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

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SEY
Sandy, UT

Just to clarify the arguments regarding labor union participation in the U.S., the highest point of union participation was 35.5% in 1945. In 1950, participation was slightly lower, then by 1960 the rate was just above 30%. By 1970, the rate was under 25%. A precipitous decline began about 1970, so by 1995 the rate was 15%. The descent has been gradual since that point and may be nearing a bottom.

To attribute a successful economy to the existence of labor unions is specious at best. I think you'll find a more telling explanation in the policies of the Federal Reserve. The chairman of the Federal Reserve during the so-called "golden years" of the 1950's was William McCheseny Martin. Unlike his successor Arthur Burns, he successfully held off the demands of presidents and their administrations that the Fed "juice" the economy with low interest rates and easy money. He infuriated Lyndon Johnson during the 1960's in LBJ's quest for a "guns and butter" policy that would have required massive infusions of fiat money.

You want to find the culprit in this crony-capitalist economy, look no further than Fed policies.

GaryO
Virginia Beach, VA

Chris B –

“I would be lazy and a thief if I thought I could demand my neighbor pay for my share of government resources.”

So in other words, the ultra-rich who do not pay their share are lazy thieves too?
I think you may be on to something.

The highest earners paid over 90 percent back in the 1950’s when Eisenhower was President, and the nation was doing well.

They their tax rate is only 35%, and consequently the nation is struggling to pay its bills.
It’s time for the rich to pay their fair share again.

Maybe we should do what works for a change, instead of kowtowing to the likes of the Koch brothers who insist the rich should pay even less taxes.

Plutocrats like the Koch brothers have made nodding peons out of a huge segment of Americans, and that is a real pity. But at the same time the Kochs have convinced these gullible, “Conservative” poor and middle class that by being servile to the rich, they are in reality exercising their rights as proud individualists.

People are funny.

The Real Maverick
Orem, UT

"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."

Thank you for stating why we need more government regulation on Wall Street, cut the defense budget in half, and raise taxes. Gotta pay off the debt by also bringing in more revenue.

John Charity Spring
Back Home in Davis County, UT

Not a single left-wing poster has refuted the established truth that those who are wealthy are much better managers of money than the government is. That is irrefutable fact.

The Real Maverick
Orem, UT

"Not a single left-wing poster has refuted the established truth that those who are wealthy are much better managers of money than the government is. That is irrefutable fact."

Two points here...

What happened in 2008?
So why don't you give all of your hard earned money to some billionaire in hopes that he will maintain your roads and services?

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

Even a casual reading of the Constitution shows that the duties allocated to the Federal Government are general in nature, none of which have anything to do with personal welfare or government paid subsidies to citizens, yet there are those who continually tell us that the "rich" should bear a larger portion of the federal debt than they pay.

We, the people, as a group, rely on the Federal Government to protect the States against attack. No State is left to itself if attacked. Should the State of Nevada bear a larger burden when bills are allocated to the States for defense than the State of New York? Nevada is larger in land area. More of the State of Nevada is "owned" by the Federal Government than the State of New York. So, why shouldn't the people of Nevada, and all who visit there, pay 150% more, or 200% more, or 500% more than those who live in New York?

That same faulty reasoning is the basis for those who demand that the "rich" should pay more per capita than the "poor".

Open Minded Mormon
Everett, 00

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

Nevada is larger in land area. More of the State of Nevada is "owned" by the Federal Government than the State of New York. So, why shouldn't the people of Nevada, and all who visit there, pay 150% more, or 200% more, or 500% more than those who live in New York?

========

Because dry empty desert does make any money, or pay any taxes.

The Cosntitution was written for "people", not dirt.

FYI -- The "people" of New York already DO pay more in taxes than the people of Nevada.

If Fact - the "rich" guys in New York are paying the "poor" guys in Nevada.

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

LDS Liberal, what you wrote may be your opinion, but nowhere in the Constitution have we, the people, given the Federal Government authority to protect US. What we have authorized the Federal Government to do is to protect the Union, the Federation of States, such that if one State were to be attacked, all States would unitedly respond to protect the UNION.

The fundamental misunderstanding that many people have, that somehow the duty of the Federal Government is to protect our individual lives, to wipe our noses, to feed us, to clothe us, to educate us, is at the root of the "tax the rich" fallacy.

No one person's life is safeguarded by the Constitution. (Protecting you is the job of your local police department.) Without a Union, each State would be at the mercy of every government on earth. Nevada, with few people, would be a likely candidate for takeover by any nation. The "dirt" of Nevada is just as precious as the "dirt" of New York. No citizen is more responsible for protecting the Union than another, no matter how poor or wealthy he might be.

The Real Maverick
Orem, UT

We need more money to pay for our own defense, infrastructure, education, and health care.

Repubs want to place this burden solely on the poor and middle class.

The only logical way to pay for these completely necessary services is to tax those making the most. There won't be negative consequences. The rich were taxed a lot more before and our economy soared! They can do so again.

David
Centerville, UT

It is obvious that government is looking for any revenue stream it can: carbon tax, increased taxes on the wealthy, healthcare tax (Obamacare). Government is growing too fast…faster than its revenue growth. What is the main cause of government growth?

Well, besides liberalism, the main cause is social security, medicaid, medicare, and now Obamacare. The welfare state.

Cut federal spending and we won't have a deficit problem after 10 years (the Paul Ryan plan).

Now to be fair, I agree with Alan Simpson and the commission that Obama created to present a proposal for cuts vs. tax increases. There should be some modest increases in taxes--primarily closing loopholes, but also spreading the tax base. When 47% of Americans pay no income tax, that is a big problem. But the panel also called for reduced spending, changes to social security, and changes to other entitlement programs, as well as decreases in defense spending.

I agree with those proposals. But Obama failed to listen to his own commission.

Shaun
Sandy, UT

I propose that republicans stop talking and just eliminate all taxes on the rich. Just do it. Let us see how that experiment would turn out.

Screwdriver
Casa Grande, AZ

The Earth was created for all of God's children but the devious ones have redistributed it all to themselves and now want the rest of us to serve them rather than God.

The conservative term of wealth redistribution starts out with the wrong assumptions. It assumes that the Earth's bounties were created for and belong to the small percentage of the population that have used all kinds of devious means to control those blessings.

Frozen Fractals
Salt Lake City, UT

@David
"Government is growing too fast…faster than its revenue growth."

Actually it's growing extremely slowly the last few years which is why the deficit is falling so fast from over a trillion to projected to be under 500 billion this year.

Federal Spending
2009: 3.517 trillion
2010: 3.457 trillion
2011: 3.603 trillion
2012: 3.537 trillion
2013: 3.455 trillion
2014 (estimate): 3.651 trillion

pragmatistferlife
salt lake city, utah

As Hutterite said the answer to the question is neither, and it's a very bad question born of partisanship not curiosity.

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

Unfortunately 2bits, that's one of the premises of Pikkety's exhaustive study and book. Inherited, and non work related wealth is in fact becoming dominant again, and is growing faster than gdp, thus the income gap.

Here's another conservative premise that is wrong. Progressives believe that taxing the wealthy is the way to eliminate poverty. Progressives just like conservatives believe that jobs and work is the way to eliminate poverty. What we disagree about is the role of government in creating an environment of work.

RedShirtCalTech
Pasedena, CA

To "LDS Liberal" again with the same post.

Lets look at the facts about the top 1%.

The top 1% control only 35% of all wealth. They earn only about 20% of all income taxes. Since we tax income and not wealth, according to your standard, they should pay for 20% of all income taxes. The reality is that they pay 37% of all income taxes. According to your standards, they are paying MORE than their fair share.

You pay 28% of your income to taxes because your income is based on a salary. Mitt Romney's salary is based on investments either through dividends (already taxed at the corporate level) or through capital gains. If you wanted to retire and earn money through dividends and capital gains you are welcome to do so.

Why do you spend 100% of your income maintaining your lifestyle? Do you really need a large house and fancy cars? If Mitt only lives on 1% of his income that shows how careful he is with his money.

David
Centerville, UT

Frozen Fractals,

Unfunded liabilities due to demographics (baby boomers retiring) will introduce $70 Trillion (that's Trillion with a capital "T") to the national budget. Federal spending is dropping now, but is projected to increase dramatically by 2020. Do you want to wait until 2021 to address this?

Liberalism and the welfare state has broken our nation, we just don't recognize it yet because 2020 hasn't arrived yet. Something must be done. Obama's commission got it right: spread the tax base (47% of Americans paying no income tax is not fair, right?), a moderate increase in taxes, dramatic spending reductions through reform to Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare and other entitlement/welfare programs, and reduction to defense spending.

Problem solved.

airnaut
Everett, 00

@RedShirtCalTech
Pasedena, CA

Lets look at the facts about the top 1%.

========

OK, let's apply another Conservative myth...

Wealth creates jobs.

Using "your" numbers,
the 1% own 35% of everything,
and should be creating 35% of the jobs,
and 35% of us should be working for them.

But,
Small businees account for MOST of America.
There are 28,000,000 small businesses in the U.S. -- which outnumber corporations 1162 to 1

Small businesses employ 57% of the country

Small businesses pay 44% of U.S. payroll

Small businesses aren't anywhere NEAR the Billionaires you think are doing all the work, producing all the stuff, and fueling and driving America's economy.

The 1% are TAKERS, not Makers!

RedShirtCalTech
Pasedena, CA

To "airnaut" those are not my numbers. Those numbers come from Forbes, USA Today, and the IRS.

The top 1% are not these mega millionaires. The top 1% earns at least $350,000/yr, the top 5% starts at $160,000/yr, and the top 10% (that is you) starts at $113,000/yr.

The top 1% are not Billionares either. According to the IRS, they have an average net worth of $14 million.

Plus, not all of the people in the top 1% own or run small businesses. Take John Huntsman Sr. as an example. He is in the top 1% and does not own a small business. He owns a HUGE business that employs thousands of people. He grew his business from a small business into a big one, just like many of the billionaires out there.

The question for you is why to you hate the rich so much? Do you not want to move up from the top 10% to top 5% of incomes in the US?

Explain how they are "takers and not makers".

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