Brynn Craffey

Why is "taxes" a dirty word...?

Filed By Brynn Craffey | August 21, 2008 3:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Politics, Politics, Politics, Politics
Tags: politics, poverty, taxes

Corporate tax rates in my former home, Ireland, are among the lowest in the European Union (EU). That fact, along with decades of massive EU spending to subsidize infrastructure, and a well-educated, English-speaking, hardworking workforce has been responsible for what has been dubbed "the Celtic Tiger," an Irish economic boom that began in the 1990's and is only just starting to stutter due to the global subprime meltdown.

The low tax-rate has induced many foreign companies, such as Google, to set up their European headquarters in Ireland. Unlike here in the US, however, corporations do pay taxes in Ireland: the absolute lowest corporate tax rate is 10%, and I'm not sure any companies even qualify for that rate since 2005. The "Standard Rate on Trading Income" is 12.5%, while the rate on " Investment/Rental Income" is 25%.

In America, a recent Government Accountability Office report just confirmed what many of us have known for some time: while the US is facing a projected $410 billion budget deficit, more than half the corporations doing business in the US to the tune of trillions of dollars of income per year, are not paying a single penny in income taxes.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Most U.S. and foreign corporations doing business in the United States avoid paying any federal income taxes, despite trillions of dollars worth of sales, a government study released on Tuesday said.

The Government Accountability Office said 72 percent of all foreign corporations and about 57 percent of U.S. companies doing business in the United States paid no federal income taxes for at least one year between 1998 and 2005.

More than half of foreign companies and about 42 percent of U.S. companies paid no U.S. income taxes for two or more years in that period, the report said.
During that time corporate sales in the United States totaled $2.5 trillion, according to Democratic Sens. Carl Levin of Michigan and Byron Dorgan of North Dakota, who requested the GAO study.

Tell me, please- why are corporations allowed to benefit from our infrastructure, our highly educated, mobile workforce who labors more hours than the workforces of most modern industrial nations, and our consumer markets without contributing a penny to their maintenance and upkeep?!

In Ireland, individual income tax rates are high by American standards. In 2007, the standard income tax rate for a single person was 20% on the first €34000 of taxable income (roughly $50,000 at current exchange rates), then a whopping 41% on any income above that. Rent, medical bills, and other expenses were deductible which reduces the actual tax-rate.

Over and above income taxes, Ireland also has a "Value Added Tax," or "VAT," which ranges from 0% on books, children's clothing and educational services, to a shocking 21% on the majority of goods. It functions as a 21% sales tax, and like all sales taxes, disproportionately hurts low-income Irish folks.

You might think that given this tax situation, Irish people (like many Americans since the "Reagan Revolution") would consider "taxes" to be a dirty word. You might think that calling for higher taxes, especially on the rich, would be a sure road to political suicide.

You'd be wrong. I won't say that there aren't Irish people who do whatever they can--both legally and sometimes otherwise-- to avoid taxes. But most of the Irish people I know regard taxes as a necessary and integral ingredient of a functioning society. Perhaps their equanimity stems in part from the fact that, rather than going to finance a bloated military (which in America gobbles up 54% of all income tax revenue) , their taxes fund government expenditures like universal free education (including university), free healthcare, old age pensions, unemployment benefits, and public capital expenditures.

Likewise, despite the relatively high taxes and an astronomical cost-of-living in Ireland, people are generally paid well enough to cover their bills and still put money into savings accounts. The minimum wage is €8.65/hour--roughly $12.76 by current exchange rates. Speaking for myself, I was able to get myself out of credit card debt while I was there--something I've been unable to achieve despite many years of trying here.

To illustrate just how deeply the different attitudes toward taxes run, consider that the State of California has now been operating without a budget for more than a month and a half, mostly due to Republican refusal to raise taxes. Even Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's attempts to raise the state sales-tax-- a move I oppose as it hurts the poor while the rich skate--have met with no success in face of the intransigence of his own party.

Meanwhile, folks in Ireland are calling for even higher taxes on the rich, in order to achieve the government's goal of eradicating poverty by the year 2016.

High-earners should be taxed more to allow for a hike in welfare payments for low-income families, it was claimed today.

The Combat Poverty Agency said it would be calling on the Government to review tax-relief schemes, including mortgage and pension, in this year's budget.

Launching its annual report the body said the State must remain committed to eradicating poverty by 2016 despite the financial pressures caused by the economic downturn.

What a concept! Citizens who, out of a sense of shared responsibility and fairness, are willingly to contribute to fellow citizens' wellbeing and improvement.

Before Reagan's ridiculous "Trickle-down" economics, Americans believed that taxes were more than something to cut or evade. During the pre-Proposition-13 days in California, I was one of the state's working-class kids who benefited from one of the best public school systems in the nation. And let's not forget, President Johnson's War on Poverty. And before that, the WPA.

Of course, those were the days when corporations actually paid taxes in America. The days before "taxes" became a dirty word in the American lexicon.

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No corporation pay taxes period. In the end only the individual pays taxes. Raise "corporate taxes" and guess what; that cost is merely passed on to the individual in the form of higher cost for goods. wow - brilliant

What a great idea to raise taxes while the cost of food has doubled thanks mostly in part to "ethanol" subsidies and gasoline is still around $4.00/gallon!!??

Gas on average has 4 separate taxes per gallon, and lest we not forget that the taxes you pay on each gallon come from your already taxed paycheck.

Ah - the sinister devious nature of double dipping!

Why is "taxes" a dirty word? Because at the root of your "taxes are great philosophy" you are advocating that the government confiscate the earned wages of individuals and thus allowing the failed bloated bureaucracy, that is the federal plutocracy, to redistribute those earning to entities and "people groups" it deems worthy.

Big fan of earmarks - eh?

The money our family earns is from our labor, our toil, for our children, our bills, and our retirement.

When we have a surplus we routinely donate to charities both monetarily and materially.

We currently do not have a surplus so keep out!

Keep your hand and the federal nanny state out of our bank account, lest you find one less hand advantageous.

If you love taxes so much, what may I ask is stopping you from cutting a check to the federal government ala the Tax Me More Fund

Don't Tread on Me

Bryan, thanks for publishing this. I hope to hear more of your experiences in Irish life.

I've long looked at the Irish taxation/business model as a good one that the US should aim towards following - not perfect, but a reasonable one that would also be fair to the business community. However, we do have to fight the American ethos of "every penny the government takes is stolen" and "shrink government until it can be drowned in a bathtub", and our peculiarly American need to send our military to foreign countries to kill people.

One thing I've always found intriguing about the Irish tax system is the fact that, for many years, they did not tax artists' fees or royalties. Is that still the case? I also find intriguing the fact that they use property taxation allowances to encourage family operated businesses like bed and breakfasts and taverns, so that the Irish countryside is not dominated by Hampton Inns and Motel 6s.

Brynn Craffey Brynn Craffey | August 21, 2008 8:15 PM

Polar, artist income in Ireland was exempt from taxes (I believe from 1969) until 2005, when the Irish government introduced a tax on income above 250,000 Euros. Seems reasonable enough to me. But U2 immediately relocated their business to Holland. I haven't looked at the band--nor especially, Bono--the same since.

Alli, I doubt anything I could say would convince you to regard taxes as the shared burden of living in a civilized society. You know, though? If you or someone you love was struck by a natural disaster beyond the ability of a single family or individual or church to deal with--say Hurricane Katrina--I'd wager you'd be right out there calling on the National Guard or the Coast Guard or FEMA to come to your aid.

The Republicans, particularly under G.W. Bush, have unfunded and deliberately destroyed government agencies, like FEMA. The truth is, however, that with proper funding and responsible, capable leadership, such agencies work better than any other mechanism in history to deal with enormous, collective emergencies, as well as needs like transportation, water, power, medical care, education, social security, policing, etc. Government, properly funded, run by capable people, and regulated by an informed, educated citizenry, works. We just haven't had those three in this country for quite some time.

Phil Lavoie | August 21, 2008 11:58 PM

I have to agree a little with Alli. Corporations don't pay taxes...they are just an entity of individuals.

Taxes...and the business decisions around taxes, cost companies a lot. Higher prices for the consumer, lower wages for the employee, and less return for the investor.

I'm a fan of the FairTax for this reason(and others). It heavily taxes the wealthy by forcing them to pay a steep consumption tax while giving the poor a prebate to afford their end of the tax burden.

Not to mention is equalizes the tax code for the gay community. I would never have to explain to an IRS auditor that my partner and I really own assets together. Nor would I be obligated to pay taxes on him paying my heafty medical bills if I got sick.

I'd love to see your opinion of this sort of Tax reform. Some say it hurts the poor, however, I get the sense that these folks don't understand how the complete system would work.

Alli, you like driving, don't you? That road was built with tax money. Ever drawn unemployment? Tax money at work. You plan to draw your Social Security, don't you? I sure do - taxes at work. Do you fly? The air traffic control system is Federally funded. The military, Coast Guard, customs, etc. is paid for with your tax money, as is the FBI. Your schools, and your college if you attended one, were funded with tax money - probably not funded well enough. The list goes on.

Your tax money is still being spent - to give tax credits to companies to move jobs offshore, and to pay for foreign wars we shouldn't have been in in the first place. Be concerned about where your taxes are spent. Keep in mind that government will spend money regardless of the tax income being there to cover it, and will borrow the rest - and when they borrow the rest, tight money results, plus we all have to pay interest on the loan for years to come. I pay my Visa off each month, and I want my government to do the same.

Absolutely, the most ignorant American philosophy of government that I have heard of in the past 30 years, is Grover Norquist's "drown government in a bathtub" philosophy. He should be in jail for treason.

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | August 22, 2008 10:20 AM

It has been said that a loaf of bread is taxed 21 separate times between delivery to the store shelf from harvesting of the wheat. That is what makes our system of production and distribution so brilliant when you think of it properly.

Brynn, corporations do pay taxes, but they pay them locally. If they have a factory, warehouse or fleet of vehicles to deliver their goods they pay taxes to their state and county. In that the "profits" of the corporations go to fund the retirement funds of grannies and gramps federal corporate taxes are not only burdensome they are a feature of hurting our competitiveness in a global economy.

In short order, over the last thirty years, the nice dependable "lunchbox" factories that employed people with limited educations have been exported to Asia. AND WE WERE WARNED that this would happen, but people did not upgrade their skills.

This having been said our government is bloated and wasteful building "bridges to no where" and studying the mating habits of hummingbirds. The spending side of our government must be "means tested" and needs to accomplish something or the money should not be spent.

On the one hand we bemoan church based public services, but on the other they do it most efficiently and do more with less. I understand Alli's frustration completely. As regressive as sales taxes are if we were to eliminate taxing food and place Brynn's 21% value added tax on everything else (while also eliminating the IRS from our lives) I would be for it. If we tax consumption, everyone pays but production will have to become more efficient to be competitive.

Paying taxes is important and of equal importance is what you get for those taxes paid.In America we've been lead astray by those who are smart enough to realize most Americans don't have a clue about how America is supposed to work in both government and taxing.We used to be a country where we took pride in building the best products then someone figured out it's better if they don't last as long keeps sales up.We used to feed and take care of our poor now we use the excuse that they are lazy or uneducated so it's okay discriminate against them or refuse to give them assistance.We used to believe in paying not only a reasonable wage but also in having a retirement plan supplied by the employer as well.Now we have low wages high cost of living no corporate retirement and an underfunded Social Security.It's a hell of a mess isn't it?

Polar Said: Alli, you like driving, don't you?

This and your remaining points are all strawmen-talking-point-BooHickey.

Roads are paid for wholly by the approximately .44 cents per gallon tax paid at the pump, not corporate or personal income taxes.

nice try, but no cigar

Polar Said: Ever drawn unemployment? Tax money at work. You plan to draw your Social Security, don't you?

No and no, but yes I have been unemployed before, it is called a saving's accountplanning ahead and help from fiends and family, not the nanny state.

Furthermore, the return on investment for Social Security is 1.9% over approximately 30 years. Whereas having a diversified portfolio of stocks, bonds, and precious metals is 10% over 30 years.

While politicians do such ad nauseum, math does not lie.

Not to mention the Federal Plutocrats keep and will continue to raise the age of retirement. They do such because most are not supposed to ever reclaim all the monies stolen from them, just as the program was designed.

Ergo when my mother, and countless others, passed away at 52 or before "retirement age", the Federal government kept all her confiscated wages as I was not a "qualifying spouse or dependant".

And whilst it was only $8,027.00, that money was from my mother's labor, from her getting up at 4 in the morning and working a crummy job, not some a$$hole bureaucrat's earnings.

Nice ponzi scheme the Aristocrats have going for themselves.

The aristocrats confiscate our earnings to fund their "Guaranteed Private Lifetime Pensions" and they shovel on to us some back-ass BS pittance in the form of Social Security.

Tar and Feather ever last one of them

Polar Said: Your tax money is still being spent - to give tax credits to companies to move jobs offshore, and to pay for foreign wars we shouldn't have been in in the first place.

Again this is an intellectually dishonest attempt to join a dislike of income taxes along with the affirmation of, a disastrous foreign policy of Empire and Imperial conquest.

No arguement will be typed from my jittering coffee fueled fingers should the topic of national defense and its subsequent funding from tariffs, duties, levies, and fees be put forth, as common defense is necessary to quell outside invasion.

However, pocket-picking my wages in the form of an "Income Tax" to stroke the ego of some small pricked aristocrat so he and his chicken-hawk cohorts can play war is an entirely separate subject, and further justification that an Income tax is wholly un-American.

The founders knew giving government a limitless revenue stream in the form of "Income Tax" would lead to such imperial manifestations and other non-essential aspirations by government, hence forth Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution.

Polar Said: Absolutely, the most ignorant American philosophy of government that I have heard of in the past 30 years, is Grover Norquist's "drown government in a bathtub" philosophy.

On this we agree, drowning would be far too kind for the circuitous underhanded creatures that scurry about the corridors of Washington D.C.

Brynn Craffey Brynn Craffey | August 22, 2008 12:07 PM

Robert, you say that churches provide safety-net services more efficiently and cheaper than government. While that may be true in some cases, as far as I know there are no studies or evidence to back the statement up in general.

In fact, the privatization of military services in Afghanistan and Iraq strongly suggest that privatization leads to higher costs, less oversight, and much poorer outcomes.

The relative costs of the American vs. European healthcare systems strongly suggest that governments do healthcare cheaper.

The experience of states who privatized their energy companies—California comes to mind—suggest again that governments deliver energy to their citizens cheaper and more efficiently than do corporations.

I won't defend the utter incompetence of the past eight years of government. The widespread failures, graft, waste and hypocrisy were not accidental, in my opinion, but part of the plan to make government so odious that, citizens would call for its elimination. Again, FEMA is a perfect example. Under Clinton, the agency was a model of professionalism and competence; under Bush, a disaster.

Alli, question for you: what happens to the folks who have no savings, lose their jobs and homes, and find themselves with no church charities able or willing to help? Again, New Orleans comes to mind. Tough luck to them? Law of the jungle?

I believe that a society is judged by how compassionately and fairly it treats its least fortunate and most despised. By that measure, the United States is steadily falling behind many of the world’s industrial nations.

Brynn Craffey Brynn Craffey | August 22, 2008 12:11 PM

Phil, I don't know enough about the "Fair Tax" to comment comprehensively. In general, however, any form of sales tax hits the poor harder than the wealthy.

As you can tell from my post and comments, I do believe that taxes are a just means to re-distribute a society's wealth more fairly, so I wouldn't be in favor of something that hits the poor harder than the rich.

I'll keep my eye out for more information on the concept.

Phil Lavoie | August 22, 2008 4:57 PM

Feel free to shoot me an email when you have some time. The FairTax is probably the most progressive form of a consumption tax that I've ever researched. At the end of the day, in a FairTax world, the prices of goods don't change very much, but people get a lot more in their paycheck...and they get money to pay their taxes direct from the government (up to poverty levels).

Not to mention that there is no tax on used goods which will keep a lot of goods in circulation longer.

From what I've read, it looks like we'd have a lot less poor people in the FairTax world too...which is always good.

Brynn Craffey said: Alli, question for you: what happens to the folks who have no savings, lose their jobs and homes, and find themselves with no church charities able or willing to help? Again, New Orleans comes to mind. Tough luck to them? Law of the jungle?

Brynn, answer for you....

Law of the Jungle??? Such a haphazardly hyperbolic statement only illustrates a failure to acknowledge that the American people, even at a 54% tax rate still give their time, monies, and material donations en mass to those less fortunate, via private charities not coerced taxation.

We as private individuals freely give to help those less fortunate and do such far more efficiently than government.

A record $306.4 billion dollars to charitable causes in 2007

Whereas the GOA has repeatedly released reports showing that social program monies are wholly mismanaged by the Federal Aristocracy.

$0.73 cents for every tax dollar to salaries, paperwork, administration costs under the Clinton Administration.

$0.79 cents for every tax dollar "" under the Bush administration.

As for the residents of New Orleans, the situation is very depressing. However it is again due to incompetance and the uncaring nature of government, not the American people.

Mayor Nagin (D) who turned away an empty Amtrak train with a 1,000 person capacity one day before Katrina.

Mayor Nagin (D) who left the city's public and school buses unused, which we all saw sitting in a flooded parking lot.

Yet they re-elected this smarmy pull-peddler

Or perhaps FEMA, which could not tell its bureaucratic head from its ass during Katrina.

No Brynn, hold contempt not for the American people, but possibly the belief that the Aristocrats in government would or ever will, "help" those in need.

New Orleans will rise again from all the countless private citizens who continue to volunteer time/monies and the evil rich philanthropists like Ms. Winfrey, Mr. Gates, Mr. Pitt, Ms. Jolie, Mr. Harry Connick Junior, Mr. Marsalis, etc, etc.

Not toxic FEMA trailers or agents of BlackWater

Just as the city of Chicago rose from the ashes after the Great Fire, and Galveston, Texas rebuilt after the great flood, New Orleans will be rebuilt by private individuals, not FEMA which did not exist during either the "Chicago Fire" or "Galveston Flood".

Brynn Craffey said: I believe that a society is judged by how compassionately and fairly it treats its least fortunate and most despised. By that measure, the United States is steadily falling behind many of the world’s industrial nations.

Me too. Your derision however seems misdirected that "We the People" are falling behind. No, our only fault is having abdicated the stewardship of helping those less fortunate to the Aristocrats and their "Alphabet Soup" agencies.

Just like everyone of their nicely worded boondoggles....

No Child Left Behind
Clean Water Act
Patriot Act
et al

All marketing to sell us on empty promises.

When in the end, all that ever results is more power to them and less for us.

A.k.a the gradual encroachments of tyranny upon liberty.

Brynn Craffey Brynn Craffey | August 22, 2008 4:29 PM

Alli, the Bush administration's lack of action was responsible for the disastrous aftermath in New Orleans, not Mayor Nagin. Documents coming to light now show that Bush/Rove put more efforts into engineering spin to divert criticism of their inaction and incompetence, most of it directed to blame Louisiana's Democratic governor and New Orleans Democratic mayor, than they did into helping people in need.

Pointing to the Bush administration's numerous failings and shortcomings only proves my points.

Brynn Craffey Brynn Craffey | August 22, 2008 4:29 PM

The premise that several people have put forth here that corporate taxes just get passed directly on to consumers is questionable. For one thing, it ignores the fact that consumers can refuse to consume many goods and services if the prices go too high. It leaves competition completely out of the equation.

Most importantly, this premise rests on the underlying, unexamined assumption that Capital—or corporations—hold all the cards. After decades of brainwashing, this idea is ascendant in 21st century America, but it is also false. Corporations rely not only on consumers (and stockholders) to survive, they rely on societal infrastructure and a competent, compliant and , in many cases, skilled workforce.

Increasingly, workers and consumers have been abdicating their very real power vis-à-vis corporations—primarily through relinquishing their collective bargaining rights and through wholeheartedly embracing the messages put forth by corporate advertising. It is not accidental that along with “taxes,” “unions” has become a dirty word in America during the same time that corporations have molded institutions and laws to take maximum advantage of society and consumers while giving less and less in return.

This isn’t the “nature” of things, it is a deliberate, calculated, engineered result of government policy, legislation, taxes, and other societal trends. We could engineer—and have, during different periods of our history—a more just society.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | August 22, 2008 4:50 PM

Brynn, excellent post. Several Irish Parties, notably Sinn Féin and the SDLP in the occupied north, and Labour, Sinn Féin and the Greens in the Republic have objections to VAT, a very retrogressive tax instituted by the pro-business English Tories under Thatcher, Reagans English union busting lapdog and other ultrarightists in the EU Parliament.

Any form of sales tax is retrogressive and should be eliminated. The lost income can be replaced with verrrry heavy taxes on the filthy rich like McCain – nobody honestly needs fives mansions or a Learjet. McCain’s not as rich as the Bushes who recently bought a 173,000 acre ‘ranch’ in the Chaco region of Paraguay.(Paraguay, well known for harboring NAZI fugitives and hsooting trade union organizers, may become George’s refuge if an International War Crimes Tribunal is summoned to hear charges about the ongoing US genocide in Iraq.)

Most politicians are in the business to get rich and some to very well, like Nixon, LBJ and the Clintons. Obama wants on that list. Their wealth is chump change compared the uberrich like Sam Walton’s litter. Each of his five children or their families has a fortune of $19.2 billion each and their income is increased by about $880 million annually. Their fortune is equivalent to the GDP of Singapore and bigger than IBM's annual revenues.

There are some 269 billionaires in the United States, part of the one tenth of one percent of the population who boast unassailable wealth and power. The Congressional Budget Office says that their combined wealth increased, in absolute terms and as a share of the national wealth, by about 50 percent from 1975 to 1990 and a further 50 percent from 1990 to 2006. In 2003 the share of corporate wealth owned by the poorest 20% of Americans was .06%.

Under Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush1, Clinton and Bush2, the rich gobbled up wealth and power. In 2004 there were 123 millionaires among 435 House members, and one third of Senators were millionaires, all part of the elite, even if, like LBJ, Nixon, Reagan, the Clintons, and Bush’s granddaddy, many of them were somewhat poorer when they first entered politics.

Tax them till they drop. Then tax them some more.

Brynn Craffey said: Alli, the Bush administration's lack of action was responsible for the disastrous aftermath in New Orleans.

Lol - seriously, so the local city and state governments and mayor's office had no responsibility to ensure the local citizens were looked after, it was solely the job of the Federal Plutocracy eh?

Sounds like a case of serious denial.

Government failed; not a political party.

Might I suggest you read up on the foundations and workings of Federalism, since that is how this country was designed, not as a centralized state responsible for when we wipe our bums.

And yet again you fail to address how the City of Chicago was able to completely rebuild after a fire that wiped out 80% of the buildings and infrastructure or how Galveston managed to build a private levy system after the 1901 flood that is still standing unbreached, all without the help of FEMA or the beloved nanny state.

Moreover, the idea that "competition" washes out "corporate taxes" is patently absurd.

Taxes affect all sectors not one business or industry, and in the end, businesses do not pay taxes, people do.

So again by all means you go ahead and cut a check for as much additional money you think the Fed deserves.

We will help those locally whom we either know or give to organizations which have local control over how said money is distributed.

So if 54% is not enough, then please tell me how much you think we should pay in taxes?

Who do you think you are as to claim dominion over the money we earn and will use to send our children to college and for retirement?

Do you think you or the nanny state knows how to spend our earnings better?

My patience wears thin for such scoundrels who feel entitled to our wages.

The time doth draw near when this long train of abusive aristocracy and elitist entitlement pick-pocketing shall cease.

One might indeed feel the tree of liberty is due for refreshment.

Bill Perdue said: Tax them till they drop. Then tax them some more.

Such contemptuous sentiments for others who have achieved, if only as much time was spent actually trying to achieve then merely being jealous of those who have, perhaps less people would find themselves trapped.

As they say...

being broke is a temporary condition, being poor is a state of mind.

Brynn Craffey Brynn Craffey | August 22, 2008 7:23 PM

Alli, why are you so bitter? Why are you so unwilling to admit that you benefit from being part of a larger community, and thereby share in the responsibility of ensuring the continuation and wellbeing of that community?

Are you going to tell me that, if your house catches fire, you're not going to call the Fire Department?

Another thing, many if not most of the charities Americans donate to are church-based. Many of those churches discriminate--legally--against LGBT folks. So you're asking me to put my welfare into their hands?

Give me a well-run, well-funded secular government agency any day!

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | August 22, 2008 8:30 PM

Alli - What arrogant delusions makes you think that working people are poor? Many of us lucked out and worked for companies forced to comply with good union contracts. But lots of working people are poor because of economic racism, employment discrimination against GLBT folks and women and because their wages are stolen by owners and managers. The patronizing condescension of people like you who blame the victims instead of the economic vampires who destroy their lives is staggering.

So is Gansford who claims that the minimum wage, which won’t even reach $7.25 until July of 2009, will only help a few teenage stockers in grocery stores. He still won’t admit that the largest segment of people on minimum wage is women with children. And he’s dead set against an amendment to the Constitution guaranteeing a $25.00 an hour minimum wage, with biannual cost of living adjustments and the same benefits available to union workers.

Most working people don’t have five mansions and a Learjet like McCain. We didn’t inherit $18 billion each in monies stolen from working people at Wal-Mart, the home of always low wages. We don’t get to make a fortune selling presidential pardons like Clinton. We aren’t economic vampires like the 269 billionaires in the United States, part of the one tenth of one percent of the population who got rich stealing our wages and rule the country. Those vermin should be taxed to the limit, i.e. 100% on any income over the amount needed to live comfortably.

Those taxes would go a long way to ending homelessness, poverty, poor housing, poverty and lack of decent health care. 3,500,000 are homeless of whom 1,350,000 are children, 42% of them are under 5. 43% of the homeless population is women, and 25% of them are homeless because of domestic abuse. As recently as 2006 the poverty rate for minors in the United States was the highest in the industrialized world, with 21.9% of all minors and 30% of African American minors living below the poverty threshold. But if Alli’s right they just suffer from jealous pettiness and their poverty is their fault.

Alli thinks that getting money from investments, or being a manager or owner with a bloated income is some sort of achievement. It’s not, it a crime. What did the Wal-mart litter ever achieve? Please let us know about all the hard work they expend truing to find ways to spend more money than anyone can spend? That’s their only achievement.

People should be able to live comfortably, but that requires good union jobs for everyone and taking back the wealth the rich have vampirized from society.

Tax them till they drop. Then do it again and again and ...

I don't think asking corporations to pay their fair share is anything evil in the least. They rape the labor force, devastate the environment and generally fuck over the American people. Asking them to shell out a few bucks to keep our civilization going is small potatoes.

Brynn Craffey Said: Alli, why are you so bitter?

Why am I am I so bitter you ask? I am not bitter, just tired. For one, I am tired of the collectivist philosophy thinking they are entitled to my meager earnings to fund their version of compassion.

Brynn Craffey Said: Why are you so unwilling to admit that you benefit from being part of a larger community, and thereby share in the responsibility of ensuring the continuation and wellbeing of that community?

There is no issue with helping a larger community, however helping my family and my relatives, and my friends are of a higher priority and thus come first if we had a choice in the matter.

We should not be coerced via taxation out of sending our boys to a private school or saving for our retirement, helping our friends and associates, etc.

Moreover, your claim that charities are church run is far from the actuality of the matter. The internet makes it even easier to ensure you are donating to causes in sync with your philosophy.

By why bother looking when you can have government just steal it from people right?

Brynn Craffey Said: Are you going to tell me that, if your house catches fire, you're not going to call the Fire Department?

This is your third attempt at confusing income taxes with other types of taxation.

Fire departments are funded by property taxes, TIF's, and sales taxes. strike three

So before you confuse any other services provided by the government and thus lump them in with income taxes, you may wish to actually examine some tax law, structuring, and policy.

Bill Perdue said: Alli - What arrogant delusions makes you think that working people are poor?

Is the name calling part of "liberal compassion" or just incapable of articulating a point without the pejoratives?

Anywho, Kelly and I work very hard and yet we are far from monetarily wealthy.

Kelly works at a grocery store as a book keeper and I work for a small public opinion research firm. So take your attitude and inference that we are some how part of problem and buzz off.

Because let me lay this out for you real clear..

I did lose a job to discrimination for being trans. The publishing house I worked for as a production manager told me to get my things put them in a box and escorted me out of the building.

The public opinion firm kept me on because when I came out to my boss he said "M... all I care about is your quality of work, keep that as is and you will always be welcome here."

Nevertheless, after transition, and a 2 1/2 year custody case which cost in excess of $20,000 my savings were all but exhausted.

Then my boss became gravely ill, the company threatened by ass-lint Steve Carter (r) which evaporated the bulk of our clients and almost shut the company down after 13 years in business.

That meant no paychecks on my end and we ended up falling way behind in our bills, 6 months to be exact, and things were looking pretty grim.

But we did and still do persevere. My boss made a dramatic unheard of recovery, we were able to get current on 90% of our williams, and we are working very hard to rebuild the company once Steve Carter finally admitted that the company did nothing wrong.

If we fail, then we will pick ourselves back up and try again, which is the great thing about America.

What we will not do is demonstrate to our boys that should the poor decisions we made entitle us to sign up for welfare and make other strangers pay for our mistakes.

My grandfather held this family together through the "Great Depression" by working four jobs, and downsizing, not relying on the "New Deal" or blaming others.

In the end, my belief is that the people here on Bilerico and most Americans in general are good compassionate people willing to help those in need.

However, the philosophy espoused by you and others relies wholly on coercion which demonstrates an utter contempt for the generosity of the American people.

And really, if you have to force someone into compliance, just be prepared for the consequences.

So keep coming after our money. Keep thinking you somehow know better how to be compassionate. By all means keep helping to widen the gulf between upper and lower class.

Mark my words, the day is coming when the American people will have had enough and rise up to throw off the hands of the meddling pull-peddlers who feel "entitled" to our wages.

Don't Tread on Me.

Conservatives love to rail about the "death tax" and how it's levied on money that's already been taxed. I've had a thought. How about we ONLY tax inheritances? Let everybody enjoy the money they've earned and let the heirs pay taxes on money they did not have to earn and are basically receiving as a gift?