July 22, 2008

Taxing Thoughts

Carroll Andrew Morse

The Wall Street Journal published a chart yesterday breaking down IRS data from 2006 on federal-income taxes collected as a function of income level…


Given that 50% of the people are paying the taxes that support the other 50%, it's hard not to believe that there's something to science-fiction author and blogger Jerry Pournelle's recently expressed view of the nature of modern government

The purpose of modern government is to take money from the folks who save and pay their bills and live within their means, and use that to hire government workers; and to keep their power by using the money to buy votes from those who do not save and pay their bills and live within their means. And of course the money comes from those who work and save and pay their bills and live within their means -- who else will have any money for the government to take?

Comments, although monitored, are not necessarily representative of the views Anchor Rising's contributors or approved by them. We reserve the right to delete or modify comments for any reason.

Just in case anyone thought the middle class were actually getting any tax breaks...

Paychecks keep getting smaller while gas, food, electricity, etc costs rise. And both major parties are responsible for this mess, but since the majority of politicians, both Republican and Democrat, tend to come from the highest income bracket, I guess it doesn't hurt them all that much.

Posted by: Tabetha Bernstein-Danis at July 22, 2008 11:15 AM

Yes, this is known as a progressive income tax, as opposed to a regressive or flat tax. And, no, it does not mean that the top 50% are SUPPORTING the bottom 50%. Expletive that. Remember, most of the bottom 50% work their butts off so the top 50% can live in relative luxury.

Your thesis about the purpose of modern government is naive, pathetic, whining and broken. The real workers are the folks who clean the toilets and houses of the rich, who dig the ditches and landscape the gardens and parks, flip the burgers for minimum wage with no health care benefits. Some of them send some of their wages paid by the rich to them (under the table) to their extended families in the Azores, Brazil and Mexico, where these folks buy American goods and enrich our economy.

Every time you Anchor Rising folks scream in pain about undocumented workers I have to laugh- what are you, jealous of their thrift, hard work & productivity? Should they be taken into our economy, given tax numbers and allowed to contribute to taxes & their health care? Oh, no, they might be diseased. They speak foreign languages- they might be cospiring to hurt us. Maybe we should lock them up & deport them at huge taxpayer expense? Sure!

I won't go on too much more because your head is hurting. Your Luddite-like view of the economy is so... retro eighties... so FoxNews... Wake up and smell the real world. When did you last clean a public toilet? OK, I haven't done so for 20 years... but I clean my own.

The work of the bottom 50% enriches the top 50%, but that's OK. Noblesse oblige. It's God's will.

When the top 50% are taxed as they are, they still manage to enrich hedge funds and buy stocks (which is a good thing) and they still save a bundle on their market gains. They still buy luxury care to enrich Germans. They still get to vote for Texas yahoos who have plunged our economy into ruin by spending nearly a trillion dollars NOT containing terrorists while killing and maining 20,000 soldiers-- most of them sons and daughters of the middle class and poor. The bottom 50%.

Are you saying our military heroes are a financial drag on our wealthy? Let's deport the working class military, too!

100% of the dead Americans in Iraq will never again work to enrich the top 50% of US workers and trust fund babies. 5.000 will never pay taxes again either.

How many trust fund babies who went to your private school have been wounded in combat? Or have cleaned toilets, flipped burgers, dug an honest ditch or enriched the Mexican and US economies in one fell swoop through Western Union?

Ode to a Shameful Republican "Leader"

Rhode Islanders made a mistake when they decided, starting with the 1994 elections, to switch to four-year terms for governor.

I liked the idea that someone who fell down on the job could be booted out after two years. At least he or she would be more answerable to the people, and voters could pass judgment.

Rhode Island today is reeling. Governor Carcieri’s handling of the immigration issue and his stewardship of the economy are dismaying. The Republican businessman promised efficient, open government and dramatic job development. Instead, we get insensitive government and mounting unemployment.

If I were Carcieri, barely reelected in 2006, I would hate to have to face voters this fall. The state’s unemployment rate is at 7.5 percent, two points above the national average, and Rhode Island is the only New England state that economists say is officially in recession. The Providence Journal’s Lynn Arditi quotes URI business administration Prof. Edward Mazze as saying, “We have no new industries coming in. We’re asleep at the wheel in creating jobs in this state.”

Mazze was an adviser to Democrat Charles Fogarty in his 2006 bid against Carcieri.

Meanwhile, as I followed the news of the July 15 arrests of 31 suspected illegal immigrants at six courthouses and of the contracts that two janitorial companies have with a host of state agencies, several things jolted me.

I note that the sweep by federal agents and the state police took place as Carcieri convened a meeting of a committee he formed to advise him of “unintended consequences” of his famous crackdown on the undocumented.

It was incredible that Carcieri, who’d received a heads-up that there would be a sweep, did not reschedule the meeting or at least notify those in attendance of what was unfolding at the courthouses. It was, if nothing else, a huge public relations setback.

By the way, while I don’t urge people to come here illegally, why would the federal or state governments focus so much energy on these particular folks from Honduras, Guatemala, Brazil and Mexico? Are they thought to be operating a major drug cartel or murder-for-hire ring? As best I can tell, they want to improve the lives of their families and are willing to clean toilets and sweep floors to do it.

You may be applauding Carcieri. Indeed, his immigration views might be superficially popular, perhaps a distraction from a dismal showing on the economy.

Still, he did not seem last week to be comfortable in his own skin. As the storm swirled regarding the raid and relations between the state and the janitorial firms, the governor kept a low profile — no flashy news conferences, for example. Some taxpayers who admire him on immigration must have been disappointed and puzzled by the possibility that so many illegal immigrants could be working in so many state agencies, some right under his nose.

On immigration, the economy and other matters, the performance of Carcieri & Co. increasingly looks to be lurching and ineffective. Yesterday’s paper saw another story about the administration’s failure — for six months now — to provide a written plan as to how Carcieri proposes to save $67 million by transforming the state’s health-care system for the aged, poor and disabled. Everyone hopes the plan eventually will improve services. But, for now, the picture conveyed is one of more administration drift.

If it’s not that topic, it’s something else. I’m tempted to wonder how much longer this kind of thing can go on. But I know: Two and a half years.

M. Charles Bakst is The Journal’s political columnist.

I hear you hate Projo-- a Republican owned, Bush-endorsing paper. How come their best columnists are M. Charles Bakst, Jewish Democrat-liberal and hater of corruption in any party and in any union; Bob Kerr, Marine combat veteran and advocate for homeless veterans? Not to mention a great bunch of sports writers... nah, Projo sucks. Let's sell Projo to Rupert Murdoch so we can have a honest paper published by corrupt politically motivated Aussies.

Have a good day!


Posted by: Richard at July 22, 2008 1:11 PM

Richard appears to have graduated, with honors, from the economics program conducted by The Poverty Institute, acquiring an LLM degree ("Looney Left Marxism").

Posted by: Ragin' Rhode Islander at July 22, 2008 2:38 PM


You have no clue about what you are talking about.

The 50%-adjusted-gross income break is somewhere in the vicinity of the low $30,000s. Show me any piece of evidence that backs up your claim that “most” casualties in Iraq have come from families making an AGI of 30,000 or less, or that families making more than $30,000 are somehow less patriotic than families making less than $30,000.

When you can't find that, you can go on to not finding data showing that 30,000+ AGI range is dominated by “trust fund babies”. Or that most folks making $30,000+ aren't regular hard-working people.

Tell me, you say you stopped cleaning public toilets 20 years ago. How come? Did better opportunities come along? If they did, do you think it was an appropriate role of government to try to slow you down through progressively higher taxes as you made your climb on the great ladder of life?

(And if you must know, two weekends ago, I spent most of my Sunday morning cleaning my bathroom toilet and replacing a leaky faucet).

Posted by: Andrew at July 22, 2008 3:18 PM


Who would you have replace Carcieri? Cicilline - the man with the spine of a chocolate eclair? Roberts - who waited patiently for permission to lead during our December slopfest snowstorm and whose idea in the face of a massive structural deficit was to advocate more healthcare from state government?

I guess we'll see in two years. I'm in favor of 4 year general officer terms - the ratio of campaign stunting to actual governing is already high when its a once every 4 year beauty contest.

If you want more responsiveness, propose provisions for recall and for direct voter initiatives.

I'd like to see a modified statistics of income that factored the value of government assistance into the income of the bottom 50%. And I'd like to drop out people, such as my children, who are claimed as deductions on someone else's tax return. You could go back and forth on this a lot (deductions for the rich!, no fair!) - I'd also be happy to see a flat tax - exclude $40K for a family of 4 and pay 17-20% above that - no deductions of any type, no games.

Lastly, if you feel state government is being unjustly starved, you and the liberal rich can just kick in another 10% voluntary tax surcharge. In a state that votes 80% dem, if you all put your money where your mouths are, it would go a long way towards fixing the problem. Bet that idea is even deader than the flat tax, though......

Posted by: chuckR at July 22, 2008 3:18 PM

Well, as long as we're talking potty qualifications, I've replaced a total of six toilets in two houses (hint, pay the extra $2 to get the seal ring with the silicone sleeve). As a kid, I also helped my dad repair our septic tank - twice - unforgettable! I also managed to be on the wrong end of snaking a septic field distribution line. (Explanation for the soft handed or East Siders - a snake is a long thin metal strip or coil that is used by electricians to pull wires or by plumbers to poke through what could be genteely termed 'obstructions').

Posted by: chuckR at July 22, 2008 3:30 PM

Why is Governor Carcieri always the cause of all the state's problems? Why does the General Assembly always get a free pass?

It's very curious..

Posted by: Citizen Critic at July 22, 2008 4:22 PM


Do yourself a favor and swing by RIFutureless and pick up Comrade Patrick “I struggle with basic math” Crowley and his mentor Bob Walsh. Then, drive directly to Butler Hospital and get a room for 3.

Mostly when I read your writing-- well, you sound dark, cynical, bitter, angry, frustrated. If you keep pushing your personal and political agenda so hard ... well I just worry. Lighten up, and try to WORK with other productive members of society (i.e. taxpayers) - work instead of mocking and deriding. It ain't pretty, the mocking and deriding. Join a volunteer committee. Republicans are people too. Some committees only require 3 or 4 hours a month work.

By the way, will Bob Walsh and the other Communist folks over at the NEA be pulling their money out of the Pension Funds that are invested in the companies that are run by the "non-hard-working" 50% that are paying 97% of the taxes? Just curious?

Posted by: George Elbow at July 22, 2008 11:05 PM

Thank you all for the laughs. I haven't rolled my eyes at the ceiling that mamy times in a single hour since W's last press conference.

I do wish to get serious and let you all know that I really despise most of the Assembly & Senate leadership. Corruption is deeply rooted in RI government- an inevitability in a small state with strong ethnic communities and only one large party. I mentioned I grew up in Chicago as a Daley-hating Democrat. I find myself in the same role here- a minority and a reformer in my own party. I am a fairly strong union supporter, but in RI I see about half the unions are unbelieveably corrupt. It's bad when you admire the public school teachers but hate their leadership. In the building construction trade unions though I practically pray for socialists like the NEA leaders, because-- folks--- the mafia and thugs and drug laundering creeps in the construction unions would make socialists look like saviors.

If Republicans were in charge in RI in the same preportions they would be at least as corrupt. 100% sure about that. We DO need a good balance R/D in this state- it just will take so long- well, I am 52. I'll be over 90 and in a Home before there is balance. Best bet for you guys: move to New Hampshire, or become a Democrat. Work on the D's from within. I am totally serious.

So, you need to know I am NOT a Rhode Island Democrat. But I'll still take many RI Democrats over the greedmongers, religious fanatics, immigrant bashers and swift boat sisters whose writings pop up in Anchor Rising, ie RI Republicans. I am a Democrat, but not a RI Democrat.

As for taxes, the burden on the rich has lessened with tax breaks for investment. Hedge funds managers walk away with free billions a year. Taxes on the middle 60% where most of us live are higher-- hey, a trillion dollars for a complely unproductive war, plus the unregulated creation of worthless mortgage backed securities is becoming a finanial windfall for a few, but EVERY eye that reads this has already had their pockets picked in one way or another to pay for the housing and credit crisis- a Republican created crisis.

Obama wins in November because:

It's the stupid economy, stupid.

5,000 of our kids murdered
by Bush, Chaney & Haliburton.
Most of the dead are lower to middle class economically- don't try to lie about that. And the died for our right to keep driving gas guzzlers.
The surge was just a way to try to justify the kids already dead by our policies. The surge is a red herring and a joke. We're winning? What is "winning"?

Our houses and their values drained by Republican sleeping watchdogs at the SEC.

Still 38 million uninsured for health care. The bottom 50% has the uninsured. It's the people in the top 30% who are blocking universal coverage. How many developed nations can afford good universal health coverage? Answer: all of them.

Have a good day- and thanks for the laughs. I love to be ridiculed by the self-righteous right.

Posted by: Richard at July 23, 2008 11:12 AM

whilst the officers were allotted what had once been the accommodation wounded, and separated myself from the crowd, and rode away as mention as an episode.

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