Happy Tax Day, suckers

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It's Tax Day, the deadline for filing income tax returns, which seems like an appropriate time for Senate Republicans to kill President Barack Obama's proposed Buffett Rule, which would have required the richest Americans to pay at least a 30 percent tax rate rather than using various tax dodges to pay a lower tax rate than most of us.

Honestly, it's hard to even summon the outrage or indignation anymore over the latest example of life under plutocracy. Most Americans seem resigned to accept being ruled by the rich in crass, obvious, and incredibly short-sighted ways – even on Tax Day, when our class resentments should be finely tuned.

Sure, California voters will probably get a chance to increase taxes on millionaires this November – a proposal that consistently polls well – but even that has now been tied to a sales tax increase. Whatever happened to good ole economic populism? Why has the Occupy Wall Street movement's brilliant “We are the 99 percent” paradigm faded so quickly from the national stage?

Despite mountains of evidence that the richest individuals and corporations have written tax codes to their benefit, and that the tax code is fundamentally unfair to most Americans and damaging to this country's long-term economic prospects, Americans seem to accept their lowly fate and role serving the greedy rich.

The latest examples of solid reporting on our corrupt and inequitable tax system come from the New York Times' David Kocieniewski, whose year-long series “But Nobody Pays That” just won the Pulitzer Prize for explanatory reporting, with the committee calling it a “lucid series that penetrated a legal thicket to explain how the nation's wealthiest citizens and corporations often exploited loopholes and avoided taxes.”

And yet today, Tax Day, the greedy rich still paid lower tax rates than most of us, and then used their Republican Party enablers to prevent that situation from changing anytime soon. But rather than heeding that simple fact or clicking on my links that explain the problem in more detail, the blog commenters will probably say I'm just jealous. Ugh, I think it's my nap time.

Comments

If the bill had made it to the President's desk he would have vetoed his own legislation.

Obama had four years to end policies that favored the rich yet he refused at every turn, whether appointing the same bankers who caused the great recession and the targeting of minority communities with fraudulent toxic mortgages, or stacking his justice department with big media lawyers
to shut down the free internet, the president favored wealthy campaign contributors at every opportunity.

The idea that he would tax them now is laughable.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 17, 2012 @ 4:24 pm

with the differential rates of tax paid by different classes of people, rather than the overall tax take?

The richest 2% already pay 50% of all taxes so you are clearly groping and grasping to define the issue in terms that indicate that no amount is ever enough when it comes to confiscating and punishing the other class. The politics of envy, writ large.

Penalizing success and rewarding failure is what has destroyed the american dream so, naturally, you support it.

Posted by Anonymous on Apr. 17, 2012 @ 4:55 pm

Right on cue, Anon, with your accusation of envy, which is as incorrect as your statistics. As I recommended above, read the links before making your accusations, particularly this one: http://www.sfbg.com/2011/04/12/failed-experiment?page=0,0

Posted by steven on Apr. 18, 2012 @ 10:44 am

nothing more.

Didn't Obama extend the Bush tax cuts?

Posted by Guest on Apr. 17, 2012 @ 9:28 pm

Whether or not it was a stunt -- by which I think you mean Obama knew it probably wouldn't clear Congress -- this was good legislation that should have been enacted and it's an important issue to have on the national agenda. Yes, Obama has failed in his pledge of four years ago to make the rich pay their fair share. I think that's terrible and I won't make any apologies for him, but I do hope that he continues to raise these issues in his presidential campaign because they're crucial to this country's future prosperity and sense of economic justice.

Posted by steven on Apr. 18, 2012 @ 11:41 am

far more dependent on a few thousand of wealth-creators than on several tens of millions of people who make little economic contributions.

If the tax code reflects such an emphasis on success over mediocrity, why would anyone oppose that?

Posted by Anonymous on Apr. 18, 2012 @ 11:59 am

You've got it exactly backwards, Anon: vulture capitalists like Mitt Romney profit from tearing down our economy, which is built up by the hard-working waitresses, ditch-diggers, computer geeks, cooks, artists, and millions of others who do the real work of running this country while the rapacious rich and the spineless politicians they sponsor plunder the wealth that we create.

Posted by steven on Apr. 19, 2012 @ 10:54 am

I would rather have the rich rule than be dragged down into the pit of bankrupcy by the poor. Of course Obama would have veteod his own bill. It was a stunt. He is trying to widen the wedge between the classes and the races. That is his only chance of re-election. He has nothing positive he can bring out except the health care law that the CBO now says will cost waaaaaay more than was originally projected-big friggin surprise there. Anyone with half a brain could see that by addinhg at least 47,000,000 more to the health care systemm was going to add significant costs. These 47,000,000 coincide with the projected number of illegal aliens in this country. Interesting coincidence wouldn't you say?

Let's make Osamabama a private citizen in 2012!!!!!!

Posted by Guest Useful Idiots on Apr. 25, 2012 @ 12:27 pm

over the 50% of Americans who pay zero federal income tax. Doubt it.

Posted by Chromefields on Apr. 18, 2012 @ 10:20 am

Everyone pays taxes. Again: read, understand, then speak: http://www.sfbg.com/2011/04/12/failed-experiment?page=0,0

Posted by steven on Apr. 18, 2012 @ 10:46 am

Steven, I am sure anyone can hit a link and read yet another article posted in the SFBG, but the issue is that you and those you are arguing with are discussing apples and oranges.

You are mixing up FICA and self-employment taxes, with federal income taxes, and state and local taxes with federal taxes. You are also ignoring important tax equalizers such as the Earned Income Tax Credit.

Have a clear discussion and you may find more consensus.

Posted by Chris on Apr. 18, 2012 @ 11:01 am

I doubt it, Chris. It's an intentionally misleading argument to focus on the federal income tax burden and use it to imply others aren't paying their fair share, as if all the other taxes people pay somehow don't count, so that's a little rhetorical trap that I won't be drawn into. The link I posted is to an excellent analysis of a wide array of tax burden issues by one of the country's top tax writers, an author and New York Times writer who doesn't come at this issue from an ideological perspective himself, but who nonetheless debunks the Right's oft-repeated claims.

Posted by steven on Apr. 18, 2012 @ 11:35 am

and I specifically mentioned "federal income tax" in my comment. Maybe another nap would cure your reflexive demagogy. Or better still, just stick to blathering on about topics no one cares about, like Burning Man, while the adults are talking.

Posted by Chromefields on Apr. 18, 2012 @ 11:51 am

Democrats only threaten liberal or progressive policies when they have no power to enact them.

Posted by marcos on Apr. 18, 2012 @ 10:24 am
Posted by Anonymous on Apr. 18, 2012 @ 12:01 pm

The top 1% of income earners pay 38% of federal income taxes collected. The top 10% pay 71% of federal income taxes collected. The bottom 50% pay only 3% of federal income taxes collected. 48% of Americans pay no federal income tax.

If the Bush/Obama tax cuts expire and Jerry Brown's tax measure passes, the highest combined rate in California will be over 52%. And that doesn't even take into account payroll taxes.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 18, 2012 @ 11:40 am

California is rapidly acquiring Scandinavian levels of taxation, and yet we get so little in return. Most revenues just get sucked into the bottomless pit of public sector employee entitlements.

It's a recipe for disaster, so of course SFBG supports it.

Posted by Anonymous on Apr. 18, 2012 @ 12:03 pm
RE

I think there is a new awareness in this 21st century that design is as important to where and how we live as it is for museums, concert halls and civic buildings.

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