Robert Price writes in The Wall Street Journal about The Price of Taxing the Rich:
Nearly half of California’s income taxes before the recession came from the top 1% of earners: households that took in more than $490,000 a year. High earners, it turns out, have especially volatile incomes—their earnings fell by more than twice as much as the rest of the population’s during the recession. When they crashed, they took California’s finances down with them.
Maybe, instead of villainizing the rich, the people should pray for their success. And instead of taxing them to death, the government should enable and encourage them to prosper.
Warren Buffett recently remarked:
The rich are always going to say that, you know, just give us more money and we’ll go out and spend more and then it will all trickle down to the rest of you. But that has not worked the last 10 years, and I hope the American public is catching on.
Technically, what Mr. Buffett said may be true but only because he is looking at the wrong thing. I’m sorry that this supposed capitalist and businessman has never learned that spending money is not what creates wealth. To create wealth, one must save, invest, and produce items that had not existed before or items that do exist but of higher quality or at a lower cost.
Instead of encouraging spending, as the current and past Presidents have done, we should be encouraging investment. That means lower taxes on investments (capital gain, interest, and dividends) and, to offset that loss of revenue, either lower government spending (my preference) or higher taxes on spending. Until 1913, with a few rare exceptions (Civil War), all federal taxes were collected on spending while income, both earned and from investments, were non-taxable. During that time, the United States economy grew like nothing the world had ever seen before. Since the income tax has replaced tariffs as the primary source of government revenue, the United States has saved and invested less money and the economy has grown more slowly.
Mr. Buffett argues that we’ve tried trickle-down economics and it has failed. We have also tried trickle-up economics (in the late 1960s) and it too failed. Let’s try something that has succeeded: consumption taxes instead of income taxes.
Posted in Capitalism
Tagged Berkshire Hathaway, Capital gain, Economic, Fair tax, Giving Pledge, Investment, Tax, Tax cut, This Week (ABC TV series), Trickle-down economics, United States, Warren Buffett, Wealth
Regardless of your opinion of President George W. Bush, there is no denying that he knew how to get things done. Unfortunately for him, much of what he did was vilified by the media. The Bush tax cuts, for instance, were portrayed as “tax cuts for the rich” even though the rich’s share of the tax burden rose and the tax cuts helped spur economic growth. In the words of Rodney Dangerfield, Bush “got no respect.”
Along comes President Barack Obama. As candidate and President, Obama attacked the “tax cuts for the rich” that Bush gave out. But then, suddenly, President Obama compromises with the Republicans and extends the Bush tax cuts. CNN, who heeped no praise on Bush for his tax cuts, is now praising Obama for extending the tax cuts:
Most Americans like the new tax cut law that President Barack Obama signed into law on Friday, according to a new national poll.
And a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Monday also indicates that while the tax cut compromise the president struck with congressional Republicans didn’t spark Obama’s overall approval rating, it may have given him a boost as “Triangulator in Chief.”
The poll also indicates that 55 percent of the public thinks Obama’s policies will move the country in the right direction, with just over four in ten saying the president’s policies will move the nation in the wrong direction. Obama’s 55 percent is 11 points higher than the 44 percent who say the policies of congressional Republican leaders will move the country in the right direction. Americans are split at 48 percent on whether what congressional Democrats are proposing will move the country along the right path.
“Since the GOP just picked up 63 seats in the House, what’s not to like about their policies? The tax bill may be a good place to start,” says Holland.
According to the poll, 56 percent of the public say that the bill does too much for wealthy Americans and six in ten don’t like extending the tax cuts for families making more than $250,000 or the changes in the estate tax. And less than one in four believe that their personal situation will improve as a result of the tax bill. Only four in ten favor an increase in the federal deficit to pay for tax cut compromise.
But despite those figures, three-quarters of all Americans approve of the tax bill overall, including the extension of jobless benefits for the long term unemployed.
If you are keeping score at home:
- President Bush and the Republicans were wrong to pass the tax cuts in 2001 and 2003.
- President Obama was right to extend them in 2010.
- Republicans were wrong to extend them in 2010.