published Saturday, October 8th, 2011

Raise taxes 5 percent? Now?

What do you think about raising income taxes 5 percent now, in the middle of an economic crisis? The immediate reaction from most of us might be an emphatic "No!"

But what about raising taxes 5 percent on millionaires -- as President Barack Obama and some Democrats in Congress would like to do?

Most of us might relax because we don't know too many millionaires. We might assume that such a tax increase wouldn't affect us.

But what about the principle of the matter? Would it be fair to slap a higher tax on people who already pay a vastly disproportionate share of income taxes?

Of course, millionaires ought to pay their fair share. But they pay a 35 percent income tax rate as it is -- while nearly half of U.S. households pay no income taxes at all. No matter how rich anyone is, is it just for the federal government to tax away well over a third of that person's income -- on top of state and local taxes the person already pays?

And even setting aside the issue of justice, how about the practical argument against the tax? Is a big tax apt to encourage millionaires -- many of whom own small businesses that provide a lot of jobs to the American people -- to invest in expansion and job creation, or to pull back? Does the president think we need more jobs, or just fewer millionaires?

In a Washington Post-ABC News poll, 75 percent of respondents said they favor raising taxes on Americans with incomes over a million dollars. That might suggest envy, or the assumption that "soaking the rich" won't mean harmful consequences for others. But tax policy shouldn't be based on stirring up resentment, and soaking the rich isn't sound economics. It reduces economic activity.

Nevertheless, the president wants higher taxes on the wealthy to pay for a new $447 billion stimulus.

Given the failure of the last stimulus to boost employment, we cannot see why anyone thinks a new one -- funded by trying to convince the American people that the rich are the enemy -- will.

Comments do not represent the opinions of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, nor does it review every comment. Profanities, slurs and libelous remarks are prohibited. For more information you can view our Terms & Conditions and/or Ethics policy.
conservative said...

Fortunately this millionaire tax proposed by Obamination will not become law. It does appeal to a large segment of people, mostly Demoncrats. The 47% of households that you refered to that pay no federal income taxes have no desire to lower taxes for the 53% who do. To make matters worse the Demagogic party has decided to exploit their greed with this surtax scheme. This will tend to unite Obamination supporters but also identify them as well. I'm sure this article will smoke some out.

October 8, 2011 at 8:14 a.m.

Whereas you're exploiting the politics of division with your continual blaming of the lower 47%.

Exactly how much household wealth does that 47% have, per individual, and how does that compare to the matching numbers at the top end?

And can you break down that 47% to exclude senior citizens, ministers, and the disabled? No? Why not? Don't you know they're part of that number?

October 8, 2011 at 10:48 a.m.
Sailorman said...

All the blather and rationalization aside, for reasons valid and not so valid, the fact remains the 53% carry the load.

October 8, 2011 at 11:57 a.m.
nucanuck said...

Since the nearly 15% SSI tax goes straight into the general fund and has far exceeded payouts for more than twenty years, it's fair to say that ALL working people have contributed to our national revenue.

The absurdity of contending that those who have gotten the biggest tax cuts over the last thirty years should not now be the logical ones to now pony up more is indefensible. These are the same people who have had outsized growth in income while most of America has had no increase (or a loss) in buying power.

Defining fairness as plenty for the few and poverty for the many seems to be a recurring theme among a subset of Americans who show little concern for the OVERALL health of the country.

October 8, 2011 at 12:16 p.m.
conservative said...

Children being children are not aware of the cost of living in their household. They are often scolded by their parents for wasting food, electricity and water. They whine for material things their parents can't afford. When they leave home many then understand life is not free and become conservatives. The rest become lieberals, vote Demoncrat and seek the free ride which they enjoyed as children. These dominate the 47% of households who pay no federal income taxes. Tough love is needed to mature these grown children.

October 8, 2011 at 1:17 p.m.

Ah tough love. Yeah, in my household the father got everything he wanted, and the rest of us had to scrimp and save, and if we had any complaints, why we got some tough love indeed.

You can keep repeating your mantra about the 47% if you like, but the more you don't answer the questions I asked, the more I know you're hiding something, and the more you sound like my abusive father.

Just answer this one question, how much would the government get if 100% of what that 47% has was taken in taxes? Or is that not fair? What if it were 1%? 10%? How much do you want to take from them exactly?

October 8, 2011 at 1:32 p.m.
nucanuck said...

The 47% pay a wide array of taxes that support many government services. To be among this 47% you likely recieve low wages that put you in a situation where no matter that you work hard, you have too little income to more than cover the basics. When we demonize those who earn less than others as free-loaders, are we assuming that pushing the poor to pay more would make America a better place?

Taken at a different level, many southern and western states pay in less than they get back from the federal government. This is socializing to help the poorer states with a hand up. Connecticut subsidizes Tennessee. The point being that we should all be in this together.

Progressive taxation makes no one poor and certainly makes no one rich. Flat taxation is a gift to the high wage earners that eventually results in all the eggs being in the basket of the few.

October 8, 2011 at 2:29 p.m.
conservative said...

A lieberal can't possibly have the same thing in mind as a conservative when tax "fairness" is the issue. The lieberal in that 47% group knows he paid no federal income taxes. He has to know someone else is funding the programs and freebies he receives, yet he clamors for more. He wants the wealth of others, so he votes Demoncrat. His idea of fairness seems to be give me more.

October 8, 2011 at 3:15 p.m.
nucanuck said...

conservative, I know for a fact that you don't pay your fair share of taxes.

October 8, 2011 at 3:45 p.m.

I wonder if conservative has actual numbers to show benefits received per each and every single individual person in the United States from government spending.


Just petty name-calling through deliberate misspellings?

Well then.

October 8, 2011 at 5:18 p.m.
conservative said...

Obamination, the Demagogic party and the 47% gang are much like the famous bank robber Willie Sutton. Sutton was asked why he robbed banks and he answered, "because that's where the money is". The takers always want to rob the makers.

October 8, 2011 at 5:21 p.m.

I know of a bully, who picked on the weak and innocent.


Because they couldn't fight back.

October 8, 2011 at 5:27 p.m.
nucanuck said...


Thirty years of tax cuts by the mornining-in-America crowd and failing to pay for what Congress authorized. Because of your irresponsible failure to pay, we now have Mourning in America.

WaY to boys sunk the ship!

October 8, 2011 at 6:35 p.m.
EaTn said...

Let's be realistic. Without the federal government backing of our money system and protection of the military there would be no millionaires, so who has the most to lose without adequate income taxes to provide the national essentials?

October 8, 2011 at 8:06 p.m.
please login to post a comment

videos »         

photos »         

e-edition »


Find a Business

400 East 11th St., Chattanooga, TN 37403
General Information (423) 756-6900
Copyright, Permissions, Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy, Ethics policy - Copyright ©2014, Chattanooga Publishing Company, Inc. All rights reserved.
This document may not be reprinted without the express written permission of Chattanooga Publishing Company, Inc.