So maybe it should be reworked as something of a disability program. If you can show you're not in good enough shape to work, you get benefits. If you can still work, you don't.
I think one of the things that's going to come out of the financial crysis, especially with it lining up with the baby boomers aging, is the death of the concept of retirement being an extented, government subsidized vacation, from late middle age to death.
The financial industry has been here a long time. The disparity in income levels has only escalated to historic levels in recent decades. And while NYC is more pronounced than the rest of the country, the historic disparity exists nationally, where the financial industry isn't predominant.
And it can be said that London is similar to NYC as to industrial profile. While the UK is much more dependent on metro London for its total GDP than the US is to NYC metro, the wealth disparity in the UK is much less than in the US.
Last edited by ZippyTheChimp; January 26th, 2011 at 12:53 PM.
If you think it's relevant, you can explain it. I just don't see it getting anywhere as to this topic.
Or you can continue on the thread you started last year.
It has been around for a long time, but it's gotten much more complex (e.g., derivatives) and much, much larger (in terms of the volume of capital moving through it) in recent decades. People, particularly those at the top of the wealth pyramid in NY, have also gotten greedier and more audacious in their avarice - and the example they've set has trickled down.
And the same financial industry is present throughout the country, just more pronounced in NY, as you said.
Not sure how to account for the London difference, except maybe that Londoners don't have the same breed of greed that New York spawns.
This is just coming from my personal experience - I could be wrong - but the richest people I know all do basically the same thing - while I and my acquaintances in non-financial fields are in a much lower tax bracket.
The Oldest Trick in the Book: Redistribution of Wealth in America
by Russell Simmons
I have been thinking a lot about the last recorded words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., before a lone gunman took his life as he rested on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. It was 43 years ago this month that Dr. King traveled to Memphis to join the city's public sanitation workers who had finally had enough of the abuses by their government, and so walked off the job, staging a 64-day strike. The "poor people's campaign" was in full swing, led by a public employees union, and it would be Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s last stand against injustice. It was the night before his assassination that he spoke these eloquent words:We've got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn't matter with me now... And I've looked over. And I've seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land.As I've traveled the country the past two months on a tour to promote my new book, Super Rich, I have spoken with thousands of proud, hard-working Americans and their families who still struggle to realize King's dream of dignity, decency, economic justice and equality. I have spoken to the factory worker who counts the loose change in their cookie jar to pay for the gas in their car to get back and forth to work. I have spoken to the teacher who is scared to death of losing the job they have held for forty years because the city must make cuts. I have spoken to the men who have recently come home from prison to neighborhoods that are 80% unemployed. And in every hotel room I've settled in, I've watched on television, with horror, the struggle of the people of the state of Wisconsin who are replaying out the 1968 Memphis rallies of the public sanitation workers' "I Am A Man" campaign. And when I flip the channel, I see the horrific images of the Libyan people who, like King, have rose up against their oppressive government to demand freedom.
Like Mayor Henry Loeb of Memphis, and Muammar Gaddafi of Libya, Governor Scott Walker has declared war on his own people. I am emphatically not saying the means are the same. Gov. Walker won an election, Gaddafi is a dictator. However, I'm saying the aims are the same - permanent power of your political party and the destruction of the proud, hard working class of the nation. And here we are 43 years later, standing with the working families of this great nation up against politicians whose pockets are lined by greedy, rich men. But the men that we respect are men like King and Sargent Shriver, two men who would never declare war on their own people, but war on the systemic problems that destroyed their people.
Gov. Walker, and those who are even thinking of standing "behind" him, in the spirit of Dr. King and those who stood by his side, we will no longer endure a war against middle and working class families in this country, for we have had enough. We see who your billionaire oil buddies are, and we will stand up to your bullying with the strength of those 1,300 sanitation workers of Memphis, Tennessee and the 100,000 public employees protesting in Madison as our power. Gov. Walker, to threaten your own people that if you don't get your way there will "dire consequences" is as pathetic and thuggish as listening to an 68-year-old dictator say he will "fight till the last drop of blood."
The middle class of this country is struggling to have any class at all, for they are on the brink of poverty with every paycheck that doesn't show up on time. And the people living in poverty have been forgotten about, as politicians on both sides of the aisle give speech after speech and forget to even mention their existence. While Wall Street booms and I get tax breaks, the working people who reside on Main Street are holding on by a thread. These incredible, resilient, proud Americans have no one fighting for them, so they have decided to pick up the protest signs and fight for themselves. But, make no mistake, you continue to wage war on them, you might catch an uprising you only thought happened in Middle Eastern or African countries. It's that serious. A couple of tweets from our compassionate friends like Eminem, Ashton Kutcher, Diddy, or even Kim Kardashian, all of whom have more Twitter influence than the President, could start the movement that this country needs.
America will reach the Promised Land when we stop paying into the war machine and lobbying firms and start educating our children and protecting our public workers. The battleground has been set and as history as our indicator, we know that the people will prevail.
Mr Simmons misses the point. It not about Gov. Walker. I don't follow Wisconsin politics, but I tend to believe that he is doing exactly what the people who elected him want him to be doing.
For a long time, the public employee unions have used their political power to extort unaffordable long-tail benefits from the governmental organizations they work for. On the flip side, politicians where more than happy to agree to benefits that wouldn't have to paid for until years or decades after they were promised, and after those politicians were retired (buying current votes with future dollars).
However, now the bills are coming due, and the majority of voters (who are NOT members of public employee unions, and do not get their gold plated benefits) are refusing to pay. And as much as the unions want to huff and puff, they're in the minority here, and are likely to lose.
February 22, 2011 -- Poll: Americans favor union bargaining rights
And in Wisconsin, even the voting public doesn't agree ...
Walker's Over-Reach, Ctd
THE DAILY DISH
27 FEB 2011 01:07 PM
Dick Morris's latest poll shows Wisconsin voters where the Dish is - in favor of Walker's specific requests of public sector unions, but unwilling to remove most collective bargaining rights ...
In a poll reliant on Rasmussen's pro-GOP skewed sample, we get the following result:
More than half (56%) of respondents said Wisconsin state workers should have collective bargaining power. Just 32% sided with Walker and said state workers should not be allowed to collectively negotiate benefits and other compensation.
From the Morris Poll:
VOTERS OPPOSE CHANGING COLLECTIVE BARGAINING AGREEMENTS
On the issue of limiting collective bargaining to wage and benefit issues, however, they break with the Governor, opposing the proposal by 41-54.
If the issues to be taken off the bargaining table are related to giving schools flexibility to modify tenure, pay teachers based on merit, discharge bad teachers and promote good ones, however, they support such limits on collective bargaining by 58-38.
BB, that is not the case. AAMOF, most of the benefits have been misused by people with connections to the political parties.
NJ for instance. There are part time positions in the state. Help on advisory boards and the like, that pay a pittance. $2500 a year.
Does not sound bad...yet.
What happens, though, is that these guys get these meaningless "jobs" for 18-20 years. In the last 2 years before "retiring" they get hired full time at $100K or so.
OK, still that is only 2 years, right?
Until you read the wording on the contracts. They were paying in a percentage of their "salary" into the pension fund. 5%, 8%, whatever it is it was nothing at $2,500 a year. Under the contract, you take the AVERAGE salary for the last 2 (maybe 3) years of the "employee" and multiply that by a factor based on the time they spend "working" for the state/county/town.
So this guy, with his own business/job outside the city, works for the city for 2-3 years at a nice salary, then retires pulling in more from the pension fund in ONE YEAR than they put into it themselves their entire time on the payroll.
Add this to the pension funds investing in what our financial bodies called "safe" and "A+" investments going to trash, and not 2 years later the same responsible for glossing over these junk bonds and other investments are earning almost record amounts again. Add these abuses together with the myriad of other ABSOLUTELY LEGAL AND CONTRACTUAL abuses of our financing and you get the schism you see today.
It is not the Unions that are responsible for Wisconsin's debt. If they are willing to negotiate (which they said they were) he is being an unreasonable individual trying to use the misery of the people to break organized labors spine.
Last edited by Ninjahedge; March 1st, 2011 at 08:24 AM.
Loft, it seems like the people just want to break on whatever THEY feel they are better equipped to decide on.
The only problem with getting rid of teacher tenure are two things.
1. If teaching was so great and so easy, why was there shortfalls of finding SUITABLY QUALIFIED teachers to fill the gaps we have experienced? Especially in Math and Science? One of the ONLY solid benefits teachers have had has been job security.
2. If tenure is removed, the kids will come second. If the person that evaluates you has more power over your position, you will see just what happens in the Corporate World, the talented being exploited and the butt-kissers rising to the top. Although I agree that merit should win over seniority, in something that can be this politically steeped, a teachers career can be ruined with the deadly 1-2 of a slime-bag supervisor and the disgruntled parent of a disruptive child.
Every single person that thinks they know better about teaching should have to spend a month trying to teach these kids themselves. Not a day, that is Babysitting. A month.
After that month maybe they will have a better idea of what teachers have to deal with.
Last edited by Ninjahedge; March 1st, 2011 at 08:24 AM.
Wisconsin Survey Results
February 24-27, 2011
Survey of 768 Wisconsin voters by Public Policy Polling
If you could do last fall’s election for Governor
over again, would you vote for Democrat Tom
Barrett or Republican Scott Walker?
Tom Barrett ........... 52%
Scott Walker........... 45%
Not sure ................ 4%
Last edited by 212; February 28th, 2011 at 07:50 PM.
Reactionary politics never gets you what you really want. It only swings you to the other end of an issue along an axis that is perpendicular to the direction you really want to go.
You never end up with someone that is either in line with your hopes, or simply is "moderate" enough to settle somewhere in the middle of both your line, and the line of extremist propagandist politics that seems to run our system these days.
So that is what we get, a bunch of people who are angry about taxes who voted for cuts in spending who now have teachers and cops being laid off (NJ/NY) and millionaires still able to keep their "temporary" tax break.
Lets just break the Unions while we are at it. There are, after all, at fault for everything that has gone wrong in the past 5 years....right?
Super rich see federal taxes drop dramatically
By STEPHEN OHLEMACHER, Associated Press 6 mins ago
WASHINGTON – As millions of procrastinators scramble to meet Monday's tax filing deadline, ponder this: The super rich pay a lot less taxes than they did a couple of decades ago, and nearly half of U.S. households pay no income taxes at all.
The Internal Revenue Service tracks the tax returns with the 400 highest adjusted gross incomes each year. The average income on those returns in 2007, the latest year for IRS data, was nearly $345 million. Their average federal income tax rate was 17 percent, down from 26 percent in 1992.
Over the same period, the average federal income tax rate for all taxpayers declined to 9.3 percent from 9.9 percent.
The top income tax rate is 35 percent, so how can people who make so much pay so little in taxes? The nation's tax laws are packed with breaks for people at every income level. There are breaks for having children, paying a mortgage, going to college, and even for paying other taxes. Plus, the top rate on capital gains is only 15 percent.
There are so many breaks that 45 percent of U.S. households will pay no federal income tax for 2010, according to estimates by the Tax Policy Center, a Washington think tank.
"It's the fact that we are using the tax code both to collect revenue, which is its primary purpose, and to deliver these spending benefits that we run into the situation where so many people are paying no taxes," said Roberton Williams, a senior fellow at the center, which generated the estimate of people who pay no income taxes.
The sheer volume of credits, deductions and exemptions has both Democrats and Republicans calling for tax laws to be overhauled. House Republicans want to eliminate breaks to pay for lower overall rates, reducing the top tax rate from 35 percent to 25 percent. Republicans oppose raising taxes, but they argue that a more efficient tax code would increase economic activity, generating additional tax revenue.
President Barack Obama said last week he wants to do away with tax breaks to lower the rates and to reduce government borrowing. Obama's proposal would result in $1 trillion in tax increases over the next 12 years. Neither proposal included many details, putting off hard choices about which tax breaks to eliminate.
In all, the tax code is filled with a total of $1.1 trillion in credits, deductions and exemptions, an average of about $8,000 per taxpayer, according to an analysis by the National Taxpayer Advocate, an independent watchdog within the IRS.
More than half of the nation's tax revenue came from the top 10 percent of earners in 2007. More than 44 percent came from the top 5 percent. Still, the wealthy have access to much more lucrative tax breaks than people with lower incomes.
Obama wants the wealthy to pay so "the amount of taxes you pay isn't determined by what kind of accountant you can afford."
Eric Schoenberg says to sign him up for paying higher taxes. Schoenberg, who inherited money and has a healthy portfolio from his days as an investment banker, has joined a group of other wealthy Americans called United for a Fair Economy. Their goal: Raise taxes on rich people like themselves.
Shoenberg, who now teaches a business class at Columbia University, said his income is usually "north of half a million a year." But 2009 was a bad year for investments, so his income dropped to a little over $200,000. His federal income tax bill was a little more than $2,000.
"I simply point out to people, `Do you think this is reasonable, that somebody in my circumstances should only be paying 1 percent of their income in tax?'" Schoenberg said.
Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, the top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, said he has a solution for rich people who want to pay more in taxes: Write a check to the IRS. There's nothing stopping you.
"There's still time before the filing deadline for them to give Uncle Sam some more money," Hatch said.
Schoenberg said Hatch's suggestion misses the point.
"This voluntary idea clearly represents a mindset that basically pretends there's no such things as collective goods that we produce," Schoenberg said. "Are you going to let people volunteer to build the road system? Are you going to let them volunteer to pay for education?"
The law is packed with tax breaks that help narrow special interests. But many of the biggest tax breaks benefit millions of American families at just about every income level, making them difficult for politicians to touch.
The vast majority of those who escape federal income taxes have low and medium incomes, and most of them pay other taxes, including Social Security and Medicare taxes, property taxes and retail sales taxes.
The share of people paying no federal income tax has dropped slightly the past two years. It was 47 percent for 2009. The main difference for 2010 was the expiration of a tax break that exempted the first $2,400 of unemployment benefits from taxation, Williams said.
In 2009, nearly 35 million taxpayers got a tax break for paying interest on their home mortgages, and nearly 36 million taxpayers took the $1,000-per-child tax credit. About 41 million households reduced their federal income taxes by deducting state and local income and sales taxes from their taxable income.
About 36 million families cut their taxes by nearly $35 billion by deducting charitable donations, and 28 million taxpayers saved a total of $24 billion because their income from Social Security and railroad pensions was untaxed.
"As a matter of policy, there would be a lot of ways to save money and actually make these things work better," said Leonard Burman, a public affairs professor at Syracuse University. "As a matter of politics, it's really, really difficult."
Copyright © 2011 The Associated Press
I hardly know what to say after reading that .
Perhaps suffice to say, this \/ says it all?
Based on that article, it seems the U.S. could never be accused of overtaxing its citizens' income."As a matter of policy, there would be a lot of ways to save money and actually make these things work better," said Leonard Burman, a public affairs professor at Syracuse University. "As a matter of politics, it's really, really difficult."
But then, it's all about what they DO with it, really, isn't it?