More than 80 percent of Americans want to tax the rich


Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is calling for an emergency surtax on millionaires as a way to combat the deficit. Which, of course, is a great idea. His colleague Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is on the same page. And the polls show that most of the country agrees with the concept; in fact, a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll says that a staggering 81 percent of Americans think it's basically a good idea to increase taxes on incomes of more than $1 million a year.

I imagine that the population of San Francisco is somewhat more liberal on the issue of taxes than the nation as a whole, which leads me to believe that a very substantial percentage of the city's residents (including some of the very rich ones) was support increased local taxes that would require the wealthy to pay more to preserve city services.

There are, I'm sure, plenty of creative ways to do that. But it doesn't seem to be at the top of the budget discussion at City Hall.

I realize that it would require a two-thirds vote in November for any tax hikes -- unless the supervisors declared a financial emergency. And it certainly seems as if we're in a state of emergency -- and if the governor can't find a couple of Republicans to vote for his budget package, it's going to get much worse, very quickly.

If we can't do that, and we have to wait a year and do it next fall, we still ought to be starting now -- and the supervisors ought to be telling every community that's facing cuts that there won't be any more reductions without at least a plan for new revenue.


But there isn't a local way to tax rich people. A Wealth tax is unconstitutional.

You can tax incomes, but only at the Federal and State level.

So "taxing the rich" at the City level can only be done indirectly and inefficiently.

Oh, and BTW, those 81% who voted to tax the rich probably assumed that it won't affect them. Everyone assumes only people richer than themselves would be taxed.

But that's a myth. When federal income tax was first introduced, it was as a tax on the rich. Only the top 3% had to pay it. Look at it now!

Posted by Harry on Mar. 09, 2011 @ 5:32 pm

no doubt differs from most people's definition of "the rich."

I'd support a wealth tax on millionaires too. But I have a feeling The Guardian wants that tax imposed a lot, LOT lower than on those making over a one million a year. Like - on those making $80,000 a year and above.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Mar. 09, 2011 @ 9:03 pm

the distinction between being rich and having a high income.

You can be wealthy but have no income. You can have a high income but have no net worth.

Taxing high incomes can be done, just not at the City level.

While taxing wealth is unconstitutional right now. And anyway, there is no way that taxing authorities can determine someone's net worth.

To me, being wealthy is having a net worth of a few million. Or an income of a few hundred thousand a year. The problem is that you can't raise so much tax from those because there aren't enough of them.

Which means tax hikes would reach down to those on average incomes.

Posted by Harry on Mar. 10, 2011 @ 9:06 am

Really, lunatic, you do not understand the rules of discourse at all.

It doesn't matter that you "have a feeling" that Redmond/Brugmann/the SFBG may want to tax people making 80K a year, nothing they ACTUALLY FUCKING SAY indicates that's so.

I have a feeling that you are a pedophile. Mind you, I have no proof of this. I have no idea where you live or what you do, but because I "have a feeling" that you're a pedophile, the rest of my commentary is based on this "feeling".

So, how young are the kids you're sleeping with?

Posted by Matty on Mar. 10, 2011 @ 3:00 pm

Why not call these "fines" instead of taxes? The state should fine corporations (not individuals) for excess profit-taking at the public expense? Start with the oil companies.

Posted by Arturo on Mar. 10, 2011 @ 11:50 am

You know that right, if they are so evil, you can choose not to partake.

Posted by meatlock on Mar. 10, 2011 @ 12:47 pm

Arturo is a genius!

That flies for me but I'm not a lawyer of accountant. Anyone else who is one of the two have an idea on that? I've advocated lots of more radical things from my cover as a satirist but this one actually seems to make sense.

Take, say, a billion from the Fishers to cover the City's General Fund and pension/health care deficit this year and a billion next year from the Gettys?

I just hope they don't hit my Social Security. We haven't had a COLA increase in 3 years and ours is miniscule. Retired City employees picked up 170 million a couple of months ago.

Go Giants!


Posted by Guest h. brown on Mar. 10, 2011 @ 12:05 pm

Did you even read this poll? That question comes up nowhere in the poll.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 26, 2011 @ 9:42 pm

None of what half of you are saying is relevant....this isn't the place 2 rant....JEEZ ever heard of Facebook???

Posted by Guest on Jan. 01, 2012 @ 2:15 pm