons of grief six months earlier for not letting Bear Stearns collapse.)

Lehman's collapse froze short-term money markets, making normal finance impossible. A run on money-market funds began when the Reserve Primary Fund, an industry pioneer, said it was "breaking the buck" because of losses on Lehman paper. Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley were about to fail because hedge funds and other "prime brokerage" customers began yanking their cash in response to prime brokerage assets at Lehman's London branch being frozen.

The federal government (including the Fed) had to front trillions of dollars and guarantee trillions of obligations -- a total I calculated last year (see "Surprise! The Big Bad Bailout Is Paying Off") at more than $14 trillion -- to stop the panic.

Lehman was a beta test for letting markets take care of problems themselves -- and it failed miserably.

http://finance.fortune.cnn.com/2012/06/13/financial-crisis-myths/

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 18, 2012 5:14:22 PM PDT
TS to Visionary: Did you see me post this before?

<<TS: David Stockman (remember Mr. Reaganomics) says there should be a tax on wealth. I saw him say a tax of 15% on the top 1% would pay about half the deficit. Stockman cites a remarkable statistic: "In 1985, the top five percent of the households - the wealthiest five percent - had net worth of $8 trillion - which is a lot. Today, after serial bubble after serial bubble, the top five per cent have net worth of $40 trillion. The top five per cent have gained more wealth than the whole human race had created prior to 1980." http://pulse.ncpolicywatch.... I also saw him state that if Republicans didn't cut defense and social security.medicare -- he calculated the most that Republicans can cut is about $50 billion. And I haven't seen any firm numbers from Republicans where they might cut to refute that.

V: Yes. And I'm glad you posted it again. A fine illustration of what pigs the wealthy are and those who back them.

TS: David Stockman seems contrite for the mess he caused with Reagan -- cutting taxes BEFORE they had cut spending first.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 18, 2012 5:30:09 PM PDT
"prosecution of those responsible for the crisis with heavy prison time."

Hear, Hear!

Barney Frank[D] and Chris Dodd[D] should be makin' little rocks out of big ones for the rest of their miserable lives

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 18, 2012 5:31:16 PM PDT
M. Daniel says:
TS: "I also referred to the false belief that holding Securities (effectively IOUs)had any real value!......the government will have to raise taxes ELSE borrow more money -- to pay the cash back to the SS fund."

True, but that means it is not a false belief the IOUs have value because the government is obligated to borrow or tax to repay them. Money which is guaranteed has real value.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 18, 2012 5:36:25 PM PDT
M. Daniel says:
TS: "No you mix up net worth with income."

You do not pay taxes on net worth but on income. The effective tax rate for the top 1% is 20.9% on income and payroll.

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2012/01/18/us/effective-income-tax-rates.html

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 18, 2012 5:50:13 PM PDT
M. Daniel says:
TS: It sure does. It means the top WEALTHIEST class pays a rate comparable to the top 40%, and lower than the top 20%, 10%, 5% and 1%.

No, the top 400 pays 16.6% while the
bottom 20%: 2%
2nd 20%: 9.1%
3rd 20%: 15.7%

The means the top 400 pays a higher rate than all levels except the top 20%. That 16.6% is a lot more money than any other group. The government runs by actual money, not tax rates.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 18, 2012 5:57:11 PM PDT
M. Daniel says:
TS: "I also referred to the false belief that holding Securities (effectively IOUs)had any real value!......the government will have to raise taxes ELSE borrow more money -- to pay the cash back to the SS fund."

True, but that means it is not a false belief the IOUs have value because the government is obligated to borrow or tax to repay them. Money which is guaranteed has real value.

=====================

The government has a responsibility to the S.S. fund regardless of IOU or not. It is a federal government function. The money is forcefully taken by force of law. There is no difference now than when the IOU runs out. The responsibility to the fund doesn't end just because the IOU runs out.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 18, 2012 6:59:41 PM PDT
M. Daniel says:
kbw says: "The responsibility to the fund doesn't end just because the IOU runs out."

That makes it a political obligation rather than a financial one. In neither case would Congress default, but one is based on political decision and not a guaranteed financial obligation.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 18, 2012 9:11:57 PM PDT
M. Daniel says:
kbw says: "The responsibility to the fund doesn't end just because the IOU runs out."

That makes it a political obligation rather than a financial one. In neither case would Congress default, but one is based on political decision and not a guaranteed financial obligation.
===========================================
you are correct Daniel, but the political ramification are as strong or stronger than an iou.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 19, 2012 6:22:11 AM PDT
A customer says:
"What should be done is prosecution of those responsible for the crisis with heavy prison time."

Then you would have to have the DNC at a Federal Prison, because 90% of them would be there.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 19, 2012 6:24:08 AM PDT
visionary says:
kbw [[The money is forcefully taken by force of law.]]

Still under the influence of Luntz, I see. He is certainly effective in getting the dupes to think like children. The money is not forcefully taken but is taxed. Mature adults understand the difference.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 19, 2012 6:26:05 AM PDT
visionary says:
super [[Then you would have to have the DNC at a Federal Prison, because 90% of them would be there.]]

I have no idea what you are saying. Can you explain that statement?
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Initial post:  May 26, 2012
Latest post:  Jul 14, 2012

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