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BLITZER’S BLOG: On taxes, both sides are exaggerating
July 12th, 2011
04:18 PM ET

BLITZER’S BLOG: On taxes, both sides are exaggerating

(CNN) - Words in Washington are important. President Obama and the Democrats always say that “millionaires and billionaires” can afford to pay higher taxes, especially when spending cuts will impact middle class families and the elderly. Given the nation’s high unemployment, House Speaker John Boehner and the Republicans counter by always saying that this is no time to increase taxes on “job creators.”

You won’t be surprised to find out that politicians on both sides are exaggerating.

Individuals earning $200,000 a year and families earning $250,000 a year are not necessarily “millionaires and billionaires.” President Obama and the Democrats would like to see their federal income tax rate increase from the current 35% to 39%, where it was during the Clinton Administration.

On the other hand, not all the changes in the tax code that Obama and the Democrats are proposing would necessarily impact “job creators.”

Take the case of New York hedge fund manager John Paulson. His story has often been highlighted, including the other day by New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof. Paulson made nearly $5 billion (with a B) last year. Under a "carried interest" loophole in the tax code, a major part of his income was taxed at the long-term capital gains rate of 15% – instead of regular highest-income tax rate of 35%. The Democrats would like to close that loophole.

So here’s my question: Is Paulson really a “job creator”? I’m sure he spends a lot of money every year, but how many jobs has he actually created?

It’s a fair question for politicians to consider.

RELATED: Taxes, Social Security fears cited in debt ceiling talks

Post by:
Filed under: President Obama • Speaker John Boehner • Taxes • Washington • Wolf Blitzer
soundoff (222 Responses)
  1. William Kaufman

    I just had a frightening thought. I'm have a Federal Voucher known as Sec 8 to pay for my housing. I have been disabled and have lived in this one bedroom apartment for 26 years. My question is; If America goes into default, will my Sec 8 funds for my housing be cut off? I have no where to go. I'll be a disabled person living on the street. Could you help me find out the answer to my Question Please.

    Thank you

    July 27, 2011 at 3:45 pm |
  2. Cheryl

    How long have the Bush tax cuts been in place? And how many jobs have been created by the "job creators"? I'm doubting the sincerity of this argument. What is the saying about putting lipstick on a pig??

    July 21, 2011 at 10:08 pm |
  3. Dee Gobout

    I'm having a hard time getting my mind around a group of men that would rather cut or just not pay Social Security to some of us that this is our SOLE means of support.....Are you all so hard headed/hearted that you can't see there are other solutions.....Mr. President....Mr. Boehner....forget your political party.....think with your heads...
    Dee G.

    July 13, 2011 at 6:41 pm |
  4. Ernie

    Here's on, it the country goes into "default" does that mean that the Prsisent and Congress doesn't get paid?, that inclues all the Obama's staff and Czars?. I guess they are all millionares and billionares. I guess they can afford to go without a pay check. If they can they why are they in government. As you know government workers don't get paid "Social Security" so if they leave before their time they get nothing. Just something to thing about.
    Does this mean the lights are going to be truned off in the White House? "Like the Fram OIl Mam" we pay now or were going to pay latter.

    July 13, 2011 at 11:31 am |
  5. Freddy

    How many jobs do overpaid sports stars create????

    July 13, 2011 at 1:28 am |
  6. Bogie

    Thoughts on scrapping the tax system as it currently exists and having just a goods and services tax; basically a sales tax but with exceptions like food consumables . This would cover the lower earners and increase their purchasing power where it is most critical and would tax large-scale consumers (companies and the wealthy) on how they did business not what type of business. The problem is that our politicians are beholden to PACS and pay little attention to the common interests of normal everyday people be they democrat or republican. These PACS are mainly focused on ways and means either get tax breaks or circumvent them through loopholes and the such. A sales tax on goods and services takes this bargaining power away from them thus freeing the politicians from pandering too them. This would greatly reduce the cost of both doing business and government due to fewer hurdles to circumvent and the streamlining of the whole process. Of course the IRS would lose probably around 80% of their workforce and all the tax lawyers and accountants would jump from windows but is that such a bad thing...just kidding. Like the rest of the workforce they would have to adapt and repackage their skills. Until we take back the power from special interests whom hold political pressure guns to the head of politicians we will never get out of this mess.

    July 13, 2011 at 12:16 am |
  7. Danny C

    I can say with great confidence that 99% of the people writing comments here (including myself I'm sorry to say) are contributors to the economic problems we are now in. Not only that, but a mere 33% of the people in this country could turn this situation around, and bring about economic growth that would make the mid 1990's look like Great Depression.
    How? Buy American. And I'm not talking "Buy American When Possible", I mean "Buy American OR NOT AT ALL". Need a new TV? Go to Best Buy and ask for an American Made Brand (there isn't one anymore). Tell them you'll be back when there is one and get by watching that tiny 51' for a while (or go buy a used TV off Craigslist if your old TV died). If you're the first person who demands an American made TV you'll hear the laughing on your way out. If you're the 5th one you'll hear the awkward silence. If you're the 100th one you'll hear the cylinder on the gun spinning as the salesmen continue their game of Russian Roulette.
    What you won't hear is Best Buy SCREAMING at their television suppliers that somebody better get a TV factory up and running in this country before the quarterly report comes out or they're going to have a lot less shelf available for them. You probably will hear about the frantic race to see who can move a Television factory, DVD factory, computer factory, bicycle factory, toy factory, lawn chair factory......all being brought back to the U.S. to try to capture the 33% of sales of people who DEMAND American Made products.
    Do me a favor. Name me ONE SINGLE COMMON ITEM that would be found in an average household or business that would not command one, if not several, factories if 1/3 of the households/businesses in the U.S. demanded it be American made.
    What we need is a trusted national HERO (or group of HEROES) to get the ball rolling. My votes? Oprah, Clooney, Schwarzkopf, Sully Sullivan and newly minted Congressional Medal of Honor recipient Sgt. 1st Class Leroy Arthur Petry. Anybody got their phone numbers?

    July 12, 2011 at 9:33 pm |
    • Roder E

      And the evidence that this would be any sort of economic cure is?

      July 13, 2011 at 1:11 am |
    • Theo

      Sully Sullivan?!? You really want to leave the future of the American economy to the capabilities of the guy who invented the Smart Mop? Good job. People like you voting for clowns to become our leaders are responsible for the mess we're in.

      July 13, 2011 at 7:56 pm |
  8. NoAgendaJustTruth

    Lets not talk about millionaires, lets talk about about families making slightly above 250k, which in Southern California is solidly middle class. I am self employed and my spouse and I together make slightly over 250k. Out of every $100 I make, the federal government now wants $39 for federal income tax because apparently, unbeknownst to me, I am wealthy. The State of California wants $10 for state income tax. Because I am self employed and theoretically the master of my own destiny, Social Security wants $13.30, and Medicare wants $2.90. Never mind that at 44 years old I will never see a dime of that money, but hey I like old people and besides what other choice do I have?
    Now if you do the math, the various government entities have taken $65.20 out of the $100 I earned with hard work and risk. I would like to be happy the $34.80 buying power I have left, but unfortunately the county I live in charges a 7.75% sales tax so I only have $32.10 of buying power. Yes, to be clear, in order to purchase something that is a $100 dollars I would have to earn over $300. That feels a lot like robbery at the point of a gun, because keep in mind if i don't pay that money it will be taken from me.
    To say it another way for six and a half hours out of the ten hour days I work, I work to pay some form of government tax. And I have left out of my analysis the $2500 "self employment tax' and every other kind of random tax, such as property tax on the photocopier we lease, and the video screen disposal tax we had to pay when we bought our computer monitors etc.
    I like education, I feel compassionate for the sick, the old, the underserved, and the newly immigrated, but that isn't REALLY where our money goes. I am self employed in the way Alabama sharecroppers were self-employed, except one day, to quote Dylan, "I ain't gonna work on Maggies's farm no more!" That's why an additional 4% matters. My shoulders are strong but they are not that strong. Try not to kill the oxen pulling the cart.

    July 12, 2011 at 9:04 pm |
    • MikeInSRQ

      Truth – you need to be a bit more truthful in your calculation of the amount the government takes out of your earnings. Because the tax rates are a graduated rate, not every dollar is taxed at the same rate. And when you talk about your tax, you need to talk about taxable income, not your total income. There are many ways to legally reduce the total income to arrive at a taxable income that keeps you out of the top rates. Oh, and the top rates is 35%, not 39% and it kicks in when the taxable income is over $373, 650. My guess is that your taxable income after taking personal exemption and itemized deductions puts you in the 28% bracket. This is not meant to say that you don't pay quite a bit, but you should make yourself more aware of what you are paying.

      July 13, 2011 at 12:06 am |
    • Don't Lie

      This is totally incorrect. If you make a little more than $250 K you do not pay anywhere near 35% (or 39% as it was under Clinton) of your income in taxes. You pay 35% of the ADJUSTED income (after your mortgage deduction, deductions for having kids, etc. etc.) that is OVER $250K. Get out last years tax return and divide your tax bill by your income and you'll see it's much, much less than 35%. My family made nearly $200K last year and we paid about 15% in income tax.

      That and in every state that I've lived the taxes you pay are deductible, so you can't just add up the taxes like you have. Unless you have an agenda and want to lie.

      July 13, 2011 at 1:08 am |
    • jason

      im sorry NoAgendaJustTruth what you are saying just simply isn't true. we are taxed on a progressive scale that increases incrementally according to your income. at $30,000 you and me and the guy that makes $33,000 all pay the same amount. it increases, progressively as your income increases, until you get to 35%, which is currently the highest tax bracket. so you see, even if you were correct on the 39%, and you aren't, it still would be impossible for all your income to be taxed at the highest rate. not to mention you no doubt have deductions that probably bring your fed tax liability somewhere in the mid %20's. its ok to believe you're being taxed too much, but at least know how much too much is.

      July 13, 2011 at 9:31 am |
    • Wrong

      I continue to find it hard to believe that supposedly self-employed individuals withholding their own taxes can be so wrong about how much they pay in income tax.

      If you make just slightly over 250K with your wife, then with deductions you will not be subject to 35 (39% under Clinton) tax bracket at all! If you made slightly over 250K after deductions, then only the small marginal amount would be taxed at the 39% rate, and you overall tax rate would be WELL below 35%.

      Stop lying!

      July 13, 2011 at 10:19 am |
    • acommonman

      I understand that you will be in the 39% tax bracket, but what is your taxable income minus all your personal & business deductions and credits that are able to take as a business owner & Homeowner. That is your true amount of tax that you pay. Perfect example is Warren Buffet, a multi-billionaire, stated that he is in the 15% tax bracket while his secretary is at 24% after. There is so many availabe tax loopholes, deductions, and credits that every business owners & Homeowners are able to use to reduce their taxes.

      July 13, 2011 at 10:29 am |
  9. KatR

    If my (and many others) social security check isn't there next month I wouldn't be surprised to see some protest marches in the streets of America. Don't mess with us baby boomers. We stopped an undeclared war, impeached a crooked president, and ended the draft when we were young. Thanks to advances in medical technology we still have lots of energy to dig out our placards and march in the streets again.

    July 12, 2011 at 8:33 pm |
  10. Concerned

    The article itself fails to mention the exaggerations of the democrats. And the blog falls far short of living up to it's title. While I agree with the title's sentiment, it appears clear that the thrust of the text is too expose republican exaggeration, while paying homage to a neutral position in title only. And since it is a blog, Wolf, you should just rename the title and give your open unveiled opinion.

    July 12, 2011 at 8:32 pm |
    • Tall Ed

      "Individuals earning $200,000 a year and families earning $250,000 a year are not necessarily “millionaires and billionaires.” President Obama and the Democrats would like to see their federal income tax rate increase from the current 35% to 39%, where it was during the Clinton Administration."

      I guess you missed that whole section. The point of the article is that Obama wants to increase taxes on groups that one might not consider "Millionaires and Billionaires". Where as Boehner is trying to keep the taxes low on "Job Creators" which could include people who don't actually create any jobs.

      Read the Article again. Sure more of the article is about Boehner's position but that is because it is more complicated to explain, not because of some agenda.

      July 13, 2011 at 8:53 am |
  11. DL

    The 4% tax hike isn' oging to hurt anyone. That as crock of you know what. I paid the Clinton tax rates and they didn't hurt me one bit and I live in San Diego CA. DC Metro, NY my house price is the same as yours with more property taxes. I sick of people saying that a tax hike would kill the job creators. Take a good long look out there at the country and now the world. Do you see any jobs worth a damn being created by these so called creators you keep hearing about – NO! Because over 90% pf them don't create a damn thing. I am not saying that a person doesn't deserve what he earns, we have to save an a because I don't give away nothing for free, but this BS of continued tax slashing has to stop before we loose our place in the world as the leader in innovation and technological progression which all comes from taxes. That why schools were affordable in the 50's, 60's and 70's. Now after25 years the worst economic policy in history(TRICKLE DOWN).

    July 12, 2011 at 7:56 pm |


      July 12, 2011 at 10:53 pm |
      • jason

        what has obama lied about? and for that matter, wolf blitzer as well?

        July 13, 2011 at 9:34 am |
      • Paul

        II guess you actually believe that "Citizens United", and "Citizens for Ohio" are actually voters who pooled thier money and care – not just corporations influencing the vote.

        July 13, 2011 at 11:19 am |
    • joe

      You are comparing Clinton era with now..Thats your problem..Housing in the areas with high incomes is signficantly higher then it was during clinton..Same goes for other costs..Take DC metro.....want a cheap house think 500-600k...Cheap child care 1500-3500 per month... very quickly that money disappears... Anything left over those people deserve to keep. And the vast majority of those making that amount are not millionaires quickly....You obviously havent done math...By the time thier net worths have gotten to that point, it means they worked ther asses for 20 yrs. But yes we should punish hard work.....Let actually go to a system that taxes you relative to your cost of living.....and still applies an additional tax with wages above x, to account for the higher earners...Thats what I call paying our fair share

      July 12, 2011 at 11:28 pm |
  12. taxpayer

    if the debt and spending continue to climb ... the US will default ... and then there will be no entitlement program funds for anybody. So, cut the entitlements now ... or lose them altogether in the near future.

    July 12, 2011 at 7:54 pm |

      If it will stop paying all the free programs for the illegals and the class of people who will not work then I am all for it. BANKRUPT.

      July 12, 2011 at 10:54 pm |
      • beth

        could you please be more specific about all the money being thrown at illegals, and why do you presume that people who aren't working don't want to work? if you want to complain, complain about the fact that we who are on the payroll, pay taxes on our GROSS INCOME...the slime balls who are running the businesses may have millions in gross receipts, but after they're done running all the business' and their personal expenses through, they may have little or no taxable income. why is it the employee pays taxes on gross income and there is no gross receipts tax? it seems like a simple solution. just make business owners and officers pay taxes on the gross receipts collected before any expenses. Even if it were only 1%, think of the $ that would be generated. Then after expenses, treat businesses as individuals and tax them at the same rates.

        July 13, 2011 at 9:45 pm |
    • Aaron

      That needs to be done and taxes on the rich need to be raised. The continuation of their tax breaks has obviously not created any jobs and has only increased the deficit. Don't cry for millionaires and billionaires paying their share of the taxes. They wouldn't spit on a lower income person is he/she were on fire.

      July 12, 2011 at 11:14 pm |
      • Corinne

        Want to balance the budget? Stop government from being the single largest employer. Privatize all those jobs. You get a leaner government budget AND better employees – because in the private sector you have to perform or you GET FIRED. No tenure.

        Want Social Security to last? Quit giving it to people who NEVER CONTRIBUTED TO IT! Sorry for ya! It should be reserved only for those who paid into it!!!!!!!!

        July 20, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
  13. Mark Yelka

    Where are the data that those earning at different income levels create jobs? I'd like to see a graph of jobsCreated against income.

    July 12, 2011 at 7:43 pm |
  14. tom

    Yeah they need to clean up loopholes all over the government programs....taxes...welfare..defense spending...Medicare and medicaide....I get sick and tired of paying for the welfare families that are milking the welfare system(its becoming a way of life for some families 4GENERATIONS) also tired of paying rich ppl's taxes BC its they pass on all tax increases on to the consumer.....but they have billions and trillions of dollars and there not highering anybody....give companies that hire ppl taxes breaks.....Republicans believe in Friedman's policies in order to help the economy is help the rich BC they will pull up rest of the ecomony by the boot strap....the problem is there not BC they are being greedy....

    July 12, 2011 at 7:41 pm |
    • Danny C

      The very top earners DO create jobs. Thousands of them. The problem is they are in China, India and third world countries. Since 1990, 135,000 factories have relocated from the U.S to other countries. In 1990, the largest employer in the United States was GM. A company that made American cars, 76% that were sold in this country, and 24% for export. Today U.S. located GM plants make 94% that stay in this country, and only 6% for export.
      Today the largest employer in the United States is Walmart. A company that sells us cheap products imported from foreign factories that used to be located in the U.S. A recent study revealed that over 86% of non-food items sold by Walmart are made in foreign countries. Walmart is merely a conduit to send HUNDREDS OF BILLIONS of dollars a year out of our country. In fact, Walmart is probably a greater threat to this country than Al-Quida, Iran and North Korea combined.

      July 12, 2011 at 8:42 pm |
  15. Master11

    ​My comment : There's no exaggeration when the republikans want to take away "entitlements" that we have been paying for all our working lifes. What they are exxagerating is that the rich are not going to create jobs (they haven't in the last 10 years with their tax cuts so why know when they want the President to fail and be a one term President); they are not going to have to declare bankruptcy, or lose their homes, or their cars or not be able to put on the table for their little darlings and they will still be able to invite all their rich friends who fly in on jets to their lavish parties while the rest of us, seniors, poor and the vahishing middle class scrape to get by.

    July 12, 2011 at 7:39 pm |
  16. roderick ronald roberts

    To wit:wake the f/up NOw!!!

    July 12, 2011 at 7:39 pm |
  17. Nate (Seattle, WA)

    More cop-out phony "balance" from the mainstream media. They have to spin everything as an equal battle between opposites. In reality, it's no such thing.

    The Democrats aren't exaggerating at all. First of all, the tax increases they suggest only start at the 200K/250K level. You can't take earners at the very lowest end of that bracket, and base your opinion just on them. That would be exaggerating.

    Second of all, even the majority of 200K earners would still fall into the millionaire category. A millionaire is someone with $1M net worth. I have a net worth that much, and have never earned $200K/yr. I'm also not old.

    Are there some $200K/yr earners who aren't millionaires yet? Sure. But that's not all of the $200k earners, and $200k earners are only the very lowest possible rung on the upper tax bracket ladder.

    The statement about $200k+ earners being "millionaires and billionaires' is not an exaggeration at all. The vast majority of people in that category are millionaires. Do we have to refrain from making any statements at all, unless they apply 100% of the time? That's idiotic, Wolf.

    If I said that Wall Street CEOs are greedy, nobody (outside of Wall Street) would accuse me of exaggeration. Does that mean that every single one falls into that category? Not necessarily. The lack of 100% applicability is conflated by Wolf Blitzer's pea-brain into being the same thing as an exaggeration.

    July 12, 2011 at 7:35 pm |
    • Rob (Boston MA)

      Great comment... I wish the majority of Americans would think like just baffles the mind...

      July 12, 2011 at 8:51 pm |
  18. wjm

    all members of congress should wear jackets with all their interests and sponsors sewed onto them – kind of like NASCAR drivers – label all of those who the congressman/woman is truly representing so at least the public knows why they say and do the ridiculous things they say and do.

    July 12, 2011 at 7:34 pm |
  19. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    If my social security check doesn't come in August, I'm find with that if it means the Government won't be chopping it and other benefits that are much needed.

    July 12, 2011 at 7:31 pm |

      You probably will be fine with that since you probably get food stamps, free health care and a welfare check with all utilities paid. i am sick of you Obama people and illegals who are the tremendous drain on our debt. Which Obama will do nothing to stop it.

      July 12, 2011 at 11:04 pm |
  20. Jimbo1918

    Folks, super rich people generally use othe people's money to get rich nor will they rush to create jobs if we cut their taxes. They are not stupid, they look at return on their capital and most time play real estate and stock market.

    July 12, 2011 at 7:27 pm |
  21. clarke

    Most wealthy people do not invest in America they invest off shore.

    July 12, 2011 at 7:19 pm |
  22. clarke

    If only everyone would get a handle on fraud and waste, in every sector, most of the money problems would not exist. Create fraud units in every state for the the entitlement programs. You could create jobs and still have monies left over. There are people out there who really need help, and there are those who take it away through fraud and waste. Why doesn't anyone want to address this problem?

    July 12, 2011 at 7:07 pm |
    • Nate (Seattle, WA)

      Because entitlement fraud is not a major part of our budgetary problems. It's just not. Not even 10% of our yearly deficit.

      What is a large proportion of our yearly deficit are the ransom payouts we had to make to the financial sector. Those deserve vastly more attention than your bogeyman issue of entitlement fraud.

      July 12, 2011 at 7:37 pm |
  23. lookindown

    Thanks for telling us both sides are exageratting. Better you metioned some facts. For example, Corporate taxes are lower than anytime since the Great Depression, coporate profits are higher than they have ever been, the wealthiest families control more of the nations wealth than anytime since the Great Depression. The middle class has been losing buying power (real income) for decades. If this continues, the US will become one with a few very wealthy and many very poor. Money/wealth must circulate if it is to do any good. Money is not circulating now. Small businesses are having trouble getting loans. All the while ,the super rich/high cap corportations are sitting on billions of dollars drawing interest and invested overseas. They are not creating jobs in this country, therefor they are not "job creators"

    July 12, 2011 at 7:07 pm |
    • rker321

      Wasn't those same issues that created the French Revolution?

      July 12, 2011 at 7:15 pm |
  24. Tom CA

    He hasnt created any jobs. Not directly at least. Sure this billionare spends alot of money. However much of it is most likely spent in foriegn markets. In addition if you were to compare the spending habits of this nations rich to the rest of the population you would almost certainly find the rich are outspent exponentially by the collective spending of the rest. At the end of the day thats where the jobs are really created.

    July 12, 2011 at 7:06 pm |
  25. Mark Gruner

    There are few, if any, journalists right now. The correspondents we now have are not asking "good" questions. For instance, if Pawlenty is hoping that the debt ceiling will not be raised, isn't he advocating a balanced budget NOW because without increasing the debt ceiling the federal has to live with the funds coming in. So the question a journalist would ask Pawlenty is "without increasing the debt ceiling now, where are you going to save $1 TRILLION (40% of the budget) the next 12 months? Even Representive Ryan's plan would require increasing the debt ceiling by $4.6 trillion, so why aren't the republicans at least increasing the debt ceiling by $4.6 trillion. One other GOOD question is why do we talk about ANNUAL budget deficits, but all savings are OVER 10 YEARS. Consider savings of $5 trillion over 10 years with an average annual deficit averaging $750 billion still increases the debt by $2.5 trillion. AND we all know that the savings are back end loaded with LITTLE or NO commitment by politicians to actually stick with the plan.

    July 12, 2011 at 7:02 pm |
  26. soandso

    Speaking of things we all need to think about: how can it be that those of us who want a "smaller" government are asking THE GOVERNMENT where the jobs are??? do we want the government to provide jobs?? Or, isn't that the work of businesses and individuals themselves?? Government's role in that case is to provide an environment in which businesses and individuals are motivated to hire. Could we have a policy which "rewards" businesses which transparently hire new people in new jobs?? And, in the same spirit, removes tax advantages for businesses which don't use that "advantage" to hire people, but rather "sit on it" or pay it to CEOs and investors.

    After all, those people newly hired (whether by business, government, or individual households) aren't going to just sit on that money or paper their walls with it because it's pretty. They are going to spend that money–keeping the rest of us employed–and pay taxes on that money–allowing the government to continue using the tax money the way we tell them we want them to spend it (let's hope we will be smart enough to put them out if they don't.)

    July 12, 2011 at 6:59 pm |
  27. Dave Gocher

    Of course both sides exaggerate.

    We live in a world of exaggerated politics.
    This problem is never going to be fixed when its Democrats vs Republicans. Democrats blame all the problems on Republicans and Republicans blame Democrats. Guess what . . . . it is both of their faults.

    We have 100 people in the Senate and 435 in the House. Their job is the legislate, but that hasn't happened in years. Instead we have 535 people who really only care about keeping their job.

    July 12, 2011 at 6:57 pm |
  28. mike

    Same on Democrat game plan they pulled on George H. W. Bush. Front load the taxes and back load the cuts. Then when the time comes to cut get back in power and don't do the cuts.

    July 12, 2011 at 6:53 pm |
  29. joe

    A large portion of people making these 200k-250k salaries LIVE IN HIGH COST areas. Which is what drives the salaries up. Yes raising the rate by 4%, 4 cents per dollar makes a impact on there lifes. Do the math its all relative. Go talk to someone who lives in NY or DC Metro area....Want to get laughed at??

    July 12, 2011 at 6:50 pm |
    • razin

      Are you saying that its important to make 200K to live in NY/ SF / DC area? More likely is people with those salaries choose a high level of spending (larger houses, more elaborate outings, etc, etc). Whether this increase (extra 4% in the top bracket) will cause a slowdown in economic activity by taking some money out of the economy is a good debate... that someone making that much money will be anything but a little inconvenienced is laughable.

      And by the way.. you realize that if you make $200,001 dollars, and tax rate on the rich goes up, then you will pay 4 cents more in taxes.. NOT 4c/dollar.. 4 cents more period.

      July 12, 2011 at 7:08 pm |
    • Rob

      I have lived in Northern Virginia my entire life. You are right, being "rich" is relative when you live in a high cost area. All the same, if you make above $200,000, even in these areas, you make more than enough money to get by. I've seen this comment posted a few times on CNN today. These are the people that a) are NOT job creators becasue believe it or not, they are somewhat far down the totem poll despite their huge salaries, and b) they can definitely handle the tax hikes. Chances are if you life in Fairfax, Va., Westchester, NY, Fairfield or Greenwich, CT., or Orange County, Ca. if you make $200K + you have so much equity in your house alone it won't matter how much you are taxed.

      July 12, 2011 at 7:15 pm |
    • kap912

      I happen to live in an affluent neighborhood in the NY metro area you speak of that has a median income of $171k. Most everybody has a BMW, Mercedes, Lexus, etc. So don't give me your garbage about them really hurting from the extra tax increase. So they can't afford a luxury car with higher taxes. Boo-freaking-hoo.

      July 12, 2011 at 10:37 pm |
  30. SHARON


    July 12, 2011 at 6:49 pm |
    • Mike N

      Social Security should not be considered when talking about the deficit. It is a separate savings program that the rest of the government borrowed from. I also had that thought about not limiting the pay in to social security, but then they should increase the payout as well. If I put more into savings, I should get more out for retirement. But don't worry, that will be taxed, too.

      July 12, 2011 at 7:21 pm |
  31. Mike C.

    I suppose, I'm one of the millionaires and billionaires. My wife and I combined made about $275,000 last year. Of that, we paid almost $100,000 in federal and state taxes (income, property, and payroll). We feel fortunate to be able to afford to pay that much and don't mind do our share, but it does make us think sometimes. I helped my sister and her husband do their taxes last year. Our combined income was about 3 times their combines income, but our federal income tax bill was 20 times their bill.

    We take advantage of the tax deductions for which we qualify. We deduct our mortgage interest on the townhome we live in and the small single-family home we own in Texas that my retired parents live in. We would deduct our property taxes, except that under the Alternative Minimum Tax, that deduction is, for the most part, eliminated. We also have a home that we couldn't sell when we had to move for my job. We rent that home out now, but it represents a $700 per month CASH loss (the tax loss is closer to $1200). Unfortunately for us, at our income level, that loss isn't deductible either. We're expecting our first child this year, but the tax deductions and credits that so excite most will do almost nothing to reduce our tax bill (again because of the alternative minimum tax).

    Some of you might think we're rolling in money and don't know what to do with it all. I wish that it were true. I certainly thought that would be the case when I grew up in a middle class family with an auto mechanic father and a stay at home mom. Combined, I don't think they ever made more than $40,000 even in the years my mom did work. The reality is far more complicated. The primary reason that my wife and I are able to earn so much more than my parents is education. We both went to post graduate school and we both work long hours (me 60 or so per week, her about 50). That has led to some $170,000 in student loans, which thanks to Uncle Sam have fixed interest rates of 6.8 to 8.5%. Even with a 25 year repayment schedule, payments are nearly $2,000 per month. Our jobs limit our choice of areas to live, resulting in a larger mortgage than we'd like, despite being in a townhome. My parents' health is too poor for them to work and their Social Security checks aren't enough to cover any housing payment. As a result, they live in a house that we own and for which we pay the mortgage and utilities.

    I'm not saying any of this to plead poverty. We're not poor and our live is fairly comfortable. There are no doubt many many Americans who would love to trade places with us. We feel fortunate to live the life we do, but I just wanted to try to illustrate why it's not always as clear as the politicians would have you believe.

    The only way in which my wife and I are millionaires is that we have nearly $1 million in debt tied up in our student loans, our house, my parent's house, and the house for which we have become accidental landlords.

    July 12, 2011 at 6:48 pm |
    • Paul

      Brilliantly put. Understand the position you're in. However, coming from Australia (but living in the US) I am able to earn that salary without the education debt. My wife has a 50k education debt, some $500 a month, me $0, why? Because the Australian government gives interest free loans for education. America needs to take a step back and realize that a government focused on increasing every citizens ability to be productive is NOT socialism but freedom giving. Some verticals of industries are best left to the people to fund for the people, not by profit takers.

      July 12, 2011 at 7:11 pm |
    • lookindown

      My wife and I were in a similar position as yours. I calculated that fully 50% of our gross income went to taxes of one form or another. We likewise felt privileged and fortunate. We believed that the government should help the needy, and do things that protec the public health and safety and promote the middle class. And we really didn't resent all the rightoffs that the small business entrepeneurs were taking.

      But what really burns us are the super rich, the true multi-millionaires and corporations that pay little or no tax and the republicans who keep insisting they need more. Really it is that level wealth that receives most of the advantages the nation and economy provide.

      July 12, 2011 at 7:16 pm |
    • rker321

      Gee, me thinks you have a lousy Tax person. If I were you, I would start looking.

      July 12, 2011 at 7:17 pm |
    • razin

      By your own admission... you clear 170K/year. So you clear about 14K per month. (minus 2K in school loans) = 12K / month. The 4% tax increase will cause you to pay an additional 1K in Federal taxes per year ($80/month). Something tells me you are not going to get much sympathy from most.

      July 12, 2011 at 7:29 pm |
    • obandon

      I understand your situation, but you still have $175,000 net take home pay to use for the year. Try living on $400/month and be raising a family and having the government cut all benefits that still allow you to feed your children, or purchase toilet paper, soap and other needed non food items. It is people like my daughter in the above situation that are being hurt. I help where I can, but I only make about 10% of your gross income and have my own expenses.

      July 12, 2011 at 7:30 pm |
    • Connie

      Thank you for your honesty. I know many people in quite similar situations.

      July 12, 2011 at 7:40 pm |
    • Mike C.

      I assure you, my taxes are as low as legally possible. We don't have enough income to engage in tax avoidance schemes that are more "creative" and doing so might result in my losing my job.

      As I said, I realize we make a good living, but the amounts of "free cash flow" aren't as high as you would think. Student loan payments, mortgage payments, and utilities account for over 65% of our after-tax monthly income. Day care will be another 10% once we start paying for that (and trust me, we have searched for a lower cost option). Another 4% goes for health insurance. Car payments, car insurance, and commuting costs (gas and parking) is another 8%. That leaves us less than $2,000 per month to pay for groceries, pet care, out-of-pocket medical expenses, medical expenses for my mom (who is uninsured), clothes, meager retirement savings, and anything else we might need.

      Like I said, we have a comfortable life. I'm not looking for sympathy. I'm just simply trying to present a complete picture. I'm tired of being called a millionaire or billionaire when I am nowhere near a millionaire.

      Also, it's not just the 4% increase in marginal tax rates. There is also a 0.9% increase in HI (Medicare) tax for those same dollars. Other taxes may very well change too. I'm actually willing to accept the return to the Clinton-era rates, I just think this country needs to have a conversation about the realities of the situation that we're in. Exaggerations do nothing to move that conversation forward. We need to have a real conversation about means testing in social security and medicare. We need to have a real conversation about the fact that nearly 1 in every 2 taxpayers pay no federal income tax. I recognize that using the tax code as a part of welfare (EITC, etc) necessitates some taxpayers have a net negative income tax liability, but I have a hard time believing that 50% of taxpayers should.

      It seems to me that government spending has increased by nearly $1 trillion per year since 2008. At the same time, we struggle to find $400 billion per year to cut from current spending. I'd like to have a real conversation about that.

      I also think we need to recognize that many of the "loopholes" are not loopholes at all, but incentives. Carried interest is a popular whipping boy and with good reason. I have a hard time finding any justification for treating that income as capitals gains rather than wage income. Other popular memes–such as GE paying no tax–are often the result of the companies being lambasted doing exactly what politicians wanted them to do. In GE's case, making energy efficient light bulbs, wind mills, and other green energy products. If we don't want the companies to take advantage of those tax incentives, we shouldn't create them.

      All of this isn't intended to inflame, it's intended to be a reasonable discussion of policy. I wish as a country we could have a calm conversation about these very serious issues without one side accusing the other of trying to take every penny from the rich or put all old people on ice floats. It isn't productive and it's one of the reasons we've ended up in the difficult situation that we are in now.

      July 12, 2011 at 8:59 pm |
      • SacredEarth

        "All of this isn't intended to inflame, it's intended to be a reasonable discussion of policy. I wish as a country we could have a calm conversation about these very serious issues without one side accusing the other of trying to take every penny from the rich or put all old people on ice floats. It isn't productive and it's one of the reasons we've ended up in the difficult situation that we are in now."
        Thank you for that, Mike. And Bless you and yours. I so agree.

        July 14, 2011 at 8:47 pm |
  32. Marge

    Hot Dog the man who knows everything has just spoken.

    July 12, 2011 at 6:45 pm |
  33. joe Peterson

    How can we forget the two years under Democrat control with Obama spending away... The voters speak and the president wants to be fiscally responsible. What gives?

    July 12, 2011 at 6:45 pm |
    • clarke

      You can't blame all the spending on him, he didn't do it all by himself.

      July 12, 2011 at 7:10 pm |
    • coloneldewe

      Yep, and who bailed out whom? Did it really help middle America?

      July 12, 2011 at 7:33 pm |
    • Rob (Boston MA)

      This is a joke right... seriously... repubs and Bush held the country hostage with funding wars and spending their minds out. Republicans put us in this current situation... not saying that it wasn't a long time coming but... Obama is currently in a catch-22 situation... damned if he spends damned if he doesn't ... he wanted to get out of Iraq but repubs constantly criticized "He's not supporting the troops" and now look at the mess. Bush went from a surplus to a defecit over his entire term... yeah Obamas been spending but that's to try and get us out of this depression we're in. Also remember ... TARP was under Bush... not Obama... but who's getting the blame for it? People don't want to increase the debt ceiling and taxes on the very rich and then want all the aminities of living in this country... well "you can't have your cake and eat it too"

      July 12, 2011 at 9:16 pm |
  34. Robert Johnson

    Mr. Speaker,
    shall we refresh your memory on the promise you made america? Six months in and you have done, absolutely nothing.

    July 12, 2011 at 6:40 pm |
  35. bobho

    we need a war or for the stupid virus to show up.

    SS Recipients get thier checks now and I get nothing, ever. Funny since they votted it in place and I never had the chance to vote for it or not.

    I am thinking the movie Logan's Run makes a good model.

    July 12, 2011 at 6:39 pm |
  36. CaliforniaBC

    "Individuals earning $200,000 a year and families earning $250,000 a year are not necessarily “millionaires and billionaires.”"

    He's not saying that Wolfe. You're combining two different groups of wage earners. He's talking about millionaire and billionaires in the context of the debt ceiling increase and saying they can afford it. Some of the rishest people in the country are saying, "Tax us!". Eliminating the Bush tax cuts for those making more than $200,000 is a separate issue to take on around election time.
    There is a distinction made here. Please don't try to lump things.

    July 12, 2011 at 6:39 pm |
    • joe Peterson

      These rich that wish higher taxes can donate money to their cause if they want they?

      July 12, 2011 at 6:46 pm |
  37. left Coast

    How many jobs are created by the wealthy is not what matters to the Republicans. How much they contribute to the party does. There are wealthy people who contribute to the Democrats, however the vast majority of the Republican's money comes from those at the top of the economic scale. So what the Republican Party is doing is protecting its source of income, while continue its decades long propaganda campaign about smaller government. Trouble is, too many people in the US believe the Republicans. They can't see that what the Republicans are selling hurts the vast majority.

    July 12, 2011 at 6:35 pm |
    • joe Peterson

      "There are wealthy people who contribute to the Democrats, however the vast majority of the Republican's money comes from those at the top of the economic scale"

      And how do you know this? I will say that the big money typically comes from groups like corp. , unions, etc. and wealthy donors. If you check your facts you will see the majority of moneys for both parties come from these sources ..... There is not a vast difference in balance......

      July 12, 2011 at 6:50 pm |
      • Danny C

        Actually there is a big difference. Money coming from a union is representing many American union workers. Money from a corporation is not on behalf of all the employees of that corporation, but those at the very top. And their interests more times as not are to their advantage and their employees disadvantage.
        If we wanted it to be fair, we would public fund campaigns, make political contributions illegal and every person would have ONE VOTE. Know what MADNESS that would bring about? Politicians would have to try to take care of normal American citizens, instead of corporations.

        July 12, 2011 at 11:09 pm |
  38. boehnersux

    Actually Obama is exaggerating, the Republicans in their zealous defense of the very wealthy are flat out lying.

    July 12, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
  39. Dave Goldberg

    I don't think people understand how much money 5 billion dollars a year is. It's impossible to spend. Let's break it down. John Paulson made $13,698,630 a day. The most expensive car in the world is 1.75 million $. He would have to buy 7.8 of those cars EVERY Day to spend his money. That's 2,873 cars each year. But there is only 1 of those cars. What about houses? The top 10 most expensive houses in the world add up to 2.8 billion. So he could buy all those houses in cash in one year and still have 2.2 billion left over. There is a reason why the richest people used to pay 90% taxes. Because you can't spend it, the money goes nowhere, it does no good, while people starve and are homeless. What's the point? If he paid 90% in taxes, he would have still made 500 million dollars last year. Which is 1.37 million a day. Can you spend that? Well he would have to cut back to buying the most expensive car in the world every other day. Or perhaps only 2 or 3 of the top 10 most expensive houses in the world per year? Is it really that much of a sacrifice to say to John Paulson, you can still buy the top 10 most expensive houses in cash, but can you do it over 6 years rather than 6 months? And that is at 90% taxes. All Obama is asking is that he and other like him pay 36% rather than 15%.

    July 12, 2011 at 6:17 pm |
    • joe Peterson

      "There is a reason why the richest people used to pay 90% taxes. Because you can't spend it, the money goes nowhere, it does no good, while people starve and are homeless. What's the point?"

      And how do you suppose many of the richest Americans got that way? Hmmm I guess they had a money tree while the rest of us were not lucky enough to grow or find one?

      Have you heard of investments and what that can do for an economy? Or how about starting up new business or development of existing corporations? There are no jobs there right? Only the public sector gives us jobs or can save us? Is this how you feel (I would say think but that might be stretching things a bit)? If America believes as you do we are ruined.Though I will agree that proper government is important, I will say to rely so much on Uncle Sam and be so dependent on our government is sad and pathetic.

      July 12, 2011 at 6:57 pm |
    • Don Heitzman

      Sure, but how many people like that are there, and what impact do you think it would have over time? Wealthy people have the luxury of being able to DECIDE what they make and what they spend. The fact is, you could completely confiscate all of the money from everyone who makes $100,000 or $1,000,000,000 per year and get significantly less each year, simply because they will STOP making money at the level where it is confiscatory. At that point, WHATEVER level of contribution they make to the economy, large or small in your view, will go away. The less government intrudes, the more private resources will flow to all.

      July 12, 2011 at 7:20 pm |
  40. Chris

    Wake up people. Both parties have outlived their usefulness to this country. We need to cut spending for pork barrel projects, we need to close the loopholes and raise taxes on corporations becuase THEY AREN'T CREATING JOBS to begin with. Both sides only care about lining their pockets with corporate contributions and winning the next election. They could care less if the entire country were to be out of a job.

    July 12, 2011 at 6:13 pm |
    • Jason

      If that's not the truth I don't know what is!

      July 12, 2011 at 6:53 pm |
    • joe Peterson

      Have you checked the corp. tax rate compared to other nations in the industrialized world? If you raised the already high taxes what you will see is more lay-offs more jobs over seas. Please look into the facts....

      July 12, 2011 at 7:00 pm |
      • Rob (Boston MA)

        Again... are you serious... yeah we know that the corporate taxes are some the highest in the world (~35%) but guess what... the corporate tax loop holes are also some of the highest in the world. Look at GE in 2010 tax return -- guess how much they paid in taxes ..... ZERO!!!!.... because it pays to have a tax team that makes 200million to save you 1billion. I'd spend that money too if it saved me 800million ... honestly I guess this is where we're suppose to give more tax breaks and watch "Trickle Down" economics work... right? (rhetorical)

        July 12, 2011 at 9:33 pm |
  41. brad

    Its nice always talking about how the rich should pay more not me....I need most ppl to realize they pay lil to no taxes...I made 41000 last year and yet still got 2000 back at the end of the year from the gov't..most ppl get more back then they pay..except for the rich...should they carry more yes! But not 100x more get over urselfs...plain and simple social security and medicare r breaking the backs of americans and they have only been around for 60 years...I need ppl to realize they should save for retirement starting day one and stop relying on gov't to bail u out all the time...lyk my father and his father before him and me we would never take a dime from gov't we work for what we get and that's what everyone needs to do

    July 12, 2011 at 6:11 pm |
    • mike

      People should never get back more than they pay in. It is a gimmick by the democrats to redistribute wealth even before it gets into the federal budget. Close that loophole and you could probably save $5T over 10 years.

      July 12, 2011 at 6:59 pm |
    • soandso

      Do you REALLY never take a dime? What about use of the roads, the schools, the court system, etc. When I think how much I would have to pay to purchase the land between my home and my work in order to pay for building, maintaining, removing the snow from and keeping other people from using my road, I know I could never have my job AND stay in my home. If I imagine how much it would have cost me to purchase the services of a personal firefighter (or 3; they would probably only want to work 8-hour shifts). . . . well, you get the point.

      July 12, 2011 at 7:19 pm |
  42. Seth

    It's a constant refrain; the wealthy have the money to pay taxes, while taxing them will mean lost jobs. Now, first of all, the government is a large employer with substantial secondary job creation capabilities; paying taxes also pays for government jobs doing very necessary things for our society and for dozens of jobs supporting federal workers, while cutting or freezing taxes puts those jobs in jeopardy. Second, on average those income earners in the top 5% recovered from the recession faster than the nation AND have gathered a substantially larger share of the national wealth in the last couple of years. They are the only group whose real income did not drop in the past 5 years, and are the least likely to rely on entitlements for any portion of their livelihood in retirement.

    The assumption that the government is always an inefficient spender is just wrong; like any massive operation there are inefficiencies, often through predation by private companies (that $30,000 toilet seat was invoiced by a private US company, for instance). Government contracts and programs like Medicare create huge numbers of private companies whose sole purpose is to bill the government for every penny they can, legally or not. Every major corporation has had a project go over budget, paid substantially more than market value for a product or service, and likely had internal corruption result in lost money.

    Continuing the protection of the wealthy is not helping anyone. The wealthy won't suffer any alteration of lifestyle given a 3% increase on their incomes, nor will jobs be lost as a result. What it might do though is let the rhetoric and hyperbole cool off significantly, and I think we could all use that. It will definitely help the baby boomers whose retirement planning was inadequate. It will help the federal worker, who has been dragged through the public like a convict merely for working for the good of the nation. I would even argue paying that extra tax would benefit the wealthy, because a happy underclass is less likely to target them in the future.

    July 12, 2011 at 6:10 pm |
    • djusmc7229

      So, how much more are you going to voluntarily give up?

      July 12, 2011 at 6:57 pm |
    • joe Peterson

      Wow well please tell me how the education department is doing in our H.S., Junior Highs, and elementary schools... Yes a corporation who lost as much as the fed. government does on fraud every year would sink and fail. A corporation who is this in the red and cooked the books taking moneys from here and there promising IOU s would not only fail but be brought up on charges (lets say Social Security was likened to employee pension do you get the point?) ... Please the Fed Government is by far the largest legitimate
      cult of corruption in America....

      July 12, 2011 at 7:05 pm |
      • Rob (Boston MA)

        Joe... it is obvious that I like responding to your comments, as they are so radical... You must be a tea-party member. Believe it or not... I'm an independent and would have voted for McCain if he hadn't been stupid and picked up Sarah Palin. When he didn't pick Mitt Romney... he showed how poor his judgement really was... it is not Sarah Palin that is the founder of tea-party movement but the poor judgement of John McCain that has brought about this era of radical thinking extreme right wing people to the forefront of the Republican Party. To believe that we shouldn't have any revenue to pay for the things that the previous administration (Bush) put in place is down-right egregious.

        July 12, 2011 at 9:52 pm |
  43. Jeff

    It would be ridiculous to have a constitutional amendment forcing the government to have a balanced budget with wars and recessions and all, BUT it would be nice to have one that said any year the budget is not balanced all members members of congress, president, vice president anyone on the executive pay scale (except military) gets a single dollar of pay each year they have a deficit (sorry no bonuses for surplus, you are a government worker afterall). States might want to think of the same thing.

    July 12, 2011 at 6:09 pm |
  44. Bry

    How about a flat tax of 1% or 2% on everything except income. Anyone in America can help and not just the workers who report their income to the IRS. Lets cut "Pork Belly" projects.

    July 12, 2011 at 6:06 pm |
  45. open400

    One thing that is never discussed is this whole under ground economy that is paid in cash that is never taxed or that business expense to buy a jet that is never taxed, but is considered an expense. That is why I favor a federal sales tax as part of the solution. Let the rich buy their expensive corporate jets, but tax them as a jets, not as a 100% tax write offs for the rest of us to compensate for.

    July 12, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
    • NoNoNo

      Don't you know that businesses deduct sales tax as well?

      Sales tax is regressive, it is not a solution.

      July 12, 2011 at 5:56 pm |
    • Bosko

      Cut the capital gains tax to spur investment. Remove the cap on SS tax. Cut wasteful spending like most SSI. Tax all income over $300,000.00 per year at much higher rates - doctors, lawyers, athletes, actors, and ceos are all paid way more than they are really worth.

      July 12, 2011 at 6:13 pm |
      • rker321

        now, now, and how do you think if that happened that all the nice politician would be reelected?

        July 12, 2011 at 7:20 pm |
  46. Rich

    Here is what we need to look at. The loop holes. Most big companies in America do not actually pay 35 percent in taxes. They pay much less and closer to 10 percent because of loop holes. Those holes need to go away. We have 55 percent of Americans paying taxes while the rest pay almost no federal income tax or get that money back at the end of the year. That means that 55 percent of the people are forced to pay for everyone else. That's not right and that is not fair. People should never be punished because they are successful and make money. It is easy to say make the wealthy pay more if your not wealthy because it will not effect you.

    Because of NAFTA the jobs have left America. Those jobs are not coming back as long as businesses can hire people cheaper in another company without the strict government regulations America imposes on business and the high rate of taxation. There is no incentive to relocate to America because it costs more to manufacture things here. America needs to change the way it does things in order to attract new business to put people back to work in this country. Until that happens America will not begin to get it's economy back.

    July 12, 2011 at 5:44 pm |
    • Tim

      Nice analysis. I am a conservative and I completely agree with your tax revenue analysis. I am also an attorney and took a tax law class for personal individuals in law school. The IRS code and regulation book was 4 inches thick. And that wasn't even the law. They even have special tax Courts in this country that only deal with tax cases. The reason these "loop holes" also known as political policies because they are meant to encourage or discourage certain behavior, need to be reformed is because they are no longer applicable. We have a voluntary tax system in this country. We need to make the system simpler for all Americans and American corporations. If we would move to a flat tax, we would be a better society for it. But that would require politicians to relinquish their power, which they have no intention of doing.

      And BTW, the more money that the government takes, the more they spend and the bigger they are. Cut off their source of power, money, and you will return the country to the people. Vote conservative.

      July 12, 2011 at 6:18 pm |
      • Rich

        Tim I have always been a big fan of a flat tax rate where you pay tax on what you use when you buy it. To me that would be a much simpler tax system and everyone would pay something instead of only 55 percent of the people paying for everyone else. We all use the infrastructure, the military and the government even if we do not all own a car. Everything we consume travels down the roads we pay taxes on. Why should only a percentage of people pay for the infrastructure when we all use it?

        July 12, 2011 at 7:50 pm |
  47. Andrew Belmont

    The key question no one brings up is what did $200K and $250K salaries correspond to in today's dollars during the Clinton administration when a higher tax rate was applied.

    Today's taxes on 'the rich" are tomorrow's taxes on the middle class when inflation is factored in.

    July 12, 2011 at 5:44 pm |
    • barryt

      Didn't the Democrats already say that they are willing to change the law so retuning it to the higher rate only applies to over million dollar annual incomes? If Congress does nothing, I've read that the law reverts to the tax that applied before the rate was lowered.

      July 12, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
    • Holly

      No. Tax brackets, expemption aounts, standard deductions, etc. increase with the rate of inflation. At least we've got that right.

      July 12, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
    • gorn

      If $250,000 is middle class, then I'm Donald Duck. It's true that those who take home $250k may not be millionaires, but if so, there is something wrong with them. I'm a millionaire and I've never taken home more than $100k in my life. If you waste all of your income on bigger and bigger bling, that's your choice, but that's no reason to avoid taxes. And let's keep in mind that $250k is taxable income, not total income. That person probably has $100k in various deductions, so the regular income is more like $350k. Look, I'm not out to rape the wealthy, but don't ask me to cry them a river either. America is an expensive enterprise, and nobody has more at stake in its continued success than the wealthy, so they certainly ought to pony up accordingly.

      July 12, 2011 at 6:35 pm |
  48. Travis Fields

    I'm so glad to see a major reporter finally talking about this problem.

    This "15% income tax for the wealthy" is why Billionaire Warren Buffett is taxed at a lower rate than his secretary.

    As even Buffett freely admits, that's just nuts.

    July 12, 2011 at 5:42 pm |
    • Tim

      You didn't read the story properly. His income is taxes at the current rate, 35%, but his investment income (when realized) is taxed at the 15% capital gains tax. You need to keep in mind that this money was ALREADY TAXED. The 15% is on top of the 35% that he already paid. That's simply not fair. And if you want to encourage "little" people to invest and save money, then those rates on money already taxed should stay at a bare minimum if not left totally untouched.

      July 12, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
      • gorn

        That's not true. The gain is computed on its basis value when the investment was made. If I earn $10k and pay 25% tax on it, that leaves $7.5k. If I then invest that and its value doubles to $15k, my tax on the gain is 15% of the additional 7.5k.

        July 12, 2011 at 6:38 pm |
  49. Dan McWilliams

    I do not see the spineless government we have elected doing much in the interests of our country. Neither side in the debate has any moral high ground. The first checks that do not go out after 2Aug2011 should be all the checks to all Congressional and Executive branch officials and all their aides. They've done little and do not deserve pay.

    July 12, 2011 at 5:40 pm |
    • JohnRJohnson

      There is no way to know what Obama would support or recommend if he was dealing with people who negotiated in good faith. That changes the entire dynamic what the President can do. If it hadn't been for Republicans in the Senate, we would have universal, single-payer medical coverage for every man, woman and child in this country. The health care crisis would be virtually over. Instead, we don't even have a public option.

      July 12, 2011 at 6:06 pm |
  50. okietaxpayer

    It is all new flashes from both sides.
    They all play to the tv camera and reporters.
    This country is in a financial death spiral.
    Bush did his part to over spend, and Obama makes Bush look small time when it comes to spending other peoples money.
    The current Tax code is full of loop holes, if every one paid 10 percent of their income, the treasury would be full of money.
    No matter how much the Treasury has, Congress (both parties) spend more than they take in.
    Wake up America and Congress in particular – for many years America has used it's credit card to run up debt that cannot be repaid.
    Congress and the President need to cut Federal spending today to match Income and start to pay off the debt. Both are just passing the buck to our kids.
    Failure to do this will just delay the coming crash.
    All we are doing is putting off the crash a few more months.

    July 12, 2011 at 5:39 pm |
    • larry

      Bush outspent Obama 2 to 1. 2 unfunded conflicts, Unfunded Part D prescription program, $700billion in bank bailouts.

      July 12, 2011 at 6:06 pm |
    • Larry L

      It's fair to note that Obama's spending was designed to help fix the steaming pile of crap left behind by Bush. Most economists agree the stimulus was absolutely required to keep us from going over the cliff. I wonder why the strong Clinton economy didn't take off wonderfully when Bush pushed through the tax cuts. Funny, didn't Al Gore predict the failure if Bush gave the rich a gift? Nobody with half a brain would expect the economic situation inherited by Obama to get fixed in a couple of years. The economy never works that fast. The total failure of our economy could happen fast if the Republicans continue to defend the very wealthy at the expense of the rest of us.

      July 12, 2011 at 6:19 pm |
  51. NoNoNo

    Wrong Blitzer! The Republicans are defending massive tax giveaways for millionaires and billionaires and are willing to torpedo the economy and doom the working and middle class to do so, and you are totally WRONG to say that that Democrats would raise taxes on those poor, poor individuals earning more than $200,000 from 35% to 39%.
    Letting the Bush tax cuts expire and go back to Clinton levels would only raise the MARGINAL income tax rate on TAXABLE income over 200,000 for individuals by 4.6%.
    In other words, a poor, poor single man with earning $215,301 with NO tax deductions would see his federal income tax increase by FOUR CENTS and only another $0.04 for each additional dollar.
    An individual earning even $500,000 in TAXABLE (after deductions) income under Clinton would pay a marginal federal income tax rate, not of 39.6%, but of 34.2%, versus 32.2% under Bush, an increase of only 2%!

    July 12, 2011 at 5:39 pm |
    • NoNoNo

      For the last sentence, I mean an effective total income tax rate of 34.2% versus 32.2%.

      Wake up! Pull the blinders off and see that the Republicans are fighting to the death to destroy our nest eggs, infrastructure and safety nets while handing unearned windfalls to the very richest! And the Democrats are moving right to meet them!

      July 12, 2011 at 5:42 pm |
    • #st_upid_

      save your lies

      July 12, 2011 at 5:54 pm |
      • NoNoNo

        Nice comeback! If you finished fourth-grade math, perhaps you can point out my lies?

        This is why Mrs. Grunderson told you math matters, because when your eyes glaze over at the term "marginal tax rate" that sound you hear is the rich siphoning away your and your children's wealth and future.

        July 12, 2011 at 6:05 pm |
  52. Shilah

    Social Security checks to be cut-off. CUT-OFF CONGRESS paya checks, Pentagon checks, Retirement Benefits . Then Republicans next year wont have to worry about getting elected after all this. Democrats will rule country and to think I have voted Republican for all Bush's and past. Totally disgusted. Also oil companies that rule our lives.

    July 12, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
    • larry

      Under the constitution, congress can't have thier checks "cut off", unfortunately. They can, however, have their pension fund "confiscated" and end their healthcare program. Should be the first choice. If a default happens, the Prez and Sec of Treasury have total discression of how the remaining money is spent.

      July 12, 2011 at 6:09 pm |
  53. Daveil

    NYT's use of a $5B hedge fund manager as an example is no more relevant than the specific examples of individuals without insurance that the Democrats used to sell Obamacare. They're selected specifically to make the speaker's or writer's point without regard to their general applicability to the group under discussion. It's like using Obama as an example of the typical community organzer's career path.

    July 12, 2011 at 5:37 pm |
    • Jeff

      Careful you will be banned for making sense like that.

      July 12, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
    • NoNoNo

      Alright, point out a better example of a billionaire earning most of their income in capital gains than the hedge fund manager.

      July 12, 2011 at 6:32 pm |
  54. Dan, Tx

    Cut my taxes so I can take my money and invest it in Asia.

    July 12, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
  55. drdiane50

    Over the life of the Bush tax cuts, job creation has lagged FAR behind; I am sick to death of hearing Boehner et al scream on national TV, "Mr. President, where are the jobs?" The Republican-controlled house has not put forth a SINGLE jobs bill since they took over in January – so John of Orange, where ARE the jobs? Tax cuts do NOT create jobs, and the Democrats aren't proposing increasing tax rates – they're simply trying to close tax loopholes that only benefit the few and well-connected. Shared sacrifice shouldn't be such hard words for the Republicans to understand.

    July 12, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
    • Jeff

      Lots of construction jobs were lost after the housing market crashed, something that the stimulus was supposed to remedy and hasn't

      July 12, 2011 at 5:39 pm |
      • Joe

        That's not exactly correct. When Obama took office, monthly job losses were about 600,000. A lot of money was put in to the public sector (and given to states) to prevent job cuts. In June, we gained about 200,000 private sector jobs, but only realized a net job increase of about 18,000. The gains were offset by job losses in the public sector. If there was no stimulus, then these jobs would have been lost at the height of the recession without offsets from job growth in the private sector. If you examine the numbers and look at the flow of money into the economy from the stimulus, the numbers make total sense.

        You ask were are the construction jobs? Just travel the interstate highways – there are projects everywhere. Where did this money come from? A lot was from the stimulus package.

        July 12, 2011 at 6:40 pm |
    • Shilah

      I Agree. Also on Medicare/Medicaid – guess we can be like Canada – socialized medicine. That way the "Health Insurance Companies" wont have to worry asa they are the one initiating doing away with all this.

      July 12, 2011 at 5:41 pm |
    • #st_upid_

      seriously though...where are the jobs?

      July 12, 2011 at 5:54 pm |
    • barryt

      The President and his economists argue that we would have been in a major depression without the stimulus. But that's spilt milk. I want to know who's telling the truth about current and future employment.

      What's wrong with the following logic?
      1) Immediate cuts in government programs will lead immediately to more unemployment as private contractors and public employees supported by those programs will lose jobs. More unemployment will mean less consumer spending and mean more private companies won't hire.
      2) Boehner has not explained how he sees spending cuts increasing employment except by "reducing uncertainties that keep employers from hiring." Won't any agreement will reduce uncertainties? If consumers have more money to spend that could reduce unemployment, but you don't get that from spending cuts unless you also cut taxes, and then the spending cuts don't go to reducing the deficit.
      3) Corporations have been making large profits and don't need lower taxes to get the money to hire more. Instead they need to forecast an increase in customers. For that they need people to have more money to spend. Cutting the deficit won't do that. Cutting personal income taxes could, but again that hurts the deficit, at least in the short term. That's the basis for the "prime the pump" theory of how governments get out of depressions.
      4)Unemployment seems to be a worldwide problem. Is this a new reality caused by greater automation and use of computers to do what people used to do? Look at how hard it is to talk to a human in more and more companies' customer service phone calls. Those are jobs lost that won't come back regardless of government spending.

      July 12, 2011 at 6:57 pm |
  56. Darlene Buckingham

    How despicable of the U.S. government to target the elderly. Cutting the military budget just a fraction could more than pay social security, vet's cheques, etc. Who are the terrorists here? Muslims honour their elders – the U.S. is throwing them to the dogs. How so very sad. May integrity return to our beautiful planet Earth. PEace to ALL.

    July 12, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
    • Dan, Tx

      Can I see your numbers on that Darlene?

      July 12, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
  57. Jeff

    I agree Wolf. Its this exaggeration that fuels partisianship which widens the rift which then requires politicians to have to "give more" to reach a compromise. Just once I wish someone would tell it like it is.

    July 12, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
  58. Moron Mesia

    Obama needs to simply close tax loopholes. Get rid of the "raise taxes" talk and the republicans will go along. He want to force the GOP into "raising taxes" because its not a GOP litmus an american voter litmus test.


    July 12, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
    • Rob (Boston MA)

      Are you serious... have you been listending to the conversation that has been taking place... Obama said nothing of "RAISING TAXES" he's only said "closing loopholes" and the Repubs only want to cut medicare and social security. To that I say... "NOT GONNA HAPPEN"
      Republicans believe, contrary to what 90% of the economists say, is that the goverment will not default and Obama is just using scare tactics. Kinda like how Bush got the US involved in Iraq and the used the terror alert to continuously scare Americans into believing we were being attacked continuously. Or maybe how Bush chided Dems for not "supporting our troops" to get his budgets through.
      Well ... in either case... I believe we should stop spending ... forget about all the money we give in foreign aide, cut the military in half, cut SS and Medicare and close loop holes and lets see where that gets us... that's right... Nowhere.

      July 12, 2011 at 10:04 pm |
  59. Pappy

    Nothing new here, the same people that coined "death panels" which was a fabrication from the right are now going to "put our house in order". The CONservatives are trying everything imaginable to thwart the Administration and the spineless Dems, TO KEEP OUR COUNTRY STRUGGLING !!!!!!!!!!!!

    If the LEFT doesn't grow a spine and start fighting for the masses, they will also fade into history.

    Where's Perot when you need him ?, better yet ANY third party candidate to put a stop to this insanity.

    July 12, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
    • thinksome1

      You got it right when you said, "Any third party candidate". Somehow, we have to get away from this left vs right political craziness. It's not about what's right or wrong, it's only about are the republicians for it, are the democrats against it, etc. We have to get back to people's support mattering. Its all about the money, which "buys" the election. Reform politics and you can eliminate loopholes, special interests, etc. That means campaign reform, lobbyist elimination on Capitol Hill. One citizen, one vote, one dollar.

      July 12, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
    • Shilah

      Perot – yes where is he. Get rid of all the "so-called" lobbyists" who make millions in graft for insurance, oil, et. companies. The rate this is going the Depression of the 30's will be only a small one compared to how this will end up. NO MONEY in banks, and so forth.

      July 12, 2011 at 5:45 pm |
  60. Brian

    I wish Blitzer would say something when he talks. He can palaver all day long without saying anything. He reminds me of a teacher I had in high school. "The fighting began early in the battle; it lasted until the vanquished was defeated by the victor."

    July 12, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  61. Jes

    I'm sorry but I'm going to go against the grain here. I'm not a wealthy american, i could be considered at the poverty level once I have to pay my health insurance and property taxes. But Gov't really needs to reform a lot of programs and cut costs. I 35% of ones income is a lot of money, I can see why Republicans are up in arms over it. For someone who makes 200,000 that's 70,000 in taxes, that's a huge chunk of change. I think it would be fair to say someone making over say 20 million could afford that 35%, but making less then that and paying almost half your income to taxes is not fair for people who work to make there money just as you or I do. I believe the gov't really ought to start looking at cutting their own pay, before they start to tax everyone to death. And everyone should have to pay their fair share for taxes, no more or no less (fixed rate for everyone and make gov't work w/in their means). And that goes for the man who makes 15 billion and the man who makes 15 thousand.

    July 12, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
    • Dan, Tx

      Only an idiot pays $70,000 in federal income tax on a $200,000 income, lol.

      July 12, 2011 at 5:34 pm |
    • NoNoNo

      Jes, do you understand MARGINAL income tax rates? Didn't think so! Someone making $200,000 a year and taking only the standard exemption and personal deduction pays an effective federal income tax rate of 26.8%, or $49,584, not $70,000. With other deductions and credits it would realistically be significantly less than this!

      July 12, 2011 at 5:52 pm |
    • Holly

      A person making 200,000/year does not pay 70,000 in tax. If they are single, no dependendents, take the standard deduction, their federal income tax bill for 2010 would have been a little bit over 21,000 (assuming all income is from wages–if there are capital gains it could be less) .But most people at that level do itemize deductions, so it would be less. I agree both sides oversimplify the issue. But for the Repbulicans to say we can't raise taxes on "job creators" when the unemployment rate is as high as it is perposterous. If they were creating jobs, maybe we wouldn't have to raise taxes,

      July 12, 2011 at 6:06 pm |
      • Holly

        Ooops, initial calculations a little off–closer to 48,000.

        July 12, 2011 at 6:52 pm |
    • Mark P

      Jes – I bow at your feet because you are someone who gets it!!! We will never see a flat income tax in the US but it would be nice to dream 🙂

      July 12, 2011 at 6:12 pm |
  62. thinksome1

    Those damn rich people, lets take 90% of their money, right? DON"T SUPPORT ANYONE WHO THINKS ITS OK TO TAKE 40% OF EVERY DOLLAR SOMEONE MAKES. Do support changes the tax code so that someone who makes 5 billion pays 15% on the majority of that income. Change the tax code, eliminate all loopholes, every one should pay a fair share, but no one should pay 40%, 50%, or more. NO ONE. Cut government spending. I have to say support the republican position this time around to put the brakes on this run away train. After this crisis is passed, vote most of them out and put in people who take sense and make sense. We need to cripple established party politics. Low level of campaign donations by individuals only, citizens only. No business money, no union money.

    July 12, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
    • Jes

      I agree totally!!!!

      July 12, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
    • Mike

      Prohibiting campaign contributions from investment banks and large corporations would cripple the democrats.

      July 12, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
    • Robert C.

      You obviously do not understand how things work, do you? No one gets taxed 40-50% of their income. The simple thing is this: the rich get away with jumping through tax loopholes, cheating the American people out of rightly deserved money. Why is it rightly deserved? Because we ALL contribute to this government's funding in some way, shape or form.

      I think its cute that people are so quick to defend the rich. I don't think they would defend the poor as quickly.

      July 12, 2011 at 5:37 pm |
      • Bryan

        Plenty of people defend the poor. As they should. But someone has to defend Americans and their earnings. I agree that there is a huge gap between $200K and $2MM a year. We shouldn't take our fellow Americans earnings (and yes, the majority of these people in the top bracket are high integrity, hard working Americans) just because our country can't control it's spending. That goes for both sides of the aisle.

        July 12, 2011 at 5:59 pm |
    • BryanP

      I think something needs to be cleared up.... with the US tax code, you aren't taxed on that rate for the entire income. For example, suppose the tax rates are such that it's 10% for up to $500k and 40% for above $500k (hypothetically). Suppose I earn $1,500,000 in taxable income a year. The first $500k is taxed at 10%, so that's $50k in taxes. The NEXT $1,000,000 of taxable income would be taxed at the 40% tax rate, for $400k in taxes. This is a total of $450k in taxes, which is actually less than a 33% "flat tax" rate. Therefore, viewing it from the way that you apparently think taxes are collected, this person would be taxed less than you currently believe the person is, since you believe it's a 40% tax on the total salary. So do you want to call that a tax break?

      July 12, 2011 at 7:11 pm |
  63. roshev32

    When the Republicans speak of job killing tax hikes, it would be fair to mention that budget cuts kill jobs also. Teachers, firemen, teachers, public transit workers and other will lose jobs, not to mention private companies with government contracts.

    July 12, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
    • Mike

      Why is it that whenever democrats talk about not raising taxes, they threaten policemen, firefighters, etc., but never talk about cutting their pet projects designed to pacify the fringe.

      July 12, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
      • roshev32

        Mike, can you give some examples? Sacred cows should be on the table, for sure. The examples I gave are a motherhood and apple pie example, which is why everyone uses them, but there are lots of useful governments jobs that will be lost with tax cuts. Republicans never mention that side of the equation, possibly because they think all government jobs are wasteful.

        July 12, 2011 at 5:52 pm |
      • NoNoNo

        Excuse me, what are these pet projects? Building roads, perhaps? Keeping our food and water safe?

        July 12, 2011 at 5:54 pm |
  64. truthiness

    Blitzer is not qualified to speak on this topic. Afterall, he is a closet Republicans. Whenever the Republicans are at fault, notice how closet Republicans say it's the fault of both parties. People it is time to vote every Republican out of office, especially the Tea Partiers. They are completely ignorant of how Congress is designed to operate.

    July 12, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
  65. JohnRJohnson

    Wolf, you're a news reader, not an economist. And you're not even a political analyst. So stick to the facts, without the punditry. If a person is making +$250K/year, their bi-monthly paycheck gross exceeds $10,000. They would only see their tax increased on the amount in excess of the $250K. So, if they made $251K, their taxes would only go up on that $1,000. As to whether or not they qualify as millionaires, that status is not determined by your annual income. It is determined by your net worth. You only have to earn $250,000 four or five years to amass a net worth of more than $1 million, because you have the money to speculate in the stock and real estate markets. Today, with interest rates at historic lows, these people can afford $2 million homes, Hummers and yachts. So don't quibble about the terminology here. Most people earn 1/5th of what these people are making.

    July 12, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
    • Mike

      Obama's definition of rich is rapidly approaching the minimum wage. Soon you'll be a "millionaire or billionaire" if you own a bike.

      July 12, 2011 at 5:32 pm |
    • Jeff

      Please stop talking you are making a fool out of yourself. Increase tax rates do not apply to just the portion that you make over the threshold it applies to all your money. Have you EVER filed a 1040?

      July 12, 2011 at 5:36 pm |
      • NoNoNo

        Republican ignorance never ceases to amaze me. If I didn't know better I would assume these folks are just trolls, but this confident-ignorant-wrong attitude is why the government is about to shut down today, holding our basic programs literally keeping people alive in a depressed economy are being held hostage to yet more giveaways, for yes, millionaires and billionaires.

        I pity the future and the children born today.

        July 12, 2011 at 6:14 pm |
      • Holly

        I'm not sure who were insultiing. But, you are wrong. They are called marginal tax rates because the rate only applies to the income above a certian level. I don't have the brackets at my fingertips, but everybody pays 10% on the first level of taxable income, then 15%, etc. You're tax does not increase to 33% on all of your income just because you reach that bracket. If you don't believe me, check out Pub 17 on the IRS web site (or the instructions to Form 1040 which you apparently filed without reading-or , at least, understanding0

        July 12, 2011 at 7:52 pm |
    • JohnRJohnson

      jeff, you are taxed on your "taxable income". If your taxable income is in excess of the $250K/year, Obama's tax proposal would only increase your tax liability on the amount above $250K. People may be taxed on their total income from paycheck to paycheck, but they get to file that 1040 on April 15th and use all the loopholes and tax avoidance methods in the tax code to adjust their income and get a refund. Subtract that refund from the total withholding for the year, then divide that remainder by their total income and you end up with their practical tax rate.

      July 12, 2011 at 6:19 pm |
  66. Dennis

    Corporations have had RECORD profits. They are sitting on a TRILLION dollars.

    How much more money do they need before they hire? None

    July 12, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
    • Dave

      Yes, corporations have record profits; and guess what, they're keeping them all to themselves and stock holders. The people of this country are dumb to put up with the absolute crooks who run our government. I'm sure that if this had happened in 1775, our citizens would have rebelled.

      July 12, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
    • Jeff

      No jobs because there is no stability, corporations are stilling on their cash because they are afraid to spend it. Obama forbid that they use some of it for conventions or to buy a company jet or remodel their offices. And whatever they do, do not go to Vegas.

      July 12, 2011 at 5:43 pm |
      • Joe

        As a small business owner, I do not agree. Closing tax loopholes for businesses or raising individual income tax rates for those making over $200K (the so called job creators) will not result in job losses. Taxes, or the lack thereof, are not a direct factor in hiring. Companies hire when the economy is growing and demand for their products exceeds capacity. The data? Just look at the tax rates vs. unemployment from 1930 to 2011. If there is any correlation, it is the opposite of what you suggest. Higher tax rates = lower unemployment. Just go back to the Clinton era tax rate data to see what I am saying.

        Another point that seems to get lost in all this is that we are told that if the CEO of GE or Cisco or Ford or a small business owner like me has to pay more personal income taxes, somehow, someway this will translate into these companies hiring fewer people. I just don't buy it! They (we) hire based on demand for their (our) products. Increase aggregate demand – Increase total jobs. This is the real economic argument.

        July 12, 2011 at 6:58 pm |
    • Mike

      What they need are regulations that apply to all (not the current administrations policy); confidence that their investments will lead to profits for their shareholders (questionable under Obama's policies); and surety of future taxes to adequately measure risk and returns (vs. Obama's future tax increases which he has yet to define).

      By the way, these are the very same things that you need as an individual to plan for your future. The fact that you have savings should not mean that the government is able to confiscate your savings to pay for programs the government decides is best.

      July 12, 2011 at 5:47 pm |
    • beelzebubba

      Businesses will only hire when consumers confidence climbs and consumption returns to normal levels. It's the average Joe who buys stuff at Walmart that mostly drives our economy. Note that unemployment is a high as it was when the extend-the-Bush-tax-cuts-or-businesses-won't-hire crowd got their new years wish. (I support intelligent spending cuts, low taxes and major tax reform tax cuts, but their 'reasoning' was uniformed nonsense... and, worse than being fools, the buffoons are pigheadedly stubborn.) Maybe some real leaders will appear in a few years.

      July 12, 2011 at 6:16 pm |
  67. Rich

    If you earn $200K per year and are not a millionaire, you are pretty incompetent with money.

    July 12, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
    • Dave Goldberg

      You would think so, but people that make $200,000 start buying more stuff. I know quite a few people that earn 200,000 to 300,000 a year and they live pay check to pay check. They have boats, they drive expensive cars, they live in too big of a house, they upgrade their house with top of the line stuff. They take expensive vacations and stay in hotels that charge $400 a night. I walk around Vegas and I wonder who are these people that can just sit at $100 min black jack tables for hours on end.

      July 12, 2011 at 5:32 pm |
    • NoNoNo

      Good point!

      July 12, 2011 at 5:56 pm |
    • Jeff

      200k a year on Manhattan about the poverty line

      July 12, 2011 at 6:02 pm |
      • NoNoNo

        As anyone who lives in NYC can tell you,
        1. No it's not.
        2. NYC has amazing public transit and anyone on a fixed income isn't renting an apartment on the Upper East Side, any more than they would live in Hillsborough Heights in San Francisco, Beacon Hill in Boston, or Society Hill in Philly.

        I supposed $50 million a year is a poverty level income if you have to maintain your own remote private island in the South Pacific accessible only by yacht and private jet... or something.

        July 12, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
  68. clarke

    I am so tired about taxes and job creation. cutting or raising taxes is NOT going to create jobs. Plain and simple, why do these people think we are so stupid.

    July 12, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
    • Stace

      because.....we are so politically divided, we, the people, are harmless.

      July 12, 2011 at 5:48 pm |
    • dee

      because will continue to fight each other instead of the cons that are robbing us blind so their right we are dumb

      July 12, 2011 at 6:07 pm |
      • dee

        because we show them we can be played against each other while they laugh all the way to the bank

        July 12, 2011 at 6:12 pm |
  69. Aaron Swisher

    Most jobs are created by small businesses. Small businesses usually fail and the ones that don't usually take years to become profitable (not to mention tons of sweat equity). Do you really think someone making a million dollars a year (or 5 million, or a billion) is going to take their extra money from a tax break and create a small business? The idea is ludicrous. On the other hand, having a very high tax rate on that income would deter the greed that is destroying our economy. Don't hit those making $200k, but really hit those making $1 million+.

    July 12, 2011 at 5:11 pm |
    • JohnRJohnson

      The vast majority of small business owners in this country earn less than $250K/year, so their taxes wouldn't go up under Obama's plan. Of those who do earn more than $250K, they would only see taxes increase on the amount they earn over the $250K. Blitzer's remarks are unhelpful and misleading. He should stick to reading teleprompters.

      July 12, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
      • shirl2s

        I read in an artilcle online that 40% of small business owners (they didn't define exactly what qualified as small) are foreign nationals??..wonder how much of that money is taxed and kept here? or sent out of the country?

        July 12, 2011 at 5:53 pm |
    • janelle

      Yes, let's quit saying "millionaires" and "billionaires", the refer to 200K. It's ridiculous. Many small business owners, like myself, have income tax records showing "income" of over 200K, but in fact, our actual salaries are much lower. Here's why, in case people don't understand. I work 60-70 hours a week, I work 7 days a week, if I'm lucky, I can pay myself a salary of about 35K a year, just enough to pay our household expenses. There hasn't been a profit at the end of the year for several years now. But, at the end of business on Dec. 31st, I have to go through my store and add up the wholesale cost of all my merchandise. That is not counted as an expense, that is considered an asset, and counted as income. So my "income" puts me in a high tax bracket, when I'm actually brining home an amount that would make me one of the 50% that don't pay federal income taxes. That's why small business owners are up in arms, we're barely haning on now, and jacking our tax rate up another 4 percent will be the straw that breaks the camels back and puts us and our employees on the unemployment rolls too.

      July 12, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
      • Holly

        If you are filing as a sole proprieter, not incorporated or in partnership, and are paying income tax on the value of your inventory at the end of every year, you need a new accountant.

        July 12, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
      • NoNoNo

        If you really wrote the above with a straight face and aren't make it all up, then maybe learn the difference between "income" and "revenue" and how taxes actually work and you won't fail at business so much.

        On second thought, if you are counting the wholesale cost of your business inventory as "income," then maybe you should stop doing your own taxes! Unbelievable!

        July 12, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
      • Mike N

        This mostly happens the first year.
        Unless you keep increasing inventory each year, it is not income. And that tax rate is very low like 2%.
        In fact, if your inventory goes down the second year, you get to write off the loss or carry it against other year's gains.
        Get an accountant.

        July 12, 2011 at 7:32 pm |
  70. PM

    What did Paulson do with his $5B? Did he put it in his mattress? Is it sitting in a drawer in a safe deposit box? Or is that money invested in companies? Did he buy things that middle-class and blue collar workers create?

    Or, to put it another way, let's say he does that that $5B and sticks it in a box and buries it. How many jobs would be impacted because that money didn't go into the banking system (where it is invested), into small, medium, and large companies, or into goods and services that put some of that money back into the pockets of every day workers?

    July 12, 2011 at 5:10 pm |
    • On the issue

      Well, the problem is the banks are not lending, so his $5 billion is just sitting there collecting interest ($5 million or so) and no one really benefits.

      What is needed is not just a tax increase on the wealthy, but get the investor mentality back. The US has the most billionaires our of any first world economy. The rich should not just be sitting on cash in bank accounts or through mutual funds; they should be private lending arms and expand US economic potential. Sure, you might lose some money and the risk are higher than just a stable flow of money in an account, but if you can make $5 billion, then take out $4 billion to invest in new projects like faster magnetic trains to transport raw materials, new technologies that could make you richer than Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, or heck build yourself a spaceship and ferry people into space (at $25 million dollars a flight/ per person you'll make a good return). You can turn $4 billion into $400 billion.

      Instead of just taxing the rich just because they are rich, we should tax the lazy rich, who do nothing except sit on their yachts or private jets and sip wine. I am not against them enjoying their wealth, but their money should not be sitting in banks that do not lend, if they cannot invest or do not know how, then hire consultants or find some one with a good idea and invest in him. Thomas Edison was not an expert in all forms of electronics, but he invested in many of them and the US prospered as a result.

      July 12, 2011 at 5:45 pm |
    • Rick

      I'm sorry but Paulson "earns" his money betting that people are going to lose their jobs. The more the economy loses the more money he makes. So, how many jobs does he create? none, not one job is created by those guys or anyone else for that matter who invests in hedge funds. Quite frankly, they should be arrested for treason. How dare they claim that what they do is good for the economy. They are as bad as the people who issue junk bonds to buy up companies and sell them in pieces throwing thousands of honest hard working people in the street. How dare they!

      July 12, 2011 at 5:58 pm |
  71. Dennis Sunder

    Ironically, John Paulson is not only lacks credibility as a major "job creator", he has made most of his recent profit from speculative engagement with the foreclosure and mortgage backed securities markets. This is what makes this whole rhetorical strategy (the persuasive arguments) from the Republicans seem that much more corrupt; when you dig beneath the surface you find all kinds of inconsistencies. It is simply myth, running on empty... they are out of gas.

    July 12, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
  72. D. Wilson

    Stand in the face of republican rhetoric and tell the republicans NO!!! You can't just make up anything and pretend to be all self righteous and ignorant at the same time! We should do it Bill Clinton's way.. surplus was nice wasn't it.. we all had money back then.. if you make less than 250,000 a year you are a Democrat and don't know it.

    July 12, 2011 at 5:08 pm |
    • Mike

      If you are a democrat you are an idiot and of course you don't know it.

      July 12, 2011 at 5:49 pm |
  73. Carole, VA

    If lower tax rates for the 'job creators' (i.e., millionaires and billionaires,per the GOP) were the answer, we wouldn't have the high unemployment rates that have been plaguing us for way too long. Bush 43 lowered their rates years ago, and what has that wrought? I think the Dems could easily see their way clear (and in fact, many have already done so) to defining 'millionaires and billionaires' as just that, not the $200K-$250K wage earners who, in many urban areas today, are essentially middle class. If anyone truly believes that the REAL millionaires and billionaires, the alleged 'job creators,' need continued tax breaks, talk to the likes of Warren Buffett and Bill Gates, and you'll see another side to the story. And the REAL millionaires and billionaires are not, in most circumstances, the REAL small businesses who truly create the majority of the jobs.

    July 12, 2011 at 5:08 pm |
  74. Jim

    When you create the net to catch people like Paulson, do you not catch people who do create jobs? So the question might be do you catch more Paulsons or more job creators?

    July 12, 2011 at 5:08 pm |
  75. RillyKewl

    If those tax cuts create jobs, why are we all looking for work? They've had these tax cuts for the better part of a decade. They had 'em during the crash, during the entire recession + they've still got them in place now. Where are all these jobs they're supposedly creating?

    July 12, 2011 at 5:07 pm |
  76. Smeagel4T

    Headline: Tea Party Republicans say "no" to massive deficit reductions.

    July 12, 2011 at 5:06 pm |
  77. Jack Be Humble

    Sure he's a job creator... He contributes to Political Action Committees, and to individual politicians, to support the existence of laws exactly like this. A job is a job, right?

    July 12, 2011 at 5:05 pm |
  78. RillyKewl

    Its the perfect question. And the answer is no, Paulson is not hiring.
    He may buy expensive clothes, cars + homes, throw expensive parties with expensive food, drinks, and travel to exotic places, tipping Lavishly. Maybe he's got a rotating credit line at Tiffany's too.
    Do you think he'd stop shopping, if he was taxed at the proper rate?

    July 12, 2011 at 5:03 pm |
  79. len

    I agree with Peggy. The Bush tax cuts have been in place for 11 years. Millionaires and billionaires are not job creators. Coperations are job creators. And right now they are sitting on millions and millions of dollars of profit and not creating jobs. Why should they, they are making alot of money with smaller staffs, better technology and hiring people from overseas because they have better education. We became a service nation and decided being an engineer or doctor was to much work. Unfortunately, to many independents and democrats did not vote in 2010 for whatever reason. You donot vote you get what you deserve. For those who did vote and voted GOP, how does that feel now? Just wait if they donot increase the debt ceiling!!!!! You will really be crying!!!! You get what you vote for!

    July 12, 2011 at 4:56 pm |
  80. af

    Most athletes: musicians, singers, players, make over $200.000 a year they are really job creators, they could pay 39% tax with no problems. President Obama makes over $200.000 a year he can pay 39% tax. Why Republicans want people who make $15,000 a year to pay the same tax to those who make millions or more? Heartless republicans be sincere

    July 12, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
    • Mark P

      This is what I find frustrating is the people that think the more you make, the more you should pay. Go ahead, lets penalize people for working hard and being more successful. Do you not realize that people who make more do pay more??? For instance, lets say the tax rate is 35%............ if you make 10,000 = 3500 in taxes, 100,000 = 35,000 in taxes, 200,000 = 70,000. This seams fair to me since the more you make, the more they (gov.) take. So now please explain why someone making 200,000 should pay 78,000 instead of 70,000 and do not give me the answer "Because they can".

      July 12, 2011 at 5:36 pm |
      • On the issue

        Kind of agree, but here's the problem with taxes. The bracket rates are never what you actually pay, unless you are doing the taxes yourself and do not know anything about tax deductions or tax credits available.

        A person making $1 Million dollars may be taxed far less than a person making $30K, because they basically had the right amount of tax credits, NOL's, and passive losses to carry them down to the lower brackets. If you make enough money, hire a good tax accountant or attorney, then you are set.

        Setting one tax rate is not enough; you must set minimum flat "effective tax" rates to universally bind everyone without the use of deductions, credits, or losses from prior years. Instead of just raising taxes, why not bring them down and enforce them as effective tax rates?

        July 12, 2011 at 6:01 pm |
      • ksmary

        The problem is not that people who are earning money by working hard are being "under taxed" it is that people who have inheirted stocks and bonds from parents and grandparents, and do NOT work are paying a 15% tax rate on capital gains. Meanwhile people who actually go out and work every day are paying 28% tax on their income. The companies the wealthy have stocks in apparentely are not creating jobs here, so saying their investments are creating jobs for Americans is a false premise.

        July 12, 2011 at 6:08 pm |
      • Rick

        A person making $200,000 pays closer to $30,000 and not $78,000. Remember that it is a tiered tax system and the 39% only applies to the amount over $200,000 after deductions. So a person would have to make much more then $200,000 for the 39% to kick in.

        July 12, 2011 at 6:09 pm |
    • Aria

      I am a musician and I don't make $200,000 a year. I have 4 real jobs to go along with the music. I am lucky to survive. The biggest problem is not creating the jobs, it's being willing to stoop to a job that you feel is beneath you. I know way too many people who are living on unemployment and food stamps because they can't find a job that "they like". Who cares? A job is a job. If we actually gave money to people who needed the help the taxes wouldn't be so high.
      And Obama makes $400,000 a year plus a $50,000 budget to spend on business expenses...this was raised during the Clinton admin. Personally I think that if they dropped the politician budget we'd see a lot more people who want to make the right decisions for America.

      December 6, 2011 at 11:25 am |
  81. sonny chapman

    "Job Creators" is a name Fat Cats assign themselves to feel like they've accomplished something by being rich. In truth, a lot of these guys have INHERITED their stash. The Bush Family is a classic example. Born on Third Base, but going through life as if they'd hit a triple .

    July 12, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
    • craig

      Soony: I'm not sure they have all inherited the money, but it does seem as if they are trying to make themselves more important than the rest of us. I do not think these people are "job creators" as they say, but "wealth horders", who when they are in power spend like crazy and when they are out of power try to take everything away from everyone else. What happened to the too big to fail mantra....Are they actually telling us that Wall street is bigger than the United States of America, when it comes time to signing a major bailout. Because that is what this is, we the American people the majority that does not have a million dollars needs our country bailed out! Stop spending the money on defense contracts that go to their cronies if they want to cut spending........I still want Boehner to show me these so called "job creators" he's talling about and where the hell are the jobs they had 10 years of tax cuts to create.

      July 12, 2011 at 6:20 pm |
  82. Alex

    Please - somebody making $250,001 will have their taxes change by 4 cents. Because of marginal rates, there is not that big a difference until you get much higher than $250,000 (basically, $40 in higher taxes for every $1,000 above $250,000). And, it's time for SHARED SACRIFICE.

    July 12, 2011 at 4:47 pm |
    • Jim

      I'm not sure I understand your logic: someone making 15,000 per year does not pay a little more than a millioinare. Taxes are assessed based on a percentage of incomve. Someone paying 10% on $15,000 in income is paying 1,500 in taxes. Someone making 1,000,000 is paying 100,000 in taxes. But that's only on the first 12k in income. The rest is taxed at a higher percentage.

      While we're on that subject, the top 20% of wage earners in this country pay 80% of all the taxes. Look, the government has increased spending dramatcially in the past 3 years and are going to add nearly $5 Trllion to the national debt. If we allow them to raise taxes to pay for all that there will be no stopping them.

      Why are we, the tax payers, always on the hook when the government decides that they can't live within their means?

      July 12, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
      • Dan, Tx

        Yeah but Jim – isn't that what you want – taxes to be low? Shouldn't most people pay NO taxes? That way they can create jobs? Shouldn't only the top 1% pay taxes. We'd scrap social security and medicare, but, since we wouldn't have taxes, we could afford it to pay for our own retirement. A conservative dream come true! PS. Government increased spending dramatically because it had no choice. Fortunately, we are about to see what happened in a weak economy when government stops spending. Enjoy!

        July 12, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
      • Jonathan

        Anyone can make a blanket statement like the top 20% pay 80% of the taxes or the bottom 45% pay no income tax but that doesn't make it true... When I made 18K / yr I paid over 3K each year in taxes... everyone pays taxes either in income or payroll deduction if they are receiving a paycheck from a business with a Fed ID#

        July 13, 2011 at 10:05 am |
    • JT

      Ok, it's not $40 on every $1000 over $250,'s $40 more per $1000 on the entire $250,000...
      That's an extra $10000 in taxes which could be used to put into savings, to pay for college for kids, to take a vacation, to put in a Pool...all things that stimulate the economy. Giving the government an extra $10,000 is a fast way to waste $10,000 by under-worked, over-payed government employees to perform jobs that should be handled by the private sector in the first place. While I don't fall anywhere near that tax bracket, my parents fall right into it, and I know for a fact that coming up with an extra $10,000 every year on top of the already HUGE tax bill they pay would seriously affect them. Raising general tax rates on ANY income is NEVER a good idea. Raise tariffs, raise usage fees and close loopholes. We really don't have an income problem in America, we have a spending problem and a BIG one.

      July 12, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
      • Dan, Tx

        you've got that wrong. The higher tax rates only apply to the amount of income in above that threshold level. But you do have to pay the 10% on the first bit, the 15% on the second part, the 28% on the third part ($28 for each $100), and finally the 35% on the last part. However, if you make, say, $100,000 a year, you are paying around $10,000 a year in federal income taxes. Effectively 10% tax on the whole $100,000. Not too bad. Some people pay more, others less.

        July 12, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
      • Chief P

        By all means stop all taxes. Of course, you may want to start learning Chinese or some other language right away. No military. No schools. No roads. No police. No firemen, etc, etc. No government. Complete chaos. Awesome!

        July 12, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
      • NoNoNo

        You have obviously never earned enough to get out of the bottom tax bracket and done your own taxes, or you are so financially incompetent you don't know where your own money is going, because you are flat-out wrong and contradicting contradicting a guy who pointed out your exact error.

        Why low-income Republicans who don't understand the concept of marginal income tax rates defend these giveaways to the rich is beyond me, but it certainly plays well in the rich party's favor! Also throw in a few social wedge issues while you keep them dreaming that they'll get ahead, that's the trick.

        July 12, 2011 at 6:02 pm |
      • Rick

        Oh JT, you are so right! (leaning that We should have no government employees and let everyone hire private police, firemen, teachers, in fact all government work should be privatized. Of course, how silly of all of us. It is the answer to all of our problems. Then you would only have to hire a fire fighting company when your house catches fire. They can send a person over to give you a no obligation estimate of the cost to put the fire out. You could then decide if you wanted to get a second estimate from another company!. Just think how much money you could save. My , my, how simple.

        July 12, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
      • Jonathan

        You are showing your ignorance on tax code... the rate is on income above 250K... you pay the same taxes on your first 180K as someone who earns 180K in the entire year.

        July 13, 2011 at 9:58 am |
    • Dan, Tx

      I agree with you but that is $40 for every $100 over $250,000.

      July 12, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
      • Chief P

        Guess JT's folks didn't get a bang for the buck they paid for school. Back to math course...

        July 12, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
      • Alex

        NO - My point was that the proposed increase from 35% to 39% in the marginal rate (returning to the Clinton-era rates) would be a 4% increase in taxes at the upper end. BUT that rate only applies to the income over $250K. The Republicans like to scare everybody who makes $255K or is close to it that their taxes are going to go through the roof. That's NOT TRUE. It's an increase of $40 for every $1000 you make over $250K. Do the math on your income. If you make $275k (and that's after deductions, 401K, etc.), then you would pay an additional $1,000 a year in taxes if the rates were returned to the Clinton-era levels. If you believe the commenters above, you'd think the $40 per $1,000 increase applies to all of your income. That is emphatically NOT TRUE.

        July 12, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
      • Rick

        No, Dan, your close but not quite correct. that is $39 for every $100 over $250,000 instead of $35. A difference of $4. Now how many jobs are not being created for that $4?

        July 12, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
  83. Allan

    @wolfblitzercnn Ripples believe it or not.. THE #"Republicans" will be on the out if SOCIAL SECURITY CHECKS ARE NOT SENT OUT IN AUGUST 2011

    July 12, 2011 at 4:40 pm |
  84. Peggy Munson

    The politicisns make it sound like there is a future time when jobs will be created if only these actions are completed. However, the corporations and the wealthy have had this money/ tax breaks/loopholes, and the ability to "create" jobs all along, so where are these jobs?? Why are they not creating them right now?

    July 12, 2011 at 4:35 pm |
    • shirl2s

      If you were one of the lucky ones that was considered wealthy and had all this money, etc...what would you be doing now based on what has happened in the last 4-5 years with our economy?.. We don't know how the Obama Healthcare reform is going to really impact business costs, there is all this uncertainty within the global stock market , etc so people and corporations with money are simply sitting on it, waiting for President Obama and Congress to provide actual leadership on these important issues. The housing market still sucks, all our manufacturing jobs have gone overseas thanks to NAFTA etc, so I guess it is easy to blame those with money....let them pay for someone has posted the top 1% already pay 80% of the taxes now...lets just let them pay more while that 45+% that pay NO taxes enjoy!!

      July 12, 2011 at 6:08 pm |
      • Rick

        The top 10% pay 55% of all taxes and have 90% of the wealth. The bottom 45% pay almost no taxes and have 1% of the wealth while the middle class pays 45% of the taxes and have only 9% of the wealth. Hmmm, anyone else see anything wrong with this picture? A flat tax looks very good right now.....

        July 12, 2011 at 6:39 pm |

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