December 12, 2017
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Comments for: Why small businesses should oppose lowering the tax rate for the wealthy

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  • Anonymous

    Jim & Lisa, Its not tax cuts that add to the deficit, it’s spending that is the culprit. 

    Also, guys, not all small business is retail. Not all of us sell Pizza. (Mushroom & Olive please) Some of us sell widgets to the larger businesses and richer clientele that you want to increase taxes on.

    • pbmann

      And those larger businesses eventually sell retail.  Retail drives everything eventually.

      • Anonymous

         But so do people like me. With a little less personal revenue there goes my take out pizza.

        • Anonymous

          So you want tax hand outs so you can buy pizza? The nature of capitalism is to buy pizza and not to encourage competition and success? 

          lol

          • Anonymous

            As a consumer I would expect that the writers of this article would like the middle class (me) to have a little more cash so I can stop by their store to buy their product.

          • Anonymous

            Sounds exactly like the thing that the right claims is socialism. 

          • Anonymous

             It becomes socialism when the government takes the money and redistributes it to people to make the purchases.

          • Anonymous

            Like a pizza?

          • Anonymous

            Redistributes the money in the form of construction jobs on much needed infrastructure maintanence and upgrading.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks, Jim and Lisa. Cutting revenues that supply funds to much needed services that anyone in the right mind should know is what helps the middle class weather the rough spots in uncertain economic times is a recipe for disaster. That disaster has taken the form of LONG lines at soup kitchens and free clinics. That disaster is seen in the Hoovervilles, the tent cities that are springing up around the country, so named for the consequences of the policies the former president prescribed for people in remarkably similar circumstances to what we are seeing now. Not only does cutting taxes for the wealthy ONLY give the wealthy more of what they already have plenty of, it guarantees large deficits, especially when too many of those wealthy are behind the military adventurism and arms procurement that takes up even more of the national treasure and transfers it to the military industrial complex. (Ike wanted to say military industrial congressional complex, and rightly so, but his advisers warned him off… too inflammatory…)

    A strong middle class will not be resurrected from the ashes left by the slash and burn policies of today’s extremist gop agenda. When the systemically-caused INEQUALITY in our society is addressed with sound tax policy, closing the loopholes and subsidies that favor Big Oil, Big Pharma, Big Agriculture, Big Finance, the election of compassionate representatives that are dedicated to Main St. instead of Wall St… as was the case following WWII when the rising economic tide DID in fact raise ALL boats equally… until this happens, we will see the results of tax cuts, spending cuts increase with failing infrastructure, poverty and crime, hobbled R&D and innovation, greater INEQUALITY and suffering among those that once made up the REAL “job creators,” the middle class.

    • Anonymous

       Just out of curiosity, what are the “loopholes and subsidies that favor Big Oil” ? I keep hearing folks talk about them but no one can define what they are for me. Can you?

      • Anonymous

        How about going to war in the Middle East! That’s a subsidy of more than dollars; it used human lives as well.

        • Anonymous

          spe·cious   [spee-shuhs] Show IPA
          adjective 1. apparently good or right though lacking real merit; superficially pleasing or plausible: specious arguments.
          2. pleasing to the eye but deceptive.

      • Anonymous

        http://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/files/cbofiles/attachments/03-06-FuelsandEnergy_Brief.pdf

        2.5 billion in tax credits in 2011. Why subsidize something that is both private and profitable and has been for decades?

        • Anonymous

          Ok Thanks. From your link.

          Beginning
          in 2006, the cost of energy-related tax preferences grew
          substantially, and an increasing share was aimed at
          encouraging energy efficiency and energy produced from
          renewable sources, such as wind and the sun, which
          generally cause less environmental damage than would
          result from producing and consuming fossil fuels. Provisions
          aimed at energy efficiency and renewable energy
          accounted for 78 percent of the budgetary cost of federal
          energy-related tax preferences in 2011.

          Got it! No need to encourage clean energy practices.

          • Anonymous

            If the idea is to encourage inovation and start ups with tax breaks, why spend on something that is massively profitable and already established? It’s really just a hand out at that point — it doesn’t serve a purpose to the general population as profits absolutely don’t get passed on to consumers. 

          • Anonymous

             Because there is no incentive to do things differently. Tax policy is used to modify practices. In this case the green earther’s give up tax dollars to energy companies to encourage energy efficient technologies that might not be researched otherwise.

            You can take this subsidy if you like. It’s nothing to me.

          • Anonymous

            You say that and other posters say that. However, the politicians talk about waste and they’ll screech about something like funding for NPR (half a billion) and say that these cuts are important because every bit counts. Yet when 2.5 billion for big oil comes up for a vote, it gets voted down by the same people. Suddenly that “ever bit counts” logic doesn’t apply. 

            Your “it’s nothing to me” isn’t a defense because these letters aren’t written about you. They’re written to address representatives. 

          • Anonymous

             I am still not sure why you would want to discourage clean energy. Like I said its nothing to me. I thought that would be more of a left wing cause.

          • Anonymous

            I don’t. But you can parse out what goes to big oil — you can do so especially if half a billion for NPR is worth fighting over. 

          • Anonymous

             So you really can’t tell me what “subsidies” are without making the assumption that I support them.

          • Anonymous

            Then could pretending not to know what subsidies are. Quit asking for answers just so you can argue with people.

          • Anonymous

             Its a fair question. Obviously you don’t know either. Just keep attacking what you don’t understand.

          • Anonymous

            I wasn’t attacking, I was defending the point of the initial comment you replied to. I’m sorry if I made an assumption. Take it or leave it.But like I said in a previous comment, this article isn’t about you and these comments aren’t specifically about you either.

          • Anonymous

            But the forum is one for exchanging information and perhaps learning something.

          • Anonymous

            Okay, well then I learned you’re either for or against subsidies and I shouldn’t presume to know your opinion based upon your prodding. What a productive day already!

          • Anonymous

             and besides we have learned you don’t know what a subsidy is.

          • Anonymous

            lol, no. you’d rather play little word games than have a real discussion? fine, but myself and others have specifically pointed to the aspects of budgets and tax code in which we’re referring to. so, ultimately, you’re just playing games with yourself. have fun with that. 

          • Anonymous

            Among the scitech companies, Oil companies fund the lowest percentage of profits into research.  The percentages may be higher for exploration but not what they should be.

        • Anonymous

          Please learn the difference between “tax credits” and tax deferrals. The “fossil fuel” industry received no tax credits which is a direct elimination of tax liability. The CBO Report states that the $2.5 billion which benefitted the “fossil fuel” industry in 2011 went toward selecting the rapid write-off  “options” available. Tax deferrals temporarily increase the deduction from gross income which is reversed in future years. The net amount of tax liability for the taxpayer does not change over time. In layman’s terms, the fossil fuel taxpayer pays all taxes due over a period of a few years instead of the first one or two.

          • Anonymous

            Don’t try and school me if you haven’t even read what I posted. They’re called “Tax Preferences” and they’re listed as a budgetary cost. 

            So yeah, they pay all the taxes that are due, but it’s less than what they would normally have due had they not received that “tax preference”. We make up the difference in that lost revenue. 

          • Anonymous

            I read and responded to what you posted:

            “2.5 billion in tax credits in 2011. Why subsidize something that is both private and profitable and has been for decades?”

            If you don’t like factual criticism of your post then stop posting.

          • Anonymous

            It wasn’t a factual criticism, you didn’t look at the report. I did and I quoted it directly. The 2.5 billion figure comes from the report I cited. So don’t come on here and say that that 2.5 billion figure is something that it’s not. That’s not factual — that’s misinformation. Plain and simple. 

          • Anonymous

            No where in the 10-page report does it state that the “fossil fuel” industry received $2.5 billion in “tax credits” in 2011. What the Report does show in the Table on Page 3 is the following:

            Fossil Fuels Expensing of exploration and development costs for oil and
            natural gas  0.8
             
            Option to expense 50 percent of qualified property used to
            refine liquid fuels  0.8
             
            Option to expense investment costs on the basis of gross
            income rather than on production  0.9

            The aggregate of expensed items is $2.7 billion. An expense deduction is not a tax credit as I explained previously. 

            Please specifically cite where I error in the Report.  

          • Anonymous

            I added .8, .8 and .9 and that becomes 2.5. Those are listed as “Tax Preference” and they’re also listed as a “Cost.” 

            It doesn’t matter what words you use to call it, many of the terms are used interchangeably on here and these are informal discussions. It’s not a credit, but it’s not a deduction as you’re claiming either. And regardless of the exact terminology people are using (it varies on here), they are referencing the same thing. The intent of the comment is what is most important. I’m sure it’s fun for you to run around here screeching and correcting people, but it’s not relevant. What people are saying isn’t dependent on what you’re complaining about.

            The rest of us are picking up the slack because a massively profitable and established industry is receiving tax preferences. That costs money because we make up the difference. The average American is the one who is struggling, not companies with billions in profits. That’s what’s important. But keep running around complaining that someone didn’t dot their i or cross their t if it’s fun for you. 

          • Anonymous

            “The intent of the comment is what is most important”. Washington is overrun with people with good intentions and they can’t fix anything because they don’t understand the facts of the various problems or the adverse consequences of everything they do to try fix those problems. As long as they continue to think like you do the stagnate economy, high unemployment, sustained deficits and the sky rocketing debt will remain unchanged. 

          • Anonymous

            We not in Washington. We’re having an informal discussion on a news website. If I talk to a plumber, I don’t need to get the exact words and terminologies right in order to communicate what I think my problem is — I’m not the expert. 

            Not to mention that you’re trying to correct me with misinformation. You’re engaging in the behavior you’re complaining about. 

          • Anonymous

            Sky rocketing debt is another bit of misinformation. The cost of the two wars make up an enormous portion of the current debt, and, unfortunately was a waste of taxpayer money, actually a waste largely through the transfer of this treasure to private contractors, that will not be re-couped. The second largest portion of the debt is Bush’s 2001 and 2003 tax cuts that went overwhelmingly to the top tier… some of that revenue is lost forever, but letting those cuts expire for those that received the lion’s share of the cuts WOULD reclaim some of that… As far as the notion of an ONGOING skyrocketing debt, govt spending by Obama, contrary to the many misrepresentations being offered by those with the agenda to cut taxes and cut spending, has decreased below Bush’s record spending… even with the stimulus spending THAT WAS NECESSARY to prevent the country from descending into a second Great Depression. Too many people seems to ignore the fact that in every recession presidents have had to resort to Kenyesian spending programs of one sort or another in order to take up the slack of a stagnant economy. The term spender of “LAST RESORT” suggests rather well WHY. But even with that caveat, the debt is NOT skyrocketing to the hyperbolic degree those with an agenda, and which the corporate media echo chamber faithfully parrots, propagandize to be the case.

            http://www.demetriphotographic.com/files/090311krugman1-blog480.jpg

          • Anonymous

            Nicely organized argument. However, it is a specious one which is not supported by the data from the IRS archives, Bureau of Public Debt or the monthly budget numbers provided by the Treasury’s Bureau of Financial Management Services.  The FMS detailed monthly data is located here:

            http://www.fms.treas.gov/mts/index.html

          • Anonymous

            Some interesting data in the link provided, thanks. But I don’t think it can be used to characterize my argument as “specious.” The opening highlight statement reads: “The eleven-month cumulative deficit through August 2012 is $1.16 trillion compared to a cumulative deficit of $1.23 trillion for the comparable period in fiscal year 2011.” Pretty much what the Fed data said in Krugman’s chart… Reading down through some of the charts in the FMS doc gives more detail. Implicit in some of this is, I think, the revenue loss during the past year doesn’t offset what gets added to the debt. Also interesting is a comparison of individual income taxes vs corporate income taxes. If individual income tax is paid largely by those other than the 47% that includes the elderly, military service members fighting overseas, those not making enough to pay income taxes, those taking the earned income tax credit, the very wealthy whose income is largely through capital gains (and taxed at a much reduced rate, Romney likely falls into that category)…those left are the middle class and upper middle class. According to the figures in the FMS report individaul income tax receipt for the fiscal year were $1.015 trillion vs $186.3 billion from corporate income taxes.

            I may not be reading this entirely correctly, but I think I got the jist of this right…

            Interesting stuff, no doubt… But I don’t think it supports the argument that the debt is “skyrocketing…” That in my mind is a distraction that has prevented a real recovery from taking place faster as the policy that comes out of that misinformation hinders sound policy.

      • Anonymous

        What I have been made aware of are fairly large deferments of royalty payments. It was a while ago, and I don’t have a link. Sorry. But it was in large number terms… I don’t know if they derive from extraction on public lands, but I can’t think of how a royalty to the federal govt would be owed otherwise. It that is the case, it would really be royalties to US citizens.

        • Anonymous

           I can recall royalties paid to the taxpayers. I think there is something like that going on to the citizens of Alaska (not sure tho)  But I don’t think those are “subsidies.” 

          • Anonymous

            There were, or are, royalty payments that Sarah Palin got for Alaskans, but that isn’t what I’m recalling. As I said, it was a while ago and amounted to legislation that deferred royalties to the federal govt, I believe as something under Bush policy. The deferred royalties would be in effect a give away, a subsidy to the oil industry. The following is from a hearing on gas and oil royalties mismanagement at the Dept of Interior:

            (Your favorite Senator (meant in jest, of course), Bernie Sanders, speaking… )

            “The mismanagement of the royalty program at the
            Department of the Interior is something that this Committee rightly must thoroughly oversee. And, it isn’t only the mismanagement that needs oversight–although clearly, with a billion dollars already lost and billions more at risk, we must get a grip on what is happening. We need to thoughtfully assess the underlying idea of royalty relief, which is nothing more than an embarrassing giveaway of taxpayer dollars. At this point in time, when we should be encouraging movement away from fossil fuels that cause global warming and moving toward clean, renewable sources of energy, why would the federal government give oil and gas companies–while they are making record profits and consumers feel the pain–free money for the resources they take from public lands? If I didn’t know better, I would laugh if someone tried to tell me about the situation.”http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CHRG-110shrg33870/html/CHRG-110shrg33870.htmThis was in a hearing in 2007.

          • Anonymous

            The term is “mismanagement at the Interior department”. 
            Sounds like a government arrangement issue to me. Look I am not defending stuff like this. I just want to know what “subsidies” are.

            So far we have Wolfie saying they are research subsidies for Clean energy research which she seems to oppose and government oversight problems as defined by Senator Sanders who favors clean energy research. Pardon me if I seem a bit confused.

          • Anonymous

            The term IS mismanagement at the Interior Dept, and interestingly in Clinton’s DOI… although not exclusively. Look, deferring a royalty payment for extracting oil on public lands, either through a program designed as a “royalty relief” program, or through failing to set the proper limits or definitions for leases the federal govt gives a company, resulting in mistakes in the amount the royalty should be… either way, it is a give away to the industry if it is not fixed. In the “relief” program it can be done to encourage development of an oil field. Maybe some of that is justified. But if the industry is making record profits, why is such an incentive needed at taxpayer expense? In the case of a mistake to set certain limits on a lease, that can be considered “waste” in that something other than the intended royalty is getting paid to the feds, and NOT fixing the problem amounts to leakage in the system, wasted royalties that should go for the use of public lands for private profit. It is in effect a “subsidy.” They are taking something for profit and not paying the public for its use. Call it what you want, but it is still a loophole that is denying the public what is due.

    • Anonymous

      Jim and Lisa have hit the nail on the head. Not taxes, but the destruction of the middle class.

          40 years ago the middle income households averaged $82,000 adjusted for inflation, and now make $58,000 – Pew Research.  We now rank 93rd in the world in income inequality – C.I.A. 2010. The middle class has been in a downward spiral for decades thanks to policies from Washington, or, inaction from Washington. We keep sending the same (bad word here) ego’s to Washinton to serve their self interest, not ours. We got what our collective ignorance deserved.

          Ancient philosophers showed where democracies end about 200 years after they start when people realized they can vote in rulers who will hand out benefits in order to get re-elected. The last president that lead us in the right direction was Eisenhower – my opinion. Non since.

      The poverty rate was 23% in the 1950’s when I ran 2 small businesses in Bar Harbor with 3 part time employees. Regulation was almost non-existent then, and people seemed to have plenty to subsist. Poverty didn’t hurt (and there were no food stamps or housing assistence). Regulations didn’t hurt. Since the 70’s the poverty rate has been between 12 and 15% as it is today. Poverty and regulations both hurt now.

      Keep voting for name recognition. or for incumbents, and our collective ignorance will end this nation.

  • Anonymous

    I think all business big and small should
    just be taxed into oblivion. Share the wealth!
    Redistribute their profits! TAKE CARE OF ME!!!!

    • Anonymous

      What don’t you understand about the redistribution of wealth that HAS, by all measures, gone upward…? And if tax policy FAVORS THAT upward redistribution, how is advocating for FAIRNESS a “me, me, me” policy?

      I am truly curious how you formulate your opinion. Please, if you can answer without snark, explain that…

  • Anonymous

    I think we all see through this “small business” talking point that is a guise for something that actually has nothing to do with small business. We need to pay taxes as a society to operate, period. We need schools, police, firehouses, courthouses, laws, lawmakers, law enforcement, infrastructure, etc. etc. 

    So scream that we have social safety nets, scream that someone who has hit a rough patch is scamming the system. But what about not wanting to pay into the system you depend on? Could you have a business without regulations and law enforcement? Yeah? Without a funded government, what recourse would you have if someone wronged you? Without a funded government, how would people access your business and how would you get supplies to your business? 

    It’s usually those that complain the most that are getting a lot of benefits that they refuse to acknowledge. There is this me-me-me attitude, where they’re always scared they’re getting the short end of the stick. It’s childish.

    • Anonymous

      “Could you have a business without regulations and law enforcement?” It is worth pointing out how difficult many people find doing business in, say, Russia is with the bribes, the lack of accountability,the protection racket, the banana republic attitudes that REPLACE responsible government. The free for all so many people advocate in the name of “free markets” is much more like a banana republic. That is what crooks love…

    • Anonymous

      Straw man argument: nobody’s suggesting ‘doing away with taxes’. At worst, they’re advocating doing away with some taxes that they see as being counterproductive.

      • Anonymous

        Straw man argument: accusing me of holding a position I don’t hold.

        Where did I mention no taxes? I simply was stating you can’t have an underfunded government. People need to realize how important the system is and the role it plays. What we are noting is that many who accuse others of being overly dependent on the system depend on it just as much, if not more. You make my point with your “counterproductive” comment. 

        If you’re a business owner and the enforcement agencies are overburdened, what would you do for protection and for recourse? Is this like an ignorance is bliss thing? If I don’t knowledge that this is more of an ecosystem than an independent venture, then I don’t have to feel guilty about wanting to under-fund the government? If I pretend I get so little outside help, directly and indirectly, then I don’t have to be concerned about others and the country? 

        Grow up.

        • Anonymous

          Where did I mention no taxes?

          Without a funded government, what recourse would you have if someone
          wronged you? Without a funded government, how would people access your
          business and how would you get supplies to your business?

          Are you suggesting we could have a non-funded government and still have taxes? Neat trick.

          • Anonymous

            No, I’m suggesting that a unfunded government is a government without enough funds. 

            Enough with your stupid little gotcha games. It has nothing to do with my initial comment — if you want to comment on the merits of my argument, do that. Otherwise, I really don’t care you think I said, especially when I’m telling you quite clearly what I did say and then even more clearly what I meant. 

          • Anonymous

            LOL, ‘unfunded’, ‘underfunded’, clearly exactly the same: just like unpaid and underpaid. No difference a-tall.

          • Anonymous

            I can see your having fun, but you still look ridiculous. It doesn’t matter what you think I meant, I told you what I meant. So comment on that or continue to look moronic — your choice. 

  • Anonymous

    Flat wages are killing my small business. The same flat wages that only benefit big corporate America and it’s owners, the top 1%. Fix the flat wage problem and the tax revenue problem will take care of itself. When people work for a living wage, they pay taxes that fund government. When people work for “public assistance” wages, not only do they not pay any taxes, they have to depend on the government cheese to make ends meet. The proverbial double whammy. 

    • Anonymous

       I agree… but it can’t be done by taxing people excessively. The government best effective role is to create an environment where that can be done. Punishing taxes and stifling regulations are not gong to solve this problem. Merely prolong it.

      http://washingtonexaminer.com/55-percent-of-small-business-owners-would-not-start-company-today-blame-obama/article/2509069#.UGQzMlEhTct

      • Anonymous

        We simply can’t tax our way out of this problem. Nor can we cut spending enough to negate it. We have to employ our way out of this problem. This employment also has to be at a living wage or it will just add to the problem. People who work for a living wage buy houses, then Realtors make a living and taxes are paid.  People who work for a living wage buy new cars and the dealers make a living and taxes are paid. People who work for a living wage make improvements to their homes and contractors make a living and taxes are paid. You get my drift. I blame “free” trade for keeping the wages depressed and I think we should start replacing some of the import tariffs and give American manufacturers a chance to get back on their feet. The rich do not pay taxes and the poor do not pay taxes. The middle class does. So it stands to reason that when those wages are dropping through the floor that we all will suffer, privately and publicly.

        • Anonymous

          “We simply can’t tax our way out of this problem. Nor can we cut spending
          enough to negate it. We have to employ our way out of this problem.
          This employment also has to be at a living wage or it will just add to
          the problem.”

          I agree with all 4 points.    Now how about if we analyze that living wage a little.  By definition a living wage is determined by the cost of goods and services required to live on.  So if the cost of necessary goods and services goes down or if we reduce the list of goods and services considered necessary then the resulting “living wage” is lower as well.

          What drives the increases in prices?  There are two major drivers.  Increased expectations of what is acceptable or desirable services is one.  Medical care for example.  People expect to routinely receive treatment for diseases and conditions that 50 years ago they would have had to live with or even die from.  Cancer treatment, treatment for heart disease, and joint replacement are all examples of this.  Many people now consider a cell phone to be a necessity and now even expect to have smart phones with expensive data plans.

          The second major driver of prices is government regulation, rules, and interference in the free market.  Housing costs are increased by many government imposed rules and regulations.  Every year there are new requirements for houses often for safety or environmental reasons.  We can argue if these regulations are good or bad and i agree that most are imposed with the best of intentions.   But all of them increase the price of housing and are usually imposed with no consideration at all of the costs involved.  The cost of automobiles is similarly affected. 

          I could go on for a LONG time with examples of this but this post is long enough already.

  • Anonymous

     http://washingtonexaminer.com/55-percent-of-small-business-owners-would-not-start-company-today-blame-obama/article/2509069#.UGQzMlEhTct

  • Anonymous

    Single payer health care would put a lot more spending cash in the average person’s pockets.

    • Anonymous

       How is that?

  • Anonymous

    “Even though we both employ people in our businesses, we’re not the real
    “job creators.” That title belongs to our customers, the great mass of
    middle-class folks who buy our goods and services and make us
    profitable. So our main concern when it comes to government tax and
    spending policies is not how they will impact a tiny economic elite — or
    even our own finances — but how they will affect average families.
    That’s why we oppose maintaining artificially low tax rates on the
    wealthy when those rates endanger the prosperity of the middle class.”

    Who employ the middle class you rely on? The poor? Other middle class? No, the wealthy!

    Your argument seems to be that if you raise taxes on the wealthy, that will encourage them to hire more workers thus increasing the spending power of the middle class you rely on.

    Yea, good luck with that! When has less money ever created a job for anyone?

    Here’s a thought; Apply that same rational to your businesses. Spend more than you take in then, instead of lowering spending, raise the price of your services/goods and demand you customers pay the increased amount! See how long you are in business. That is exactly what you say you want the government to do!

  • Anonymous

    Jim and Lisa

    Out of the 60 jobs you provide how many pay a living wage?  How many are part time.   How many of your own employees can realistically afford to buy your products?

    If you were forced by government regulations to pay a “living wage” what would be the resulting price of your goods?  And at that price how much would you really sell?

  • Anonymous

    Excellent column by two who have a valid knowledge of practical economics.

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