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Posted at 12:00 AM ET, 02/24/2011

Out there

By Tom Toles

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And in case you missed it, the winner of our second caption cartoon contest is...
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Food for thought

When I was little, my grandmother told me a story about a farmer and his mule. The mule did lots of work, which the farmer liked, but ate a lot of food, too, which the farmer didn't like so much. The farmer cut the mule's food in half, and the mule did just as much work. So the farmer cut the mule's food in half again, and the mule still did just as much work. So the farmer cut the mule's food in half again, and the mule died.

I had absolutely no idea what the heck this story meant when she told me, but it's clear enough now. As uprisings in the middle east to worker protests here demonstrate, you can squeeze people for fun and profit, and they will take it, until they don't. The only difference is that the mule is more likely to kick your teeth in than die quietly.

The Tea Party would fall into this category, too, if they hadn't gotten diverted into hauling wagonloads of extra dessert servings to this very farmer. Speaking of which, here's the data THAT THEY DON'T WANT YOU TO SEE! We are not above tabloid headlines here. Take off the blinders and check out these graphs showing how wildly the rewards disparity has grown! Then look in your feed bag. --Tom Toles

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By Tom Toles  | February 24, 2011; 12:00 AM ET
Categories:  Economy and jobs, Tea party  
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Comments

All these blogs reflect concern with "fair" taxation of income. Why not base more federal taxes on net worth?

The top 20% of income earners pay more than 50% of taxes. That's sounds unfair to those people clever enough to earn a very high income. Why should they pay so much?

Part of the answer is that the top 20% own over 80% of the nations's assets.

Now, more than half of the current federal budget is devoted to protection of assets. The DOD, for example, besides pursuing a couple of wars, maintains bases in 80 some countries. Why not have 80% of the DOD budget paid through taxes on the net worth of the top 20%? The balance of the DOD budget should be paid through taxes on those big contractors who bill so much for services (many of which are suspect).

You might also say that medicare should be paid for by medicare recipients. But it turns out that medicare recipients already pay for most of it through monthly deductions from their social security checks.

But what about medicare prescription drug payments to drug companies? Well part of that should be paid through direct taxation of drug companies who make so much money out of the plan.

Also, most wealth nowadays seems to come from money lending, not only on mortgages and credit cards, but from lending to finance the growing national debt. So rich capitalists should be asked to pay higher taxes on their profits from money lending.

And, of course, investors who send their money to competitive countries to support manufacturers who pay slave wages should be asked to pay more taxes on their foreign investments.

Yep, taxes ought to reflect more than just income inequality.

Posted by: loyalsyst | February 27, 2011 12:09 AM | Report abuse

~~~My Comment...
Unions are not the problem. The problem is unemployment, under employment and poverty wages. dave~~~~

Conflicting statements there dave...
this blog is so full of them!

Posted by: bertzel | February 25, 2011 8:41 AM | Report abuse

~~~OK say two in college 18 and 20 and wife and husband. 4 adults of legal age 100,000 income from two wage earners = 25,000 average income.
Posted by: dalyplanet | February 24, 2011 7:25 PM~~~

HA!!what a load of that cartoon up there!
What if there is only on 'wage earner' and the two college kids are also working????
your numbers do not add up!

Posted by: bertzel | February 25, 2011 8:37 AM | Report abuse

Oh my God! Has no one noticed the Muslim crescent on the doorway?
Posted by: growing_weary

My Weary Reply...
Out houses have had a crescent moon as an icon since the beginning of time.
It has nothing to do with Muslims unless there happens to be one using the facility.
This kind of false association is a classic propaganda ploy by ruthless trouble makers to make false accusations.

The peace symbol that was intended to represent the claw of a dove of peace was construed to represent a broken cross by Christians who preferred war to peace.
Christ was supposed to be the dove of peace sent from God.
The Christians have had a bad habit of claiming Holy Wars in the name of Christ.
When will it end?
People killing each other is counter productive and uncivilized behavior.
Why are we bent on our own destruction?
A guilty conscience?
Dave


Posted by: OchamsRazor | February 25, 2011 2:36 AM | Report abuse

@dalyplanet | February 24, 2011 9:58 PM

Explain your comment or are you trolling.

Still trying to tie the increase in food prices to ethanol corn?

Posted by: ptgrunner | February 24, 2011 10:32 PM | Report abuse

PTG

HUH ???

How does tax wealthy B Gates 2% in answer to a question turn into "you will never get the money"??

Bust that Union !!!!

Posted by: dalyplanet | February 24, 2011 9:58 PM | Report abuse

@gilbertbp | February 24, 2011 2:30 PM and dalyplanet

You guys don't get it...do you? That money is not available to YOU. Never will be. It's for the already wealthy. You can kill unions in WI and everywhere else. The fictional money that you think you will get will never go to you. And while you don't realize it, this is all about killing unions, and you will no benefit at all from it.

You probably saw all the graphic information showing the flow of wealth from the middle class to the wealthy. Many people dismissed that data since Mother Jones compiled it. But those graphs are from many studies done by researchers. At least gilbertbp had the sense to change his argument from wealth transfer to taxes.

Posted by: ptgrunner | February 24, 2011 9:41 PM | Report abuse

@ dave,
Unions feed off the problem dave therefore add to the problem. Unions are no longer useful in this day and age.
Posted by Bertzel

My Retort...
Unions are a big part of the problem. They no longer represent the workers. They have their own agenda. They are the reason that the working people are no longer able to support their life style, their government or the supply side of economics.
The working people are at the mercy of big business as is small businesses that depend on working people being able to pay for their products and services.

On the subject of conservative/liberal; it should be obvious to everyone that these terms are meaningless without a qualifier. However, there is a bred called "conservative" who are anything but conservative. They are wasting lives, void of moral principles, squander money and undermine social stability on foolish ventures while ignoring real threats.
Life is not a game of monopoly; it is a real time expenditure of people's life experiences and physical environment.
Dave



Posted by: OckamsRazor | February 24, 2011 8:41 PM | Report abuse

OK say two in college 18 and 20 and wife and husband. 4 adults of legal age 100,000 income from two wage earners = 25,000 average income.

Posted by: dalyplanet | February 24, 2011 7:25 PM | Report abuse

@ dave,
Unions feed off the problem dave therefore add to the problem. Unions are no longer useful in this day and age.
Hot air dave? Why would you say that? Sky view??? Do tell…lol.

FYI dave…the middle class has been on a downward spiral for well over a decade (at least that is when I first noticed)…just no one bothered to take notice until recently…well perhaps I am exaggerating on that point. SOME middle class Americans saw what was happening but thought the typical, “not much we can do about it is there.” I have heard that many a time and even have said it myself…the rest of the middle class were too overworked , just happy to get that paycheck,or busy competing with the ‘Joneses’ and most likely never bothered to ‘look up’.
Which I guess addresses your manipulation point…The American People have always, are always, and, will continue to be manipulated…democracy at its finest.
Look at the middle east…would really like to know the ‘truth’ behind that movement….

Speaking of lunacy dave…I highly doubt our troops will be shooting at the American public on the streets just like in Libya and I won’t even touch your ‘president’ comment.
Although I am not a conservative, I do believe in a few of the conservative ideals as I do liberal ideals…I tend to travel in the middle of the road and, generally, don’t consider either party to be lunatics. There is some good on both the left and the right. There is also bad on both sides as well….
Think that is the true problem with our governing body today dave. If only we could figure out a way to combine the good things of both parties and get rid of the bad…course that is just my opinion.

As for my democratic Senators in hiding….I find it to be quite an embarrassment and am a tad po’d that I actually voted for one of them

Posted by: bertzel | February 24, 2011 7:24 PM | Report abuse

the average income is 25,000??
What do you mean by that?

Posted by: bertzel | February 24, 2011 7:11 PM | Report abuse

gilbertbp

Excellent posts today. I will answer your question. Bill Gates should pay 600 million annually or 2% OF HIS NET WORTH and then no death tax. Sometimes the response to a simple question here is the sound of crickets chirping.

e30m42

There is not a lot of FICA paid by the likes of Bill Gates. The MJ 90% number is unfair. Quintile groupings are statistically more accurate. Consider a family of four with 2 children in college and an income of 100,000. the average income is only 25,000. Or two young adult children of the top 1% that may have some money but no income. Again they are part of the 90%

Posted by: dalyplanet | February 24, 2011 6:52 PM | Report abuse

re gilbertbp "top 1% pay 38% of personal tax"

According to MJ chart 2, the top 1% have 34.6 % of wealth, so, offhand, 38% tax is not unreasonable.

From chart 1, the top 1% income, at $1.1 million, is 35 times greater than that of the bottom 90% who earn $31k.

When you earn 35 times more than the next guy, you can easily afford to pay a higher percentage of your income in tax. Furthermore, this doesn't account for FICA which effectively takes about 15% of income under $100k (roughly) or sales taxes which the low income pay on virtually all the money they earn.

And not to mention how the rich benefit from our infrastructure more than the poor: tax breaks for factories and stores, the preponderant use of our court system by the rich, US military defending overseas oil interests, etc.

I'm as far from a tax expert as one can get, but I'm not even sure whether these personal tax statistics apply to the rich--I often wonder how many are self incorporated to further minimize taxes.

Last, what about the tax-free perks that the rich get, especially corporate employees: e.g., my cousin gets to participate in several auto races every year. His boss wants all the executives to be drivers. I can only imagine how expensive racing is, but it is probably a tax writeoff. Their business is at best marginally related to the auto industry.

Posted by: e30m42 | February 24, 2011 5:56 PM | Report abuse

Instead, we get this BS - "Well, they should pay MORE, because they MAKE more."

Fine. Tell us how MUCH more they should pay.

How much of his $30 billion-plus should Bill Gates give up RIGHT NOW?

I want a number, followed by a unit of currency.

Posted by: gilbertbp

I don't know the number, but let's just say he should pay what he would have paid paying taxes in the 90s.

Posted by: jhnnywalkr | February 24, 2011 5:20 PM | Report abuse

~~~If you were going to start a business today, what would be your purpose? If you are at all honest, you'd answer, to better yourself, to pay your bills, to improve your standard of living, to provide for your family, to be able to retire early or at least comfortably. If you did well enough to "revitalize the country," and hire ten thousand employees, great, but you know that's not your purpose~~~

You don't get to summarize me!
And you are wrong to boot!
America needs jobs....Period.
any other summations by you have nothing to do with what America Needs...
The rich should pay tax on all monies earned in a year. All MONIES. Just like everyone else.

Posted by: bertzel | February 24, 2011 5:20 PM | Report abuse

bertzel: "Hey gilbertbp, just an 'off the wall question". If 'the Donald' runs for president, would you vote for him? Why or why not?"

Unlikely in the extreme. He wants a trade war with China. Nobody ever wins those things.

Posted by: gilbertbp | February 24, 2011 5:09 PM | Report abuse

PrairieDog60: "gilbert, I avoid getting into back and forths in here, so this is my last post addressed to you.

Are you really serious with your silly post? Okay, fetch me the federal books, a few accountants to help me go through them, all the data from the income made by all those in the top tier, and perhaps I can give you a number after studying it for a few months.

The top income tax rate in 1952 was 92%. It's now about 33%. So yes, I believe they can pay more, and our country will still be just fine. Even under Reagan in 1981 when his poll numbers were the best they'd ever be, the top rate was 71%. You conservatives ache for Reagan all the time, so...let's go back to 71% then."

Translation of the above: "I have no earthly idea, but whatever it is, it isn't enough."

My version is better - twelve words instead of a hundred eleven.

Posted by: gilbertbp | February 24, 2011 5:06 PM | Report abuse

~~~ I avoid getting into back and forths in here, so this is my last post addressed to you. pdog~~~

do you have any idea how annoying it is everytime you use that line....And I do mean Every Time!

Posted by: bertzel | February 24, 2011 5:05 PM | Report abuse

bertzel: "That may be the problem then. They should be interested in the revitalization of this country and WHAT THE PEOPLE WANT AND NEED ARE JOBS. They want to work and be a productive part of this nation. I agree government does not create wealth. I also agree with a lot of what you stated concerning ‘nanny status’."

Nobody ever started a business because he wanted to "revitalize the country" or give people jobs. He started a business because he wanted to make money.

The people who were geniuses at making money - the likes of Cornelius Vanderbilt, John D. Rockefeller, John Jacob Astor - created jobs as a product of the wealth they created. Wealth is not created by labor - think of "Cool Hand Luke," the scene where he labors at repeatedly digging and refilling a hole. Wealth is created by the INTELLIGENT DIRECTION of labor. That's what these men did. They industrialized 19th and 20th century America, created millions of jobs in the process, paid millions in taxes, and some of their companies still employ people today, decades after they themselves have died.

And how does history reward their memory? By slandering them as "robber barons."

If you were going to start a business today, what would be your purpose? If you are at all honest, you'd answer, to better yourself, to pay your bills, to improve your standard of living, to provide for your family, to be able to retire early or at least comfortably. If you did well enough to "revitalize the country," and hire ten thousand employees, great, but you know that's not your purpose.

And if government were to come along and say, "Well, Bertzel, you're doing mighty well for yourself with your business; how about giving some of it back, you know, spreading the wealth around?"

Wouldn't you answer, "Wait, I AM 'giving back;' I pay a good salary to anyone who helps my business make money. I'm not interested in 'spreading my wealth around.' I pay high taxes, and I give people jobs; what more do you want from me?"

And again, how much of Bill Gates's $30 billion-plus should he be forced to hand over RIGHT NOW?

Posted by: gilbertbp | February 24, 2011 5:01 PM | Report abuse

gilbert, I avoid getting into back and forths in here, so this is my last post addressed to you.

Are you really serious with your silly post? Okay, fetch me the federal books, a few accountants to help me go through them, all the data from the income made by all those in the top tier, and perhaps I can give you a number after studying it for a few months.

The top income tax rate in 1952 was 92%. It's now about 33%. So yes, I believe they can pay more, and our country will still be just fine. Even under Reagan in 1981 when his poll numbers were the best they'd ever be, the top rate was 71%. You conservatives ache for Reagan all the time, so...let's go back to 71% then.

Have a nice day.

Posted by: PrairieDog60 | February 24, 2011 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Hey gilbertbp, just an 'off the wall question". If 'the Donald' runs for president, would you vote for him? Why or why not?

Posted by: bertzel | February 24, 2011 4:50 PM | Report abuse

dog...do you have to bring up religion on this thread...think it would better serve you on 'Fridays' rant.

Posted by: bertzel | February 24, 2011 4:46 PM | Report abuse

@gilbertbp
~~~ You have just demonstrated you have no concept of how people get rich. They don't do it by stealing from the poor, who, by definition, can't even make themselves rich, let alone someone else.~~~

You have no idea of what I do and do not know. I also never said anything concerning how people get rich let alone your comment about stealing, etc.

~~~They aren't interested in "investing their money into the revitalization of these United States," nor should they be. They are interested in making money by giving people what they want or need and are willing to pay for.~~~

That may be the problem then. They should be interested in the revitalization of this country and WHAT THE PEOPLE WANT AND NEED ARE JOBS. They want to work and be a productive part of this nation. I agree government does not create wealth. I also agree with a lot of what you stated concerning ‘nanny status’.

By the way… if you have a profound point…it usually will not be met with a counterpoint…that's what I've been met with anyway (chuckle).

Posted by: bertzel | February 24, 2011 4:39 PM | Report abuse

PrairieDog60: "...So, doesn't it seem logical that yes, they WOULD pay a disproportionate amount of the income taxes, since they make a disproportionate amount of the income?

...Who can afford to give up more in times when the country is in need? Someone whose expendable income (that beyond meeting basic needs) is a huge percentage of their total, or someone whose expendable income is a very small percentage of their total (if they have any expendable income at all)?"

I love it. I asked earlier if someone would tell me whether all you "soak-the-rich" folks thought the rich were paying too much, not enough, or just the right amount of taxes, and if your answer wasn't "just the right amount," what they SHOULD be paying.

Instead, we get this BS - "Well, they should pay MORE, because they MAKE more."

Fine. Tell us how MUCH more they should pay.

How much of his $30 billion-plus should Bill Gates give up RIGHT NOW?

I want a number, followed by a unit of currency. Not just, "Well, he SHOULD pay more..." Because if you can't do that, then you're saying you have no earthly idea how much - you'll just know it when you see the government can't spend it all.

Posted by: gilbertbp | February 24, 2011 4:34 PM | Report abuse

A couple things.

1) Let's assume that it's true that the top 1% pay 38% of all taxes. Have you also noticed that they make roughly 34 times what the bottom 90% make? If that was only the bottom 50%, the disparity would be even greater. So, doesn't it seem logical that yes, they WOULD pay a disproportionate amount of the income taxes, since they make a disproportionate amount of the income?

2) Who can afford to give up more in times when the country is in need? Someone whose expendable income (that beyond meeting basic needs) is a huge percentage of their total, or someone whose expendable income is a very small percentage of their total (if they have any expendable income at all)?

3) And, to fall back on a theme I've talked about before, conservatives tend to talk about the US as a "Christian" nation, and they get all energized over all things they consider Christian. What did Jesus have to say about money? About a rich man and the "eye of the needle"? The money changers in the temple, etc? It seems to me that the true goal, if you indeed wish to refer to yourself as a Christian, is not the accumulation of wealth, but rather the care of those who have very little. And these days there are a lot of those, mostly thanks to a bunch of people who were out to accumulate a whole lot more wealth (Wall St). And, a true Christian should also recognize that the accumulation of wealth is talked of disparagingly in the gospels, not simply for the sake of chastizing the wealthy, but for the simple reason that, as I've said, the accumulation of wealth by some means basic needs are denied to others. Jesus did not look fondly on this idea. So, do you wish the US to be a Christian nation? If so, the charts in the MJ article indicate we have a long way to go.

Clinging to the delusion that concentrated wealth is a good thing and is sustainable and even desireable, is something that those who HAVE the concentrated wealth hope you continue to do. This is why they own media that is designed to keep you believing exactly that, using fear and sensationalism to make you think that regulation, taxes, and evil government workers are the reasons for all your problems.

Then again, according to another post in here, we have no problems. Everyone is well fed, happy, fat, jolly, and all is right with the good ole USA.

What was I saying about delusions?

Posted by: PrairieDog60 | February 24, 2011 4:20 PM | Report abuse

bertzel: "I truly have no problem with the rich...I just think they should invest some of their money into the revitalization of these United States, that's all."

You have just demonstrated you have no concept of how people get rich. They don't do it by stealing from the poor, who, by definition, can't even make themselves rich, let alone someone else.

They do it by taking risks, hoping that you will buy the goods and services they provide. If they do it badly, they generally go out of business. If they do it well, they pay taxes and hire employees. They aren't interested in "investing their money into the revitalization of these United States," nor should they be. They are interested in making money by giving people what they want or need and are willing to pay for. THAT, my friend, is what will "revitalize" this country - not TARPs, or stimulus packages that pour billions of dollars into enterprises staffed largely by government employees, or government takeover of banks or government takeover of insurance companies or government takeover of automobile manufacturers or government takeover of the health care industry. Government doesn't create wealth; it simply transfers it from people who DO create wealth. Some of it is for things we really need (aircraft carriers and interstate highways come most immediately to mind), but a hell of a lot of it is wasted - taken from productive, wealth-creating people, and put into the hands of the non-productive.

BTW, I'm still waiting, patiently as ever, for some answers to all those questions I posed earlier. You'd think SOMEONE would have replied by now.

Posted by: gilbertbp | February 24, 2011 4:03 PM | Report abuse

~~~~just spouting 'sour grapes'

Posted by: dalyplanet | February 24, 2011 2:55 PM~~~

Yep and it looks like you done did choke on 'em too!!!
HA!

Posted by: bertzel | February 24, 2011 3:34 PM | Report abuse

jonroesler...I agree.

~What are you saying there bert gilbertbp facts as presented are nonsense or are you just spouting 'sour grapes'
Posted by: dalyplanet | February 24, 20112:55 PM~~~

No I am not saying anything of the sort there daly...you are.
Now that I think of it, you really out to get together with dave...he is a social systems specialist you know...think you would benefit from a few lessons....just sayin'...

Posted by: bertzel | February 24, 2011 3:04 PM | Report abuse

So you are saying Bill Gates did not create a single job? How about Tom Edison. there is a cart and horse analogy that may apply to your logic there jon.

Posted by: dalyplanet | February 24, 2011 2:59 PM | Report abuse

lame comeback there daly...by the way...it is WI or Wis. or Wisconsin....not Wisc. course you being from MN would know that wouldn't you : )

Posted by: bertzel | February 24, 2011 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Taking Koch Industries (or any private business) OUT of the buyer-seller equation between people and the service they recieve, energy, for example, or education or water or sewage treatment or garbage collection, continues to cut out the unnecessary middlemen... ultimately reducing the cost of energy by paying only "cost" rather than "cost-plus" for the services received.

Posted by: jonroesler | February 24, 2011 2:56 PM | Report abuse

What are you saying there bert gilbertbp facts as presented are nonsense or are you just spouting 'sour grapes'

Posted by: dalyplanet | February 24, 2011 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Doesn't Koch Industries create jobs in states they are comfortable in?

Posted by: dalyplanet | February 23, 2011 9:43 PM
--

The short answer to that is, "No."
Koch Industries, or the Koch brothers, on their own, do not and have not ever created a single job. The jobs were created by their customers. If the Koch brothers died, for instance, or had never been born at all, the jobs created by the demands for the services rendered by their companies would still exist.

Employers do not create jobs. The market creates jobs. All employers do is manage and direct those jobs, with the intention of squeezing a little bit of profit out of the difference between what the job is worth (what it can be sold for) and what the worker is getting paid to do the job.

That's capitalism, and there's nothing wrong with making a little bit of money facilitating commerce, but let's please not pretend that employers actually create jobs out of the goodness of their hearts or something. That's just silly.

Posted by: jonroesler | February 24, 2011 2:53 PM | Report abuse

~~ Society generally rewards education, intelligence, and hard work. gilbertbp~~~

Not much anymore, gilbertbp. And I truly have no problem with the rich...I just think they should invest some of their money into the revitalization of these United States, that's all.

Posted by: bertzel | February 24, 2011 2:51 PM | Report abuse

and AND It seems to me the Wisc teachers and their union are the ones vacuuming up dollars from taxpayers by force of law.

Posted by: dalyplanet | February 24, 2011 2:51 PM | Report abuse

~~nonsense = I do not like to hear actual facts.

Posted by: dalyplanet | February 24, 2011 2:29 PM ~~~

Wow daly....I've seen you spew a lot of nonsense...course it was mainly aimed at me. guess that's ok. Right?

Posted by: bertzel | February 24, 2011 2:39 PM | Report abuse

And the other thing PTG where is this place they go to vacuum money located. I would like to join them. I seems people are happy to open their wallets and hand them money no vacuum needed.

Posted by: dalyplanet | February 24, 2011 2:38 PM | Report abuse


@ dave,
Unions feed off the problem dave therefore add to the problem. Unions are no longer useful in this day and age.
Hot air dave? Why would you say that? Sky view??? Do tell…lol.

FYI dave…the middle class has been on a downward spiral for well over a decade (at least that is when I first noticed)…just no one bothered to take notice until recently…well perhaps I am exaggerating on that point. SOME middle class Americans saw what was happening but thought the typical, “not much we can do about it is there.” I have heard that many a time and even have said it myself…the rest of the middle class were too overworked , just happy to get that paycheck,or busy competing with the ‘Joneses’ and most likely never bothered to ‘look up’.
Which I guess addresses your manipulation point…The American People have always, are always, and, will continue to be manipulated…democracy at its finest.
Look at the middle east…would really like to know the ‘truth’ behind that movement….

Speaking of lunacy dave…I highly doubt our troops will be shooting at the American public on the streets just like in Libya and I won’t even touch your ‘president’ comment.
Although I am not a conservative, I do believe in a few of the conservative ideals as I do liberal ideals…I tend to travel in the middle of the road and, generally, don’t consider either party to be lunatics. There is some good on both the left and the right. There is also bad on both sides as well….
Think that is the true problem with our governing body today dave. If only we could figure out a way to combine the good things of both parties and get rid of the bad…course that is just my opinion.

As for my democratic Senators in hiding….I find it to be quite an embarrassment and am a tad po’d that I actually voted for one of them…

Posted by: bertzel | February 24, 2011 2:34 PM | Report abuse

@ptgrunner: The Khardassian sisters "vacuum up" money? Really?

Could you please tell me where all this money is lying around, waiting to be vacuumed up? 'Cuz I'd love some.

Oh, wait, it's not actually anything they "vacuumed up" - their father earned it by renting out hotel rooms or something.

So isn't your argument really with their father?

And what do you think they are doing with that money? Setting it on fire? They hire people to work for them. Lots of people. Do you think this is a bad thing? What SHOULD they be doing with it, if you don't mind my asking?

In any case, to paraphrase Ayn Rand, do not envy a worthless heir; his wealth is not yours and you would have done no better with it. Do not think that it should have been distributed among you, loading the world with fifty parasites instead of one...

Posted by: gilbertbp | February 24, 2011 2:30 PM | Report abuse

PTG

Tossing out the Kardashian sisters red herring and generalizing from a specific single example is a poor weak cheap argument.

How are facts nonsense or is that special dictionary needed to translate to english ie

nonsense = I do not like to hear actual facts.

Posted by: dalyplanet | February 24, 2011 2:29 PM | Report abuse

@OckamsRazor and everyone else who thinks it's just terrible that some people make too much money - some questions:

The top one percent of earners pay 38% of all personal income taxes. Do you think that's too much, not enough, or just right?

If you didn't answer, "just right," how much do you think they should pay?

Bill Gates is worth something north of $30 billion. If he were not planning on giving his estate to charity, how much do you think should be taken away from him right now for there to be a "fair" distribution of wealth?

Wealthy people often get that way because they are smart enough, well-educated enough, and hard-working enough to sell other people goods and services that those people value. Society generally rewards education, intelligence, and hard work. Do you think that is unfair? If so, what other method do you suggest we should use to decide how much money people should be paid for their goods and services?

I once heard someone say that no one should be allowed to make over a million dollars a year. Do you agree? If so, what should a brain surgeon do when he's already made a million by September? Quit his job? Who will take his place - your elementary ed teacher demonstrating on the streets of Madison, Wisconsin?

I think these are all good questions. I'd love some answers. Take your time - I'll be sitting here, waiting.

Posted by: gilbertbp | February 24, 2011 2:20 PM | Report abuse

@gilbertbp | February 24, 2011 12:31 PM

Whenever anybody like you spouts the nonsense that you do, I point to the Kardashian sisters and ask the what they know how to do that others do not. In fact, what is it that do they do? It's not that I like to pick on them in particular. It's simply that they are in the special category known as celebrity parasites who infest our country these days. They vacuum up money that might otherwise go to people who do honest work. This is an example of people who do nothing, but make a lot of money doing nothing.

Posted by: ptgrunner | February 24, 2011 2:15 PM | Report abuse

It seems that conservatives either don't realize that we are increasingly living in a "winner take all" society, or they think that's the way it should be and a good thing. But also they seem so intent on crushing unions and liberals that they do not to realize that they are in the same sinking boat.

Some the graphics don't tell me a lot. But other graphics, as well as the collective, seem to paint a bleak picture of income distribution in the U.S. And it's getting worse. There is some hope if the "Out Of Balance" graph is to be believed. Currently people believe that actual income distribution is far more fair than the reality, and the income distribution they say they want (92%) is far more equitable that what they believe is the current income distribution. This is good news, but we're not running some sort of democracy here. Nor do we have an well-informed, educated electorate that is capable of assimilating facts.

Bottom line: I have little faith that people in the U.S. will do what is in their best interests, or in the best interests or their country. Vitriol sells. Inciting people works. Reason rarely wins out.

Posted by: ptgrunner | February 24, 2011 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Ohhh...and just to be clear...it isn't worker protests....it's union protests...there is a difference right??
Posted by: bertzel

My Comment...
Unions are not the problem. The problem is unemployment, under employment and poverty wages.

You are so full of hot air Bertzel.
No wonder everyone is so concerned about the ice melting at the poles.

"Leverage economics" is about causing ten percent unemployment and destroying the middle class so that we will be a third world country that can be easily manipulated by the powers that be.

The fact of the matter is that when the economy fails because of the failure of the demand side of economics. Our troops will be shooting demonstrators on the streets just like in Libya and our president will be refusing to step down because he thinks he's a martyr.

Is that what you and your lunatic conservative friends want?
Dave

Posted by: OckamsRazor | February 24, 2011 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Wow, the rich get richer. And sun rises in east. That's because the rich know how to do things that other people will pay them lots of money for. Of course, Mother Jones would have you believe that it's because the rich break into poor people's houses and steal their TVs to sell on eBay, or something.

Mother Jones is careful to tell only half the story - how much money the rich have. The other half, which they don't dare tell because it makes their whole point ridiculous, is how much the rich pay in taxes. Here are the figures from 2008:

People with the highest one percent of adjusted gross income paid 38.02 percent of all personal federal income tax.

The top five percent paid 58.72 percent. That's right, folks, walk down the street and grab a hundred people at random, and only five of them are in the group that paid over half of all personal income taxes.

The top 50% paid 97.3%.

The bottom 50% paid only 2.7%.

We have a country where five percent of the population pays more than half of all personal income tax, while half the country pays almost nothing.

We have a country where half the people pay almost all the income taxes, and half pay almost nothing.

But the "soak-the-rich" crowd would have you think our economic problems can be solved by making the people who pay all the taxes pay even more.

Another thing Mother Jones avoids mentioning, is that the bottom half is not static. People just starting their work careers are almost all in the bottom ten percent of all wage earners - yet somehow the vast majority of them manage to move up in the world, as is evidenced by the fact that very few recent college grads own houses, while a lot of people in their thirties and forties do.

BTW, here's a link to my statistics above: http://www.ntu.org/tax-basics/who-pays-income-taxes.html If you care to dispute my points, please provide facts and figures, along with a citation showing where you got them, as I did; calling me a fascistracisthomophobeteabagger may satisfy your ego, but won't do anything to change the facts. Facts, as Ronald Reagan used to say, are stubborn things.

Posted by: gilbertbp | February 24, 2011 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Oh my God! Has no one noticed the Muslim crescent on the doorway?

Posted by: growing_weary | February 24, 2011 12:30 PM | Report abuse

PrairieDog60,

You see, most Americans aren't going for all the red herrings you just threw out. And for the record, you're pretty slippery with your facts. Spare us your 'Koch' brothers are evil bull - the Dems have George Soros and many more rich backers.

For all your Fox bashing, the Liberal Media led by NBC/ABC/CBS/CNN/and MSNBC have far more watchers. Fox's best rated show,O'Reilly, draws maybe 3 million on a good night. The weak CBS evening news draws 5 million with NBC leading with around 7 million. You're not a genius but I'm sure you get the picture. Fox is just a scapegoat for Liberal failures.

Oh and how about this from Karl Rove, 'Obamas Badger State Blues': "The BLS reports the average annual wage for a state-government employee is now $48,742, but $45,155 for a worker in the private sector. What's more, the Bureau says the cost of benefits for state and local government workers has risen 50% more than those for private-sector employees since 2001."

You're right about the downfall of unions (the private sector unions): Rove continues... "According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), last year alone 612,000 U.S. workers dropped their union memberships, each representing as much as $500 in lost dues. While labor is still powerful, its decline has been precipitous among private- sector workers. According to the BLS, just 6.9% of private-sector workers (7.1 million) are unionized, while 36.2% of public- sector workers (7.6 million) are." According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), last year alone 612,000 U.S. workers dropped their union memberships, each representing as much as $500 in lost dues. While labor is still powerful, its decline has been precipitous among private- sector workers. According to the BLS, just 6.9% of private-sector workers (7.1 million) are unionized, while 36.2% of public- sector workers (7.6 million) are. And the number of public-sector union members is rising."

Cite your facts on state/local governments decline. Federal government may not be as big when Reagan was around (checking that one) but federal government employee population has been going up the past few years.

Liberalism is being rejected, again.

Posted by: pararanger22 | February 24, 2011 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Pdog

Here in the US it appears that statistically things have never been better. Food is so abundant and available that obesity rather than hunger is the problem. Medical services are available to all. Communication, transportation, safety services, etc. are universally available.

Posted by: dalyplanet | February 24, 2011 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Wealth concentrated with a few, means basics denied to many.

Contrary to what conservatives think, we can't ALL get up to that level of wealth where we don't even know how much we have. This is not possible. If the rest of the world consumed as much and lived a lifestyle akin to just the AVERAGE American, we'd need about 4 more Earths to provide all the resources necessary. Never mind trying to get super-rich.

What does this mean? It means we either continue to live in a world that, as population increases, there will be more disparity between the haves and the have nots; or we try to create a more equitible world where wealth is more evenly distributed. One of those choices is sustainable. One is not.

Wealth is not infinite. There is only so much to go around. In looking at the stats from the MJ story, it's clear that it's becoming more concentrated. If one looks at history, one can find few examples of a nation or civilization able to sustain itself, that featured a huge disparity in wealth distribution. Louis XVI lost his head over this.

So, which path do we choose? It appears, whether they know it or not, blue-collar conservatives appear to enjoy being oppressed by an increasingly elite and wealthy super-minority of the population (ala the Koch brothers). This elite works to eliminate unions (which try to make sure people are paid fair wages and benefits); it increasingly works to facilitate the exploitation of labor both overseas and in the US; it continually works to remove barriers in regulation regarding product and worker safety; and it continues to work at putting people in power who follow these tenets. For the most part, it's been very successful in its efforts, as the data shows (i.e. the rich keep getting richer, and the poor keep getting poorer).

Has this helped us as a nation? Are we better off now than we were when unions were strong with broad membership? Are we better off now than we were when the top income bracket was around 90% rather than the 32% it is now? Are we better off with corporations locating most of their labor overseas in order to cut costs and raise their stock price?

Taxes are the lowest they've ever been. The federal work force is smaller now than under Reagan. State and local government workforces have been on the decline for the last 3 years. These are all things conservatives favor. And yet, are we better off?

None of the conservative voices that visit this site have offered any evidence to convince me that conservative philosophy and governance has helped this nation in the least, nor that it ever will. It simply leads to more suffering, more unemployment, more uninsured, more homeless, more depressions and recessions, greater numbers of poor, greater disparity between the classes, and more discontent among the populace (even if some of that discontent is aimed in the wrong directions, stoked by Fox and its ilk blaming the government).

Posted by: PrairieDog60 | February 24, 2011 11:01 AM | Report abuse

From Michael Barone, "Who Benefits from Government Unions."

"Unions, most of whose members are public employees, gave Democrats some $400 million in the 2008 election cycle. The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the biggest public employee union, gave Democrats $90 million in the 2010 cycle. Follow the money, Washington reporters like to say. The money in this case comes from taxpayers, present and future, who are the source of every penny of dues paid to public employee unions, who in turn spend much of that money on politics, almost all of it for Democrats. In effect, public employee unions are a mechanism by which every taxpayer is forced to fund the Democratic Party."

Facts are facts: public unions use our taxpayer dollars to blunt every Government attempt to curtail their power; to balance the budgets. As FDR opined about public unions: "Action looking toward the paralysis of government by those who have sworn to support it is unthinkable and intolerable."

WI's Democrat public servants have failed the government and the people for their own greed. Teachers calling in sick; doctors writing false excuses; Democrat politicians hiding out like common thugs.

Get back to work.

Posted by: pararanger22 | February 24, 2011 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Just finished reading the 'union' article in Mother Jones.
Pretty much 'sums' everything up concerning unions and the role they played and now play in the US of A.
Nice to know others believe unions once had a significant role but no longer and their time is coming to an end....
Guess the dem. party will have to do some quick thinking to find another source of political backing.
Will be watching these two organizations VERY closely in the coming weeks and months...just saying.

Posted by: bertzel

---------------------

Excellent analysis. The truth is, unions will be looking to buy more legislators for the next WI election. Can't win what you want from collective bargaining? Get your demands into law.

FDR prediction was dead-on: public unions are a disaster for America.

I think our economy has a chance now. Governor Walker deserves a Medal of Freedom (for gallantry in the face of poor behavior by greedy public unions).

Posted by: pararanger22 | February 24, 2011 10:16 AM | Report abuse

It sure is good to know, that when the overloaded outhouse tips over and gale force winds caused by 'climate change' are kicking in, one can still find humor and laugh!

Posted by: bertzel | February 24, 2011 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Just finished reading the 'union' article in Mother Jones.
Pretty much 'sums' everything up concerning unions and the role they played and now play in the US of A.
Nice to know others believe unions once had a significant role but no longer and their time is coming to an end....
Guess the dem. party will have to do some quick thinking to find another source of political backing.
Will be watching these two organizations VERY closely in the coming weeks and months...just saying.

Posted by: bertzel | February 24, 2011 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Assange to be extradited.
WI Democrats caving in.
Public Unions running scared everywhere.

A good day thus far...

Posted by: pararanger22 | February 24, 2011 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Reading through Mother Jones is an eye opening look into the liberal mindset. Probably NOT a good reference to cite.

Posted by: dalyplanet | February 24, 2011 9:39 AM | Report abuse

It's amazing that some of the Liberal brain-trust members in here attack Conservatives for not appreciating the facts of one article in the Liberal rag Mother Jones. These Liberal half-wits encourage Conservatives to take valuable time to dig through a Leftist rag like MJ to find the straight-up facts in order to become better informed. What bull.

Now imagine if a Conservative asked a Liberal in this blog to listen to a video or read an article from Fox News? It wouldn't happen. Even if Fox News had an amazing lead story on discovery of the Fountain of Youth, ptgrunner, ockamsrazor, and PrairieDog60 would say 'Bah - I rather die of old age than watch Fox News!' That would bring panda-bear tears to my eyes, for sure, but I wouldn't expect these three to do it (when you have a heart-shaped 5x8 photo of Ted Kennedy on your desk, you just couldn't possibly...).

So shut up. And that goes for Toles too. Conservatives aren't going to pan-for-fools-gold in Mother Jones. Everything in that rag is tainted by their far-left of center political position (kind of like looking for a favorable Conservative article in Vanity Fair). It's a complete waste of time.

The only way to find wisdom in Liberal rags is to know the author of this column or that article personally; it's the only way to hold your nose long enough to get past the cocoon of Liberal bias.

Posted by: pararanger22 | February 24, 2011 9:34 AM | Report abuse

here is another statistic that I heard about. Most of the census versions are too dry to sift through (while I'm supposed to be working), but here is an easy one to read:
http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2004/09/red_states_feed.html

Posted by: Rudesan | February 24, 2011 9:31 AM | Report abuse

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Income_inequality_in_the_United_States

A more balanced data set: for thinking people.

Posted by: primegrop | February 24, 2011 8:36 AM | Report abuse

For anyone having difficulty referencing the link just try the old cut and paste, it works! Was probably the WP bosses who would not let the link be active, competing journalism.

Posted by: EdRuff | February 24, 2011 7:51 AM | Report abuse

Tom, you can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink. Conservatives and the brainwashed right believe that they will soon be in that top one percent so any inequality is good. The sad fact is with people on here claiming "The fact is, the entire pot of wealth has grown. There are now more paths to prosperity, so more people are financially successful." that many Americans are just not able to think for themselves or are willing to be the pawns of the elite. When it has been shown time and again that the middle class has made no gains and with the economic destruction of many American households that has occurred or is occurring how can anyone say more people are financially successful ? Compared to when, where are all these happy successful people ?

Posted by: Falmouth1 | February 24, 2011 6:50 AM | Report abuse

Headline "The Chamber of Carbon" Byline 'Chamber of Congress Darkens the Skies'....... This is the lead environmental story in Mother Jones today. If you read the story it's really not about the man made global warming hoax at all, but about the evils of capitalism.

Posted by: jornolibist | February 24, 2011 6:34 AM | Report abuse

I remember the mayor's aid who went to jail for getting his boss a stereo for his office. People go nuts over spending and their resulting envy.

I doubt that it all adds up to a few per cent of the total they spend.

But we all know about penny smart and dollar stupid.

Posted by: GaryEMasters | February 24, 2011 6:28 AM | Report abuse

I get suspicious of people who refer to the Tea Party as if it's a real organization. They're people, loosely joined by the fact they collectively see that lazy government needs a big kick in the butt. Not unlike political cartoonists.
(Not impressed. The links are not working, at least at the moment.)

Posted by: kls1 | February 24, 2011 5:56 AM | Report abuse

"This income disparity is the way it's supposed to be, because that's how it is, and if it wasn't supposed to be that way, it wouldn't be that way, now would it?"

Posted by: jhnnywalkr | February 24, 2011 12:24 AM | Report abuse

For a disparity to be a negative thing, one would have to assume that those on the top have been somehow taking illicitly from those on the bottom.

This case has not been shown.

The fact is, the entire pot of wealth has grown. There are now more paths to prosperity, so more people are financially successful.

The less fortunate have not participated because they are, generally, labor that must now compete againat emerging markets.

Sniping stats without credible arguments just isn't responsible, Toles.

As much as we would like to blame others for our problems, it would better serve us all to seek actual solutions instead of stirring up this class warfare nonsense.

Posted by: primegrop | February 23, 2011 11:31 PM | Report abuse

How about factoring in the disparity of taxes paid and income tax credits and welfare received? What you will see is the success of the Democrats planned great society of giving people just enough to keep generations dependent on government handouts so Democrats can keep getting the votes.

Posted by: billybeer6 | February 23, 2011 10:45 PM | Report abuse

Darn. Jonroesler beat me to it. Many people on the right will not trust Mother Jones--they think it's a commie publication. I'm not kidding. That's exactly what several have said to me. The actual source of the data is immaterial to people as long as the people publishing it are not trusted. After the Breitbart video and the recent misstating of Gallup Poll results, FOX probably still has more credibility to many people. Go figure.

Clicking on the link in the text results in an illegal URL. But that can easily be edited to get you to the MoJo site.

There is quite a bit of data here, and requires some time to look at carefully. And that's what I'm going to do. But one things seems to be missing. What little class warfare is being waged is intra-class--within the middle class. Some people within that class are hacking at others as if those people caused their problems. It's brilliant, and diabolical.

Posted by: ptgrunner | February 23, 2011 10:25 PM | Report abuse

Looking at mother jones report, tax high net worth. It avoids potential drag on investment dollar flow and many high worth people do not have earned income anyway.

Posted by: dalyplanet | February 23, 2011 10:04 PM | Report abuse

Doesn't Koch Industries create jobs in states they are comfortable in?

Posted by: dalyplanet | February 23, 2011 9:43 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and Mother Jones? Definitely left-leaning. No matter how correct their facts are, and no matter how true the explanations, it will always come down to that.

If Mother Jones was to claim the sky is blue, for example? Well, Mother Jones is left-leaning.

Posted by: jonroesler | February 23, 2011 9:38 PM | Report abuse

Interestingly, according to the "liberal" Comcast (that's sarcasm again, by the way):

"Walker's budget bill also allows his administration to sell power plants that heat and cool state buildings to private companies without any bids.

"Critics have seized on that provision, saying they are convinced the Koch brothers' business interests would be able to buy power plants on the cheap, and then profit by running them and driving up the price of energy.

"Koch Industries has denied any interest in buying the plants. Republicans tried to privatize Wisconsin's power plants in 2005, but the plan was vetoed by Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle.

"Immediately after taking office, Walker also pushed for legislation that would limit damage awards in lawsuits against many businesses.

"Koch Industries lobbied for the bill, and Walker signed it into law last month. Walker is also seeking passage for another Koch Industries-backed bill to weaken state regulations by giving him the power to approve all rules proposed by agencies, a proposal that is moving quickly through the Legislature.

"Koch Industries recently opened a lobbying office a block from the Capitol. Seven lobbyists have registered in Wisconsin to lobby for various Koch Industries companies.

"Even before recordings of the call surfaced, the government watchdog group Common Cause in Wisconsin released a statement saying Walker's agenda matched with that of Koch Industries.

"'Koch Industries and other corporate citizens have legitimate interests in Wisconsin, but their demonstrated willingness to push large amounts of money into state politics has given them a dangerously outsized voice,' said Bob Edgar, the group's national president. That voice, he said, is 'now demanding a return on its investments.'"

But, as we all know, you can't trust that terrible, awful, liberal media.

Posted by: jonroesler | February 23, 2011 9:27 PM | Report abuse

Saw a bumper sticker the other day that simply said "NO TAXES". I thought - what an idiot. But, when I got home I thought... OK, let's say there were no taxes, none, zip. What would we do? The only thing I could think of was to give the government the right to print all the money they needed to run government, public services, pay contractors, etc. Every dime you made went into your pocket - no taxes on anything. So, what would happen to the value of the dollar. I'll bet not all that much (wishful thinking likely - but, who knows? I sure don't). What I do like about it is that no one would be able to get out of paying taxes - since there'd be no taxes to pay. Those elected would determine the government's monetary policy and expenditures. The dollar would take a hit - but just how much? Food for thought - or food for a super computer to analyze.

Posted by: nestmaster | February 23, 2011 8:51 PM | Report abuse

I couldn't create a link but the address is correct if you want to copy and paste it on your browser:

http://motherjones.com/politics/2011/02/income-inequality-in-america-chart-graph

Posted by: EarlyBird1 | February 23, 2011 8:50 PM | Report abuse

Here's a working link to the Mother Jones article I believe Mr. Toles was trying to link to:

http://motherjones.com/politics/2011/02/income-inequality-in-america-chart-graph

Posted by: EarlyBird1 | February 23, 2011 8:42 PM | Report abuse

Oh, Oh, Oh...as for that data they don't want us to see. You are right...I cannot bring up the page...go figure : )

Posted by: bertzel | February 23, 2011 8:13 PM | Report abuse

Ohhh...and just to be clear...it isn't worker protests....it's union protests...there is a difference right??

Posted by: bertzel | February 23, 2011 8:11 PM | Report abuse

Toles...per your Out there and personal 'guy in the corner comment'...
Ha, Ha, Ha!!!!
Even my youngest got a laugh!!!

Posted by: bertzel | February 23, 2011 8:06 PM | Report abuse

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