Friday, September 30, 2011

Dionne vs. Logic; Buffett vs. Clinton

Maybe only a really, really rich guy can credibly make the case for why the wealthy should be asked to pay more in taxes. You can’t accuse a big capitalist of “class warfare.” That’s why the right wing despises Warren Buffett and is trying so hard to shut him up.

Seems like a weird way to set up policy. Does it follow, then, that only poor people can credibly make the case for educational choice? Maybe that’s why the left wing despises the poor and ignores them to focus on more-favored interest groups.

Buffett has outraged conservatives by saying that he pays taxes at a lower rate than his secretary...Thus did The Wall Street Journal editorial page call on Buffett to “let everyone else in on his secrets of tax avoidance by releasing his tax returns.”

Because it's probably not true. Or if it's true, it's because he takes advantage of crazy loopholes or his secretary is very well-paid and/or single. If the former, the answer is to get rid of the loopholes, not to increase tax rates. Why is this complicated to understand? Or he's comparing income from capital gains (why tax it a second time? what does Dionne have against Bill Clinton who lowered the rates?) to income earned from labor-- as Dionne continues on...
Buffett’s sin is that he spoke a truth that conservatives want to keep covered up: Taxing capital gains at 15 percent means that people who make their money from investments pay taxes at a much lower marginal rate than those who earn more than $34,500 a year from their labor. That’s when the income tax rate goes up to 25 percent...

Dionne is confused or conflating here, talking about marginal vs. average tax rates, and perhaps talking about taxable income instead of income &/or referring to singles.

No wonder partisans of low taxes on wealthy investors hate Warren Buffett. He has forced a national conversation on 1) the bias of the tax system against labor; 2) the fact that in comparison with middle- or upper-middle class people, the really wealthy pay a remarkably low percentage of their income in taxes; and 3) the deeply regressive nature of the payroll tax.

LOL! It's 1.) a bias against doubling taxation on the same earned income; 2.) "remarkably low"? by what objective or even subjective standard?; 3.) proportionate to the cap and regressive beyond that. 

Of course, the hilarious part of his last point is that most "liberals" and virtually no Democratic politicians want to talk about the egregious payroll tax. It'd be nice to see Dionne banging harder on his friends on this! Hey, I know the GOP'ers don't care much about the working poor, but you'd think Dionne would say something to those who should lead the charge. Apparently, he's just a partisan hack.

Then Dionne repeats the Edwards gambit (apparently, lefties think this is a useful if not logical line of argument): 

We are all lucky to have been born in — or, for immigrants, been admitted to — a country where the rule of law is strong, where property is safe, where a vast infrastructure has been built over generations, where our colleges and universities are the envy of the world, and where government protects our liberties. Wealthy people, by definition, have done better out of this system than other people have. They ought to be willing to join Buffett and Edwards in arguing that for this reason alone, it is common sense, not class jealousy, to ask the most fortunate to pay taxes at higher tax rates than other people do.

Bro, they do-- and if they don't, then we should get rid of the loopholes. All in favor?


At October 5, 2011 at 9:47 AM , Blogger Shawn Loy said...

Buffet's company apparently disagrees with his position on taxing the rich (he/they still owe back taxes...i think they are still arguing with the IRS about how much to pay):


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