Obama’s Against Deficit Spending?

Just who is he trying to fool?

President Barack Obama, calling current deficit spending “unsustainable,” warned of skyrocketing interest rates for consumers if the U.S. continues to finance government by borrowing from other countries.

“We can’t keep on just borrowing from China,” Obama said at a town-hall meeting in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, outside Albuquerque. “We have to pay interest on that debt, and that means we are mortgaging our children’s future with more and more debt.”

Holders of U.S. debt will eventually “get tired” of buying it, causing interest rates on everything from auto loans to home mortgages to increase, Obama said. “It will have a dampening effect on our economy.”

There’s only one way this is a coherent statement, because he’s obviously not against spending obscene amounts of money.

So if he’s going to stop deficit spending, but he’s not going to cut spending, that leaves one option. Taxes. Get ready.

Hat Tip: QandO

  • http://thelibertypapers.org/2005/11/21/who-is-eric/ Eric

    Notice that Obama has begun to do the classic authoritarian routine around stoking fear of the “other”:

    We can’t keep on just borrowing from China

    Straight out of the left wing authoritarian playbook.

  • southernjames

    Wait a minute. More taxes?

    What the heck kind of Hope and Change is THAT?

    The final two days before the election, when Obama still had a bottomless pool of money and McCain was broke, down here in Florida virtually EVERY SINGLE commerical break during prime time t.v., featured an Obama ad – and what was HAMMERED home in those final days, over and over and over and over again…was the promise of “tax BREAKS for families making under $250,000 a year.” It was right up there on the screen, so unless you changed the channel you couldn’t even escape that promise, repeated a thousand times, if you muted the sound…

  • TerryP


    Obama is a very skilled liar and the media and much of the masses won’t call him on it.

  • indygirl

    I don’t agree with everything Obama is doing but he is right about China.

    We are essentially owned by others which weakens our entire infrastructure and leaves us vulnerable.

    It is very important to re-iterate that – we need to come up with a way to start paying down the debt, or at least stop borrowing. The only solution it seems is to raise taxes on the 5% of americans that control 95% of the wealth.

    This could be easily done by putting back in place the tax provisions that were taken away when this demographic received major tax cuts. We forget that the huge debt is the result of not only massive spending but tax cuts to those who could afford to pay – approx. 5-10% of the population.

  • southernjames

    “This could be easily done by putting back in place the tax provisions that were taken away when this demographic received major tax cuts.”

    False. Not even close.

  • Akston

    I agree that higher taxes are likely to be on the way. They will be paired with an increase in money supply by the Federal Reserve, so dollars themselves will continue to lose value as well.

    The current $1,8 trillion dollar deficit is $6,000 is for every man, woman, and child in the United States. Since around 41% of Americans pay no income tax at all, it’s really just over $10,000 per income tax payer.

    That’s just the deficit – the amount that the Federal Government is planning to spend beyond what they currently have. If you were broke, would you think it was wise to spend $10,000 more than you possess this year, on top of an existing $62,000 debt (each income taxpayer’s share of an $11 trillion debt)?

    The Laffer Curve is really more of a laugher curve when considering this kind of silliness.

    Until the orgy of federal spending stops, the idea that increasing taxes will fix everything is a pipe dream.

    No sane person attempts to spend his way out of debt.

  • http://pith-n-vinegar.blogspot.com/ Quincy

    Don’t you guys know why Obama wants the people to stop living in debt? He needs us to pay off *his* debt.

  • indygirl

    Indygirl: “This could be easily done by putting back in place the tax provisions that were taken away when this demographic received major tax cuts.”

    southernjames: “False. Not even close.”

    Is that a fact…interesting perspective –

    It is a simplistic view but common sense tells you that increasing revenues by implementing back into place the taxes on the top 5% that control 95% of the wealth could be a step in the right direction and worth considering. It amounts to a few cents on the dollar for those that can afford it that would provide a huge source of revenue – those protesting do so based on prinicipal, not financial impact.

    So, definately not false, and how “close” is up for debate.

  • TerryP

    Indygirl, past history has shown us on numerous occasions that when you raise taxes on especially the rich you bring in less revenue and when you lower taxes on them you actually bring in more revenue. This seems counter-intuitive, but raising and lowering of taxes are not done in a box. When you raise taxes people do more to avoid them and when you lower taxes people do less to avoid them. Our system is so complex that rich people normally can find ways around paying taxes if they try hard enough.

  • TerryP

    Another thing, the top 5% of income earners do not control 95% of the wealth. Income and wealth are two entirely different things. Many people with incredible amounts of wealth do not pay much in taxes. Look at The Kerry’s. He and his wife have a lot of wealth but when he was running for President he was only paying something like a 5-10% income tax. Now contrast that with someone who has a high income but not a lot of wealth yet, such as a young doctor or engineer. They are likely paying upwards of 40-50% in income/ss taxes, if not higher. At some point they may have a fair amount of wealth, but our tax system is trying very hard to prevent them from ever reaching the point to where they are very wealthy. Out tax system is more about trying to ensure that the people currently with wealth can keep it, while at the same time ensuring that others, even with high incomes will never be able to have considerable wealth.

  • TerryP

    Indygirl, you also mention that it is just a few cents on the dollar for rich people. Well it is only a few cents on the dollar for poor people as well. It doesn’t matter if you are rich or poor, a 5% increase is five cents on every dollar you earn. The percentage would not change rich or poor. What changes is the total amount. To someone who makes $20,000 moving the rate from say 10% to 15% would mean a $1,000 increase without other deductions but changing the rate from say 35% to 40% on someone who makes $2,000, 000 would be an increase of $100,000. While it is a big amount in relative terms for each person, who has the biggest incentive to avoid this tax and the means to do so? If the rich person can hire an accountant for anything under the $100,000 that will help him avoid the tax he may likely do it. The only person making out well on this is the accountant, who did nothing productive but help avoid taxes. This did nothing to make our economy grow, but instead cost time and energy that could have been put to better use it it weren’t for our high tax rates and complex system.

  • indygirl

    To TerryP –

    From: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities: “Tax Cuts – Myths and Realities”

    …”Further, while the Administration has credited the tax cuts with the drop in the fiscal year 2007 deficit to “only” $162 billion, the 2007 budget would have been in surplus were it not for the tax cuts. Based on Joint Committee on Taxation estimates, the total 2007 cost of tax cuts enacted since January 2001 was $300 billion (taking into account the increased interest costs on the debt that have resulted from the deficit financing of the tax cuts). This means that even with the spending for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the federal budget would have been in surplus in 2007 if the tax cuts had not been enacted, or if their costs had been offset.

    While supporters of these tax cuts claim that their positive economic effects have lowered their cost, the non-partisan Congressional Research Service found in a September, 2006 report that “at the current time, as the stimulus effects have faded and the effect of added debt service has grown, the 2001-2004 tax cuts are probably costing more than their estimated revenue cost.””


  • Merf

    Indygirl, the solution has nothing to do with taxes.

    Yes, it would be nice to raise or cut taxes to balance the budget and get rid of the deficit, but the problem will not be solved by fiddling with the tax code.

    The only solution is for the gov’t to SPEND LESS.

    That is the only way to fix the problem.

    If a drunk has no alcohol, giving him the bottle will make him think the problem is fixed, but we all know that it is not.

    Raising taxes– or lowering them, or restructuring them — will fix nothing so long as the gov’t cannot control spending.

    How many broke people have won the lottery, blown the whole thing, and have nothing to show for all the millions they won? Many, because the problem is, at most, 1% income, and the other 99% of the problem is how you use the money . . . . If you are an idiotic spendthrift wastrel, as the gov’t is, then more money only means more chances to mess up.

  • indygirl

    I did not say 5% of “wage earners”, I was referring to the top 5% of the wealthiest americans. To clarify, this group benefited the most overall because most of their income is in the form of capital gains.

    People will not stop looking for, or forego tax breaks simply because they are at a lower tax rate. The loopholes are, and have been out there for a long time, many of them closed as time goes on. Granted our tax system is complex, but what is the alternative?

    A person with taxable income of 2,000,000 a year has already hired a tax accountant and is already benefiting from any possible tax savings. I know this because I am a tax accountant – you cannot simply “create” a loophole out of thin air that you didn’t already know about simply because someone’s tax rate goes up.

    Supporters have only pointed to times in history where tax cuts have coincided with economic growth – but they ignore the impact on the federal budget -there have since been many holes poked through that theory.

    Since our tax system is progressive the percentage IS different for rich and poor. The point is, anyone with a 2,000,000 a year income can afford the additonal 100,000 – although realistically it would be more around 2-3%, or 40,000-60,000.

    The IRS has significantly eliminated many tax shelters of the past. Even if I found something new, it would offset only a fraction of the total amount.

  • indygirl

    The solution does have something to do with taxes since it is taxes that provide the revenue which provides for the spending. A balanced budget is the combination of the appropriate revenues matched with fiscal spending.

    Yes, spending is a major issue, but we are talking about what is the appropriate approach to generating revenues. Americans pay MUCH less in federal income tax than most other industrialized nations so it would not be too far fetched to question the validity of the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthiest americans. There was a time when these taxes were as high as 90%.

    If, no matter how much you curb spending, the revenues are not adequate there will always be a growing budget deficit.

  • southernjames

    Not even close. I stick by my statement. I base my position on articles like this:


    Break down that article for me IndyGirl – tell me where it is wrong. Convince me.

    Until then, I call bullshit on the DNC class warfare talking point claims that just raising taxes on “the rich” in this country, by a level they can easily “afford,” (yet at the same time will not cripple business growth and market investment?) will “easily” (your word) solve the massive and crippling deficit crisis caused by the hyper-spending of money taking place right now.

    And I love this subjective — “they can AFFORD another $100,000.”. Says who? Says you? Says Dear Leader? Why stop there? Why can’t someone who makes $2 mill/year “afford” another $1 million in taxes? Why does anyone ‘deserve’ to take home more than $250,000 a year?

  • indygirl

    The Wall Street Journal? Do you have something less biased?

    I already posted but here it is again, part of the basis for my conclusion:


    I am just sharing what I have learned, it is up to you to do your own research and draw your own conclusions – I personally prefer the empirical research over the articles in the for profit, biased publications –

  • indygirl

    When I point out that they can “afford” it, I am pointing out the FACT that the wealthier a person is, the LESS they pay in federal income tax as a percentage of their total income as compared to a middle class wage earner – let me re-phrase – they can afford to pay their “fair share”.

    Sorry I should have been more clear on that.

  • indygirl

    I didn’t say that raising taxes would “easily solve” anything – the point was that we could “easily” regain some of the lost revenues by letting the Bush-era tax cuts expire in 2010 – what I meant by “easily” is that this would be a step in the right direction and accomplished by doing nothing.

    As I said before americans payed less in federal tax than most industrialized countries before the Bush-era tax cuts. It was a political move by the Bush administration and nothing less.

  • indygirl

    And as for a potential drop in “business growth and market investment” how do you justify the tax cuts as encouraging these, when in fact economic growth has steadily declined since the tax cuts?

  • indygirl

    The reality is that there is not just one solution to this massive problem.

    I read the article in the WSJ – it is an opinion piece to boot. The author only points out that letting the tax cuts expire will not solve the deficit problem. No one said that it would! But implementing the cuts sure did contribute to the problem, like the author said, the deficit would still be 1 trillion instead of 2 trillion – in my opinion, that is 1 trillion less that we would have to come up with.

    There is no single answer that will provide a solution – but a trillion dollars in lost revenue,is, extremely material.

  • indygirl

    The first paragraph of the WSJ article the author states:

    “On Tuesday, he(Obama)left the impression that we need merely end “tax breaks for the wealthiest 2% of Americans,” and he promised that households earning less than $250,000 won’t see their taxes increased by “one single dime.””

    He then goes on to elaborate as if Obama stated this as an absolute truth and then formed his own opinion and conclusion with loose, un-substantiated data. After the second paragraph you forget that the article is based on an “impression” left on the author – Obama has never stated, or even left the impression that rolling back the tax cuts are the be all end all to the budget deficit problem. Therefore, his argument is meaningless and irrelevent.

    To the average reader the article will ruffle some feathers – that is the intent.

    The author even goes as far as to downplay the trillion dollars in lost revenue – half of the deficit – as if it is not a material lost source of revenue – laughable to anyone that works with budgets at any level –

  • John222


    The only way a tax system can come close to being considered “fair” is if the benefits one receives are in accord with the amount one pays in. As long as some people pay nothing, and still benefit from the services our government provides our tax system will never be “fair”. One could also argue that the system would be more “fair” if only those who paid taxes had any say (votes) on what our government does.
    How can it possibly be considered fair to determine a person’s “fair share” based on how much they have or are able to create? “From each according to his ability…” comes to mind. If you want to be “fair” be fair about it.

  • http://thelibertypapers.org/ Brad Warbiany


    If Bush hadn’t increased spending from under $2T to nearly $3T over his 8 years in office, we wouldn’t be in this mess. If Obama hadn’t decided to hit the throttle and bump spending to nearly $4T immediately upon taking office, we wouldn’t be in this mess.

    You can argue all you want about taxes on the rich, but it doesn’t change the fact that if we didn’t ramp up spending the way we did, our government would be in far better fiscal shape right now.

    But even if we take your $300B prediction of revenue from reversing the Bush tax cuts, isn’t that just a drop in the bucket of Obama’s $1.8T deficit?

  • indygirl

    John222 – When I point out that they can “afford” it, I am pointing out the FACT that the wealthier a person is, the LESS they pay in federal income tax as a percentage of their total income as compared to a middle class wage earner – let me re-phrase – they can afford to pay their “fair share”.

    Sorry I should have been more clear on that.

  • indygirl

    IThe 300B is not my prediction, but what ever it is, balancing a budget involves considering each line item – the revenue generated by rolling back the tax cuts is only one step toward balancing the budget.

  • John222


    Perhaps I wasn’t clear. How does one determine what the “fair share” is for each person. Who gets to make that determination? Will it be based on how much each person has or what they are able to create? From your comments it seems to me that you are more interested in a more even distribution of wealth than you are in being “fair”.

  • TerryP


    What it seems you are asking the rich to do is pay more then their “fair share”, since they can afford it. They have to be paying more then their “fair share” since roughly half of the population pays no income tax or even receives tax credits back. If they are not paying any income tax or even receiving refundable credits back beyond anything owed how are they paying their “fair share”. If you truly wanted a “fair” income tax then you would have to have a flat rate tax with no deductions or credits and with all benefits being taxed as well. This would mean that the rich would pay far more then the poor but it would be “fair” and at an equal rate. This obviously won’t fly in our gov’t dependent society, without some type of deduction or credit, but it certainly could be done in a far less complex manner then our current system and catch many of those “rich” people who use our current system to avoid taxes.

    The point you should be making is not about “fair share” as the rich obviously pay more then their “fair share”, but you should just make it more clear about what you are really after. The rich have more wealth then the rest of us so we are going to go after it until they don’t have more wealth then the rest of us. The problem with doing this is that it makes all of us poorer.

    As many other commentators have said here, however, the problem is not with the revenue, but rather the problem is with the spending. In fact, once the dust clears from the recession, the gov’t revenues seem set on going way above where they have historically been as a % of GDP. The problem is that the spending has increased even faster, especially with Obama taking office, though Bush was no slouch in that regard either. If you really want to balance the budget then we need to decrease spending dramatically and that means giving up some of the goodies that we are receiving from the gov’t.

  • http://thelibertypapers.org/ Brad Warbiany

    The 300B is not my prediction, but what ever it is, balancing a budget involves considering each line item – the revenue generated by rolling back the tax cuts is only one step toward balancing the budget.

    You see, that’s where we differ. You’re trying to balance the budget. I’m trying to make it (and taxes) lower. I’m appalled by a federal government that plans to spend $3.6T in a year, when a mere 9 years ago it was under $2T.

    You say “I want to spend this much, so you have to pay taxes to cover it.” I say that we need to cut spending.

    The whole point of the post was that Obama is focusing on deficits because he wants to raise taxes, NOT cut spending.

  • http://thelibertypapers.org/ Brad Warbiany

    As I said before americans payed less in federal tax than most industrialized countries before the Bush-era tax cuts. It was a political move by the Bush administration and nothing less.

    Way to cherry-pick. Yes, our federal income tax rates are lower than many other nations. But then you add payroll tax, property tax, state income tax, state sales tax, excise taxes, gas taxes, etc. We have a much different tax system than, say, Germany. Here in California I face a 9.3% income tax rate on top of a 7%+ (depending where I’m at) sales tax rate.

    They get you coming and going here, and when you add up all the different taxes it’s far more cumbersome than just my federal income tax rate.

  • southernjames

    IndyGirl, you discredit the WSJ as being “too biased.”

    And base your “empirical” research “facts” on an outfit called “Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.” I went to that site. Looked pretty impressive. Very “dry” and statistical guru-ish.

    But then I did a ten second search on this outfit. Quote:

    “According to New York Times reporter Matt Bai, CBPP is one of three left wing think tanks funded by the Democracy Alliance. The other two are the Center for American Progress and the Economic Policy Institute. According to Bai’s account, representatives of CBPP and the other two Democracy Alliance-sponsored think tanks attended the May 2006 meeting of the Democracy Alliance at the Barton Creek Resort near Austin, Texas. Their role was to “talk about the agendas they were busy crafting that would catapult Democratic politics into the economic future.”

    Gosh, no wonder wealth re-distributionist policies appear to find clear favor in the tenor of the discussions. Re-distribution of wealth is the left wing’s stock and trade, after all, isn’t it.

    To use your words…”Do you have something less biased?”

    If you can site studies from that organization, can I site studies and have them be granted equal weight by you, if they come from say, the Heritage Foundation?

  • indygirl

    To southerjames: If they are based on empirical evidence – yes.

  • indygirl

    I personally believe in “give according to ability, take according to need” – not that “need” should be subjective.

    I have been fortunate enough to be on the “give” side of the equation. Many more are not so lucky.

    Our progressive tax system works because opportunity is not equal. Becoming “rich” in this country is a privledge. Paying taxes is the price you pay in return for that opportunity. The question is, what is appropriate.

    The re-distribution of wealth is necessary, as history has taught time and again that control by a few results in poverty for the masses.

    As for the CBPP, their information is “Very “dry” and statistical guru-ish” because it is not meant to be entertaining. Doesn’t matter if they are a democrat leaning organization; the information is verifiable.

  • indygirl

    Although you won’t see them on this blog, over 80% of economists and the majority of the super rich support our progressive tax sytem.

    A few arguments for this rationale is, to put it simply:

    If those that can barely afford to pay their living expenses, also must pay tax, they have less disposable income to spend on consumption – the super rich depend on consumption because they are the primary owners of businesses that rely on this consumption. They would rather that they, rather than the government, get that money.

    The government employs protections for the super rich through law enforcement, asset protection, etc. – therefore, the super rich must compensate the government for these services that are paid for with tax dollars.

    I never understood why people that do not belong to a particular class are so quick to defend them. People that actually belong to that class know that the price they pay benefits them in the long run.

  • John222

    Many of us believe that individuals have a right to their property regardless of how much of it they have accumulated or are able to create.

    Incidentally, here is an article based on empirical data from the Congressional Budget Office. It shows how the Bush tax cuts actually increased the burden on the rich.


  • Akston

    “Classes” are arbitrary distinctions intended to fuel envy, dismissal, contempt, schadenfreude and a whole host of other negative perspectives. These perspectives are evaluations of individuals based on some group to which that individual is supposedly a member. Evaluating people by the “class” one perceives them to occupy is little different than evaluating those people by their religion or skin color.

    Define “rich”, precisely.

    Define “poor”.

    Individuals have a natural right to life, liberty and property (property being an extension of a person’s life’s efforts).

    …to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the consent of the governed…

    The American form of government was not established to enforce that everyone pay his or her fair progressive share. It was established to protect life and liberty, not to enforce some people’s view of economic justice over others.

  • http://pith-n-vinegar.blogspot.com/ Quincy

    “Becoming “rich” in this country is a privledge.”

    No, it’s not. A privilege can be taken away. Free, mutually-beneficial trade between two willing parties is as fundamental a human right as free speech or life itself. If certain people get rich from the principled exercise of this right, that is one of the consequences of freedom. Punishing those people for it is punishing them for exercising a core human right.

    Imagine, if you will, punishing Hollywood because they got “too rich” exercising their right to free expression. It would be an outrage. Yet the left proposes the same for those whose crime is satisfying the wants and needs of his fellow citizens.

    Taxation is the price we pay for the costs involved in establishing the basic law and order that allow free people to coexist. It has no other moral purpose. Taking from some who got “too rich” to give to others who are “too poor” is an act of capriciousness that destabilizes society.

    Debt, though, is worse still. Obama, as Bush did before him, and as presidents have done for generations, is making promises in the names of everyone under 35, including those who have yet to be born, to pay off the money he’s spending for his own political gain. Really, how fair is it sign an IOU with the name of a child that hasn’t even been conceived yet?

  • southernjames

    “I personally believe in “give according to ability, take according to need” – not that “need” should be subjective.”


    “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.”

    Karl Marx.

    It is clear that you have been thoroughly indoctrinated by the leftist dogma, from your professors? Wow, where to even begin…

    “Becoming “rich” in this country is a privilege.” Wrong. I do consider myself lucky or “privileged” to have been born in this country where I have had a greater opportunity for personal advancement than had I been born in a re-distributionist collective workers utopia. (Hmmm – I suppose there must be a reason poor people around the world go to extreme lengths to get IN rather than out of this country – and which direction do the rafts full of people drift, 100% OF THE TIME between my state and Cuba, even though they have that wonderful free healthcare (!) so praised by Michael Moore and 100% literacy (!) – but I digress).

    I have worked my everliving ass off for the past 30 years to achieve whatever “wealth” I have been able to accumulate. It was not a gift bestowed upon me. What I do have, I have worked hard to earn.

    “The government employs protections for the super rich through law enforcement, asset protection, etc. – therefore, the super rich must compensate the government for these services that are paid for with tax dollars.” Oh I get it. The government merely exists as a protection racket for the “super” rich. Talk about a doctrinaire Marxist propaganda talking point.

    Words have meaning. The English language has meaning. You (and I) are not on the “give” side of any equuation. Giving means a VOLUNTARY contribution. What you and I pay to the government is TAKEN by force of law, from us.

    My essential philosophical problem with far left liberals, comes down to their own individual hypocrisy. It is always “re-distribution for thee, but not for me, if I can possibly avoid it.” Always. You’re “privileged” to have become a “giver” of taxes, but unless you are the one exception alive, I guaran-damn-tee you that YOU have very aggressively sought out every single possible legal loophole/deduction to reduce YOUR OWN “gift” to the IRS, and maximize the amount of the money you can personally retain. For yourself.

    You have been asked to define “rich” and to define “poor.” Please do so. That should be interesting.

    And I’ll add – define how “need” can be defined objectively, if you say it should not be subjective.

    And feel free to educate me as to how “ability” is to be defined. And WHO gets to define it. Can I apply for a job with Timmy “TurboTax” Geithner and get that job – “Ability Definer.”?

    You said you’re an accountant, and have been “privileged” to be a “giver.” I suppose that must mean that you have a gross pre-tax income in excess of 6 figures. Well, whatever you “gave” last year, I have decided that you are “able” to “give” more. A lot more. You know, if you want to keep the protection racket you are “privileged” to enjoy, as a member of that ‘upper CLASS’ going. So I’ve decided that you have “the ability” to pay $35,000 more than you paid last year. “Others” live just fine on net take home of $35,000 after all their “giving” is complete. Why not you?

  • indygirl

    to john222: nice try, most people would fall for a one page, cherry picked explanation of how the super rich are so mistreated –

    the author argues:

    “Critics counter that the increase in tax shares for high-earners was due to income increases at the top of the income spectrum. But a closer look at the data shows this just is not the case.

    The top 20 percent of earners saw their share of pre-tax income rise from 54.8 percent to 55.7 percent, from 2000 to 2006. During that same period, their share of federal income taxes increased from 81.2 percent to 86.3 percent.

    The modest increase in incomes is not large enough to explain the large increase in the share of income taxes paid by the top 20 percent. Rather, the removal of substantial numbers of low-income taxpayers from the federal income tax rolls is the real culprit.”

    How do we know that those “removed from the federal income tax rolls” were not the result of reduced income? The author conveniently leaves out that statistic. In other words, the “culprits” are those who made LESS money – the author is right about one thing, when your income goes down, so does your tax burden –

    here is a more thorough analysis:


    “Direct estimates by the Urban Institute-Brookings Institution Tax Policy Center that consider only the impact of the recent tax policy changes provide definitive evidence that the recent tax cuts have widened income inequality. The Tax Policy Center finds that as a result of the tax cuts enacted since 2001:[7]

    In 2006, households in the bottom fifth of the income spectrum received tax cuts (averaging $20) that raised their after-tax incomes by an average of 0.3 percent.

    Households in the middle fifth of the income spectrum received tax cuts (averaging $740) that raised their after-tax incomes an average of 2.5 percent.

    But the top one percent of households received tax cuts in 2006 (averaging $44,200) that increased their after-tax income by an average of 5.4 percent.

    Households with incomes exceeding $1 million received an average tax cut of $118,000 in 2006, which represented an increase of 6.0 percent in their after-tax income. That is more than double the percentage increase received by the middle fifth of households.”

  • indygirl

    “I personally believe in “give according to ability, take according to need” – not that “need” should be subjective.”

    Like I said, “I personally believe” – that is mine, not Marx.

    I am referring to all aspects of life – not just taxes. And what the IRS doesn’t “take”, I freely give, so no I am not opposed to paying my fair share, and yes, I am able to give more. I suppose I should thank you for looking out for my “best interest” – unfortunately you do so at the expense of your own.

    “Need” is subjective in regard to differentiating such from a want.

    Becoming “wealthy” in this country is a priviledge because those with a “net” worth that far exceeds what they “need” to comfortably survive was not obtained solely from their own “hard work”. The very wealthy would not be so without the hard work of others – the same people that pay little or no taxes, so yes, if paying what, in the scheme of things amounts to no visible or material affect on my own life then I support that – it is in my best interest to. Many people, alot of them educated, work 2 or 3 jobs just to survive and never become “wealthy”. And manual laborers are the backbone of this country. So yes, a closer look would reveal that access to opportunity IS the deciding factor – hence the “priviledge”.

    That is reality as differentiated from the theory and falacy of “The American Dream”.

  • http://pith-n-vinegar.blogspot.com/ Quincy

    “The very wealthy would not be so without the hard work of others”

    And you would not be exercising your right to free expression on this site without the hard work of others. Do you have the skills needed to design the microelectronics needed for a PC, fabricate them, generate electricity to run them, build and maintain a communications network to connect them, build the software to power both your PC and the communications network, and build and maintain the hardware and software to run the website your posting to? I’m going to guess you don’t. Don’t worry, neither do I.

    You rely on the work of others to voice your opinion. You rely on the work of those who built the computer you’re typing on, those who run the communications network your data traveled over, and those who run this website, among others. You have either directly or indirectly compensated each of these parties for their work.

    By your reasoning, however, your free speech is now a privilege because you use the work of others to exercise it. Further, by your reasoning, a third party can come in and decide to curtail your speech if they decide that you speak “too much”.

    Free and voluntary association between people is a fundamental human right. In fact, it is *the* fundamental human right. When the exercise of this right results in things we deem unfair, the temptation to declare those things privileges or evils and stamp them out is strong. Part of the raison d’etre of government is to protect this fundamental right from those who would try to stamp it out.

    If one gets rich by running a business that employs hundreds or thousands of people, paying them above-market wages for their work, and giving the customer what they want, that is not a privilege. It’s a judicious exercise of a fundamental right.

    The privilege is when one can get rich by taking advantage of others thanks to a blind eye from the government that should be protecting the little guy from coercion. It’s a privilege that becomes more common the more powerful the government becomes, and one that is granted more and more often.

  • John222

    We could nitpick percentages all day. The tax system is very much like a convoluted shell game. The bottom line is the government spends obscene amounts of money that it takes from it’s subjects by force. Worse yet it has already promised to seize wealth from people who haven’t even been born yet, and you don’t seem to have a problem with that.

  • indygirl

    The discussion has been about revenues, not spending. I actually have a huge problem with the burden of the accumulated, unnecessary debt being transferred onto future generations.

  • John222

    Well, I guess that’s a start. Keep reading TLP, others are far more eloquent than I.

  • Akston

    “I actually have a huge problem with the burden of the accumulated, unnecessary debt being transferred onto future generations.”

    I agree with you there.

  • http://thelibertypapers.org/ Brad Warbiany


    One nit to pick:

    And you would not be exercising your right to free expression on this site without the hard work of others.

    There is no right to free expression on this site. This site is private property, governed by the contributors to the site (yourself included), and subject only to our terms of service with our host (since we contract with them for the bandwidth and server space).

    As you know, we choose to give our readers a forum to comment and discuss. We do this because we believe that an open discussion that allows all viewpoints, even some we find abhorrent**, both makes the site more valuable and ensures that we have credibility.

    Obviously, you know all this. But I want to make sure our readers understand that this blog is private property, and while we open it to comments, it does NOT mean that they have a “right” to comment here. The existence of this blog as private property is a good point to bring up the difference between a right and a privilege. Our commenters all have a right to free speech, but it is a privilege to speak on our property.

    ** indygirl, while I disagree with you, your viewpoint is not one that I call “abhorrent”. We’ve had some real wack-jobs comment here. I want to make it clear that I am not assigning that term to your writings.

  • http://thelibertypapers.org/ Brad Warbiany


    Read a little deeper into indygirl’s posts. When she points out that this is about revenues, she has not once suggested that the government is spending too much. She appears to oppose deficit spending, but it’s the deficits, not the spending, that she opposes.


    One more question. Boilers or Hoosiers? Hope you enjoy the race this weekend…

  • indygirl

    “Well, I guess that’s a start. Keep reading TLP, others are far more eloquent than I.”

    I wouldn’t say that – I mean that in a good way.

    Yes, interesting and informative publication –

  • http://pith-n-vinegar.blogspot.com/ Quincy

    Brad –

    Good catch. Sloppy wording. Though, to save a little face, while there is not a right to free speech on this site, it is an exercise in mutually-beneficial free association. We open the comments to those who contribute to the discussion, even though we may disagree with them, because it enhances the value of the site to us and others. The commenters get their to express themselves and gain satisfaction from that as well as from the conversation.

  • indygirl

    Hey Brad – Hoosiers – but don’t hold that against me.

    Thanks – go Danica!

  • http://thelibertypapers.org/ Brad Warbiany


    I figured… That explains a lot :-)

  • TerryP


    Here is an article put out just the other day that helps dispel the tax the rich scheme. They even mention the Center for Budget and Policy that you are fond of. It discusses state taxes but would apply as well between different countries.


  • indygirl

    Another example of why a flat sales tax to replace the IRS would only result in folks buying their goods outside of the U.S…

  • southernjames

    What does that article have to do with a national flat sales tax?

    It points out how states that follow the big spending, big taxation model – with high state income and state sales taxes, results in citizens physically re-locating to a state where the state tax burden is lower.

    If the present tax code is replaced with a national flat sales tax (which is pointless to even discuss, since unfortunately it will NEVER happen) – we’re going to TRAVEL to other countries to purchase our consumer goods?

    Good grief.

  • indygirl

    We live in a global economy now – you don’t have to travel to buy goods – people have their goods shipped from everywhere – and, people now travel to Canada and Mexico to buy their prescription medications –

  • http://thelibertypapers.org/ Brad Warbiany


    Shopping in low-tax locales is a problem for high-tax states, but it’s not a major problem. There are costs associated with going even to another US State with advantageous tax laws to make purchases, and I can tell you as a guy who lives in SoCal, it’s 4 hours to Nevada, 4-5 hours to Arizona, 10+ hours to Oregon, and 2 hours to Tijuana (where I may be shot).

    It is not easy for me to arrange purchases in different states to avoid taxation. As someone who travels frequently for work, I can do so for small portable purchases, but I rarely have those of enough value to make it worthwhile. And overseas travel is much more costly and much less frequent for Americans.

    Yes, a few people in border states can avoid a few taxes, but it won’t bore a hole in revenues. It’ll probably be a lower drag on our economy than the billions upon billions of dollars we currently waste trying to comply with and take advantage of our income tax stream.

  • http://thelibertypapers.org/ Brad Warbiany

    Oh, and shipments? I’m pretty sure that if we switched to the FairTax that our tax enforcers would quickly learn how to spot and tax incoming shipments of goods. I don’t think UPS, FedEx or DHL are interested in committing a crime for you.

    Again, there will be some loss to such a phenomenon, but it’s not nearly as large as you’d might think.

    Where it would be large is probably in the purchase of services (like web design / etc) or electronic goods (like eBooks or MP3) that are not easily tracked across borders. Not sure I know how to avoid that one…

  • indygirl

    that is true, but there are other implications – like the incentive to make purchases – people may think twice before they spend, which could negatively effect the economy – eg – the rationale behind the cigarette tax is to get people to quit which is why they aren’t reliable or predictable sources of revenue –

    and then there is the problem with collections – retailers become responsible for collecting and turning in the revenues, vs each responsible for his own –

  • John222

    Retailers and small business owners in all but a handful of states already collect and submit sales tax revenues.
    Not to mention the considerable amount of money taken out of the US to avoid our onerous tax system. Businesses currently headquartered elsewhere could and likely would return to our shores.
    Individuals and businesses spend hundreds of millions of dollars to comply with the current tax code. It is ultimately the consumer, who is not always a taxpayer, who pays this price in the form of higher prices.
    Unfortunately , I agree with you southernjames. It will likely never happen as it takes too much power away from the government.

  • southernjames

    “The rationale behind the cigarette tax is to get people to quit which is why they aren’t reliable or predictable sources of revenue.”

    Yes, and the rationale behind “speed traps” is to “promote safe driving habits.” LOL.

    How is the weather there in La La Land?

    My state is going to raise the tax by a buck – from 0.37 to $1.37 a pack this year. Gosh, it must be because the politicians at the state capital have discovered within themselves a deep and emotional commitment to encouraging citizens to stop smoking. In La La Land, with rainbows and unicorns!! LOL

    “And then there is the problem with collections – retailers become responsible for collecting and turning in the revenues.”

    Ooooh, you are SO right about THAT! That 6% sales tax which has been in place for YEARS in our state, which retailers are SUPPOSED to collect on behalf of the state has just been a NIGHTMARE of a failure…..oh wait. Never mind.

    Perhaps you would have learned critical thinking skills if you had gone to Purdue instead. I just hope you are still very young. It would comfort me to know that you are still in your 20’s or at most early 30’s.

    Finally, “We live in a global economy now – you don’t have to travel to buy goods – people have their goods shipped from everywhere – and, people now travel to Canada and Mexico to buy their prescription medications.”

    You are conveniently failing to consider — either intentionally or out of ignorance, the impact on pricing resulting from the elimination of corporate income and other taxes, which would accompany the imposition of a national sales tax, in lieu of the current tax system/structure. And as John pointed out, businesses which are currently anchored elsewhere would come to the US or return back to the US. But it is all academic anyway, and it will NEVER happen, because it would represent a transfer of power from the Politburo back to us peasants.

  • indygirl

    would “excuse” work better? that is what we are told to justify the increase, and, people do quit smoking, speed traps may or may not promote safe driving but knowing that you may get a ticket IS incentive not to speed – which is why alot of people do the speed limit.

    maybe you have a valid point, but sarcasm and name calling distract away from your argument.

  • indygirl

    also – taxes or the lack thereof ARE used to encourage or discourage behaviors.

    Others have made some good points – I am not so arrogant as to think I have all the answers.

  • John222

    “also – taxes or the lack thereof ARE used to encourage or discourage behaviors. ”

    Exactly. What behavior is being encouraged and discouraged by the current income tax code? A national retail sales tax would encourage savings and investment rather than penalizing them as they are now. Our economy could use a lot of both.

    I don’t have all the answers either, but if we are going to redistribute wealth, I’d rather do it voluntarily than at the point of a gun.

  • southernjames

    I am the last one to assert or believe that I have hardly any answers, let alone all the answers.

    I apologize for the sarcasm, but you would bolster YOUR arguments by thinking through the point you are really trying to make, before typing.

    For example, first you say “need” should not be subjective, then you say it is subjective. I’m sorry but that just comes across as confused blathering. For example, when you were called on the Karl Marx quote you attempt to deny (?) that you agree with Marx (?) but then reiterate that it is how you do, personally, feel(?)….which means….you agree with Marx (?).

    For example, of course behavior can be encouraged or discouraged via the tax code. But the example you chose to give (cigarette taxes) is just plain silly. I’m sorry, but it is. And “speed TRAPS” at least everywhere I have lived (Indiana, Penn, Missouri, Florida) are set up along stretches of road where NO accidents occur – they just happen to be wide, well paved, etc., which leads to drivers going over a (too low for the flow of traffic) designated speed limit. When it is time to rake in revenue.

    None of my state politicians give a damn whether people quit smoking as a result of their taxing cigarettes. They are cynically using smokers’ addiction – probably factoring in a certain percentage drop in usage due to the higher price forcing SOME people to cut back or quit, and then computing how much more REVENUE the state can rake in, by raising taxes a buck a pack. Maybe your state politicians are more “caring” but somehow I doubt it.

    For example, there may be all SORTS of very valid arguments against instituting the “Fair Tax,” or a “Flat Tax,” etc. – for example, the logistics of transitioning from the present system, and the inequities which may be created as a result come to mind…but to raise an argument that it is not a good idea because there may be a problem with collections (!!!), in light of the fact that businesses have been collecting money for the government in the normal everyday course of doing business for YEARS (e.g., via the 6% sales tax in my state, as one example)…. well, that simply invites mockery, it is so over the top silly.

  • indygirl

    What behavior is being encouraged and discouraged by the current income tax code?

    deductions for home-mortgage interest encourages home ownership, charitable contributions encourages giving, heath insurance deductions for businesses that provide it, to name a few.

    To think that people will “voluntarily” partner in a re-distribution of wealth is up for debate.

    I am not opposed to a national flat sales tax, I am only being realistic about the pros and cons. There are many implications, it’s not as simple as you may think.

  • John222

    Borrowing money to buy a house to gain a deduction from your income tax? That’s absurd. As is giving to charity to gain a deduction.

    Businesses providing health care for their employees are actually trying to dodge taxes by compensating their employees with something other than wages. Not to mention the unintended effects on the self employed, small business owners, and the overall cost of health care.

    Taking what is not yours is bad — that’s pretty simple.

  • http://pith-n-vinegar.blogspot.com/ Quincy

    “heath insurance deductions for businesses that provide it”

    One could argue that this historical accident has been the costliest tax credit in the history of the world.

    Really, it makes no sense whatsoever. Why not kill the tax credit for businesses to buy their employees insurance and give the individual taxpayer a credit on money spent on health care, in whatever form?

  • indygirl

    Why is that absurd? A family of 4 that pays rent, instead takes out a mortgage since you have to pay every month to have a place to live anyway. Most of their payment (interest), and property taxes become deductable and lower their tax liability – the tax savings create an overall savings that offsets some of their monthly payment. In addition their charitable contributions also become deductable – along with other expenses, like some of their medical, state taxes, excise tax, etc.

    “Businesses providing health care for their employees are actually trying to dodge taxes by compensating their employees with something other than wages.”

    Exactly – that is the incentive.

  • southernjames

    I have to say that I agree with Indygirl on this (sub-aspect) of the debate.

    Yes I suppose pigs really can fly. :)

    When considering whether to purchase our first home a long long time ago, the deductibility of the mortgage interest and property taxes – and the impact that would have on our tax return – WAS factored in when comparing buying vs continuing to rent. (Along with the anticipated appreciation we would have by owning an asset which ALWAYS (until 2008-09) goes up in value over time, and never down).

    And to this day, as I get to year-end, I will confess and admit (and I am not proud of it) that the deductiblity of charitable contributions DOES act as an incentive. I end throwing as much extra and spare $$ as I can to the local Salvation Army, Disabled AmVets, and the other charities I donate to, which got a modest amount earlier in the year, but then got forgotten about. My biggest month for giving ends up being December of each year.

    Whether it is right or wrong to have a tax code set up that way is a different debate.

    I still favor some version of a “Flat” or “Fair” tax. Not because I think that I personally would ultimately pay less to the Feds. But because I think it would do things like shift power completely away from DC, would encourage business growth (which leads to employment/prosperity) and would allow people more independance and control over their own finances.

  • John222

    Think about it, a renter is going to decide to pay $50,000 over 15 years in order to borrow $100,000 for the purpose of getting a home mortgage interest deduction from their income taxes? And that’s if they take the time to itemize their deductions.

    Same with charitable donations, if my goal is to save money, why not just keep it in my pocket?

    As for the business health care deduction, as Quincy pointed out,
    “One could argue that this historical accident has been the costliest tax credit in the history of the world.”

  • John222

    southernjames, are you saying that you would not give to charity if there weren’t a tax credit for the donation?
    As for the house, I’m sure the desire to accumulate wealth was a much weightier concern than the than the tax credit for the interest you paid on the loan.

  • southernjames


    I would still give to charity. But, in all honesty, I really can’t say that I would give as much as I currently do. It’s not like it is all THAT much (not like ‘tithing’ or anything) last year it totaled approximately 3% of our total net (“take home”) pay. That “do-gooder” thing is, I must confess (and again, this is NOT something I am proud of) enhanced and yes incentivized by the knowledge that my final April 15th bill to Uncle Sam is going to in turn be lower.

    If the local pee-wee football team is outside the the supermarket with their helmets, asking shoppers for donations to help fund their trip to the state championships – most just walk past. Some toss in a quarter. Some start to pull out a quarter, but then when he sees that in exchange for the donation, he gets a cherry lollipop or a cool sticker for his shirt handed to him, for some reason it causes him to toss in a buck instead. I do not know the reason for what causes people to act the way they do.

    And perhaps that is a stupid analogy. But the way I look at it, yes I’m out a whole buck, but I DID get a 15 cent lollipop back, out of the deal, on top of the polite thank you from the 7 year-old, not to mention the very warm smile from his cute Mom, so it’s kind of win-win. :)

    As for the house issue – as I recall we were paying around $300-350/month in rent before buying (this was a LONG time ago – I think our COMBINED income for the two of us working full time, was under 30K) I can’t recall now what the mortgage payment was going to be – but the monthly payment (mortgage plus the tax/insurance escrow) was going to be considerably higher than $350. It was intimidating to us, and gave us cold feet. But then the realtor ran numbers for us showing that almost all of the payment was interest on the loan – and combined with the property taxes, it totaled up to a HUGE deduction. That was going to result in a HUGE refund (if we kept our withholdings the same)…which changed the whole picture on the “affordabilty” of that monthly payment.

  • John222

    I guess with the mortgage, it depends a lot on the specific circumstances. In my case, our first mortgage was lower than the rent we were paying, with the advantage of owning something that would increase in value over time. Last year the interest we paid was less than the standard deduction, and as I have been self employed for a while now I have forgotten what it’s like to look forward to a huge refund.

    Charity, for me, is about giving without expecting something in return. I rarely deduct donations from my income tax unless they are particularly significant, and then you’re supposed to save the receipt. I consider this a form of charity as well.

    The point I was trying to make was that the leviathan that is our tax code encourages far more bad behavior than good and makes criminals out of otherwise law abiding folks. I’m still trying to noodle it all out myself, but I can’t help but think there’s got to be a better way.

  • TerryP

    How about just eliminating all the deductions and lowering the rate. In the end most of us would end up about the same financially and we would get to choose where we put our money instead of the gov’t nudging us to do something with it, like buy more health insurance then we need or buy that green car that the gov’t wants us to buy over one that might be safer for us to drive. Maybe some of us would be better off renting instead of owning. Don’t you think a few people may have been spared the economic calamity of the housing decline if the gov’t hadn’t used the tax system to push people to buy over renting.

    The point is the gov’t should not be in the business of pushing people to do certain things over other things with taxpayer money. The gov’t shouldn’t be in the business of influencing our decision to buy or rent or buy more health insurance over using the money for something else. It definitely shouldn’t be in the business of influencing us about which vehicle we should be buying through the tax code.

  • indygirl

    “The point I was trying to make was that the leviathan that is our tax code encourages far more bad behavior than good and makes criminals out of otherwise law abiding folks. I’m still trying to noodle it all out myself, but I can’t help but think there’s got to be a better way.”

    Great point.

    I think I have left the impression that I am against a flat tax, I in fact am not – I have only learned that the status quo will never let that happen – it is too radical of a change regardless if for better or worse, and the tax code as it is does benefit those in the higher income hiearchy because the result is that they pay less as a percentage of income – they have an element of control that they would lose with a flat tax – and they financially support campaigns of candidates that will actively continue to ensure that the code not only stays the way it is, but implement new code that provide even more benefits.

    If this element of control is removed, by say reducing the above formentioned benefits in the tax code through a more aggressive, progressive tax, those in control may think differently about actively keeping in place our current tax system.

  • TerryP

    Here is another article deflating the “tax the rich” scheme.


  • John222

    Thank you Terry, great illustration of what can happen when the successful continue to be punished for their success. New York’s response will probably be to raise taxes on the ones that are left until they too long for the Sunshine State. $13,800 a day? Wow, what took him so long? We welcome him and any others that want to follow.

  • indygirl

    “I would have had a different attitude. I’ve been paying a lot of money in state income taxes, and I’ve been happy to do it, but when this last thing happened, this 50 percent increase in the tax rate, it was just too much,” continued Golisano, referring to the record-high new state budget that hiked taxes by $8 billion and increased spending by 9 percent.

    He added, “Nobody wants to leave New York. Just economically, it makes so much sense to leave it, and that’s because of the irresponsible government we’ve had.”

    That is outrageous. In my original post I was referring to letting the Bush federal tax cuts expire in 2010 which would increase the current top rate by 3%. But 50%? Wow. I’d move too.

  • http://thelibertypapers.org/ Brad Warbiany


    I’ve studied the FairTax extensively (I used to write here for the FairTax Blog. I’m convinced that it — as written — is unambiguously better in just about every way than our current tax system.

    But I no longer advocate for it, despite its benefits. I know that it will never be enacted as written. I know that despite Neal Boortz suggesting that we as voters can ensure the politicos don’t muck it up, their incentive to muck it up is just too strong.

    This is why I’m not a huge “flat tax” advocate either. It may be better than what we’ve got, but it won’t last long.

    You know what I am? An anti-tax advocate.