Fair Share

WSJ Tax Demagoguery

Truth and the politics of envy do not intersect.

49 thoughts on “Fair Share

  1. I’ve been posting, with analysis links, that the top quintile pays almost 90% of all income taxes collected while the bottom quintile sucks off almost 10% of those taxes collected for a long time but the phony “fair share” narrative shamelessly continues. Reality means nothing to Democrats anxious to pass out OPM for political gain especially the vote buyer in chief.


    1. Right. republican don’t give away largesse to big companies and donors, such as tax breaks and subsidies.

      Get out of your bubble and realize that it is BIPARTISAN attempt at political gain. Just the targets differ.


      1. In case you never understood economics which seems obvious, tax incentives attract business, creates investment and jobs. Democrat sociolism and Biden bucks creates dependency, zero wealth and massive opportunity costs while directly buying votes with OPM.


        1. Depends. If a state loads up incentives to attract a company from another state, it is probably not creating more jobs. Just taking them from Peter to pay Paul.

          That being said, incentives often help particularly if the company plays one state against others. Just a matter of how much of the store is given away.

          And incentives are not just monetary. Good schools, safe communities and an educated labor pool are important. Which makes it puzzling why a state may spend millions on incentives when that money might have improved schools and enviable communities for attracting businesses.

          Immediate gratification again trumps long term investments in infrastructure, schools, hospitals and recreation.


          Liked by 1 person

  2. This statement in WSJ’s piece stands out for me: “By the way, the trend over the past two decades is that the income tax burden has been shifting even more to the highest earners.”

    An interesting question I’ve been reading more about recently is whether the U.S. has become an oligarchy. That is: Are we a rich society owned and operated by rich people, or are we a democratic republic?

    If the highest earners are the ones bearing the greatest tax burden, then we may in fact have become an oligarchy. And heaven help us if our oligarchs ever develop the attitude that since they pay the bills, they get to tell us commoners how to live.


    1. Maybe you should read the definition of oligarchy before surmising that the US has become one.
      From Merriam-Webster : “a small group of people having control of a country, organization, or institution.”

      Just because the rich are paying the most taxes does not mean they control the govenment.

      More likely, if you were to say the rich pay the most for control (read: ownership) of politicians, then you might be more accurate in your assessment.


      1. When you have fewer and fewer people paying more and more of the bills it is fair to ask what kind of incentives the bill-payers might have.

        The rich are a small group of people who pay the largest part of the revenue the government collects. That’s a pattern one might expect to see in an oligarchy. Other patterns are possible, but that’s the one we are seeing in WSJ’s article. Hence the question: Has the U.S. become an oligarchy?


        1. Oligarchies are a broad category.

          Iran is a theocracy. But the Republican Guard, the elite military used domestically as needed, consists of leaders who are invested in many businesses. Their well being and wealth are dependent upon keeping the Mullahs in power. Nice work if you can get it.

          Putin has a similar structure. His billionaire/millionaire oligarchs shove money to him and support him politically to stay well off. Those who don’t meet with imprisonment or defenestration. Kind of keeps the mind focused on pleasing the boss. Of course we now know some were screwing the State, hence the pathetic state of their military.

          This is all simplified, of course.

          So, do we have an oligarchy? Probably not. Sure the rich have access to power, but not necessarily guaranteed by our leadership in most cases.

          The defense industry might be the closest, but the competitive nature seems to keep it from being too egregious. Plus investors have a say.

          And, thankfully, we still have the electorate that can boot the egregious cases. Though the controversy over election laws seems to indicate efforts by the right to dull that power of the people.

          Which is understandable from the conservative viewpoint since Republicans haven’t won the popular vote but once since 1992.

          IMO naturally.

          Liked by 2 people

          1. Interesting read.

            Two things give me hope.

            As you said, 50 states. They dilute the power.
            Our longevity under the Constitution.

            We could have slipped into oligarchy during the late 1800’s, but we didn’t. Trust busting helped.

            But the battle continues. Loyalty to our nation is crucial. What scared me about the last administration was the demand for Uber loyalty to the president first. This continues in the GOP, but I think this last batch of elected Republicans will implode.


            Liked by 2 people

    2. “By the way, the trend over the past two decades is that the income tax burden has been shifting even more to the highest earners.”

      And that is because over the past two decades the INCOME has been shifting to the highest earners – not because their rates have gone up. They have gone down. Way down.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Can we toss in FICA that the 1% don’t pay after the caps.

    Bush cut the taxes that exempted a big chunk of the median income family incomes. Obama more or less kept that.

    So yes, Federal Income Taxes elude many Americans. But not payroll, which is substantial: 15%. And it is supposed to cover our largest expenditures.

    Plus, the opinion states that the 1% only have 22% of taxable income. Maybe true, but misleading. Tax breaks in the form of “loans” against assets provide huge income streams to the top, yet are not considered taxable income. In fact, they are deductible. In addition to capital gains, which are exempted, taxable income is relatively low for the top as a percentage of their actual income streams.

    The people at the top have most of the money, period. So it is not strange, or unfair, to pay most of the taxes.

    We have bills to pay, obligations (bipartisan, too) to cover and neglected areas to repair. We can’t keep borrowing, as Republicans do that to cover spending. Collecting just what is owed now would help, but the right keeps strapping the IRS.

    Add in the cost of healthcare access, education and housing, it is amazing the middle even survives, never mind tapping them for more than the 15% payroll taxes.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. “We have bills to pay,”

      Tough, that doesn’t justify plunder.

      And the upper end on FICA pays more than it’s share as well. People at the lower income end of FICA get much more than they put in. the upper end gets much less in benefits than thet paid.


      1. “Tough, that doesn’t justify plunder.”

        Gee, what a great life you would be able to lead if you were not the constant victim of plunder. Hell, I will bet you could have a pile of money, multiple boats and muscle vehicles. Maybe even a compound with a private shooting range. It is just not fair. Bwaaah!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. So what! Did you earn it or just envious and think you are entitled to what you didn’t work for? In legal circles that would theft.


          1. So what!

            Maybe you missed the sarcasm. Anybody who uses the word “plunder” in such a stupid way deserves to be mocked. Actually “plundered” people do not lives of material abundance.

            Liked by 2 people

          2. Sarcasm sure is hard for some to accept, understand or even see. I think your comment may have sailed like a frisbee over his head.

            Liked by 2 people

      2. Of course they do. They have much more income.

        Do our 1% feel plundered? I don’t think so. We innovate, build, invest with few restraints.

        Paying bills is not plundering the top. Tax avoidance specialists see to that daily. Tax evasion in many cases.

        This is not a matter of envy, it is a matter of citizens covering expenses. We are still one of the safer, more secure, less corrupt places to live, but this is not free.

        Here is a thought. You want the middle and lower classes to pay more federal income tax, then let’s free up the 20+K per year they spend on healthcare insurance, never mind co-pays and deductibles.

        Liked by 1 person

          1. Their systems may be less progressive mathematically because everyone pays taxes at higher rates than we do. The main difference and why they are generally happier, more fulfilled people than we are is because they get things of value for their taxes. ZERO medical bankruptcies, freedom to change careers, less risk starting a business, no worries about paying for junior’s college, extensive public transportation, no billions and billions of student debt, etc. etc.

            So, yes, in a heartbeat.

            Liked by 1 person

          2. ANd no Republicans. THey are way too busy trying to find credible witnesses for their version of a “witch hunt”. No governing. No negotiating. Just investigate to the point Benghazi, Benghazi, Benghazi will look like a Saturday morning cartoon.

            Liked by 1 person

          3. “Well that makes you.”

            I am not sure what vote you are referring to but I will not argue that progress on rational taxes and healthcare are tough sells in a Congress that has been bought.

            Liked by 1 person

          1. Buffet is a poor example because much of his wealth i based on cronyism and influence.

            But the policy problem is that when Democrats take aim at Buffet with the tax code, they hit your dentist and the guy who started a family business and worked 80 hours a week 40 years to achieve that level of success in his last few years of work.


          2. …”much of his wealth i based on cronyism and influence.”

            Is that your new definition of capitalism?

            Start taxing capital gains at a fairer rate without the loopholes. Then maybe the rich can all bitch together. As of now, they are the ones who are stealing form the rest of us.

            Liked by 1 person

          3. Berkshire Hathaway is the largest owner of tanker cars in the country. Obama and now Biden repaid his generosity by killing pipelines to keep those tanker cars in demand.


          4. “Buffet is a poor example . . .”

            And, uh, why should the tax code NOT hit your dentist? Or people who work hard?

            I understand the emotion. Some people are convinced that they are the only ones who work hard. Everyone else is some sort of layabout. Except, of course, the scions of billionaires who actually are layabouts – for generations.

            Liked by 1 person

          5. Those tax rates are passed on the claim thay will not fall on anyone making less than $400K, yet they always do.

            And even then, many business owners and professionals struggle for decades and only hit that high level the last few years of their carreers.


          6. Whiff!

            You still have not answered the question – “why should the tax code NOT hit your dentist? Or people who work hard?” Income is income no matter how it is earned or how hard you had to work to get it.

            Liked by 1 person

          7. Read more carefully.

            When the voters are sold on these tax rates, we are always led to believe they are directed at billionaires and overpaid CEOs’ but it is your dentist and you HVAC guy and other hard working people who sacrifice for their income.

            If you tried to get voters to support those taxes honestly, putting the faces of the guys next door who leave for work before dawn every day it would be a hard sell.

            But like everything Democrats do, it is done by misdirection and deception.


          8. “Read more carefully.”

            I read carefully enough. You are saying that tax changes affecting those above $400K have been sold on the basis of lies. No they aren’t. You made that up.

            Liked by 1 person

          9. Yes they are.

            The rates are always described as applying to privileged elites and CEOs. but the vast majority of those affected are hard working small business owners

            By all means try selling those rates honestly, that would be fun.


          10. “Yes they are.”
            No, they aren’t.

            Name ONE tax law that promised no increase in rates for those earning less than $400K which, when passed, increased the rates on those earning less than $400K. If you cannot do that you are repeating “alternative facts.”

            Liked by 1 person

          11. Part of Biden’s tax plan is to allow the Trump tax cuts to expire. That will raise the rates on those making over $75K

            And, remember that the corporate tax increases will be passed on to all counsumers, right down to the poorest.


          12. …”to allow the Trump tax cuts to expire.”

            That was written into the 2017 “reform” law under Trump. If Biden continues it, it is a continuation of Trump’s own policy. The individual ones. The corporate ones in 2017 were PERMANENT. If you are talking bout the corporate ones, then I have no issue with it. The tax beaks given to corporations were TOO much. AND they did NOT result in better outcomes for consumers. Just for stockholders and C-suite denizens.


          13. “Part of Biden’s tax plan is to allow the Trump tax cuts to expire.”

            Trump and the Republicans passed one major bill when they had full control. It was this tax giveaway to the rich. But they had a problem. The silly fiscally responsible Democrats would not go along. So they had to pass it through reconciliation but that required that it be revenue neutral over time. They achieved that by leaving the breaks to corporations and the rich permanent but sunsetting the personal income tax cuts.

            And somehow this Republican measure is all Biden’s fault?


            But of course the slimy Republicans will try to blame him for raising taxes since he will not use his political capital to help them avoid the consequences of their actions.


          14. Fiscally responsible Democrats????

            First. the Trump tax cuts benefitted the middle class more than the top 1%


            And they paid for themselves by boosting profits enough to offset the lower rates


            Only by unrealistic static analysis was there any loss. experience proved that to be false.


          15. “Fiscally responsible Democrats????”

            Yes, obviously. Tax and spend is fiscally responsible. Borrow and spend it not. Are you capable of an adult conversation? Or only know how to spout bogus talking points? Sometimes I have to wonder.

            You want to play around with rates. I am talking about money. People at the top got the lion’s share from Trump’s giveaway program.


            The claim that the tax cuts paid for themselves is FALSE. This has been demonstrated time and again. But still you spread the LIE.



          16. Aside from the fact that your Brookings cite only goes to 2018, not 2022 as the Realclear did, it indulges in some very odd fantasy. The tax cuts were barely in effect by the end of 2018.

            Note the graph showing declining revenues the last two years of Obama, then declining a bit more for the one year after the cuts. But the pre Trump tax cut Projection goes sharply upward,

            What, absent the tax cuts was going to cause that explosive growth as soon as Obama left. Was he that bad that simply him leaving town with no other stimulus would justify that projection?

            Or did they just go back after the growth the tax cuts created and assumed it would have happened without the tax cuts, by magic and the higher rates would then have produced more revenue.

            Democrats rely on magic an awful lot.


          17. “I am talking about money. People at the top got the lion’s share from Trump’s giveaway program.”


            Of course the people who pay 90% of the taxes will get the most dollars back from a tax cut.

            And the 47% who pay no incomes taxes at all will not benefit. Other than, of course, in better jobs and a better economy.

            But who really benefits more, the middle class family that gets $1000 off their taxes or the billionaire who gets $100,000 off?

            Whose life is changed more.

            You are so consumed by wealth envy that you are blind to the real world.


          18. Of course the people who pay 90% of the taxes will get the most dollars back from a tax cut.

            Well, why have you been denying that obvious fact in every discussion? Trump’s tax cut went mainly to the people at the top. Finally you admit the obvious truth.

            Now you argue that $1,000 means more to an average family than $100K does to a billionaire. And you are right. Which is exactly why taxes need to be very progressive. In economic terms the marginal value of a dollar to the very wealthy is a tiny fraction of the marginal value to a working family. Your own argument kills all the whining about progressive taxation being unfair.


          19. Again, you ignore the original point.

            The tax rates aimed at the billionaire wind up falling on the guy with an HVAC company who spent decades building a business to reach the higher income levels in his last few years before retirement, and that $1000 sure as hell means a lot to him.

            Aside from which, taking more than a person’s proportional share of the cost of government just because he has it is wrong. Perception doesn’t change that.


          20. “Again, you ignore the original point.”

            Uh no. I addressed your original point. I asked why a dentist or someone who worked hard should not be taxed on their income like anybody else. Are we going to get a new bureau in the IRS to see who is worthy and who is not?

            And, as we have seen with your lame example of the expiring Trump tax cuts, your claims about tax increases falling on the little guy are imaginary. The little guy had his taxes cut by Trump and raised by Trump BACK TO WHERE THEY WERE because the Democrats would not go along with the fiscally irresponsible giveaway of billions to rich people. Trump could have cut every dentist’s taxes and every Mom and Pop entrepreneur’s and made the cuts permanent. He did not. He made the giveaways to the rich permanent. Take up your gripes with him.

            As for what is “wrong” you have already explained – rightly – that the billionaire is hurt less by a $100k tax than a working man is by a $1K tax. Follow your own logic to where it leads.


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