Tag Archives: Warren Buffett

And the Rich get Richer…

U.S. Wealth Gain

Of all wealth gained in the U.S. since 1983, almost 82% went to the richest 5% of Americans, while the poorest people actually lost wealth.

Class warfare.  That’s what John Boehner, Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan, and pretty much the entire group of GOP presidential candidates have called Obama’s proposal to (gasp!) tax the rich.   As this story points out though, since 1983, the vast majority of America’s growing wealth went to those who didn’t need it.   An astounding 81.7% of all new wealth generated since 1983 went to the richest 5% of Americans.  ONLY the top 40% of Americans by wealth gained wealth over the period, while the bottom 60% of Americans actually lost wealth since 1983

I feel like I’m beating a dead horse lately with the topics I’ve been addressing, but given the news lately, the topic keeps rearing its ugly head.   Wealth inequality in the U.S. continues to grow, the rich do indeed keep getting richer and the poor do indeed keep getting poorer.  But in very dark economic times, when “shared sacrifice” is supposedly needed, we can’t ask the richest Americans to pay their fair share?   An attempt to raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans, the ONE group the recession hasn’t seemed to harm, is decried as “class warfare” by the GOP?

Don’t shoot the messenger here, but in some ways, you know who is partially to blame for the growing gap between rich and poor?  The working poor themselves.  WAIT!  Let me explain!!  As I’ve stated before out here, I will NEVER understand the motivations that have somehow led to SO many working class Americans to identify themselves as Republicans.   When over a period of many decades, wealth distribution is continually skewed towards the rich, why would SO many working class Americans relate to a party that wants to reduce or eliminate their right to collectively bargain and form unions?  Why would SO many working class Americans relate to a party that supports a tax structure where, as he himself states, Warren Buffett pays the lowest tax rate of anyone in his office, including his lowest paid secretaries? 

Obama tried to change “politics as usual” in Washington.  He spent much of the last 2 years attempting to compromise with Republicans, only to find that Republicans weren’t the slightest bit interested in compromise.  He agreed to extend the Bush tax cuts without asking for anything in return.  He tried to negotiate with Boehner and the GOP over the debt ceiling debacle, and came off the fiasco of a “negotiation” looking very, very weak.   Thank GOD Obama has started to take the gloves off and play hardball.  As he has found out, you simply can’t change the politics in Washington all by yourself.  You can’t attempt to negotiate with those who are unreasonable, and in trying to do so, he just kept coming away with a bloody nose.

With Obama’s jobs program he recently announced, and now with Obama’s stance on long-term deficit reduction, including his threat to VETO any attempt to reduce social welfare programs if tax increases weren’t included in a debt deal, it appears he’s finally realized that the only way to deal with the Republicans is to beat them at their own game.  Obama has learned to call the GOP’s bluff…now we’ll see if the GOP continues to bank on the American public supporting millionaire tax cuts over a more equitable system.

Taxing the Rich "Bad Economics"?

Deficit Surplus Graph

A booming economy, and a budget surplus prior to the Bush tax cuts. But Paul Ryan says raising taxes on the rich is "bad economics".

Paul Ryan is (of course) ripping Obama’s plans to raise taxes on the rich.  Ryan says the plan is good politics, but “bad economics”.   One thing I have to admit….Republicans have mastered the ability to control the national political dialogue.  Just 3 years after the recession, Republicans have somehow turned the political discussion away from Wall Street, away from corporate greed, and away from the economic effects of the Bush tax cuts, and focused the entire political debate on the size of government and the supposedly negative impact taxes are having on the economy.

The graph on the top of this NY Times article shows just how much of the deficit is due to the Bush tax cuts.  Simply letting the Bush tax cuts expire at the end of 2012 brings the long-term deficit down to a sustainable level.  How to fix the deficit issue?  LET THE TAX CUTS EXPIRE and the debt issue is largely taken care of.  But yet the Republicans have been able to frame the entire debate on the debt on cutting spending, and have somehow made raising taxes completely off limit.

Clearly the economy did just fine under the tax rates under the Clinton administration.  There was no “uncertainty” or reluctance to hire due to tax rates, as Paul Ryan says will happen if Obama is allowed to raise taxes on the rich.  Poll after poll shows the public as a whole wants a balanced approach to reducing the deficit, including support for raising revenue through higher taxes.  Even a very large majority of Republicans recognize the need to both cut spending and raise taxes.  

What’s very clear…the statement is true that one party’s stance on taxes is “good politics, but bad economics.”  But clearly Ryan and the Republicans should be pointing the finger at themselves, not at Obama and the Democrats.

Perusin' & Musin'

Some random thoughts from perusing the headlines…

  • Bachman outlines economic agenda – Her “economic agenda”, if you are generous and let her call it that, includes repealing financial reforms and cutting corporate taxes.  Yes, let’s reduce regulation and lower taxes even more.  It did wonders for the economy under Bush.
  • SEC satisfied with current alignment — It must really suck to be a Texas A&M fan right now.  They basically announce they’re leaving the Big 12 and hated rival Texas, only to be turned down by the SEC.  Thank god my Huskers left the mess in the Texas (Big) 12.
  • Choice not so simple for Bubba – Yes, the choice is simple, Bubba.  You can choose to be a QB for my beloved Huskers and start classes this fall.  Or you can take a $8-10 million signing bonus and play baseball.  TAKE THE MONEY.  Say goodbye to my Huskers.  There are no guarantees in life, and you just can’t pass this by.  College can wait.
  • GOP Can’t be Just About Tax Cuts – Rick Santorum?  As a voice of sanity in the GOP?  That’s how crazy things have gotten.
  • MIT Claims UN Arctic Predictions are Inaccurate — Good news for those of you who dream of sailing to the North Pole.  According to MIT, you may be able to do so in your lifetime.
  • Stop Coddling the Super Rich — Warren Buffett, you are my hero.  And you’re a Husker to boot…
  • $300 million hypersonic aircraft goes missing — It’s not enough that we can destroy the planet 100 times over.  We need to be able to do it FASTER.  So let’s spend $300 million a pop on a faster weapons platform, and simultaneously cut education and science programs.  Balancing the Nation’s budget isn’t that difficult, IF our priorities weren’t so damned crazy.