If You Want Free Money, Read This!

By now you probably heard the news.  About half the working people in America won’t pay any federal income tax this year.  Forty-seven percent to be exact.

According to the Associated Press, “Either their incomes were too low, or they qualified for enough credits, deductions and exemptions to eliminate their liability. That’s according to projections by the Tax Policy Center, a Washington research organization.”

This is the scariest statistic I’ve come across since I heard that something like 70 percent of the American people believe Satan is not only real, but is out there somewhere lurking in the shadows.

But before we get to why it’s not such a good idea that half the folks don’t pay for national defense, public safety, infrastructure and education – even though they benefit from all of it — let me ask you a few questions, and you don’t need a degree in economics to answer them.

Question #1:  If I say, “Let’s go to Walmart and you can buy all the stuff you want – and I’ll pay for it, would you go?

Question  #2:  If I invited to you go to Tiffany’s with me, and made the same offer, would you drop what you were doing and go?

Question #3:  How about free airplane tickets or free dinners?  Like baseball?  Can I interest you in free season tickets?  Would you like that, Bunkie?

Ok, we all know the answer.  Everybody likes free stuff.  Mostly because it’s FREE!

Now let’s turn the tables.  Let’s say I’m the one who doesn’t have to pay any federal income tax.  Let’s say YOU had to pay for all the stuff I want.

I want more interstate highways.  Get your wallet out, moneybags.

I want a Tomato Museum in my town and I want the federal government to pay for it.  Hey, it’ll stimulate a few jobs.  Cough up the cash, Rockefeller.

And oh yeah, I like that new healthcare plan my favorite president of all time just slammed through Congress.  I especially like the real good stuff that YOU’LL be paying for.

And I want an aircraft carrier and government-subsidized cheese and federally-funded studies about why college kids drink and most of all I want lots and lots more IRS agents to make sure YOU pay for all this stuff.

Got that, Santa?

“But we don’t have the money for everything you want, Bernie” you say.  Well, you crybaby wuss, that’s YOUR problem not mine.  I don’t pay federal income tax, YOU do!  Work longer hours or something.

Once upon a time in this great land of ours, we gave the tax breaks to the poor.  That was good with me.  But then Barack Obama and his Democratic pals in Congress pushed through a massive “economic recovery bill” —  try to hold off shouting, “Oh yeah, what recovery would that be?” that gave big tax breaks to the sainted middle-class.  He raised their exemptions and deductions and credits to the point where many of them wound up paying no federal income tax.   And I’m sure it never crossed his mind that by buying these folks off, they might just vote for him next time around.

So here’s the wake up call:  If we let these freeloaders – oh, did I say a bad word? — decide how much we should spend on stuff, how big our national budget should be, they’ll send all of us right to the poor house.  They will bankrupt this country because as far as they’re concerned they’re contestants in a game show called The Price is Right – and the price they’re paying for all their goodies is NOTHING!

We need a system where everybody kicks in something.  Can you say Flat Tax?  Anyone on the low end of the income scale would get a break. After that, everyone pays the exact same percentage of their income.  Maybe we would exempt the first $35,000 of income from federal income taxes. So if you make forty grand, you pay tax on five thousand dollars.  If you make $50 million a year, you pay tax on $50 million minus $35,000.  Then, everyone pays the same percentage – let’s say, 15 percent of his or her  No deductions. Period.

And to make it all work, we drastically cut spending – probably across the board.  (When you stop laughing, continue reading.)

That way, we’ve all got skin in the game.  The rich still pay more than the poor in actual dollars, but everyone contributes his and her fair share.  That way we all feel we’re a part of this great nation – even though the half that doesn’t pay taxes probably doesn’t want to feel that they’re a part of anything that will cost them money.

And if you don’t like that one, I’ve got a great back-up plan.  If you don’t pay federal income tax you don’t vote in federal elections.  You get no say in where the money you’re not kicking in goes.

Take your choice.

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  • Turdmidget

    That has to be the solution to this country’s economic woes. Tax the poor! They have all the money, don’t they? Damn poor people just sitting on piles of money – it’s time to take it from them!

  • Adrian Vance

    You are dead-on right, Bernie. When that percentage goes over 50, we’re sunk. We need to sell the opportunity in conservatism as the prototype “millionaire” in America is a guy who drives a pickup truck and made his money working with his hands, but for himself. Taste success and never go back.

    See The Two Minute Conservative at http://adrianvance.blogspot.com has political analysis,science and humor. Now in the top 2% on Kindle.

  • Richard

    The right to vote should be predicated upon taxes paid. The role of the government is to manage the economy and spend the funds for the benefit of the country. Only those who contribute to those funds should have a say in how they are allocated.

  • http://www.manilatop10.com Eric

    Great presentation of the many under appreciated tax dollar benefits!

    I’d personally like to see a VAT of sorts ONLY … pay and get taxed as you go … a consumption tax that is flat whether you buy a gallon of gas or a yacht … but keep it flat at a percentage and eliminate the majority of IRS code and positions.

    What Flat tax % would replace the current tax revenues that the Federal Government collects and how much of a percentage goes uncollected?

    Can I wake up now or should I research ;)

  • Jason

    I would like to respectfully disagree with the view that it is a problem that nearly half of Americans do not pay income taxes. My main concern is why do so many people not have to pay income tax. Is it because they choose to not be productive members of society, or because over the last few years, the recession has hit them hard and they are struggling to get back on their feet? I may be wrong, but I believe that the majority of people who don’t pay income taxes are exempt because situations beyond their control prevent them from earning enough to qualify. I believe in helping my fellow citizens, and so I pay taxes that I hope will go to help them put food on the table, help their kids go to school, help them collect unemployment benefits while they look for jobs, and in general help them return to the fold of tax payers. I also pay taxes so that I am protected by law enforcement and an incredible military, and so that my parents, now retired, can have health insurance. I don’t agree with everything the government spends my money on, but overall, I feel that it is worth it. I know some people prefer that the government spent less money, but I do not.

    For the record, my wife and I make about $80K per year together. I think we pay about 15% in federal income taxes. I live in Washington state, which has no income tax but a nearly 10% sales tax. We are about to have a baby (our first), and as I look to the future, I am troubled by the cuts my state is making in public education. I would happily vote for a state income tax, especially if it meant more money for the schools that will one day educate my daughter. And I hope one day to make enough money to fall into the next tax bracket. When I do, I will be proud to pay an increased percentage of my income in taxes. I want my future success to be shared by those who have been less fortunate than I have. I will also continue to contribute to charities, and I hope to be able to give more than I can now. But I do not believe that personal donations can replace taxes and government services.

    I also disagree that a flat tax/fair tax is the answer. To me, it seems more fair that those with more income pay a larger percentage of that income, and I am willing to put my money where my mouth is. But, this is a very important debate to have. In the end, I think it comes down to different opinions. I don’t think I’m right, I just have an opinion. I’m sure others disagree. I’m proud to live in a country where different points of view are respected. As the saying goes, I may not agree, but I will fight for your right to say it.

    Anyway, I just wanted to share what was on my mind after reading this column and the many comments. Thanks for making it this far through my rather long post. :)

  • Craig Goodrich

    Excellent, as usual, Bernie, BUT …

    Let’s make sure conservatives looking at this statistic aren’t making the same mistake Marx made in the 19th century: viewing a dynamic situation as eternally static.

    We all know that the bulk of the “poor” in the US and other free capitalist societies are not permanently so, as in the frozen Medieval class system, but may move into or out of that classification over generations, or decades, or even years. In fact, until LBJ’s Great Society nationalized welfare, one could make the case that, at least viewed on a countrywide basis, America had no permanent underclass.

    So I’m not surprised that the general attitude towards government and taxes slops into this famous 47% — they have for the most part been taxpayers and are working to make themselves taxpayers again.

    Let’s not let this single statistic distract us from our view of America as an economically dynamic society. No talking point, however attractive, should override our perception of the truth.

  • Steve

    Bernie is correct, and is saying what the Scottish economist Alexander Tytler said on the 18th century.

    That is the problem with the progressives. Rather than learn from history, they want to force us to live through the downward spiral.

  • BKWrly

    I prepare taxes for a franchise of a large tax prep company. client w/2 children with agi of $9,200 had a refund of $11,000 due to EIC. Outrageous,yes! my AGI,$10,452,MFJ. my refund $320, because most of it was unemployment. Do we need a flat tax w/no refunds? YES YES YES!!!

  • HP

    Bernie, correct me if I’m wrong, but the US military alone spends more money than your flat-tax concept would generate. Most of my family is probably in the top one or two percent, so we’d benefit from your idea more than most, but just how feasible would it be to cut taxes for the top earners by over 50%?

  • http://anotherwritewingconspirator.wordpress.com/ Jim Seeber

    I’ve long favored the idea of a flat tax. The reason? Because so many “experts” claim that it can’t work—but none of these sages ever explains WHY it won’t work.

    I don’t necessarily agree that voting be reserved for those who actually paid taxes. This raises another interesting possibility, however:

    Suppose we do away with direct voter registration altogether (it’s rife with fraud, anyway). We also do away with the whole “motor-voter” concept. Instead, tie voter registration directly to the filing of a tax return—which is required by law, regardless of whether taxes are actually due. After the return is filed, the filer is automatically registered to vote and a voter-eligibility certificate is issued. This would serve to both reduce voter fraud and cut down on the number of deadbeats (who unfortunately are currently allowed to vote—and most likely will vote for candidates who allow them to continue their deadbeat ways).

    • Are you kidding me?!

      Brilliant! How about including the census with this as well?

  • Rich Kuligowski

    Most of the 47% do pay income tax, only not there own. If they are on 100% dole, they pay no taxes, they recycle the tax money. If they actually earn an income and purchase anything for consumtion, they pay taxes, lots of peoples, but are not smart enough to know it.

  • ENewton

    Bernie, you mentioned some tax ideas that are the basis of the FairTax… FairTax.org:

    – People are effectively exempted by offering a prebate of the taxes paid for neccesities. Current figure with 25k income i believe…
    – Beyond that, consumption is taxed at 23%. Not income. This means you can decide to save money tax free. And only when you buy something [brand new] do you pay the consumption tax. This was the system as the country was founded up til 1912. Because consumption is taxed and not income, its very difficult to cheat the system: it requires you and WalMart to agree not to charge you the tax when you buy something. Also, the underground economy is brought back into paying “their fair share” by the same point as the last sentence.
    – Third, the FairTax is predicated on the REPEAL of the 16th amendment, establishing the income tax, so there will NOT be income tax AND the consumption tax. Unlike the VAT tax which is being proposed in addition to our income tax.

    Thanks.
    E.Newton

  • GERRY

    I beleive Ron Paul floated the flat tax idea in his unsuccessful presidential bid….I believed in him but not many other voters did…….It’s the fairest form of taxation..

  • EddieD_Boston

    The liberals who created welfare thought of it as transitional assistance. Little did they know that welfare as we now know it (food stamps, section 8 housing vouchers etc.) has become a subculture and an accepted (even desired) way of life and not the safety net they intended.

  • dave65

    SATAN? NO VOTE IF YOU DON’T PAY TAXES? HOW DO YOU EXPECT SOMEONE LIKE
    AL FRANKEN DO GET VOTED IN?

  • http://www.bigbureaucracy.com/ Ellie

    Not only they are not paying federal tax – some of them actually get a refund (despite the fact that they did not pay anything to be refunded) – it is called Earned Income Credit – it is expanding every year – it is a welfare program inside our tax-code.

    • MR

      Isn’t it disgusting? If we all get on the free band wagon, there won’t be anyone to pull the wagon. It is called socialism.

    • Are you kidding me?!

      It once was called unearned income credit, but we don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings!

  • joedee1969

    There income is so low not to pay taxes because Wall Street wiped out millions of jobs!

    http://americaspeaksink.com/2010/04/unemployment-long-term-problem-with-short-term-solution/

  • Ken Besig Israel

    Have you ever wondered why so many high school kids drop out of school and don’t seem to understand that could be destroying any chance of a decent productive future by doing so?
    Well, they probably realize, if only subconsciously, that the entitlement state awaits them to support them when they fail, to cure them when they are sick, to finance them when they do not work, and to explain, justify, or excuse their antisocial behavior when they commit a crime.
    Obama has promised everybody that no matter what they do right or wrong, Uncle Sam will always be there to pick them up, dust them off, and send them on their way. So if that is the case, who needs an education or a job or a future for that matter?

    • CCNV

      Wow, Ken! You hit that one square on!! That’s going to be the path the Dems will take to get votes this fall, and in 2012. They will put the fear of God into those on ‘entitlements’.

  • http://captdave55monhegan.blogspot.com/ dave boegel

    Oh but think of all the accountants and lawyers that would lose business or go out of business altogether without the tax code we have now.They pay taxes or not depending on their situation.If you make money,you pay taxes on that money.I would love to pay 5,000,000 in taxes. I’d have to have made a 10,000,000 profit.However my clever tax attorney or accountant would find me tax deductions or shelters or investments or charitable contributions to alleviate most or all of those taxes.
    We are not the problem.The problem is the monster debt that this government has and continues to saddle the people of the United States of America with.The problem is the massive spending.I suggest each taxpayer earmark their tax payment for the account they would like to support.Education,defense,transportation,social programs,whatever they choose to support.
    With this attitude we will all be subjects if the government soon.The next generation will be indentured servants not citizens of a “free” country.The people need to control the government,not the government control the people.
    The government of the people,by the people,for the people shall not perish from the face of the earth.At least I hope it hasn’t.

  • Ken Besig Israel

    I happen to live in a very socialistic nation, where the government really taxes the daylights out of those who work, and even imposes taxes on many who make very little money. Those taxes are used for the usual entitlements as well as educatino, defence, and health. Unfortunately the tax burden is so great that many of us have lost the will and the motivation to work and there are real and professional polls here that indicate that up to 70% of Israelis who do work would stop working and take disability payments instead.
    Unfortunately, the siren song of socialism is often too beautiful to ignore, and many desperate people see government intervention as their salvation, rather than the yoke of servitude it quickly becomes.
    For the past decade, various governments here, both Left and Conservative, have tried to break the countries addiction to the narcotic of socialism, but once that institution is in place, with all the unions and worker protection laws, it is difficult uphill struggle to convince the worker that he is better off deciding where to spend his income rather than let the government do it for him.
    If America should opt for even more than the moderate socialism she already has, then she will quickly lose her competitive and entrepreneurial edge, and her workers will lose their rather admirable productive edge.
    This is probably hard to believe, but government control over the economy would be a far greater disaster than last years Wall Street driven financial sector meltdown, and it would be far more difficult to correct.

    • Tim Ned

      Ken, I have spent much time around the world consulting in manufacturing and you are exactly correct. Workers are typically under paid and over taxed. On top add a VAT tax that can be as high as 17 percent. Once in Slovenia I was explaining to factory workers that Americans could make three times their payroll and pay no tax. They didn’t believe me as they are taxed almost 50 percent. Of course they defend that they get free education, free health care, and they have good public transportation and cheap housing. Yes, they live in the old Soviet dump apartments. And most of all they have no hope of getting out of their situation. Try to take a risk in these countries and start your own business. You better not fail because bankruptcy laws are very different.

  • Perry

    Bernie, I like your plan, how soon do you think you can get congress to vote it in?
    15% is a lot better than the 30% we are paying now.
    Do you think we could raise enough money to pay congress to vote yes to your proposal?

  • http://mediamatters.org/ Wil Burns

    Bernie, The only reason for a Republican Party, is to cut the taxes of the very wealthy. Everything else, is window dressing!

    • Son of Wil Burns

      Dad…Aunt Sadie forgives you for the $12,394 you took from her. She’s no longer calling it theft; she now calls it a “loan,” and has withdrawn the criminal complaint against you.

      If nothing else, think of little Scotty and come home to us!

    • Stephen Shields Springfield, IL

      You do know that the Republican party was founded by anti-slavery expansion activists, don’t you?

      • http://mediamatters.org/ Wil Burns

        Yep, and we called them ‘liberals!’

        • Stephen Shields Springfield, IL

          You are like a male cat who pisses on things to claim it. Just because you stamp liberal on something doesn’t make it true. I know you aren’t a man who knows his history, so I will forgive you for your ignorance in the topic.

    • Henry

      And yet the taxes of the very wealthy help to pay most of the nation’s federal taxes and fund our nation’s entitlement programs among other things.

  • Thor

    How about a comprimise to Bernie’s tax/vote proposal: If you don’t pay taxes, you get one vote; if you pay taxes, two votes.

  • Son of Wil Burns

    Mr. Goldberg, thank you for your note!

    First, sir, let me say that my family and I have tremendous respect for what you stand for. Your columns are shared between me and my mother, and she even reads them to little Scotty. We believe that little Scotty is doing so well in school because he emulates your writing style; hence he receives excellent marks in English-related subjects (notably English composition and vocabulary), so we thank you very much for that.

    Yes, part of this is confessional. After my father’s “psychotic break,” he left my mom, me and little Scotty…abandoned us to our fate…and it took me a VERY, VERY LONG time to find him. I’m glad that I did! Hopefully, you won’t mind me importuning my dad to come home and seek treatment. If only you could hear how little Scotty cries for my dad; it would break your heart! I hope you understand that my father was a good man before his psychotic break. Our family is still trying to figure out what actually triggered the psychotic break and caused his flashbacks…which caused him to abandon the family that loves him very much.

    Please keep up your excellent work, Mr. Goldberg. You see, every time you write something new, I know that my father will appear…and his appearance, though distasteful in regard to what he posts here, enables me to maintain at least SOME contact with him (however tenuous) and try to convince him to come home for treatment.

    Again, thank you for not shutting my father out. I will keep trying to rescue him, through the kind auspices of this Web site. Thank you for your patience, Mr. Goldberg! God bless you!

    • Henry

      Son of Wil Burns, you’re the only one who can save your own father. Only you can show him the light. All of us here on Bernie’s web site have tried but to no avail!

      • Son of Wil Burns

        Henry, I appreciate all the help everyone has given…and what everyone has tried to do! Thank you!

        • http://www.bernardgoldberg.com Bernie

          Son of Wil Burns

          I am praying that he goes home to you, Mom and Little Scotty. Should he take you up on your offer, please LOCK HIM IN A ROOM AND THROW AWAY THE KEY. Then, if I may suggest, you, Mom and Little Scotty, should move. Keep trying to lure him home. I can’t thank you enough for trying.

          • Son of Wil Burns

            Thank you so much for your help, concern and understanding, Mr. Goldberg. I shall keep trying. Keep up your excellent work. God bless you.

  • Son of Wil Burns

    Please accept my apologies for the insensitivity expressed on this page by my father, Wil Burns.

    While in junior high school, he was severely traumatized when he crossed paths with a street gang called the Repsofwash Hipsters. Over time, he had what FBI profilers refer to as a “psychotic break,” and the Repsofwash Hipsters morphed into Republicans of Washington office-holders.

    As you can see by his posts on this page, Wil Burns is NOT well. In fact, he has been ill for some time. Hopefully, my family will help him get his head together…but in the meantime, my apologies for his insensitive behavior.

  • http://mediamatters.org/ Wil Burns

    Bernie,You’ve got a back-up plan. If you don’t pay federal income tax you don’t vote in federal elections. You mean like the poll tax that was used in the South during and after Reconstruction as a means of circumventing the 14th Amendment and denying voting and civil rights to blacks. Is that really your backup plan? Think man, think!

    • Son of Wil Burns

      Dad, PLEASE come home! We all miss you, especially little Scotty. Mom says all is forgiven. We’re ready, willing and able to get you the help you need.

      PLEASE, Dad! Come home!

      • http://mediamatters.org/ Wil Burns

        Sorry, I Have never been to a brothel. Tell your mom, I am not your father!

        • Son of Wil Burns

          Dad, I know you feel forced to say hateful things. But really…PLEASE come home. All of us have forgiven you and we all want you to get better. We are all praying for you. In the meantime, please call. You have the number. Please let us help you! Call us!

          • Son of Wil Burns

            P.S.—Dad, if you won’t do it for Mom or me, PLEASE do it for little Scotty. He SO misses you! Thank you, Dad.

          • http://www.bernardgoldberg.com Bernie

            Son of Will Burns

            You Funny

            Bernie

          • http://mediamatters.org/ Wil Burns

            Bernie, I have the feeling you and Son of Will Burns are the same person. Right?

          • Son of Wil Burns

            Dad…Aunt Sadie forgives you for the $12,394 you took from her. She’s no longer calling it theft; she now calls it a “loan,” and has withdrawn the criminal complaint against you.

            If nothing else, think of little Scotty and come home to us!

          • Son of Wil Burns

            P.S.–And Dad, how could Bernie have known about the $12,394 you “borrowed” from Aunt Sadie? Only I could have known that. Come home to us, PLEASE!

          • Henry

            LOL! :)

    • Stephen Shields Springfield, IL

      Show me where Bernie brought up race, racist.

      • CCNV

        Let’s forget all the “political correctness” and use good old common sense for a change. Maybe when people start losing some things they feel they are ‘entitled’ to (e.g., the “right” to vote), maybe they will wake up and become productive members of society?? I am more than willing to help those who try to help themselves.

      • Greg

        He didn’t have to – the last time this country confronted the practice of preventing a group of people the right to vote based on bs premises like ability to pay a poll tax or pass a literacy tests, not to mention tolerate intimidation and harassment, was in the 1960’s and the disenfranchisement of African-American voters as a result. So the parallel seems obvious. It amazes me that Bernie is basically proposing repealing the 24th Amendment to the Constitution and people are just cheering him on, like it’s nothing. Read the 24th Amendment people. It’s part of our Constitution that you claim to champion. It explicitly doesn’t allow this practice.

        • CCNV

          And FORCING healthcare, government takeovers, and all this wasteful spending on us (to feed an ego) isn’t spitting on the Constitution and all those who have fought and died to keep this Nation free??

          Get over yourself! Bernie’s only trying to give people a wake-up call – it’s not reality.

          • Greg

            What’s not reality is that this is a government takeover. That’s the most ridiculous assertion by the right – this is nothing close my friend. The moderate desire of us on the left was a public option, which still isn’t government controlled healthcare, but *that’s* not even in this bill. So stop listening to these right-wing pundits. Scary Obama’s not turning us into France (even though France’s healthcare system consistently ranks higher than ours, but that’s another discussion). He’s merely putting more regulations on an industry that badly needed it, and expanding coverage to many people who don’t have it thru pretty middle of the road means (again not thru government takeover).

            Passing a law you don’t agree with is not spitting on the Constitution. It is actually democracy in action. We had to tolerate tons of Bush’s bad and irresponsible laws for 8 years, but we never called it freaking “tyranny”. Just bad laws, and we worked to get someone better in the White House next election. Get over the extreme rhetoric – you can disagree with Obama all you want, but stop with the needless “taking away our freedoms!” rhetoric.

          • DUE

            Greg Says: “Passing a law you don’t agree with is not spitting on the Constitution. It is actually democracy in action.”

            WOW! since when has a passed law that was OPPOSED by the majority of Americans “democracy in action”? sounds more like tyranny to me… and yes, forcing Americans to pay for health insurance IS taking away our freedom… wake up Greg, the alarm clock has been going off & you “progressives” keep hitting the snooze button with every bill BHO & his cronies push thru legislation…

          • Are you kidding me?!

            Unfortunately, I bet this is a correct statement. Neither you nor congress has actually read the law they just passed. The rush to pass legislation, without reading it, that impacts almost a trillion dollars is nothing short of insane.

  • Berg

    Wasn’t that Ross Perot’s idea? Not that it makes any difference. I find it a good one.
    Thing is, it won’t work. Not now, when tons of people got all those tax breaks.

  • Greg

    What a bizarre argument coming from the right, defending the honorableness of paying taxes! Can you guys make up your mind? Paying taxes can’t both be tyranny and worthy of protest, and also warranting stripping one’s voting rights if you *don’t* pay enough of them. Thanks for another great example of the irrational rage on the right these days. The stripping of voting rights is also borderline fascist, but that’s another discussion altogether. But thought I’d mention it. Btw, you are aware that everyone pays plenty of taxes in the form of payroll taxes and the tax that’s on everything you buy? Just checking…

    • Ken

      Out of curiosity Greg, what % of your income did you pay in taxes this year? The right isn’t against taxes. The right is against unfair taxes that are levied by politicians on a small % of the population in order to give handouts to a much larger % of the population so they will vote for self same politicians. If you don’t think this is happening, take a very hard look at the healthcare bill and note the exemption from taxes for the union’s very, very generous health plans. Hmmmm, why do you think the pols did that?

      • Greg

        I don’t know, what percentage did you pay? I don’t really want to know, it’s none of my business and isn’t really relevant. It’s true the majority of the burden of increased taxes is on those making 200K+ as individuals and 250K+ as couples, but it’s only adhering to Obama’s promise not to raise taxes on the middle class. This is an ideological difference we’re talking about here though – I’d make the observation that the top 1% of earners hold some 42% of the wealth in this country, and the top 20% hold about 95% of it, leaving the rest of us 80% holding 5-7% of the wealth. Left unregulated, these numbers would no doubt be higher. So looking at how income and wealth is really dispersed in our country, you tell me who’s getting the raw deal.

        I believe that the vast majority of people in this country work very hard, and work very long hours with very little to show for it. So I’m not terribly bothered that those top 1% have to pay a little more of their 42% of the wealth in taxes so hard working Americans can get basic health insurance for their families.

        Judging by the rage as a result of this healthcare bill, you’d think Obama was raising taxes on everybody, when in fact you’re right the majority of the increased tax burden is on these very wealthy. So the majority of those enraged about this will actually be getting better health care. Confuses me no end.

        • Anonymous

          Thus, the argument for Bernie’s article…

          Seriously, where do you think the very wealthy REALLY keep all their money?? Why do some of the wealthy have homes in other countries? They’re not going to be caught up in this mess coming down the pike.

          And, I, for one, DO have a problem with the wealthy paying more than their fair share. Did they not EARN that money? So what if they’re highly intelligent and have created many products to benefit mankind (or invested wisely) – should they be penalized for EARNING that money? I DO have a problem with CEO’s sucking their company dry with exorbitant wages (and bonuses), and then looking to the government for a bailout. And, I DO have a problem with those (FREEloaders) sitting back waiting to be taken care of by the government.

          I’m not rich by any means, but, ALL of us (including those on unemployment) pay taxes/are going to be taxed for Obama’s crap – EXCEPT for those on government assistance. Still confused about WHO is getting the raw deal?

          • Greg

            Well as you’ll note in what I say earlier, your taxes won’t be raised unless you earn 200K as an individual and 250K as a couple. So unless you earn that much, you WON’T be paying anymore for Obama’s “crap” than what you’re paying now in taxes. But you’ll be getting better options and protections for your healthcare.

            You say you don’t like CEO’s sucking their companies dry with exorbitant pay – well try these numbers: In the last 50 years we’ve gone from the top executives making 30-40 times what the average worker makes to making 400 times what the average worker makes. So I think the “sucking the company” has been going on pretty much across the board. There’s also some interesting reports on how executives set their exorbitant pay basically by hiring outside “consultants” who just end up recommending what they tell them.

            Sure the business owners/executives should get paid more – they run the company and employ all the workers. But who manufactures and assembles and distributes all the products and services? It’s not like they do it all themselves. Is their work really worth 400 times yours or my work?

            You’ve been sold a myth that Obama and “big government” is what’s screwing you, when really the people with most of the power and wealth in our society are the ones who actually screw the average workers on a daily basis.

          • Appalled

            @ Greg: Wow, you’ve really been drinking the WATERMELON flavored kool-aid.

  • Nancy

    Well said, and great plan Bernie..wish I had ruby red slippers to make it come true

  • Jen A

    Bernie,

    I couldn’t agree with you more. It drives me crazy when I hear a person talking as if the rich aren’t paying their fair share (yeah like having 40% of your income being confiscated is being really stingy) when we have a 47% of people not paying any share! I’d love to be wealthy but I don’t begrudge successful people their success.
    Soaking the rich sounds really good in theory but there seems to be an ever increasing number of people with their hands out being subsized by less and less with their wallets out!
    A flat tax! Every one pays the same percentage. Those with more end up paying more. But all but the truly poor pay something. Sound fair to me!

  • flyfishferg

    I love the Flat tax idea, and I have to admit I believe Satan is real; however, he does not lurk in the shadows that much– he is right out in the open. Take a look around.

  • JT

    Great article!

    Yeah, I can see politicians picking up the Wisconsin vote with a “free cheese” champaign.

  • CCNV

    Anyone who doesn’t believe Satan (and his ‘Angels of Death’) is alive and well, has not watched, read or heard what we have in Washington, DC. The most we can hope for is an earthquake to occur in DC during ‘Session’. THEN, maybe we can start over…

  • http://msn velma moore

    i totally agree. NO TAXES NO VOTES FEDERAL OR STATE. i’m 68 years old i still work and still pay my taxes.

  • RuBegonia

    So far, Satan has commented once to this post (voting present) and the rest of us have agreed with your common sense proposal. If the LSM reported on this, Satan would steal the headlines and God only knows what words they would attribute to the aforementioned devil.

  • Scott

    Bernie,

    As a CPA, I think the flat tax is definitely worth lookinh into? Just curious, what are your thoughts about the Fair Tax?

    Thanks and keep up the good work.

    • Bruce A.

      There was a time in my life when I worked in Accounting & the Fed. Govt.
      Personally I like the flat tax or scrap the income tax completly for natl sales tax.
      Share the burden
      Either way, nothing will save us unless the govts. (*fed. state & local) learn to control spending.

  • Ron Kean

    Cousin Bernie,

    Thank you for for another great post that presents absurdity and tragedy in a crystal clear and humorous way.

    I know you’ve been around the block. Emmys, sports TV, O’Reilly, books, and who knows what else. Why work harder? Why not just enjoy life more.

    But I think it may be regarded as a patriotic duty to get these articles out to more people…larger venues. Make yourself be heard more. I don’t know how but it would help the cause of sanity. The masses need you. This is the good fight.

    • Kathie Ampela

      Ron,

      Why do we all keep coming back to read Bernie’s columns and post comments in this forum? I think we all, including Bernie, have been bitten by a bug and we can’t stop. We all know something is wrong and we feel we have to do something about it. I’m sure Bernie is in a position where he could play golf all day and go to the beach. But it’s just not enough. I lived my life in oblivion for many years, but it doesn’t work for me now. American Idol, the Mall, nail salons, etc. that’s all fine, but it’s not enough. There are still so many out there “in oblivion”, we need to keep going.

  • Kathie Ampela

    Great column, Bernie. And I’ll admit that I’m one of the 70% who think Satan is real and lurking in the shadows-how could you not!

    • Bruce A.

      Satan is not lurking in the shadows, he holds a seat in Congress.

  • Bruce A

    Great common sense article. This is precisely why we will never see a tax system like this in place, it makes too much sense to share the burden.

  • Bill Fisher

    I Tweeted the same thought a few days ago. Freeloaders should not get to vote.

  • Satan

    Just stopping by to say hello, Bernie, before I go back down below!

  • Ron

    Love the idea if you don’t pay taxes you can’t vote.

  • Brenda Schneider IL

    Absolutley perfect plans and it took you less than 2 yrs to hammer it out to boot! Well done!

  • http://www.jasonhall.com Jason

    What scares me most, is that I employ people who unabashedly and without shame believe this. They openly admit that they’re due everything and owe nothing–because I make enough to cover them. Forget the swine flu, sloth is the disease that’s going to kill us.

    • Bruce A

      I am in the same boat & agree with you 100%.

  • Stephen Shields Springfield, IL

    Brilliant!

  • StB

    “If you don’t pay federal income tax you don’t vote in federal elections. You get no say in where the money you’re not kicking in goes.”

    Seems like such a common sense idea. This one would make the left go bezerk!