Only Little People Pay Taxes – Why a janitor ends up with a higher tax rate than a millionaire, and seven more charts that show how the richest Americans beat the IRS.
“We don’t pay taxes. Only the little people pay taxes,” billionaire hotelier Leona Helmsley famously (and allegedly)  sniffed. She wasn’t entirely correct: The superrich do still pay taxes. The wealthiest 1 percent of taxpayers pay 32 percent of all income tax collected by the federal government.
But the superrich don’t pay as much as they used to—and thanks to a combination of tax cuts and preferential tax policies, their tax obligations can be less demanding than the so-called little people’s. In fact, the very wealthiest Americans’ tax burden has been steadily dropping for years, even as they’ve enjoyed astounding income growth  not seen by the vast majority of Americans.
Tax rates for the wealthy have fallen substantially since they peaked in the 1940s. During the past 30 years, they have been cut at a much faster rate than middle- and low-income taxpayers’.
There is a point where for all practical purposes and far beyond a person can accumulate so much wealth that their needs have certainly been meet and even the most grandiose desires. We’ve had a multitude of studies lie this new one from Motherjones that show an enormous concentration of wealth in the hands of a very few whose tax burden has gone down even as the backbone of institutions that make a healthy middle-class possible is weakened. Let’s say that when conservatives start calling everyone to the left of Mussolini a socialist, they are genuinely concerned about how the nations’ economy is structured in order that achievement or merit is rewarded. One will be hard pressed to find a study that shows there is not a connection between publicly financed infrastructure – community colleges, public universities, the highway system, semi-public utilities, food safety, environmental protection, basic financial regulation and the growth of a healthy middle-class. Thus these concerned conservatives should want to continue the basic historical guidelines that make it possible to work and make a decent living. Yet conservatives, especially at the legislative level and at their think tanks, work tirelessly to undermine the basic economic wheels and gears that work together to create a wealthy nation. Why would a political movement put so much effort into making the USA a weaker nation to cater to a small percentage of wealthy elite. It is not as though bringing back even a minimum 50% tax bracket for millionaires would see the Koch brothers or Harold Simmons in a bread line. Thus the stakes in the fair share tax game are not just about money. They are about the power that goes hand in hand with money. Simmons is a good example. He has bought an incredible amount of political clout. He has never held elected office yet he owns quite a few Texas legislators. There is a better than even chance he will get his way in regards dumping radioactive waste. In which case he will make millions, if not billions more. The cycle of money, power, more money and more power. America by and for the powerful, mostly old industry conservative interests. This radical conservative model for how a nation should operate is not new. Not much about conservatism is very modern. It is the European model circa the 16th century and before. Wealth .i.e. property concentrated in the hands of royalty. Not because they earned it, but because they took it. Ye old conservatives took their wealth through force and kept it by way of inheritance and more force. Modern conservatism knows that people who like to think they live in a free democratic republic will not tolerant pure unadulterated taking. So they take the pie created by the work of millions and redistribute it to the few via tax policy, oligopolies and spartan financial regulation. If we continued the progressive policy trends started by FDR and The New Deal that would mean less power for the wealthy and more power to the average American. Which is one of the biggest reasons why conservatives cling so tenaciously to their agenda. That agenda requires the right-wing noise machine – Fox News, conservative radio, newspaper columns, direct mail and internet pundits. It takes a lot of noise to bury the truth. There is another element to the conservative agenda that goes all the way back to Protestant Calvinism, the embrace of hardship as a cultural virtue and a kind of awe of wealth accumulation. George Packer gets a little into that in this recent column – Iceberg to the Right: From the Titanic to Paul Ryan
It does rough justice to a political ideology whose leading advocates take wealth to be a sign of individual and social virtue, believe its concentration in fewer and fewer hands isn’t something for a democratic country to worry about, toy with the idea of getting rid of child-labor laws, regard unemployment and other social insurance as forms of coddling the unworthy poor, and hold health care to be a personal option for which the individual is responsible. As Robert Reich (an economist for whom Obama never had much use) pointed out several months before the President used the phrase last week, the social Darwinism of William Graham Sumner and other late-nineteenth-century thinkers is alive and well in the current Republican Party.
I can understand the Romneys, the Simmons, the Bushes, the Coors family, John McCain’s wife or the Kochs all thinking they’re special, they did actual work and deserve their wealth. Such is the bubble of, not all by any means, but many of the wealthy live in. It is difficult to fathom by blue-collar and middle-class conservatives view these people with the kind of awe that old European peasants saw their Kings. It is because these lower-income conservatives see wealth in and of itself as virtue and to some degree religiously predestined wealth. If wealth equals virtue then non-wealth is just punishment. So we cannot get off the merry-go-round of conservative thinking because they want wealth in the hands of people who must be virtuous or else, you know who, would take their wealth away as punishment. Any attempt to cushion the suffering of those at the bottom, who’s odds of even reaching the middle are pretty low, is messing with destiny. As radical and 17th century as that sounds. Conservatives such as Paul Ryan (R-WI) also believe that programs like Medicare and Social Security which provide for a dignified retirement for blue-collar and middle-class workers is also mixing with the ‘natural order’ of things.
If that sounds too harsh, consider what Jason DeParle of the Times reported two days ago. Even as the recession drove millions of Americans deeper into poverty, many of them, mainly single mothers, continue to be dropped from the welfare rolls under the welfare reform laws of the nineteen-nineties. DeParle, the leading journalistic expert on the subject, did not try to hide his indignation: “They have sold food stamps, sold blood, skipped meals, shoplifted, doubled up with friends, scavenged trash bins for bottles and cans and returned to relationships with violent partners—all with children in tow.”
That’s a picture only a social Darwinist could describe as “an unprecedented success”—which is the phrase Congressman Paul Ryan, who authored the Republican budget plan, uses to describe welfare reform. That program was bipartisan, and widely popular. But today only leaders of the Republican Party, like Ryan and Mitt Romney, believe it’s working so well that the model should be extended to other government programs, including food stamps and Medicaid.
In a less widely quoted passage from his speech, Obama called the Republican budget “antithetical to our entire history as a land of opportunity and upward mobility for everybody who’s willing to work for it.” This was less solid than “social Darwinism.” For in truth, there was a time in American history—it lasted roughly from the end of the Civil War to the beginning of the Great Depression—when opportunity and upward mobility were choked off by the concentration of wealth and power in a few hands. Ryan, Romney, and the Republican Party want to return to the age of the Titanic, before child-labor laws and laws protecting the right to join unions and the graduated income tax and social insurance, when those in first class survived at much higher rates than the unfortunate souls down in steerage.
I’ve read several liberal pundits repeat the general impression that on a personal basis Ryan is pleasant enough in person. That does not surprise me. Most of the conservatives I know have pleasant enough demeanors. That does not mean they are not capable of believing some in some stuff that is wildly malignant and pernicious.
If you can’t win, make up your own math – Koch-Funded GOP Economist Uses New Math To Find That Health Reform Increases The Deficit
What Blahous calls “double counting” is actually the “unified budget process,” an accounting method that considers the spending and revenues of the entire federal budget over a 10 year period and the way Congress keeps track of its dollars. It’s the same math that the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) relied on to conclude in 2010 that the law “would produce a net reduction in federal deficits of $143 billion over the 2010–2019 period as result of changes in direct spending and revenues.”
Blahous is just another Scott Walker type Koch puppet. They pull the strings and out comes four plus two equals nine.
This is a bit late, but it fits in with today’s post, Conservative Conman Rick Warren not a fan of this whole Jesus thing
OBAMA: And I believe in God’s command to love thy neighbor as thyself. And when I talk about shared responsibility, it’s because I genuinely believe that in a time when many folks are struggling, at a time when we have enormous deficits, it’s hard for me to ask seniors on a fixed income or young people with student loans or middle-class families who can barely pay the bills, to shoulder the burden alone.”
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: So, is he — is he right?
R. WARREN: Well certainly the Bible says we are to care about the poor. There’s over 2,000 versus in the Bible about the poor. And God says that those who care about the poor, God will care about them and God will bless them. But there’s a fundamental question on the meaning of “fairness.” Does fairness mean everybody makes the same amount of money? Or does fairness mean everybody gets the opportunity to make the same amount of money? I do not believe in wealth redistribution, I believe in wealth creation.
What is the difference between Warren and the average conservative sycophant that hangs out in the comment section at Breitbart’s Big Continuance Lie sites? Not much. Obama say one thing. Warren takes it, twists it inside out and regurgitates a response to something not said. The funny thing about the very wealthy Warren is that he does not work for a living. He is a Jesus for profit millionaire. Having grown up in the south these guys and gals are almost a dime a dozen. Most of them never gain the national name recognition, but they all have their talking points memorized. They have all created a Jesus in their likeness. They’re deeply arrogant and stunningly ignorant of U.S. history and economics. It is as though they grew up on a different planet. That’s mostly because they grow up in a bubble where they are taught certain things and those teachings are reinforced. Once they hit the real world where there is variety of Americans with a variety of beliefs they are shocked that not everyone thinks Jesus was a hedge fund manager with a gold Rolex. The blogger further comments on Warren,
The 2,000 verses in the Bible dealing with the poor are, of course, outshadowed by the nearly 10,000 verses outlining how employers shouldn’t have to pay for medical insurance for their employees if that insurance might cover medical needs that those employers have personal moral objections to. But the rest of it is pretty interesting. Apparently we’re supposed to care about the poor, but not care for them—that seems to be the distinction, because as long as their souls get saved, hey, screw ’em. Sorry we’re cutting your food stamps, little Timmy, but if it’s any consolation it looks like you’ll be getting to meet Jesus a lot sooner than the rest of us!