Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Tax Time

Another tax story; this one from Sojourners magazine. The author of the story makes no bones about the fact that she is proud to pay taxes and considers it her civic duty… "I feel paying taxes is one of the most patriotic things I get to do as a citizen of the United States. I'm proud of my country. My taxes pay for roads, schools, police protection, trash pickup, health care, and social services for seniors and people with disabilities. Taxes create the kind of community that I want to live in." And you should know that she lives in D.C and that means she has no representation in Congress or the Senate. She really knows what taxation without representation means.

Then this about Warren Buffett; Mr. Buffett is one the richest men in the world and can (and will) tell you that the rich are not taxed enough. He's been saying this for years and no one listens. Her story continues…"We overtax the poor and undertax the wealthy. It's a fact—ask billionaire investor Warren Buffett. He has offered to bet a million dollars
that no member of the Forbes 400 list of the richest Americans can prove that the group pays a higher percentage of income in payroll taxes than their receptionists do. This is a very safe bet. Well over two years later, he's had no takers.

Billionaires paying a lower tax rate than the folks who answer the phones? I don't care what your politics are; that's just unfair.

And Buffett is just talking about federal payroll taxes (income, Social Security, and Medicare). On top of that, many of the taxes you and I pay—sales, property, excise, energy—are not based on our income, but on our consumption. The same sales tax is added to everyone's purchase regardless of the buyer's ability to pay—and this disproportionately affects the poor, who spend the highest percentage of their income on daily necessities. Same for property taxes. They are based on the value of your house, sure, but the taxing body doesn't ask what your income is before they calculate your tax. It just is what it is."

By Jennifer Hope Kottler


  1. This makes me sick to think about. I met with my financial f-ups today to discuss my retirement investments. Although I am currently retired, they advise that I re-invest my retirement income in order to begin to make up the huge losses the Great Recession gnawed out of my conservatively invested accounts. Because there are RMD's involved, however, I must first pay an indecent percentage to the government, then re-invest what's left...taking no income, myself. How utterly stupid the wealthy must think we are; how correct they'd be! I don't blame the government (okay, I blame Greenspan); chiefly, I blame Wall Street greed, corporate greed, financier greed. This is not right. It's not even wrong.

  2. We like our financial guy, but still we avoid seeing him if we can because he never has good news for us.
    I think we should call it the Great Depression Redux...not a recession. Recession seems too tame a word for what has been dealt to us by the greed of others. Because of them, I think we lost about 30% and that's Depressing!
    I am just thankful I was able to retire early and missed the crash by about 4 years, otherwise we would still be working. Both of us. Maybe a greeter at Wal*Mart? 'His and Hers' greeters? The thought repels me, but even that lowly job is sought after by many elders.

  3. Guess who gives the highest proportion of their income to charity? Hint: It's not the Forbes 400.

  4. Sorry, K...Blogger wouldn't let me post your comment till today.

    Back to the question. I could be wrong, but I do know that Mr. Buffet has given a huge portion of his fortune to the Gates Foundation because they are better at disposing of fortunes and he avoids the expense of setting up his own foundation.