Taxing the Rich

Transparently speaking, I have flip flopped all over the place on this idea of taxing the ultra-rich. On one hand I listen to gadillionaire Warren Bullet speak about how he pays less, percentage-wise, than his secretary. On the other hand I watch a 60 Minutes piece that tells me that corporations and the ultra-wealthy are not paying taxes here but pay them where the rates are cheaper.

Consider these points from an article (from a somewhat biased site) titled
Tax The Rich? 14 Facts You May Want To Consider ...
  • The top 1 percent of all income earners already pay 39.5 percent of all federal income taxes. When you take all forms of federal taxation into account, the top 1 percent of all income earners pay 28.1 percent of all federal taxes. The top 20 percent of all income earners in the United States pay approximately 86 percent of all federal income taxes.
  • One recent poll found that 64 percent of Americans are in favor of raising taxes on those that make $250,000 or more a year in order to help balance the federal budget deficit. Another recent poll found that 72 percent of Americans favor raising taxes on those making $250,000 or more a year.
  • Approximately 45 percent of all U.S. households pay absolutely no income taxes at all. Overall, U.S. households are now receiving more income from the U.S. government than they are paying to the government in taxes. This is clearly not anywhere close to sustainable.
Those are interesting but this is the one that got my attention:
The ultra-wealthy keep much of their wealth outside of the United States so that the government cannot tax it. It has been estimated that a third of all the wealth in the world is held in "offshore" banks.
Got me to wondering if our government is really smart enough to squeeze a few more bucks from the ultra-wealthy or if attempts to do so would just chase them, and their money, to other countries? All of this is starting to get me wondering if my friend Lynn is right about taxing spending rather than income. Conceptually it seems that such a plan would be more difficult to scam than our current one. What do you think our leaders in DC should do?


  1. Yes, consumption only tax is what I want, if we repeal the income tax only. everybody pays that way, and everyone needs skin in the game.

  2. Not sure what you mean when you say everyone needs skin in the game because, as I understand it, basic needs (like groceries) would not be taxed. So it is possible that some folks would still not pay taxes. Also, garage sales would probably be exempt. And theoretically the tax could be graduated so that the more expensive items like cars and houses could be taxed at a higher rate than cheaper ones.

    I am thinking that a good reason for a tax on spending is that it would eliminate the loopholes the ultra-rich not use to avoid taxes on their income.

    Of course politicians will be enacted the changes to the code and who knows how "fair" it would be.

  3. well, they can afford to keep their money in overseas banks... and they can afford accountants to find exemptions for them


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