Tuesday, March 03, 2009

TigerHawk TV: Who are these "rich" people? 

[Bumped - more recent posts below]

In the latest episode of TigerHawk TV, I defend the working affluent -- many of the readers of this blog, either in fact or aspiration -- and suggest that if Barack Obama wants to enlist their support (or avoid losing it) he should adopt a different approach.

MORE: Who is John Galt?

STILL MORE: Dan Riehl says that I'm barking up the wrong tree. I hope he is wrong, but fear he might be right.


By Blogger Viking Kaj, at Mon Mar 02, 07:55:00 PM:

A different approach for the working affluent would be important if Obama needs those votes the next time around.

But since the remaining vestiges of the middle class are likely to be gutted by this recession and the reforms to the bankruptcy laws, those votes may not be necessary.

FDR managed to get all the votes he needed despite, or perhaps because of, his basically socialist policies. If we are truly heading for the 1930's he may not care about the "working affluent" since he won't need them to get a majority.

Perhaps we should all go into government service, it seems to be the only growth field. Wait until they nationalize health care.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Mon Mar 02, 08:28:00 PM:

Dude! You got cut off at the end of your video.

But seriously, I think your key point was the success of the meritocracy is what made America great. This is part of what is under attack right now!
Mr. Obama and his cohorts want to invert the meritocracy and create a new means of identifying the "leaders" of our society. You, and others like you, will be compelled to continue to work, produce and be taxed at a high rate. The new "meritocracy" will be those that successfully navigate the new political waters (which are really old political waters-party machine politics), or more aptly, crony capitalism, or "pay to play". As you surely know, this is the system of spoils that has worked to perpetuate the political machine that is Chicago politics (50 years of a Daley runnng the city, and counting), and this is what the Obama Administration and the larger Democratic party are planning for America. This will be machine politics on a national scale. Change we can believe in!

The leaders of your company will shortly (in a year or two, depending on the outcome of the midterm elections) have a choice in paying new "fees" (pay to play) to continue in the business they are in (medical devices, I presume), or be litigated out of business by the legions of lawyers who are loyal to Obama, the Justice Dept.,and the raft of new laws that will soon be promulgated. Of course, these fees will not help your bottom line, speed up the FDA approvals for you medical device applications, etc. But the "need" of the Federal Government (and the many that will be suckling at its teat) trumps your 'rights' to the wealth that you have created.

In your earlier post, you wonder how businesses thrive or stay in New Jersey, and how in the long term, the politics of New Jersey are destroying the business base.
Well, if you have read "Atlas Shrugs", you know the answer is that these people, and those now in the Executive Branch of the Federal Government, have the psychological mentality of the cannibal.
They expect you, and those like you, to serve yourself up as the victim. And show your public virtue by doing so. They will be taking the virtue of your brains, hard work, creativity and dedication, and turning it into a charnel house of collectivism and the "needs of the many".


By Anonymous Anonymous, at Mon Mar 02, 08:42:00 PM:

Well done, TH.

As a registered Democrat, I voted for McCain (the first Republican I voted for for President) for precisely the reason you cited as the flaw in Obama's leadership. It's bad leadership to pillory the people that you'll need to help pull this country out of its doldrums. We need leaders, we need achievers, and we need winners. It's that simple.

And if we tax and slander them into submission, what will become of the country, its initiative and its ingenuity?

The Centrist  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Mon Mar 02, 09:14:00 PM:

Very nice essay, Mr. TH, and a valuable reminder of who these hard-working folks are.

Having spent today watching CNBC and other cable outlets (obviously I do not work quite as hard as you) I noticed a surge in anti-Obama sentiment from the investor class - Kudlow, Dobbs, Cramer, and many others. I also began to wonder whether many of those elite White House correspondents - often married to other big earners - will affect their love affair with Obama.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Mon Mar 02, 09:17:00 PM:

FIX: I also began to wonder whether many of those elite White House correspondents - often married to other big earners - will fall out of love with Obama when their taxes go up.  

By Blogger Viking Kaj, at Mon Mar 02, 09:32:00 PM:

By the way, I would make the argument that the public accountants and lawyers who you cite as working so diligently do not actually add value except in rare cases (IP lawyers for example). My guess is that the team you are working with are trying to close your 10-K, since it is that season. In most instances such people are necessary to comply with the additional regulatory burdens placed upon out business system by the government, and in fact represent a hidden tax.

It is futher sad that many of the best minds of our generation have been moved into such professions by the unceasing actions of government. They apparently don't prevent LTCM's, World Coms, Enrons or Bernie Madoffs from happening. Of course, I would like to see such people motivated by Science and Engineering. But then we stopped being a people who made things about 20 years ago.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Mon Mar 02, 10:03:00 PM:

What is the sound of two hands clapping?


By Blogger Christopher Chambers, at Mon Mar 02, 10:04:00 PM:

You should sing "WE SHALL OVERCOME."

Lord I love these bizarre conservative marketing phrases. In the 80s it was "the truly needy." Now you've invented "the working affluent."  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Mon Mar 02, 10:13:00 PM:

But would you tolerate higher taxes if you felt that the money you paid was being wasted on pork projects to get entrenched representatives re-elected, or to support the unproductive?

I think the reason that we (the productive) are so resistant to higher taxes at this time, is because the spending and re-distribution policies of this administration and this congress are contrary to our principals and good sense. Not because the administration is not feeding our egos.  

By Blogger SR, at Mon Mar 02, 10:34:00 PM:

I always thought Obama should have made a deal with us, Be more productive, and the government will be happy to accept the increased revenue generated at reasonable rates.
As you have said, TH, Mr. O knows all this, and yet still he persists at pillorying those whose pockets he is about to pick. I suspect this is because revenue is the least of the reasons for his redistributionism. As someone else said, O's voters need an enemy for him to save them from.

And Chrissie, if you just write a better novel next time, you too can join the ranks of the enemy.  

By Blogger Viking Kaj, at Mon Mar 02, 11:21:00 PM:

I think the bigger question that goes begging is why Obama is not more clearly targeting the truly wealthy in the US, ie. the top 1 % of the population that controls nearly 40% of the assets. It is this group that increasingly influences politics in their favor by application of lobbying fees to benefit their businesses. It is also this group that increasingly makes up the ranks of our Congress and Senate.

A lot this looks like a shell game to make sure that we hit the stiffs who work for a living while leaving our fortunes in tact.

But since this group is a major source of the campaign cash (remember Obama didn't accept public funds) needed to raise the $ 750 million it now takes to run for President, don't expect them to get hit anytime soon.

Seems like we will all be living in Brazil pretty soon, without having to move.  

By Blogger Escort81, at Mon Mar 02, 11:28:00 PM:

Chris, you really need to cut your old TI buddy some slack -- "working affluent" is not a bad phrase. If you don't like it, heck, you're a creative guy, suggest an alternative.

I think the phrase captures nicely the people who fall into the 33% and 35% (soon to be 39.6%) marginal tax brackets. TH does a good job in not devolving into a Dennis Miller rant, and I am amazed that he would take time out of a brutal schedule to make notes and record an episode of THTV, espcially with the equity markets (and presumably his company's stock along with most other stocks) getting crushed.

But I think there is a basic premise that TH forgets (and I am surprised Chris did not remind him) -- that this income bracket as a group voted in large numbers for President Obama, perhaps not overwhelming numbers as was the case with African-Americans, but by a much greater margin than the electorate as a whole. The case can be made that this was for cultural reasons -- professionals from elite schools back East just can't bring themselves to vote for a Republican, especially with Sarah Palin on the ticket, but for whatever reason, Obama has already made the sale to the "working affluent," and he knows that they are a bloc he is not likely to lose. He believes (and I think he is right on this score) that most of them are fine with the old Clinton tax rates, and perhaps a bit higher. Didn't Clinton leave us with a surplus, they ask? (Kind of, not really if you counted SS and other entitlements -- and a big part of the tax receipts was based on cap. gain taxes from the Dot Com era on Wall St, a unique event, if not a unique bubble). And, President Obama is a politician above all else, and he knows that a little bashing of the "rich" has the net effect of rallying his troops, both the working affluent ones and the ones that are not. It is actually a bit like that TV ad than ran a few years ago, with a white guy grey-haired exective sitting at his desk in his office, remarking how he was going to "give it to The Man," and his assistant says, "but you are The Man." He responds, "Right."

The bottom line is that a majority of the John Galts of the world are OK sharing more of their income flowing from their high productivity rates, so the Atlas Shrugs analogy breaks down here. Clearly, it's not unanimous, but our system does not require unanimity. If you have the White House, House and 60 Senate votes, you can do pretty much what you want until the Supremes say it's unconstitutional. Anyway, everyone has their own threshold of pain -- a point after which the combined tax burden (city, state, federal) seems too great. Any combined effective tax rate figure over 50% seems confiscatory to me, but that's just my opinion. Heck, even 40% is pretty high.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Mar 03, 09:10:00 AM:

Escort ... I've come to appreciate Chambers as the racist troll he is.

Every black in America whining about the guy with more should take a trip like Eddie Murphy did years ago. To Africa, to embrace their "African-American" heritage. Then they should come back here and rejoice that they have SO MUCH, and learn not to whine that the guy who worked harder and longer, and invested in his/her future has more. They need role models who help them aspire to do great things, stay away from drugs, teenage prenancy, gang membership, etc. AS DO all other groups in this country, no matter what color or group they identify with. Someone has to foot this bill, and it's those who pay taxes and actually work to make this country thrive. Not the takers, but the doers.

I'm one of the people who work all.the.time. I know many like me. I don't waste time on stupid TV shows, and although I have lots of very nice things, fine things, some rare things, I try to keep it all in perspective. I'm grateful for how blessed I am, but I am decidedly not some guy who grew up with the silver spoon, got a free education thru affirmative action, special treatment because I'm a Caucasian of European descent, etc.

I'd be fine paying more in tax, but using those dollars for pork and payola, bailouts for scum who bit off more than they could ever chew in debt, etc. is just wrong. Obama is pissed because he knows that no matter how much he whines about partisanship that people are watching him fail miserably. And he knows that come next Fall the ads are going to say ... are you better off? Your Democrat Congress pushed a doubling of the national debt on you, where is your piece 'o chicken? With only 3 GOP voting for this fiasco, it's going to be a tough sell that this is the evil Chimp's fault. Very tough.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Mar 03, 09:24:00 AM:

To Viking Kaj: Good comments. But please consider this take: we are BORROWING MONEY in order to create a WELFARE STATE. That's what the FY2010 budget does. And so does the stimulus, and last weeks budget vote and last falls bailouts, etc. In order to pay this debt, the U.S. will have to confiscate what existing wealth remains in the hands of it's citizens, both living and recently deceased. (Get your estate trust agreements in order, ASAP. These will probably be outlawed next year). Any investor (with skin in the game) can see, the existing wealth of us all is being destroyed rapidly, because the market knows what liberals do not; welfare states are not usually a good place to invest. The Dow and the S&P have convincing broken below 1930-32 support levels on an adjusted basis

But these steps alone will not be enough to balance the books. For the remainder of the shortfall, approx. 1/3, the U.S. still needs foreigners buying our debt, that is, until they realize that is a bad investment decision.

The bottom line is this: if you have any wealth now, you won't have it long, and, for those who don't, you never will.

Is this a GREAT country or what?

Clap your hands while you're standing in the soup line, it'll help you keep warm.  

By Blogger Viking Kaj, at Tue Mar 03, 10:27:00 AM:

The people who own capital in this country will export it if this is required for protection against the inflation of the currency.

Thanks to various loopholes in the tax code and family foundations the truly rich seldom pay taxes to the same extent that working people do. The Ford Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Annenberg foundation, George Soros, Warren Buffet, Bill and Melinda Gatds, the Kennedys, et. al. will endure.

Since losing my job last February and living from consulting gig, I am starting to feel like the "partly working effluent" rather than the "working affluent" anyway.

I suspect there will be many more like me before this is through, and many of these jobs will not come back. Losing US preeminence in the Investment banking sector is not going to help anyone working in manufacturing or services. This hasn't become apparent yet, but it will.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Mar 03, 11:18:00 AM:

The issue here is that the working folk who are fortunate enough to earn at the Left's definition of 'rich' don't see things as those who earn less do.

Those middle class and especially those living on an allowance from Uncle Sam truly believe that the folks >250K actually don't pay taxes. Nevermind they can look up the tables in the tax return, or hit IRS.gov ... they just think that we all have sharpie CPAs and Lawyers who enable us to wiggle out of it.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Mar 03, 11:36:00 AM:

Nice vid. It reminds me of the one West Wing episode that I actually found balanced--Rob Lowe's character delivers a lecture to some interest group claiming that the wealthy weren't paying their "fair share", and explains that when he was an associate in a large law firm he was pretty sure he'd paid more in taxes than his "fair share."


By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Mar 03, 01:06:00 PM:

You need to quit whining, and get my check in the mail bub.

Brave. New. World.

You now work for me. If you make $250,000, then you make enough to pay my house note. Since you're too busy amassing dollars to organize politically, you deserve to have your money stolen from you by my friends over at Acorn, who did organize politically.

Republicans created the political atmosphere that led to Barack Obama.

Republicans GREW government during Bush, instead of contracting it. Republicans allowed Barack Obama to solicit $249 campaign checks from anyone overseas with an internet connection. You have nobody to blame but yourselves.

So, quit whining, and get busy writing the check for my mortgage buddy. You were politically lazy, unwilling to destroy your political enemies, and so you deserve your fate.

There is ONLY one way out of it ... don't pay your taxes. Don't create taxable income. Don't create jobs. Bring the system down by refusing to fund it.

It is your only hope.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Mar 03, 01:09:00 PM:

I think that MOST of us would not mind "helping out our country" and paying higher taxes in a true emergency in which government is truly trying to conserve and reduce spending... and then -- only then -- under such extreme conditions and only as a last resort would we be asked to please pay a little more.

But when no one is even trying to rein in spending, raising taxes on this group is simply an insult. Obama and Congress are arrogantly and recklessly demanding that the higher income folks pay more to fund "pet projects" to garner them more votes in future elections... well, sorry, but that is just a HUGE TURNOFF. But they are intent upon installing a socialist utopia -- at minimum.

It's funny -- Obama and the Dems may be successful in their attempt to continue fooling the upper middle class, because many of that group are liberal, brainwashed yuppy class members intent on inflating their own egos about how "hip and cool" they are by voting in a "hip and cool" president.

In the past, such an attitude made such brainwashed yuppies feel less guilty for earning more than the rest of the population...now, many will continue along this path because they won't want to admit that they were "fooled."  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Mar 03, 01:30:00 PM:

Wonderful comments. I would love to see some version of this published as an Op-Ed in a major newspaper - and I think others would enjoy this perspective as well. Perhaps when (or if) your current crush of work subsides...  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Mar 03, 02:01:00 PM:

Running dog of the Wall Street oligarchy of atomic plunderers :)

The overtime argument doesn't impress. Maybe if you organized your work better you wouldn't have to spend so much time at work. And given the salary, benefits, stock and stock options (possibly worth millions), you all are being well compensated for your work.

If you read The Oppressed Middle, one of his observations is that long hours aren't a business neccesity but, as with cults, a technique to separate the individual from their family and community, binding them to the business or cult.

As for taxing your kind, well you completely concede the argument to the Marxists. Either taxing your kind depresses economic activity and creativity or it doesn't. Obama saying "thanks guys" isn't going to change that. Your kind is going to make hard nosed economic decisions, that after all is the whole point.

Outside of your family no one is going to thank you for what you are well compensated for. Get over it. You should be making arguments based on the facts. What your kind does for the society and economy. Something the media doesn't do. Don't cede arguments to the left, they already dominate the culture.

Oh, and you can mail me my mortgage payment any day now.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Mar 03, 02:03:00 PM:

Terrific dissertation. I find myself just over the magic income threshold and have already decided how I will change my behavior; Work less. Unfortunately that means an unintended consequence for my rural, medically-undeserved community. I have little doubt that my hard-working partners will do likewise. The net result will be further shortages and delays for routine medical care.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Mar 03, 02:03:00 PM:

By the way, it looks as if we are well on our way to enacting the planks of the American Communist Party.

What, you don't believe we are moving quite that far left?

Read this:


Of course, all of our SHEEPLE and SHEEP media will help it along by not believing that Obama and his Dem associates have anything so "unamerican" in mind for our country.

The SHEEPLE don't get it. Obama and his minions WANT that kind of change. They've never hid their intentions very much. The gullible American middle class Yuppie would rather not be ostracized for being uncool by not supporting the hip "elegant" man they've worked to install as president, so they will never utter a peep against him.

It kind of reminds one of the Weimar era European Jews not believing the intentions of the Nazis and the true nature of the Concentration Camps until it was too late..

But GOD KNOWS we don't want to appear to be uncool or not very hip...so we will all go along with THE ONE...until it is too late...  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Mar 03, 02:06:00 PM:

Hey, if you voted for him, knowing full well what he wanted to do (yep, lookin' at you, Althouse, and others of your ilk), well......sorry, don't have any sympathy for you. The plans were out there, if you were willing to look. I might be just a dumb liberal arts grad from a backwater state school, but at least I could tell that his figures simply didn't add up.

Suck it up and pay up, in full and on time (unless you are up for a cabinet seat). There's still gonna be plenty of money to be paid by the next generation, so stop your whining.

Next time, maybe you should actually pay attention to what the candidate says instead of patting yourself on the back because you voted for the "cool" candidate.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Mar 03, 02:11:00 PM:

All of us are stuck in a thinking error.

There is no difference between Republicans and Democrats once in office. They both become part of the Permanent Incumbent Party with the primary motivation of staying there.

Re-Elect Nobody!  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Mar 03, 02:14:00 PM:

It looks as if the folks who didn't study very hard at school, who don't want to work overtime (and who can blame them?) are now coming out of the woodwork, applauding Obama's plans to move us towards Communism.

They don't want to work extra hard to amass a fortune, but they begrudge rewards for those who are willing to make those sacrifices.

Can you spell -- ENVY?

They can rationalize it any way they see fit... but they are simply envious of anyone who becomes successful from being willing to work harder than most of the rest of the population.

These so-called "progressives" are simply not being honest with themselves. They aren't fooling anybody, though, except maybe themselves?  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Mar 03, 02:54:00 PM:

The bottom line is that a majority of the John Galts of the world are OK sharing more of their income flowing from their high productivity rates, so the Atlas Shrugs analogy breaks down here.

No it doesn't. In the book, those people were referred to, using the union lingo, as "scabs".

And as people opted out and stopped feeding the machine, the total burden -- which did not shrink -- fell more heavily on those left, inducing a few more of them to quit, and so on.

The reward for those who are willing to "do their part" today is a greater burden tomorrow, with the club of moral altruism held over them like the sword of Damocles -- shut up and take it like a good slave, lest you be painted as [gasp] selfish.

Now, doesn't that just inspire you to work all the harder?

The "strikers" of Atlas Shrugged, unlike real-life union goons, knew that the "scabs" were not their enemies; when one of them was under particularly heavy strain, they would then contact them and, in essence, point out the moral chains that held them, and provided them with the intellectual means to free themselves -- to shrug.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Mar 03, 03:04:00 PM:

You people who naively believe that you can change your behavior to avoid the coming Obama taxes are really living in a dream world of your own creation.

Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid have, for the last several years, been extending the Alternative Minimum Tax Relief Act for one-year intervals. Purposely.

If you don't know what the Alternative Minimum Relief Act is, then you have no business managing your own finances. It is the act which prevents you and 25 million of your fellow "richies" from being subject to the Alternative Minimum Tax.

That's the tax you will pay when it becomes obvious that you've altered your earning strategy to minimize your tax bite.

Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats are just waiting for you to change your behavior. They can't wait, in fact. They have, in their back pocket, the AMT ... just ready to shove it right up your keister.

You didn't really think you could outmaneuver these Communists, did you?

You're playing checkers people.

They're playing chess.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Mar 03, 03:21:00 PM:

To: Anon at 02:03

I presume that you are a medical man. Just take your pay in chickens pigs and preserves.

"Yes, Maam, the fee for today will be four jars of Miss Hattie's best strawberry preserves."

Cash is king.

I won't sign this post with identifiable information as I usually do, since I've converted a large portion of my computer repair business to cash. I'll still declare enough income to cover buying my own computer toys, high-speed internet service, second phone, and cell phone as business expenses. "But, honest, Mr. Revenour, the bottom just dropped out of my business."  

By Blogger Darren Duvall, at Tue Mar 03, 03:48:00 PM:

The acronym that Fortune magazine used a few months back to describe the "working affluent" is HENRYs -- High Earners, Not Rich Yet. It works for me.

I also work for me. Being in medicine, I'm probably going to get it from both ends -- higher taxes on what I earn, and lower earnings as Medicare & Medicaid's "reasonable, usual and customary" charges are ratcheted down to fit healthcare for more people under the same amount of money. Medicare's RUC charges are the baseline to which a lot of private insurance payment plans are pegged, crank that dial down and the follow-on effect is to lower virtually all insurance payments across the board.

As time goes by it makes more and more sense why the European citizens take such long vacations. Until the government figures out how to tax doing nothing, vacation time is among the best tax shelters available. Given my druthers, I would work less and take much more vacation.

(Heh, the Captcha below is 'whingin', one letter off the Britishism for 'whining'. How appropriate.)  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Mar 03, 05:37:00 PM:

Look everybody, BHO knows that raising taxes -- not only the top marginal rates but capital gains, dividend income and estate taxes -- is not revenue-neutral, but rather revenue-depressive. Said so hisownself back in February? March? of last year. The money quote: "It's about fairness."

Meaning I get to work my ass off to earn a nice living only to have .gov confiscate it so The Machine can give it -- well, half of it, more or less -- to those "less fortunate". Which is always code for "those who don't work their asses off, make bad choices with respect to their behavior, and exhibit no personal responsibility for their own circumstances." And the other half gets eaten by The Machine.

I'm still having trouble identifying that portion of the Constitution which empowers the Federal Government to use tax code for social engineering purposes. I'm almost certain the Framers didn't mean that clause in Preamble ever to be interpreted as to "guarantee universal welfare."


By Blogger Cassandra, at Tue Mar 03, 08:17:00 PM:

A very long time ago (2004?) I remember stumbling on your site and thinking to myself, "Right now no one seems to know who this guy is but he's going to be big some day".

This is what I saw way back then. Full marks :)  

By Blogger TigerHawk, at Tue Mar 03, 08:25:00 PM:

I don't think you "stumbled" Cass. I stumbled across *your* awesomeness at "I Love Jet Noise" and started commenting. And the rest is history, dear.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Mar 03, 08:39:00 PM:

"... those "less fortunate". Which is always code for ... "

Anon, you don't get it dude.

You're gonna work hard, and earn a living, and obama.gov is going to take a huge chunk of it to give to the "less fortunate" defined as "the people who voted for him."

Did you vote for him?

No, you didn't. So now you're gonna pay for that mistake. And the payment you are now going to be forced to make (higher taxes) is going to be given as a reward to the people who did vote for Obama.

That's the Chicago way.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Mar 03, 11:36:00 PM:

that this income bracket as a group voted in large numbers for President Obama, perhaps not overwhelming numbers as was the case with African-Americans, but by a much greater margin than the electorate as a whole.

Why did they do that, you ask? Many of them prosper under the regulatory state. Why else do you think ATLA is such a huge contributor to the Democrats? SOX was a huge gift to auditors and accountants. Many of the rest, like Wall Street, either vote Democrat because (living someplace like NY or SF) of the extreme peer pressure to do so or because they (foolishly) think they can avoid having themselves put on the chopping block when Obama takes power.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wed Mar 04, 07:56:00 AM:

If you told Lenin that the Kulaks were the most productive farmers, do you think he would do anything differently?

The left has been waging a steady war of attrition against capitalism and America's cultural defenses for decades. The leftists believe the defenses are battered enough for a final assault. That is why you are seeing so much happening so fast. Obama will never appeal to you in your language...he will crucify you in his. Your only practical means of defense is to not produce so much, not work so hard, not feed his system.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wed Mar 04, 08:38:00 AM:

You do read from cue cards better than McCain. I will give you that.  

By Blogger Simon Kenton, at Wed Mar 04, 10:06:00 AM:

1) Very well-spoken, even eloquent; recommended you to friends.

2) The upper upper class is all Obama needs; he will not damage them. The lower will follow what the extremely wealthy fund. Panem et circenses.

The collapse of the market is helping make US economic society bimodal. The remaining classes Obama wants to see are lower, and extreme upper - Riehl's point. This produces a client state, such as Great Britain has transmuted itself into. The more we panic, the sooner we extinguish ourselves and slot into his vision for us.

3) Obama's policies are designed to make the transition your readers are trying to achieve impossible. As you point out, many of the commenters here are trying to transition into wealth. It's easy to move from log(10) 3 or 4 to 5. Show reasonable frugality and minimal investment results, even with a shit-job, and you can accumulate $100K. It is substantially more difficult to move from log 5 to 6, particularly with a lower-middle-class salary. That transition is much easier if CG taxes and dividend taxes are low enough that you can base your decisions on economics and investment results, rather than tax policy. Advancing from log 6 to 7 is possible for a middle-class guy but it requires intelligence, lots of time, resolve, and the government to stay mostly out of the way. Otherwise the transition, for members of that class, is not going to be possible. That's what his tax policy is designed to preclude.

Obviously somewhere between log 6 and log 7 is what we all have to have as invested capital to have a retirement equal to the life we had as workers. And equally obviously, that's what he wants to prevent us from obtaining.

4) Bascially you're saying you're willing to pay his taxes if he asks nice. I do it, but I'm not willing. It's not his money he lets me keep, it's mine. I see only minimal evidence, mostly from earlier times (eg, WWII, the Los Alamos effort), that the government can spend my money as effectively and as morally as I can.  

By Blogger TigerHawk, at Wed Mar 04, 10:57:00 AM:

Bascially you're saying you're willing to pay his taxes if he asks nice. I do it, but I'm not willing. It's not his money he lets me keep, it's mine.

I agree, but I suppose I am saying that I would be OK with somewhat higher taxes if Obama coupled them with policies that make it easier for the working affluent otherwise, they being the people who will really make a difference in the country's economy (including, for these purposes, the group of people who aspire to become working affluent).  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wed Mar 04, 06:53:00 PM:

Why don't you give me a job then making even 20,000 a year i will whip any test you give me and surpass you own IQ test, showing the rich stay rich and most poor stay poor, exceptions, rock stars, lotto winner, dumb reality shows, ect. email me a offer anytime I will pay whatever in taxes. The one's who should make high ppay are those who actully hall brush, farm, and do construction, stuff you weak ass could not do, we can debate or I could just kick the shit out of you old rich pricks bschroeder@live.com bring it on.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Mar 05, 12:12:00 AM:

@TH: Given that there is likely going to be much discussion on reforming the tax code in the near future, perhaps now is the time to start considering candidate plans in order to have a few ready at the time. I would think that with an exceptionally bright audience, time, and data, a clean and effective compromise plan could be developed to assuage most concerns. I'll suggest my favorite:

Tax income based on monetary return over temporal investment. Such a plan would avoid punishing the high-achievers that work long hours by effectively normalizing for their ROI, and allocate obligations based on the capacity to meet them (with the person choosing how much in excess to work). Given the income tracking in the status quo, the only hurdle is accounting for hours. For most unexceptional full-timers or part-timers, this part should be easy; the hours per year are ~2000 for full time, and paid hourly for part time. For a significant fraction of the working affluent you mention, (lawyers, doctors, sales reps,) billable hours or meeting-hours times some multiplier should also be easy to account for, and this extends to most client-servicing industries. If one wanted to be truly creative, use security badge access time; I know my job could keep track of such things easily, and most modern buildings that allow employees in on their own time probably have similar security measures. If employees feel that such tracking is too challenging to be worth the effort, allow for filing assuming some base number of hours (40/wk*(52-vacation weeks)) or income on verifiable time. To avoid each person having to document every hours of every day, employer measurement and fraud auditing could be employed.

Pros: Progressive, but doesn't punish productivity, and actually provides incremental income to salaried employees by mitigating tax.

Cons: Has implementation issues that would require significant attention, is probably politically infeasible, etc.

Even with a preponderance of warts, I imagine a suggested plan with facets keyed to reality would be easier to pitch than "cut our taxes".  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Mar 05, 08:45:00 AM:

Whaaaaa...cry me a friggin' river. I'm sorry...I could care less if the "working affluent" make what they made under Clinton, I sure didn't notice too many Executives eating dog food back then. F*ck you and your greed.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Mar 05, 10:43:00 AM:

Nice to see that the left has checked in with commentary as thoughtful as the prior posts.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Mar 05, 12:26:00 PM:

I could care less if the "working affluent" make what they made under Clinton, I sure didn't notice too many Executives eating dog food back then. F*ck you and your greed.

Poor people don't eat dog food either. What's your point? Why is wanting to keep what you earn "greedy"?  

By Blogger TigerHawk, at Thu Mar 05, 12:28:00 PM:

Why is wanting to keep what you earn "greedy"?

The traditional starting position of the left is that everything you earn is the government's, and it lets you keep a certain portiono of it. That is why, for example, they equate tax cuts and government spending.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Mar 05, 08:26:00 PM:

@ TH: "The traditional starting position of the left"? Really? Who are you even talking to, or perhaps "I thought we knew better." Liberals beat up on treating a tax cut as anything other than an expenditure because 1) it's pretty damned hard to meaningfully define the laffer function, so you never know where you are on it, 2) the neo-laffer curve is strictly superior, as it is prefixed "neo", 3) extensive tax cuts do nothing for median income and everything for top decile income. Do something like that which targets the bottom decile instead and it's a "handout". A proposal: I'll stop accusing a set you belong to of being intellectually and morally bankrupt if you stop doing the same for a set that I belong to.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Mar 05, 09:24:00 PM:

It seems to me that Obama has already pretty much said each and every one of the things you claim you'd like to hear from him, TH. And I don't think that pointing out the massive accrual to the rich of recent tax cuts, and the increasing disparities in weatlth distribution, amounts to demonizing anyone. Would that running a productive society depend only upon motivating the productive.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Mar 05, 09:33:00 PM:

You were great up to the end.

Appealing to me to work harder to pay off irresponsible government policies and spending is not the solution.

It's like bargaining with the devil for your soul. They will take more and more, and laugh at you for being stupid enough to believe him. Anyone who believe that paying more taxes is going to fix the problems Obama and liberals are wreaking on society is naive at best. But I guess you mean well, just like liberals do.


By Blogger Charles Foster Kane, at Fri Mar 06, 12:14:00 PM:

"The traditional starting position of the left is that everything you earn is the government's, and it lets you keep a certain portiono of it."

Nothing like setting up a straw man and then railing against it. If this is what you truly believe, then it is impossible to have a rational discussion of taxation and the economy because you're living in some other reality. So tell me, what's a fair tax rate? Nothing? 10%? 20%?

The rich people I know understand that there is such a thing as the public good, which is a cornerstone of this country. They also realize that the government provides a stable structure in which they can make money which is why they voted for Obama--they couldn't risk another eight years of Republican failure.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Mar 06, 09:04:00 PM:

Was it Will Rogers who said, "If paying taxes was patriotic I'd feel just as patriotic at half the price"?

Let's not forget - when we are taxed - the government is taking a portion of OUR money. Tax breaks, like tax refunds are a teturn of our own money.

How many of Obama's nominees have tax problems? Curious.

For all those on the left who rail at conservatives for 'failing to pay their share,' let's discuss who gives more to charities. Yea, people on the right. Did you notice how little Joe Biden gives to charity? He should be ashamed of himself. but then again, maybe he believes charity isn't his responsibility, that's what government should do.

If it's patriotic to pay taxes, then why does Obama have a seven figure municipal bond portfolio?(exempt from federal income tax)

Talk to me about the 'public good' when you stop throwing good money after bad and eliminate wasteful spending on nonsensical earmarks paid out to dedicated Dem interest groups.  

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