Las Vegas Sun

January 28, 2015

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Letter to the editor:

It’s time for the wealthy to sacrifice

In this age of teeth-gnashing over the need to sacrifice, to cut entitlements, to cut help for the needy, to tax the working poor and the need to lay off government workers, there is one select group who does not have to join in. That is the top 1 and 2 percent. Why don’t they have to sacrifice? Because the wealthy write all the rules.

Tax codes are designed to benefit the wealthy. Politicians who make the laws are themselves wealthy. If they do not come into office wealthy, they get there quickly. I wonder how? The legal system is written to benefit the wealthy. We are tough on crime, but that only applies to the poor. Wealthy white-collar criminals pay fines and continue to do whatever they were doing.

Corporations are the same as wealthy individuals. Corporations complain about their 35 percent tax rate while the average tax rate for all corporations for 2011 was 12.9 percent, much like Mitt Romney and Warren Buffett. Many corporations pay no income taxes, some get huge refunds from the IRS and some get subsidies in the billions of dollars while making profits in the even larger billions of dollars.

The wealthy individuals and corporations are pouring hundreds of millions of dollars (anonymously, unless you are Sheldon Adelson) into campaigns and super PACs (slush-funds) thanks to the Supreme Court and Citizens United. That should have been called Wealthy United.

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  1. I have an idea. If Dave is so adamant about "sacrificing," why doesn't he start by doing it himself? It's easy. Just write checks to the feds and NV that will help reduce their deficits, Dave. But Dave won't do that, will he? Of course not. Dave, like so many, finds it easy to spend other people's money for them. "Walk the walk; then talk the talk," Dave!

  2. Comment removed by moderator. Personal Attack

  3. Dave Starr is correct in saying that business and the wealthy do influence how the tax code is written. This is done through lobbying in Congress.

    Unfortunately for Mr. Starr, that is only half the story. Math doesn't lie and the math here says that even if the wealthy and business had their taxes raised by huge amounts it wouldn't be nearly enough to end the deficits or start reducing our debt.

    Math tells us that unless we change entitlements for future participants, decide that we are not going to intervene militarily and foreign aide wise in so many places around the world, reduce the size, scope and compensation of the Federal government... and raise taxes on all Americans, we cannot balance our budgets and reduce our debt.

    R's and D's in Congress and our Presidents don't tell us that.... but math does.

    Sorry Mr. Starr but like so many Americans, you are buying the balony and ignoring the math.


  4. Viewed from another country, America's current political system is absurd. Virtually nothing gets accomplished in 2012 because of the pending election, and little got done in 2011 either. The odds of one party or the other gaining full control in the election are very slim. This would be a good thing if your politicians were willing to compromise, but at the moment they are not. My uneducated guess is that the Republican approach to running America will ruin it for everyone except the wealthy, but that the Democratic agenda will bankrupt America reasonably quickly.
    Entitlement programs are vital to a just society, but they are worse than useless as they become unaffordable. Serious reform is required. Ditto with mushrooming medical costs.
    No western democracy is capable of meeting the demand for free stuff from its electorate, no matter how excessively they tax everyone.
    Sensible controls on spending in all areas are a prerequisite to good governance.
    It's too bad that the two parties couldn't team up just for the next four years and hash out a compromise, but most foreigners expect that's impossible.

    FromBellevilleCanada (Don Desaulniers)

  5. Just a word to the poster from Canada. When you sleep at night you put your head on the pillow with the assurance that all the resources of this nation that you so freely criticize are there to come to your protection if you ever need them. Canada has outsourced it's national defense to America, and you spend next to nother to protect your own nation, and complain when you are asked to step up on occasion to fight terrorism. You have allowed the Muslim population to creep into your society, and your loose immigration policies are a travesty. Get real and get some appreciation for your real protector to the South.

  6. Regarding Citizens United, no one's asking Dave Starr why he wants to eliminate business from political expression but not unions. What's up with that Dave?

  7. It's time for lobbyists and our congressional members to start wearing corporate logos. Show us who you really represent because it's no longer "We the people."

    I can imagine logos stacked on their chests like an old combat veteran with rows of ribbons, except the veteran earned his or hers.

  8. I wonder how many on this board who preach the virtues of our style of capitalism have a pot to piss in. Public record searches indicate some don't even own their own home.
    Accomplish something, then discuss capitalism away from mommy and daddy's house.
    Sitting on your rear ends 24 hours a day and typing on the computer is a failure of capitalism, not a virtue.
    Bloggers who earn nothing from their work and live off of others are the ultimate socialist class.

  9. Too many Americans just seem incapable of admitting that we cannot resolve our problems with cuts in spending alone or taxing the rich alone.

    The fiscal mess is gigantic and growing each day. In order to get control, we have to re-write the inocme tax code so everyone pays some tax and the wealthy and businesses cannot easily escape taxes using the tax code. We also have to change entitlements for future participants and involve ourselves less in foreign affairs and wars.

    The R's offer the false promise of spending cuts alone fixing everything. The D's are no better when the offer taxing the rich as a solution.


  10. Vernos,

    You seem to understand that lobbyists for rich and powerful groups lobby Congress and often get what they want... and that skews our system.

    What solution do you suggest?


  11. Only about 25% get 4 year college degrees and half the country can't come up with a grand in an emergency. People are leveraged to the hilt and seeking bankruptcy relief in droves.
    A substantial number of seniors rely on a $1000 a month SS check as sole source of income. According to the medical industry which takes people by the millions to court wealth creation doesn't even begin until families earn over $200K a year. Median income about $50K.
    The vast majority cant even come close to a home, saving for medical and retirement, as well as putting kids through a good school which can cost over $60K a year.
    Capitalism works for high income earners and the rest are neck deep in manure.

  12. There is no solution. America is way to expensive for most Americans. Families earn 50K and need 200K. The difference is social welfare. This conundrum is playing out the world over. In France and England choice properties are selling for between $100 million and $750 million dollars. They are not happy. People want at a minimal a decent roof over their heads. In California and New York you can sell a 100mil property faster than a 500K property. The first property to sell for over a mil in Ca. was in 1977. From a mil to 100mil in 35 years GREAT!!!!!

  13. A lot of what those guys say is absolutely true. The problem is the the stuff put on the board shows the complete failure of capitalism to provide for the masses of people.

    Capitalism provides no guarantees. If you're a doctor, lawyer, successful entrepreneur, or mathematical genius you can make billions of dollars before you're old enough to buy a beer. The vast majority of people do not fall into the above categories.

  14. "You seem to understand that lobbyists for rich and powerful groups lobby Congress and often get what they want... and that skews our system. What solution do you suggest?"


    Outlaw insider trading, lobbyists and their corporate funding. Reform election funding and reverse Citizens United. Use campaign funds from that check box on people tax returns and/or small donations. It was good enough for Reagan and Carter when they ran.

    We now have single donors throwing millions at a candidate. What will those people expect in return if their "store bought" candidate wins a seat of power? It isn't that they are patriots because these people worship the almighty dollar and international/offshore investments.

  15. Its for the 47% (the ones who pay no fed income tax)to start paying thier fair share. 5% would be a start.

  16. Vernos,

    Congress already outlawed insider trading with a weak rule, recently. Outlawing lobbying has been tried but it is illegal to prevent people or groups from having access to people in Congress. Even if Citizens United is reversed, it isn't like we didn't have this problem before that decision. Public financing doesn't work either.

    So, Vernos... with all due respect... do you have any other solutions. You correctly state the problem... money in politics, but you don't have workable solutions.


  17. JeffFromVegas,

    I see quite clearly that R's have been unwilling to co-operate with President Obama and D's in what they want to do. I'd have to be blind not to see that.

    I can also see just as clearly that when the D's had the Presidency and control of both houses of Congress, They did not raises taxes on the wealthy or anyone else, they did not tackle true immigration reform with any plan to secure the borders, they did not propose a re-write of the income tax code, they did not make any real attempt to make changes to SS and Medicare to keep both programs solvent for the future, they crafted and passed the ACA and did not not include any way to reign in the rising costs of medical care and they did nothing in the areas od duplicative government programs aand waste. They didn't even go after military spending issues.

    So I'm sorry but I am quite willing to admit that the R's totally screwed up in their turn at governance and still are screwing up, but I can find little respect for those that claim the D's are any better.


  18. We're supporting 1.4 million active duty and another 1.1 million reservists to "protect" the rest of the world. We don't protect our borders but we're paying for a missile defense shield for Europe. Priorities need to be aligned with rational thought. First: Secure the nation, our lands, borders, interior from threat and invasion. Second: Secure our operating structure--laws and courts need to be efficient and relevant--the feds should not be interfering with state/local operations. Third: Get cost efficient. Only allow ESSENTIAL government operations. Strip down the unneeded as fast as possible. Enable IRS (right after changing agency name) to do their job. Instead of assisting illegal invaders, enable IRS to locate and expel tax cheaters who have no business in this country. Enable the State Department and Homeland Security to tally, and even track, foreign nationals in this country--legal AND illegal. Set up, perhaps by Executive Order, a means to EXPEL illegals--constitution says the feds can REGULATE immigration--nothing says we can't EXPEL those who can't prove they entered illegally. Deportation is for those who are here legally. Stop granting funds to states and localities and school districts--by cutting federal income taxes, there may be a means for localities to tax BASED ON NEED. End all the administrative expense of the feds dolling out the dollars. END foreign "aid."

  19. The end of June is almost here. Will the Attorney General start focusing on ENFORCING FEDERAL LAW instead of annoying States like Arizona? Will local governments be able to budget or must every other program (including K-12) be decimated to pay for Obamacare? Let's see, simple math: 150,000 more on Medicaid in Nevada. If each is healthy enough to cost us only $1,000 a year in medical care that's $150 million. Can we save that much be putting the schools onto the Arizona plan where they pay $1,000 per student per year LESS than Nevada but get more graduates who can read and write? There are roughly 150,000 K-12 students in Nevada so that $1,000 per cut will almost cover the Medicaid portion of Obamacare. Now what services do we cut so we can pay for the health insurance for another 200,000 or so?
    See, the math just doesn't work from another direction. There is not enough tax revenue possible to pay for everything.

  20. The top 10% of earners in this country pay 75% of all Federal taxes.

    The bottom 50% pay 2.25% of all the Federal Taxes.

    Seems that many that fall in between are the ones that complain the most about those that pay 75% of all the Federal taxes.

    Yes, many of the top earners pay a lower percentage but much more in Dollars.

    This Chart will give you some decent FACTS to deal with:

    Want to make it really fair? Lets say everyone pay 10% of their gross income, no deductions. How does that work for you? ;-)

  21. Jeff,

    The first link is not a budget proposal but instead a bucnch of ideas. The second link is closer to a budget, but something with this kind of detail is what did in the past come out of the Senate as a budget. The Senate should release this or something similar as a 'budget'. Then the House Ryan Budget and a Senate budget could be debated. If the R's or D's balked at that point, I'd blame them both.

    I too want us out of Iraq and Afghanistan and I would be a supporter of a budget that accomplished that. It does seem that again, the People's budget uses voodoo math and counts money we were going to spend in Iraq and Afghanistan but wouldn't under this budget as a reduction or savings. When either side does this, I lose some respect for them.

    I give R's in the House credit for proposing a budget, draconian and unpopular though it may be. I expect the D's in the Senate to do the same and they haven't.

    Both parties need to admit that when either gets serious about our financial situation, they are going to have to propose alot of stuff that will make alot of Americans angry.

    I don't know about you, but I'm ready for both parties to step up. I'm still waiting...


  22. Frank,

    I don't think the Ryan budget is the one we should use but I give Ryan and the R's credit for proposing a budget in the House. I'd like to see a real budget proposal come out of the Senate. THEN we'd have something to really debate and a CHANCE at least for a compromise budget.... like what was done in the past. If that was done and Congress could not... would not reach a compromise, I'd favor voting them all out and starting over.

    I'll say it one more time. The majority of people in Congress are scared to death to admit that their lack of diligence led us to where we are today and that many very distastful actions will need to be taken to rectify the situation.

    What we get now is the Ryan budget, which stands zero chance of passing and its supporters know this, an Obama budget that likewise has zero chance of passing and its supporters know this and the D's 'budget' that really isn't a budget... and its supporters also know it isn't going anywhere.

    If you wish to support that kind of 'work' from both sides in Congress and the President, you are free to do that, but our problems are so serious now that I think we need to demand better than this.


  23. If you perform a gedankenexperiment applying Louis XVI and then General Custer to our current times, you might be able to predict the future of this country if the rich continue to pay low taxes. The perception of the less fortunate and less educated people will over rule anything that republicans can come up with.

  24. These people: RefNV, Futue, Carmine, Jerry, Bob Jack, and Marl Traeger clearly don't work for a living. The bombardment of this column shows that they sit most of the day, paid by political warped sources or some other hand out, ready to reply over and over to every comment with per-prepared links of unknown veracity or authorship.

    There are no sacrifices at the top of the financial ladder, that is clear. The banking and real estate executives that created Trillions in bad debts don't want any regulation and are prepared to pour on more debt in phoney deals or wars once the economy becomes stronger.

    War machine Romney is getting ready to squeeze the retired for more military money to stand up to the Russians and Chinese. What happened to the terrorists? This is an attempt to create new enemies out of paranoia to justify unregulated spending and destruction of social safety nets. Al Qaeda doesn't generate much news anymore so it's back to fear mongering with the Russians and Chinese.

    War machine Romney's underlying goal is to create fear and paranoia to ramp up the debt even more while cutting off the medicine and financial assistance to the retired, and all this while reading the Bush.

  25. Sacrifice? Half and more of their income year after year? "down to" 34% marginal federal income tax. 10-12% state income tax in many places, 6-9% sales tax, property tax.... Stop SPENDING.

  26. Tea Talk...

    "unions will be dead soon. First the public ones. Then soon after, the private ones."

    Ha ha ha ha!!!

    You wish.


    "These people: RefNV, Futue, Carmine, Jerry, Bob Jack, and Marl Traeger clearly don't work for a living. The bombardment of this column shows that they sit most of the day, paid by political warped sources or some other hand out, ready to reply over and over to every comment with per-prepared links of unknown veracity or authorship."

    Like the card flippers on the strip, you know they're there, you know what they want, what they'll say, their whole song & dance, like a broken record...over, & over, & over...

  27. I've been reading and commenting on these issues for a while and nothing ever changes. Each side in the debate calls the other side names and states they are right and the other side is wrong. Gridlock works well with citizens and elected officials alike - nothing ever gets resolved. Any of you with an IQ greater than your shoe size must realize that both liberals and conservatives have good ideas and terrible ones. What we, as a people, need to do is figure out which ones are really useful and practical for America. Then, as a group of voters, we can force the hand of our folks in Washington and the state capitols. As long as we argue among ourselves, they win and we lose.
    Let's look at just one apect of these debates - entitlements. Government help should be available for emergencies and for a short timeframe, perhaps a year. That is a "safety net". When you send out checks every month for generations, that is simply stupid and unsustainable as we are finding out. We cannot possibly tax our way out of our 15 trillion dollar debt even if we taxed everyone at 85% of income. We have to revise the tax code for individuals and business, getting rid of all loopholes, deductions, and exemptions. Then we need a realistic approach to "welfare" as we know it. No one is "entitled" to anything free from the government. We help people because it is the decent thing to do. But there is a limit to this free things mentality.

  28. It is so nice to see that you guys NEVER lose your sense(s?) of humor.