Soaking the 'rich' is a poor idea

Revenue isn't America's problem -- it's how we spend it

  • Follow Editorials

Bill Clinton once famously pronounced, "The era of big government is over."

Boy, was he wrong!

The thing is, he was saying what he thought Americans wanted to hear. What they want to hear may have changed: A new Washington Post -ABC News poll shows the only deficit-cutting idea that most Americans agree on is taxing the "rich."

Respondents opposed cutting Medicare 78 to 21 percent, and every other entitlement spending cut -- despite the fact that the cuts wouldn't affect current retirees, and despite the fact that Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security spending is about to eat us alive.

Lay off our entitlements, Bub, is the unofficial position of Americans. To heck with future generations.

If Republicans such as Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan are banking on reasoning with Americans about what cuts are needed in advance of the 2012 election, they may be signing a suicide pact. Despite all the dire budget warnings now being discussed every day in Washington and in the media, Americans are nowhere near ready to do what's necessary to save the country financially, this poll says.

Meanwhile, the Democrats' soak-the-rich campaign is working -- even though taking money out of the private economy would be a horrible idea at a time when small businesses and others are trying to get their enterprises and the larger economy growing again.

Moreover, the numbers make it clear that America has a spending problem, not a revenue problem. As for taxing the rich, The Washington Post says "a 45 percent (tax) rate on incomes of more than $1 million would generate $31 billion, while an even more progressive tax, with rates of 50 percent, 60 percent, 70 percent on incomes of $500,000, $5 million (and) $10 million respectively would generate an added $133 billion."

All that, the Post notes, would add up to about 10 percent of the current year's $1.65 trillion deficit.

In other words, taxing the rich at exorbitant rates would pay for a measly 10 percent of one year's overspending in Washington.

Not to mention the chilling effect it would have in the private sector.

The era of big government is just getting started.

And Americans seem fine with that.

Comments (45) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
LauraE
0
Points
LauraE 04/26/11 - 03:38 am
0
0
I'm certainly not crazy about

I'm certainly not crazy about the idea of of raising the debt ceiling, but if Republicans insist on following Paul Ryan's plan, we'll have no choice. Ryan's plan adds at least $62 trillion to the debt between now and when his plan finally balances the budget sometime in the 2080s, and only then if a number of the plan's dubious assumptions come to pass. The fact is, long term budgets never work. They are revamped when new party members join or the financial needs change. Republicans want a balanaced budget? Talk to Bill Clinton. After all, he was the last president to produce a balanced budget with no deficits. And *Gasp* he's a Democrat! Republicans try to claim that because they had control of the senate and congress, it was their doing that bought the balanced budget. However, I suspect that this is just jealousy (or maybe selective memory), because the last Republican president to pass a balanced budget goes way back to Eisenhower. After all, come 2002 when Republicans still still controlled both houses, and and the first GWBush Fiscal Year took place, Our country went right back to having a deficit.

Riverman1
79497
Points
Riverman1 04/26/11 - 04:50 am
0
0
Bill Clinton had as much to

Bill Clinton had as much to do with that debt reduction as the Spanish guy with an orange vest on painting lines on the highway has to do with a Mercedes flying past. Clinton fought the Republican Congress' budget that got this nation on a postitive traction rear axle for many years until the wheels fell off with the Barney Frank inspired home loans to those who couldn't afford an Avis rental car.

Asitisinaug
3
Points
Asitisinaug 04/26/11 - 05:51 am
0
0
Our leaders from both parties

Our leaders from both parties need to wake up and we certainly need new leadership at the top levels.

“You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the industrious out of it. You don’t multiply wealth by dividing it. Government cannot give anything to anybody that it doesn’t first take from somebody else. Whenever somebody receives something without working for it, somebody else has to work for it without receiving. The worst thing that can happen to a nation is for half of the people to get the idea they don’t have to work because somebody else will work for them, and the other half to get the idea that it does no good to work because they don’t get to enjoy the fruit of their labor.”

nofanofobama
6750
Points
nofanofobama 04/26/11 - 06:30 am
0
0
a fair tax code is

a fair tax code is needed..several ideas has been floated including one from obamas own debt commission. this one is close to rep. ryans proposal...get rid of our current code and replace it.. take politicians out of amending it and their power is gone.. but the biggets thing not one red dime more til fraud is extracted from the govt.. elimination of depts. that are not needed and elimination of duplication of programs that cost us billions. and pare back on all expidetures from welfare to military. til they in DC act as good stewards of what hard working taxpayers have already given them they desrve no more.. get rid of epa and drill baby drill let create real jobs...

robaroo
674
Points
robaroo 04/26/11 - 06:57 am
0
0
The only real fix is too

The only real fix is too painful for the major parties - an across the board cut of 40% along with an automatic tax hike to pay for what is left over. Since "real people are hurting", I don't see that happening.

The Republicans are making some effort, but mostly cutting the programs they don't like.

onlysane1left
216
Points
onlysane1left 04/26/11 - 07:55 am
0
0
The era of big government is

The era of big government is just getting started.

And Americans seem fine with that.

The government has been big since the 1940's. This tea party mantra of "big government" is so overkilled, that they are even starting to lose sight of what big government is. America has had a big revenue problem since Ronald Reagan. The spending has increase at the same rate for the last 25 years except for the major spike in 2009, when the financial debacle occured; Revenue on the other hand has has not. Basically, if you are running a household making $60,000 and spending $45,000, you are fine, but, if ten years later, you are still making $60,000, yet, spending $62,000, then you have a major problem. Is your problem spending, or maybe, just maybe, your problem could be revenue as well as spending, but as usual, people will blame who they think is the easiest target for whatever reason and expect different outcome.......

justthefacts
20406
Points
justthefacts 04/26/11 - 08:03 am
0
0
"America has had a big

"America has had a big revenue problem since Ronald Reagan." Wrong.

faithson
4785
Points
faithson 04/26/11 - 08:40 am
0
0
fair tax for working people,

fair tax for working people, progressive income tax over 250,000/yr per individual. Rational bipartisan cuts to ALL expenditures, nothing untouched.

Dudeness
1543
Points
Dudeness 04/26/11 - 09:06 am
0
0
There was never a surplus

There was never a surplus under Clinton. The debt continued to climb every year he was in office and the deficit was already increasing prior to Bush's first term. Also, revenues have been increasing, not decreasing. It's just impossible to increase revenue at the same rate that spending has been increasing. By taxing the "rich" at 100%, we still wouldn't come close to balancing the budget. It is time for someone to make the tough choices rather than handing it off to the next person.

Jon Lester
2269
Points
Jon Lester 04/26/11 - 09:08 am
0
0
According to your reasoning,

According to your reasoning, shouldn't we be seeing high levels of new investment and job creation? Rich people have enjoyed the lowest top rate of our lifetimes for the last 10 years. What do we have to show for it?

onlysane1left
216
Points
onlysane1left 04/26/11 - 09:14 am
0
0
"America has had a big

"America has had a big revenue problem since Ronald Reagan." Wrong.

Here is the data from 1981 on. You figure out what the problem is, I guess Obama has been in office since 1981 doing this to the economy:

Revenue % Change Expenses % Change
1981 599,272 678,241
1982 617,766 3.09% 745,743 9.95%
1983 600,562 -2.78% 808,364 8.40%
1984 666,438 10.97% 851,805 5.37%
1985 734,037 10.14% 946,344 11.10%
1986 769,155 4.78% 990,382 4.65%
1987 854,288 11.07% 1,004,017 1.38%
1988 909,238 6.43% 1,064,416 6.02%
1989 991,105 9.00% 1,143,744 7.45%
1990 1,031,958 4.12% 1,252,994 9.55%
1991 1,054,988 2.23% 1,324,226 5.68%
1992 1,091,208 3.43% 1,381,529 4.33%
1993 1,154,335 5.79% 1,409,386 2.02%
1994 1,258,566 9.03% 1,461,753 3.72%
1995 1,351,790 7.41% 1,515,742 3.69%
1996 1,453,053 7.49% 1,560,484 2.95%
1997 1,579,232 8.68% 1,601,116 2.60%
1998 1,721,728 9.02% 1,652,458 3.21%
1999 1,827,452 6.14% 1,701,842 2.99%
2000 2,025,191 10.82% 1,788,950 5.12%
2001 1,991,082 -1.68% 1,862,846 4.13%
2002 1,853,136 -6.93% 2,010,894 7.95%
2003 1,782,314 -3.82% 2,159,899 7.41%
2004 1,880,114 5.49% 2,292,841 6.16%
2005 2,153,611 14.55% 2,471,957 7.81%
2006 2,406,869 11.76% 2,655,050 7.41%
2007 2,567,985 6.69% 2,728,686 2.77%
2008 2,523,991 -1.71% 2,982,544 9.30%
2009 2,104,989 -16.60%3,517,677 17.94%
2010 2,162,724 2.74% 3,456,213 -1.75%

Explain why the revenue never goes up enough to cover the expenses, since I am so wrong.

justthefacts
20406
Points
justthefacts 04/26/11 - 09:20 am
0
0
Jon, as the editorial

Jon, as the editorial correctly notes, we have a spending problem. Raising the rates will not solve it.

TheFederalist
1
Points
TheFederalist 04/26/11 - 10:59 am
0
0
Soaking the rich is only a

Soaking the rich is only a political ploy to further the current class warfare now being waged by the leftists in this country. Already, the top 50% of wage earners pays over 97% of all taxes collected by our government, which is a recipe for disaster. Everyone should have some skin in the game, and for half of our population to pay little to nothing in support for our country is a disgrace and only makes the class division that much deeper.

I personally believe the "Fair Tax" is the only workable plan, but not likely any time soon. You want to raise the taxes on the rich? Go ahead, but even if their rate was 90%, it would only be a drop in the federal debt bucket. I say if we do raise taxes even more on the rich, we should also institute a minimum sliding 5%-10% federal income tax on everyone in the USA, so that everybody has something to whine about, and the pain is spread evenly. Nobody should live in the USA and pay nothing for the privilige. How about that for tax reform? Think any of the liberals would be onboard, or that there would be any from the right with the courage to even propose this type of plan. I think not, and there my friends, is where the rubber meets the road, and why imho we will not solve our debt crisis any time in the near future. Oh, and please save the faux rage from liberals that will whine that the poor should never have to pay anything at all, as it is a tired, worn out canard at best.

bojangles
0
Points
bojangles 04/26/11 - 11:10 am
0
0
I predict future happiness

I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.
-Thomas Jefferson

I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies.  If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around the banks will deprive the people of all property - until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.
-Thomas Jefferson

The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.
-Thomas Jefferson

It is incumbent on every generation to pay its own debts as it goes.  A
principle which if acted on would save one-half the wars of the world.
-Thomas Jefferson

John F. Kennedy held a dinner in the white House for a group of the brightest minds in the nation at that time. He made this statement: "This is perhaps the assembly of the most intelligence ever to gather at one time in the White House with the exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone."

carcraft
24244
Points
carcraft 04/26/11 - 11:19 am
0
0
We are seeing the tax that

We are seeing the tax that occurs on all of us when the government over spends and prints money, it is called inflation and it hurts the poor low income the most since they have the lest resources to compenste! But don'tworry the compansonate democrates will do some thing..oh I just knwo they will...Oh lets tax those that provide jobs andkeep the economy running ....Look at that Democratic Icon John Kerry. Got a yatch built..in America? No in New Zeland to save on taxes..Docked it in tax achutzits.? No New Jersy to save on taxes.. and the left wonders why taxing the rich doesn't workl BWHAHAHAHAHA

boilers
0
Points
boilers 04/26/11 - 12:02 pm
0
0
The Federalist- Where do you

The Federalist- Where do you get your data? Do they include sin taxes, gasoline tax, and sales tax?

ACES- By putting rich in quotes do you not feel the top 2% of wage earners are rich? 250k plus for families and 200k plus for individuals?

We have a revenue and spending program that can be fixed by compromise on both sides.

dani
12
Points
dani 04/26/11 - 12:22 pm
0
0
Clinton's budget proposal

Clinton's budget proposal balanced on paper but the facts are that it never happened, yet the Dems insist on the same old mantra. They have said it so much some actually believe it.
BTW
It was Newt Gingrich's budget, and he was voted out of office by those who didn't agree with his revamping of the welfare system.

kmb413
533
Points
kmb413 04/26/11 - 12:33 pm
0
0
I had a funny conversation

I had a funny conversation about raising taxes on the rich yesterday. Someone I know believes that taxing the rich will lower the deficit tomorrow, and by doing this, he will end up getting a paycheck at his job longer. In the same discussion he stated "it doesn't matter what % you tax the rich, they will have loopholes, exemptions and deductions to make them fall into a lower tax bracket".

dani
12
Points
dani 04/26/11 - 12:44 pm
0
0
kmb...The closing of those

kmb...The closing of those loop holes are a priority in Ryan's budget package. When companies such as GE with their earnings end up paying zero taxes it is time to take a deep breath and sharpen the blade.
You were probably talking with one of those who thought that Obama would make things easier for them. Look where that got them. The gravy train is running out of steam and barely chugging along, and guess what...

LauraE
0
Points
LauraE 04/26/11 - 01:10 pm
0
0
Riverman:"Bill Clinton had as

Riverman:"Bill Clinton had as much to do with that debt reduction..."

You need to learn the difference between debt and deficit. It's not the same thing. So here's a lesson for you: A deficit occurs when the government doesn't take in enough money for the years expenses. When the budget is balanced, there's no deficit. Debt on the other hand, is the entire amount of money that the government owes to everyone at any given time. So the debt goes up in any given year by the amount of the deficit, or it decreases by the amount of any surplus. And Riverman, if it was the republicans who erased the yearly deficit, again as I pointed out to you previously, What happened when Bush's first fiscal year came about in 2002 and republicans had the White House, Congress, and Senate? Those pesky yearly deficits came back again. Under Clinton,The federal budget surplus for fiscal year 1999 was 122.7 billion, and 69.2 billion for fiscal year 1998. Those back-to-back surpluses, the first since 1957, allowed the Treasury to pay down $138 billion in national debt.

And Dani: "It was Newt Gingrich's budget, and he was voted out of office by those who didn't agree with his revamping of the welfare system"

That's complete fiction. Although Gingrich was charged and reprimanded with ethics violations and penalized a $300,000.00 fine, he still won reelection. When it looked like he was going to be exposed for the hypocrite that he was (Gingrich went after Clinton for his extramarital activities, all the while he was doing the same thing), and after republicans were furious that he made them look like the wienies they are, he RESIGNED.

justthefacts
20406
Points
justthefacts 04/26/11 - 01:21 pm
0
0
Laura, don't overlook the

Laura, don't overlook the effect the .com era bubble had on Clinton's surplus and the subsequent bust had on Bush's. Not to mention 9-11.

Riverman1
79497
Points
Riverman1 04/26/11 - 01:43 pm
0
0
LauraE, there must have been

LauraE, there must have been at least 20 explanations about debt and deficit on here in the past week. I probably even gave a couple of them myself. I totally get it. So don't act like my third grade teacher, Mrs. DeHay so much. What didn't you understand about my post? If you have a budget that spends less than it takes in, you are lowering the debt. In Clinton's second term, 1998-2001, the DEBT under Clinton was nonexistent. There was actually a 0.2% gain...thanks to Newt. The national DEBT was actually decreased.

onlysane1left
216
Points
onlysane1left 04/26/11 - 01:37 pm
0
0
Laura, don't overlook the

Laura, don't overlook the effect the .com era bubble had on Clinton's surplus and the subsequent bust had on Bush's. Not to mention 9-11.

I posted the number from the US budget's website above. Bush lowered governement revenues three straight years with his policies, because he said the government should not have a surplus, yet, he did not cut the expenses any! The .com bubble has nothing to do with the federal budget. Unemployment entitlements did not increase during the 2000-2002 greatly because of the .com burst, like they did towards the end of 2008-2009. We need to have a surplus to end the debt that is owed; removing it, was counterproductive and just deepened the hole we are in now, but like I have been saying, lets just blame the easiest targets and maybe the problems will go away.

onlysane1left
216
Points
onlysane1left 04/26/11 - 01:40 pm
0
0
If you have a budget that

If you have a budget that spends less than it takes in, you are lowering the debt.

True, but why is this so hard to figure out for everyone? Either raising taxes, making sure there are no deficits in the current budget, or a mix of both is the only way to ge this done.

justthefacts
20406
Points
justthefacts 04/26/11 - 01:42 pm
0
0
"The .com bubble has nothing

"The .com bubble has nothing to do with the federal budget". Laura and I are discussing Deficits and Debt, not budget.

LauraE
0
Points
LauraE 04/26/11 - 01:43 pm
0
0
Justthefacts: Sure, the dot

Justthefacts: Sure, the dot com bubble helped Clinton, but Bush still had the housing bubble until around 2005-2007 (depending on which source you use) 9/11 certainly spooked the market,but don't forget, the poor decision to wage war on Iraq certainly didn't help matters, and the Bush era tax cuts also added to the yearly budget deficits.

Riverman1
79497
Points
Riverman1 04/26/11 - 01:44 pm
0
0
The Republican Congress in

The Republican Congress in Clinton's second term actually lowered the national DEBT because they took in more than they spent. 0.2% more. Are we all on the same page here?

Riverman1
79497
Points
Riverman1 04/26/11 - 01:55 pm
0
0
This discussion reminds me of

This discussion reminds me of that first paycheck I got at the mill. I looked at that paystub with the gross and net blocks and wondered why I didn't get what I grossed. When it was explained to me about taxes and all, I said the heck with it and joined the Army....(Okay, I was really drafted, but it doesn't fit my story.)

LauraE
0
Points
LauraE 04/26/11 - 01:57 pm
0
0
Riverman,Justthefacts, I'll

Riverman,Justthefacts, I'll be back tonight to respond to your comments. I'm out of time now since my lunch hour is over.

Back to Top

Top headlines

Plane crashes on Ga. man walking Fla. beach

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Sometime Sunday morning, Ommy Irizarry posted a message on Facebook to mark his ninth wedding anniversary. Within hours he was dead.
Search Augusta jobs