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October 30, 2008



I'm late to the diatribe, as usual....

to whoever supports taxing EXXON to fund Methadone clinics in Camden....

Why throw good money after bad?
If you insist on nationalising an american corporation's profits.... why not establish a fund to give scholarships to poor students who EXCELL.... rather than prop up the losers & human detritus?

For the life of me, I cannot understand why those with some need to be their "brothers' keeper" always focus on the least likely to better their sorry ass existence.

Listener Greg G.

John L: "Isn't it just fair that those who make more should pay more in taxes? Bush's tax cuts for the rich reversed that. We need to put things back so that all pay their fair share."

John - While the statement above is often cited as gospel by progressives, it is, in fact, completely incorrect.

I'm not sure exactly how you want to define "the rich" but you are wrong whether you consider the rich to be the top 1% of earners, the top 5%, the top 10%, or even the top 25% of earners. Yeah, they make the lion's share of the income but they also pay disproportionately higher taxes. And that share of the taxes they're paying has continued to get disproportionately higher, according to the Treasure Dept.

All of the information below can be found on page 4 of the pdf document found here:


In 1990, the richest 1% earned 14% of the income & paid 25% of the taxes.
In 2000, the richest 1% earned 21% of the income & paid 37% of the taxes.
In 2005, the richest 1% earned 21% of the income & paid 39% of the taxes.

In 1990, the richest 5% earned 27% of the income & paid 44% of the taxes.
In 2000, the richest 5% earned 35% of the income & paid 56% of the taxes.
In 2005, the richest 5% earned 36% of the income & paid 60% of the taxes.

In 1990, the richest 10% earned 39% of the income & paid 55% of the taxes.
In 2000, the richest 10% earned 46% of the income & paid 67% of the taxes.
In 2005, the richest 10% earned 46% of the income & paid 70% of the taxes.

Yeah, the rich keep earning more....but they keep picking up an ever more colossal share of the taxes, too. Our highly progressive income tax just keeps getting more progressive, not less. Check the figures for the top 25% of earners and you will see the same trend. At some point, these facts really have to be recognized so that "the rich aren't paying their fair share" mantra can be put to rest.

Like many people, I'm hoping to be rich one day myself.


Re: figure 4
Far right retards figure ALL tax money goes to poor people, and the reason they're poor is because they're lazy and don't want to work. Meanwhile, infrastructure, military, Medicare etc. grows on trees.
Which it does, according to Irwin, I bet.


Chris, my example of taxing Exxon $ to fund a meth clinic was supposed to be comically extreme, you know, like the things Ann Coulter accuses Liberals of on a daily basis. OF COURSE I'd rather see the fat, rich pigs' money go to productive, positive social programs.



Please forgive my inability to discern over-the-top parody from over-the-top passion... a common enough malady afflicting many of us in these contentious times.

Speaking of "Truth Stranger than Parody"..... a ballot in California to allow junkie burglers to get state-funded "counseling"......

Will Kooky Kaly-forny become a magnet for junkies tired of being harassed by "the Man" in less sympathetic states? Hope so!


Is that bit at the end of Irwin's post suggesting Obama is anti-Israel? What about that major speech he made to the Israeli PAC right after he received the Dem nomination, the speech where he offered total support?

X.Ray Burns

The "fat rich pigs" already pay for pretty much everything in this society, as pointed out in the post by Listener Greg G. Big Business and the investor class built this country. Tax business to death and "those in need" may actually have to fend for themselves like most of us who work and actually PAY income tax. If the needy are smart they will take their free redistributed "Obama Bucks" handout and buy Exxon stock before its too late.

To equate being "rich" with being "selfish" is textbook class warfare.


So X.Ray, you have no problem at all with the cost of gasoline and its correlation with Exxon's highest-ever quarterly profit report (that's the highest for any company, ever.) You don't think we're being gouged? Put down your partisan harangue for a second and tell me honestly that you have no problem with the oil industry. You say, "Big Business and the investor class built this country" and indeed they did, but they could not have done it without workers. Until they create their robot-worker army, these huge companies will always need employees. It was not my intention to equate "rich" with "selfish," as there are some very generous companies with enormous wealth, like Microsoft. I do, however, equate Exxon with greed. It never ceases to amaze me how working-class Republicans identify so strongly with big business—why? Unless you are the son of a CEO—why???


Well, you can't have it both ways, X. Either selfishness is a virtue ( and I've read all her books, X, when I was 18 ) and it's just as valid for the poor and middle class to be selfish and want more, or it isn't, and everyone has to contribute. In the last 20 years, a great class war has been raging, and I'm here to tell you, the rich are winning hand over fist. Right now, they are looting the treasury, taking upwards of a trillion dollars in my and your money, to bail out bad gambling debts. We're paying the price. As will our children. I encourage you to apply the same rigid standards to the wealthy as you do the poor, and see how they measure up. Not the fantasy wealthy of Ayn's books, but the real wealthy as I know them in Manhattan ( and having resided in a corner office on 14 wall st, I sorta do know what I'm talking about here ). I think you will have a real eye opener.

Listener Dave Viking Lives!

I voted for Alan Keyes!

Listener Greg G.: Interesting how that Treasury document starts with 1990. Would the statistical trend have looked different if it had included 70' and 80's tax data, when the top tax rate was above 70% and capital gains were taxed at a higher rate?

According to this document, Bush tax cuts are redistributing ("Spreadin' the Wealth") wealth from the rich/wealthy to the less rich/wealthy. Plumber Joe, say it ain't so!

X.Ray Burns


I am not the son of a CEO, but I am a stockholder. I am not a wealthy man so every dividend is important to me.


Yes, many of the wealthy are crooks, just as many of the non-wealthy are parasites. All of the "Rich", using Obamas ever changing definition ($250,000+, $200,000+, $150,000+ ???), are not looting the treasury.


Western Civilization may crumble but it is going to be worth it just to see the disappointment on the Obamaton's faces when their taxes go up,new wars are started, civil liberties are crushed and our financial situation deteriorates. My favorite part of the next 4 years is the US taxpayer funded bailout of foreign economies.My second favorite is the mandatory National service draft.Third is the continuing Federal raids on medical marijuana clinics..........


Yes, certainly things will fall apart without the NeoConservatives running the show; they've done such a fine job up 'til now....SIV, where are you getting all this from? Sean Hannity's nightmares? Rush Limbaugh's pill-withdrawal hallucinations?

Spaceman One

Can't wait how "The One" will construct and use his proposed Civilian National Security Force. A cracked down on the selfish perhaps?


Personally, I want as little government intervention in my life as possible Keep your hands out of my affairs and my wallet. Does this make me selfish?

Dale Hazelton

He robs from the rich to give to the poor who was robbed by the rich to begin with. I like the funny pictures.


Clayton -- just to clarify: I'm an "undecided voter." Can't decide whether to hit the gym first & then go vote for Mac-Palin, or cast my ballot early & then head over for a workout. It's a dilemma. I'm on the fence.


Irwin is a joker... but he's not joking about being a libertarian. It's obvious from his "Fave Commentators" (Dennis Miller, Michael Crichton, Hip Hop Republican and Neo Neocon to name a few) at http://www.wfmu.org/irwin/ that he leans toward the right wing when it comes to politics. I came to this realization earlier this year via his remarkably patriotic memorial day show (http://wfmu.org/playlists/shows/27254) So I went to his website(s)... they were obviously right leaning (on his blog: http://irwinchusid.blogspot.com/ he declares "Reality check -- Ronald Reagan was my favorite president. Anything else you need to know?") so i emailed him my disappointment. He was kind enough to reply and he and i exchanged multiple emails. His postion was obviously pro-capitalist. He even said he supported America's involvement in the Vietnam war (though he said he had protested against it at the time). He said at one point "I would not object to being called a (small-L) libertarian." Obama was never mentioned in our interactions, but i am confident that he is not a supporter. I could be wrong, but i ask... what criticism or joke-poking has he made in McCain's direction? None, that I know of.


jeez.. how ironic. Irwin's latest post was not there when I wrote mine and then pushed the post button. I swear to god on a stack of holy bibles.

Steve Barton

Irwin: They chide because they love. At least you've got that going for you. -- Steve


After the massive increase in spending and huge debt of the past eight years, and the warrantless wiretapping, I think a lot of libertarians consider Obama to be the lesser of two "evils." Just look at the polls in libertarian-leaning states like Colorado and New Hampshire. Obama is way ahead there. He's close in Montana and even Arizona. A lot of libertarians are wary of unchecked increases in executive power, violations of the Constitution and civil liberties, and being spied on by their own government.

Tom Smith says, "I had never really thought of let's all play nicely together as a foreign policy since it doesn't even work with kids." Actually, with Obama's charisma and persuasiveness, I think it will work much better than Bush's arrogant unilateralism and bullying, not to mention Bush feeling up the German chancellor, just as one example that defines him very well. Obama can be ruthless when he wants to be (just read the profile of him in the New Yorker from a few weeks ago). The ancient, testosterone-addled Republican tactic of defining Democrats as pussies won't work anymore, not unless you've got a Dukakis-like Democrat to kick around.

And to suggest that Obama is anti-Israel is ridiculous. Obama had to declare total support for Israel a while ago, as Yark points out. We are far too politically and economically entwined with Israel now for any major politician to untangle us without essentially committing political suicide. Saying otherwise is a Republican scare tactic aimed at swaying Jewish voters.

Greg G., none of those tax rates take all the numerous loopholes into account. Many corporations use the loopholes to pay NO taxes AT ALL.


In the end, even putting ideology aside, I want a president with LOTS of brains, some savvy, some charm (to compel foreign governments to work with us), and some political acumen. Obama fits that bill better than McCain. McCain is flailing around and has only recently gone back to the outdated Reagan-era "Democrats will tax you to death!" and "welfare queens!" scare tactics. Before that, he didn't care about economics at all. (In 2000, he defended the idea of higher taxes on the rich as being fair, and said it wasn't socialism.) This is the best the Republicans can do? Old failed economic ideology from the '80s? REALLY? And there are still voting blocs of working-class people who believe this stuff, who think they're going to start making more than $250k before the next election? Seriously? Why not wait UNTIL you start making more than $250k before you vote against your own interests?

SIV, you are delusional if you think our civil rights will be violated MORE under Obama than under Bush/Cheney. And more wars? Where would we get the money for that? But you DO have a (lonely, solitary) point about the continuing raids on medical marijuana clinics. Obama, like so many Democrats, won't want to be seen as "soft on crime" (even if it's non-violent). Oh well.

Listener Greg

>Greg G., none of those tax rates take all the numerous loopholes into account. Many corporations use the loopholes to pay NO taxes AT ALL.

They do, in fact, take loopholes into account. The figures I posted were actual tax payments by individuals (not companies) after all the accountants' efforts were put in place. And if many corporations are paying no taxes, I trust Congress will soon pass new laws that close the loopholes that permit them to pay nothing. Right?


If his commentator reading list is at all accurate, then our Irwin ain't a libertarian, he's a conservative. But I don't think he hates homos or anything. It's of a piece with his oh-so-freethinking grumpy contrarian persona. He'll have plenty to be snide about, through four long years of Obacklash.


Greg. Great numbers. Let's ponder why it is that this discrepancy has happened, shall we?

The terms are choosen carefully:
"% of income"
"% of taxes paid".

If taxes were only collected on income....we'd have a very different tax code. There's these things called "capital gains taxes", though.

According to the Treasury:
In 1990 there was $124,000,000,000 in total realized capital gains.
In 2000 there was $644,000,000,000.
In 2005 there was $690,000,000,000.

In the same period, the capital gains tax has gone from 28% to 16%

According to these guys:

In 2001:
The Top 1% controlled:
33% of total net worth; and
40% of financial wealth.

The Top 5% controlled:
59% of total net worth; and
68% of financial wealth.

The Top 10% controlled:
71% of total net worth; and
80% of financial wealth.

I wonder if that's concentrated more so in the past seven years? Anyway...

Let's figure then that the top 1% of households then had 40% of that $690B in realized capital gains in 2005 or $276 Billion (though it's most likely more).

The top 1% of income earners was 1.326 million people in 2005 and so averaged $208,000/ea in realized capital gains on top of an adjusted gross income that begins at $364,000.

See: taxfoundation.org/news/show/250.html

Seeing as how the split for the bottom 50% of income earners in 2005 was around $31,000, well, you can see the why the "% of taxes paid" is so high: Assuming these numbers, the top 1% of households have capital gains that alone are nearly 7x the income of the 50% mark.

Consider also that the bottom 50% have seen a ~15% rise in adjusted gross income since 2001 (wow, from a *maximum* of $28k to $32k) while the top 1% have seen more than a 30% increase (from *minimum* of $292k to $388k).

If you're one of 'em, more power to ya. Literally. But, in all fairness, I could give a flying fuck about what % of taxes these people pay.

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