Why can’t Bernie Sanders be president?

7 Responses to Why can’t Bernie Sanders be president?

  1. MikeZ says:

    I saw this one and I think I also listened to a speech by Grayson that had the same tone. Personally I agree that the marginal tax rate should probably be higher (just based on the trend of the last 50 years and seeing that now it appears near its lowest point). However this style of speech really seems the wrong way to go about it. Basically he’s appears to be arguing that it is already the government’s money and those that support a tax cut are greedy for wanting to steal from the government.

    Honestly if you said you were going to increase my taxes, My first reaction would be the same. I could probably afford it but damnit a little justification and perhaps even a little humility when asking for it seems to be called for.

    In an individual sense there really isn’t any moral justification for increasing the tax rate in the highest bracket. I don’t believe that say Rush Limbaugh gets an extra $20Million in government services than I do, and if he does that would piss me off too. So demanding he pay an extra $3 Million next year for no additional services doesn’t seem like the motives are pure. The justification is a group justification in that we obviously need the money (14.1 Trillion in debt) and the very wealthy are most able to afford it.

    Now I wouldn’t doubt that there were reasonable efforts made with these arguments earlier on in the debate and these rants come out only when all hope of repealing the tax cuts are lost. Still its these arguments that will be remembered in the highlight reel. Further I really hope this doesn’t convince a senator to vote to continue the tax cuts out of spite, that seems like something I might do.

    • I disagree. Here’s one justification for a progressive tax rate — the more you make, the more services you consume.

      When I was a broke ass fucker, with nothing to my name but a $600 motorcycle and a Powerbook 520, I made about $15,000 a year, had no money in the bank, no stocks, no bonds, no property. I occasionally used an emergency room because I had no health insurance. I had to take an ambulance ride one time.

      At that time, if the stock market crashed because of insider trading, so what? If crime exploded, so what? What did I have to lose? Even if the entire city burned to the ground, so what? What was the fire department protecting of mine? Just as importantly, how much representation did I really have in congress or in Albany? None.

      Now that I am exponentially wealthier, I sure as shit am worried about inflation, the stock market crashing, the police not showing up to work, the fire department not being there, and you can bet your ass that I can afford to make at least a local politician care about what I have to say.

      In short, I have more representation and more invested in the system now. I don’t mind that I have to pay a little more for those privileges.

      The tax rates we had under Eisenhower didn’t seem to hurt our quest for global domination. Although, that might be a dicked up argument, because most of the world was bombed flat at that time. Nevertheless, I see nothing wrong with slapping a 90% tax rate on certain incomes (maybe over $10 mil per year), and leaving the progressive system in place — albeit with more brackets, and higher rates for those cutting up the top 5% of the economic pie.

  2. MikeZ says:

    I agree with progressive taxes for that reason up to a point. However when the figures get very large it doesn’t seem to really hold water. I don’t think the guy making $50Mill uses more services or has more of investment in the system than the guy making $10Mill.
    At some point the extra money you make doesn’t buy you any additional services. For that matter the guy making 50Million pays 5x the taxes as the guy making 10 and that is without a progressive rate. In a perfect world perhaps they’d both pay the same taxes (which would be considered regressive I guess).

    Now as I mentioned I’m actually for raising the tax rate back up to 39.6% for the same reason you state above they did ok with 90% or even the 50% of the 70s.

    I’d phrase the argument though, the government needs money and while perhaps not fair the rich subgroup can best afford a tax increase, sorry about that.

    The idea that it already is the government’s money and the rich are greedy because they don’t want a tax increase is what is galling.

    I’ve thought about the 90% rate before and it almost seems like a good idea for those making say over $10Mil a year, However my low faith in humanity makes me think it would just mean all the people who earn money for the fun of it would then switch goals to try to earn ‘power’.

    • Upper1 says:

      How about the argument that people who make $50 million a year are privileged to live in the USA which enables them to do so, and thus simply owe a debt to the country that doesn’t lock them out of the exclusive warlord club that can actually earn money? I don’t really know what percentage of the population in said warlord nations actually gets a piece of the pie, and whether it’s at all comparable to the percentage in the US, but I think it’s worth noting that the USA is one country that spreads money out among the population more than many nations. (Nevermind that many of those nations still practice stoning…)

      I believe that we can do much better than we do now, but that’s not the point. Does it make sense to require payment of higher taxes by those who earn a shit load, and do so simply because they live in the USA?

      • MikeZ says:

        To me that argument sounds exactly the same as the “Shut up and be scanned” argument from the TSA. I’m also thoroughly against that as well.

        Now as I’ve repeatedly said above I do think the top tax rate should be higher because the government can’t balance its checkbook and needs the money and certainly the rich is most able to afford it. I wouldn’t go so far as to say it is fair, just that it’s the least unfair.

        Also nobody in the debate has questioned the validity of higher taxes by those who earn a shitload. That is already a given and would occur no matter what the tax rate. The question in my mind is solely the justification for a higher rate.

        • Upper1 says:

          I see your point as to how it’s similar to “shut up and be scanned,” but I think there’s a distinct difference. The scanning falls under the Fourth Amendment, which was designed to protect the people. With respect to taxation, no Constitutional provision mentions reasonable taxes, or anything else. It simply says Congress can tax and spend. So, can’t they just do it?

          Not that people should just roll over and let ridiculous policies continue, but when the government takes steps to redress past drunken spending (allegedly), isn’t that reasonable?

          • MikeZ says:

            I imagine the republican counter to your post is: “Exactly, as soon as the government takes steps to redress drunken spending, we’ll vote for higher taxes, until then its just throwing more good money after bad”

            As I mentioned I am for the higher taxes, just against some of the arguments being used to justify them. As you say nothing in the constitution says your tax bill has to be reasonable and this is true. However that can’t really be used as an argument for higher taxes. If you don’t like it move to some 3rd world country and see you like that seems like an argument I’ve heard from the right wing on occasion as well.

            Personally I really blame the democrats for not getting it done moreso than the republicans. This should have been taken care of as soon as Obama was elected and had majorities and the country was already worried about the economy.

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