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Millionaires: Raise Our Taxes To Address Poverty, Fix Roads (go.com) 644

jones_supa writes from an article on ABCNews: More than 40 millionaires, including members of the Rockefeller and Disney families, are asking to have their taxes raised to help address poverty and rebuild failing infrastructure. The millionaires wrote a letter to Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo and top New York lawmakers proposing new, higher tax rates for the top 1% of earners in the state. The letter says that additional revenue would help addressing child poverty, homelessness and aging bridges, tunnels, water pipes and roads. "As New Yorkers who have contributed to and benefited from the economic vibrancy of our state, we have both the ability and the responsibility to pay our fair share," the letter states. "We can well afford to pay our current taxes, and we can afford to pay even more." The tax plan, known as the one-percent tax plan, was worked out in conjunction with the Fiscal Policy Institute, a left-leaning economic think tank.
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Millionaires: Raise Our Taxes To Address Poverty, Fix Roads

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  • hypocrites (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    So open your checkbook and voluntarily pay more taxes. Don't take the tax deductions and credits you're taking.

    • Re:hypocrites (Score:5, Insightful)

      by FeatherBoa ( 469218 ) on Monday March 21, 2016 @03:42PM (#51746501)

      They are not hypocrites.

      It is not fundamentally hypocritical to follow the rules as they exist and simultaneously advocate that the rules be changed. This fallacy is what gets trotted out on Fox every time Warren Buffet says the same thing.

      It's like calling someone a hypocrite if they advocate for pot legalization, but don't smoke up. There's nothing hypocritical about this position at all.

      • by drnb ( 2434720 ) on Monday March 21, 2016 @03:48PM (#51746579)

        They are not hypocrites.

        Actually they are. For example Warren Buffet, while saying his taxes should be raised in political venues, in real life dodges taxes. He is dodging inheritance taxes by transferring money to the Gates foundation. Why? Because he thinks Bill and Melinda can more effectively use his money to address social issues than the government, that they will do more "good" per dollar.

        • by bfpierce ( 4312717 ) on Monday March 21, 2016 @03:57PM (#51746683)

          Barely anybody in this country ends up paying the inheritance tax, it doesn't exist as a revenue stream.

          The whole point of it is to prevent landed gentry, the government doesn't care if you pay it to them or give it out to foundations, the end result is the exact same thing.

        • He is dodging inheritance taxes by transferring money

          That is still only an example of following the rules as they currently exist. And it is still not hypocritical to advocate different rules while following those in place.

        • by Nite_Hawk ( 1304 ) on Monday March 21, 2016 @04:34PM (#51747097) Homepage

          I'd argue that's not hypocritical at all. Ultimately capitalism depends on self-interest to function. What is ridiculous is to tell people not to make use of every advantage available to them. What's far more important is to make sure that the rules that we all play by maximize the benefit to society as a whole.

          It's not hypocritical for a sports team to advocate changing an unfair rule, even if they follow it and benefit by it.
          It's not hypocritical for a white man to support diversity in tech yet accept a tech job with female/minority applicants.
          It's not hypocritical for a company to advocate for increased environmental standards in their industry while following the existing standards.

          • by drnb ( 2434720 )

            I'd argue that's not hypocritical at all. Ultimately capitalism depends on self-interest to function. What is ridiculous is to tell people not to make use of every advantage available to them.

            Hypocrisy has nothing to do with legality or common. The later does not undo the former.

            What's far more important is to make sure that the rules that we all play by maximize the benefit to society as a whole.

            It is hypocritical to demonstrate by deed that more benefit for society is obtained by private organizations while simultaneously calling for more taxation in a political stunt. The non-hypocrital action would be to call for more public donations to trustworthy private organization doing social good.

            It's not hypocritical for a sports team to advocate changing an unfair rule, even if they follow it and benefit by it.

            Following the rules are mandatory in this scenario, not optional as in the Buffet case.

            It's not hypocritical for a white man to support diversity in tech yet accept a tech job with female/minority applicants.

            You confuse diversity with quotas. D

        • by DRJlaw ( 946416 ) on Monday March 21, 2016 @05:28PM (#51747631)

          For example Warren Buffet, while saying his taxes should be raised in political venues, in real life dodges taxes. He is dodging inheritance taxes by transferring money to the Gates foundation.

          We should put a stop to that. And to all charitable deductions from taxes. After all, every dollar that one thoughtlessly tithes to a church or donates to a 501(c)(3) is money that can't be passed on to heirs, and therefore is being greedily ripped away from the reach of the estate tax by the 83% of Americans that give to charity.

          You bastards!

      • It is not fundamentally hypocritical to follow the rules as they exist and simultaneously advocate that the rules be changed.

        It is fundamentally hypocritical to follow the rules to avoid paying taxes, and then say that they, and everyone else like them, are not paying enough.

        It's like calling someone a hypocrite if they advocate for pot legalization, but don't smoke up.

        Nope. It's like calling for the criminalization of pot because it is bad for everyone yet continuing to smoke themselves. Or calling for higher taxes on cigarette users because it is bad for everyone and continuing to smoke.

        It would not be hypocritical for a 1%er to say that he thinks his taxes are too low and to voluntarily pay more. It would be ethically n

    • Re:hypocrites (Score:5, Insightful)

      by vux984 ( 928602 ) on Monday March 21, 2016 @03:50PM (#51746609)

      40 millionaires opening their checkbooks and paying some extra tax won't solve large problems.

      But if all millionaires do, that adds up to a lot more. This is a stunt by 40 millionaires to suggest that this is what should be done.

      There's nothing hypocritical about it.

  • Or maybe they were but their competitors were not.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Because these are people who inherited their wealth (which is not taxed as income) and earn most of their new wealth through investments (also not taxed as income if capital gains) who are proposing raising INCOME TAX on upper middle class people who work for a living...not that I rtfa, but this is the game that has been played for the past 40 years by these people, so don't expect them to change their tune.

      • by Passman ( 6129 ) on Monday March 21, 2016 @04:14PM (#51746883) Homepage Journal

        Because these are people who are proposing raising INCOME TAX on upper middle class people who work for a living...not that I rtfa, but this is the game that has been played for the past 40 years by these people, so don't expect them to change their tune.

        I know reading the fabulous article is passe, but you might want to try it from time to time. For example, had you rtfa you would have noticed that the tax increased don't kick in unless you make more than $655k per year. If that is your idea of an upper middle class income, I would love to have you for an employer. I'd be rich.

        But hey, it's not like we can expect you to be informed just because the article is conveniently linked in the header these days.

    • Or maybe they were but their competitors were not.

      Historically that is how rich folk addressed various social and public issues. And it continues today, look at Warren Buffet. He is dodging the inheritance tax by transferring wealth to the Gates foundation, believing that Bill and Melinda can more effectively spend his money to benefit society than the US government can. His "raise my taxes" talk is just a political stunt.

  • Given they're trying to speak on behalf of many others that like as not don't feel as they do, it seems disingenuous. Besides, nothing is stopping them from giving more if they really feel that strongly about it.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 21, 2016 @03:35PM (#51746431)

      Hi. Your argument is incredibly stupid. As a society, you need to determine what is important and then come together as a group to get it done. Saying "oh, if you feel it is important, pay for it, if you don't then you don't have to" falls apart rather quickly. Infrastructure is a common good that all of society should pay for and those who lack the moral compass to realize that they should help pay for it should not be let off the hook. Ultimately, a donation system is not going to pay for our roads...

      • by Ichijo ( 607641 )

        Infrastructure is a common good that all of society should pay for...

        That argument is often used to rationalize paying for Infrastructure with regressive sales taxes. And because such taxes are not proportional to usage, we end up consuming more [wikipedia.org] infrastructure than necessary, costing us more in taxes and environmental harm than we would otherwise pay.

        So I would try to be more careful with that argument in the future.

    • The intent isn't actually to likely persuade anything to happen outside of something important: discussion. One or two people giving away, say, 20% more of their net worth hardly does anything and the case can easily be made that if doing X action doesn't meet Y result then find a better action.
    • ...it seems disingenuous.

      Governments are not allowed to take donations, and many (if not all) of the issues addressed are Government issues. Governments take in money from taxes, so the only way for governments to get more money is to raise taxes.

      • by XxtraLarGe ( 551297 ) on Monday March 21, 2016 @03:54PM (#51746663) Journal

        Governments are not allowed to take donations

        Except when they are... [treas.gov]

      • ...it seems disingenuous.

        Governments are not allowed to take donations, and many (if not all) of the issues addressed are Government issues. Governments take in money from taxes, so the only way for governments to get more money is to raise taxes.

        Oh, bullshit. When I was single there were a few times when I had a $5 or $10 refund due from the IRS, and I simply wrote on the return "please deposit my refund in the general fund". Never heard from them again about it.

        You are free to give as much to the US or any state or local government as you want. They don't want that - they want to give other people's money away.

    • by mx+b ( 2078162 ) on Monday March 21, 2016 @03:45PM (#51746555)

      Given they're trying to speak on behalf of many others that like as not don't feel as they do, it seems disingenuous. Besides, nothing is stopping them from giving more if they really feel that strongly about it.

      Nothing disingenuous with stating your own opinion that you'd be ok with higher taxes. The operating assumption of most politicians, especially in the GOP, is that "TAXES ARE EVIL!", so if you remind them that not everyone feels that way (at least if taxes are going to a good purpose), that's your right as a citizen. Feel free to disagree and write your own letter, but in the case of these millionaires, they wanted to point out that the assumption that all rich people don't want tax increases is wrong.

      While you can write a check to the Treasury if you really felt like it, its a bit moot if there isn't an accompanying budget. What is preferable is that a tax rate is set that funds a certain budget with a set of priorities, so you know for sure that the law requires your extra tax money go to pay for education, roads, etc., rather than going into a US Treasury slush fund that is used for who knows what, including probably tax rebates for corporations that don't need them. The letter is not just asking for tax increases, but asking for a budget that prioritizes these services and raises taxes as a way to pay for it.

      • by MetricT ( 128876 ) on Monday March 21, 2016 @06:15PM (#51748031) Homepage

        There are two types of rich people: The economic value creators (Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, etc) and the lucky ones (Wall Street, Koch Bros).

        The former don't care about higher taxes precisely *because* they generate economic value. If you take their money, it will go to teachers, police, etc, and will eventually filter through the economy to someone who wants to buy more Shaw carpet or Acme brick. What the tax man taketh from Warren Buffet, a slightly wealthier poor and middle class give back.

        Meanwhile, if you're "lucky", if you got your fortune because you were in the right place at the right time, knew the right hands to shake and palms to grease, taxing them takes away the money forever. It isn't coming back.

        So when you see the rich say we need higher taxes, it's usually people who actually generate value, and the ones who complain about higher taxes are usually the leeches on society.

    • by Tablizer ( 95088 )

      Besides, nothing is stopping them from giving more if they really feel that strongly about it.

      There is a risk of depending on volunteer donations for infrastructure and basic services. During slumps, people are obviously going to give less. That means basic services take a big hit during bad times when they are needed most.

      I had a similar complaint about Ron Paul's volunteer-based healthcare plan.

      It also means the economy slows way down during slumps as the giving shrinks and reduces paychecks, exacerbating

  • translation (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 21, 2016 @03:27PM (#51746319)

    Translation: "Please, we're sorry we were so stingy! Raise our taxes a little before the people vote in somebody who will raise them to where they should be!"

    Captcha: unrest

  • They could just give more money but participating in this publicity is better for them.
  • Easy... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by superdave80 ( 1226592 ) on Monday March 21, 2016 @03:28PM (#51746337)
    Just treat all income the same. Wages, dividends and capital gains should all be taxed as regular income. Where do you think the 1% make most of their money? Hint: it's not from their paycheck.
    • That's one approach. But if you do that, you need to eliminate the corporate tax entirely, otherwise the effective corporate tax is too high.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      That depends upon how you define the 1%. If you use top 1% of "earners" where earners means earned income subject to income tax then the majority of the top 1% actually do make most of their money from their paychecks. From the very beginning nearly 8 years ago this whole sounding the drums to raise income tax on the "top 1%" has been a ploy by the wealthy investor class to raise taxes on highly paid upper middle class professionals rather than themselves.

  • by JoeyRox ( 2711699 ) on Monday March 21, 2016 @03:31PM (#51746369)
    Here you go:

    https://www.fms.treas.gov/faq/... [treas.gov]
  • Uh? (Score:4, Funny)

    by TheDarkMaster ( 1292526 ) on Monday March 21, 2016 @03:31PM (#51746375)
    Uhh... Checking.

    - Abril Fool's Day? No, too soon;

    - Apocalipse? (go to the window, checks the telescope) No, no asteroids coming;

    - Hell frozen? (as my nickname implies I can check this possibility)... DAMMIT, Hell has frozen.
  • Of course they did. (Score:3, Informative)

    by pecosdave ( 536896 ) on Monday March 21, 2016 @03:32PM (#51746399) Homepage Journal

    There's already a spot on tax forms to contribute more if you like. The Rockefeller's in particular, and the Disney family is in bed with them don't actually want their taxes raised, because they can silently raise them all by themselves with that one little blank on the tax form and send in all they want. (we'll ignore the fact many of them have bought personal loopholes that eliminate or greatly reduce their taxes for now) They want to hinder the nouveau riche from reaching their level and to install multiple levels of glass ceilings to keep people from breaking into the next bracket and becoming competition.

    If you've got someone else who's got a lot of money - even if it's not as much as you have - the price of bribing your favorite politician goes up.

    The motive here isn't to help those of use struggling to make it, it's to make sure more people are struggling.

  • Giving my money to charity means I have freely let go of my funds in order to try and make the world a better place. Crying for more taxes is essentially saying "You! Over there, with the guns! Point them at us and make us turn over our goods to you!"
  • That has worked out so well for France.
  • by creimer ( 824291 ) on Monday March 21, 2016 @03:40PM (#51746493) Homepage
    Baby boomers are retiring and the workforce is shrinking in the next 20+ years. Social Security and Medicare will consume two-thirds of the federal budget. Taxes will have to go way up to pay for everything else.
  • If you collect more taxes, how much of that will go to things you want to have fixed and not for things like bombs and oil subsidies. I would think if you had money and you see a problem you could more easily direct that money to the problem yourself. I mean, the roads and bridges in and around Disney World are pretty nice.
    • that's because these people make money from tax free government bonds, not wages. higher taxes mean governments can buy more bonds to fix stuff which means the rich people who support this will give them the bond money in return for tax free income for themselves and make money.
  • Consider (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sjames ( 1099 ) on Monday March 21, 2016 @03:47PM (#51746565) Homepage Journal

    It seems not one poster here considered that they see they are capable of paying more and not being harmed BUT they know they can't solve all of those problems unless their fellow millionaires who are equally capable of paying but not equally willing kick in their part.

  • by ooloorie ( 4394035 ) on Monday March 21, 2016 @03:51PM (#51746629)
    Whether a Rockefeller or Disney heir pays higher taxes hardly matters to them, given how rich they are, so talk is cheap for them. But their fortunes aren't enough to address our budget problems. In fact, the decreasing infrastructure spending is not due to low taxes, but crowding out of all other spending by interest and entitlement programs.

    A second problem, though, is that most of this spending shouldn't be federal to begin with. Road infrastructure should largely be paid for by local and state taxes. And federal entitlement programs simply aren't helping people because they are badly designed and badly administered; throwing more money at them won't fix those problems; and if you fix federal entitlement programs, they won't need more money, since we are already spending a lot more than other countries.

  • So giving our government more money to fix the things they should already be fixing with the taxes,fees, tolls they already are collecting and should be using but don't..
  • a lot of these people don't make money from jobs, they get it from investments and family trust funds that buy up housing for them to live in for free. and they own a lot of property. dividends and investments are taxed at lower rates than income. unless they raise the dividend tax rates or get rid of tax benefits in tax free municipal bonds these people are blowing hot air and simply taxing others to make money for themselves calling for higher taxes on income means newly successful people pay more and have a harder time buying their own property and moving up creating a class of royalty. this is how it works in NYC. they reduce income taxes by a pittance but the property taxes keep going up which means rents go up and higher rents mean higher property taxes and profits for the landowners.
  • There they go. Any reiteration of this idea now is just underhandedly trying to push their politics on other people.
  • The US government has a sovereign currency: it is non-convertible, the exchange rate floats, no-one else can create it without their permission.

    The government can spend as much money into existence as it needs to meet its policy goals. It does not need to borrow or tax to do this, though tax is essential and useful for other reasons.

    Inflation can occur if it overdoes it by spending more than the economy has the capacity to produce. So it shouldn't do that. But it is a long way from there now.

    So why doesn't

  • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Monday March 21, 2016 @03:57PM (#51746685)

    If you give the state more money, it will help improve roads the same way giving a beggar $10 will buy a meal at Dennys and not a bottle of vodka...

    Never give an addict more of what they crave.

  • Here's all I want: ABOLISH COPYRIGHT LAWS. To hell with those fuckers.

  • https://www.fms.treas.gov/faq/... [treas.gov]

    If they want to may more, no one is stopping them.

  • If these millionaires are so smart, then why ain't they rich?

  • There is a fundamental difference between someone who has a lot of money, and someone who is making a lot of money. Someone with $10B in assets is a billionaire, and fits this "1% club", but they may only be in the upper 20% in annual TAXABLE INCOME.

    And yet they're perfectly willing to tell the state to tax people whose incomes are higher than theirs. Heck, it protects them from people getting into that top 1% assets club too fast..

  • They're willing to pay a bit more to the state they help create in order to grow its size and foster an attitude among the proles like us where the individual matters less than he already does.

  • Ignorance (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fluffernutter ( 1411889 ) on Monday March 21, 2016 @04:57PM (#51747329)
    The multiple comments of 'they could donate if they wanted to' demonstrates a fundamental ignorance of how important it is for society to work together to achieve goals. No wonder America is so messed up.

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