Comments about ‘Letter: Taxes are not punitive or evil in any way’

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Published: Tuesday, Dec. 4 2012 12:00 a.m. MST

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Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

If taxes are not TO BE punitive, they must be raised on everyone, equally; otherwise, by definition, they are punitive.

Eric may think that taking another 2% or 5% of someone else's money would do no harm. If that is the case, then he should be first in line to ask the President to raise his taxes by that percent.

All the businesses that I work with are on the verge of closing. Technically, all of the owners are part of that "rich guy" group targeted by Obama's tax increase. All of them need to make substantial capital improvements to their companies. Capital improvements come out of owner's equity - profits. They can't get loans and Obama is telling them that he has more right to their money than they do. They will close their businesses before they allow Obama to "target" them.

ALL citizens must pay taxes - equally, I.e., the same tax rate. Anything else is discriminatory.

Dietrich, ID

Cut the military? The proper role of government is to protect life, liberty and property. The President takes an oath of office to protect tis country from all enemies foreign or domestic. We need the military to protect us from our enemies and help other countries so they don't attack us. Of course military can't be everywere but should be were our national interests and prosperity lie.

Taxes should be used for protection of life liberty and property, City and state taxes have far more basis like Education and fire and police. Not to take something someone else earned and give it to another. Since government can't create wealth that would dry up things real quick.

liberal larry
salt lake City, utah

Eric, nice letter, but you are missing the point of Grover's tax cutting efforts. He isn't trying to balance the budget, he is trying to make the federal government powerless and ineffective.

"My goal is to cut government in half in twenty-five years, to get it down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub".
Grover Norquist

For conservatives tax cutting is not about economics, it's about "starving the beast"!

The Real Maverick
Orem, UT

"All the businesses that I work with are on the verge of closing."

That's funny Mike, because the business that I work for is expanding. In fact, after being local for most of it's history, we've been expanding during this "Great Recession."

Perhaps the businesses you work with are being mismanaged? Perhaps you folks are out of touch with not providing a product or service that is in high demand?

While you're too busy complaining about the economy and taxes and blaming everything on Obama, many companies, like mine, are flourishing.

Take a look at yourself and your failing businesses. Be accountable. Before you blame other persons or things on your failures. Be accountable. Many of us are seeing great success right now.

Provide a good/service in high demand and it won't matter what the tax rate is or who is President.

lost in DC
West Jordan, UT

If the increase is so small and will have no appreciable negative effect on the economy, why shouldn’t all pay it? Why not roll back ALL the cuts, including the payroll tax cut that has taken 1/6 of SS’s funding?

What do you consider small? 4.6 is over 13% of 35, so you are really talking about an increase of over 13%; a 13% increase is small? And at 39.6%, the top tax rate would be nearly twice what King Noah levied on his people (before considerin local taxes). But I guess since it is other people’s money you are talking about, you have no problem taking it.

As for increasing the wages on which SS taxes can be levied – all that does is kick the can down the road, since the level of SS benefits is based on the amount paid in – increasing the wages subject to the tax increases the benefits later paid to those who paid in.

Taxes are evil when they create and maintain a culture of dependency, where he who is idle eats the bread and wears the garment of the laborer.

Christian 24-7
Murray, UT

Well Eric, the plan congress and the president put in place, which we call the fiscal cliff, will pretty much do just that. So let's just go with it and see how it turns out. Republicans have no need to cave on their values.

Just remember, they set this plan up to be so awful that it would force them to negotiate a long term coherent plan to replace it, so they wouldn't crash the economy. It would be better to go with a short term trial to find out it fails, than put a long term disaster just like it into law.

one old man
Ogden, UT

Maverick, your reply to Mike is simply outstanding. Thank you.

one old man
Ogden, UT

Christian, just change one word in your comment and you'd be right.

Change Republicans to Democrats and you'll have it correct.

Twin Lights
Louisville, KY

Mike Richards,

If the tax rates under consideration are no higher than what we had under Reagan or Clinton, then that they would be rates proven not to be problematic, right? Rates that have supported economic good times and have had republican support, true?

As to the flat tax, I don’t think you would find any political appetite for someone making $10/hour paying the same taxes as the person making $100/hour. NTW though, whenever I have talked taxes with high earners, they are paying less than the middle class (as a percentage).


The military is certainly a constitutional role. But what should be the percentage of our GDP going to the military? Ours outstrips ANY other country by huge margins. I’m not calling for disarmament, but we may need to take a hard look at whether we need all we pay for.

The Real Maverick
Orem, UT

"Cut the military? The proper role of government is to protect life, liberty and property."

Absolutely cut the military! How much do we need to outspend China before you folks consider us safe? 10x? 20x? 100x?

Do you realize that we spend over 5x as much on defense spending as #2 China? 10x as much than #3 Russia? I'm pretty sure if anybody wanted to start something, we could handle them, easily.

The other issue is with nation building. As long as we keep giving our children away and blank checks to the government, they'll keep putting us into voluntary wars. Much like your "starve the beast" mentality when it comes to taxes, lets "starve the beast" in military. Only then, will we use our armed forced for real threats, NOT NATION BUILDING.

Lastly, why is it that repubs suspect all social programs in the government to be full of corruption and incompetence but give the military a free pass? If food stamps and SS are being abused, why not the military? Do you realize that they spent $5 billion on new pixilated uniforms which don't work? Now they're going back to the originals. Talk about wasteful spending!

salt lake city, utah

There is still something wrong with the story Mr. Richards is telling. The owners he is talking about own businesses that need capital improvements..can't get loans..& make profits over $250,000 a year. I dare any of you to call your local loan officer and check this out..it's nonsense. These guys are spewing pure right wing ideology..and I'll bet all of them are in business in four years. The alternative is that they have a very bad bank. Also, if you make over $250,000 and have to close your business because you're going to pay an additional 3% in taxes on the monies you make over $250,000 you're not a very good manager or...and extremely greedy person.

Hayden, ID

Taxes are indeed punitive for at least three reasons;
#1: Taxes takes money out of the private sector that could have been used to build business, hire people, create wealth and expand economies. California, one of the highest taxed states in the country is an excellent example.
#2: Our progressive tax system punishes success and forces business over seas (China). The legacy of high taxes in America= "Made in China".
#3: Much of our taxes are wasted and squandered by the government. Solyndra, GSA scandals, fast and furious are some recent examples. Unlike the private sector, the government has no competitor to force them to be efficient.

  • 8:40 a.m. Dec. 4, 2012
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Orem, UT

Take another $10 million from Bill Gates and he probably won't even notice it. Give $10 each to a million homeless drunks on the streets who will immediately go buy a bottle and drink themselves into a blind stupor.

That may make a bunch of people happy for a day. It might stimulate the business of the local bar or liquor store, but if you think such action will be a net benefit to society, you are just plain wrong.

The best place for that $10 million is in the hands of the guy who earned it - Mr. Gates. He will probably use it to employ a 100 people to build something useful for the rest of us.

My example may be extreme, but that is what happens to far too much of our tax money. Take it away from those who would use it productively and give it to those who would waste it away because they never earned it. Do that 16 trillion times and the nation goes the way of Greece.

one old man
Ogden, UT

There's an excellent book everyone who cares should read. Doesn't matter if you think of yourself as right, left, Dem or Repub.

"Who Stole the American Dream?" by Hedrick Smith is a carefully researched and objective look at how we got where we are now. It lays responsibility on those who deserve to bear it. Democrats, Republicans, Banks, Wall Street, corporations. He lays the facts out for readers to digest and then decide for themselves.

Please read it if you care at all about trying to make America a better place for everyone.

All of us who comment here have a responsibility to at least make an effort to learn facts rather than simply spouting empty opinions.


I think that it is the level of taxation and the individuals and entities that are taxed that are the problem.

Consider that over sixteen percent of our workforce works for government and is wholly paid for by the taxpayers.Although this is less than the proportion supported in socialist Sweden and the other Scandinavian nations, but it is more than in France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Portugal, often referred to as "socialist" European nations) and less than Israel incidentally.

Our Corporate tax is the highest in the world which drives corporations into foreign nations whose taxes are not so punitive and regressive. It robs us of jobs and increases dependence. We have substantial taxes levied on income, business, purchases, property which collectively are a drag on the eonomy and a burden on most of the people.

There is room for cuts in what is called "defense" but is often not defensive at all, and there is also much room for cuts in expensive and negative bureaucracies which could be obtained fairly quickly through attrition, early retirement options etc.

Orem, UT

"Take another $10 million from Bill Gates and he probably won't even notice it. Give $10 each to a million homeless drunks on the streets who will immediately go buy a bottle and drink themselves into a blind stupor."

And then you folks wonder why your party is looked at as the party for the rich? The party who demeans so many Americans?

Is it any question why you folks are losing ground politically with each passing day? Shessh!

What hateful hogwash!

Kent C. DeForrest
Provo, UT

Excellent letter, Eric. What most of the commenters here don't understand is that Obama's proposal will affect only those with TAXABLE income over $250,000 (really $223,050 for married filing jointly). That means after all credits, deductions, and exemptions. If you work up a simple form 1040, with minimal credits and deductions, you find that a small business owner would have to clear at least $400,000 in profit before the Obama tax increases have any effect at all.

Obama's proposal raises rates only in the two top tax bracket, one from 33 to 36 percent, the other from 35 to 39.6 percent. The first increase would apply only to TAXABLE income between $223,050 and $398,350. The second would apply only to TAXABLE income over $398,350. To reach the threshold for the top bracket, a small business owner would have to clear profit of well over a half million dollars. That's after all business expenses. The effective tax increase on someone earning $400,000 would be a little over 1 percent.

And this is what all the fighting is over? No, liberal larry is right.

Ford DeTreese
Provo, UT

The U.S. accounts for 47 percent of all military spending on the planet. We have 700 to 800 military bases in foreign countries. We employ about 80,000 military personnel in Germany, another 50,000 in South Korea and Japan. The Pentagon is one of the largest landowners on earth. According to Republicans, we need to increase our military presence. Really now.

World War II ended almost 70 years ago. The Cold War ended over 20 years ago. We need this much military might to fight Al Qaeda? To keep a presence in Iraq and Afghanistan? Or are we planning on invading Iran and North Korea?

Eric Samuelsen
Provo, UT

One old man,
You've been talking about the Hedrick Smith book for some time now. It sounds interesting; I put it on my Christmas list. If my kids don't get it for me, I'll get it myself.

Salt Lake City, UT

I call "BS" (Bogus Story) on Mountanman's claims why taxes are punitive.

#1: Those tax dollars that Mountanman claims are siphoned out of the economy and vanish down some mysterious black hole really go to hiring government employees and funding grants and government contracts. Those government employees use their salaries to pay for housing, transportation, food, clothing, healthcare, entertainment, etc., funneling that money back into the economy. Grant recipients and government contractors purchase supplies, services, and durable goods, and pay employees (who spend their salaries more or less like the government employees do), again funneling that money back into the economy.

#2: Corporate taxes are not the main reason that businesses relocate overseas. The #1 reason that businesses relocate to other countries is labor costs. The very existence of WalMart is based on the fact that for some merchandise, it is cheaper to manufacture in some sweatshop in Macau or Sri Lanka and import than it is to manufacture domestically. The flip-side is that the sweatshop laborers earn less than 1/10th of what they would here, work 60-70 hours/week, and have a standard of living comparable to our homeless.


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