Comments about ‘In our opinion: Report puts taxes in perspective, should inform debate over tax rates and government spending’

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Published: Monday, April 15 2013 12:00 a.m. MDT

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Roland Kayser
Cottonwood Heights, UT

"The report said the United States has the most progressive tax burden of any industrialized nation."

That may well be true, but the U.S. also has, by far, the most unequal distribution of wealth of any industrialized nation. You also leave out the fact that since 1983, working Americans have been paying significantly higher payroll tax rates, and that the government has been borrowing these excess payroll taxes to pay for functions that would normally have been covered by income taxes. Also, the percentage of Americans paying no income tax is quite close to what it was back in the 1940's.

There are many ways to frame an argument. To get a true picture you need to include all of the details.

The Taxman
Los Angeles, CA

The Tax Foundation is funded by big oil and the Koch Brothers. As a seasoned tax prfessional, I do not trust anythig they write. It figures that the DN would feature their "report" ( which is really a series of charts) rather than reports by Tax Analysts and others.

marxist
Salt Lake City, UT

"Of interest as well today should be a report from the Tax Foundation, released late last week. It provides a detailed breakdown of federal income taxes in terms of who pays and what, if any, inequalities exist. The results may surprise many Americans." Where did they get their data? Did the IRS provide data dumps on all filers, or did the IRS sample filings for the Tax Foundation, or did the Tax Foundation perform their own sample survey. Before you parrot this stuff you should do a little checking.

mark
Salt Lake City, UT

Many corporate leaders have noted that other OECD countries have lowered their corporate tax rates in recent years, but fail to mention that these countries have also closed corporate tax loopholes while the U.S. has expanded them. As a result, the U.S. collects less corporate taxes as a share of GDP than all but one of
the 26 OECD countries for which data are available.
 In 1965, U.S. corporate income taxes were 4.0 percent of our GDP, compared to 2.3 percent of GDP in other OECD countries.
 But by 2009, U.S. corporate taxes had fallen to only 1.3 percent of our GDP, while corporate income taxes of the other OECD nations collectively stood at 2.4 percent.
 Many countries experienced unusually low corporate tax receipts in the last couple years due to the recession. But even when U.S. corporate taxes recently peaked in 2007 at 3.2 percent of GDP, the average for the other OECD nations was well ahead, at 3.8 percent of GDP.
 In 2009, only Iceland had lower corporate taxes as a share of GDP than the U.S.-Citizins for Tax Justice

Cowboy Joe
Encampment, WY

Most of Utahans are disconnected from funding the government. Large families many deductions. It is the Utah culture. Utah is ranked in the top 5 of states with the fewest federal income tax payers.

Editorial board "pot meet keetle" start stating that Utahans and Mormons need to stop bashing taxes and start paying so they fund their large families which are a drain on our education systems and health care.

Mountanman
Hayden, ID

@ Mark. Comparing taxes to GNP is meaningless. Who cares what taxes compared to the GNP might be? We still have the highest corporate taxes in the world and the GNP doesn't reduce or change these taxes on penny. They still must be paid and because they are the highest in the world, corporations and jobs leave and go overseas where they can survive regardless of any country's GNP. Its all about competition in the world market place and high taxes makes it impossible to compete with countries that have lower taxes even if that country has a lower GNP. Taxes are still taxes and the GNP affects them not a bit!

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

The simple fact is that high tax rates reduce business expansion and reduced business expansion reduces revenues to the government. High tax rates create a revenue death spiral. More businesses export jobs to offshore companies. Exported jobs mean fewer Americana are working. Fewer workers mean less payroll taxes are paid to the treasury. High tax rates mean more welfare checks are paid from the treasury.

The greatest disservice the government can do is to take money from the public that is needed by the public to create tax paying jobs.

Yes, the wealthy should pay taxes, but they should pay the same RATE as the poor. Government services, at least those authorized by the Constitution, benefit all Americans equally. All Americans should at least pay the same rate. Paying the same rate still shifts the burden disproportionately onto the wealthy.

JoeBlow
Far East USA, SC

People need to understand the difference between tax rates and EFFECTIVE tax rates.

I am all for closing ALL Corporate loopholes and lowering tax rates.

When you compare the actual tax rates that corporations pay to what they pay in other countries, you get a much truer picture.

Remember all the carping about GE paying ZERO corporate taxes?

Additionally, many people like to only tell part of the story. Many countries that have a lower corporate tax rate than ours, have a significantly higher personal income tax rate.

JoeBlow
Far East USA, SC

Short memory Mike,

Can you imagine when you were picking and choosing which bills you would pay, if you lost all of your 9 deductions and had to pay 10-20 % of your income to state and federal taxes?

Would you have made it?

Mountanman
Hayden, ID

@ Joe Blow. You are right that GE pays no corporate taxes, but they sure donated handsomely to Obama's two elections! They get huge tax breaks because supposedly, GE is doing research on green energy and receive generous tax breaks provided by the Obama administration. Indecently, GE has produced nothing in the green energy arena but they have moved thousands of jobs to China. If we close that "corporate loop hole" what would Obama do? Corporate loop holes are not created equally!

louie
Cottonwood Heights, UT

I am amazed the Editorial Board elects to write an article about the exploitation of the wealthy. In the United States we have 35% of world's billionaires, 30% of the world's millionaires with less than 5% of the world's population. If that isn't enough Warren Buffet has even recently asserted with all his tax breaks and loopholes he believe his secretary still pays a higher tax rate. by the way the Tax Foundation, a pro business funded organization. is hardly objective in these matters.

Makid
Kearns, UT

I do agree that the rich should pay as much as the poor and middle class.

I am clearly middle class yet I pay 19% in taxes. Now a rich person will pay less than 10% in taxes.

Since I pay a larger percentage of my wages in taxes than the rich, their taxes need to be increased. Warren Buffet has been saying the same thing. Why are people against the rich paying the same rate as the middle class?

Putting them at the same rate will increase tax revenues by $150 Billion a year or $1.5 Trillion in 10 years. I say raise their rate to the same as the middle class and apply it straight to debt and deficit reduction.

The same tax rate needs to be applied to those with large families. No more child tax credits. Leave the EIC in place to help those that are well below the poverty line (Max of 2,000 per year received in EIC).

This will help to cut the debt, reduce the trade deficit and encourage further savings as people will be forced to live within their means and not on government handouts.

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

@ Joe Blow,

I was self-employed (and I still am self-employed) when my children were at home. There is no deduction on Schedule C for the number of children. There is no deduction on Schedule C for anything related to family or charity. Believe me when I tell you that I paid my share of taxes, including the 100% "donation" to Social Security. Believe me when I tell you that I am still paying off loans that I had to take out more than a decade ago to pay the taxes that government demanded. Believe me when I tell you that paying off that loan has kept me from hiring people to help in my business.

Believe me now when I tell you that those children all pay taxes now.

Believe me now when I tell you that one of my sons is writing out a check TODAY to the government to cover the difference between what was withheld and what he owes - a check that is greater than my total income for 2012.

Looking short sightedly at deductions gives false impressions. Children grow up and become tax-paying citizens.

Res Novae
Ashburn, VA

"As the Reuters news agency put it, this was 'a sign that tax hikes early this year stole momentum from the economy.'"

"The much-publicized bottom 99 percent of taxpayers now pays on average less than 10 percent in income taxes, which is the lowest level since before the 1986 Tax Reform Act was passed. The report raises questions about the wisdom of so many Americans being disconnected from the primary means of funding government."

So which way is the DN arguing? Are tax hikes impeding economic momentum, or are the bottom 99% not being taxed enough? Sounds like you're trying to have it both ways.

A Citizens for Tax Reform report states that taking all income, payroll, and other taxes (sales tax, gas, alcohol, etc) together, the bottom 20% of taxpayers pay 17.4% of their income in total taxes, and the top 20% pays 30% of their income in total taxes. Personally, I don't find that a progressive enough system.

The Taxman
Los Angeles, CA

@Mike Richards

Schedule C flows into a the regular Form1040 where exemptions for children and deductions for charitable contributions offset the business income from Schedule C. To imply that you were not receiving credit for your children or charitable deductions against your business income is ignorant or dishonest.

mark
Salt Lake City, UT

The real issue lies in understanding the huge gap between the "nominal rate" (the list price) and the "real rate" (the tax rate that most companies actually pay.) These two rates diverge widely. The nominal federal tax rate on the largest corporations is now 35 percent. State taxes, on average, bump this to 39.2 percent. This nominal rate ranks as the highest among developed countries.

However, no major company really pays the nominal rate. . . Big companies enjoy a huge buffet of credits, shelters, deductions, and other preferences that reduce their rate to an average of 13 percent. Many profitable companies pay no federal income tax at all. Regardless of our nominal rate, OUR REAL CORPORATE TAX RATE IS AMONG THE LOWEST. Further cuts cannot stimulate growth. -The Truth About Corporate Tax Rates, By David Brodwin | April 4, 2012, US News and World Report

You guys do understand the difference between nominal tax rates and effective tax rates don't you?

Roland Kayser
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Every year the IRS releases tax data on the 400 wealthiest households. These 400 households have an average annual income of 300 million dollars, and a pay an average tax rate of 16.6%. That's not overtaxed. Also, Seven of these households were among Romney's 47% who paid zero income taxes.

Kent C. DeForrest
Provo, UT

By showing about 1/3 of the tax picture, this very poorly constructed DN editorial is both inaccurate and misleading. Yes, if you look at the aggregate, the wealthy in America may pay a larger percentage of income taxes than the wealthy in other countries. But in spite of this, somehow the wealthy keep accumulating a larger piece of a pretty slowly growing pie. Even Republicans don't dispute all the studies showing that inequality in America is growing rapidly. The reason the wealthy pay the lion's share of the income taxes is because they earn a massive and growing chunk of the income and their portion of overall wealth is expanding exponentially. Our problem is not a progressive tax code. Our problem is the initial distribution of wealth. The bulk goes to the top few. The rest are getting less each year.

But if you want to talk about progressive tax codes, Germany's is far more progressive, especially if you count several taxes they pay that we don't. Their wealthy probably pay a lower percentage of the whole because they earn a lower percentage of the income.

Silly, biased editorial.

J Thompson
SPRINGVILLE, UT

@TaxMan,

You've really shown your ignorance of tax laws. Schedule C shows the profit/loss of a business. Schedule C requires that you pay self-employment tax on the profits earned from that business. Because you pay Social Security taxes on the profits of a business BEFORE deducting exemptions and donations, you pay the FULL 15% required for Social Security BEFORE deducting exemptions for children and BEFORE deducting donations to charity.

That 15% is on top of the income taxes owed.

That 15% is on top of property taxes owed.

That 15% is on top of any other taxes owed.

If you owned a business, you would know that having Uncle Sam as a silent partner keeps you from hiring real people who would produce goods and services; people who would pay taxes instead of receiving welfare from Uncle Sam.

If you owned a business you would know how insidious high tax rates are and how crippling it is to have Uncle Sam as a silent partner in every business; a partner who drains off the profits that could generate more revenue to the government if left to the owner to use to build his business.

JoeBlow
Far East USA, SC

@Mountanman

"You are right that GE pays no corporate taxes, but they sure donated handsomely to Obama's two elections!"

No argument there. I am for getting ALL corporate and union money out of the elections as I believe that they corrupt the system and sway legislation. And get rid of all lobbying also.

Are you for that? I see George Soros and the Koch brothers as being the same, just on different sides of the political fence. Their money corrupts equally.

Do you think that Republicans are immune to being bought by corporations?

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