Comments for: Friday, Dec. 14, 2012: Bangor police, marriage equality and taxing the rich

Posted Dec. 13, 2012, at 1:17 p.m.

Department reception The Bangor Police Department asserts that its purpose is to “provide an enhanced level of community safety, protect the constitutional rights guaranteed to all people, and improve the quality of life of each citizen.” Yet the structural arrangement of the Bangor police building’s reception area left me feeling …

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  • Anonymous

    @Laurence E. Merrill: because it worked *so* well in the past?! ;-)

    • Alec Cunningham

      Yeah, that trickling down is doing us wonders down here at the bottom.

  • Anonymous

    We can’t fix anything with the police, it would cost tax dollars!

  • Anonymous

    Laurence Merrill, the rich do not invest in areas that create jobs. 30 years of trickle down economics proves that. Where are the jobs the Bush tax cuts promised? Continuing the same bankrupting policy is foolish. We are at the lowest tax rate in nearly 60 years.

    The increase in wealth in this country over the last 40-50 years has gone almost exclusively to the rich, while the average worker has seen their buying power reduced. The CEO of Walmart makes over 700 times the average Walmart employee, who must often supplement their income through government programs just to survive. The ratio of executive pay to employee pay has increased from an average of 40/1 to more than 400/1.

    • Alec Cunningham

      And where do they invest all their money? Does that money trickle down to new American manufacturing plants? Does it trickle down to American banks that could loan it out?

      • Anonymous

        I always thought trickle down was a stupid argument because it’s really arbitrary. If you want to argue that money trickles, then why pick the top for it to trickle from? Why concentrate it in the hands of the few to have them be the source? Seems like nonsense to me.

        • Anonymous

          It is nonsense.

    • Anonymous

      Mr. Merrill is extremely naive. Although everyone who works (65% of Americans) pays Social Security and Medicare taxes and 100% of Americans pay sales taxes, etc, he continues spinning the Fox News lie that “roughly half” of Americans pay no taxes. Fox has fooled him.

      • Anonymous

        You can spin the FICA/Medicare/sales tax angle all you want. But according to IRS data roughly 50% of income tax filers pay zero income tax. Many millions more “get back” more than they paid in medicare/fica taxes.

        It is also accurate to say that Republicans generally allowed that to happen. As a result of these economic/tax policies the OECD says the US has the most Progressive tax structure in the world.

        • Anonymous

          It’s sad that correcting a lie becomes “spin” to you. When Merrill omits the word “income” before the word “taxes,” he has told a lie. It is a lie repeated by Faux News and believed by Romney in his infamous 47% gaffe. FICA taxes are significant and, if one considers the indirect payment of that tax by one’s employer, they exceed 15% and are not refundable for most Americans: that is a higher tax percentage than Romney paid.

          As to the OECD study, it excludes sales taxes, corporate taxes, employer taxes and property taxes. It also ignores the more generous social safety net and higher total tax burden in Europe. If one looked at total taxes reduced by total benefits, the myth of America having the most progressive tax system vanishes. We tax less than we have in over 50 years. Rather than raising those taxes, Republicans wish to reduce Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

          • Anonymous

            I expect that if Mr Merrill had included the word “income” that you would have made the claim he was being dishonest because he did not include fica and medicare. You have a slip and a dodge for every statement. I expect in your eyes he would have been a liar no matter how he phrased it.

            When I write a check to the government and the money comes from me and does not appear on an employees w-2. I figure I am paying it. I am not paying it on “behalf” of anyone. It is basically a fine I am required to pay for employing someone. In any event the employee can not claim to have paid that 7.625%. Look at your w-2. That is my opinion. I do not know how the OECD treated it.

            The OECD study includes all State and federal income taxes. It as you said did not include other countries VAT taxes, corporate or excise taxes nor did it count our excise taxes and sales taxes property taxes either. I am uncertain how that would wash out.

            All we are left with is a statement from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in Paris
            reveals that when it comes to household taxes (income taxes and employee
            social security contributions) the U.S. “has the most progressive tax
            system and collects the largest share of taxes from the richest 10% of
            the population.”

            Your claim that we tax less than we have in over 50 years is true but only if you look at it from a percentage of GDP. Revenue collected continues to rise and according to CBO projects it will rise from its current 14% of GDP to a historical high in the next 8 years based on nothing more than a return to an annual growth rate above 3%. I wouldn’t trust those numbers though. The assumptions were sent to the CBO for scoring by Democrats.

          • Anonymous

            I could care less about your suspicions. I have only corrected the fools who say “half of America pays no taxes.”
            When I hire an employee I look at the total cost. Most economists agree that the tax is indirectly paid by the employee.
            There is no rational way to analyze taxation other than as a percentage of GDP. This accounts for both rising population and rising wealth.

          • Anonymous

            Exactly and that’s the point. AS GDP rises quicker than population that means more profit to tax. It is low right now because as a society we are not profiting. High unemployment, low wages. Drives that tax number as a percentage of GDP down. It isn’t the tax rates doing it. It is low profits and incomes to tax.

          • Anonymous

            GDP has been growing steadily since late 2010. Corporate profits are at an all-time high. Corporate tax loopholes mean that very little of that profit is being taxed. If it is paid out as dividends it is now taxed at 15% rather than at the 25-39.6% tax rate under Clinton. Increased tax rates increase tax revenues. The tax increases under Reagan and Clinton did precisely this. The tax cuts under Reagan and Bush drove down government revenues. Put down the Kool-Aid and learn from history.

          • Anonymous

            Yes GDP has been growing and as it does and as more people become employed and all sorts of profits grow so will revenue. That’s how it works. You don’t even have to touch rates for more income to be generated if GDP is growing.

            These aren’t my personal projections, it is CBO stuff.

            The CBO has projected that revenue as a percentage of GDP now around 14% will grow above 22% with a 3% annual GDP growth over the next 8 years. That is even if tax rates are left alone. And as I said before. These are Democratic numbers.
            Maybe the Dems are pushing rate hikes because they have no faith in their budget projections.

            BTW Corporate profits are in their second quarter of decline. The S & P recorded declining profits in Q3. and the word is it will be the same Q4.

            But that isn’t even the gorilla in the room. Most taxes are generated from personal income.

          • Anonymous

            The CBO numbers are likely based on current law under which all Bush tax cuts end on 1/1/13. I am speaking of corporate profits for the 2011 calendar year.

          • Anonymous

            That may be the case. Current law calls for expiration so likely you are correct.
            Corporate profits for 2011 are a year old now. Your statement that proits are at a all time high is now history.

      • Anonymous

        Does it still count as “everyone” paying sales tax when its government money they are spending?

        • Anonymous

          I presume you are not talking about sales taxes paid by military contractors living off the government or oil companies dependent on tax subsidies. That would be too nuanced an approach to expect from you.

          Retirees living off Social Security have contributed to the program that is now paying them benefits. I suggest that they are spending tax money they have previously paid. Unemployed workers are living off tax money they indirectly paid through their employers. The very small percentage of the population receiving TANF is receiving government money, but in 2008 (The last year for which I could get figures) TANF spending was .7% of total federal spending. As SNAP (food stamps) is spent on items not subject to a sales tax, the answer to your question would be that perhaps .07% of sales tax revenues represents TANF money being paid back in taxes.

          • Anonymous

            Just out of curiosity could you define oil company tax subsidy? What exactly is it? Does the government cut them a check? How does it work?

          • Anonymous

            They are tax credits, a dollar-for-dollar reduction in tax liabilities, and tax deductions, a write-off that reduces the income then subjected to taxation. Exxonmobil paid an effective tax rate of 17.6% from 2008-10 according to numerous news sources. It is allowed to keep money off-shore that will never be taxed until “repatriated.” This is separate from any deductions or credits. If I earn money in Canada, I pay US taxes on it subject only to a tax credit for any Canadian taxes paid.
            The oil companies get a tax deduction for income attributable to oil, gas or primary products thereof, which is one of the deductions that the Senate was blocked from eliminating this March by a Republican filibuster!
            Why should Exxonmobil pay a lower effective tax rate than I do?

          • Anonymous

            This still doesn’t tell me why they get this dollar for dollar reduction in liability. What is it exactly?

            The repatriation issue is something entirely separate from the “tax deductions” issue and your post made absolutely no mention of the “subsidy”. I think I am still confused.

  • Anonymous

    Brian MacFarland, the same is true of Obama’s re-election. I always wonder how the right wing nuts deal with their cognitive dissonance.

  • kcjonez

    Brian MacFarland–I was taught that God always answers your prayers but doesn’t always give you the answer you want.

    • Anonymous

      And I was taught that the flying spaghetti monster answers all your prayers the way you want….apparently you’ve been praying to the wrong god LOL.

      • kcjonez

        rAmen!

      • Anonymous

        May the sauce be with you.

      • Tedlick Badkey

        May you be touched by His Noodly Appendage.

        RAmen.

        • Anonymous

          thought that was for conv. visits

  • kcjonez

    Lawrence E. Merrill–Brilliant strategem! Calling those who have no money greedy in defense of the masters of greed, those who have extracted our wealth for their own nefarious means.

    Well played, sir!

    • Anonymous

      It’s the Pee-Wee Herman defense, “I know you are, but what am I?!”

      • Anonymous

        Maybe Mr Merrill better hoarde his pennies.

  • Guest

    Lawrence Merrill

    It is sad you see people as either greedy or naive. Life is not black and white there are many shades of grey in between.

    The rich need to pay more, it’s about time.

    • jersey

      The issue is that most rich people get their money from investment income which is taxed at a much lower rate They do not take a salary.

      • Anonymous

        Or thru inheritance.

  • Anonymous

    “McDonald’s doesn’t charge the rich more than the poor for a hamburger. Rich don’t pay more than poor to attend Bangor’s waterfront concerts.”

    We all pay the same tax rates. Once you pass certain thresholds, that money over and above get taxed at a higher rate. That’s not treating individuals differently. All people are subjected to the same income tax rates. And you accuse others of being naive! What a joke.

  • Anonymous

    Lawrence Merrill – You’re letter is being persecuted by the lefties on here. That only means one thing: you told the truth. The left hates the truth, don’t you know.

    • Anonymous

      Opinion isn’t truth. Get that through your head.

    • Anonymous

      If ignorance could be converted into electric power, the content of the majority of the comments posted here could light the State of Maine for a year.

      • Anonymous

        And you are willing to contribute how much electric power to this effort? LOL

      • Alec Cunningham

        That’s rich.

      • Anonymous

        And some of the minority also, but bad analogy. The conservative comments are hardly illuminating.

      • jersey

        Wow, speaking the words of the Lord?

    • Anonymous

      No, EJ, you have it wrong as usual. The left hates the confections the right creates and calls the truth. You really need to get out more and listen to something besides Breitbart, Beck, Hannity, Limbaugh, and other assorted and discredited conservative loons.

    • Alec Cunningham

      Exactly.  When anyone disagrees with you, then you are telling the truth.  So, marriage for gay people really is about love, honor, commitment, and equality, then, isn’t it?

      • Anonymous

        LOL good one!!!!!

        • Alec Cunningham

          Thanks!!

      • Anonymous

        BOOM !! ;)

      • jersey

        Why is anyone still talking to EJ?

        • Alec Cunningham

          I am not sure.  He knows how to push buttons, that’s for sure!

    • Anonymous

      Actually, we independents and critical thinkers are also calling him out. Persecution is hardly the word, used only by those with a martyr fixation.

  • Anonymous

    “Historically, raising taxes on the rich has never increased overall revenues.”

    It appears that Lawrence Merrill paid attention in neither history nor economics class.

    • Anonymous

      That’s generous. Willful ignorance or a plain old liar.

      • Anonymous

        I was trying to be nice. :-)

    • Anonymous

      Mr. Merrill suffers from an incurable disease: he is a Republican.

      • Alec Cunningham

        Well, THAT isn’t very nice!!!

    • Anonymous

      Assuming raising the top rates does increase revenue by $70 to $80 billion per year as estimated where do we go from there? Hardly eliminates trillion dollar deficits. Will it expand the economy which is the only way we are going to get enough revenue for the programs the people seem to want? Will it do much to close the wealth gap? Or is its purpose, as Warren Buffet claims, to boost the morale of the middle class? An unrelated question…Can the wealth gap be closed without massive decreases in the overall wealth of the US?

      • Anonymous

        Don’t tax the wealthy because it won’t solve all our financial problems.
        Dont’ build the Interstate system because it won’t always flow smoothly.
        Don’t educate all children because some children won’t learn
        Don’t plow the roads because it will just snow again.

        Don’t ever try to do anything because some dope will always have an idiotic reason why it won’t work.

    • Anonymous

      Mr Merrill is incorrect. Perhaps what he should have said is that rarely do you get as much revenue from a tax increase as you think you will. Tax increases are not a zero sum game. The tax itself generally has a negative effect on business.

      • Anonymous

        This only occurs when the marginal rate is over 60%, based on experience in this country and Europe.

  • Anonymous

    An economics lesson for those who wish to see the government confiscate more of peoples’ incomes:
    When income tax rates are low, high earners usually work harder, because they get to keep more of what they earn. When tax rates are high, they work don’t work as hard, because any extra work is penalized more by the government.
    Because of the above behavior, Federal income tax receipts have almost always averaged around 20% of GDP, no matter what the tax rates are.
    When people work harder, GDP increases. When people work less, GDP either stagnates or decreases.
    How will the government collect more income tax revenue – from 20% of a higher GDP, or from 20% of a lower GDP?

    • Alec Cunningham

      Holy cow.  Just a few sentences…and I wasted so many semesters in those economic classes at the U.  Those darned liberal elitists, taking my money like that!!!

    • Anonymous

      A truth lesson: when Heistheone talks it’s lies that come out of his mouth.

      • Anonymous

        I see you do your research well. I’ll pray for you, too, and that’s not a lie.

        • Alec Cunningham

          Well, about research…what about the research you did on the economics you listed?  Where did you get that data?  It seems awfully simplified…

          • Anonymous

            Stansberry and Associates. The best financial advice that money can buy.

          • Alec Cunningham

            Your financial advisor boiled down the complex issue of US economics into that one simple paragraph?

          • Anonymous

            Yeah, somebody bought it, to the tune of a $1.5 million fine in 2007.

        • Anonymous

          And we for you also, you need it.

    • kcjonez

      Income tax 20% of GDP?
      Source please.

      • Anonymous

        Like I said above, Stansberry and Associates. The best financial advice money can buy. I’m sure that data is probably somewhere on the internet, also, if someone were willing to look for it.

        • kcjonez

          Ha Ha! Good one. Thanks for the laugh.

        • Anonymous

          Do you mean the Stansberry who was fined $1.5 million for securities fraud in 2007?

          • Anonymous

            Now that’s funny.

          • Anonymous

            Yeah, notice no reply from heain’ttheone.

      • Anonymous

        This is revenue as percentage of GDP.

        http://www.usgovernmentrevenue.com/downchart_gr.php?year=1900_2010&units=p&
        title=Revenue%2520as%2520percent%2520of%2520GDP

        To me this is a more important number:

        Spending as percentage of GDP.

        http://www.usgovernmentspending.com/us_20th_century_chart.html

        In the Clinton era it was about 20% today and for the foreseeable future is hovering around 40%.

        That means we will become more government dependent/tax dependent and more jobs will be government jobs and NOT created by private sector. You will hear some refer to it as the government sucking air out of the economy.

      • Anonymous
    • Anonymous

      The Congressional Research Service has reissued their report on the effect of increased taxes on the rich. The conclusion? Absolutely no negative impact on the economy. Again I ask, where are the jobs the Bush tax cuts were supposed to create?

      • Anonymous

        Don’t hold your breath waiting for an answer.

      • Alec Cunningham

        I think they are in China and Vietnam….

      • Anonymous

        The jobs were destroyed by the current depression which has been created by our government, of both major parties, printing and borrowing money to buy votes from their constituents. This depression has its roots in the creation of the Federal Reserve Bank in 1913, and has been building up ever since. It will take a major crash of the economy and a complete collapse of the government for it to be corrected. The government will try to avoid that scenario at all costs, even if every American has to lose his or her job in the attempt.

        • Anonymous

          This “depression” was caused by the same factors which caused the 1929 crash and 1870 collapse, greed and corruption. In all cases it was the greed and corruption of the banks and wealthy selling over valued stocks or other investment means.

    • Anonymous

      I think you should stick with something you are familiar with: defending Christmas from the insufficiently Christian. You don’t seem to have a working knowledge of economics.

    • Anonymous

      What do you think these “high earners” do for a living? They are professionals and CEOs whose incomes aren’t based on how HARD they work.

    • jersey

      The Lord said Do not concern your self with such matters. Who is your Lord?

  • Anonymous

    B. MacFarland, J. Hanson: good letters.
    L. Merrill: perpetuating myths and falsehoods.

  • Anonymous

    Lawrance Merrill, I believe that if the top 1 or 2% were to actually invest their windfall of extra income, for the last 30 years of tax cuts, in America. It would be a wonderful thing and all America would stand behind their tax cuts, maybe even grant them more tax breaks. Unfortunately it seems that if they are investing their windfalls, for the most part, it isn’t in this country.

  • Anonymous

    Oh, yes, the same old tune from Lawrence Merrill. Of course , not raising taxes on the very rich when Bush was president worked very well ! Yeah right.

    When you have nothing else, you accuse those of lower economic means of being envious or greedy of the very wealthy. It isn’t the truth but that doesn’t keep the likes of Mr Merrill wanting to think that way. Knowing that the ever widening gap between the very rich and the middle class is not viable does not amount to being “naive” or “greedy.”

  • Anonymous

    Oh Brian – please close the hole in your face. You won your ability to marry in a few weeks. You won’t however, be accepted.

    • Anonymous

      By you perhaps. The rest of America is beginning to recognize individual rights in the 21st century must triumph over 2-3000 year old myths and superstition.

      • Anonymous

        I was thinking just the opposite, other than the gay marriage exception, “collective rights” are on the march. Individual liberties and freedoms are being sacrificed on the altar of the “greater good”.
        The “You didn’t build that argument.” is one example. My having to settle for higher health care cost in order to care for someone else “in the pool” is another.

        • Anonymous

          The “You didn’t build that” quote was taken out of context and deliberately misinterpreted by Fox News and other right wing pundits. But you know that that is what Fox News is best known for.
          Who do you think pays for the uninsured now when they go to the emergency room, the most expensive method of general care?

          • Anonymous

            I didn’t make an attribution., But since you brought it up. I was thinking of E Warren who made the statement first. Obama botching Warrens comment didn’t even enter my mind. Why do you make the foolish assumption that everyone gets their info from Fox. I could just as easily say you get your misinformation from MSNBC. Would that be correct or even fair?

            Again the topic was individual liberties vs. Collective rights not the merits of paying for someone else or a general discussion of Fox News

            You chose the topic, Why do you stray in response?

          • Anonymous

            You brought up the quote. It didn’t happen, but was used repeatedly by the right wing nuts during the run-up to the election to show Obama (and others) advocates collectivism, which is exactly the opposite of what he supports.
            Whether or not those of the right wing bent get their news from Fox or some other right wing nut such as Hannerty, Limbaugh, etc., they seem to repeat almost word for word what Fox has presented as news, even long after it has been debunked.
            Your comment about having higher health care costs in order to pay for someone else is a case in point. Those with insurance have always paid for those without in the form of higher premiums to the insurance companies, or higher costs for treatment and medicine to the supplier,
            hospital, or doctor. But this point is never mentioned when complaining about the ACA.

          • Anonymous

            Again, I thought you said “The rest of America is beginning to recognize individual rights in the 21st century”

            I was not discussing the merits of either of those statements just how I believe the are indicators that your point is incorrect. In my opinion, “Healthcare” and “you didn’t build that business” are indicators that “Collective Rights” are in ascendance.

            I could add the current media hype about individual gun rights is further evidence.

            My Point, Individual rights are not the wave of the future as you state, “Collective rights” are.

          • Anonymous

            It’s “you didn’t get there on your own” that is the kernel of that speech, not “you didn’t build that.” If your point requires you to distort a statement and pluck it from its context, then you probably don’t have a real point to begin with.

        • Anonymous

          The “I got mine, Jack ” school of government is stupid and only works in the short run.

          • Anonymous

            What are you talking about? The discussion, I thought, was individual liberties vs collective ones.

            Ademain made a claim that “The rest of America is beginning to recognize individual rights” I disagree. I think it is recognizing “collective rights” over individual rights.

    • Anonymous

      He and his partner will be accepted by the majority. You minorities now have another thing you can be sour and hateful about. Enjoy

      • Anonymous

        Those opposed to gay marriage in general are literally a dieing breed. The younger generations have a more open view of peoples rights and many, not all, are learning from the mistakes of the past.

    • Anonymous

      Is Santa getting you more sour grapes for X-Mas this year?

    • Tedlick Badkey

      What makes you think anyone wants acceptance from someone like you?

      • Alec Cunningham

        Yeah, that’s what I was thinking.  There are plenty of straight marriages that aren’t accepted by people and that’s okay.  It’s okay that my marriage and others like mine won’t be accepted by some people as well because we probably won’t even know who those people are anyway.  The people who matter in our lives accept us.

    • Anonymous

      Accepted by whom?

    • jersey

      I accept them….Jesus said I was to love my neighbor as He loved me. I am sure your words are not His. Your mean.

    • Anonymous

      Too late. Was married in NH over a year ago and have been accepted by our family, friends and co-workers.

  • Tedlick Badkey

    I agree Brian… their deity must not like what its followers have devolved into in so many cases.

  • Anonymous

    Lawrence Merrill

    Just more war against the poor :-/

  • Lawrence E. Merrill

    You ask: “How many of their writers are among the roughly half of our citizens who pay no taxes.?”

    Probably none. Everyone pays taxes, even if they do not pay them to the government directly. Most everyone pays sales tax, most everyone who works pays payroll tax. Anyone who drives pays gas, excise, and licensing tax. Our home ownership rate in Maine is 88% and all of those folks pay property tax. If there is even 1% of our population which pays “no tax” I’d be really surprised.

    You say that the letters of those who think the rich should pay more in taxes have opinions “based on either greed or naivete.”

    I believe the rich should pay more taxes because they use more infrastructure and government services than do the poor or middle class. We have sent the military into foreign nations to protect the holdings of business owners. We killed the duly elected President of Chile because he nationalized the holdings of I.T.T. in his country. We have supported dictators in South America, because ofe businesses would suffer if that government fell. We change the law and the way we all live to accommodate business and their K-Street lobbyists.. Our gas tax supports shipping ports, and airports used by business to halk their goods abroad. our immigration policy is based on the needs of business even though good hard working conservatives like yourself must pay for the residuals. My suggestion is that you look real close and see who your enemy truly is.

    You ask: “What logical basis is there for making “the rich” pay a higher tax rate than the poor, trying to prop up a failing economy?” I think I answered that, but I’ll go a step further. It wasn’t the poor or middle class who tanked the economy. it wasn’t the poor or middle class that advocated the repeal of Glass–Steagall, it wasn’t the poor or middle class that off shored our manufacturing sector, and left the hulking empty factories across the US landscape.

    I used to work in a place which had a sign “Your mother doesn’t work here, clean up after yourselves.” That is my message to the folks who created this mess. The Romney’s Clinton’s, Bushs, and Reid’s The Walmart’s, Wall Street businessmen, Hedge-fund managers, and C.E.O’s who were more interested in the quick buck than in our Nation’s survival, Clean up your mess.

    Finally we get to your most egregious lie “Historically, raising taxes on the rich has never increased overall revenues.” In fact in the 1950’s when this country’s economy was at its best point ever, the tax rate on the wealthiest citizens was 70%. You don’t have to be a liberal to see the facts clearly, you do have to extricate yourself from the lies proffered by the B00B TUBE.

    • Anonymous

      Excellent reply. Thank you.

    • Tedlick Badkey

      Amazingly well said!

  • Anonymous

    Mr. Merrill – you lost the election. Get over it.

  • jersey

    This is the way of the false prophets. When something happens that they like it is God’s will. When it isnt it is man’s will. The bIble states that God puts all people of power in power and that we should always follow them. Thus discounting the Bible, unless you believe God put Hitler in power.

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