Tax the rich? Guess what, we already are, big time!

Although the rich are often criticized for exploiting loopholes in our tax system to reduce their tax burden (which does happen), the top 10% in this country also holds the mark for shouldering a widely disproportionately big percentage of federal income taxes every tax year.  Although the top 10% collect about 45% of our nation’s total income, they are responsible for paying over 70% of the nation’s income tax.

I suppose it is clear to see why states with the highest tax burden, like California, New York and New Jersey, have seen a net loss in domestic migration of its residents, while states with lower tax burdens like Arizona, Florida and Texas have seen a rise in migrations.  Combined with state income taxes, many residents in the more heavily taxed states pay more than half of their income straight to the government.

Empirical evidence is clear that taxes effect inter-country migrations, and the states that confiscate more from residents are always on the losing end.  When the rich leave, who is left footing the tax bill?  The bill does not simply go away.

Even Bill Maher, hardly a source for right-wing or conservative commentary, has lamented on his program just this year that taxes are getting more and more outrageous.  “Liberals, you could actually lose me,” Maher said. “It’s outrageous what we’re paying [in taxes]. Over 50 percent. I’m willing to pay my share, but yeah, it’s ridiculous.”

California is often cited as an example of negative inter-country migration, and why not?  Californians recently passed Proposition 30, which not only raises sales taxes from 7.25% up to 7.5%, but also creates new and higher tax brackets for the state’s more successful residents.  Folks making between $250,000 and $300,000 are now forced to fork over 10.3% of their income to the state, up from 9.3%.  The richest people, those earning more than $1 million a year, will pay 13.3%, up from 10.3% (a whopping 3% increase).  Combine that with federal income tax rates and people’s tax burdens in California easily extend past 50%.

In terms of making the rich “pay their fair share”, I agree.  Let’s lower the income tax rate, encourage further innovation, hiring and spending, and keep our nation’s rich people (and their money) happily settled into the United States and our bank accounts rather than in Cayman Island accounts to avoid our nation’s punitive system of taxation.

Fat, dumb and happy: Can rich politicians truly represent us?

MoneyAs the majority of middle class America struggles to keep up with economic uncertainty and punishing new health care regulations, the American political landscape is chalked full of extremely wealthy politicians that are far removed from the reality that our nation faces.  Do these politicians truly represent us?

What happens to government when men of wealth are responsible for its day-to-day functions?  Can Americans reasonably expect decisions to be made in their best interest when the majority of politicians will never have to worry about their own retirements, finances or future?  How can a rich political class put aside its own selfish interests and instead focus on the people they supposedly represent?

The leaders of our republic are saturated with cash.  President Barack Obama is worth nearly $10 million, but that’s only a drop in the bucket compared to others like Mitt Romney, who’s net worth is estimated at over $250 million, or John Kerry at $193 million, or Ted Kennedy at $163 million.

How about New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg?  He’s worth a whopping $22 billion (yes, with a ‘b’).  Arnold Schwarzenegger has nearly $400 million to his name, Jon Corzine enjoys a net worth of nearly $300 million and Darrell Issa at $220 million.  Politicians like Diane Feinstein, Jay Rockefeller, Mark Warner, Bob Corker and countless others – names you probably have never heard of, but serve in our government – are worth 10s of millions of dollars.

But, this does not account for the money needed to win national elections.  Including Super PAC spending, over $2 billion was spent on the 2012 presidential election alone.  $2 billion on one election!  That is more than the majority of Americans would see in 100 lifetimes.

This is not the way a democratic republic is supposed to work.

The elite cannot possibly rule over the masses in the best interest of the masses.  It is human nature to look after your own well-being, and when millions of dollars are available to do so, it gets much easier.  From lobbyists to kickbacks, from special interests to sweetheart deals, our political class is in the tank for nobody but themselves.  Why else would a campaign cost $2 billion?  Why is serving in our government worth spending more money than most Americans could ever dream of?  Because our government harbors wealth and protects the elite.

But let me ask a simple question: Who better to represent the middle class than someone in the middle class?  Serving in our government should be an honor and struggle, not a pulpit to be used to obtain and maintain wealth.  A man or woman who works hard every day to put food on their table at night is a person that knows the reality of our nation, each and every day.

Not just knowing the struggle, but experiencing the struggle, keeps politicians honest.  Sheltering politicians in Washington D.C. with taxpayer-funded aids, trips and resources removes the struggle that our political class needs to keep the best interests of the people in focus.

The people are forgotten as our political class continues to get rich.

Obama demands tax hikes on rich before any compromises

Days after the re-election of Barack Obama, the president said that any compromise from his office on the issue of taxes and the national debt will hinge on the inclusion of tax increases for wealthier Americans in an fruitless effort to slow our nation’s rising debt and limit the ensuing economic calamity.

“I’m committed to solving our fiscal challenges, but I refuse to accept any approach that isn’t balanced,” the president said.  Apparently to Mr. Obama, “balanced” means nothing more than offsetting any spending cuts with further tax revenue from this country’s job providers.

Obama insists on raising taxes on those who make more than $250,000 a year, although hard numbers on how much of a rise remains unknown.  According to Obama, a majority of Americans also believe this nation’s punitive tax system should be strengthened for those who are considered “wealthy”.

“I just want to point out, this was a central question during the election. It was debated over and over again. And on Tuesday night, we found out that the majority of Americans agree with my approach,” he said.

This news comes at a time when deficits remain at all time highs.  October, the first fiscal year in 2013, has already seen a massive increase in budget deficits — $6 billion above the estimated $114 billion.