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Tag: Taxes

Bill Maher Says “Taxes Are Too High” – Washington Times

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By Cheryl K. Chumley

Liberal HBO “Real Time” host Bill Maher says he may leave California, due to the state’s high tax rate.

“Liberals,” he said, during a recent broadcast,” you could actually lose me.”

He made the comments during a panel discussion of current Capitol Hill budget policy that included the participation of MSNBC Rachel Maddow, who blasted Rep. Paul Ryan’s proposal as beneficial to the rich.

“The Ryan budget is a document that says the big problems in American right now are that rich people do not have enough money. They need relief from confiscatory tax rate,” she said, Newsbusters reports.

Mr. Maher answered: “You know what? Rich people — I’m sure you’d agree with this — actually do pay the freight in this country.”

Mr. Maher then cited statistics that California millionaires pay nearly 40 percent to the federal government and another near 15 percent to the state.

“I just want to say liberals — you could actually lose me. It’s outrageous what we’re paying — over 50 percent. I’m willing to pay my share, but yeah, it’s ridiculous,” he said, Newsbusters reports.

via Bill Maher threatens to leave California — due to high taxes – Washington Times.

 

Grady’s Comments:

Taxes are tragically one of the most divisive topics in our nations political hemisphere,  and there is more that the populist portion of this nation would agree on than there is for them to disagree on, if there is an honest discussion. Paying taxes is no fun, but investing in society can do great things! Unless of course if you don’t like the internet, interstate highways, etc… I mean, most people take advantage of, and seem to enjoy a lot that public investment has wrought. There is plenty of disagreement to be had, but there is a disconcertingly dishonest narrative, for the most part, that Democrats want TONS of taxes, and Republicans want 0% (ZERO) taxes… People in either party want a government that has basic functionality, and that isn’t free. Due to a toxic environment for debate and discussion I sadly think that people’s understanding of what it takes to have a government that works is very skewed. In polling people repeatedly show that they don’t know what is most expensive, and they don’t know what benefits they receive from paying taxes. And when people don’t realize they they are a part of the problem things can get ugly… It’s like dating someone who thinks that they are low maintenance  but they very clearly to everyone else are high maintenance… Why won’t their friends just say something?!!

Now, with all of that said – there is little disagreement from as far as I can tell that people almost across the board want a simpler, more flat tax code. And if rates are to be staggered the majority of people in polling that I’ve seen have said that they think that those with more should pay higher rates (Adam Smith himself thought this was best) – but there is a limit to this approach, and I think that popular opinion on this is also changing. I think that we are going to find our selves in the near future with a voting populous that wants an even flatter tax code, and they might call for more people to pay. This however will be increasingly hard to achieve with growing income disparity breaking barriers at increasing speeds.

At the end of the day I agree with Bill’s comments. I think that there are a lot of people with a lot of money who pay too much in taxes. However, there are a number of people who don’t pay near as much in taxes, in terms of their rate especially, and it’s a real problem not just because of simple fairness, but because of the side-affects of having such an imbalanced society. Our convoluted tax code allows for those who don’t work to pay half of the rate of those who do work (ie: capitol gains, and the carried interest), and that’s before they add in deductions which could dwindle those rates into oblivion with the right tax lawyers/ninjas.

As this is somewhat of a confusing conversation with so many contrasting stories about people who do and don’t pay taxes we simply need to recognize that our tax system is broken, and from there move towards a system where work should be incentivized. If you hear people talk about the “1%” take note of what they’re saying, and then consider that the real problem in having that stereotype continually repeated is that we are lumping together some people who do pay taxes, and some people who don’t. I want to talk about it, but I want to Really talk about it – it’s just not simple. Most of the people who don’t “pay their fair share” (pay a normalish rate) have so much money that they don’t look like the other 99% of the top 1%… We are talking about very few people, but a LOT of money. When a millionaire like Bill Maher (who is quite liberal) talks about paying too much in taxes he is getting at a very real problem that is very confusing to the public, because when it comes to paying taxes it’s a game, and if you’re reading this you are probably losing…

Fiscal Cliff Blame Game (part 2)

I posted recently about polling on the Fiscal Cliff, and who voters were most likely to hold responsible if there were to be a negative outcome. Well, the polling showed a heavy lean towards the blame being placed on congressional Republicans, and newer polling shows that the gap has virtually closed. This is all of
Of course this is all according to polling, and since I have a hard time believing that the numbers closed as much as the polls would indicate I would imagine that one of them is wrong.

Another point of interest, assuming that this polling is somewhat accurate is the gap between the parties willingness to compromise. I wish that compromise wasn’t such a dirty word…

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Fiscal Cliff Blame Game Polling, and Historical Tax Rates vs Economic Prosperity

Public opinion is often not the most accurate predictor of truth or fairness in my opinion (see civil rights), however public opinion matters in a democracy. I first want to show a chart that I came across which tells a story that people seem to not recognize in a public consciousness. Over the last century the highest tax rate has change significantly many times, but the actual marginal rate that the people categorized as members of those highest tax brackets haven’t necessarily changed quite so much, mostly due to loopholes in the tax code. This chart however tells a story of the economy in relation to those high end tax rates changing, and I’m posting it to say that speaking of higher taxes doesn’t kill the economy as it is said to, but there is undoubtably a threshold, and we must approach this conversation with an understanding of nuance.

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With this chart out of the way, and the debate over taxes still raging let’s examine public opinion of who people seem to hold most responsible.

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So, it seems that in political terms that the President has an upper hand right now, but the before they start to do some kind of victory dance we should also note that people still seem to believe that they won’t make a deal…

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I share, to a degree, some level of skepticism over whether or not they’ll pass a deal (even if that means after January 1st), but I tend to believe that we are witnessing theatrics. I think that as our nation is so polarized the people expect a fight, and anyone not seeming to put up a fight risks losing support from their base. I might be overly naive, but I really hope this is the case…

-Grady

From All Sides, Fiscal Plans Fall Far Short of What’s Needed – Steve Rattner

From All Sides, Fiscal Plans Fall Far Short of What’s Needed.

Well, long story short, I agree with Mr. Rattner again. I think that he’s right that neither side has had a sufficient plan, but that doesn’t make their proposals equal (that would be just too convenient for the Ralph Nader’s of the world, who I actually do like). I think that in the middle of these debates it would have been wonderful to watch real reforms take place. Let’s look at it from a health stand point, as if our nation was a human body – we are having a very hard time trying to stop the bleeding from our wounds after having fallen on our face in a drunken stupor, but we don’t seem willing to stop the drinking that is causing our wounds inside and outside of our body… Does that make senses? We have a broken system, and it can’t get better until we have a discerning decision making body that wants to live and thrive. I have plugged this group multiple times before, but maybe it takes some outside ideas to get things working again, and I think No Labels might be our 12 step program… If for no other reason I encourage you to check out their plans for reform that would help us move forward, especially their plan to Make Congress Work.

– Grady

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From All Sides, Fiscal Plans Fall Far Short of What’s Needed

Millionaires Meet with Grover Norquist – YouTube

Millionaires meet with Grover Norquist – YouTube.

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This is the kind of debate that I love to watch. Grover is definitely teamed up on in this video, but being the voice of this movement that doesn’t often have to answer for it’s self I I’m kind of ok with that. Hearing him defend himself does help me to appreciate what he is doing, but I still find that his influence has had a net negative impact on our government and our people. What do you think about this?

What Changes To Expect On Taxes – “More Chips for Tax Reform” by Steve Rattner

More Chips for Tax Reform.

I am tempted to write a lot about this article, but I’m going to limit myself. I appreciate that this column addresses that there are many sides of taxation. The biggest debate between Republicans and Democrats on revenue (tax money) increases to close the deficit/debt is whether we should raise rates (possibly not addressing loopholes), or only closing loopholes and not changing any rates. And the battle over the rates is a battle over the rates of a very small portion of people . The Republicans have been suggesting closing tax loopholes to raise revenue, but my biggest question is which loopholes they would close and who would be affected. The Democrats have mostly been suggesting a raise in rates because they don’t think that closing loopholes in our dysfunctional congress is very feasible. I tend to be very skeptical that closing loopholes alone would raise the levels of revenue (probably around 1.2 trillion dollars) that we would necessarily need.

I was very glad to hear Mr. Rattner highlight a few of the main loopholes that have caused room for debate on tax fairness for the extraordinarily wealthy: capital gains/dividends, and the carried interest loophole. I posted the other day about Obama’s Tax Plan (via Steve Rattner) and here is an image to visualize that a little bit before you read the article:

I hope you enjoy the article.

-Grady

More Chips For Tax Reform

C-SPAN: Full Vice Presidential Debate with Gov. Palin and Sen. Biden

C-SPAN: Full Vice Presidential Debate with Gov. Palin and Sen. Biden.

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Sarah: “Hey, can I call you Joe?”

Joe: “You can call me Joe.”

Sarah: “Okay good, thanks.”

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The time has come… I love this time, when caring about what’s going on doesn’t make me completely bothersome to my friends 🙂

Tonight the the Vice-Presidential debate, and I think that there are a few things to point out to those who seem to have short memories.

4 years ago Sarah Palin was said to have losed the Vice-Presidential debate to Joe Biden by the main stream media, but the McCain-Palin ticket was wildly happy with her performance… She spoke simply, and a lot of people liked what she had to say. I personally am glad that she was not ever given a real chance to be the President of this country, but I love hearing her as a part of the debate. As a governor she helped fight a lot of big oil companies on behalf of the people… People forget that.

On the flip side, Joe Biden does seem to say and to things that can very easily become a laugh line, but he is no joke… Vice-President Biden is incredibly smart, and practiced in what he’s doing. As the Chairman on the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations he knows a lot about this world that we live in. Not to mention, the gaffes that he has made have been pretty honest mistakes for the most part… I haven’t seen too many “Freudian” slips of the tongue about him believing something other than what he claims to believe. He has done things like asked a man who sat in a wheelchair to stand and be recognized .. He dropped the F-Bomb in a microphone after the Affordable Care Act was passed (I actually kind of liked seeing him genuinely excited, we never see stuff like that from political figures).

And as for Paul Ryan, he has shown himself to be a formidable fighter and contender, but he also seems to be pretty deceptive and dishonest to me… I’m disappointed in how he’s campaigned since being selected, and I don’t want him to be the Vice-President. However, I am glad that he can be a spearhead to start conversation about actual changes that need to be made, and hopefully he can be that spearhead.

I think that underestimating either the Vice-President or Congressman Ryan would be unwise, but to get excited for tonight’s debate I’m going to have to watch the debate between then Senator Biden, and Governor Palin… Please join me 🙂

The First Presidential Debate of 2012 (Complete) Romney vs.Obama – 10/3/2012 University of Denver

Presidential Debate 2012 (Complete) Romney vs.Obama – 10/3/2012 – Elections 2012.

Here is the full debate, and I’m going to put my quick thoughts below (so that I don’t spoil anything if you want to make up your own mind), but I’ll post some more thorough thoughts later.

Full Debate

OK, so far all of the analysis that I’ve heard tonight is that people feel that Mitt Romney got the best of this debate. On a personal note I don’t necessarily agree, but I understand how that might be true when speaking about the electorate. I think that this is going to be surprising to many because of the views that people have about these 2 people and their person-ability (and on that note I think that Obama looked much more comfortable but that Mitt looked more engaged, as he looked the President in the face almost the entire time that he wasn’t speaking). However, this isn’t all that surprising as this debate was about domestic issues (aka: The Economy), and considering the fact that this debate was almost entirely about President Obama’s record (because the voters know at least something about it), and the roles will likely flip in the coming debate (particularly in the foreign policy debate).

I think that the topics that we will likely hear more about over the coming days will be much of the same:

  • Medicare – Romney supports the voucher approach, and Obama doesn’t
  • Taxes – they both need to define more clearly what they want on personal and corporate rates
  • Military – (this may be wishful thinking) They didn’t talk too much about this, and it mostly seemed like a preview of the Foreign Policy debate when they did

I would love to hear more specifics about each of these things however. I want to hear about Romney’s plans to close loopholes, but I’m in suport of that. And I want to hear Obama defend the Affordable Care Act, as it still seems mysterious in a lot of ways (although I support so much of it), and I want to hear them both define their approach their plans for foreign policy from this point forward (even though I feel like I understand the President’s approach so far). I would also appreciate a more cooperative conversation about regulation, but I think that’s pretty wishful thinking.

I took some notes, and I’m going to watch this video again, and consolidate my notes so I can make a few more observations about what took place tonight. Please feel free to let me know what you thought about this debate if you have an opinion, I would love to hear from you.

-Grady

The Election Breakdown By “The Issues”

So as much as I love to talk about swing states I think that breaking down the election by “issues” is very important, because they can be barometers for why people vote as they do, which is kind of the whole point of voting (having purpose and reasons). So here we go, these polls are from Politico & George Washington University:

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“Pushing” Your Notifications on Me

I love watching the push notifications roll in on my phone, side by side, and see just how different they always are… If I had to pick here I’d go with CNN for sure, but they aren’t perfect.

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