Unpacking “Class Warfare”

Whether you believe that asking those with more to share a greater part of the public burden is socialism or simply good citizenship, you can’t deny that there are heated feelings on the topic. I am of the persuasion that greed and selfishness- if further assisted by government, will be the demise of this country.

Paul Krugman has some excellent points in today’s New York Times. Among them:

As background, it helps to know what has been happening to incomes over the past three decades. Detailed estimates from the Congressional Budget Office — which only go up to 2005, but the basic picture surely hasn’t changed — show that between 1979 and 2005 the inflation-adjusted income of families in the middle of the income distribution rose 21 percent. That’s growth, but it’s slow, especially compared with the 100 percent rise in median income over a generation after World War II.

Meanwhile, over the same period, the income of the very rich, the top 100th of 1 percent of the income distribution, rose by 480 percent. No, that isn’t a misprint. In 2005 dollars, the average annual income of that group rose from $4.2 million to $24.3 million.

So do the wealthy look to you like the victims of class warfare?

….On one side, we have the claim that the rising share of taxes paid by the rich shows that their burden is rising, not falling. To point out the obvious, the rich are paying more taxes because they’re much richer than they used to be. When middle-class incomes barely grow while the incomes of the wealthiest rise by a factor of six, how could the tax share of the rich not go up, even if their tax rate is falling?

Full story here.

One comment on “Unpacking “Class Warfare”

  1. Whether you like it or not, trying to compare the salaries and tax rates of people who work for a wage and people rich enough to live off dividends of stocks is not a comparison of the same thing.

    The tax code is written to encourage people to invest in the stock market and American companies. Most people put things like their 401k, savings and extra cash in stocks because traditionally, over the long term, they provide a return on invest, create jobs and encourage American industry and business. Additionally, this isn’t always the case, since money can also be lost on the stock market. Because of these reasons, we tax investments at a lower tax rate than wages.

    When people like our President and yourself continue to portray this difference in tax rates on different kinds of income as the same thing, I’m not sure if it’s dishonest, uneducated or what, but it’s untrue and not a fair way to portray the issue.

    The fact is you could take every penny from these people and you’d still have a spending deficit. Why don’t you ever address spending as the reason for this. Our national budget in 2000 was 1.7 trillion. The last budget passed by a Republican Congress and Republican president in 2006 was 2.6 trillion. People were so outraged it had grown by almost a trillion dollars in 6 years they voted Democrats into office. Even our own president and every Democratic member of the Senate in ’06 voted AGAINST raising the debt ceiling.

    Fast forward to today. Our last budget passed by a Democratic Congress and Democratic president has raised it to 3.7trillion. This is NOT counting any of the 800 billion in stimulus or bailouts or TARP funds. By 2015 it’s projected to rise to 4.3 billion.

    Can you honestly look at the federal government growing in size from 1.7 in 2000 to 3.7 trillion in 2011 and tell me, “Oh! It’s just those greedy millionaires who don’t pay their fair share!’ This is a spending problem, not a revenue problem. The size and scope of the federal government has grown so large in the past decade that it’s become unsustainable, a harm to anyone investing or thinking of expanding business in the U.S. and even a huge infringement on things like our privacy and civil liberties.

    Lastly, read sometime other than NYT. A newspaper that hasn’t endorsed a Republican presidential candidate since Eisenhower isn’t really the most objective source of news.



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