The Least, First

Monte Asbury's blog

Search Results

Senators Kyl and Lincoln propose cuts in multi-millionaires’ estate taxes

leave a comment »

UPDATE, April 4: “As the New York Times explained, under Obama’s budget, ‘99.8 percent of estates will never — ever — pay a penny of estate tax.'”


Paris Hilton at a press conference for GoYello...

Image via Wikipedia

DEARBORN, MI - MARCH 5:  Wal-Mart employee Had...
Image by Getty Images
via Daylife

Jesus’ take on things includes the idea that the rich can help themselves and the poor deserve the help of all of us. That view, espoused by many teachers, has become Government Morality 101 for Christian and non-Christian alike through the centuries: hence, most Americans today believe in progressive tax rates.

The rich have their champions, too. Two senators—one a retirement-state Republican and one a Wal-Mart-headquarters-state Democrat—have proposed relieving the nation of $250 billion to help adult kids of the very rich enjoy wealth without work:

clipped from thinkprogress.org
Sens. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) and Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) have offered a $250 billion proposal to cut estate taxes for the children of multi-millionaires
Kyl and Lincoln’s “most pressing issue is clear: America’s wealthiest families need help. Now.”
“only 0.2 percent of the additional cost of the proposal, relative to [the Obama proposal], would go toward tax cuts for small businesses and farms.”
The rest of the cost, approximately $249.5 billion, would go to the inheritors of estates worth over $7 million. Paris Hilton, get excited.
The Waltons — the Arkansas-based family that founded Wal-Mart — are one of the key groups financing the campaign
“With all the serious work before Congress, it is a colossal waste of time to have to rebut the false claims and warped premises of ardent estate-tax cutters,” the NYT writes. “Ms. Lincoln’s and Mr. Kyl’s colleagues in the Senate should make short work of it and move on to urgent matters.”
blog it
Portrait shows Florence Thompson with several ...

Image via Wikipedia

I’m sure this will be pitched as a valiant, virtuous war of liberation against the “death tax,” but we’re talking about $7 million estates and up, here, not Grandpa’s 120 acres. And the years of Bush have given us the greatest disparity between rich and poor since the Great Depression.

Moving government income sourcing away from those who can effortlessly afford it and onto the backs of those who earn less is ethically questionable, especially in times like these. And inviting the very rich to create a generation that need not work while those who work for them can’t afford healthcare (with the Waltons, ironically—heirs of America’s largest low-benefit employer—leading the charge) ought to offend us.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Why cutting rich folks’ taxes doesn’t stimulate the economy

with 2 comments

And what does.

Another fascinating post comes from the ever-excellent True Conservative.

Consider: In 2007, only 9% of privately-held U.S. businesses … cited a “shortage of long-term finance” as a constraint on expansion. “Shortage of skilled workers” is No. 1.

So how do you increase the number of skilled workers? Here’s the story:

clipped from trueconservative.typepad.com
Here’s the central tenet of supply-side/trickle-down/voodoo Reaganomics:
If rich people get (and keep) more money, they will invest it and promote economic growth, so everyone will prosper.
That would (perhaps) be true if a shortage of investment were an important constraint on businesses […]
But availability of investment money is the least important constraint […]
[I]t ranks dead last on the list of business constraints. […]
A shortage of skilled workers in now the #1 constraint […]

Constraint 2
[This is the] economic view so ably explicated by James Livingston, which I summarize and link to here […]
The fact is that wealthy people can’t find truly productive investments offering sufficient returns, so they turn instead to investments that don’t have anything to do with production or productivity. (Think: MBSes, CDOs, CDSes, etc.)[…]
Since the greatest constraint on growth is currently a shortage of skilled workers, the best path to prosperity seems to be taxing those unproductive dollars and investing them in the thing that … is prosperity-producing: education.
Making sure that wealthy people have plenty of money is not the way to produce prosperity. That’s a self-serving myth […]
blog it

Provocative, eh?


Tags: , , , , , , , , , Monte Asbury

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Written by Monte

November 21, 2008 at 10:50 pm

Do lower taxes on top 1% boost the economy?

with 8 comments

Since the days of Reagan, many have held that the economy can be stimulated by cutting taxes on the incomes of people who have the most money to invest. An insightful analysis at LaneKenworthy.net offers evidence questioning that assumption. Consider some intriguing observations on the data graphed below.

Chart 1: Note that at the close of World War II, Americans in the top 1% of income paid a marginal tax rate of 90%. Now, it’s about 35%. I’m sure most Americans don’t realize how profoundly this rate has fallen.

Chart 2: As the rate dropped, government revenue from this group (as a proportion of GDP) plummeted. Find ‘the late ’90s through 2001; compare them with ’02-’05.

Chart 3: Finally, note the comparison of the top 1%’s marginal tax rate with the growth rate of the national GDP. Note that it’s pretty tough to find a link between the two.

clipped from lanekenworthy.net
The following chart shows the top marginal rate and the average effective rate on the top 1% of taxpayers since World War II

The following chart shows federal government tax revenues as a share of GDP by the effective tax rate on the top 1%. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Monte

January 16, 2008 at 7:50 pm

Posted in Politics

Americans of a Lesser God?

leave a comment »

Burlington
Image via Wikipedia

I came across this honest piece at the excellent Blog for Iowa.  Sounds like it was originally published in my home-town newspaper, The Burlington Hawk-Eye.  [That’s beautiful Burlington,  left, at the top.]

I had the following published in the Burlington newspaper last Saturday. I offer it here for people to use, distribute further, etc. My essay is a little long and rambling, but I have been silent too long. And we dare not lose this fight.

David Ure
Burlington, Iowa

~To what lesser God do those people who have no health care insurance belong? What sin did they commit? I have no doubt some of them have made mistakes, made bad choices, engaged in illegal or immoral activities in some instances, didn’t get themselves elected to the state house or Congress; but not all 47 million plus.

The time has come, if we are to continue to call ourselves a nation of God and faith and fairness, for every American to have health insurance. My preference is to plop everyone into Medicare whose operational costs are half to 2/3 lower than the private sector, and allow the insurance companies the opportunity to sell all of us supplemental policies as my elderly, now long-gone, relatives purchased for years.

But I won’t say it has to be this way or nothing. More than anything else, I want to see coverage in place for everyone, and for it to be there in as direct and obvious a manner as can be cobbled together. Read the rest of this entry »

Protecting private profits: the reason the healthcare debate goes on

leave a comment »

And the reason it is so hard to understand: politicians are trying to craft a plan that preserves the problem while fixing it. It’s been that way since Harry Truman.
clipped from www.truthout.org
“Absent from the debate are not only single-payer systems like the ones in England and Canada, but other systems with multiple payers, like ones in Germany and Japan – or, for that matter, any discussion of why a system that relies on competition among private insurers in The Netherlands hasn’t resulted in lower prices for consumers, as advocates claimed.”

    The variety of health care delivery systems abroad, in industrialized countries, spans a common assumption – health care as a human right – an assumption that doesn’t cut the mass-media mustard in the United States. “What’s common to all these systems,” Lieberman points out, “is that everyone is entitled to health care and pays taxes to support the system, and medical costs are controlled by limits on spending. The specter of a system that takes a significant bite out of stakeholder profits in the US is the real reason the debate is so restricted.”

“Reform efforts have danced around this impasse for decades.”
  blog it

Written by Monte

July 24, 2009 at 11:17 am

Posted in Politics