Comments about ‘John Hoffmire: For the wealthy, tax it or give it away: If those are the choices, which is it?’

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Published: Monday, May 12 2014 7:50 a.m. MDT

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Chris B
Salt Lake City, UT

Its great what some of these people have chosen to do, but I certainly can't tell them how to spend their money. Its theirs.

If a rich person who has earned a lot of money wants to give his money to charity, give it to his kids, spend every dollar, or throw it away - that's his decision. A rich person doesn't owe me his money(through taxes).

I'd be lazy if I thought that Buffet owed me(through taxes) money he earns any more than I owe him money I earn.

Him and I use about the same govt resources, so there is no reason he should pay for my share.

That would make me lazy if I said that.

LDS Liberal
Farmington, UT


John Hoffmire is spot on with this article.

Conservatives preach to us time and time again,
That taxation doesn't work.

Show me, don't tell me.

IF they are not freely giving it away --
TAX them!

BTW -- It's that how our tax system - and it's tax write offs - is supposed to work?

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Wealthy people are not stupid (most of them). They know they can get more bang for their buck if they donate it and control how it is used... instead of just giving it to the Government and HOPING they use it for stuff they would like (knowing most of it goes to government cronies and bureaucratic waste). But a little of it gets used for good stuff. But they probably want ALL of it to get used for good stuff. I know... selfish...

I am constantly amazed at the level of giving I see from some uber-wealthy people. I wish I could give like them. But I can't... so I just do what I can.

But I try to refrain from vilifying them (knowing they give much much more to charity and to society than I do).

Orem, UT

LDS Liberal: "But, IF they are not freely giving it away -- TAX them!"

So it really isn't THEIR money. It's mine and yours and we should take it away from them, right?

Look, I understand some of the concern people have that wealth is being concentrated in the hands of few people. We need a fair tax policy that insures that the wealthy pay their portion of taxes (and no, more than 50% is not fair). We also want to make sure that the rich are earning their money in a legal manner and not getting special favors from government.

But if they earned it, we have no right to take it all from them just because we don't like how they are spending their money. If we let government take all the rich people's money, it doesn't take long before they are doing the same thing to everyone above the poverty line.

You may vote to take money from others, but don't be surprised when the governments hand is on your wallet too.

Roland Kayser
Cottonwood Heights, UT

It would be interesting to see where the money actually goes. I've seem some studies on the charitable giving of the wealthy. it seems that they give a great deal to their alma-maters and a great deal to cultural and arts organizations, but very little to homeless shelters, soup kitchens, etc.

When most of us think of charity we're not thinking of Harvard Business School, the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, or the Metropolitan Opera, yet that is where the majority of charitable donations from the wealthy seem to end up.

liberal larry
salt lake City, utah

Its amazing that noted bleeding hearts like Buffet and Gates are going to give away most of their fortunes.

We live in great country with opportunities for any person to make money, and that is why the inheritance tax is such a good idea. Each of us gets to battle it out to make a few dollars, and then like ending a game of Monopoly, we give the money back to the bank, and let the next players try their hand.

There is no benefit to society to let huge wealth perpetuate itself.

Chris B
Salt Lake City, UT


The money you earn in your life is yours. Its not mine. If you want to give it to your kids, or flush it down the toilet at the end of your life - that's your decision.

I would be lazy and wrong to suggest you owe that money to me when you die. You don't. I didn't earn it.

LDS Liberal
Farmington, UT

Orem, UT
LDS Liberal: "But, IF they are not freely giving it away -- TAX them!"

So it really isn't THEIR money. It's mine and yours and we should take it away from them, right?


There "fairest" giving SHOULD be in the form of wage increases --
since it was those who worked who actually created their wealth in the 1st place.

Charitable giving would be next.

Christopher B
Ogden, UT

Its no surprise that studies show that conservatives give both more money and a higher percentage of their income to charity compared to liberals.

Mitt Romney has given more to charity than barack both in terms of total dollars and percentage of income, EVEN if you deduct what Mitt gave to his church.

What biden has given is a joke, averaging just a couple percent of his income for many years, some years .1%, one tenth of one percent of his income.

For liberals, its a do as I say not as I do when it comes to charity.

Orem, UT

LDS Liberal:

I agree that it would be very noble of wealthy individuals to give all their workers a higher salary. But it is not my place to demand that action if the market shows that workers are willing to do the work for less.

America would be in a much better place if all the companies who are currently sitting on a huge pile of cash and who pay their senior executives outrageous salaries would voluntarily "spread the wealth" within their own organizations. But again, it is not our place to demand that they do this.

First, spread your own wealth voluntarily by paying more than you have to for goods and services, then talk about spreading other people's wealth.

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

How a person spends his money is no business of the government or of the people. YOU have the right to spend your money on those things that YOU find important. YOU have the choice of living in a sleeping bag on "federal land" or of buying a house. YOU have the choice of eating berries that you find on "public property" or of buying groceries from a store. Yet, YOU want to take that privilege away from others, just because they have more money than you do.

That's called coveting. Coveting is immoral.

It's hard to know which organization is "worthy" of receiving our gifts. We give blood. During the last two months, we have had constant calls from the organization that collects blood. They know when we last gave blood. They know how long we have to wait until giving blood again, yet they call to remind us that they need our blood. We give it freely, but those who receive it pay dearly for our "gift".

What is "given" should not be taxed or "sold". It should be given freely to those in need.

Happy Valley Heretic
Orem, UT

Chris B said:
"I'd be lazy if I thought that Buffet owed me(through taxes) money he earns any more than I owe him money I earn.
Him and I use about the same govt resources, so there is no reason he should pay for my share.
That would make me lazy if I said that."

You really love that word Lazy, Does it make you feel better to define the less affluent in such a way.
Hard working poor folks who deserve a piece of the pie they're creating are not LAZY, Covetous, greedy or most of the things conservatives believe about them.

Chris said: "Him and I use about the same govt resources,"
...with super simple thinking like that how could you be wrong, You seriously believe your on equal footing, using Americas resources with a billionaire? Laughable.

Shouting how charitable and goodly you are, while belittling the widow for her mite is so conservative.

Tyler D
Meridian, ID

@JoeCapitalist2 – “So it really isn't THEIR money… right?”

Not after they’re gone… then it belongs to someone else.

@liberal larry – “There is no benefit to society to let huge wealth perpetuate itself.”

That’s right… and the smart billionaires are recognizing this and leaving very little of their fortunes to their kids (enough for a good head start but not enough to create lazy trust fund babies).

The current estate tax gets it about right (although the rate is far too low) with a tax free cap of around $5M. After that taxes kick in.

But any estate taxes can still be largely avoided if the rich do what Buffett and others have done which is to direct the transfer of their wealth (while they’re alive) to charity or any productive organization they deem worthy. This largely guarantees their wealth is channeled into productive endeavors which they are free to decide.

But willing large fortunes to your children – which almost always results in disastrous consequences – should be greatly discouraged (by tax policy) since throughout history this has done little more than serve to entrench aristocracies and oligarchic elites.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

I remember when Bill Clinton was in office and the media reported on his charitable contributions... The list was small, it included a donation of used clothing to a local thrift store (their DI). Clinton groupies ran to the thrift store trying to get a pair of Bill Clinton's used underwear... it was hilarious.

The Clinton's weren't "rich" before being plopped in the White House. But they made out very well during their time in office (and after). They are one of America's wealthy families now (Spent $3.3 Million on Chelsea's lavish, star studded wedding ceremony).

Google "Stingiest Politicians"...

"In the eight years after President Bill Clinton left office, he and Hillary soared north through the tax brackets, earning a combined $109 million. Much of that wealth came from blockbuster memoir sales and huge speaking fees. During those eight years, tax returns show they recorded $10.2 million in charitable contributions, or 9.35 percent of their income. Most of those contributions went straight into the Clinton Foundation—a charity founded by the Clintons to focus on issues like healthcare, climate change, and economic development"

Orem, UT

Tyler D:

I'm sure Buffet, Gates, Zuckerberg, and a whole bunch of other rich people would sleep very well each night under such a confiscatory estate tax. Imagine if all their wealth over a couple million $ automatically went to the government for redistribution (to some bureaucrat's cronies no doubt), in the event of their demise.

Nobody in or out of government would have a reason to speed along their date with the grim reaper under your system, right?

Sandy, UT

happy valley,

You are the one, not Chris, who is correlating poor with lazy. Chris says the lazy are people who think Buffet owes them what he has earned. Those people may be rich, poor, old, young. There have been times in my life I was very poor and yet even in those years I never looked towards the affluent expecting them to give more than they were already given. So while I fell under the "poor" group I didn't fall under the group Chris is referring to. Never once I have felt I deserve an affluent persons money upon their death.

And yet you are equating the two - incorrectly. I would ask you please not equate lazy with poor. You are the one who has done this, not Chris.

Salt Lake City, UT

But the writer leaves aside the question, how are the wealthy, the super-super wealthy getting so wealthy? Do they work harder than the average guy? Not likely.The French economist Piketty's work "Capital in the 21st Century" will be a topic on tonight's PBS Newshour. Piketty answers this question to a great degree, at least I have been given to understand. I haven't read his book (600 pages by a statistician - yikes!).

Despite the title of Piketty's work, he is not a Marxist. He is in fact a modern day Keynes who wants to save capitalism from itself. To Piketty, like Keynes before him, capitalism is best but unless tempered in some way it will result in a situation where almost all of the rewards go to the top with nothing going to the bottom. That's whats happening now.

AS a socialist I think we only have a future with some brand of socialism. That's a topic for another time. In the meantime watch the discussion of Piketty tonight.

Murray, UT

@JoeCapitalist2 - If the government did take the money from the elite wealthy, image how much larger our defense spending could be?

Salt Lake City, UT

In the capitalism of today a few (very) are free to accumulate without limit, while the rest (most of us) struggle to survive. This, at least to me, seems less than optimal.

Tyler D
Meridian, ID

@JoeCapitalist2 – “Nobody in or out of government would have a reason to speed along their date with the grim reaper under your system, right?”

You’ve made a number of comments in the past that while I don’t always agree with, I at least respect for being reasonable… this is not one of them.

So now the government is assassinating rich people because they failed to do some simple estate planning? Wow!

The next time you hear someone saying the Right has gone cuckoo for cocoa puffs lately, just refer back to your response for a little insight into why reasonable people think so.

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