Tuesday, July 22, 2003

3rd of 7 dedly sins: greed, part 2 (tax releef: them whuts gots gits)

yesterdy we wuz discussin how gummint is the biggest player in our mixt market economy n how ye kin make yer friens rich by pitchin the bizness thar way in sted of a nuther. ye mite member that movie called 'roger rabbit.' thays more truth in that movie than folks lacks to add mitt, speshully bout letting tire, oil n car cumpnies buy up n retire trolley systems to keep down the competishun.

n ye might could thank that wood be a nuff fer the folks that dun made thar millyuns thataway, but when it cums to folks, thays sumthin else ye kin count on: aint no such thang as a nuff. fack is, thats the hole point of this partiklar dedly sin: its based on wontin more when ye dun got more'n a nuff. lets go back to the statmints by my publican frien:

When a democrat says a tax cut across the board is unfair, he means, " If it is across the board, the rich will get a greater return."

The republican says, " If it is not across the board it is a redistribution of wealth."

this time lets look at taxes. do ye no how many folks got a nuff incum to be affected by the thurd highest rate of all, witch that wuz 31% befor the furst bush tax giveaway? anser is only 4% of all folks that pays taxes. n how many folks ye reckon ever have to pay the highest rate, witch that wuz 39.6%? thar ye got 0.6% of the folks ever having to pay. plane fack is, cuttin the top three rates aint innythang lack across the bord on a counta it only touches 4 tax payin folks out of ever hundert. seem lack the definishun of "across the bord" wood be a tax cut that hit everbidy that pays taxes, n fer that, ye wood have to stick to the lowest rate since everbidy, rich n poor, pays it on the furst dollars they makes.

but ye dont have to take my wurd fert. I got quotes, lack thisn here (i dun broke it down into bullets):

  • "Only a very small share of tax filers have incomes high enough to be subject to the highest marginal income tax rates. IRS data show that in 1997, the latest year for which this information is available:
  • "Less than one-quarter of all tax filers were in tax brackets higher than the 15 percent bracket.
  • "Only four percent of tax filers were in the 31 percent bracket or a higher bracket.
  • "Less than one percent of filers were in the top bracket, where the marginal tax rate is 39.6 percent. The average adjusted gross income of filers in the 39.6 percent bracket exceeded $900,000 in 1997.
  • "Since 1997, the proportions of families that have high incomes and thus are in the higher tax brackets have increased somewhat. Even so, with only four percent of tax filers facing marginal rates of 31 percent or above in 1997, the fraction of tax filers subject to the top rates remains small today." (http://www.cbpp.org/3-6-01tax2.htm)

now heres the truble i have with them rich folks a'claimin how they wuz needin tax relief befor bush junyer got into the deficit bildin game: the folks who make a nuff to git into the highest tax brackit got more money back after payin thar taxes in 1998 than they dun in 1992, n twernt a middlin sum. so whars the beef? they wuz makin more already, tax or no tax. how wuz they hurtin? heres ye sum stats on the changes in incum tween 1992 and 1998:

  • The bottom 95% of earners had after-tax increases of 9%.
  • Those who earned between 95% and 99% of the maximum saw their after-tax earnings increase by 19%.
  • The 1% in the highest bracket received AFTER-TAX increases of 47%. (http://www.cbpp.org/3-6-01tax2.htm).

so ye kin clarly see the incum is dun bein redistributed. n ifn ye dun been a'studyin it, ye no the main folks gittin these increeses is the haids of cumpnies n lots of them git stock optshuns n use agreessiv acountin tekneeks sos they kin make thar stock look more valubull than tis, witch then they kin extercise thar optshuns fer even bigger gains. thay wuz able to git away with makin thar stock look lack its wurth more'n tis on a counta the sec (not the football league!) dun relaxed the acountin regulayshuns, not to menshun the sec's own regulayshuns. n kin ye bleev whut happent? turns out that ifn ye give folks enormous temptayshun n combine it with lil chants of a gittin caught, then folks is a gone steal. n purt soon reglar folks is gone figger out how they is bein cheeted n lose thar faith in the market, n then yer stocks is gone tank, witch ye might have dun noticed whar that happent.

ye might could be wunderin how the poor ceo made out in all this. here's a quote from paul krugman, one of the last honest pundits we gut lef:

"In 1980 chief executives at large companies, according to Business Week's estimates, earned 45 times as much as non-supervisory workers. By 1995, however, the ratio had risen to 160; by 1997, it had reached 305. C.E.O.'s wanted to keep the good times rolling, and they did: by 2000, though profits hadn't really increased, they were paid 458 times as much as ordinary workers."

n ye might notice that these ain't folks inventing more efficient ways of makin goods n such. theys hypin stock n makin money.

tuther tax that them publicans is trine to eliminate is the estate tax, witch that one wuz furst champeened by one of the grate publicans, teddy roosevelt. n thang is, the folks who's agin droppin this tax is an odd bunch on a counta it includes the mos prominunt of the 3,300 famblies that wood ackshully have thar taxes changed by this paricklar giveaway.

heres an artickle by bill gates and chuck collins witch i wisht ye wood read wurd fer wurd, entitled 'Tax the Wealthy: Why America Needs the Estate Tax': http://www.prospect.org/print/V13/11/gates-w.html. here's sum the best bits:

"Of course, the vast majority of family farmers will never owe an estate tax. Rather, the windfall of estate tax repeal will shower upon the heirs and heiresses of the 3,000 wealthiest estates. This elite group will inherit billions in appreciated stock and real estate -- significant capital gains, many of which have never been subject to taxation.

"If, however, the Senate bows to this lobby's pressures by permanently repealing the estate tax, the country stands to lose $800 billion between 2011 and 2021. It's a loss that will significantly undercut Social Security and Medicare over the next seven decades, hitting hard as the eldest baby boomers reach retirement age.

"*Some people object to the notion of a tax at death, but taxing dead multimillionaires is eminently more fair than taxing the not-so-rich living. Between now and 2052, the intergenerational transfer of wealth is projected to reach between $41 trillion and $136 trillion. An estimated one-third to one-half of this wealth will be transferred by estates worth more than $5 million. The estate tax, should it remain in place, will therefore be an increasingly significant progressive source of revenue in the coming decades. Meanwhile, state budgets, already straining from plummeting tax revenues, will lose more than $6.5 billion a year when state-linked revenue from the estate tax is eliminated in 2005.*

"*Like the "great man" theory of history, our dominant "great man" theory of wealth creation borders on mythology.* Such folklore fills the pages of business magazines. In a recent interview, one chief of a global corporation was asked to justify his enormous compensation package. He responded, "I created over $300 billion in shareholder value last year, so I deserve to be greatly rewarded." The operative word here is "I." There was no mention of the share of wealth created by the company's other 180,000 employees. From this sort of thinking, it is a short distance to, "It's all mine" and, "Government has no business taking any part of it."

"There is no question that some people accumulate great wealth through hard work, intelligence, creativity, and sacrifice. Individuals do make a difference, and it is important to recognize individual achievement. Yet it is equally important to acknowledge the influence of other factors, such as *luck, privilege, other people's efforts, and society's investment in the creation of individual wealth.*

"*Republican President Theodore Roosevelt also believed that society had a claim on the accumulated fortunes of the very wealthy, thanks to its role in creating those fortunes. In his 1906 State of the Union address, Roosevelt proposed the creation of a federal inheritance tax. He explained: "The man of great wealth owes a peculiar obligation to the State because he derives special advantages from the mere existence of government." As Roosevelt further argued in a June 1907 speech: "Most great civilized countries have an income tax and an inheritance tax. In my judgment both should be part of our system of federal taxation." Such taxation, he noted, should "be aimed merely at the inheritance or transmission in their entirety of those fortunes swollen beyond all healthy limits."*

"No doubt Roosevelt would consider the great income and wealth inequalities of our second Gilded Age reason to increase rather than to eliminate the one tax we have that limits the buildup of hereditary concentrations of wealth. Roosevelt and others of his day understood that the American experiment was an attempt to balance economic liberty and free enterprise, on the one hand, with a traditional concern about democracy and the dangers of concentrated wealth and power, on the other. The estate tax, adopted in 1916, was one of the means by which Americans rejected the Old World, with its political and economic monarchies."

it aint lack im agin lowerin taxes when they needs it, but lets lower the rates mos folks pays, not the rates that only the richest few pays!

we got to member, "Less than one-quarter of all tax filers were in tax brackets higher than the 15 percent bracket."

to repeat the point: the gummint is dun alreddy redistributin the wealth. cutting taxes speeds it up. ifn ye study much histry, then ye no the result aint never been good when most of a nation's wealth is held by a very small number of citizens.

also, whenever we ignore needs that reely are 'across the bord,' needs that we all got in common lack health care, educayshun, employmint for a livin wage, then eventchully the structure gits too top-hevy to wurk.

a lil bit more on oil

mayhap ye dont bleev sum the thangs i sed yesterdy bout how oil cumpnies is subsdized n ye might not agree that we got artifishully low gas prices. heres more on that frum the nation (http://www.thenation.com/failsafe/index.mhtml?bid=2&pid=47):

"(1) Oil companies are sitting on enormous piles of cash. Profits for ExxonMobil alone were $15.3 billion in 2001. Last year the industry was sitting on $40 billion; as a July 2001 headline in the Wall Street Journal put it, "Major Oil Companies Struggle to Spend Huge Hoards of Cash." That article observed that in May 2001, the Royal Dutch/Shell Group said it was making about $1.5 million in profit every hour--while already sitting on more than $11 billion in the bank. "It's a big problem," the Journal reported.

"(2) Oil companies pay almost no federal taxes. Texaco, for example, reported $3.4 billion in US profits over the three years from 1996 to 1998--and took $304 million in tax rebates for that period. As the US assistant treasury secretary for tax policy testified in 1999 before the Ways and Means Committee: "To give you some idea of the magnitude of tax preferences for this [oil] industry, Mr. Chairman, for the year 1996...75 percent of corporate firms engaged in oil and gas production paid no Federal corporate income tax at all."

"(3) Giving more tax dollars to oil companies will not produce more oil. If there were elephantine new fields to be profitably exploited, the oil companies have the cash and desire to do so. Instead, they are counting their money and sighing.

"(4) Giving more tax dollars to oil companies does not influence the price of gasoline at the pump. Even very large amounts of US tax largesse do not move the world markets in petroleum.

"(5) Oil is a fossil fuel, and therefore both dirty and likely to run out someday. There is not one single responsible person Congress knows of who argues we can continue to burn oil at the rate we do today far into the future.

"(6) Money is short for many worthy needs, as always.

"(7) Nevertheless, it shall be the sense of the Congress to give oil companies huge fat helpings of your money. We propose, oh, say, $149 million over the next five years--with the understanding that this is just an hors d'oeuvre, and that legislation to follow will continue a long-running and gluttonous binge by the oil and gas industry worthy of Caligula. No one will notice, because the legislation won't say "A Bill to Steal $149 Million Over the Next Five Years From the American People." Instead, the bills will offer no dollar figure and no explanation, just a bunch of (lobbyist-written?) gibberish."

in other wurds, thays a reeson cheneys hole energy plan come with a $34 billyun price tag!

No comments: