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.
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…