New Rule: Rich People Who Complain About Being Vilified Should Be Vilified

GRtak

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bill-maher/new-rule-rich-people-who-_b_737429.html


From Bill Maher

New Rule: The next rich person who publicly complains about being vilified by the Obama administration must be publicly vilified by the Obama administration. It's so hard for one person to tell another person what constitutes being "rich", or what tax rate is "too much." But I've done some math that indicates that, considering the hole this country is in, if you are earning more than a million dollars a year and are complaining about a 3.6% tax increase, then you are by definition a greedy asshole.

And let's be clear: that's 3.6% only on income above 250 grand -- your first 250, that's still on the house. Now, this week we got some horrible news: that one in seven Americans are now living below the poverty line. But I want to point you to an American who is truly suffering: Ben Stein. You know Ben Stein, the guy who got rich because when he talks it sounds so boring it's actually funny. He had a game show on Comedy Central, does eye drop commercials, doesn't believe in evolution? Yeah, that asshole. I kid Ben -- so, the other day Ben wrote an article about his struggle. His struggle as a wealthy person facing the prospect of a slightly higher marginal tax rate. Specifically, Ben said that when he was finished paying taxes and his agents, he was left with only 35 cents for every dollar he earned. Which is shocking, Ben Stein has an agent? I didn't know Broadway Danny Rose was still working.

Ben whines in his article about how he's worked for every dollar he has -- if by work you mean saying the word "Bueller" in a movie 25 years ago. Which doesn't bother me in the slightest, it's just that at a time when people in America are desperate and you're raking in the bucks promoting some sleazy Free Credit Score dot-com... maybe you shouldn't be asking us for sympathy. Instead, you should be down on your knees thanking God and/or Ronald Reagan that you were lucky enough to be born in a country where a useless schmuck who contributes absolutely nothing to society can somehow manage to find himself in the top marginal tax bracket.

And you're welcome to come on the show anytime.

Now I can hear you out there saying, "Come on Bill, don't be so hard on Ben Stein, he does a lot of voiceover work, and that's hard work." Ok, it's true, Ben is hardly the only rich person these days crying like a baby who's fallen off his bouncy seat. Last week Mayor Bloomberg of New York complained that all his wealthy friends are very upset with mean ol' President Poopy-Pants: He said they all say the same thing: "I knew I was going to have to pay more taxes. But I didn't expect to be vilified." Poor billionaires -- they just can't catch a break.

First off, far from being vilified, we bailed you out -- you mean we were supposed to give you all that money and kiss your ass, too? That's Hollywood you're thinking of. FDR, he knew how to vilify; this guy, not so much. And second, you should have been vilified -- because you're the vill-ains! I'm sure a lot of you are very nice people. And I'm sure a lot of you are jerks. In other words, you're people. But you are the villains. Who do you think outsourced all the jobs, destroyed the unions, and replaced workers with desperate immigrants and teenagers in China. Joe the Plumber?

And right now, while we run trillion dollar deficits, Republicans are holding America hostage to the cause of preserving the Bush tax cuts that benefit the wealthiest 1% of people, many of them dead. They say that we need to keep taxes on the rich low because they're the job creators. They're not. They're much more likely to save money through mergers and outsourcing and cheap immigrant labor, and pass the unemployment along to you.

Americans think rich people must be brilliant; no -- just ruthless. Meg Whitman is running for Governor out here, and her claim to fame is, she started e-Bay. Yes, Meg tapped into the Zeitgeist, the zeitgeist being the desperate need of millions of Americans to scrape a few dollars together by selling the useless crap in their garage. What is e-Bay but a big cyber lawn sale that you can visit without putting your clothes on?

Another of my favorites, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann said, "I don't know where they're going to get all this money, because we're running out of rich people in this country." Actually, we have more billionaires here in the U.S. than all the other countries in the top ten combined, and their wealth grew 27% in the last year. Did yours? Truth is, there are only two things that the United States is not running out of: Rich people and bullshit. Here's the truth: When you raise taxes slightly on the wealthy, it obviously doesn't destroy the economy -- we know this, because we just did it -- remember the '90's? It wasn't that long ago. You were probably listening to grunge music, or dabbling in witchcraft. Clinton moved the top marginal rate from 36 to 39% -- and far from tanking, the economy did so well he had time to get his dick washed.

Even 39% isn't high by historical standards. Under Eisenhower, the top tax rate was 91%. Under Nixon, it was 70%. Obama just wants to kick it back to 39 -- just three more points for the very rich. Not back to 91, or 70. Three points. And they go insane. Steve Forbes said that Obama, quote "believes from his inner core that people... above a certain income have more than they should have and that many probably have gotten it from ill-gotten ways." Which they have. Steve Forbes, of course, came by his fortune honestly: he inherited it from his gay egg-collecting, Elizabeth Taylor fag-hagging father, who inherited it from his father. Of course then they moan about the inheritance tax, how the government took 55% percent when Daddy died -- which means you still got 45% for doing nothing more than starting out life as your father's pecker-snot.

We don't hate rich people, but have a little humility about how you got it and stop complaining. Maybe the worst whiner of all: Stephen Schwarzman, #69 on Forbes' list of richest Americans, compared Obama's tax hike to "when Hitler invaded Poland in 1939." Wow. If Obama were Hitler, Mr. Schwarzman, I think your tax rate would be the least of your worries.
 
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Plissken

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All of this is excellent.

We don't hate rich people, but have a little humility about how you got it and stop complaining. Maybe the worst whiner of all: Stephen Schwarzman, #69 on Forbes' list of richest Americans, compared Obama's tax hike to "when Hitler invaded Poland in 1939." Wow. If Obama were Hitler, Mr. Schwarzman, I think your tax rate would be the least of your worries.

But this is most excellent of all.
 

MWF

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That article is spot on! Well found.
 

hajj

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Someone who earns 700 million a year shouldn't have the right to complain about tax. Even if he payed 70% tax, he would still earn 220 million.
In that case people would simply move abroad, which for americans isn't an option as they are taxed on their income worldwide.

Schwartzman cries the loudest of course as he will see his tax rate increase from a modest 15% on dividends and investment proceeds to a whooping 50.8% (if he lives in NYC), but then why should someone be allowed to only pay a flat rate 15% tax while skipping state and city income taxes. I would also be pissed if my tax bill would more than triple.

Another thought, 50.8% as top marginal tax rate if you live in NYC? That is more than in Germany or the UK, only 1.2% less than in the Netherlands, true in Europe you get into the top rate much earlier, but given what is paid with these taxes in Europe compared to the US, that really sounds like a rip-off.
 

hajj

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For me a 50% tax rate should be the limit, at that rate you can take half of every extra dollar or euro home, going higher makes going to work not worthwhile.
 

Plissken

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Except that you have to remember it isn't 50% on everything you earn, but 50% on everything above a certain amount.

Besides, these people can afford very good accountants. The rule might be "15% on X", but you can be damned sure that X is minimised as much as possible. I know I pay my accountant to do that - tax avoidance is not illegal. Tax evasion, is.
 

GRtak

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For me a 50% tax rate should be the limit, at that rate you can take half of every extra dollar or euro home, going higher makes going to work not worthwhile.

I don't know where you got the 50% rate in NYC from, but if he retired right now, he would never have to work again. Not that what he does is called work anyway. And remember, 40 years ago he would of paid much, much more(70%), so the 3% increase he is bitching about is pocket change to him.
 

hajj

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I don't know where you got the 50% rate in NYC from, but if he retired right now, he would never have to work again. Not that what he does is called work anyway. And remember, 40 years ago he would of paid much, much more(70%), so the 3% increase he is bitching about is pocket change to him.

Well if the Bush tax cuts are reversed, you will end up with 50.8% in NYC. I agree that a 3.6% tax increase is rather little and it only applies to those earning more than $370k or so a year.
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-09-22/new-york-hawaii-top-earners-face-highest-tax-under-obama-plan-study-says.html
 

narf

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For me a 50% tax rate should be the limit, at that rate you can take half of every extra dollar or euro home, going higher makes going to work not worthwhile.

Anyone who is "going to work" in the broadest sense of the term doesn't have to worry about the top tax brackets :lol:




One thing you need to keep in mind around income taxes is that (in Germany) the highest-earning 10% are paying 51.8% of the entire income tax revenue while the bottom half of the working population is paying 6.5%.
In other words, letting the bottom half pay no income tax at all would only mean that the top 10% would have to pay just over 10% more, or for example move from 45% to 50%, without losing any income tax revenue.
In even more different words, a small tax increase (in terms of percentage points) for the high-earners does a lot for the country's revenue, while a large tax cut for the poor does very little to hurt its revenue. Same thing goes for the other way round, a small tax cut for the high-earners costs the country a lot.
 

hajj

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In Holland most university graduates will pay the top bracket within 5 years, but the top bracket starts at ?54367, so it is rather low. In Germany you need to make ?250k plus to get into the top bracket, so depending on where you are paying the top bracket is easy.
 

jetsetter

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Someone who earns 700 million a year shouldn't have the right to complain about tax. Even if he payed 70% tax, he would still earn 220 million.

Of course a person has a right to complain about the government taking over 50% of their money.
 

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Maher said:
... there are only two things that the United States is not running out of: Rich people and bullshit.
So true. As more and more Americans slip into poverty, the top few percent of this country have seen their wealth grow exponentially. We've got a worse income distribution now than we did in the Gilded Age. And they've got the nerve to complain? Talk about being out of touch with reality.

Of course a person has a right to complain about the government taking over 50% of their money.
No, they don't. Not if they're in that top 2% anyway. I can't understand why so many people, who will never be in that top few percent, defend these selfish fuckers. Know why our nations deficit and debt have ballooned? Why the middle class is disappearing? Why one in seven Americans is now below the poverty line? It's because these pricks have managed to convince enough of us that what's good for them is good for all of us. That lowering their taxes is fair. It's not. And they're laughing all the way to bank over our gullibility.
 

hajj

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To be fair the social safety nets in Sweden or other places in the EU do justify the high taxes. If you were to introduce taxes as in Sweden in the US without the benefits people would be pissed and rightly so.
 

GRtak

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Hajj are you rich? Are your parents rich?
 

hajj

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No on both counts. We are middle class. As I have said I have no problem with high taxes (up to a point), as I have lived in countries with generous safety nets. Also I think that reversing the Bush tax cuts is a good idea, but talks about 70% income tax seem so harsh, especially as I could be paying the top rate in this country within 2 years or so.
 

narf

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In Holland most university graduates will pay the top bracket within 5 years, but the top bracket starts at ?54367, so it is rather low. In Germany you need to make ?250k plus to get into the top bracket, so depending on where you are paying the top bracket is easy.

That's only partly true.

Yes, the top tax bracket starts at around 250k? a year with 45% income tax.

...BUT...

From around 53k? you're taxed at 42%, the 250k-45%-bracket was recently added on top. The difference between 42% and 45% is small, so basically you do get into the top bracket at about the same annual income as in the Netherlands.
 
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