In our opinion: America's tax obligations are growing


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  • Anti Bush-Obama Chihuahua, 00
    April 9, 2014 1:59 p.m.

    Open minded mormon.

    How can you be against all the wars and work for the DoD? Thats Hypocrisy just like everything else I read from you. The DoD hires internet trolls. I believe thats your official position with them. Why else would you have 20 usernames?

    Anti-Gun but owns them.
    Boasts about how great the Brethren are except when talking about defending traditional marriage and then are considered outdated.
    Believes in Creationism and Evolution when each is socially acceptable.

    A double minded man is unstable in all his ways. You will have to make a choice eventually. What do you really believe?

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    April 9, 2014 12:59 p.m.

    To "Redshirt GlenbeckU" I do understand your embarrassment. Now that you have learned the difference between income and wealth and taxation in the US, what are you going to do?

    What do I have to be embarrassed about? I knew what I was talking about, you didn't. Plus, I really don't care how Pasadena is spelled, so why would I care if you fixed my spelling? FYI, I am not a spell checker and I know that I often make spelling mistakes.

  • Redshirt GlenbeckU SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    April 9, 2014 12:11 p.m.

    To RedShirtCalTech
    Pasedena, CA

    "There is a difference between wealth and income."

    Then you can understand my embarrassment for you. I was going to point out the difference to you in my first post (since it was you that originally conflated the two when you said "The top 1% control 43% of the wealth in the US, at the same time the top 1% also pay 35% of all income taxes") but decided to be kind and go with it. But now that you want to reveerse yourself and undermine your original argument, I am fine with that too.

    By the way (and sorry for any further embarrassment), Pasadena is spelled with an "a" rather than an "e".

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    April 9, 2014 11:56 a.m.

    Income taxes aren't the only taxes people pay.

    You get taxed when you make it
    Taxed if you save it
    taxed if you spend it
    taxed if you own your home
    taxed if you own any property
    taxed if you invest it
    taxed if you sell an investment
    taxed on any interest you earn
    taxed if you die
    taxed on every business deal you make...

    They tax every dollar several times..

    It's not just federal income taxes. There's State income taxes as well. And State sales tax (as high 10% in some counties in CA). Capitol gains tax, earned income taxes, property tax, gas tax, etc...

    I don't mind sharing my income with the government, I get a lot for it. But there has to be a limit...

  • RedShirtCalTech Pasedena, CA
    April 9, 2014 7:54 a.m.

    To "Redshirt GlenbeckU" I hate to be the one to teach you this, but you are not taxed on your wealth. You are taxed on your income. The top 1% accounts for 20% of income in the US, yet they pay 35% of all income taxes. There is a difference between wealth and income.

    Think of it this way. Are you taxed on how much you have in your savings account? What about 401K, is that taxed based on how much you have saved? We are approaching the day you pay your income taxes. What is your income, and what represents your wealth?

    Is is fair that the peopel that earn 20% of all income pay 35% of all income taxes? Is it fair that the lowest income brackets have negative tax rates? Did you know that it is possible to get more back from the government on your income taxes than what you paid?

  • Shaun Sandy, UT
    April 8, 2014 9:43 p.m.

    @Mike Richards. There is no such thing as an Obama phone. I am sure you will not be partaking of Social Security and Medicare when you retire. I am also sure you will not be traveling on the interstate since a large portion of that is funded by the federal government even though that is not in the 17 duties.

    What about the water you drink or the police or the fire fighters you may call. A lot of local police and fire departments petition and receive federal grants for training and equipment.

    Oh the hypocrisy

  • Redshirt GlenbeckU SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    April 8, 2014 8:42 p.m.

    Futhermore "RedShirtCalTech", you sort of shoot yourself in the foot with your own argument when you observe that "the top 1% control 43% of the wealth in the US, at the same time taht top 1% also pay 35% of all income taxes." If the top 1% have 43% of the wealth, shouldn't they pay at least 43%?

    To make it easy, let's assume you and I are the only two citizens in a country. If I have 80% of the wealth but only pay 60% of the taxes, then that means you are paying 40% of the taxes even though you only have 20% of the wealth. What's fair about that?

    Or assume, in the same two-taxpayer hypothetical country, that I have all the income and you are retired (and earn nothing). Then I would be paying all the tax and you would be paying none. Would it be fair for me to complain that I am paying all the tax in that circumstance? Of course not. And you rightly would not be shedding tears for poor rich me.

  • Redshirt GlenbeckU SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    April 8, 2014 8:26 p.m.

    To "RedShirtCalTech", I wish you would stop telling lies too. We are talking about U.S. taxation here, not UK taxation (45% of Mickelson's taxes from the British Open were paid to the UK).

    Your statement, "Tell us how hard would you work if 50% or more of every dollar you earn went to the government as income taxes", is ridiculous because no American (not even Mickelson) pays 50% or more of every dollar they earn in taxes. His marginal rate is probably above 50%, but he does not pay it on "every dollar" he earns. See "The truth behind Mickelson's taxes" at CNN Money. Spoiler alert: according to CNN "millionaires pay roughly 26% of their income in federal taxes, on average."

  • RedShirtCalTech Pasedena, CA
    April 8, 2014 4:43 p.m.

    To "airnaut" I really wish you would stop with the lies. The top 1% do NOT own 80% of everything. See "Average America vs the One Percent" in Forbes. The top 1% control 43% of the wealth in the US, at the same time taht top 1% also pay 35% of all income taxes. It sure seems like they are paying a lot more than the rest of us. They average about 23% of their income going for income taxes. That does not include all of the other taxes that they pay.

    So that you understand the great efforts that the wealthy have to go to so that they don't get taxed into the poor house, read "Phil Mickelson Wins Historic British Open And Incurs 61% Tax Rate" in Forbes. Think about hte last time you were taxed so much that 61% of what you earned went to the government before it got into your hands.

    Tell us how hard would you work if 50% or more of every dollar you earn went to the government as income taxes. Then you get to pay sales taxes, property taxes, phone taxes, and so forth on top of that.

  • Schnee Salt Lake City, UT
    April 8, 2014 4:23 p.m.

    "it's a documented fact that recently our debt reached an ominous tipping point of our debt being over 100% of our GDP. I don't know if that's because our GDP went down... or because our debt went up."

    In 2008 it was mostly GDP falling. Since then the economy has recovered (in a sense, most of the gains have gone to those at the top) so GDP has gone up I think around 2-2.5% on average the past 4 years, with debt out-pacing that for growth.

    Let's see... assuming 2% GDP growth each year we'd need 2% debt growth to break even, 2% of 17 trillion is... 340 billion. So if we get our deficit to something like 300 billion or less each year the debt:GDP ratio will decline despite a rising debt.

  • airnaut Everett, 00
    April 8, 2014 3:49 p.m.

    Springville, UT
    In the end, I like a modified flat tax of some sort. The current system is a mess.

    2:44 p.m. April 8, 2014


    That will nver happen.

    The filthy 1% of the rich
    [you know, who own 80% of everything, and now OWN the Government too]
    are paying LESS than the rest of us are.

    They do not want to see that,
    and THEY have the money [and the Supreme Court] to get anything they want.

  • Hemlock Salt Lake City, UT
    April 8, 2014 3:48 p.m.

    Legislatures, federal or state, want ever more money through taxation. They believe that sending money to Washington or Salt Lake City will create more jobs than spending the money at home will, an unproven theory. The Fabian Society's goal was to institute a socialist economy in a gradual fashion rather than through revolution. This appears to be Mr. Obama and the far left's plan in the US. It's a Boiling the Frog method. In the end, we owe the government everything and they provide everything that the congress thinks we need. We can learn from the socialist, workers' paradises of Cuba, North Korea, Venezuela, the former USSR and the faltering left wing economy of France.

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    April 8, 2014 2:44 p.m.

    In the end, I like a modified flat tax of some sort. The current system is a mess.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    April 8, 2014 2:19 p.m.

    You can split hairs on whether Obama has been successful on the deficit or the debt, and you can say that he did what he said he would do (although factcheckdotorg said he didn't).

    But regardless of how we spin it or split the hairs... it's a documented fact that recently our debt reached an ominous tipping point of our debt being over 100% of our GDP. I don't know if that's because our GDP went down... or because our debt went up. But I KNOW it's not a "Good" thing.

    Even IF we got serious about paying off our debt now... we would still lose ground each year, unless something serious happens (like a depression, default, or colapse of our currency so money means nothing).

    That's bad.

    That's like the tipping point when your dad's paycheck won't even pay the interest on your family's debt. By then you're in a downward spiral with now way out (without outside help).

  • Kent C. DeForrest Provo, UT
    April 8, 2014 2:03 p.m.

    "If 100 percent of your wages were used to pay all your annual local, state and federal taxes before you were allowed to keep anything for yourself, you would be working for government until April 21 this year."

    Silly conservative slant on things. In fact, the government works for me, and it works 365 days a year. I pay a relatively meager portion of my middle-class income for all these government services. Unfortunately, the government has to borrow a lot to provide these services. This wouldn't be the case if we were as far-sighted as our parents and grandparents and put the top tax rate back at a sustainable level (70 percent or higher).

  • Steve Cottrell Centerville, UT
    April 8, 2014 1:24 p.m.

    Worth noting the history of tax freedom day: (According to a FOX news article)

    Tax Freedom Day 1980-2001:
    1980 April 19 1991 April 20
    1981 April 22 1992 April 18
    1982 April 20 1993 April 20
    1983 April 17 1994 April 22
    1984 April 15 1995 April 23
    1985 April 17 1996 April 24
    1986 April 18 1997 April 26
    1987 April 22 1998 April 28
    1988 April 19 1999 April 29
    1989 April 21 2000 May 1
    1990 April 20 2001 May 3

    And in the Tax Foundation's website:

    2013 April 18
    2012 April 13
    2011 April 11
    2010 April 9

    Looks like the worst years were the early 2000 years.

  • airnaut Everett, 00
    April 8, 2014 12:36 p.m.

    A deficit is the amount by which a sum falls short of some reference amount.

    A debt is the sum total obligation owed by one party (the debtor) to a second party, the creditor;


    So, the fact is;
    Pres. Obama DID cut the deficit in half, just as he promised. [Revenue vs. Spending]

    The National debt [something entirely different] was something thrown out of control by the previous administration, and will take YEARS to resolve.

  • Open Minded Mormon Everett, 00
    April 8, 2014 12:29 p.m.

    @Mike Richards
    South Jordan, Utah

    We have limited the Federal Government to taxing us for 17 duties (they are enumerated in Article I, Section 8).


    I work for the DoD.
    It's one on the list -- and yet, you taunt and dispise me and my job?

    How can you support the Constitution [article I, Section 8] -- and then do that?

  • Chris B Salt Lake City, UT
    April 8, 2014 12:17 p.m.

    And meanwhile barack has added more to the national debt in his time than almost all past presidents in the history of our country combined.

    And barack told us he'd cut the deficit in half in his first term.


    He increased the debt


  • Roland Kayser Cottonwood Heights, UT
    April 8, 2014 11:57 a.m.

    @2bits: Okay he sells a one million dollar office bldg. He pays capital gains tax on the profits he made, not on the sale price. Federal capital gains taxes max out at 20% most states max out around 5%. So maybe he pays 25%, not 50%.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    April 8, 2014 11:41 a.m.

    2 Bits,

    If your Father in Law is paying nearly 50% in taxes he needs a better accountant. I have known many wealthy folks and entrepreneurs. They don't pay anything like that. I do understand the state your live in matters. But that is a huge number. When tax rates were much higher a friend (who was making about $500K in today's money) remarked that the then being talked about flat tax of about 17% would be a tax increase for him. Lots of huge corporations pay in the single digits.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    April 8, 2014 11:25 a.m.

    We have limited the Federal Government to taxing us for 17 duties (they are enumerated in Article I, Section 8). Those 17 duties cost less than 33% of the current Federal Budget. The first step in balancing the Federal Budget is for the Court to do its duty and throw out any legislation that taxes us for anything that is not on that list. If we really want those services, we must also follow the Constitution and delegate those duties to the States or to ourselves.

    ObamaCare is not on that list.

    Social Security is not on the list.

    ObamaPhones are not on that list.

    Vacations in Hawaii are not on that list.

    Golf is not on that list.

    Flying around the country campaigning for programs that Obama wants is not on that list.

    If we want to be free from the growing demands from Government, WE must elect ONLY those people who sustain the Constitution. Check the voting records for OUR Congressmen. If any one of them has voted to fund anything that is not authorized in Section 8, that Congressman has violated our trust.

  • Roland Kayser Cottonwood Heights, UT
    April 8, 2014 11:23 a.m.

    @2 bits: The wealthiest Americans pay an average income tax rate of 16%. Those slightly well off pay a bit more, typically 20-21%. Capital gains taxes top out at 20% and that income is not subject to income or SS tax. If your father-in-law is truly wealthy he probably pays very little in SS taxes due to the income cap. I don't know what state he is in, but there is really no one who pays 50% of their income to the government.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    April 8, 2014 11:15 a.m.

    Re "Yes, but 50% of what"...

    That's why I kinda roll my eyes when he complains about it. He pays more in taxes quarterly than I make in a year. So I don't feel too sorry for him. But I can understand him. He's not a big Federal Government fan. So it kinda erks him that the people he's not a fan of make as much off his hard work as he does.

    I know... kinda selfish to want to keep more of his pay check (even if he doesn't need it).

    Money is the way people like him keep score. And it bugs them that if they make a basket... they only get 1 point, when others get 2.


    About the ~50% tax...
    I said "~"50% because it's "approximatly" 50%.
    It's more like 45% (all taxes combined). But it's close enough.

    He combines all his taxes in his mind... Federal Taxes + State Taxes, Capital Gains, Social Security, property taxes, Sales tax, etc, etc.

    His income usually involves a big sale. Say he sells a $1 Million office building... he gets to keep $500,000, Government gets $500,000... for doing nothing...

  • Sasha Pachev Provo, UT
    April 8, 2014 11:09 a.m.

    Why can't we give the businesses and individuals an option to actually do the work for the government or directly take care of some need instead of paying taxes? I personally would be much happier to pay my taxes by taking care of some actual visible need - e.g work on a software project, teach a child to read, help some college student pay for school, or take care of a needy family. This way I would not be looking for deductions and be proud of contributing more than my legally required share. With the current method I look for every legal deduction. Why? Because I do not trust that the government will do a good job spending the money. The charitable donation method does not cut it unless we make it a tax credit instead of a deduction. Donating to a charity that helps the government spend less in some way should be a tax credit for each dollar the government saves.

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    April 8, 2014 11:01 a.m.

    I would like to see the "tax freedom day" for all the state and local taxes, fees, licenses, permits and costs of local and state governments.

    Then the freedom day for all health care costs. All charity and religious costs, All transportation costs, All utility costs, etc. etc. etc.

    Maybe we could find some new candidates for our hate.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    April 8, 2014 10:32 a.m.

    Re: 2bits "That though crosses his mind when he gets paid (and realizes he only gets to keep ~50% of his earnings)."

    Yes, but 50% of what? Also, where does he come up with the 50% figure? The highest marginal rate and the capital gains rate aren't even close to 50%.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    April 8, 2014 10:17 a.m.

    The date depends on your tax bracket.

    My father in law is in the highest federal tax bracket. He's an antrepreneour (likes starting new businesses, and buying and selling realestate, office buildings, etc). So pays lots of captial gains taxes... and lives in a high taxed state.

    He has several busineses he owns and runs and collects a pay check from. He's considered retiring. He frequently asks, "Why work? You are working for the Government more than you are for your family at this point".

    He says he only gets to keep ~50% of his paycheck. The Government takes ~50% of the rewards of his labors... and he gets to keep ~50% to support his family. The harder he works... the more the government makes. If he takes a risk and makes a good investment... the government reaps the rewards. He's working for the Government! Why not just retire....

    That though crosses his mind when he gets paid (and realizes he only gets to keep ~50% of his earnings).

    Kinda makes you want to retire...

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    April 8, 2014 10:02 a.m.

    Just a friendly reminder folks --

    No one has paid one red CENT toward Bush's $3 Trillion Wars in the Middle East.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    April 8, 2014 9:54 a.m.

    RE: IDC "This story is only true for the 1/2 that pay taxes, for the other half, they can celebrate every day of the year." Everybody pays some sort of tax, especially the regressive sales tax.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    April 8, 2014 9:43 a.m.

    There are a lot things going into the deficit and debt stew. Most have been mentioned, except one, that being the decrease in marginal tax rates at the high end for individuals and corporations over the last 30 years. But many here will argue it's not right to tax the wealthy at higher rates. I, as a Marxist theoretician, would answer "it's OK because of the workings of surplus value in the employer-employee relation."

    Such insight is inadmissible here, but the principle is operative fully.

  • IDC Boise, ID
    April 8, 2014 9:41 a.m.

    This story is only true for the 1/2 that pay taxes, for the other half, they can celebrate every day of the year.

  • Liberal Ted Salt Lake City, UT
    April 8, 2014 9:30 a.m.

    LOL! The problem is, even with all of the taxes we are paying. We still can't cover what we are spending every year. That is why we have $17,000,000,000,000.00 in debt. That is why we have $90,000,000,000,000.00 in unfunded liabilities. That is why we are screwed as a country and people financially.

    You really believe our taxes paid for the past wars? We borrowed money for that. Do you think our taxes cover the roads? We borrowed money for that.

    What we really need to do, is STOP BORROWING money. Once we solve that problem, then we can move on to what programs do we cut down, but, still maintain 10-20% of the budget to pay down our debts.

    Then and only then will we be financially solvent as a country.

    Under our current president we have been downgraded. Under our current president we escalated war. Under the current president our debt increased $7 Trillion.

    Bush has blame but Barack hasn't been the savior either.

  • FreedomFighter41 Provo, UT
    April 8, 2014 8:27 a.m.

    Wait what?

    So you mean we have to pay for a military which outspends the rest of the world 2-3 times over? We have to pay for those 2 decade long wars in the Middle East? We have to pay for bank bailouts and other handouts to Wall Street? Boy, and here I thought all of that was free!!!

    No wonder why other countries don't just give blank checks to their militaries, go to war for bogus reasons, and have strict financing regulation!

  • Ed Grady Idaho Falls, ID
    April 8, 2014 8:25 a.m.

    Tax obligations on the Middle Class are growing, but since when did conservatives care about the Middle Class?

  • Fred44 Salt Lake City, Utah
    April 8, 2014 8:24 a.m.

    I have an easy solution to this problem. Quit creating economic incentives for business to move off shore. Tax imports heavily like most other countries do. American companies will find that it is not financially beneficial to continue to operate sweatshops in third world countries and they will bring manufacturing jobs back to America. We will increase the number of manufacturing jobs in America and decrease in the need for entitlement programs and an opportunity to lower the national debt. Tax revenue will increase at the local, state and federal level. Win Win for everyone.

  • Roland Kayser Cottonwood Heights, UT
    April 8, 2014 8:08 a.m.

    Measured as a percentage of GDP, U.S. taxes are just about the lowest in the developed world. If we want to live in a modern society, we have to pay for it.

  • Kings Court Alpine, UT
    April 8, 2014 7:55 a.m.

    In 1900 there were hardly any paved roads, no highway system (no automobiles), no airports, our military ranked 17th in the world, etc, etc, etc. If we want to go back to Tax Freedom Day in 1900, we will have to give up a lot of things including world prestige.

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    April 8, 2014 7:37 a.m.

    Taxes really don't need to go down. That's a false premise. If you want the tax "burden" to go down, then there needs to be investment in infrastructure and research, employment programs should be enhanced, and resources given unquestioned to military and national security need to be reassigned. Under the current President, government employment has gone down. Your simplistic argument is nothing but mindless parroting and you offer absolutely nothing as far as substantive porposals on how to address the issue of tazation. There should be tax reform, but special interests in Washington won't let that happen, and Congress serves their masters (not the American people). Are you willing to take on this windmill?

  • T. Party Pleasant Grove, UT
    April 8, 2014 7:34 a.m.

    In a democratic republic, we get the tax obligation we vote for. Perhaps we should move Election Day to April.

  • Michael Matthews Omaha, NE
    April 8, 2014 6:39 a.m.

    What a unique way to put it. I work for the gov't until May every year! That is certainly eye opening.