East Valley resident Tom Patterson (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a
retired physician and former state senator.
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As Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. famously said "Taxes are the price we pay for a civil society." A lot of Americans who have made or inherited their fortunes seem to have forgotten this. The shared sacrifice of blood and treasure for one's country is America's best characteristic. Since the wars are being waged predominantly by the lower classes. What are wealthy people sacrificing? The last great Republican president, Theodore Roosevelt understood. He fought the corporate "robber barons" so they would not hold too much of the nation's power.Sadly, since then Republicans have lost their way. Instead of making the government work better for all. They only support the ones who have benefited the most from it. Warren Buffett and Mark Cuban have it right. If you have gained a lot from being American, you shouldn't begrudge supporting your nation at its time of need.
"Since the wars are being waged predominantly by the lower classes". Yes, that is true but wars for the last 200 years have all been waged by the lower classes not only in America but in Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, all the Western Powers including Russia and China. So please if you want to look at the demographics of our Military, notice that less than 1% of the United States Military of all Branches of Service are Jewish or are Mormon. Now that's something to chew on giving how many American Military have died defending Israel in Lebanon (hundreds of Marines killed and wounded in Beirut) and the 34 Navy sailors and 140 wouned aboard the USS LIBERTY that was straffed and torpedoed by the Israeli Air Force and Navy.So if we are going to start "punishing" Americans who are "richer" than the so-called "Average American Tax-payer"..then why stop there. Obama and the Democrats can go after Americans who are "better looking" than the so-called "Average American". Start going after Americans who are "smarter" than the so-called "Average American". Start going after Americans who are "better golfers", "better tennis players", "better football or basket ball players".........while Obama and the Democrats are doing "Wealth Re-Distribution" ala the Red Chinese, Russian Communists and Cuba Socialists..... Obama and the Democrats want to "Re-Distribute Educational Achievement" to make Minority/Ethnic Students look better by "dumbing-down the AIMS Tests and President Bush's "No Child Left Behind".
“Barack Obama repeatedly insists that those notorious “millionaires and billionaires” deserve to have more of their money taken to support runaway government spending.”
Does that include taxing Obama’s “billionaire” supporters? They are… Oprah Winfrey, U.S. Senator John Kerry’s wife Teresa Heinz, Bill Gates, and Warren Buffet.
Billionaires Oprah Winfrey defended her generous donations to Barack Obama's presidential campaign as she acknowledged that because of contribution limits, "my money isn't going to make any difference to him. I think that my value to him, my support of him, is probably worth more than a check."
Now, President Barack Obama is tracking and bagging wealthy donors in a push to raise money as the deadline for third-quarter campaign fundraising arrived. Telling “millionaires and billionaires” donors he needs their help as much as ever to reach his goals for the nation.
Tom Patterson reveals much about his point of view with this comment:
" Forcing the rich (also known as “the productive” and “successful at satisfying the needs of others”) . . ."
A synonym for the rich is "the productive" is, indeed, a good one. As if only the wealthy produce anything.
Gee, I don't know, I guess police aren't productive . . . except at keeping the peace.
The paramedic isn't productive . . . except at saving lives.
The family farmer isn't productive . . . except at growing crops.
The factory worker isn't productive. . . except at making products.
All of these folks produce something, but none is rich. And they all satisfy the needs of someone else. Yet they aren't rich.
Please, Patterson writes as if only the rich produce anything.
Mr. Patterson, what exactly does a hedge fund manager produce, except money, that is?
Either Patterson's class bias or ignorance is showing with his comment. Or both.
Tom, Tom, Tom.How much good did the billions in tax cuts Bush gave to the "rich" do. I saw no jobs come from that. I saw the collective wealth of the richest people in the country shoot up.The money has been horded and is not being used to increase productivity in any way. Jobs? Hell no! Wealth for the richest, yes.
I'm a republican, but I believe that there is plenty of money for everyone to make a proper living.How can having $20 billion in wealth instead of $15 billion be any help when you can't possibly spend it anyway.Get real, tom, what we need is honest politicians and that'll never happen.
Quit whining and go find a way to help the country.
Nothing new here,the rich will get richer,and the poor will get pooer. The banks and the rich rule and will continue to do so.Have a good day all.
I can understand why a higher tax does not sound appealing at this time with the ineptitude of our current Congress. However, I think that most of those with wealth in the U.S. are progressive decent people who understand the issues and do not resent the contribution of an equitable share, especially if they knew it would not all go to fossil fuel research, for example.
I'd guess that Tom did not like the stories of Robinhood and his band of merry men! Or at least he makes distinctions between England's rich and our rich. But today, armed with a new set of slings and arrors, the merry men are more likely to rob from the poor than the rich. The rich pay taxes to political action committees!
Patterson is a typical lying rightie. TARP was signed into law by U.S. President George W. Bush on October 3, 2008. Of course righties love to rewrite history.
"""Obama has lived his life in a world where the economy is fixed and the only way the poor can see justice done is if the rich are separated from their ill-gotten gains. Class envy is baked into his consciousness."""Really? He was raised by his grandparents in Hawaii. You revealed your racism when you suggest he was raised with "class envy". Obama graduated from Harvard magna cum laude. Get over it.
It would appear that only you and I have read Obama's books. I read McCain's too. What a tragedy! He messed up the first 30 years of his life, was never forgiven by his father, and has spent the rest of his life trying to make it up to dear old dad.
“Wall Street banks are able to still award million-dollar bonuses because his [Obama] government paid off their investment losses through TARP.“--- TARP was signed into law by U.S. President George W. Bush on October 3, 2008
There needs to be a distinction between what an individual earns and their taxable income. A good example would be the amount of Buffet's investments that are in bonds which are not taxable. How much of the “top 10%” are payed in options, shares or bonuses that aren't taxable until negotiated or exercised?
Perhaps an equitable tax system would tax each citizen according to their benefit of being a U. S. Citizen. A little like the “sin taxes” that are placed on cigarettes and booze even though they are not illegal or gas guzzler fees on oversize non-commercial vehicles. Tax those things that can only be afforded by those who are excessively successful; membership golf courses, more expensive wines and fine liquors, up-scale restaurants (but not fast-foods where the masses queue up), limousines and high-end autos, first class travel, wages paid to personal groomers, better brands of cigars, Lear jet airplanes and of course tailors and seamstresses that don't make ready-made clothes.
We could get Congress to set up panels to regulate taxes to levy based on brands and how much we really wish we were that rich.
That way we can all feel "they" are paying their “fair share” and get some of that money into the coffers. It can be distributed among those who haven't managed or perhaps even aspired to become rich. At the same time we can punish the villains for taking our money in exchange for investments they made that have supported our high standard of living over the last half century.
If we want to point the finger (index) we should point it at Congress who has systematically squandered the last 60 years of accumulated wealth, broken Social Security and deregulated banking and investment institutions while adding a massive layer of bureaucracy between the people and the government.
Obama has been in office for less than 3 years and failed to exploit his honeymoon but Congress has been working on this for at least the last 15 years and they're still hard at it.
Patterson thinks raising the taxes on the rich to the level they USED to be is punishing them!!
It is not.
The rich used to be taxed at much higher levels. But they were granted tax cuts to STIMULATE the economy supposedly. Under the theory that if the rich could keep more of their money they would spend more starting more businesses. Haw haw haw.
Well they did.
They happened to be in China though.
So the tax cuts did NOTHING for the American economy so why is it punishment to be asked to pay the same as they did before they got the tax cuts?
The rich very much DO pay their fair share and then some. The poor and middle class get more poor because of liberal taxes against us (the middle class). Taxing the rich more is not going to get me or you more money. All it will do is give the government more money to waste. Lower middle class taxes and cut regulations so that companies don't run away overseas ( thus creating more jobs) and bring the middle and poor up. Bringing the rich down helps no one, it just makes those jealous of the rich feel better.
Patterson's comments are reprehensible. How DARE HE! No one has attacked the rich. Patterson's comments are symptomatic of people who don't care about anyone but themselves and their money. As for Slabside, this is ANOTHER uninformed liar., NO ONE has attacked the rich - only asked that they pay their fair share of taxes - they've gotten away with their smug silliness long enough. And I can assure you, Slabside, that I am not now, nor ever have been, "jealous" of the rich. There are lots of good people out there with money - Patterson isn't one of them.
Ask your children if they get enough in allowance. Likely the answer will be no. In fact, if you gave your children $1000 each a month, they would find a way to fritter it away and likely wonder if they could have more. At some point, paying your children $1000 each every month would likely force you to make some tough decisions elsewhere. For everyone who thinks that rich people aren't smart enough to figure out how to avoid higher taxes, but will likely have greater consequences to the economy, raise your hand. Congratulations, you are the one who will waste your vote in 2012.
I wonder how many of the commenters above are waiting for Obama's next move to improve their situation. My guess is more then a few. My guess is they will also continue to wait.
"How can having $20 billion in wealth instead of $15 billion be any help when you can't possibly spend it anyway." That's a myth propagated by the poor uneducated classes. The rich don't have billions just sitting around doing nothing but collecting dust. This money is invested in much of what creates the GDP of our country. Take away too much capital and you slow down the machine that feeds you poor working proletariat masses. Like the Indians of India who live on the dairy products of all their cows, if they were to kill their cows for the meat they would all surely starve to death. It's the same with you. Tax the rich too much and you kill of the cash cow that feeds you. We already pay most of the taxes already. This idea that we aren't paying our fair share is ludicrous and just a political ploy by liberal democrats seeking to gain power for their own profit. Why don't you all just get off your behinds and do something besides sitting there collecting your entitlements and crying about how unfair the world is.
Mike McClellan... you are absolutely spot on. Republicans think only the " rich " produce anything. This is a fundamental flaw with capitalism. Only capital counts. Because a person invests money in a business he is the ONLY one entitled to any of the profits.
The people who WORK in the business are the ones who actually produce the value for the business. Without the PEOPLE the MONEY invested is worthless.
It takes BOTH capital and labor but capitalism does not recognize labor except as a commodity.
A person can work for a company for 40 years, putting in 12 hour days and investing every ounce of energy they have in doing their job and at the end of that time they are entitled to NOTHING.
Despite the fact the business would have failed without them.
All the money in the world wouldn't have made the business successfull without the dedication and ingenuity of the PEOPLE who did the actual work.
But, under capitalism, actual work and effort and ingenuity are non-factors in consideration of who is entitled to financial returns --- only the MONEY invested counts.
Capitalism does not consider such a thing as " sweat equity ".
That is why Capitalism has to be regulated.
Capitalism needs to be blended with Socialism in order to be a JUST system. A system that gives ALL rewards to the Wealthy while ignoring the actual producers of the wealth will one day fall.
We may be looking at the beginnings of an " American Fall " in the Wall Street protests.
America's multi-billionaires should be reading the history of the French Revolution.
History repeats itself.
Don't the editors at the Tribune have ANY ethics?
I understand the "Letters" section is full of opinion and hyperbole...but Tom Patterson spews lies and outright falsehoods in this hack piece.
Such blatant lies...from a former Senator. Is anyone really surprised?
Patterson's facts regarding the tax system are spot on. I've been in the tax business for 20 years, help very wealthy families protect their wealth, and am on a committee that has traced the funds in the Obama administration. So I have a good handle on the issues and facts. It's appalling the class warfare that exists in society today. The problem with the slimy rhetoric coming out of the Obama administration is because it's disingenuous. Government doesn't create jobs - the private sector creates jobs. The monies already financed by the American taxpayers - excuse me - 50% don't pay ANY tax - were funneled to the Wall Street group Obama criticizes and hangs out with and the unions. What part of fair is that? We are not in a tax problem - we have a spending problem. We take in $3 trillion - and spend $4.5 trillion. 30 year pensions and lifetime healthcare for people that worked for 10 years is what needs to be reformed not penalize people for being successful.
mnjcpa. I am affraid you are talking to people who already know what their reality is. They won't let facts, common sense or anything else get in their way. In their mind, Obama is the center of the Government Great Pumkin who flys through the sky on Halloween handing money to the needy and downtrodden. Vanquishing the evil rich who all were born with the amount of money they have and never had to work a day.
vofreason - I have no idea what your metaphor means. Here's what I know. Wealthy people I know contribute enormous amounts in tax revenue and charitable donations and to suggest - as some of the contributors have noted - that they are uncaring is ridiculous. What people that actually do pay tax resent is how the liberal Democrats vilify someone if they have the audacity to make something of themselves. Every one of these people started from nothing, and had the same opportunities that you had. If the government was actually accountable and lived within its budget (oh wait a minute - they don't have a budget!), then it would be one thing. But to know that it's going to go down a sinking hole of entitlement and union benefactors is a little hard to stomach. The target should be on correcting the spending problem - not throw more money after the same problem.
I feel the necessity of pointing out many "flagrant fouls" in a recent 'guest commentary' written by Tom Patterson, local physician and former State Senator. 1st, Tom Patterson states Obama is 'lashing out' at the rich and 'thrashing about' trying to create jobs. I must take exception to both of these statements as Obama just last year extended a tax cut mainly benefitting the wealthy who saved millions in federal taxes. And Obama could be creating millions more jobs if he didn't have an obstructionist Congress dedicated to making his defeat a priority over creating jobs for America's unemployed! Then Tom states erroneously that moving money from the 'productive and successful' and moving it to the government has 'never' worked before. This statement is just another repeat of the same old Republican song and dance that conservatives have entertained Americans with for years on end! Actual facts tells another story however: From 1950 through 1963 the top tax rate on income over $400,000 was either 91 or 92%. From 1965 through 1980 the top tax rate on all income over $200,000 was in the 70% range and when Reagan began his 'revolution' he only lowered the top tax rate to 50% on all income ranging from $106,000 in 1982 to $171,560 in 1986. Then his successor, Bush Sr. lowered the top tax rate even further to just 28%, but he also drastically lowered the applicable income level to around $30,000. Now here's the rub that throws every ideological argument about the dangers of taxing the so-called "job creators' down the drain. Despite these historically high top tax rates throughout America's greatest and most productive years from 1950 - 1980, we saw our government create the Federal Interstate Highway System, the Rural Electrification and Telephony Administrations, (begun in the mid 1930's but continuing through the mid 1970's) and numerous infrastructure projects on dams, bridges, schools, courthouses and much more, all funded with taxpayer dollars by our federal government. These projects helped America prosper and made life more comfortable and convenient for all! And just as important, it must be noted that the middle class grew, poverty was lessened and our nations GDP grew at a robust 4% annual average. All this despite high top tax rates on the so-called "job creators?" Ask a conservative how this could be possible, the next time you hear them crying about the dangers of high taxes! Next Tom Patterson whines about what Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, Mark Cuban and many other millionaires have suggested over the past 12 months, that it's time to stop coddling the uber-rich. Because so much of the top 10% incomes are actually earned through capital gains rather than ordinary income and taxed at a ridiculously low 15%, many of them are paying a lower overall tax rate than school teachers and firemen. He also ignores the fact that most Americans making less than $50,000 per year probably spend 95% of their income, living from pay check to pay check. And for those folks the added 7.65% they pay on all income for Social Security and Medicare, the 8-9% they pay in sales taxes and the additional taxes they pay on gasoline, cigarette, liquor and state income taxes in many cases, eats up a total of perhaps as high as 35-40% of their total income. Those making a million dollars or more per year, pay a far lower overall percentage on these 'other taxes' because they seldom have to spend their entire income each year, having the luxury of actually saving or investing much of their incomes and paying far less in taxes! Mr. Patterson also states that we have the most steeply graduated tax rate of any developed nation. This is quite hilarious and I'm sure the residents of most European nations where the top tax rates vary from 40-59% would strongly disagree! Finally I respectfully suggest Mr. Patterson please explain to us how 22.5 million new jobs were created during the 8 years of the Clinton presidency after taxes were raised to 39.6% and Bush created less than 3 million, mostly government jobs, during his 8 year term. What happened to the so-called "job creators" after Bush lowered the top tax rates? I guess they created jobs in China, India and Pakistan rather than here in America for America's unemployed, huh? Sadly conservatives can not explain these discrepancies in their ideological theories, so they try smoke and mirrors to confuse and hide the truth! But the facts show that Democratic Presidents from Roosevelt, who increased jobs by 5.2%, to Kennedy who increased jobs by 2.6%, to Lyndon Johnson who increased jobs by 3.9%, to Carter who increased jobs by 3.2%, to Clinton who increased jobs by an average of 2.45%, all did so while tax rates were high and without running up huge federal deficits. On the other hand, our most recent Republican Presidents from Nixon who did the best job of any Republican President and increased jobs at 2.2% to Ford at 1.7%, to Reagan at an average of just 2.0%, to Bush Sr at 0.6%, to Bush Jr. at just 0.1% all failed miserably at creating jobs after cutting taxes and running up phenomenal federal deficits in order to make up for the loss of federal revenues. And that brings us to another verse in the Republican song and dance that makes no sense. How many times have you heard their talking heads from Limbaugh to Beck to Hannity proclaim that revenues go up when tax rates are cut? If that were really true, why have their vaunted 'revenue raising' tax cuts always been associated with massive deficit spending? Reagan's total deficits were nearly $2 trillion dollars and greater than all previous U.S. Presidents combined. Then George Bush Sr. added another $1.48 trillion to our federal deficit and finally our last Republican tax-cutting President, Bush Jr., added $6.1 trillion to our federal deficit! That's a grand total of $9.58 trillion of our current $14 trillion federal deficit and much of the difference can be attributed to both additional war spending on our protracted Bush era conflicts and the attempts to limit the damage from the Wall Street/Big Bank collapse at the end of Bush's second term. When you combine all the evidence above it is all to clear that Democrats have shown they have "The Right Stuff" when it comes to making America strong and prosperous for all! The middle class expands, poverty decreases and job growth is exceptional. And there can be NO DOUBT the evidence proves that only the wealthy and largest corporations prosper when we have elected Republicans to the White House. America's middle class has declined, poverty has risen sharply and income inequality has skyrocketed! Please America, stop being seduced by the conservative siren song of lower taxes leading to economic growth and prosperity. The facts show us otherwise! And this is might also be why we have always been told to seek a "second opinion" when a physician gives us a prognosis or advice, right?
Rodini - I've been in the tax business for 20 years and there has always been warfare regarding taxes. The Civil War was fought because of taxes - not slavery. But it's my experience in the tax business that have shaped my Conservative views. Here's just a sample among many:
1. I volunteer every year to prepare tax returns for low-income taxpayers - many illegals among them. Last year was my last year when a near brawl broke out in the crowd among the illegals on who was going to claim whose child to get money back from the US government. Another example of the tax system run amok. Over $4 billion was paid in benefits to ILLEGAL citizens living here and benefiting from people like me that pay taxes.2. Serving on local school finance committees only to be told my expertise was necessary because all budgets were determined by Washington. Doesn't matter whether or excessive or not - just not done.3. People retiring from government or labor union jobs - in their 50's with a 30 year life expectancy - with little accountability in one of these jobs and it's next to impossible to be fired for non-performance.
Conservatives have a problem with wasteful spending - not coddling the rich. And the uber rich? What you don't understand is Buffett, Gates, and Cuban have already planned for their wealth where tax rates don't matter. The people that are hurt the most are the small business owners. Those folks that risk it all, employ people that earn the magical $250k - $1 million are killed due to Obama's policies. It's become questionable whether to start and operate a business due to the assault that's present in this administration.
We aren't living in the 1940's and comparing tax rates and jobs to that era isn't relevant. The past is no longer predictive and the odds have changed. When I was in college in the early 1970's the competition was my classmate - my daughter's competition is the world.
What Americans can't get a grip on is this. As I write this article there are 67 babies born in the US, 274 in China, and 395 in India. So if I was in China, there would be 1,300 people just like me. 25% of China's top achievers represent more than the US population. So how does this impact Americans and jobs? In 2010 90% of science and technology students are from India and China. And for this we can thank our liberal culture and wonderful educational system.
Americans have become fat, dumb, lazy, and entitled. We find greater pleasure from the Kardashian sisters or some other nonsensical television show than studying calculus.
It's really pretty simple. We have the HIGHEST corporate tax rate in the world. Public companies are accountable to their shareholders (you) so they take their jobs and tax rates to another country that isn't burdened with excessive tax or regulations to be profitable. We take in $3 trillion but spend $4.5 trillion. 50% of the people pay 97% of our taxes. It's ridiculous to assert the top earners aren't paying enough when you look at those facts.
I'm not sure how to get through to a liberal, but instead of arguing about tax rates let's deal with the real problem - which is spending and balance the budget to operate the country responsibly rather than throwing money after the same problem.
"And Obama could be creating millions more jobs if he didn't have an obstructionist Congress dedicated to making his defeat a priority over creating jobs for America's unemployed!" Ya just imagine, Rodini, what a great job Obozo could do if he were Emperor of America. Just makes ya giddy with anticipation, don't it?
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