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Published: Wednesday, May 21 2014 8:00 a.m. MDT

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Hutterite
American Fork, UT

It will do neither. It will help, but when you frame the debate as either 'fix' or 'ruin', it just plays into the divisive environment we now live in. The economy, and our nation, are way to complex to reduce down to simple black and white answers.

LDS Liberal
Farmington, UT

@2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

50s were not fueled by Socialism. We were more anti-socialist then than we are now...

9:48 a.m. May 21, 2014

========

Are you kidding me?
MOST U.S. jobs were Unions jobs in the 1940's - 1970's .

The Republicans have done and excellent job of leap frogging "Socialism" entirely,
by funnelling all the wealth to the already wealthy 1%,
gutting and destroying the Middle Class,
offshoring and outsourcing American jobs,
and importing almost everything from un-taxable COMMUNISTS in Red China!

JoeCapitalist2
Orem, UT

There is a lot of complaining about how Mitt Romney managed to ONLY pay about 15% of his income in federal taxes. They then point out their own top rate at 28% and cry how that is unfair.

There is a difference between marginal tax rates and effective tax rates. With a flat tax, these two rates would be the same. With deductions, exemptions, and all kinds of tax allowances and credits, your effective tax rate will almost always be much lower than your top tax bracket.

No one ever paid those 90%+ top tax rates from 50 years ago. That argument is a red herring.

We should all be paying a flat tax rate of about 15% for all income earned above the poverty line. Get rid of all the tax deductions and loop holes. Government should easily be able to do everything it NEEDS to do on that revenue.

Unfortunately for progressives, the government would not be able to do half of the things it WANTS to do, but then we might have a little more liberty.

Schnee
Salt Lake City, UT

@JCS
"When will the left-wing learn that money does not grow on trees? Any dollar that the government gives to one person is a dollar that was taken from another. "

The only reason we're in this wealth inequality mess (where inequality is similar today to 2007 and 1928, years that preceded massive collapses in the economy) is because the people in control of paycheck size have decided over time to keep more for themselves, furthering said inequality. It's no wonder that the economy is slow to rebound when demand is so weak and demand is weak when the poor and middle class don't have as much money to spend.

Frozen Fractals
Salt Lake City, UT

@2bits
"Do we have the right to confiscate the proceeds of somebody else's labor?"

Arguably, a CEO taking massive pay and bonuses for himself and paying his workers little could be considered confiscating of the proceeds of somebody else's labor.

mcdugall
Murray, UT

@John Charity Spring - Did the Koch Brothers work hard? Or was it rather a circumstance of the family they were born into? The idea that the uber wealthy work hard and earn their wealth is greatly exaggerated. The other factor to consider, is if there were no public investment in education, roads, water, power, defense, food, police, fire, you get the idea, would any of these folks been able to become a millionaire?

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Re: "Did the Koch Brothers work hard"?

Do you think Koch Industries formed itself... and they just inherited it?

Fred C. Koch started Winkler-Koch Engineering Company in 1927. He didn't inherit it. He went to MIT and got an education. Then he used that education to develop new oil extraction processes that revolutionized that industry (and yes... made him and many others rich). But he didn't inherit anything.

His kids... that's a different story.

But not all wealth is Inherited (as you seem to assume).

===

It's also a false-assumption that nobody who's rich ever worked hard. Even if you inherit a company like this... If you don't work hard... it eventually failes (we've seen that happen plenty of times, father builds successful company, puts kids in charge... it goes broke).

====

We need to get over this idea that TAXES drive the economy. Taxes don't drive the economy... they drive the Government. They are 2 separate things.

Raising taxes doesn't HELP the economy (it helps the Government).

Lowering taxes helps the economy (not the Government). That's economics 101...

UtahBlueDevil
Durham, NC

"No! Everyone has an equal amount of opportunity for wealth."

False statement. Completely. To presume somehow the world is a level playing field is preposterous at best. The playing field in many aspects is more flat than ever, but not everyone has access to the same opportunity as others.

The whole discussion is a false argument. We do not practice wealth redistribution... we do not take money from the wealthy and hand it to the poor. If we are trying to do this, we are failing miserably at it. What is really being discussed i is redistribution of tax burden. For taxation to be considered redistribution of wealth it would have to target and benefit only certain groups. But the majority of the national budget benefits everyone regardless of social economic status. There is no means testing on the vast majority of benefits in this nation - there for no redistribution. When you loose a job, all are entitled to unemployment benefits. In most cases, the more you made, the more your benefit. Same with Social Security.

We are talking about redistribution of tax burden, not wealth. Not as sexy. Not the cool political sound bite. But not redistribution.

marxist
Salt Lake City, UT

"Will taxing the wealthy fix the economy or ruin it?" Speaking as a doctrinaire Marxist my answer would be "neither." As described in Marx's "Capital" capitalism has a dynamic which forces ever increasing concentrations of wealth in fewer and fewer hands. Tax policy can only slightly shift this process. As per Marx, capitalism will, in spite of the technical innovations it fosters, ruin itself.

patriot
Cedar Hills, UT

Oh come on ...just raise taxes on rich people like in France (up to 75%)....then the rich people will gladly pay ...which will then cause those same rich people to want to expand their business and grow and hire more people ....and the economy will get better. Right??? So simple. Liberals are so smart.

Way of the Warrior
Arlington, WA

I may be too simple minded, but it seems to me, everyone should be taxed at the same rate (including corporations) and that the government shouldn't be spending more money than it receives.

patriot
Cedar Hills, UT

I like the sign in the photo - "pass the fair tax act". I wonder if the sign holder is willing to pay her fair share?? NOT!! So what is "fair". Hmmmm - how about the law of tithing? Tithing is the Lords economic law - is it fair? Everyone pays 10%. If you make 1 Million you pay 100k. If you make 1 Thousand you pay 100. Interesting how those preaching about fairness never seem to want to contribute anything. I had a friend like that in high school. I always had to drive everywhere - he would never drive anywhere. Somehow in his mind that was fair. I guess he figured that since I "got" to drive him around and enjoy his company that was my payback. Stupid me.

Kindred
Mesa, AZ

I consistently fail to see how raising taxes, such that the government has more funding, will mean a better economy and more jobs. If there is a connection, I can't find it. You may say that there have been times historically when taxes were higher and things were better economically, but it's an overly simplistic argument. There are too many other variables at work to presume the higher taxes were the cause of a better economy.

LDS Liberal
Farmington, UT

Let's see --

Higher taxes on the wealthy in the 1940's - 1970's "fixed" the economy.
Lower taxes on the wealthy in the 1990's - 2010's "ruined" the economy.

So, I say raise the taxes to the level of the 1950's!
Heaven knows lower taxes didn't work!

MC Ute
Midvale, UT

At what point are you "Rich". If you make 30,000.00 and pay 10% taxes you have 27,000.00 a year left over for you to use. If being rich is somebody who makes 200,000.00 a year and you think they should pay 90% taxes because the are "rich" now they only have 20,000.00 a year left over so then who is "rich". The best economy is one that has opportunity for all to succeed because of hard work not one where everyone is equal no matter what they contribute. I would suggest a simple Children's storybook "The little Red Hen" this is what the world has become, somebody else do all the work everybody wants a piece of the pie. If you are not satisfied with you lot in life change it, after all "If you always do what you have always done, You will always get what you have always got"

UtahBlueDevil
Durham, NC

@Patriot, or we could do what the Conservatives did last time they were in power - lower taxes, increase spending, and declare two unfunded wars.... that did wonders for the budget. And the economy performed so well under that plan too...

Between the liberals and conservatives.... perhaps if we compromised in the middle, we might get to a reasonable answer.

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

If a group of people decide to buy a community automobile to be used by all should they share the cost of the automobile and its maintenance, in terms of time reserved, the miles driven, the number of people transported, the speed driven, whether day or night or a simple flat apportionment equally on all users.

A "Fair Tax" method might use all of these with some items being exempted for certain people.

A simple tax method would use the most likely measurement of use, and tax proportionately. Like milage.

If America would tax people according to the benefit they receive from citizenship, the most likely measurement would be a flat rate on personal income. It might not be perfect but it would be the most fair.

Tyler D
Meridian, ID

@Kindred – “I consistently fail to see how raising taxes, such that the government has more funding, will mean a better economy and more jobs. If there is a connection, I can't find it.”

Because you are failing to see that some forms of government spending have a multiplier effect. As two simple examples:

1.Transfer payments to Grandma for a new hip.
2.Government funded transportation project.

Number one does not have a multiplier effect and can be said to diminish economic output. Number two, provided the transportation project is economically beneficial (i.e., it is not a “bridge to nowhere”) it typically has a multiplier effect far in excess of the tax to fund it.

But it gets a bit tricky because even in example #1, if taxes were imposed on a low velocity source (i.e., income not cycled back through the economy – as economists are discovering is the case with some portion of the super-rich’s income), it will have a positive multiplier effect.

It is only right-wing ideology that tells you all taxes are bad, not economic facts…

JoeCapitalist2
Orem, UT

Tyler D.: "...It is only right-wing ideology that tells you all taxes are bad..."

Why do liberals always assume that those who advocate less government and lower taxes want NO taxes and NO government? Even the most right-wing conservative realizes that we need many government services and we need to pay for them.

I won't return the favor and accuse you of thinking that "all taxes are good". Even the most left-wing liberal will admit that many taxes are just plain wasted on worthless government projects.

We need government to protect us, build common infrastructure, and provide rule of law. It needs to provide basic needs for the poor, disabled, and old.

But our current government is doing somewhere between two and three times what it should. That is why we are $17 trillion in debt in spite of very high taxes.

Tyler D
Meridian, ID

@Ultra Bob – “If America would tax people according to the benefit they receive from citizenship, the most likely measurement would be a flat rate on personal income. It might not be perfect but it would be the most fair.”

Consider this –

When the size of any enterprise reaches a certain level, increases in revenue are largely a function of economies of scale – i.e., the owner of the business is not working any harder operating 50 stores as 5,000 (he just hires more managers).

If we recognize that his tremendous gain in wealth based on scale is due to a population who has the means to buy his products (by society educating & keeping healthy this population), the benefit he receives is exponential above the benefit of government services he uses directly.

Same goes for the pro-athlete, rock star, movie star or anyone else whose services are valued by millions.

By this account, the “fair tax” for the economies-of-scale rich (which includes inherited wealth) is not the same as the rate for the rest of us.

@ JoeCapitalist2

Point taken…

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