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July 28, 2012

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Whether he donates to this left-wing cause or another one (i.e. the permabureaucracy in Washington DC), via higher taxes, doesn't seem like it should be of primary importance.

1. Pro-gay marriage initiatives, especially those put up for referendum, have a spectacularly high failure rate.

2. You said yourself that the problem isn't gay marriage, but the decrease in heterosexual marriage (unless you're a married prole; HS will hate you no matter what)

"Higher taxes for Jeff Bezos means less money for him to donate to left-wing causes."

If it really worked this way, I might be willing to spring for higher taxes.

I'm no fan of super-rich liberals. But the politicians will start by raising taxes on everyone making over 200K. Then they'll create loopholes for all the really rich people and leave the rest of us holding the bag. Either that, or the really rich people will emigrate and manage their business interests from overseas.

As for the gay thing...

Voters have repeatedly rejected gay marriage. But these billionaires are trying to buy the vote on a social issue. Regardless of how one feels about the issue, that's not cool.

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/businesstechnology/2017883663_amazonmain25.html

"Hanauer and others who know Bezos describe him as a libertarian. In 2010, Bezos contributed $100,000 to help defeat Initiative 1098, which sought to impose a state income tax on Washington's wealthiest residents."

[HS: Sounds more like greedy self-interest than his belief in some abstract principles.]

Democrats haven't done anything in recent years that would materially raise taxes on the Jeff Bezoses of this country. The Democrats' tack is to talk about the rich paying their "fair share", but their real target isn't billionaires but the upper middle class / working rich: physicians, successful small business owners, high-end sales execs, etc. -- people who mostly vote Republican.

Republicans stupidly walk into the same trap over-and-over: in order to get a tiny tax deduction for the working rich, they promise even steeper cuts on everyone else. That was the tack they took with the Bush tax cuts, which were highly progressive. Then the Dems agree to keep the lower income tax cuts and say those on "the rich" (i.e., upper middle class) should expire.

Republicans should let them all expire. Let them go back to the Clinton rates across the board. That didn't hurt the economy under Clinton, and the higher rates would help shrink the deficit. Then, Republicans should beat the Dems at their own game, by directly targeting the wealthy with a tax -- not on income, or transactions (cap gains) which the wealthy can postpone, but on wealth itself. Say, a wealth tax of 0.5% per year, with no tax on the first $10 million. Apply it to foundations too, so Buffett can't avoid it by giving money to the Gates Foundation. Say that we'll need to keep the tax, or increase it, until our deficits are below 3% of GDP. That would give the wealthy an incentive to rein in deficit spending.

Destructure has it right, and Half Sigma has it wrong.

The super rich can finesse their way through the tax code and keep most of their money, no matter how high the nominal tax rate. They are the ones hiring lobbyists who essentially write the tax code. (You didn't think your dumb local congressman wrote it, did you? He most likely didn't even read any of it.) The end result will be that higher taxes - to the degree they affect the super rich at all - will not hurt that class of earners as much as it does the striving upper middle class, who aren't wealthy enough to hire the best lobbyists to look out for their interests.

Warren Buffett supports Barack Obama, the Democratic Party, and higher taxes on the wealthy. But Warren Buffett's own vast wealth will not be affected by his political views because it's already earmarked for tax-protected charities. Most of the super rich, however, won't even have to be as charitable as Mr. Buffett to escape taxes. They'll be a thousand different ways to escape higher taxes, and the tax lawyers the super rich hire will know them all. Those same lawyers will also try to create, through their legal cleverness and the courts, a thousand more for their clients to use.

Finally, there's no evidence that high tax rates correlate with social conservatism. In fact, it's quite possible the opposite is true. It is the centralizing tendency of the modern state which pushes what are viewed as quaint and/or religious-affiliated customs and beliefs out of polite society. The U.S. military didn't drop DADT because of Jeff Bezos's money. They dropped it because most of their officers have attended - at some point in their careers - the same kind of higher educational facilities that Bezos attended. These men don't have prole sensibilities. It was embarrassing for them to go to parties and have to mix with similarly educated people who looked down on what they took to be the barbaric customs of the military.

You want to save social conservatism? Then the first order of business is to reduce the footprint of the modern U.S. university, which is now the primary inculcator of values to the upper class. Taking away Jeff Bezos' money is not the most effective way to do that.

For an example of what I mean about the super rich creating their own tax rates because of their cleverness and occasionally because they skirt the law, take a look at any recent news piece on Romney's IRA.

The super rich will figure out how to negotiate the rocky shoals of higher tax rates. The striving upper middle class which is too busy building something? Not so much.

Conservatives are still stuck in the 70's to an extent.

Conservatives are not "intent on lowering their taxes". No one has proposed taxes on the super rich. They only propose to raise my taxes while bitching about the super rich as a decoy.

One thing is to raise taxes for billionaires and another is to raise taxes for people making over 200k. With 200k you can't even sustain a family in NYC. Plus, the people who make 200k work hard for that money. It's not the lucky entrepreneur who is worth billions of dollars. In other words the 200k people are the people who produce and innovate. When you think of innovation you think of Steve Jobs, but the reality is that there are the tens of thousands of people at Apple that made that happen, and those are all in the 100-300k range salary, with family income of 200-400k in general.

I'm ok with taxing more billionaires, but not the working skilled people that are making below 500k.

In reality they should tax the businesses and capital gains more, not the salaries of the producers.

Being against gay marriage is profoundly prole.

I'm hardcore far right from a hardcore right-wing family (as in, my family was a big financial sponsor of fascism until fascism was taken over by prole street thugs) and I'm pro gay marriage. Not because I give a fuck about the issue itself but I'm mortified by the idea of being associated with the kind of dirtbag proles who think opposing gay marriage is some important mission.

Attention-getting but meaningless boutique causes like gay marriage are just signaling and you'll have a hard time finding high status people willing to take the low status side on any such issue. It doesn't mean that they're really leftist.

If I had to guess, I'd say Bezos is a relatively apolitical libertarian. Gay marriage ain't exactly a super-liberal cause anymore. The wives of Bush Jr. and McCain support it, as as well as their daughters, as does Ted Olsen, Dick Cheney, and a bunch of others. If I had to speculate, most of the change of heart stems from personal friendships, the kind I'd expect Bezos to forge.

>

Agreed -- and he doesn't sound much like a liberal. Certainly Bezos is rich enough to agree with that law in principle, but he spent money defeating it. Compare with Bill Gates' father, a 70s era Republican who thinks the wealthy do not pay their fair share.

Dissolution of the Monasteries is part of the solution---perhaps via Blue on Blue 'violence'. Tax the living hell out of all of the large foundations and endowments and pour the resulting money into rat holes. Thus is the Cathedral undone by its own.

It is false that dems target the upper middle class for tax increases. The two most targeted tax increases are to raise the rate on "carried interest" from 15% to 35% and dividends and capital gains back to the Reagan era 28% rate from 15%. This is where the super rich get their low rates.

One tax increase that the GOP keeps proposing is to eliminate the state and local tax deduction. This would fall most heavily on those in the 100 to 400k a year plan.

I mean income range not plan above.

Also, Obama proposes keeping all of the bush rate cut for those making under 250k AGI. With the usual deductions, this means really everyone with income below 300.

Let's say someone makes 350 with 50k in deductions. They only pay a slightly higher rate on 50k of income. That person's taxes are still much lower than they'd be during the Clinton era. Nobody made any money then during that horrible time. Oh wait, unemployment was 4% with a budget surplus and the stock market more than doubling.

"In reality they should tax the businesses and capital gains more, not the salaries of the producers." -- T

I agree with everything Hackeysack and Pincher said. I also agree with what "T" said -- except for the last line. So obviously I'm going to pick on the last line. haha

The problem with a business tax is that it's just passed along to consumers where it raises costs for everyone. Since lower income people spend a higher percentage of their income out of necessity (whereas higher income have more disposable income to save & invest) a business tax ends up being regressive. Even worse, it places an undue burden on American businesses. If US businesses pay higher taxes then how can they compete against foreign businesses who don't?

As for capital gains tax, that's not really a tax on the rich. It's a tax on everyone. In fact, the rich would use lobbyists and lawyers to create tax shelters and get out of paying it just like Hackeysack said.

The only way to tax the rich is to tax their wealth -- not their businesses, not their income and not their capital gains. Which is why I like Hackeysack's suggestion of "a wealth tax of 0.5% per year, with no tax on the first $10 million." People might balk at such a low rate. But if it were any higher then the rich would just use lobbyists and lawyers to create tax shelters. You have to keep it low enough to ~bleed them~ (haha) without being high enough to make them do anything about it.

The issue is the immense power of the gay lobby nowadays. What happened in the last 10 years? The ruthlessness and organization of gay rights activists is astounding. Their agenda is ludicrous yet now supported by almost half of Americans. Media and college are big reasons, but the quickness of the change surprises me.

Sure, we should soak the rich. But no one will propose to do that, because to win elections you need cash.

We also need to start the backlash against the destructive gay lobby. It's not only marriage. They also got Obama to allow more AIDS infected people into this country.

I believe that Bezos is Jewish and Jews tend to be liberals regardless of income. Wealthy gentiles, on the other hand, are more likely to be conservative.

[HS: Why the hell would you think that Bezos is Jewish unless you have been hanging out at Stormfront? His parents are Catholic and Episcopal. Bezos is the name of his Cuban stepfather. His natural father's name is Jorgensen, which is a Danish/Norwegian name and there are hardly any Jews from there.]

"I'm pro gay marriage. Not because I give a fuck about the issue itself but I'm mortified by the idea of being associated with the kind of dirtbag proles who think opposing gay marriage is some important mission." - jaakkeli


Ah yes sticking it to the "wrong sort of white". You white elites have made a sport out of that. Too bad for you only the soccer hooligans and "prole dirtbags" will save the UK, US, and the entire western world. The common sense of the common man.

I wonder--any thoughts on what's behind this Google thing? The Silicon Valley types seem to be really into the gay marriage cause for some reason.

Interestingly, I've read of quite a few transsexual programmers. Maybe some odd combination of masculine and feminine brain development traits is useful in some programming areas?

Having nothing against gay marriage makes one a liberal? And most of the tax increases on the "rich" that leftists want would start with people making over $250,000 a year. The few people I've known who make that much are pretty conservative and work 50 plus hours a week and live in the burbs, but that would make them lame proles who couldn't enjoy life in godforsaken NYC, so fuck them.

More taxes = more money for Obama to spend... something that the "conservative" HS is forever advocating. Why does HS want to empower Obama so much more?

Has there ever been a serious proposal to increase taxes on the super-duper rich?

(For example, they could have a rule that people with net worth more than 100 million have to pay 1% of their net worth a year in additional taxes.)

On the surface, one would think such a proposal would be appealing to both parties. The Democrats should like it on the theory that "you didn't make that." The Republicans should like in on the theory that most of those super-rich are liberals anyway.

I mean, when Warren Buffet started whining about how his taxes were too low, why didn't anyone propose a special tax on multi-billionaires?

This leads me to think that the other posters here are right; that there's really a bait and switch going on. That the real target is people who do pretty well but are not super-rich.

DirkY refers to the tax reform act signed by Reagan. It's worth considering how elegant and logical Reagan's '86 act was compared to W's hash of a tax cut. Consider:

- Reagan reduced the number of rates and brackets. Bush increased them.

- Reagan lowered the top rate from 50% to 28%, and had that same rate apply to income and capital gains, which makes economic sense (keeps people from trying to game the system) and is more equitable. Bush made the entire tax code more complex and more progressive (and threw tens of millions of lower income Americans off the tax rolls entirely), just to get a temporary reduction in the top rate from 39.6% to 35%.

In a nutshell, in order to get a relatively modest (and temporary!) reduction in income tax rates for the working rich, W. cut taxes on lower income Dem voters, as well as ultra-rich Dem voters (via his cut in the cap gains tax from the 20% Clinton rate to the 15% rate).

Stupid Republicans want to try this tack again, even though it's long past the point of diminishing returns. You can't buy off the lower income classes with tax cuts when they're not paying net income taxes anyway. And you can't balance the budget without more of them paying taxes.

Half Siggy-

A while back you wrote about the Obama's family freakishly high IQ genes and cited Obama's brother as evidence. The brother has a BA in physics from Stanford. Sure, a smart guy. However, I think you overlooked the fact that his mother, Ruth Baker, was a high IQ Jewess Obama Sr. met while at Harvard. Its more likely that the Jewish mother passed down her exceptional intelligence to her sons, enabling the son to get the physics degree. Not by Obama genes alone can someone earn a Stanford science degree.

****Attention-getting but meaningless boutique causes like gay marriage are just signaling****

On the SWPL side. Not on the traditionalist side.

****you'll have a hard time finding high status people willing to take the low status side on any such issue. It doesn't mean that they're really leftist.****

Right - they care chiefly about being seen as "the right kind of people". That's worse than anything.

Once again, Half Sigma and company prove that proles are better people than their supposed "betters".

A large majority of African Americans oppose gay rights. Opposing gay rights is not a conservative issue. The issue breaks along the divide that separates the educated from ignoramuses.

Raising taxes on the wealthy might actually increase how much they give to charity. Since charitable contributions are tax-deductible, if I have $1 million at a 50% tax, giving it to charity costs me $500k. At an 80% tax, it costs me $200k. There are other effects, of course, but it's unclear raising taxes on the rich would really have that effect.

Of course tax increases are targeted at "the working rich". Contrary to what you people believe these folks are in the highest income brackets. The six figure salaried family man struggling in Manhattan? A myth. People like that live in New Jersey, Connecitcut, and Long Island. Moreover whenever anybody argues with a tax cutter their go to response is there aren't enough millionaires and billionaires to fix the deficit. They're right that's why "the working rich" must also pay. The conspiracy theories and class warfare talk is especially amusing when the very same commentators berate others as marxists.

jaakkeli wrote, "...i'm pro gay marriage. Not because I give a fuck about the issue itself but I'm mortified by the idea of being associated with the kind of dirtbag proles who think opposing gay marriage is some important mission."

This quote illustrates why the right is split. The "Kook Kids" don't want to be seen or associate with their flyover country kindred, even though they may agree on 90% of the issues. Far better to win Jon Stewart's approval.

Dave I agree that the 86 tax reform was the best tax law passed in modern history.

It could never happen again because such a reform needs bipartisan support, and the Norquist Koch Club for Growth faction would primary any republican who voted for it. The current GOP position is no tax reform that increases taxes on anyone. A combination of rate cuts and base broadening however will increase taxes on people like Romney and Shelden Anderson. Even proposing a Reagan style policy will get you kicked out of GOP circles, which happened to Bruce Bartlett.

It would be great to cut the top rate from 35 back to 28. It would be a huge benefit to the upper middle class. But Romney pays 15% using loopholes so his ilk would kill it. Loading up middle American companies with debt and then raiding their pension plans to pay giant "special dividends" is hard work, you know? It won't happen unless their rate stays lower than taco bell managers pay.

Why the hell would you think that Bezos is Jewish unless you have been hanging out at Stormfront? His parents are Catholic and Episcopal. Bezos is the name of his Cuban stepfather. His natural father's name is Jorgensen, which is a Danish/Norwegian name and there are hardly any Jews from there.

What is your source? Are you sure he has no Jewish ancestry?

[HS: I can't be sure that you don't have a Jewish ancestor somewhere either. Bezos' biography is on Wikipedia. He's 100% culturally gentile, and probably doesn't even have the least bit of Jewish ancestry.]

Why does anyone really care whether or not Bezos supports gay marriage? It's an issue that's pretty much irrelevant to the vast majority of the population.

Sabril -

This leads me to think that the other posters here are right; that there's really a bait and switch going on. That the real target is people who do pretty well but are not super-rich.

______________________

That's exactly the point. The tax system is a tax on upward mobility. It is designed primarily by the Democrats to be a tax on becoming rich, not a tax on being rich. The Buffets, Gates, Soros's, Thiels, etc., are not affected because they can bypass the tax system through charitable trusts, foundations and unrealized capital gains, while still convert enough of their wealth into an enviable lifestyle.

That's the bait and switch. The Dems sell their tax program as a tool for sticking it to really high net worth people when, in reality, their tax program does anything but. This is why the Dems focus so much on the tax table that determines how your income will be taxed, and not the tax code, that defines what taxable income is in the first place.

The Republican fight against taxes is exactly the fight against that portion of the tax code that falls on labor.

"I don't understand why conservatives are so intent on lowering their taxes"

1. You can be opposed by rich liberals and still believe keeping their taxes low is good for the economy. And it probably is, which is why...

2. Democrats screech about higher rates even as they increase the complication of the tax code. For the super rich, the amount they pay in taxes is a function of the legal definition of income, not marginal rates. Oddly, I have a sneaking suspicion our current president doesn't know or, if he does, believe this to be the case.

"from a hardcore right-wing family (as in, my family was a big financial sponsor of fascism"

As fascism is generally a leftist political philosophy, this seems odd. It would be interesting if you could expand on this one.

SFG -

I wonder--any thoughts on what's behind this Google thing? The Silicon Valley types seem to be really into the gay marriage cause for some reason.

Interestingly, I've read of quite a few transsexual programmers. Maybe some odd combination of masculine and feminine brain development traits is useful in some programming areas?

____________________________

IT companies like Google are enjoying the goldilocks phase of their respective businesses, where internet businesses and most computer businesses are largely unregulated. The hallmarks of an unregulated business are either not needing to know anything beyond the merchantable requirements of your business and/or being able to experiment on your customers/clients.

Computer people work in industries where you need to know very little outside of computing and they interact with people who know very little outside of computing. Computing businesses are also given lots of leeway to experiment on their customers: Microsoft with its insecure and buggy software; Apple with its slave labor and monopolistic practices; Google/Facebook with data gathering via privacy violations.

Contrast the computing industry with the chemicals industry, where a move cannot be made without regulatory approval.

Computing has yet to experience the government jackboot and, thus, can indulge its tastes anyway it wants.

"What happened in the last 10 years? The ruthlessness and organization of gay rights activists is astounding. Their agenda is ludicrous yet now supported by almost half of Americans."

If you look at Gallup polls, the percentage of people who believe that sodomy should be a crime, decreased from 36% to 33% over the last 10 years; at one point it was even higher than 36%. No big change there.

It would appear, though, that opponents were intimidated. Many trained themselves to say what is expected of them, sort of like intellectuals under Stalin.

At this point I have to assume posts like these are deliberate troll bait.

"It's an issue that's pretty much irrelevant to the vast majority of the population."

You are full of shit. Fag marriage initiatives have failed in every single state so far. People who oppose it are still in the majority even though their number has been significantly reduced thanks to Hollywood propaganda and Republican pansiness.

Large top marginal tax rates serve as a barrier to entry to the super-rich. They make it impossible to save, or to self-finance (did you know both Ford and Standard Oil financed themselves to avoid being swallowed by the then Morgan-controlled finance machine), which means anyone who want to join the club has to go through the proper channels, which are controlled by the same network of people.

You seem to think that we have had the same self-perpetuating system for the past 80 years because people didn't realize they could vote for higher taxes.

Amusing don't you think? This man can support same sex marriage and all is fine, but let Chik-fil-A's owner support traditional marriage and the left things the world is ending.......

Seems liberals think those on the left can use their money to support any cause they want, but they get all bent out of shape if any conservatives do the same.

George Soros can shower campaings with cash and liberals jump with glee, but if the Koch brothers do the same thing suddenly they must be stopped!

It must be sad to be a liberal! You can't write one set of laws that you follow and then another set of laws everyone else has to follow........

Then you can just write a law that says wealthy liberals can donate all the money they want to campaigns, but wealthy conservatives can not donate anything. You can write a law that big unions can spend as much they want on an election, but big corporations can't spend anything. You can even write a law that says senate only uses a super majority when it is controlled by republicans, but uses a simple majority vote when controlled by democrats......

Yeah, so said you can not write one set of laws for democrats and another set of laws for everyone else.

You would if you could.

Why are all the wealthy caving to the filthy sodomites?

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