Friday, December 17, 2010

Tax Cuts Passed : Now Rich People Have To Do Something

The House of Representatives passed the tax cut package last night for the president to sign. I guess he’s real happy right now. Once he signs the bill the tax cuts for the rich will be extended for two years. I would be more optimistic if this same strategy had worked the past ten years it was in place. I would also not be so disappointed in President Obama right now if he wouldn’t have campaigned against these same tax cuts during his campaign. In fact he campaigned so hard against them that even if making this deal made sense from a political standpoint it still looks like he caved in. The first President Bush had the same problem after raising taxes despite having that video clip of him saying “Read my lips, no new taxes!” He did the sensible thing at the time and raised taxes when he had to but he never recovered from it. I hope going back on a campaign promise doesn't come back to haunt President Obama like that.

Since our economic policy is basically staying the same as it was the past ten years I think it’s time to talk about the rich and their responsibilities to the country. I grew up in a family without a lot of money. I never heard anyone sitting around talking bad about rich people. The truth is that people without money are much more hated than the rich. A lot of Americans seem to have a problem with the single mother in the grocery store paying for her overflowing basket of food with her food stamps or living on a housing subsidy. We think she’s getting over on hard working people even though she’s probably working too and has to make her life an open book just to live in a neighborhood where here children get a sub par education and are vulnerable to crime and violence. They feel she’s bringing down the country by getting just enough help to live in a neighborhood that most people won’t even drive through.

Rich people are different. Despite the fact that a formerly rich bastard like Bernie Madoff can ruin thousands of people’s lives by taking their money, we don’t really care what they do. We just assume it must be good for the country because they have a lot of money and we hope to have a lot of money one day too . Over the last year we have been listening to politicians tell us that we had give the rich and powerful as many breaks and benefits as possible so they would feel good enough about their own situation to hire the rest of us and bring unemployment down. If that’s true and they now have an extension on their tax cuts, the question becomes how long do we give them to actually invest in America and start hiring Americans before we get angry and question their patriotism the way we do the poor?

The fact is we are borrowing money from other countries to pay for these tax cuts. According to the conservative ads that ran for the past two years there is nothing worse than leaving all this debt behind for our children and grandchildren to pay for. I heard this every day before the midterm elections. That was the line when it came to helping average people. If we are willing to live with such horrible debt for the tax cuts to continue then how long do we give those that control wealth to reinvest in the people whose family will be paying the bill? If the rich are making and keeping all of this money and we are not going to demand that they do anything, then we might as well let them run the country and we can stop voting because it won’t matter who’s in office. The rich and corporate America has gotten everything they want from the government. Now it’s time for them to step up to the plate like everyone else is expected to do. After all of the yelling and screaming for two years just to get to this point, if the people who have the most resources are not required to do anything then we all should just be quiet and accept the country the way it is now.


Cousin Pat from Georgia said...


But I'm not disappointed in Obama for the tax deal - all changes to national revenue and taxation come from the legislature. The President does not set the agenda for the legislature.

Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid could have done something about these tax rates since January, 2009. But they chose to wait, and now handed the President far less to work with. Considering the situation, keeping the tax rates from becoming permanent is a huge win for the President.

Pudge450 said...

I follow your blog, but never comment. I agree with a lot of what you say and I disagree with a lot of what you say.

I see things from two sides of the fence, having been on both sides. I would, without a doubt, fall into that category you call "rich".

I grew up in a lower middle-class family. (Is that a classification? We were a little lower than middle class, but not "low" class). I use the term "class" reluctently, because it generally is used to convey economic position and I believe "class" has nothing to do with income.
My husband grew up in the country. We both have just a high school education. In 1986 we took an incredible chance, put everything on the line, worked our behinds off and we made it. We now employ about 30 people, give or take; provide them with competative wages, health care coverage, retirement benefits, vacations, holidays, bonuses and a really decent place to work.

I have never forgotten where we came from. But..... just by virtue of the fact we earn a large amount of money, we pay a large amount of taxes even with the extended Bush tax breaks. For the life of me, I can't understand why people believe the fruit of my labors should be given in a larger percentage (It already is larger) because 47% of the households pay NO taxes. I believe everyone should pay SOME taxes, even if it is only $10.00 per year.

You are 100% right in your remarks about the the subsidies that the single mother gets.. and living in a less than desirable neighborhood. But she is locked in there... because she can never make enough money to make it into a better neighborhood, because at some point, she would make too much to keep receiving assistance, but not enough to make it entirely on her own. When the benefits stop, the safety net is gone and it is not worth it to try to do better. What is the answer to that? I don't know, but I don't believe it is to give more public assistance. I believe education has to be placed in that mix somewhere. Most people who are locked into the welfare cycle are undereducated.

When I was on the other side of that fence (financially speaking) I never had an attitude about "rich" people. They gave me inspiration.

The old saying about success being 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration is soooooo totally true. Bear in mind, we did it with 4 kids in the mix.

And the truth is, hardly anybody ever gets rich by working for other people. You have to step out there and blaze a trail of you own. And when you do, you hire other people. Then, Uncle Sam begins to systematically dismantle all you worked for.... to redistribute it down the line.

There are a lot of taxes besides income taxes. Buy a piece of equipment and you pay "property tax" every year on that same piece of equipment... year after year after year....... That's after you paid sales tax on it in the beginning.

And it was totally unfair of you to throw Bernie Madoff in there. He is not representative of rich people.. he is representative of crooks.

And we are the people who financially support community events, buy the (very expensive) drug dog for the local police department, donate to every "cause" that walks thru the front door, buy playground equipment for the local school, because theirs was destroyed in Katrina, donate computers to the school computer lab, buy special audio equipment for students to prepare for state competion, make special equipment at no cost for stroke victim rehibilitation, and... and.... and...

I am just saying, you cannot paint "rich" people with one broad brush. Just because you don't "know" about what they do with their money, it doesn't mean they are not doing something. All you can see is Uncle Sam is not getting as much as you think is fair. And I don't think that is fair.

We are not the exception.. we are more the rule for people in our income range.

Your turn... go ahead, let me have it!

Cousin Pat from Georgia said...

Pudge: I don't know what Cliff would say about that, and I know you didn't ask me, but - for what it's worth:

If you employ around 30 people with a small business, you ain't what I consider rich. You're what I consider middle class. Maybe upper middle, depending on how well you're doin'. But you're contributing to the economy as much as you can, that's great.

Some people make it by being experts in a field, some folks make it by taking a risk, working their butts off and working for themselves. You took the high-risk, high-reward path, and made it work. That's the American Dream, right there.

That being said, the wealth you pay in taxes isn't being distributed down the line, it is being distributed up the line, so the really rich folks can continue to enjoy their really low taxes, proportionately speaking.

And I'd also take a wager that the majority of costs you pay each year don't go to Federal income taxes, but are paid in local and state taxes, or other Federal taxes that the current tax bill does not affect, and never did.

Clifton said...

Hi Pudge,
Thanks for reading. You are right when you said I painted everyone with a broad brush. That was on purpose because these days we seem to have broad brush conversations concerning policies. I meant no disrespect to your journey or any successful person. I would actually prefer if no one had to pay anything to the government.

I am only reacting to the idea that no matter how much it costs in the long run if we don't give the top percentage of rich people what they want they won't invest in the country. I am not sure if its their responsibilty or not but that was the argument for extending the tax cuts so I'm trying to understand. If we as a country want everyone to hold on to as much personal wealth as possible then I'll have to do what I can to make it.

I'm just tired of people scaring everyone into picking and choosing who's worthy of help based on income when the cost is the same.

You may have a point about Madoff but I could think of another evil rich dude.

Pudge450 said...

Cousin Pat, you make excellent point - not the least of which is that I am not rich. Did you notice I put the word "rich" in quotes? Because I fall smack dab in the middle of that range, for which the argument was made, that failure to pass the tax bill would hurt the small businesses which create most jobs. (That is the worst sentence I have ever written. I can't even edit it into sense. You know what I mean)

The majority of taxes I pay ARE federal income tax. I was merely pointing out that in addition to that, there are numerous other taxes which come into play when you are a small business owner.

And for the record. The business is only one source of our income. It was the springboard for other things. We were very concerned over this tax bill.

To both you and Cliff, I appreciate that you accepted my remarks without reproach. We all have our opinions

Clifton said...

Pudge I can assure you that as long as you are not racist, sexist, or stupid your opinion will always be respected around here. I write about how I feel and that doesn't always mean I am write.

In a way your concern for the tax bill makes my point. Tax cuts for small business and middle class could have passed without every other bill in the Senate being held up. The gridlock was so the top 2% could get what they wanted. That's the group that's used to scare everyone.

If I thought you were one of the top 2% and found this blog interesting enough to follow my only goal from here on out would be to obtain a substantial monetary gift in celebration of free speech.

Cliff's Crib sponsored by the Pudge450 foundation has a nice ring to it.