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Nonpartisan Tax Report Removed After Republican Protest

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the information-wants-to-trickle-down dept.

Republicans 555

eldavojohn writes "On September 14th a report titled 'Taxes and the Economy: An Economic Analysis of the Top Tax Rates Since 1945' (PDF) penned by the Library of Congress' nonpartisan Congressional Research Service was released to little fanfare. However, the following conclusion of the report has since roiled the GOP enough to have the report removed from the Library of Congress: 'The results of the analysis suggest that changes over the past 65 years in the top marginal tax rate and the top capital gains tax rate do not appear correlated with economic growth. The reduction in the top tax rates appears to be uncorrelated with saving, investment, and productivity growth. The top tax rates appear to have little or no relation to the size of the economic pie. However, the top tax rate reductions appear to be associated with the increasing concentration of income at the top of the income distribution. As measured by IRS data, the share of income accruing to the top 0.1% of U.S. families increased from 4.2% in 1945 to 12.3% by 2007 before falling to 9.2% due to the 2007-2009 recession. At the same time, the average tax rate paid by the top 0.1% fell from over 50% in 1945 to about 25% in 2009. Tax policy could have a relation to how the economic pie is sliced—lower top tax rates may be associated with greater income disparities.' From the New York Times article: 'The pressure applied to the research service comes amid a broader Republican effort to raise questions about research and statistics that were once trusted as nonpartisan and apolitical.' It appears to no longer be found on the Library of Congress' website."

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555 comments

Of course it was! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41859237)

Of course it was removed!

Non-partisan is just a politically correct way of saying, Lib'rul bias.

Now excuse me, I have to go back to watching Fox News.

Re:Of course it was! (5, Insightful)

Mitreya (579078) | about a year and a half ago | (#41859607)

Non-partisan is just a politically correct way of saying, Lib'rul bias.

All politicians have their issues, but Republicans are departing further and further into never-land

It's one thing to argue in generalities, but to directly and blatantly contradict facts - that's something else.

How do you reconcile a non-partisan analysis that directly contradicts one of your main philosophies? In tune with Romney/Ryan platform of cutting taxes on everyone, increasing spending on military and keeping the good parts of Health Care Act (that cost money), while getting rid of the "bad" parts (that bring in money). And of course all of this will balance the budget somehow.

Re:Of course it was! (5, Insightful)

AvitarX (172628) | about a year and a half ago | (#41859719)

To be fair, Romney had one of the better close loopholes proposals I've heard.

rather than fight about this or that, he wants a cap on deductions. I can't think of a better way eliminate massive deductions without picking and choosing (which is political suicide).

I think Romney's plan won't work, and I won't vote for him, but I appreciate that small step to a better tax system (his limit was high enough that it would absolutely only effect the upper class)

Re:Of course it was! (3, Interesting)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year and a half ago | (#41859931)

Many countries moved to PAYE (pay as you earn), rather than the US pay April 15, and not before or after, but with a complex set of pre-pay rules and penalties, withholdings and such. PAYE means that the tax withheld from your paycheck is what you owe, no more no less. No deductions, no refunds, no returns (with a few exceptions in the "liberal" PAYE countries to help the children and such). All the people talking about eliminating the IRS really don't care about the IRS, they care solely about changing taxes to help the rich (spending taxes to punish the poor and reward savings). You can eliminate the IRS (as we know it) without touching the idea of an income tax.

Re:Of course it was! (5, Insightful)

Mitreya (579078) | about a year and a half ago | (#41859933)

I think Romney's plan won't work, and I won't vote for him, but I appreciate that small step to a better tax system

I know that Romney's plan won't work, because he hasn't given the details (you know, the ones that have the devil in them). I am not saying his plan is bad, I am saying it is at best half-defined and thus hard to evaluate either way.

Until he gives us some idea of the cap amounts he is thinking of, the non-partisan budget office can't even evaluate his plan. And I suspect that he is keeping it vague, because he knows it won't work

Is it really too much to demand a specific economic plan (with some numbers) from the president _before_ he is elected? Especially as he makes some significant promises about what his plan would achieve?

Re:Of course it was! (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41859871)

The really funny part... this reminds me exactly of that masturbatory, dystopian, boat anchor of a book, Atlas Shrugged. Government research agencies were operating under extreme pressure from ultra left wing political interests to generate only the results they wanted, or risk losing their jobs. Any results to the contrary were buried.

Note that this one follows one of the worst financial calamities in US history, perpetrated in reality by those magnates at the top (so revered in the story), and total lack of regulation.

My irony gauge just blew a fuse.

Re:Of course it was! (2, Funny)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year and a half ago | (#41859879)

I thought it was well accepted that reality has a liberal bias.

Did anyone get a copy first? (0)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | about a year and a half ago | (#41859265)

It was removed, but did anyone manage to get a copy before that was done. It would be interesting to get an independent (in relative terms) review of the document.

Re:Did anyone get a copy first? (4, Informative)

DanTheStone (1212500) | about a year and a half ago | (#41859291)

It's the PDF link in the summary...

Re:Did anyone get a copy first? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41859293)

first link in summary

Re:Did anyone get a copy first? (2, Informative)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | about a year and a half ago | (#41859299)

It was removed, but did anyone manage to get a copy before that was done. It would be interesting to get an independent (in relative terms) review of the document.

Reading fail - it is right there linked in the summary. Now excuse me while I walk away and hide in shame ;)

Romney Kills Baby Seals (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41859287)

It is disappointing to see that Slashdot is as liberal as every other social media site out there. I'm not surprised, but disappointed.

Re:Romney Kills Baby Seals (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41859301)

When you're a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

When you're a conservative nut-job, everything looks liberal.

Re:Romney Kills Baby Seals (1, Informative)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | about a year and a half ago | (#41859421)

There's some truth to that. The fact that I despise conservative crazies doesn't mean I don't despise liberal, libertarian or whig crazies just as much. Basically, I despise any party or organization to the extent that their views deviate from provable reality. Admittedly, right-wing republicans have taken over as the top of the reality denial list of late, but that doesn't mean that any other group is getting saner.

Re:Romney Kills Baby Seals (1, Funny)

kenaaker (774785) | about a year and a half ago | (#41859317)

Have you considered the possibility that you're somewhat to the right of Attila the Hun?

Re:Romney Kills Baby Seals (0)

aicrules (819392) | about a year and a half ago | (#41859439)

Let's see how many people engage in honest discussion about why the report would be requested to be removed. With only 10 comments having been posted when I read this one, look how many align with his concern: http://politics.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3227495&cid=41859301 [slashdot.org]
http://politics.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3227495&cid=41859311 [slashdot.org]
http://politics.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3227495&cid=41859329 [slashdot.org]
http://politics.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3227495&cid=41859353 [slashdot.org]
http://politics.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3227495&cid=41859379 [slashdot.org]

Re:Romney Kills Baby Seals (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41859529)

Oddly, Attila the Hun was very liberal for his day, and could be considered liberal even today. Among the very progressive (for the times) things he enforced:

- It was fairly typical for him to take a city and then kill all of the political leadership, but not punish the populous. He then would let it be known that he knew who had commanded the opposition, and that the fight was now over with their disposal. Of course if anyone then tried to resume the fight he was incredibly brutal in retaliation. The idea of punishing the people responsible for war rather than the common man is something we still struggle with nowadays.

- Having been a near-slave himself early in life he abolished the idea of being born into slavery. The only people who were slaves were the people who were conquered.

- With the exception of the inherited emperorship (which was always going to go to whichever of his many children proved the most able), governmental positions were almost all by merit rather than political connection. This was virtually unheard of anywhere in the world at the time.

- Religious freedom was enforced all across the empire (because the largest in history it should be noted). In fact he seems to have enjoyed religious debate, and the most scholarly work comparing and contrasting religion of the time all came out of his capital where he brought diverse religious leaders together and invited them to debate before the court.

Most of this is from "Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World" (a great read): http://www.amazon.com/Genghis-Khan-Making-Modern-World/dp/0609809644

Other pieces from the traveling museum exhibit that it seems will next be in Chicago in Feb (I saw it in San Jose): http://fieldmuseum.org/about/genghis-khan-invades-chicago

Re:Romney Kills Baby Seals (2)

kenaaker (774785) | about a year and a half ago | (#41859605)

Well, thank you for the information.

I withdraw the comparison. It was a snarky comment I heard many years ago. And it makes an even greater contrast to the current day.

Who would Attila have punished for the Iraq war? How many of the current political dynasties would have been cut off from any connection with the government? Can you imagine a set of broadcast national debates on religion today?

Interesting.

Re:Romney Kills Baby Seals (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41859443)

Take your meds Romney, the voices will go away.

Re:Romney Kills Baby Seals (1)

gangien (151940) | about a year and a half ago | (#41859557)

Just my opinoin, but the 2000, 2008, 2012 elections have nothing on how crazy slashdot got in 2004.

What's that, Mrs. Streisand? (5, Insightful)

gman003 (1693318) | about a year and a half ago | (#41859309)

Seriously, when are people going to learn about the Streisand Effect?

I would never have heard about this had they left it up. But now, it's gone from "boring tax report" to "the economic analysis that THEY don't want you to know about!".

Re:What's that, Mrs. Streisand? (2)

Mitreya (579078) | about a year and a half ago | (#41859665)

I would never have heard about this had they left it up.

Sure you would have.
Obama would probably site it in his address (or debates, even) and release ads that mention it

I assume that it just doesn't have the same ring to it:
"Romney wants to cut taxes for the rich, but a never-released economic report proves him wrong".

The goal here is to keep the report from the undecided voters and the remaining sane Republicans. That may have been a success.

the facts (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41859311)

have a well-known liberal bias.

Business as usual with republicain (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41859329)

We don't like global wrming number so it did not happen.
We don't like your data on tax and economic so remove it.
We don't like your evolution thingy so it did not happen (yes technically I know there are some creationist on dem side but technically the crushing majority is on rep side).

Re:Business as usual with republicain (1)

dunng808 (448849) | about a year and a half ago | (#41859619)

Easy solution:

mv "Library of Congress" "Library of Republican Congress"

Re:Business as usual with republicain (1)

El Rey (61125) | about a year and a half ago | (#41859753)

mv "Library of Congress" "Lie-brary of Congress"

Politically stupid timing (1, Flamebait)

davidwr (791652) | about a year and a half ago | (#41859337)

If you are going to pull a stunt like this, you are supposed to wait until AFTER the elections!

Re:Politically stupid timing (5, Interesting)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about a year and a half ago | (#41859485)

If you are going to pull a stunt like this, you are supposed to wait until AFTER the elections!

This "stunt" was pulled back in September as a run-of-the-mill decision. Three guesses as to why it was publicized THIS week?

Re:Politically stupid timing (3, Insightful)

farble1670 (803356) | about a year and a half ago | (#41859853)

This "stunt" was pulled back in September as a run-of-the-mill decision. Three guesses as to why it was publicized THIS week?

and the pedophile says: "i molested that little girl back in 2007. i can't believe they decided to bring it up when i applied for my new teaching position."

why did they bring it up now? to try and keep those liars that are hiding the truth from getting elected? duh.

FACTS (4, Insightful)

Ossifer (703813) | about a year and a half ago | (#41859353)

Facts don't match my ideology so FACTS MUST BE WRONG!!!

News for nerds? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41859373)

Really??

Re:News for nerds? (2)

patch5 (1990504) | about a year and a half ago | (#41859445)

...stuff that matters.

Post-truth politics (5, Insightful)

benjfowler (239527) | about a year and a half ago | (#41859379)

The Right seem to live in this strange world, where you can change reality by wishing hard enough, or lying hard enough, or by denying evidence and truth hard enough.

A bit like how Communists and their whacked-out theories about how reality could be changed by willing it so, e.g. the New Soviet Man.

And a bit like left-wing crazies in academic literary circles with postmodernism; where they deny objective reality, and consider science and reason to be something not to be trusted, because it's invented by powerful people to keep the little man down.

So what we're really seeing, is right-wing postmodernism; where the FOX crowd deny objective reality, because they see rationality, science and evidence-based-anything as a liberal left-wing plot to repress and hold down Galtian supermen such as themselves.

In a nutshell, the modern American Right is losing credibility, because enough of them are so split from reality, that they think that simply making shit up, denying the truth, and being stupid will bend the world to their will. Serious right-wing thinkers like William Buckley would have been appalled by the intellectual and moral rot.

It's tragic and bizarre, but nobody's laughing, because they're dangerous and get into power often enough to cause serious damage, like expensive and pointless wars, massive environmental damage, and yawning inequality.

Re:Post-truth politics (5, Funny)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about a year and a half ago | (#41859455)

where you can change reality by wishing hard enough

well, lets be real, here. the right *is* the party of prayer.

everyone knows it.

not the party of facts, but the party of 'sky daddies'.

facts only get in their way.

Re:Post-truth politics (3, Insightful)

benjfowler (239527) | about a year and a half ago | (#41859481)

People prone to "magical thinking" (e.g. the religiously pious), are likely to apply their flawed thinking to other areas, like politics and economics.

Re:Post-truth politics (2, Insightful)

El Rey (61125) | about a year and a half ago | (#41859877)

I don't believe these guys believe in anything except:

If you aren't rich you need to do whatever we say and STFU.

Freedom means the freedom for us to screw you over because we are rich and for you to be free to do nothing about it.

The "we're Christian" thing is just a ruse to convince poor people to vote against their self interest.

Re:Post-truth politics (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41859459)

The Right seem to live in this strange world, where you can change reality by wishing hard enough...

It's called prayer.

Re:Post-truth politics (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41859511)

The conclusion in the report has nothing to do with core conservatism. To a conservative it doesn't matter. The question is if it is the government's responsibility to equalize incomes and wealth. The question is if it right to take so much wealth not for the purpose of running a government and safety, but to subsidize pet projects and re-allocate the money to people or people groups to "help" them. Conservatism points out that spreading wealth around is an issue of the person's own wealth, not the government. It would be interesting to note if the report covers not only the rates, but the types of deductions and how top tax payers take advantage of the deductions. The government can set a high rate, but then try to manipulate behavior by offering incentives (deductions) to behavior that they deem as "good". That is just as immoral as a religious zealot trying to legislate things they hate or like.

Re:Post-truth politics (1, Insightful)

farble1670 (803356) | about a year and a half ago | (#41859921)

The question is if it right to take so much wealth not for the purpose of running a government and safety, but to subsidize pet projects and re-allocate the money to people or people groups to "help" them.

... whooooooosh ... both candidates are advocating reallocation. romney wants to re-allocate to the wealthy through top-tier and corporate tax cuts. the report shows, with data to back it up, that this doesn't benefit the economy ...

"The reduction in the top tax rates appears to be uncorrelated with saving, investment, and productivity growth. The top tax rates appear to have little or no relation to the size of the economic pie. However, the top tax rate reductions appear to be associated with the increasing concentration of income at the top of the income distribution."

Communism (2)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | about a year and a half ago | (#41859541)

The Soviet gangsters also practiced rewriting history and making inconvenient facts disappear.

They also valued Party connections over competence. Compare that to the people flown out to do Iraq reconstruction straight from college because they were in the Young Republicans.

Re:Post-truth politics (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41859567)

The obvious conclusion must be to raise everyone's taxes until we are all rich! Lets quit with the tiny increases and small new taxes, just tax everyone at lets say 85% and we should all be rich overnight and poverty will be a thing of the past.

Now think about what you are saying and how stupid it sounds when I repeat it.

Re:Post-truth politics (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41859721)

It's time for false analogies!

Re:Post-truth politics (2)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about a year and a half ago | (#41859591)

In a nutshell, the modern American Right is losing credibility

yeah, since the reagan era, pretty much.

not one of their ideas has ever worked. not one.

Re:Post-truth politics (5, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | about a year and a half ago | (#41859837)

In a nutshell, the modern American Right is losing credibility

The modern American Right is losing credibility because they so completely and thoroughly won that positions more conservative than Nixon's or Reagan's are considered left wing these days. Conservatives have managed to move the political center so far to the right that there are no longer any tenable positions rightward of center.

Even if the Republican party completely implodes and never elects another official again, conservatives still have the Democratic party, which is well to the right of anything considered centrist anywhere else in the world. Right wingers in the US can choose between two parties. Left wingers in the US really only have one candidate, and she has to get arrested [examiner.com] to get any attention.

Re:Post-truth politics (1)

Maow (620678) | about a year and a half ago | (#41859899)

The Right seem to live in this strange world, where you can change reality by wishing hard enough, or lying hard enough, or by denying evidence and truth hard enough.

A bit like how Communists and their whacked-out theories about how reality could be changed by willing it so, e.g. the New Soviet Man.

And a bit like left-wing crazies in academic literary circles with postmodernism; where they deny objective reality, and consider science and reason to be something not to be trusted, because it's invented by powerful people to keep the little man down.

So what we're really seeing, is right-wing postmodernism; where the FOX crowd deny objective reality, because they see rationality, science and evidence-based-anything as a liberal left-wing plot to repress and hold down Galtian supermen such as themselves.

In a nutshell, the modern American Right is losing credibility, because enough of them are so split from reality, that they think that simply making shit up, denying the truth, and being stupid will bend the world to their will. Serious right-wing thinkers like William Buckley would have been appalled by the intellectual and moral rot.

It's tragic and bizarre, but nobody's laughing, because they're dangerous and get into power often enough to cause serious damage, like expensive and pointless wars, massive environmental damage, and yawning inequality.

While I agree with everything you've said, I must point out that in stories that might touch on climate change [slashdot.org] , the craziness appears to be hemorrhaging from everywhere. Seeing people posting to a tech oriented site to dismiss scientists is truly depressing. (Note, I'm not vouching for the quality of that particular post that begat the thread, just commenting on the ridiculous nature of *some* of the comments - a surprisingly large number of comments).

zero sum game (4, Insightful)

godrik (1287354) | about a year and a half ago | (#41859387)

I never understood that idea that giving a tax break to high salary people will stimulate the economy.

Usually the reasonning is that since they will have more money, they will consume more and that will help the economy. If you give a tax break to low income people for the same amount of tax dollars, they will use that money as well. They are not going to set it on fire, they will use it in a grocery store.

Am I understanding something wrong?

Re:zero sum game (3, Insightful)

aicrules (819392) | about a year and a half ago | (#41859451)

That's why you give tax breaks to everybody and cut the size of government. Win-Win-Win

Re:zero sum game (5, Insightful)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about a year and a half ago | (#41859859)

tax breaks.

to the extremely wealthy.

of course, our infrastructure is in fine shape, our roads don't need upgrading. neither do our comms infra or any of the other social programs that help raise the overall qualtiy of life for everyone.

oh, but the infra can go fark itself. it will just self manage. right? that rotting bridge or overpass - we don't need to invest in fixing that.

the me-generation should have run out of steam, but it only gets stronger as time goes on. no one wants to invest in our own infrastructure or help those who are below what should be a minimum american standard of living.

but lets give the rich more reasons to not help out. they'll just naturally be good people on their own, right?

right??

left to their own devices, they'll steal you blind. this class of people need to be watched more than the worst criminal among us.

Re:zero sum game (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41859915)

Except starve the beast is a failure; look it up.

Re:zero sum game (5, Insightful)

benjfowler (239527) | about a year and a half ago | (#41859453)

Giving tax cuts to rich people as economic stimulus has been shown to not be as effective as giving tax cuts to lower-income earner, and the reason's really simple.

Rich people invest. Poor people spend; many people live paycheck-to-paycheck, so any extra dollar goes straight into consumption, and good, services and jobs. However, for the wealthy, there is too much money chasing too few investment opportunities.

Re:zero sum game (1, Insightful)

mvdwege (243851) | about a year and a half ago | (#41859575)

Rich people don't invest, they spend on luxuries, which has a lower return in terms of jobs and contribution to the GDP.

Mart

Re:zero sum game (4, Interesting)

AvitarX (172628) | about a year and a half ago | (#41859823)

The thing about consumption is it tends to have a larger local economy element (less so than it used to though).

this means tax cuts to the poor help poorer areas get better.

investment is very global now, and has for a long time been less local, this means it will.have a broader area it improves, and less of it will go to poorer areas.

it may actually be counterproductive (5, Insightful)

Chirs (87576) | about a year and a half ago | (#41859467)

If I give $1000 to a guy who is worth a billion dollars, he may just stick it in the vault and let it sit there.

If I give $1000 to someone who's living hand-to-mouth, it's going to get spent on food/drink/rent/clothes pretty much immediately.

Re:it may actually be counterproductive (1, Insightful)

aicrules (819392) | about a year and a half ago | (#41859527)

But you're not GIVING anybody anything. We're talking about not TAKING as much. Remember, they're taking money from people that is NOT theirs. And decided to give more back to people based on their need turns it from taxing to stealing.

Re:it may actually be counterproductive (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41859775)

You try earning money in complete isolation and then claim that it's entirely yours.

A government has a stake in all business, because all business operates in a society stable and functional enough for it to be viable.

All taxes do that to some degree (4, Insightful)

bigtrike (904535) | about a year and a half ago | (#41859829)

It's not stealing, you have a choice not to take part in this system. All taxes are going to benefit some more than others.

You're welcome to move to Somalia where there is no government to take your money or trample on your freedoms. Just don't expect to have the benefits of a stable currency to trade with, a government to enforce contracts, large scale water purification to give you cheap arsenic free drinking water, or even a public police force to keep people from trying to take your property.

Taxes are never theft in a democracy (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41859847)

Taxes are an expression of faith and comity and the dues paid as part of citizenship. It's perfectly valid to want lower taxes, and to vote for elected officials or take other steps to change tax rates.

But taxes themselves, and the services they provide, are never stolen from you. They are exactly the price you have to pay, and the benefit you receive, for living in a democratic country, even if some benefits aren't directly tangible to you right now.

To call taxes "stealing," when the government is elected by the people, is disgusting and unpatriotic.

Re:zero sum game (-1, Flamebait)

Kral_Blbec (1201285) | about a year and a half ago | (#41859473)

Whats a high-salary person to do with their money other than set it on fire or spend it? Even if they do spend it on a cruise, guess what... That pays for the crew to go to the grocery store. There are very few places money can truly be "wasted" other than government programs.

Re:zero sum game (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41859841)

There are very few places money can truly be "wasted" other than government programs.

How about Swiss Bank Accounts and Caymen Island stashes of cash? It does nothing for the economy. Stop pretending these guys are the 'job creators.' Unless your talking about their limo drivers and cooks. Trickle down economics doesn't work outside theory because, in reality, tax rates are not related to job creation and rich people just end up accumulating bigger and bigger piles of cash. This was the gist of the report and why it had to be suppressed.

If they were true 'job creators' they wouldn't be fighting any attempt to link their excessive tax breaks to actual, you know, job creation.

Re:zero sum game (1, Flamebait)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about a year and a half ago | (#41859493)

some rich folks use their money for overall good.

but most don't! they hoard it for personal power.

putting more money in the hands of the rich is futile. I'm hoping that we, as a culture, grow up soon and stop giving rich folks more and more gifts!

Re:zero sum game (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41859867)

So, you consider it to be a gift to be allowed to keep some of your own money?

Tell you what, I just gave you the gift of not kicking you in the nuts--you're welcome!

Re:zero sum game (1)

khallow (566160) | about a year and a half ago | (#41859503)

Usually the reasonning is that since they will have more money, they will consume more and that will help the economy. If you give a tax break to low income people for the same amount of tax dollars, they will use that money as well. They are not going to set it on fire, they will use it in a grocery store.

I understand the usual reasoning along those lines is that the rich will invest the money and the poor will consume it. The implicit assumption for those who support high income tax cuts is that investment is better than consumption.

Re:zero sum game (1)

umghhh (965931) | about a year and a half ago | (#41859875)

for this reasoning to reflect reality not only the 'rich' would have to invest so that benefit the country they get a tax cut in which does not seem the case - they invest globally and they invest in a way that is tax optimized. This is of course assuming that comparison of consumption v. investment is done on base of how it merits local economy and local population which is also not true - the actual reason why some say so is probably abduction by aliens because I cannot understand how they come to the conclusions that are either neutral or harmful to them while being also a fantasy.

I also think that GOP still has something to learn - the great teacher knew how to solve the problem of faulty statistics [wikipedia.org]

Re:zero sum game (1)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about a year and a half ago | (#41859509)

I never understood that idea that giving a tax break to high salary people will stimulate the economy.

Usually the reasonning is that since they will have more money, they will consume more and that will help the economy. If you give a tax break to low income people for the same amount of tax dollars, they will use that money as well. They are not going to set it on fire, they will use it in a grocery store.

Am I understanding something wrong?

Added to this: low-income people are generally low-income because they don't save their money, but live hand-to-mouth -- so anything you give them will go right back into the economy (although not necessarily to the institutions that could benefit society the best).

Why are high income people rich? It's not because they give away all their money (in most cases)... wealth attracts wealth.

Re:zero sum game (2)

wurp (51446) | about a year and a half ago | (#41859517)

The proposal is that rich people invest in business, creating more new jobs and more value. Poor people spend their money on stuff.

I haven't seen any real support for the notion that investing in businesses based on what rich people think will succeed creates more jobs or a "bigger economic pie" than poor people giving more money to businesses that provide services & goods that the poor actually need.

Obviously, I don't buy it, but that's the supposed reason.

Re:zero sum game (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41859543)

All good except when tax breaks become profit for low income people.

Re:zero sum game (1)

enlefo (738946) | about a year and a half ago | (#41859579)

Well, you're not missing something in the fact that it's BS. The concept of trickle down economics is that the rich will take that extra tax money and create jobs with said money. The reality is they just use that money to bribe their way into more money via lobbying for tax breaks, etc. I'm reminded of the Dave Chapelle sketch where the US gov't gives all the black people in the country reparations money. They then go out and spend it all on cars, cloths, electronics, etc which stimulates the economy. A hilarious, over simplified, and racist sketch but still some major truth is in there none the less. If the republicrates wanted to stimulate the economy they would help the poorest people financially.

Re:zero sum game (0)

aicrules (819392) | about a year and a half ago | (#41859803)

The only thing the government can do to positively impact the economy over any scale of time is to back the hell off. Even if it somehow made sense to steal money from one person and give it to the other, every single thing the government does is done so utterly wastefully that any potential gain disappears. That means cut everyone's taxes and cut spending to match. You can whine all you want about taking away someone's government subsidies, but that's too flippin bad, people who are reliant on the government to sustain them will lose out regardless.

Re:zero sum game (2)

Americano (920576) | about a year and a half ago | (#41859587)

Yes, the typical argument is that the high-net-worth individuals are the ones who will *invest* their money into other businesses, thus helping to create jobs, which grows the economy, which also helps bring about higher tax revenues in general, because more people will be making money to put them into the tax-paying income brackets.

The argument continues that since a fair share of of "low-income" people already pay little-to-no-taxes, and much of any stimulus given to them would go into consumption, the stimulus would be a short-term jolt to the economy that would have little long-term effect in terms of creating new jobs or helping existing businesses to grow.

And if you help businesses grow and hire more people, the low-income people you didn't directly provide stimulus to will still get better paying jobs, and be able to afford more and better stuff for themselves.

I'm not enough of an economic expert to say whether or not this *actually* works, but the theory runs something like that. I suspect most of the other people who will respond to you are not economic experts either, so beware accepting anything asserted as fact without seeing some actual data to back up the assertions.

Re:zero sum game (4, Interesting)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about a year and a half ago | (#41859741)

the elite class is the richest they've ever been.

you see a lot of spare jobs around this economy?

hmmm, we gave the rich all they asked for. they wanted this and that and we gave it to them.

have they 'created more jobs?'

yes.

in india!

fuck the rich. they don't deserve our respect. (yes, I had my job outsourced by some rich ceo asswipe. yes, I'm bitter. having to train your foreign replacement to help the ceo get a bigger boat tends to make one bitter. my company was doing very well but they wanted even better numbers, so we had mass layoffs. the rich do NOT carry their weight. they are a liability to us, more than an asset.)

Re:zero sum game (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41859593)

I think the idea is based on the assumption that most wealthy people own (small) businesses, so by cutting their taxes, they have more money to invest in their own company which supposedly would grow which in turn means more workers are needed or (because other business are in the same boat and looking for good workers) the salary of the folks already there goes up. This then helps the lower/middle class because lots of jobs are now available, etc. etc. That's probably not a very good explanation, but it's what I hear...

Re:zero sum game (0, Troll)

kenh (9056) | about a year and a half ago | (#41859617)

The purpose of the Tax Code is to fund the operation of the federal government, not to balance out inequities in individual income levels...

You have to deal with the realities of our current tax code:

47% of tax FILERS pay no net INCOME TAX (yes, they pay taxes on their cellphones, auto tires, gasoline, etc)

The top 1% of incomes earn 20% of all income and pay 40% of all COLLECTED income taxes. (Rounded for my convienience)

Now, how do you propose to 'cut' taxes for the lower incomes without also benefiting the higher income people? Raising the thresholds before the tax rates kick in does nothing for the lowest 47% (since they already pay nothing), and disproportionately benefit the higher income earners because they are the ones paying taxes.

If lowering taxes in higher income individuals doesn't stimulate the economy by making more investment capital available (money not spent is typically invested), are you prepared to defend the idea that increasing taxes on higher income individuals will somehow stimulate the economy?

I'd like to see that defense.

Re:zero sum game (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41859789)

47% of tax FILERS pay no net INCOME TAX (yes, they pay taxes on their cellphones, auto tires, gasoline, etc)

That's just sales tax

If they are working, they also pay payroll tax, social security, FICA, etc.

If they are not working, they either have no income or are on social security/disability.

Re:zero sum game (1)

Dadoo (899435) | about a year and a half ago | (#41859907)

are you prepared to defend the idea that increasing taxes on higher income individuals will somehow stimulate the economy?

Indirectly, yes. Lowering taxes on the middle class will stimulate the economy. The problem is that, unless we reduce the size of the government, we have to make up the difference, somewhere. We can't take any money from lower-income people, since they don't have any, so we have to get it from the wealthy.

Sure, it would be great if we could simply reduce the size of the government, but no administration in recent history (at least as far back as Eisenhower) has done that. Do that first. Then we can talk about lowering taxes on the wealthy, too.

Re:zero sum game (1)

stephanruby (542433) | about a year and a half ago | (#41859935)

If you give a tax break to low income people for the same amount of tax dollars, they will use that money as well. They are not going to set it on fire, they will use it in a grocery store.

I thought we didn't want the money to end up in grocery stores.

We wanted the money to be spent on the latest gadgets and entertainment. That's where the more interesting jobs are.

Re:zero sum game (1)

jader3rd (2222716) | about a year and a half ago | (#41859945)

I never understood that idea that giving a tax break to high salary people will stimulate the economy.

Usually the reasonning is that since they will have more money, they will consume more and that will help the economy. If you give a tax break to low income people for the same amount of tax dollars, they will use that money as well. They are not going to set it on fire, they will use it in a grocery store.

Am I understanding something wrong?

I don't know about understanding it wrong, but your confusing might come from the fact that what we call 'tax breaks for the rich' aren't per se for the rich, it's taxing different categories of income at different levels, and it just so happens that rich people tend to make up the vast majority of some of the categories. The tax breaks for the rich are in reality lower tax rates for income made from investments. If a poor person were to make the same investments, the income made from these investments would be taxed at the same lower rate. So it's not tax breaks for the rich, the argument is to create tax breaks for investors; but it just so happens that investors tend to be rich people. This is why you see articles about how President Obama (a rich person) has a noticeably higher tax rate than Mitt Romney (also a rich person). The difference is due to their sources of income.

The argument is to tax income made from investments at a lower rate, because that should encourage more investing. It doesn't matter how rich the investor is. The idea is that investment money spreads/generates more wealth than money spent other wise. I can kind of see the argument possibly being true if investment was limited to actually being spent on expanding existing facilities or hiring more personal, but since it also covers gambling on the stock market, the argument is BS.

I can't tell you how surprised I am by this. (0)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | about a year and a half ago | (#41859393)

No really. I can't.

Wealth disparity -- more important than income ine (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41859449)

Wealth disparity [wikipedia.org] is actually more important than income indequality, as the extremely wealthy often earn a tiny fraction of income compared to their immense wealth, while the extremely poor have only their income to rely on.

Unfortunately, wealth inequality is rarely talked about in the mainstream media. Usually it's income that's talked about, and as horrible as income inequality is, focusing on it paints an unduly rosy picture of the real economic injustice suffered in the US.

Re:Wealth disparity -- more important than income (1)

benjfowler (239527) | about a year and a half ago | (#41859495)

Very interesting. Mod parent up.

Re:Wealth disparity -- more important than income (-1, Flamebait)

aicrules (819392) | about a year and a half ago | (#41859637)

not interesting at all. It's an even WORSE "disparity" to even begin to consider an injustice. Please don't be confused by people who would try to tell you that anyone has any right to something someone else owns, it just isn't true.

Re:Wealth disparity -- more important than income (1, Interesting)

Lehk228 (705449) | about a year and a half ago | (#41859809)

wealth is theft,

name a single billionaire who earned their billions through their own labor, rather than by exploiting the labor of others

Re:Wealth disparity -- more important than income (0)

aicrules (819392) | about a year and a half ago | (#41859623)

So now you want to tax wealth? Get the hell out of here. A graduated income tax is bad enough. But saying that because someone keeps their money that is somehow an injustice to those who spend it? Bill Gates having $40Billion in the bank is not a crime or an injustice against John Doe who makes $7 an hour flipping burgers and has to live with his parents. You are a poisoned mind. A fool. You want to know what would happen if you attacked that wealth? Eventually no one would be motivated to do the things that being to earn them such wealth. Progress would stop dead. You wouldn't have any of the cool stuff technologically that you have today. Sure there may be an occasional person who comes up with a brilliant idea that advances some sector of industry or whatever, but what you really end up with is a bunch of people who will only do what is need to just get by because that's as much recognition for their work as they get. Think people will play NFL football for $35,000 a year? Not in this lifetime. This is just the stupidest concept you could have possibly brought to an already silly topic.

Re:Wealth disparity -- more important than income (-1, Flamebait)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about a year and a half ago | (#41859793)

simply put: you are probably young and your lack of compassion is showing.

or, you buy the bullshit the far right is trying to sell.

I would be embarrased if I were you.

Re:Wealth disparity -- more important than income (2)

Mitreya (579078) | about a year and a half ago | (#41859861)

So now you want to tax wealth? Get the hell out of here.

Taxing wealth may be a bad (or at least hard to implement) idea

But taxing investment (i.e. wealth-derived) income at a higher rate than the standard income seems fair. Instead, once your wealth is earning you money, you pay less than 15% on such income.

As your salary increases, you progressively move into higher income brackets and pay more taxes. But jump to a point where you only earn money from capital tax gains, then suddenly you are back to 15%?

Re:Wealth disparity -- more important than income (0, Troll)

Lehk228 (705449) | about a year and a half ago | (#41859873)

You want to know what would happen if you attacked that wealth? Eventually no one would be motivated to do the things that being to earn them such wealth. Progress would stop dead.

This is what randrrhoids actually believe.

That's not really true (1)

bigtrike (904535) | about a year and a half ago | (#41859891)

Citizens of soviet russia still had to work and they weren't allowed to keep much of any wealth. They effectively had 100% taxes, and yet they still worked. I'm not suggesting that we should tax wealth or make it illegal not to work, but your assumptions are based on "common sense" rather than fact.

BFD (1, Insightful)

Sloppy (14984) | about a year and a half ago | (#41859469)

What's the big deal? Everyone knows economics and history are lies straight from the pit of hell.

Plenty of data (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41859479)

There is plenty of data loose on the internet to allow anyone to draw the same conclusion.

Everybody knows... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41859561)

...intelligence is a left-wing conspiracy...

Re:Everybody knows... (0)

runeghost (2509522) | about a year and a half ago | (#41859863)

"We've been attacked by the intelligent, educated segment of the culture," Pastor Ray Mummer of Dover, Pennsylvania, 2005

Dead with the Summary (4, Interesting)

Nethemas the Great (909900) | about a year and a half ago | (#41859577)

The plan advocated by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan that is embodied in the House Budget Resolution (H.Con.Res. 112), the Path to Prosperity, also proposes to reduce income tax rates by broadening the tax base.

There is not conclusive evidence, however, to substantiate a clear relationship between the 65-year steady reduction in the top tax rates and economic growth. Analysis of such data suggests the reduction in the top tax rates have had little association with saving, investment, or productivity growth. However, the top tax rate reductions appear to be associated with the increasing concentration of income at the top of the income distribution. The share of income accruing to the top 0.1% of U.S. families increased from 4.2% in 1945 to 12.3% by 2007

Roughly interpreted: Ryan doesn't know what he's talking about, by extension neither does Romney. In fact, the only thing accomplished by reducing taxes on the rich is a money grab that increases the disparity between the 1% and the other 99%.

You know I really cannot understand why the Republicans would take issue with this report. I mean really, you'd think they'd like to know that their domestic policy is specious so that they can find real solutions. Unless, perhaps they already understood the reality of their talking point...

Case Study in Lying with Statistics (0)

skywire (469351) | about a year and a half ago | (#41859603)

The starting year of 1945 was cherry-picked for having the highest top marginal rate in US history.

Re:Case Study in Lying with Statistics (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41859695)

Oh that's right, they should have chosen 1984.

Re:Case Study in Lying with Statistics (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41859821)

I thought it was picked as the start of the post-war economy. Thanks for correcting my understanding of reality.

As conservatives continue to reject evidence... (5, Insightful)

DavidHumus (725117) | about a year and a half ago | (#41859655)

...-based reasoning, reality will continue to take on an increasingly liberal tinge.

Net asset tax instead of income tax? (4, Interesting)

ortholattice (175065) | about a year and a half ago | (#41859825)

Let me propose a radical idea to discuss: abolish the income tax and replace it by a tax on net assets. I'm not proposing any particular rate structure, but let me describe the general ideas.

Income tax has too many loopholes for the wealthy. For example, the Facebook and Google CEOs pay themselves $1 per year, avoiding any income tax and paying only the low capital gains rate when they occasionally sell some stock to finance their lifestyles. The rest grows tax-free, indefinitely, as their companies grow.

It seems to me that a fair tax would be based on a person's ability to pay it. The ability to afford a tax is much more dependent on how much wealth you have than how much income you make. Taxing the income of someone who can barely make ends meet, preventing them from accumulating any savings, doesn't seem beneficial for society overall.

It is much harder for a wealthy person to hide their assets than to exploit income tax loopholes. Of course there will always be loopholes, but most of the information regarding the ultra rich, for example, is even public, otherwise it would not be possible to compile the Fortune 400 list.

The middle class is already subject to an asset (real estate) tax on what, for most, is their primary asset, their home. So it's nothing new, and although those who pay it don't enjoy doing so of course, it's accepted and viewed as a necessary evil to finance their local community. The real estate tax is actually very regressive â" the less equity you have in your home, the higher percentage of that equity you pay, since it is based on the home's value, not your equity in it. You pay it even if your equity is negative (i.e. if the mortgage is underwater)! If both real estate tax and income tax were replaced by a net asset tax, it would seem to me to be much fairer.

One argument I've seen against an asset tax is that it would encourage people not to accumulate wealth i.e. would encourage stagnation. I disagree. A positive benefit of the real estate tax, for example, is that it discourages the accumulation of property sitting idle, but encourages the development and use of that property. Similarly, I would imagine a net worth tax would encourage productive use of the money, possibly even finally leading to that trickle-down job creation we hear so much about.

Propaganda check list (1)

manaway (53637) | about a year and a half ago | (#41859843)

News of document removal comes on Friday, so fewer readers? Check.

People gossiping about removal of document instead of contents? Check.

People blaming republicans, conservatives, FOX News, and general unfairness instead of the rich? Check.

Advertising to elect a president and support staff who will lower taxes the most on the richest real-life gamers the world has ever known? Work in progress, though even a Democrat is a success; so check.

People calling and writing their elected representatives? Not enough to overcome the lobbyists, though that shows occasional signs of change.

Non-partisan? Yeah right. Pull the other one. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41859923)

The Congressional Research Service is required by its charter to use the numbers and methodology specified by the congresscritters who request reports. So yeah, it's about as nonpartisan as the congresscritters themselves are. Consider it nothing more than a taxpayer-funded campaign pamphlet printing service. The same goes for the Congressional Budget Office.

Stupid @#%@# Laffer! (3, Insightful)

jgarry (126205) | about a year and a half ago | (#41859927)

I've been saying it since Howard Jarvis and Ronald Reagan implemented their "tax revolt" at the end of the '70s: any benefit from tax cuts and less regulation is temporary, short-term, and soon overridden by the increased size of the crash after the greedy rich people abuse various economic sectors. That's why there was an S&L crises in the '80s, a housing crash in the '90s, bank and housing crises in the oughts, California schools run out of money. Shoot, does anyone think to check the top tax rates under Eisenhower? Even Greenspan was shocked... shocked! that rich people were greedy, that Objectivism is... oh well, why bother, people just filter it through their biases. Brown and Clinton have the best budget surpluses of their eras, then conservatives have to go and mess it up with voodoo economics.

Will some psycho please reenact an episode of Criminal Minds with George Will and Arthur Laffer as victims?

You think anyone actually paid 90%? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41859961)

Tax fraud was rampant before everything was computerized.

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