Failed Empire

Chronicling the collapse of a failed society

Save the Rich, Pay Your Taxes

As if anyone needed it, further evidence that the system is rigged heavily in favor of the rich:

Payroll taxes (deductions for Social Security, Medicare, and unemployment insurance) are mostly paid by the bottom 90 percent of earners. When they’re factored in on top of income tax, the gap between the tax rates at the very top and everyone else shrinks even more—so much that the effective tax rate for people earning more than $370,000 is nearly the same as for those earning between $43,000 and $69,000 a year.

As Martin A. Sullivan of Tax.com recently calculated, a New York janitor making slightly more than $33,000 a year pays an effective tax rate of nearly 25%. And the effective tax rate for a resident of the Park Avenue building named after Helmsley, earning an average of $1.2 million annually? A cool 14.7%.

Bear this in mind as you witness the purely fabricated debate unfolding in Washington about our spiraling national debt and the necessity to make drastic cuts in domestic spending.  All the bogus statistics you hear about the wealthy being charged a higher income tax rate – while true in a very technical sense – are grossly distorted in order to portray an element of fairness which simply doesn’t exist in the U.S. tax system.  The bottom line is that working and middle class Americans pay a higher tax rate than the wealthiest individuals and corporations.

This reality needs to be at the forefront of any debate about budget cuts.  The MSM, of course, will never reveal this information, preferring instead to focus on the theatrical aspects of the imaginary Republican / Democrat divide.  As a result, most Americans will never realize just how corrupt the system truly is, unless we help them learn.  It is our responsibility – both to ourselves and to our fellow citizens – to do everything we can to make this knowledge public, and to call the greedy elites to account.

But let’s put this into even broader perspective.  Ordinary Americans pay a tax rate which effectively amounts to 20-25% of gross income.  The wealthiest Americans pay a tax rate which amounts to anywhere from 0 – 20% — but generally on the lower end of that spectrum, as demonstrated by multiple sources.  Corporations, while technically required to pay up to 35% in taxes, pay absolutely nothing in many cases – in some cases even less, as with GE.

So ordinary Americans are saddled with a higher tax rate, but what do we get in return?  Almost nothing.  Our infrastructure is crumbling, are schools are in shambles.  Millions of Americans lack access to adequate health care, millions more are unemployed, while millions remain under-employed.  Homelessness and poverty are at unconscionably high levels for a nation as technically wealthy as ours, and hundreds of thousands more continue to lose their homes each year.

Meanwhile, corporations are recording unprecedented profits, the near-trillion dollar military budget remains untouched in order to fund our five ongoing wars, and Wall Street continues to operate with its usual reckless greed, backed with the assurance that, regardless of how irresponsible they might behave, they have been deemed “too big to fail.”

It’s a pretty twisted state of affairs, but the masses still lie in a half-awake, half-asleep dreamlike state, convinced that the MSM practices genuine journalism, that there actually is a meaningful separation between the Republicans and Democrats, and that at least one of those parties actually represents the interests of ordinary Americans.  And perhaps the worst part of it all is that, by some unfathomable mutation of logic and understanding, the most ignorant and politically uninformed Americans tend to be the most vocal, the most opinionated, the most unwilling to bend.  How can we ever hope to make any progress when we’re surrounded by people who actually believe corporations help America, that taxing the rich is a bad thing, that offering universal health care is an unthinkable evil?

The sad truth is that things will have to become far, far worse before we can have any hope of them getting better.

99 responses to “Save the Rich, Pay Your Taxes

  1. BuelahMan April 20, 2011 at 9:00 am

    How much worse can it get for many millions already hurting? I would like to think that there will be some measure of anger that will culminate into some mass citizen education and uprising. But, I cannot, for the life of me, understand just how bad it would need to get to overcome the brainwashing. I would have thought we would have met that critical mass already.

    • Andrew April 23, 2011 at 12:54 am

      I agree that it can’t get much worse for millions of people already suffering, but I don’t think we’re anywhere near the critical mass that you’ve mentioned. People still seem to be in a state of denial about just how grim things truly are. I get the impression that even though a lot of people are struggling financially, they still feel compelled to pretend that everything is going smoothly, that they are succeeding because they work hard and, well, that’s just what’s supposed to happen in America.

      And as long as people still have their satellite TV, high-speed internet and McDonald’s dollar menu, I don’t think that critical mass will ever be reached. Reversing the brainwashing would require destitution and suffering on a scale never before seen in America, and unlikely to be seen even in a worst-case-scenario.

      • Kenneth Burnside April 24, 2011 at 9:16 pm

        Im a musician and I can say that you can even hear the creep of “something” dark, like the fear of nothingness within this generations new sound. Beats are heavier and pans are blacker, however its lyrics are psychedelic and inspirational, like its still moving forward growing. I can’t say much for commercial music though, its all apart of the brain wash media. ANYWAYS what I mean to say is suffering “sounds” are what I hear and people are crying out, soon they hear themselves through their denial. Sorry, music is the only way I can relate!

    • Kenneth Burnside April 24, 2011 at 9:04 pm

      Just keep making more people aware of there ignorance man, but i guess in some cases you cant polish a fuckin turd. Some people are real gone.

  2. Pingback: The Hippies Were Right Once, But Where Are They Now? « BuelahMan's Revolt

  3. Charlie April 24, 2011 at 9:34 am

    The only thing saving the rich now is unemployment, welfare and food stamps, as soon as they remove those the dam will break.

  4. ickenittle April 24, 2011 at 11:03 am

    Believe me -people would rather shoot the messenger in todays knee deep denial- than think about the message. We have had it too cushy here in the good ole USA for so long we have become morons. People become more outraged being short changed in fries at McDonalds than they do seeing their neighbor thrown out on the street by BOA.

    You are right-things need to get worse before they will ever have a hope in Hell of getting better.
    And there will always be the right-wing who think Hell… is still too good for us.

    • Andrew April 26, 2011 at 12:30 am

      Sadly, that bit about McDonald’s is completely true.

    • jusme72 April 30, 2011 at 3:20 pm

      Sadly, not only do they do nothing when their neighbor is thrown out on the street, they usually believe they deserve it. The same thing for the millions of Americans who can’t put food on their tables, or keep up on mortgage payments, or cannot afford health care for their families. If they don’t have it they haven’t worked hard enough.
      They are enraged when someone tries to take their gun, but have already deemed the child unworthy who has no doctor or can’t get food by food stamps.

    • Kurt Klatt April 30, 2011 at 4:39 pm

      Thanks for the article. You’re right we need to disabuse the population of their delusion that things will be ok unless there are major changes to the tax code. There was a sequence in Michael Moore’s movie “Capitalism-A Love Story” that crystallized the problems we’re facing today where a family was being evicted from their home and being paid to clean it up before resale. We don’t see this in the mainstream media enough. Why? Because if we did more people would be outraged at the banks and the rich in this country.

      Being rich in America is celebrated as a virtue. If you’re poor through no fault of your own regardless of how hard you work (ironically at McDonald’s) you’re scorned like it’s your fault. You’re a wage slave. A modern day serf. The tax system sees to much of that as the wealthy are rewarded within it as much as the poor are penalized by it. It’s been inverted to benefit the wealthiest 1%.

      The rich refuse to admit how much luck played into their success as much as the greater society they live in gave them the means to prosper. We all bear the burden of paying for that society the rich largely do not pay into. They can delay, deduct, shelter, loophole and hide wealth from taxes while you and I pay and pay and pay.

  5. randy April 24, 2011 at 12:21 pm

    Okay I’m ready to fight this. What’s the first step? Many of us don’t know what to do. We need someone to step up and lead the revolt.

    • Dennis April 24, 2011 at 3:07 pm

      write, organize, vote them out, let them know that your paying attention to whats going on in washington DC. Won’t be easy, but if turely care about this country. I’m not even a citizen of this country been living here since 70s yea, I grew up here, but the point is I’m angry how people let this country down by self-absortion, self-center, me, me, me-america, false patrots. if you can read and write you can make a change investigate ask questions make your 2 cents worth count post your political oppinions anywhere and everywhere only way I believe to combat the media.

      • Steve Brown April 24, 2011 at 10:07 pm

        Let’s talk facts… I was out of a job 5 years ago.. Had to dip into my savings to pay my bills for the last 4 years. Then, as soon as I get ahead, I’m hit with a $30,000 tax bill. Then, the IRS decides that to keep this from happening in the future, I need to pay $10,000 per quarter whether or not I’m making money… You people are fools… The only way we can grow this economy is to let people keep more of the money they make (so they can invest or use it to expand their business). No matter who wins in Washington, everyone looses if we don’t cut the deficit spending. Why? Because unlike previous boom/busts/booms, we CAN’T grow our way out of this one. So, the people have to learn to live with less from the Government (not from themselves, but from the government). We DON’T HAVE THE MONEY ANY MORE. I don’t care if calculate confiscating every bit of money the top 10% have, it is still not enough.. The dirty little secret is that they want you mad as hell to soak the rich, because then you won’t be as made when they jack your taxes afterwood. There is no other way to make it work (at the current spending rate). The alternative is to cut spending (God help us). If the US (Uncle Screw) can learn to say no we can save the patient. If they don’t hello Greece, Spain, Portugal… So go ahead, get made, protest in the street.. Bottom line, we don’t have the money any more, and can’t continue to run the printing presses. Grow up and learn to depend on yourself for a change.

      • Andrew April 26, 2011 at 12:33 am

        Good advice. I don’t think anyone really knows the best course of action, but trying to educate others – through writing, protesting, discussing – seems a good starting point.

    • Christina Marlowe April 24, 2011 at 5:31 pm

      How to Start the REVOLUTION:

      1. STOP paying your taxes: Local, State, Federal

      2. STOP paying your bills: Electric, Gas, Credit Card, Mortgage, so-called health care insurance (SCAM of EPIC PROPORTIONS)

      3. WITHDRAW ALL MONIES FROM BIG BANKS NOW

      4. STOP EVERYTHING and MOVE RAUCOUSLY TO THE STREETS

      WE MUST STOP THESE CRIMINALS…WE MUST ORGANIZE AND DO THIS ON THE LARGEST SCALE POSSIBLE.

      Cheers,
      Christina Marlowe

      • Bob April 25, 2011 at 6:11 pm

        ROFL You’re a moron.

      • Andrew April 26, 2011 at 12:35 am

        If people did this on a massive scale it would be highly effective. However, individuals attempting this will probably face severe consequences. We need more people to join the struggle before such drastic action will be truly effective.

  6. Kevin Hellman April 24, 2011 at 12:36 pm

    Look at China. What’s changes since Tiananmen Square? More civil liberties? No. So why aren’t the Chinese people still protesting the government as they did in 1989?

    Seems to me, like us, thanks to bugeoning materialism and consumerism. As Huxley warned us, they are “amusing themselves to death”:

    http://www.recombinantrecords.net/docs/2009-05-Amusing-Ourselves-to-Death.html

    • Tarek April 24, 2011 at 3:24 pm

      Don’t you mean Neil Postman? Specifically in your quote anyway, he was referencing Huxley but the term was his own

  7. Joe April 24, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    The rich guy is still paying more money

    • Rhoda April 24, 2011 at 1:00 pm

      You’re correct. The rich guy is paying more money, but at the end of the day

      The janitor started out with $33,080, not enough to survive on in NYC. After taxes the janitor has $24,850 – DEFINITELY not enough to survive on in NYC.

      The rich guy starts out with $1,167,708 – not enough to live like a Saudi prince, but pretty good none the less. After taxes the rich guy still has a little over $996,000 (I rounded down).

      The rich guy pays less of his income, as a percentage, and still has 40X as much money to live on as the janitor.

    • Mae Johns April 25, 2011 at 10:24 am

      Wow, what a stupid thing to say. You really don’t understand the concept of fairness, do you?

      • Chris April 30, 2011 at 5:05 pm

        Their only idea of fairness is that everyone pays ‘exactly’ the same. Similar to Margaret Thatcher’s poll tax from eighties. What’s more mind boggling is that in their own egotistic minds this IS fair.

  8. Anton April 24, 2011 at 1:00 pm

    If your a christan you pay 10 percent no matter what you make. So a poor man with 10 dollars pays back 1. A rich man with 100 pays 10. Thats how I think it should be.

  9. RAN April 24, 2011 at 1:10 pm

    Seems like NYC should lower taxes on lower income people.

  10. ken April 24, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    Im surprised with the tax rate in us. In japan the more you earn the more tax rate, max 40%, you must pay.

    • Zbuddhaha April 24, 2011 at 1:46 pm

      Hey you’ld think we’d invest in the lower class wouldn’t you Ken. We had this wonderful super tax for the rich during the Clinton Administration but the Republican lead senate during the Bush Administration wouldn’t have that for long… no sir… Even if it seemed to help send America into some golden age of prosperity (alongside the computer boom, and apparently new Tariff laws to discourage corporations from sending jobs oversees , the removal of the Tariffs helped them get around national humanitarian protocols rightfully). Not too long after the present congress had decided to extend those tax cuts for another two years we started to talk about cutting the deficit again (our famous budgeting god: Representative Paul Ryan thankfully didn’t have to consider reinstating it). The Daily Show did a nice bit about how are budget crisis would be helped if we reinstated the super tax as opposed to ramming the poor and the elderly in the ass: http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/tue-april-12-2011/ryan-s-private-savings—path-to-prosperity

  11. Terry April 24, 2011 at 1:28 pm

    So you guys are complaining that the Park Avenue guy pays over FIVE TIMES the janitor’s salary? I will bet that the Janitor uses more of the services provided by those taxes, by far, then the Park Avenue guy.

    • Zbuddhaha April 24, 2011 at 1:56 pm

      Dear Terry,

      Is it necessary that the Park Avenue guy have nearly a million dollars at his disposal (yearly)??? The janitor will be lucky to make that sum of money in his life. Life can be tough for those who are at the bottom who can barely afford transportation for themselves. Pretty soon they’re going to start having to eat rice in one of the richest countries in the world. What kind of world is that there is barely any mobility for this man. He was born in poverty he’s probably going to stay in poverty. The wealthy man was born into wealth, and while its not guaranteed that he will stay there, it is many many times more likely that the wealthy man will achieve wealth than the impoverished man.

      Please Terry, don’t blow off the suffering of the impoverished.

      • Keith April 25, 2011 at 6:13 pm

        poverty is created by fabricated needs. the large percentage of poverty is a lack of desires that they see on the other side of the fence. on the other side of the fence is a poverty of soul. neither gets anything out of reality. when a man learns to lessen desires ALL can be obtained.

        this nonsense of ‘he has more then me’ is going to get no one anywhere

    • Anonymous April 24, 2011 at 2:50 pm

      I am in complete agreement. There must be some grounds for equality here! Let’ tax the people of Park Avenue and the janitor at crippling rates. That way they can both experience the joys of poverty and enjoy services provided by the government!

      The problem here isn’t that the wealthy pays more. It’s that the poor don’t even have enough to make a living. What is the value of $100,000 between the janitor and the wealthy? For the janitor, it makes the difference between barely living and decent living. For the wealthy, maybe they’ll have to hold off on buying that yacht this year. Obviously there’s a discrepancy here on the value of $100,000 between these two groups, and you can’t so simply make such a comparison. But hey, if you’d rather screw over millions of Americans who are barely making a living in order to afford that new yacht, be my guest.

    • John Burski April 25, 2011 at 9:46 am

      The Park Avenue guy uses quite a few government services. He’s got fire and police protection for his place(s) of business. He’s got roads and bridges over which to transport his or her goods and services. Those roads also make it possible for customers to visit his or her place(s) of business and for employees to get to work. A standing military force is more important to the “haves” than it is for the “have-nots” – they’ve got substantially more to loose.

      Due to economies of scale, any government function that serves the public welfare benefits the wealthy at a disproportionate rate. They get a lot more value for their percentage paid.

    • nicholas April 25, 2011 at 2:55 pm

      Terry: Your comment is possible only if you completely omit how the revenues are spent.

      The average rich person will derive an enormous benefit from government spending compared to the janitor. It’s thanks to public subsidies that most industries are even profitable in the first place. Capitalism works by externalizing costs, socializing losses and privatizing profits. “Private” enterprise is possible at a profit because the public sector (and/or future generations) carry most or all of the costs of pure research, technological development, infrastructure, educating the “human resources,” health and environmental impacts.

      The government, moreover, provides direct subsidies and/or bailouts and/or massive contracts to many large corporations, again with the greatest benefit accruing to the rich. The only reason someone can make more than a million dollars a year is thanks to a complex economy that would collapse without the infrastructure and services provided by the public sector.

      Oh, and did you notice that in 2008 the unregulated private system that ran exactly by the rules that the capitalists desired failed miserably and 100 percent predictably, and then blackmailed the public sector into rescuing it? This cannot be emphasized enough: In 2008, capitalism failed. By its own rules. And then terrorized the world into rescuing it. And now continues to plunder it.

      The janitor is likely to get nothing from the “defense” budget, the wars, the overseas bases, the black budget, or the interest on prior debt (most of it accumulated due to “defense” and war spending or to rescue the banksters). These are already most of the discretionary budget. These end up benefiting shareholders in the big corporations before the janitor gets any (and if he owns a couple of shares of the right item, then bully for him and his negligible windfall).

      • Andrew April 26, 2011 at 1:02 am

        Extremely well said. And it’s worth noting that no self-professed conservative will ever directly acknowledge/challenge these points.

    • dig a bit deeper April 28, 2011 at 12:15 am

      I think you have to dig a bit deeper.

      The Janitor might be using more of the services provided by those taxes, but he uses the services to go to work and make the the Park Avenue guy rich!

      In other words, the Park Avenue guy needs the public transportation to be in place or he would have to pay his workers more…

  12. Batocchio April 24, 2011 at 3:16 pm

    Good piece. I’m disappointed but not surprised to read people complaining that the millionaire has it so bad. So what if he’s paying much more? He has much more, and his effective tax rate is much lower. Perhaps more to the point, the janitor’s wages and taxes are hitting him at a subsistence, basic quality of life level, while the millionaire is getting hit at the luxury level. His taxes might piss him off (and he might fund a right-wing think tank to argue that they should be lowered) but they’re not truly a hardship. The income tax is progressive in America, but it’s much less progressive than it once was, and taxation overall is closer to a flat tax – or a regressive tax benefitting the wealthiest, which is why wealth inequity has gotten so much worse since Reagan. When the bottom 80% of the country holds only about 7% of the wealth, absolutely the wealthy should be taxed much more – especially since the national debt and deficit under both Reagan and Bush were run up mostly to benefit them. Plus, the American economy did much better overall under much more progressive taxation… but that’s something that Grover Norquist, the Koch brothers and the many conservative think tanks don’t like to mention…

    • Devin April 24, 2011 at 9:09 pm

      One needs to amend the LTCGs tax bracket by adding a third additional tax rate on higher income persons. Make those wall street bankers and their $20b in bonuses feel it a bit.

    • Andrew April 26, 2011 at 1:05 am

      Thanks for the comment, Batocchio. I couldn’t agree more. But as we all know, Americans don’t like talking about taxing the rich, because everyone believes that if they just work hard enough, they too will become obscenely wealthy. And when that happens, they want Uncle Sam’s hands off their hard-earned money.

      In the meantime, of course, even the staunchest conservatives have no qualms about utilizing the pathetic social safety net we have when it suits them to do so.

  13. Christina Marlowe April 24, 2011 at 3:22 pm

    On being RAPED repeatedly…I, for one, am sick of it.
    My fervent desires, short-term:
    Annihilating completely all corporations; ending entirely the ghastly law of corporate personhood; sending all the filthy and corrupt politicians to prison for life; getting all the American peoples’ hard-earned tax dollars back from the whores that stole it all; yanking all the filthy mansions and yahts from all the filthy and whoring CEO’s along with all the bastard corrupt politicians, then giving them all away to people that work hard for a living; giving black people reparations for all the horrible things that greedy white people did to them and, incidentally, continue to do to them; educate the brainless masses; find somewhere on earth that isn’t completely RUINED by the horrible and insanely unconscious top one percent of the American population…and many other things.

    Cheers,
    Christina Marlowe

  14. tsc April 24, 2011 at 5:15 pm

    These calculations are a barefaced lie. The janitor would qualify for several types of assistance, and the 14.7% rate is simply untrue. NY state taxes would also be significantly higher for your millionaire. Further,”fairness”is highly dependent on your perspective. Question everything you read on the internet.

    • Jimmy Mcnulty April 24, 2011 at 6:38 pm

      Come on you really expect the readers of a blog called “failed empire” to listen to opposing viewpoints and trying to understand the complicated and nuanced reality of taxation in this country? Who are you kidding this is a group of pretentious armchair warriors who got their heads six feet deep into their asses. Gday.

      • Andrew April 25, 2011 at 6:57 am

        The whole point is that the tax code shouldn’t be so “complicated and nuanced.” To fully exploit the loopholes written into our tax code, you must either be a professional yourself or hire one to file your taxes. Ordinary, working class Americans can’t afford to do so, so it is invariably the wealthy who take advantages of those loopholes.

    • john April 24, 2011 at 7:23 pm

      Agreed. The ignorance of some of the people posting here is remarkable. The example here is ridiculous and ignores the fact that almost 50% of adults in the U.S. pay no taxes. This number would more than likley include your janitor making $30k in NY. After credits, deductions etc, he would probalby owe no tax at all and actually received a “refund”.
      I also love the idea that somehow anyone that makes over a certain amount of money was “born rich”. There a lot of people out there that made better decisions than others, paid there own way through college and now are reaping the rewards of that hard work and risk. The fact that some of you think you are somehow entitled to others’ money when you elected to not take advantage of living in the greatest country in the world and make something of your own is a clear indication of what is wrong with our country.

      • zbuddhaha April 25, 2011 at 12:33 am

        I made less than this guy at 21k and between medicare, SS, federal tax and state tax I ended up paying 12% of my income. You must be referring to me with the born rich idea. Just because you may have apparently been able to bring yourself up from poverty (which I doubt) , it doesn’t mean that the majority of people will share your indomitable, responsible and extreme work ethic (with perhaps a pinch of luck) to overcome the clear obstacles which they face in comparison to a person born to well off nurturing parents who have the capability of assisting their children. An economist at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development conference, Anthony Atkinson, would seem to concur with me (second to last paragraph, http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/27295405/ns/business-world_business/).

        I disseminated a falsity in my previous statement regarding only rich people coming from wealth. I understand that there are many cases where people from the middle class perhaps even the lower class persevere to achieve wealth… I think Gates, Jobs, and Warren Buffet were all from the middle class. It is simply infinitely more probable that one born into wealth will have the resources at their disposal (financial backing without the prospect of going into debt to a financial institution). Well I should’ve thought longer about what I was saying previous instead of being rhetorical about it. My apologies.

        When the super tax was being considered to be reinstated, the Obama administration kept saying if your household income is over 225k (give or take a few grand) the increase in taxes won’t effect you. While entitlement isn’t what we want to work for as a people. Everyone should be putting some work into the equation. Perhaps its just unemployment but, I know my brother had to apply for jobs to get his unemployment I think its the same with welfare. There are no doubt those who take advantage of the system it happens all over. Those at the bottom and those at the top. Are you not infuriated that GE paid no taxes and was actually given money by the Gov’t. I think its worked similarly that way for a few Oil Companies too.

        Like a number have said previously, money effects the impoverished closer to their necessity for subsistence where as with the extremely wealthy it effects them to a greater extent at the luxury level . I luckily have health insurance (although not that good) and I luckily also have a car which is to a great extent from subsidy from my kind parents. I understand that its an imposition of morality practically when the system requires that the rich pay a greater percentage than the impoverished but if you love your country why not give to it? If you love the principle of equality why try to distinguish yourself with wealth, luxury, privilege and status? If you love the American dream why not make it more attainable for everyone? A system where the impoverished can escape their poverty more readily would seem to be more compassionate and I think that is something American’s could use a lot more of. Some getting it others the capacity to give it. It will take much evidence to the contrary before I change my ideology that poverty ensures low social mobility when compared to other classes in society.

        I don’t feel that I am entitled I am very thankful for the life I’ve had. I’m a therapist for children with autism I give back and I’m continually trying to help the worlds ills. I think one of the worlds ills is this social climate of self-centricism , ethnocentricism unrestrained free trade and capitalism (because the banks left to their own devices really worked out well, along with the BPs, Mobils and the too big to fail GM and Chrysler). I primarily am trying to be an advocate for the impoverished and working poor. I worked in factories while I went to college that environment was awful just awful, it sucked the life out of me, and they were making decent wages (9 bucks or so at the time). I have watched documentaries, read and heard about working conditions throughout history and throughout the world and I can’t help but feel for them. I know all too well that a lot of people are fine saying “well that sucks for them”. I feel that I easily could have been them. Luck is no fair system of reward, and that luck is blind is probably one of my greatest sources of frustration. I’m a fan of justice and the American dream ideology. I don’t want to destroy it. I don’t want the rich or corporate America to do their part in destroying it and holding the lower class by the balls either.

      • drewfromct April 30, 2011 at 5:17 pm

        “almost 50% of adults in the U.S. pay no taxes.”

        Bullshit.

        Ever heard of SALES TAXES? PROPERTY TAXES? Then there are the hidden taxes such as tolls, license fees, telephone and cable tv taxes,etc, all of which are inherently regressive and take a far larger proportion of income from poor and middle class families than they do from the wealthy.

        No taxes my pale white ass. Fuck you and your wingnut lies.

    • Kurt Klatt April 30, 2011 at 5:10 pm

      Fine don’t believe it. Then read David Cay Johnston’s book Perfectly Legal-The Covert Campaign to Rig Our Tax System to Benefit the Super Rich – and Cheat Everybody Else. Then tell me the stats quoted are a lie. They are in fact conservative estimates because of the out and out tax fraud by the richest 1%.

    • jusme72 May 1, 2011 at 12:19 pm

      I’m curious what types of assistance you believe this janitor would qualify for?

      There are several factors that go into decision making, but generally in Colorado a single person with no disabilities or children must make under $19,000 a year to qualify (before taxes).

      I don’t have the facts about New York state, but am curious about the types of government assistance available to those making over $30,000.

  15. Nick April 24, 2011 at 5:27 pm

    What is meant by “payroll tax”?

  16. etz April 24, 2011 at 6:17 pm

    How was the 14.7% calculated? If you play with turbotax putting in 1.1mm as your wage, the taxes due is more than 14.7%. It’s more like 40%…. what kind of deductible does this particular person have? Maybe we should be simplify the tax code, reduce the loop holes and then the country can argue again. Maybe all a lot of the income was donated in this case? What about AMT? The tax code is clear that marginal tax rates go up as income goes up. What kind of deductions are in play here? The rich will more likely be able to play the loop holes than the poor person. simplify the tax code, then you allow for understandable debates, level the playing field and are truly helping the middle class.

  17. Christina Marlowe April 24, 2011 at 6:42 pm

    One of my longtime and most fervent desires, a fantasy, really, is to literally drop Rush Limbaugh (or any one of those types, for they are virtually interchangeable); to drop him smack dab in the poorest and roughest ghetto in America; any large city such as the toughest neighborhood in Harlem, say, or in somewhere in South Central Los Angeles perhaps… Drop him right in the middle of a busy intersection in the most wretchedly destitute neighborhood; and then I could REVEL in watching his moronically gigantic and incredibly idiotic ego DEFLATE AT ONCE, swiftly, gracelessly, and totally unceremoniously; and I could delight like a child on Christmas Eve in witnessing his fat and inflated, entirely empty and utterly meaningless BRAVADO immediately disappear, VAPORIZE THOROUGHLY, only to reveal GLARINGLY his TRUE and COMPLETE NOTHINGNESS; and I could sip a glass of my favorite red wine whilst sitting back comfortably and observing his stupid-to-the-core, ARROGANT SWAGGER and Mind-bendingly-BRAINLESS BLUSTER thoroughly escape through his OVERLY-USED ASSHOLE, as he then MORPHS, IN FRONT OF MY VERY EYES, into NOTHING but a PETRIFIED POLTROON, a thoroughly petulant CRY BABY and, ultimately, into the utterly helpless and SCREWED WINDBAG that he and all the others are in REALITY…they, every last one of them (AND THEY ARE ALL EXACTLY THE SAME) are UTTERLY Worthless, worse than useless BITS OF TRASH…nothing more.

    The trick, by the way, is elementary: simply throw A TON OF MONEY at the stupid, self-absorbed, infantile, rapacious, totally undeveloped nit-wit bastard-monkey and BEHOLD: You now have SARA PALIN!!

    Cheers,
    Christ…ina Marlowe

  18. Reality Check April 24, 2011 at 6:44 pm

    The figures in this article are fictional. Americans are now so polarized, that they will lie to stir up hatred for others.

    Anyone earning $1M in ordinary income is seeing ~33% in Federal Income Tax. http://www.moneychimp.com/features/tax_brackets.htm

    • Christina Marlowe April 24, 2011 at 6:47 pm

      “I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. . . . corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed.”

      – U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, Nov. 21, 1864

    • nicholas April 25, 2011 at 3:51 pm

      These figures are real, they are derived from actual tax returns. Those in the low brackets have no choice but to pay the rates specified by the law, those who make high incomes have many options for reducing their actual tax bill.

      How is it that GE didn’t pay anything net last year, but got a $3.5 billion refund?!

    • Kurt Klatt April 30, 2011 at 5:19 pm

      Perfectly Legal-The Covert Campaign to Rig Our Tax System to Benefit the Super Rich – and Cheat Everybody Else

      Here is the truth laid bare. The tax system is rigged to give the wealthiest 1% the greatest benefit. They are the political donor class. The laws are written for their benefit not yours.

  19. jsp April 24, 2011 at 6:48 pm

    Did you take into account the tax refund that the janitor receives when he files his taxes? Many who earn $33,000 receive a large refund, making their net tax burden far lower. That doesn’t mean they aren’t deprived of it every paycheck, but they receive a large payday at tax time.

  20. Christina Marlowe April 24, 2011 at 6:51 pm

    Dear Fellow Astronauts,

    As I often do wonder what on earth my cats might think about humans in general, I imagine that they think something like this:

    “My GOD, Just LOOK at those weird-looking apes!! I’ve never seen anything quite like it in my life! Look at them…Walking upright, swinging their gangly, monkey-arms back and forth…And on top of all that, they go about their business whilst almost TOTALLY BALD…Except, that is, for that ridiculous-looking shock of hair on top of their round monkey-heads…Plus, they talk almost constantly…”

    CHEERS!!!!

  21. Christina Marlowe April 24, 2011 at 7:00 pm

    How can I possibly express how much contempt I have for all these stupid-like-a-two-year-old, idiotic-to-the-point-of-sheer -lunacy, abjectly unconscious morons that are cluttering up the atmosphere. In fact, I do conclude, on my very own observations, that people, not just here in good ole America, but all humans on this earth, nowadays, are just like vivid and determined nightmares that never really disappear for good. The Republican party’s whole agenda is based on pure, unbridled and blatant racism and bigotry along with this shockingly myopic greed; the black, the hispanic, the gay Republicans are all nothing but filthy instruments; tools, patsies, that have sold their very own souls to the Devil, for that stupid, vile and totally ignorant political party. The Democrats, on the other hand, are just useless.

    CHEERS!!

  22. charles April 24, 2011 at 7:11 pm

    Is state and city figured into this? nyc @ 3.876% + 6.85% ny = 10.726% and that’s difficult to dodge with ‘adjusted gross income’ being much lower than your actual income. Many states don’t allow you to take losses and deductions at the state level — NJ doesn’t anyway, not sure about NY.

    Also, how is someone with income of 1+ million paying only 159k in income tax (assuming this is just federal as the number makes for a more exciting dichotomy)? I mean, they’d have to have an adjusted gross income of much less than 1 million, and if they do, AMT kicks in and gets you anyway. AMT has been getting me since about 300k.

    I’m curious, because I’m at 500k, and I’m paying way more taxes than that guy making more than double. I keep hearing these stories about wealthy getting away with paying little to no taxes, but after reviewing the tax law and speaking to tax consultants, I don’t see how it’s possible.

    Once you get into the several million range and start hiding your assets within LLCs and trusts, that’s a different story. Perhaps if a significant amount of your income comes from dividends and long-term capital gains, this might work, but otherwise it makes no sense…

    • Andrew C. April 24, 2011 at 7:20 pm

      “I’m curious, because I’m at 500k, and I’m paying way more taxes than that guy making more than double. I keep hearing these stories about wealthy getting away with paying little to no taxes, but after reviewing the tax law and speaking to tax consultants, I don’t see how it’s possible.”

      It’s not possible but it makes for a nice fat headline. It’s ironic that some of the most dishonest and sensationalist headlines comes from the far-left rather than the right.

      • etz April 24, 2011 at 7:44 pm

        yes agreed – dishonest and sensationalist headlines do not help in a debate because all the time is spent at dismantling fake evidence instead of debating the real issues.

  23. Powerinvest April 24, 2011 at 8:16 pm

    What most of you complainers fail to understand and accept is that the United States is the land of opportunity. You’re supposed to compete and you’re suppose to figure out how to make it here. It’s not about what you know or what you can do only. And don’t think it about who you know either. It’s about how profitable you are to someone else that counts. And most of you are average at best, no matter how talented you think you are. Nobody promises that you are guaranteed anything here. Even the rights you have under the Constitution must be interpreted by courts if you ever feel you have been screwed! Every single individual has the freedom to do whatever the —- he/she wants, and if there is any money in it, it’s his/her to keep. Only if they are challenged and legitimately lose are they to give back. So until folks are sued and are forced to pay, it’s make as much as you can around here.

    I’m a multi-millionaire, and I could care less about all of you. You have to be where I am to understand why I am this way. But since you are not, you will never know, so I won’t bother to get into it. It’s not about equality, or fairness, or what’s “right”. It’s about taking advantage of the system to profit, and enjoy the world with what you take. Morality is what has most of you stuck in your predicaments. Your problems are that you spend too much of your time trying to save a world that simply can’t be saved.

    Finally, Americans are not asleep. They are enjoying their lives more than people in most every other country out there. They’re not making millions of dollars and they don’t have to. Even the typical janitor is happy. Everyone complains, from the rich to the poor…we all have our gripes. But it is America that all the other nationals around the world dream about entering and making home. So those of you who want a revolution need to get the —- out of here.

    • Neuron April 24, 2011 at 11:31 pm

      This made me sad for you.

      The rich obviously don’t owe anything to anyone, but saying “I could care less about all of you” is just a sad reflection of the world we’re creating.

      I might be a minority, but I cared about other people when I was broke, and wealth hasn’t changed any of that. If anything, it made me spend more time contemplating the issue.

      Keeping 100% of your money is one thing. Saying you don’t give a damn is another. Luckily, the most successful people on this planet tend to do neither. And I hope one day you’ll realize why.

      • zbuddhaha April 25, 2011 at 12:55 am

        Didn’t you hear man he doesn’t give a shit about any of us… What’s the point in replying to him?

    • harlowmarlowe April 25, 2011 at 9:13 am

      It’s all in the name that you’ve chosen for yourself; that says it all.

    • nicholas April 25, 2011 at 3:00 pm

      Powerinvest, assuming your claims about your wealth are even true, you are a sad and myopic excuse for a human being. I wouldn’t trade for your probably-fictional millions if it meant having my soul reduced to the Gollum-size you display.

    • Andrew April 26, 2011 at 1:13 am

      What you’ve described is essentially the law of the jungle. Are you actually content to live in such a barbaric world? Are we really no better than the animals?

  24. BeatOnMeForTheTruth April 24, 2011 at 8:28 pm

    And, what additional services is the person that pays over 20x the amount into the fund that provides for public services receiving for his additional payments? Basically none, because the person that takes it upon him/herself to excel/succeed does not demand more than that given – he/she gives more than takes.

    Story (not mine):
    It seemed that 10 men decided to have a business lunch once a week. They always met in the same restaurant and the bill was always, $100.00, for all 10 men. If each man was responsible for his share of the bill that would be, $10.00, each. The men decided to divide the bill based upon their ability to pay. Using an agreed upon formula the following payment arraignment was worked out based upon income.

    Men 1-4 who made the least amount of money paid nothing.

    Man 5 paid $ 1.00

    Man 6 paid $ 3.00

    Man 7 paid $ 7.00

    Man 8 paid $12.00

    Man 9 paid $18.00

    Man 10 paid $59.00

    After several weeks the owner of the restaurant told the men that because they were such good customers he was reducing the bill by $20.00. Their delimina was how to divide up the, $20.00. If each person got the same amount then the first 4 men would be getting money back but they never paid anything for the dinners. After much discussion and no resolve the owner offered the following suggestion which they all agreed to.

    Original Payment New Payment $ Amount Saved % Saved

    Men 1-4 paid $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $0.00 0%

    Man 5 paid $ 1.00 $ 0.00 $1.00 100%

    Man 6 paid $ 3.00 $ 2.00 $1.00 33%

    Man 7 paid $ 7.00 $ 5.00 $2.00 28%

    Man 8 paid $12.00 $ 9.00 $3.00 25%

    Man 9 paid $18.00 $14.00 $4.00 22%

    Man 10 paid $59.00 $50.00 $9.00 15%

    Once out side the men began to argue about the settlement. Man 5 said he only got, $1.00, while Man 10 received, $9.00. Men 1-4 were upset because the received nothing. They said that the cut only benefited the rich and the poor got nothing. They were upset so they beat up Man 10 and left him. The next week they met for lunch as usual except man 10 did not show up. When the new bill arrived the men discovered that between them they did not have enough money to pay even half of the bill.

    In this story we see a simplified version of the Federal Income Tax. According to an article in the “New York Times” 80% of the taxes are paid by 20% of the people highest income people. Any time you have a tax cut the people who pay taxes are going to get the money. The next time you hear of a tax cut and the media tells you that the wealthy are getting all the money, remember they are paying the taxes.

    • Anonymous April 24, 2011 at 8:39 pm

      Your statistics are arbitrary. The millionaire is making about 35 times the amount of the janitor, but the millionaire is paying 50 times the amount of the janitor in taxes. By that reasoning, the rich are paying more than their share. If your garbage statistics catch on and taxes are unjustly raised on the rich, there won’t be an incentive to work and earn more money. The economy will suffer. Good luck with that.

    • Cheryl April 30, 2011 at 4:28 pm

      BeatOnMeForTheTruth: You just reduced it down to very simple terms for those who seem to have a problem understanding math, taxes and statistics. I wish the public could just grasp the fact that there will always be “poor” among us — some by choice, some by circumstance — and they pay the least but benefit the most from government programs, etc. paid for by others who chose to get off their behinds and become successful. What it really comes down to is that the “have nots” always want more but most of them don’t want to work or pay for it — they just want it handed to them because “its not fair!”
      What a great story. Thanks for sharing.

  25. dan April 24, 2011 at 8:53 pm

    last year I made over 1,000,000 last year and paid very little in taxes.
    WHY??!!!
    I bought tax free bonds from the city so they could rebuild roads and schools.
    I donated money to local charities to help people in need.
    I purchased equipment for my business that helped employ many people
    I invested in new business ventures that will employ even more people

    Get an education in how the economy works before you rant and make yourself look foolish.

  26. MichaelEdits April 24, 2011 at 9:40 pm

    If I had written a novel 100 or 50 years ago, around the premise of a nation that spirals ever further and deeper into decline because the rich won’t stop fucking the poor, I think it would have been rejected as unbelievable. Now I’d like to think it’d be rejected because “We already know that.” I am so annoyed at this world. Well, when I stop to think about it I am.

  27. John Galt April 24, 2011 at 10:49 pm

    Ignorance is Bliss…

    http://www.savingtoinvest.com/2010/04/2010-and-2011-tax-brackets-new.html

    Tax Bracket Married Filing Jointly Single

    10% Bracket $0 – $17,000 $0 – $8,500

    15% Bracket $17,001 – $69,000 $8,501 – $34,500

    25% Bracket $69,001 – $139,350 $34,501 – $83,600

    28% Bracket $139,351 – $212,300 $83,601 – $174,400

    33% Bracket $212,301 – $379,150 $174,401 – $379,150

    35% Bracket Over $379,150 Over $379,150

    http://www.taxfoundation.org/news/show/250.html

    Top 1% = Average Tax Rate 23.27% ($380,354+)

    1-5% = Average Tax Rate 17.21% ($159,619+)

    Top 50% = Average Tax Rate 13.65% (>$33,048)

    Bottom 50% = Average Tax Rate 2.59% (<$33,048)

    • Andrew April 26, 2011 at 1:16 am

      The official tax rate may very well be 35% for the richest Americans, but in reality very few – if any – people pay that much. The tax code is filled with loopholes that allow people – mainly the wealthy who can afford to hire professional tax accounts – to avoid paying their fair share.

  28. jocelebration April 24, 2011 at 11:16 pm

    Perhaps we should look at the Fair Tax. http://www.fairtax org/ .

  29. Andy April 25, 2011 at 12:27 am

    First off this AMERICA (not China), if you really want everyone to make the same move to a socialist country.The plain facts are the top 10% of earners in the US pay close to 65% of the total taxes collected and pay with both federal and state taxes pay nearly half their pay just to taxes. The bottom 45% pays close to nothing and uses most of the government resources. If all the wealth of the top 10% was completely confiscated it would only run the government for a couple weeks. They are not hoarding y’alls success in a closet somewhere. We dont have a tax problem, we have a Spending problem. Can anyone consistently spend 20% more than they bring in year after year. They would have everything repossessed and be on the street pretty quickly. Why is the government allowed to do that. Every single penny from the government comes out of some tax payers wallet. The government, contrary to popular beleif, does not have an unlimited supply of money. The sooner people realize that tve better. The money has to come from somewhere! Would anyone go through the decade of education to become a doctor if they would get payed the same as a regular bachleors degree? Of course not! Undoubtley there are people in large corporations that are dicks, but there human, we all are! It is ridiculous to punish people for being successful! This, again, is America, believe it or not people who are rich don’t always have it handed to them, it is possible for people to earn what they get! Instead of b&$@hing about the rich man, do something about it; get off you a$$ , better yourself. Stop the self pity, not everything is everyone elses fault!

  30. Thaanie April 25, 2011 at 5:24 am

    But thats so mean!! >.< Have pity on poor people too..

  31. Bob April 25, 2011 at 12:52 pm

    This article is using cherry-picked data. Much like Glenn Beck, some people like to be fueled by anger and fear even if it’s a lie.

    http://www.taxfoundation.org/research/show/250.html
    See article 8.

  32. Pingback: A Word on America’s Convoluted Tax Code « Failed Empire

  33. dave k. April 27, 2011 at 5:00 pm

    I wonder how many people here realize that the top marginal u.s. income tax rates hovered around 90 percent from 1942 to 1962, and then settled around 70% until 1982 when it dropped to 50%. Today it’s 35% – near it’s low over a century, and we’re arguing whether to increase it by 4.6% to 39.6%–the same rate as when Clinton balanc.ed the budget. FYI, the u.s. incurred huge debt in wwii, but paid it down steadily until it exploded under Reagan.

  34. Kurt Klatt April 30, 2011 at 5:27 pm

    I find it truly remarkable that when confronted with factual statistics people will stillinsist that they’re wrong and not believe it.

  35. Anonymous April 30, 2011 at 6:21 pm

    America should have a flat tax that is in the range of 15 -20%. Eliminate all lobbists. Do not allow any excepts or loop holes. Do we have the political leadership to do that? That is the questiong on both sides of the isle. No one making under $35,000.00 or so should pay income taxes. This will raise the amount collected and be more fair. To do this there must be also a constitutional ammendment freezing spending levels. That freeze should remain in effect till the debt is paid off. A national sales tax might be an even better way to do it. By having a sales tax we would need no IRS…and other agencies that are involved with collecting taxes or prosecuting those who don’t pay. This would save billions. Waste is one of the biggest problems not how much is being spent. I also agree with Ron Paul that we should call back all troops in foreign lands…some 750 differnent installations around the world. In any home situation…there comes a point where you have what you have…you have to find a way to make what you have go farther by…being more careful with how and what you spend.

  36. Mike June 23, 2011 at 7:18 pm

    I heard that GE pays so little because alot of their profits come from foreign sales. Though I don’t believe in income taxes cause I believe taxes should be levied through consumption. Though if that were the case our system would be alot harder to take advantage of. I believe our obsolete monetary system is all about control and inequality and in a world where all men are equal we should not need money. Our economic system should limit consumption to how much resources we have and should be distributed accordingly. No more illegal drugs, ecological problems, pollution, envy, greed, wars, loans, banks, investments, class differences, compitition, bankruptcy, homelessness, hunger, poverty, illiteracy, nations and theft. Everything would be done in the spirit of cooperation for the good of all mankind, with no man above any other. A basic economy with alot of freedom to live, grow and do anything one wanted as long as noone elses freedoms were infringed upon. No more worry about finding a job, paying rent or mortgages & everyone can work where they choose to as long as its a productive job.
    This economy would be based on how much resources we have available, whats needed to maintain current population levels, transitioning to renewable sources and rationing them so sustainability is an objective that can be easily obtained. Though i have heard many arguements
    that say once we take away wealth there will be no incentives to work but i disagree with this assumption because i believe we don’t do anything for money but to better our lives. To better our lives will be the main reason why people will work even though they wont be able to bring up their standard of living above another they will be able to bring all of humanities standards up and hence their own as well!
    This economy is the last step to uniting the world as one, to insuring our survival as a species
    and to bringing about a lasting peace. Though i don’t believe this will happen before another dark age is upon us. people will have to see the worst in themselves before we can decide we want the best for each other as well as our children. Though for me there is no other choice but equality and maybe it’s cause i’ve allready seen my dark side. I allready know that life is more about who we are than what we own, more about how we give then what we give, more about what we’re willing to sacrifice today to have a tommorrow.

    • Andrew B. June 25, 2011 at 1:30 am

      Thanks for the extremely thoughtful comment. It’s good to know there are others out there who share similar ideals.

  37. learntobrandyou.com December 18, 2012 at 12:30 am

    Thank you for publishing Save the Rich, Pay Your Taxes Failed Empire, I just actually had been searching for something very similar and was happy to acquire the advice through this particular content.

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