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Guest Post: White House Playbook: Arbitrary Numbers and Financially Ignorant Sloganeering

Tyler Durden's picture


Submitted by Brad Schaeffer

White House Playbook: Arbitrary Numbers and Financially Ignorant Sloganeering

President Obama this Tuesday stated his case for increased taxes on “the rich” as part of his solution to balance the deficit. “Keep in mind,” he assured the American people, “that under a balanced approach, the 98% of Americans who make under $250,000 would see no tax increases at all.”
I have a very basic question that I am not sure anyone has pressed Mr. Obama to answer: Where did this figure of 250k, north of which one is considered by him to be among “the rich” even come from?  Its very roundness tells me that it was the result not of a detailed actuarial analysis but rather some sort of arbitrary caprice that only those completely isolated from any private sector experience can conjure up.  I almost get the feeling it was something as off-hand as: “Hey 250k sounds right to me.  Nice number.  So whattya think?”  Sure write it in there.

Consider: if you are living in Little Rock, Arkansas  and make $249,000 according to the president you are not “rich” and thus do not need to kick in more.  Yet if you live in, say, New York City and make $251,000 you are “rich” and so it’s time to ante up.  Is that how it works?  Again I ask:  what is so magical about $250,000?  Why is the cut-off  not $246,500 or $310,231?  Isn’t anyone curious about how this man creates economic policy?

Let’s look at it this way.  Someone in the New York metro area making $251,000 need only make $100,000  to garner the same standard of living in Little Rock, Arkansas.  For instance, a family of four searching for a two-bedroom apartment  in Manhattan can expect to pay anywhere from the low end of $2,100/mo in Harlem to $6,700/mo+ in Tribeca.  (That of course makes the two kiddies double up in one room).  In Little Rock you can find a comparable apartment for an average of $700/mo.  New York’s low end is three times Little Rock’s average.     (This standard of living discrpency, in fact, serves as an indictment of the unfairness of our entire messed up tax code but I digress.)

So again I ask where does this $250,000 level come from?

Am I the only one who would like to see the methodology that prompted Mr. Obama to conclude that $250k is universally “rich” across the entire landscape?  Just the very neatness of this number and the lack of any tax rate increase that takes into account zip code shows that this man still has little understanding of the way things really work.  This is the classic symptom of the ideologue + academic wonk formula.

Furthermore, as if Mr. Obama does not show enough ignorance when it comes to what numbers really mean, in the very next sentence he changes his tune and offers this:  “What we’re talking about under a balanced approach is asking Americans whose incomes have gone up the most over the last decade – millionaires and billionaires – to share in the sacrifice everyone else has to make.”  So who will be targeted for higher taxes, the $250k+ crowd or the $1mm+?   Make up your mind and tell is who in Obamaland who are “the rich” exactly?  Are they people who make 250k or those who make four timesthat amount and higher?
One facet of public discourse that makes it hard for me to watch addresses like his is that once a platitude sticks, it cannot be shaken off the hand (“kinder gentler nation,” “compassionate conservatism,” “hope and change,”  etc.)  And the latest arrow drawn from the Obama class warfare quiver is the phrase “tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires” as if these two decidedly different groups are somehow one in the same.  Heck even a well-read historian hit me with this “millionaire and billionaire” phrase on Facebook today.   Let me explain something.  The difference between a millionaire and a billionaire can be summed up in this handy illustration: If you have one million dollars and you spent one dollar a second on a 24/7 cycle you would have enough to last you eleven and a half days.  If you had a billion dollars and spent it one per second, you would be dropping down George Washingtons every day, day in and day out, month in and month out, for the next thirty-one and half years before you finally exhaust your bank account.  That is what 1,000 times more really means.  The phrase “millionaires and billionaires” sounds nice because it’s catchy, indeed it rhymes, and thus fits well into the teleprompter-in-chief’s modus operandi. But to even utter millionaire and billionaire in the same breath as part of a single class is the mathematical  equivalent of comparing a foot stool to the Empire State Building…literally.

Many so-called “millionaires” are classified as such not by annual income but rather by net worth.  They are often small business owners who, though on paper are worth seven figures, cannot just sell their business and go liquid.  They also employ anywhere from 50% to 60% of the workforce depending on how you classify them.  And many, in fact, take home less than $250,000 a year in compensation at times.  The business comes first.  Conversely, many households that bring in $250k+ (especially that 4-person family crammed into that 2-bedroom Manhattan apartment) don’t have even close to a million dollar net worth.  So though the rhetoric strikes a chord in the Sherwood Forest of Obama’s core constituency, the truth is that individual household situations are much more complex and varied than Obama’s blanket ”millionaire” classification implies…and most millionaire-next-door types hardly live the lives of a billionaires.  (I mean, I doubt many of them have $99,000,000 in their passbook savings account that was shown to be the case for one East Hampton billionaire when he left his ATM receipt at the machine a month back).

So, on behalf of those who live in  the most expensive areas of the country (often because in this economy that’s where the jobs are) I want a more detailed explanation from the president as to why he thinks it will be easy for us to cut back on our spending in other areas to support an even higher tax bill, but it is impossible for the Federal government to do its own cutting so that I needn’t pay more at all.  I want to know why I am “rich” but someone making just shy of a quarter stick per annum  in inexpensive Arkansas is middle class. I want to see the formula he used for coming up with a $250,000 cut off point…if one even exists at all.  And finally, I would just like to ask does he even know the difference between a millionaire and a billionaire?  And if not, quit lumping them together.  Honestly, it looks foolish and  reeks of blatant and unapologetic class warfare.  Uniter indeed!


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Sat, 07/30/2011 - 20:05 | 1508501 Drag Racer
Drag Racer's picture


too classic

Sat, 07/30/2011 - 22:44 | 1508797 HungrySeagull
HungrySeagull's picture

250,000 in Arkansas will buy you land to raise hay.

Eventually the Hay will get you revenue to buy more land.

At some point when you have had enough you can sell it all to be developed for a multiplier what you put in.

A few times when things got really tough, we allowed our grass to turn into a field and generated 4 Rolls of Hay several times a year. Not much, but better than nothing.

Sat, 07/30/2011 - 20:13 | 1508512 trav7777
trav7777's picture

it's a high enough number so that people can be like WOW those people are RICH, FUCK THEM!!!!


Sun, 07/31/2011 - 12:47 | 1509928 thewhitelion
thewhitelion's picture

It's also a high enough number that there are a lot more people (voters) below that number than above that number.

Sat, 07/30/2011 - 20:15 | 1508518 mynhair
mynhair's picture

Takers vs. Payers


That simple.

Sat, 07/30/2011 - 20:21 | 1508525 DoChenRollingBearing
DoChenRollingBearing's picture

"And many, in fact, take home less than $250,000 a year in compensation at times.  The business comes first."

Damn right.  Re our business in Peru, the business ALWAYS comes first.  If they have trouble paying me back on the quarterly loan payback schedule, I tell them "The company comes first!"

Sat, 07/30/2011 - 20:38 | 1508549 cosmictrainwreck
cosmictrainwreck's picture

with all due respect, DCRB (and others), but really.... you expect the rest of us to think your suffering hardship because you have to limp by with not even the whole 250K? Yer breaking my heart here

PS to Tobin Smith & everybody else on the fukin' band-wagon, please show me the fucking stats on why a certain income qualifies one as a "job-creator" WHAT % of $200K + actually are small bus owners & BTW how many fucking millions of stiffs did you actually hire?


Sat, 07/30/2011 - 20:58 | 1508577 cosmictrainwreck
cosmictrainwreck's picture

hoping the next thumbs-down passerby at least has the balls to address one of the questions

Sat, 07/30/2011 - 21:16 | 1508600 blunderdog
blunderdog's picture

It's not a question of amount or figures.  It's about perspective.  The type of person who pisses and moans constantly about how much of "their" money is taken away would piss and moan if they were earning $20,000, $150,000, or $200,000,000.  It's just how that person's mind works.

Similarly, there are people who earned $400,000 in 1978 and never bothered to care that they were in a 50% bracket, because they were happy with whatever total amount they got to keep and spend. 

Type A and Type B kinda stuff.  The differences are not arguable or demonstrable or reconcilable--they are foundational.

Sat, 07/30/2011 - 21:56 | 1508679 Buckaroo Banzai
Buckaroo Banzai's picture

This number is quite carefully calculated. The upper middle class earns 250k to 500k. Since obama's goal is to crush the middle class, the strategy is to tax the upper middle, unemploy the middle middle, and use inflation against the lower middle.

Sat, 07/30/2011 - 22:11 | 1508726 snowball777
snowball777's picture

Maybe Charlie Gibson's upper middle class...try 60k-90k. Learn to read a histo chart, chump.

Sat, 07/30/2011 - 22:52 | 1508820 Almost Solvent
Almost Solvent's picture

Depends on where.

60 - 90k in Manhattan is not upper middle class

60-90k in rural Lousiana is upper middle class

Sat, 07/30/2011 - 23:02 | 1508852 snowball777
snowball777's picture

Perhaps, but a doorman can make that in NYC. The mayor may not in LA.

Sat, 07/30/2011 - 23:03 | 1508854 cosmictrainwreck
cosmictrainwreck's picture

+10 "lies, damned lies and statistics"

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 00:05 | 1509006 sun tzu
sun tzu's picture

$60K is not upper middle class anywhere, you dumbfuck. after taxes, you can afford an apartment and a small car.

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 00:55 | 1509122 HungrySeagull
HungrySeagull's picture

Hold it.

60K where I am can just about buy any house outright cash if waited for three years or less minus very frugal expenses.

60K don't do shit in Jersey.

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 01:30 | 1509189 blunderdog
blunderdog's picture

You should visit America sometime, sun tzu.  You might learn something. 

The air's cleaner than in China, too.

Sat, 07/30/2011 - 22:26 | 1508759 The Man in Room Five
The Man in Room Five's picture

The upper middle class earns 250k to 500k.

And where does that number come from? Sounds made up too

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 00:05 | 1509009 sun tzu
sun tzu's picture

maybe he should be the next president

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 19:07 | 1510739 Raymond K Hessel
Raymond K Hessel's picture

I can't stand this cuntitative definition of middle class. I know I should have written quantitative but when I see people fuck up what it means to be middle class by using the median income, I call it cuntitative.

Being in the middle class has nothing to do with income or wages.

Being middle class is a combination of wealth, education, and station. 

By wealth, I mean if your net worth is positive, you own your own home outright, your funding your retirement and your kids' education with no problems. 

By education I mean you are a professional.  You are usually a doctor, lawyer, or a member of some profession that requires a commitment to education and a long apprenticeship period. 

Station I'm defining loosely here with respect to whether or not you own your company or are an employee.  Company owners are middle class. Employee not necessarily so, but not necessarily not. 

The point being you have to be able to check yes to one or a combination of the three.  Nothing here about income.

Median income is what these yahoos are talking about.  Median income hovers about the $50-80k range.  If you're gay for statistics this means something to you.  Otherwise, it's a rube.  Watch out. Stay away.  Look twice here. 

I've said it in other posts, if you are working and you need to work to pay rent/mortgage, school, etc, then you are working class. 

Most Americans are working class. 

If you don't work and get government assistance (not as a stop-gap but your're a welfare lifer) then you are Poor.

Many Americans are poor but not as many as working class.

Some are middle class and even fewer are rich.

Everyone here, including myself, are working class.  We work or we starve. It's okay.  It's not great but it's not a bad thing.  We're working as we strive to improve our lot in this world.  That's wonderful.

Stay away from this class warfare bullshit.  It means nothing except as gasoline for someone else's fire.  Use your heads and stop with this neo-marxist zoom dweebie shit. 



Middle class is not median class. 

Middle class is not median class. 

Middle class is not median class. 


There you go.  Now at least you sound like you understand statistics.


Sat, 07/30/2011 - 22:00 | 1508703 cosmictrainwreck
cosmictrainwreck's picture

astonishingly candid & accurate response, sir. my faith is renewed

Sat, 07/30/2011 - 22:39 | 1508787 hedgeless_horseman
hedgeless_horseman's picture

It seems to be the nature of our economy that small business owners both create a large percentage of the jobs and make more than $250k.  Maybe it is because they are more ready, willing, and able to work hard and take risks?

Sat, 07/30/2011 - 22:59 | 1508838 cosmictrainwreck
cosmictrainwreck's picture

understood. agree (sort of). but puhleeze dont play that "work hard" card; that's just too sad. you want a lesson in "work hard (for low pay)".... interview 50% of employed. I submit that the "risks" are very often extremely well-rewarded, so I don't lose sleep for those boyz. another angle is just suck everything out of the business you can, and if it fails...meh? Banko is on the corp, not me 

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 00:15 | 1509027 sun tzu
sun tzu's picture

Most small business owners work 6-7 days per week and over 10 hours a day. That comes out to 60-70 hours a week. Tell me why they should hand over more of their money to the government.


Let me know when you're able to open and run a successful business.

Sat, 07/30/2011 - 23:09 | 1508864 snowball777
snowball777's picture

Yes on the job creation, no on the $250k per year. See links below.

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 02:50 | 1509272 blunderdog
blunderdog's picture

That's a bunch of nonsense.

No significant number of small business owners make over $250K.  There just aren't enough people who make more than $250K to even BEGIN to cover the number of people who are "small business owners."

Let's say as a very rough estimate that 2% of the population is making more than $250K annually.  (That's a bit high, but whatever.)  That's about 6 million people. 

There are about 21 million "non-employer" firms in the US--those are small businesses which are a single person.  There are about another 5 million "employer" firms with 1-10 employees.

6 million isn't even a quarter of those 26 million "small businesses."

Read carefully:
Innumeracy affects a higher percentage of Americans on the internet than taxes that cover voting spreads cost of ownership beyond birth-death projections.

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 00:07 | 1509011 sun tzu
sun tzu's picture

...and then there are those who will always bitch and moan about how others are making too  much money and aren't paying their "fair" share

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 01:31 | 1509192 blunderdog
blunderdog's picture

That's a good point.

Mon, 08/01/2011 - 02:40 | 1511744 Kobe Beef
Kobe Beef's picture

"Piss and Moan" , huh?

Is that Obama's 2012 campaign slogan?

Why should any American cut their budgets & pay more taxes so Washington can go pour it into the sands of Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia & Libya?

Answer that question before seeking to belittle tax protestors.

Sat, 07/30/2011 - 22:20 | 1508744 nmewn
nmewn's picture

"hoping the next thumbs-down passerby at least has the balls to address one of the questions"

Sure, be glad to.

"you expect the rest of us to think your suffering hardship because you have to limp by with not even the whole 250K? Yer breaking my heart here"

What gives you the right to say what his profit should be?

If he earns a dollar a year or a million what concern is it of yours? He's not a banker or Fannie Mae or a GM board member or in the pocket of fascists like Solyndra.

He has taken nothing from you. You, on the the other hand, desire to take something from him that you have not earned or risked capital outlay in order to earn for yourself.

You are not capable in taking it from him by yourself or even in competing against him, so you desire to do this through the force of government, so you don't have to get your dainty hands dirty or risk anything personally.

You're what is termed as a parasite.

Sat, 07/30/2011 - 22:36 | 1508785 cosmictrainwreck
cosmictrainwreck's picture

you are delusional, man. furthermore, you have NO FUCKING WAY to know my parasitic behaviors, pro or con

Sat, 07/30/2011 - 23:17 | 1508877 nmewn
nmewn's picture

"you are delusional, man. furthermore, you have NO FUCKING WAY to know my parasitic behaviors, pro or con"

I've seen enough of your horseshit to understand what delusion is. You're off your should have stayed with blunderdogs analysis. No central planning authority would ever declare a line at 250k without knowing that is where the most money can be confiscated from. They are the target.

Not the Buffet, not the Murdoch, not the, for you its DoChen?...and you walked right into it and continue to propagate the lie.

Cry me a fucking river parasite.

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 10:41 | 1509607 snowball777
snowball777's picture

If the "target" gets bigger than the broad side of barn...

Sat, 07/30/2011 - 23:17 | 1508879 StychoKiller
StychoKiller's picture

You missed the point -- Our work or your (Big Brother's) gun(s):  Choose one, you cannot have both!  Quibbling about $250K also ignores the principles involved.

A Philosopher once ask an attractive socialite if she would sleep with him for a million dollars, she said "yes, I would."  Then he asked if she would sleep with him for $20.

She said, "No, of course not, what do you think I am, a prostitute?"  He said, "we've already established that fact, now we're just haggling over the price."

Progressive/Socialists ignore principles because in their minds, the ends justify the means.

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 10:42 | 1509611 snowball777
snowball777's picture

That philosopher was socialist Bertrand Russell.

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 19:12 | 1510753 Raymond K Hessel
Raymond K Hessel's picture


Sun, 07/31/2011 - 00:02 | 1508999 StormShadow
StormShadow's picture

TrainWreck, you've clearly never run a small business in your life.  It's an emotional rollercoaster.  Keep in mind that for every one successful business that makes it, nine others failed miserably and the owner lost his ass.  On a larger scale, for every one Mark Zuckerberg who makes it big there are thousands of penniless others who tried the same thing and failed.  MSM would have you believe every college dropout with computer skills and a big idea becomes a millionaire overnight.  Get real.

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 02:22 | 1509244 BarrySoetoro
BarrySoetoro's picture

Being as how your questions were directed at specific individuals, it really isn't up to anyone in the "thumbs-down passerby" crowd to address either of them, but I'll hit you up on the first:

Theft is theft.  Decent people, who aren't wothless pieces of degenerate shit, generally don't condone taking something that doesn't belong to them from somebody who isn't willing to give it...capiche?


Sat, 07/30/2011 - 21:16 | 1508599 DoChenRollingBearing
DoChenRollingBearing's picture

FYI cosmic, I make nowhere near $250,000.  It is true that we can afford to have our company pay slower than planned.  Our intention is to ADD VALUE there in Peru.  If we make money, it is because our customers CHOOSE to buy OUR products vs. our competitor.

Perhaps you have never run a company before.  Or even been a manager.  Perhaps you are a .gov employee?  An SEIU member?  A labor lobbyist?

So, have a couple of red ones on me!

Sat, 07/30/2011 - 21:57 | 1508690 cosmictrainwreck
cosmictrainwreck's picture

"Nothin' personal....just business" Not on you, my man. A beautiful summation by blunderdog above. FYI have had lots of jobs - none in .gov or SEIU; even worked with some fuckin' lawyers (tm). Never "run" a company but spent plenty of time doing managers' thinking for them. Recently involved with a start-up: bust ass for 3+ years and teetering on the brink (or to the moon). I am one of the original principals and stand to make way less than the CEO. My main point is there's sooooo much bullshit flung around by whichever minority to make themselves look good, they got no cred with me. Let 'em work the trenches for a while & report back. Pussies.

Still waiting for my FUCKING STATS from one of those famous "job-creators"

Sat, 07/30/2011 - 22:15 | 1508735 DoChenRollingBearing
DoChenRollingBearing's picture

See just below re jobs, good timing cosmic.

I too had to work jobs that I did not like.  That's why I went into business!  

My first 3 companies ALL failed in one way or another (but I did not stick any creditors with any BANKRUPTCY BS).  I lost a lot of money...  And it was not until I hooked up with my Peruvian in-laws (who are the real heroes here) that I found the 4th one was the charm.  Mr. Hershey's 7th or 8th business was the first one that did not end badly for him (chocolate).

I am not trying to paint myself up as a do-gooder of any sort.

But, around here, our company is ADDING VALUE, it is ADDING CAPITAL.  That's what it is all about.

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 00:20 | 1509034 sun tzu
sun tzu's picture

So basically, you've never risked your capital, run a business, or made a payroll. You've never created one FUCKING JOB. You're a FUCKING PARASITE that wants to take from others who are able to do things you can't

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 00:50 | 1509107 cosmictrainwreck
cosmictrainwreck's picture

I have capital at risk right now, asshole. more than I can afford to lose. pray tell enlighten us as to precisely your personal contributions to the furtherance of civilization

Sat, 07/30/2011 - 22:08 | 1508716 DoChenRollingBearing
DoChenRollingBearing's picture

I could not edit my post, but this one is also for you cosmic.

Our investment in Peru created 9 full-time jobs, 2 part-time jobs and we have 3 commission-only salesmen whom we do not CHEAT.

Our consulting accountant tells me that we are a cleaner business than average in Peru.  OK, take that for what it is worth (words over the Internet, I can understand any doubts you might have).

How many jobs have YOU created?  Or are YOU one of the almost 50% who pays NO Income Tax?  Hmm?


Sat, 07/30/2011 - 22:33 | 1508775 cosmictrainwreck
cosmictrainwreck's picture

dude - I understand, OK? glad for what you're doing in (and for) Peru. All I'm sayin' is this: the piss-ants that try to spin the data to show  that (by inference)  (almost) anybody at 200K up is a small business owner creating jobs is just plain bullshit, that's all. My fave is my friend the realtor (tm?) or (r?) knocking down 300K+ back in the day CREATING ZERO FUCKING JOBS. Likewise, I'd take a SWAG that good majority of "owners" suck out a mighty fine salary blah blah that sucking sound you hear is reverse-osmosis of your capital investment argument. BTW wonder what the correlation is... to wit: how much of those "investments" pay off for anybody but the investor, or stay in the economy. All I'm askin' is for the spin-doctors not to insult our intelligence (not holding my breath)

BTW - have paid way more than "my fair share" in taxes for, like, forever. No "write-offs" no loopholes no fancy deductions. One of the ones they don't talk about.....the middle

BTW, further, WTF does my tax history have to do with the argument

still waiting for those FUCKING STATS....... (for USA, not Peru)

Sat, 07/30/2011 - 22:44 | 1508800 DoChenRollingBearing
DoChenRollingBearing's picture

I guess the war is over!

I had you read wrong, I felt you were attacking me and our company.  Them's fightin' words.  My in-laws have BUSTED THEIR ASSES to get our company to where it is today.

Yo, Peace, Love, Woodstock!  Good on you to have paid your taxes (odious as they are).


Hey, it IS possible that not many small businessmen here at ZH are going to be able to claim to having created jobs.  Regulatory uncertainty, paperwork compliance, taxes and fees and many other factors are convincing many with money that it IS JUST NOT WORTH starting a business in the USA.

Here's some red meat for any junkers:

For the reasons I mentioned above, I would NEVER EVER start a new business in the USA!

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 00:15 | 1509025 StormShadow
StormShadow's picture

"My fave is my friend the realtor (tm?) or (r?) knocking down 300K+ back in the day CREATING ZERO FUCKING JOBS."

And what's he doing now?  Exactly my point.  That was a transitory bubble.  In any case, he WAS creating jobs.  Need an accountant, lawyer, office staff, etc. etc. to support that kind of work.  As they added staff to handle the load they had to buy them office supplies, computers, etc.--someone mad those products.  Even if all the products were made in China you needed an importer, dock worker, truck driver, warehouse worker, FedEx driver...

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 12:52 | 1509942 A Nanny Moose
A Nanny Moose's picture

My fave is my friend the realtor (tm?) or (r?) knocking down 300K+ back in the day CREATING ZERO FUCKING JOBS


His wealth is not your concern. No jobs? This is utter bullshit. The act of buying an selling houses unleashes a flurry of government mandated busy work. Even spending it on hookers and blow creates jobs.

Is the problem here that he has not created a job for you? Sounds like you suffer from envy. How would putting this money in the hands of government, help the situation?

Sat, 07/30/2011 - 22:35 | 1508784 snowball777
snowball777's picture

Some food for thought, your cosmicness...

"The average small business owner reports a yearly salary of between $36,000 and $75,000 a year."

"Back then, the Tax Policy Center analyzed all taxpayers, of any income level, who report these types of business income. They found only about 2 percent of them would see tax increases if the government increased the rates on the top earners. So the vast majority of possible small business owners would not see a tax increase if the Bush tax cuts expire for those in the top incomes."

Keep in mind that they have to make $250k in profit to see an increase in their taxes...after all write-offs.

I only hired one 'stiff', but he's a really good friend of the boss. ;)

Sat, 07/30/2011 - 22:51 | 1508816 cosmictrainwreck
cosmictrainwreck's picture

aha! smoked out the one level head in the room with all my ranting. beautiful. Yeah, my argument is one could sure make a shit-load of money carefully concealed as "expenses" or whatever then be taxed on....hmmm... "well, Mr. CPA... how much we gonna say I made last year?" And that's just ONE twist. Then there's the "jobs" thing and the "trickle-down" thing and the..............

well at least you're keeping one stiff off the street :) keep up the good work

Sat, 07/30/2011 - 23:49 | 1508963 snowball777
snowball777's picture

I've never understood why people equate surplus profits with job creation...what idiot would 'create a job' unless there was demand for product/service requiring work to be done that justifies the hire?

It's like the old cartoon of the two math profs at the chalkboard with a complicated formula and "miracle occurs here" in the middle. Faith of this sort is the sole purvey of the mentally challenged.

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 00:25 | 1509048 sun tzu
sun tzu's picture

What the fuck is a "surplus profit"? Is there a certain level of profit a person is allowed to make and everything above that is a "surplus profits" that cocksucking parasites like you should be allowed to steal?

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 01:20 | 1509175 snowball777
snowball777's picture

The money they would have if theoretically given a tax cut, mental defective.


being in excess; extra

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 00:25 | 1509043 sun tzu
sun tzu's picture

You two comrades giving smoking each other yet?

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 10:43 | 1509615 snowball777
snowball777's picture

Have you learned to form a sentence yet? Or does your master prefer that you remain illiterate?

Sat, 07/30/2011 - 23:43 | 1508944 KowPie
KowPie's picture

I guess I'll put on my rubber suit for the shit I'm about to have thrown at me for this...

I must be a mud hut poor rube. I make $50k/annum. I own my home (3/2, 1800sf on 10 acres), as in paid off. I own several (3) one acre lots in rural subdivisions, as in paid off. I own my 2 vehicles (2004 & 2011, respectively), as in paid cash for them. I have a small stash of PM (400+ oz Ag), $3k emergency "Benny Bucks" on hand. I have a private armory (yes, I consider it an armory) of all high end, highly accurate weaponry that will cover the gamut from CQC (close quarters combat) to 800 meters (yes, I can hit a pie plate under most conditions at 800 meters CONSISTENTLY). I load my own ammo and have over 15k (various caliber) rounds loaded, 100#'s sealed, dry powder, 15k (various- LR LRM SRM SR LP SP LPM SPM) primers, 12k brass (various caliber), all relevant reloading equipment, 6 month supply MRE's, spare water pump (solar powered) and stocks of medical supplies (1-2 yr shelf life, replenished/replaced when necessary). I have a good stock of heirloom seeds which are vacuum sealed for storage (good for about 3 years before needing replacement), small amount of livestock (cattle, chickens and goats) and could very easily be 100% self sufficient. I know all of my neighbors well (closest one is 2 miles away), although NONE of them knows the extent of my preparations (and never will).

My point in all of this is that $250/k per year would be nice and buy a lot of extra "toys", but I don't NEED it. My father taught me at an early age to fend for myself, be self reliant and not to buy it if you can't pay cash for it. The only time I broke that rule was when I purchased my home. I didn't have that kind of cash lying around. I did, however, make that priority number one and paid it off relatively quick (8 years). When I hear people spout off about their wealth it doesn't bother me in the least. More power to you. When I hear people bitch about what someone else has it pisses me off. If you are too stupid, lazy or unmotivated to do for yourself.... tough shit. Fuck off deadbeat. I get frothing at the mouth angry over handing over hard earned $$$ to those that don't want to work for it themselves.

Bring on the collapse. It's inevitable as tits on a whore. You can't stop it so you better prepare for it because the Odumbasses of the world are bringing it to your local station whether you like it or not.

Tyler, very well written post, i commend you in your ongoing effort to galvanize the indifferent population. Changing one mind and motivating one person makes it all worth while. I've been "lurking" in the backround for quite a while and just recently got an account. Mainly because I felt it was time to start offering my 2 cents worth from time to time. Good fortune with your endeavor.

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 00:21 | 1509036 StormShadow
StormShadow's picture

While reading this I imagined the whirring sound of an NSA hard drive recording the inventory listed and putting a notation in your file.

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 00:29 | 1509055 sun tzu
sun tzu's picture

It's amazing how some deranged socialists get frothing at the mouth angry because the guy down the street started a successful business. Then they demand that the evil business owner should only be allowed to keep enough to feed his family and turn over the "surplus" profits to the Washington DC

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 01:21 | 1509178 snowball777
snowball777's picture

Some of them are the guy down the street with the successful business, tax muppet.

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 00:45 | 1509065 cosmictrainwreck
cosmictrainwreck's picture

I think the majority of reponders - as indicated by level of venom & enthusiasm in executing "the best defense is a good offense" totally missed a key point. I ain't bitchin' about how much anybody "earns"... what I'm bitchin' about is all the FUCKING SPIN. Fine - go make yer $250K, $500K...whatever. Just don't blow all the smoke up my ass about how you personally and solely provide the lifeblood of the economy - and all others are "fukin' parasites"

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 19:22 | 1510786 Raymond K Hessel
Raymond K Hessel's picture

Holy shit, what the fuck!?!

You need a hug, man.  Some one hurt you and now you're sad.  Come here, come in for the real thing. 

There, there.  Feel better? 

It'll be okay.  You know Congress will let us all down and redistribute other people's wealth to you.  Don't you fucking worry, comrade.

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 00:58 | 1509129 HungrySeagull
HungrySeagull's picture

Good work Kowpie!

I have some of the things you have but not to your level of preparations yet...

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 01:07 | 1509151 DoChenRollingBearing
DoChenRollingBearing's picture

@ KowPie,

Wow, if you are single you would make a PRIZE for some lucky lady.  If you have your lucky lady already, good on you!

You are the second best prepared guy I have heard of.  First place goes to my rural NC friend who can fire 2000 rounds from his guns without even having to RELOAD...  You can hit a plate at 800 meters?  EXCELENTE!  

The condo-dwelling Bearing can hit a man-target at 50 yards 75% of the time with his AK...

The condo-dwelling Bearing can hit a man-target at 7 yards 75% of the time with his 9 mm (standing, not braced)...

That's hit the target, not center of mass.

If this is your first post, I am really looking forward to seeing more...

The Bearing gives you a greenie and:

+ $1625 today

+ $55,000 (tomorrow?)

55K for an oz of gold?  Is the Bearing crazy (don't answer that snowball777!)?  Check out:

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 02:08 | 1509233 KowPie
KowPie's picture


Thanks for the Kudos. Already tagged and bagged in the lucky lady department. Wouldn't have it any other way. As to the 800 meters, that comes from 40 years of practice. I regularly target practice in all weather types to this day (at leas 100 rounds every other week) and have been a hunter/fisherman my whole life. When I was knee high to a bullfrog my father started me out with my first .22 (Remington Nylon Mod. 66, great little rifle). Back then we (my family) dined on what we killed or grew the majority of the time. The grocery store was a place for staples. There were no microwaves, toaster ovens or instant anything. Different world these days. Nothing wrong with innovation and progress at all (be a little hypocritical to be anti technology while posting on a site via computer). Days gone by  are wistful ones nonetheless. I think we're probably headed back that way (after the initial SHTF clears) and that's not such a bad thing. As to the gold.... OUCH! I sold out at $1300 to finance 2 new rifles and a replacement stock of reloading supplies. Didn't have that much anyway, being a mud hut dweller and all! Kept all of the silver though, that's my book for walk around money after it resets down the road. I'm pretty much set either way. If it blows up, not a problem personally. If not, collect the coming retirement and still enjoy life. Win win the way I view it. ZH has turned out to be a hoot. Love the posts and I've learned a lot. I'm never too old to learn, if someone tells you they are they're either ignorant or taking a dirt nap.

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 04:45 | 1509328 FlyPaper
FlyPaper's picture

Cool, Kow-Pie.  

You did it right - according to the old school.

New school: if you think we're in for inflation, I'd mortgage that-there house.  Gives you cash to invest in PMs et al, and gives you the benefit of having your mortgage diminished because inflation will allow you to pay it off with ever-cheaper dollars...  Liquidate the gold as you go for higher-and-higher fiat, and pay the mortgage back with that.  And you get a tax-benefit to boot.


See: for detailed explanations of how debt works during inflationary times.

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 13:52 | 1510058 Prometheus418
Prometheus418's picture

No shit throwing from me- sounds like our circumstances are roughly the same, with roughly the same attitude about it.

The only thing I have to add is:

MRE's? Really? That's just foul, man.  You should look into civvy food that keeps for a long time- Hell, I've got 6mo of food if you only count spagetti and sauce, and that's not even 1/50 of the pantry.  Basement looks like a grocery store at this point, climate controlled, well-lit and rotated, stocked and faced.  Though, I don't have any livestock- am looking into whether or not I can get some chickens where I'm at (inside city limits, but it's a real small town.)  To suppliment, I've got a half-acre garden that is packed tight, with stores of seeds and fertilizer for the next 5-10 years.  Could be bigger next year, if needed.

Anyhow, check out the bulk food stores, like Sam's Club or Costco, and suppliment those MREs.  You'll be heathier and fight harder with some decent human food in your gut.  The trick is to track what you eat for a while, then buy that in bulk flats of small sealed containers.  After the pad is established, shop the pantry first when you eat, and replace items as they are used, rotating the new stuff to the back.

Far as the neighbors go, I've got two other households on board with the planning and defensive tactics- they have similar supplies and outlook, and though it was nerve-wracking getting though that first wall of silence on all sides, I certainly feel better knowing that I'm not going to be defending my family alone.  Don't underestimate the value of having those around you come in as sniper support in a pinch, and be ready to do the same.

So, as a KowPie, can it be assumed that you're a midwesterner too?  TPTB will be in for a nasty shock when they come rolling in on the farm folk, to be sure.

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 18:41 | 1510643 KowPie
KowPie's picture

Yep. MRE's. I know they taste nasty as I ate enough of them when I was in the military. At the time we thought they were great as they had just been developed (LRRP's being the predecessor just after C-RAT's). The main reason for MRE's is they have enough preservative in them to leave them for 15 years (have personally eaten ones that old) and not worry about getting poisoned. Not the healthiest menu, but very low maintenance and they'll do in a pinch for short term survival. The domestic livestock (mostly goats, a couple of cattle and couple dozen chickens- 12 to 1 hens to roosters) is sustainable until eaten or killed by raiding and I also have an excellent wildlife population in the surrounding area which is more long term. I do have a stock of canned goods, but they won't last (without problems) nearly as long as MRE's. So the MRE's are really an "emergency only" food source, if nothing else is available.

My neighbors are nice people, but way too hooked on the "sheeple" lifestyle. At times I have broached the political/economic discussion only to see the deer in the headlights blank stare and hear the sound of crickets in response.I have my "other half" for backup firepower. She's a pretty good shot, a great cook and can milk a cow, what more could I ask for? I'll let you ponder if the last was serious or a pun-

Sat, 07/30/2011 - 20:23 | 1508529 thedrickster
thedrickster's picture

Cause I am born in the USA.

You gotta fight for your right to vote.

That's one small step for....I got a dream.

Power to the people.

Burn baby burn.

Kill whitey.

Sat, 07/30/2011 - 20:58 | 1508578 yabyum
yabyum's picture

Drickster: That makes no sense at all.

Sat, 07/30/2011 - 21:10 | 1508594 knowless
knowless's picture

i liked his jingoing, personally.

Sat, 07/30/2011 - 21:38 | 1508643 takinthehighway
takinthehighway's picture

Slogans, baby!

Have you ever been experienced? Well, I have...

Sat, 07/30/2011 - 20:26 | 1508533 Galen Slade
Galen Slade's picture

These numbers are POLLED.  250K must poll as 'what salary level sounds rich to you?"

Sat, 07/30/2011 - 21:09 | 1508590 knowless
knowless's picture

To someone making 30k that sounds like a shitload of rounds for the bar.


That's the entire point. a "millionare" is still what common people associate with absolute wealth, a "billionaire" as pointed out in this article is interchangeable, because to the common person, both are unfathomably wealthy.


The problems that the lower income brackets face would all immediately be extinguished with that kind of wealth, which would leave them in an unfamiliar world which they do not understand. This is why the lottery is called the idiot tax, because even if you win against pointlessly random and insurmountalbe odds, you will most likely blow it in idiotic ways because you don't know how to retain wealth, only search status through consumption and pay debts.


The common person understands up to hundreds or thousands when it's on a paycheck, has little apptitude for planning because of lack of funds which makes planning meaningless, and only want's to live their life without being fucked with. They are different than the truely wealthy most commonly in their lack of want to control, because they have been hit down so hard, all they want is their own life, in most cases they couldn't even think of a reason to control others, and when they do, it is not in ways which will actually benefit them, because they lack the manipulative talent which allows the truely wealthy to act as parasite.

Sat, 07/30/2011 - 21:46 | 1508658 rambo1028
rambo1028's picture

Hit the nail on the head. not all if us are ignorant and would piss money away tho....

Sat, 07/30/2011 - 22:57 | 1508831 Almost Solvent
Almost Solvent's picture

Those who earn their way to the top - pat on the back.

The trust fund babies running around with no fucking clue - knife in the back

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 00:23 | 1509042 StormShadow
StormShadow's picture

No, the $250K number is TELEPROMPTED.  BHO didnt come up with it, that's for sure.

Sat, 07/30/2011 - 20:26 | 1508535 monoloco
monoloco's picture

Tax the shit out of everybody, it's the only way that we'll start paying attention to what these clowns in Washington are doing.

Sat, 07/30/2011 - 20:29 | 1508538 thedrickster
thedrickster's picture

There is something to be said for this, tax the shit of them and ratchet up the police state to the point where willful blissfull ignorance can be overcome.

Sigh, swell fantasy. The sycophants defend the TSA, they will accept any abuse and in time any atrocity. Time to get the fuck out.

Sat, 07/30/2011 - 22:25 | 1508734 Frankie Carbone
Frankie Carbone's picture

Pardon my crassness, I just don't know how to say it any better.

It's not that folks love getting screwed by the government.

I don't think that's the case at all. They are told day in and day out that it's the person to the left of them, the person to the right of them, and the person behind them that is the cause of the nation's ills and hence they savior having the government ass fuck them.

Hell, they love watching the government fuck the guy next to them in the ass. And that guy turns back at HIM and giggles when he watches him get bent over and sodomized with the same big red, white, and blue shaft.

Get it? Everyone is fucking everyone else vicariously through the government and the powers that be love it!!

How do you think the British empire was able to control nations with enormous populations using such a relatively small occupational force?

Divide and conquer is the oldest and most effective tonic in the book.

George Carlin once said in an interview, to paraphrase, "When I make fun of people, everyone in my audience looks to their left and then to their right to see who I am mocking. You know what? They're right. They know exactly who I am talking about!"

Sat, 07/30/2011 - 20:32 | 1508536 buzzsaw99
buzzsaw99's picture

They are not clueless, they are the status quo. The coming of the Great White Hankerchief is at hand.

Sat, 07/30/2011 - 23:25 | 1508898 StychoKiller
StychoKiller's picture

The Great Zarkquon will show up any minute now... :>D

Sat, 07/30/2011 - 20:40 | 1508552 sasebo
sasebo's picture

The author completely neglects the other side of the pay & tax equation. That is what are these individuals in NY & Arkansas getting paid $250,000 for? Is the guy in Arkansas actually producing some stuff? Is the guy in NY just shuffling some money around for a bank? Just gambling? The author's points seem very superficial at best. Kinda like Keynesian vs Austrian economics.

Sat, 07/30/2011 - 20:47 | 1508562 BarrySoetoro
BarrySoetoro's picture

Who the hell cares what they do?  What, pray tell, is "shuffling some money around," exactly?  I'll tell you what it is: it's the way an ignorant person describes somebody's job when they have no understanding of what that person does.  Unless those people are working for the government, then it means that somebody, somewhere, felt that their services were worth whatever they were being paid.  I'm curious: do you believe that "rich" people keep their money in those big round bags tied with a string and marked with a big dollar sign?

Sat, 07/30/2011 - 20:56 | 1508572 A Lunatic
A Lunatic's picture

I made a few bucks "shuffling" lumber around, LOL. If you do it just right it turns into a house.

Sat, 07/30/2011 - 20:57 | 1508576 sasebo
sasebo's picture

Just curious: have you always been an obnoxious, pompous asshole?

Sat, 07/30/2011 - 21:02 | 1508581 slewie the pi-rat
slewie the pi-rat's picture

only the intelligent ones


maybe some PM's and a nice place + plan;  just right for richie rich

or even scooby & shaggy scoobyDoo.shaggy.2

or are you in the business of recommending counterparties of steel?

Sat, 07/30/2011 - 22:28 | 1508767 Frankie Carbone
Frankie Carbone's picture

They don't? But J.R. Ewing had a big wall safe in his bedroom. And Thurston Howell III had a few million on him when he got shipwrecked.

Wait a minute. What are you trying to say here?

Sat, 07/30/2011 - 23:26 | 1508901 snowball777
snowball777's picture

Well let's get more specific then: charging $400/hr to file a motion to help a multinational dodge several million in tax liability or shred their evidence, accepting millions from clients for a $50B ponzi scheme, or securitizing tranches of fraudulent mortgages while being short the worst tranches.

"Rich people" keep their money in off-balance sheet SIVS. Now go fuck yourself, pari passu pussy.

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 00:33 | 1509060 sun tzu
sun tzu's picture

Everyone making $250K/yr is committing a crime?

Why don't you and your buddy trainwreck finish smoking each other and go arrest all those criminals. 0bozo the Clown isn't doing anything about it.

After you've arrested all of them, go fuck your mother

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 01:23 | 1509180 snowball777
snowball777's picture

LOL...what you lack in intelligence you make up for in tenacity. Always an amusing trait in lower go file some taxes for your master, bitch.

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 01:15 | 1509167 BarrySoetoro
BarrySoetoro's picture

Still bitter about your ex-wife's attorney taking you to the cleaners?  Is that why you're so down on lawyers?  BAHAHA!  You know how much it costs to go to law school, PUSSY?  I doubt you ever had occasion to check prices.  Law school, and the years that follow working shitty long hours for little pay are an investment, and those who do it damn well deserve a return on their investment.  You think they'd go through all that to make $40k a year?  Get a fucking clue, pussy.

The only substantial Ponzi scheme in business at the moment is Social Security, but that's different...right?  Different because it 'helps the little guy'?

I'm sure finance is a bit tough to grasp from behind the counter at Blockbuster, where you've been since high school, but the world isn't going to come to a screeching halt until your grasp of the subject matter improves.  Hedging risk is what people do when they are actually TAKING RISKS.  And the SIVS, on which you became an expert after reading an article in HuffPo, aren't where "rich people" keep their money.  The money in SIVS belongs to the retirement plans of your beloved blue-collar workers.  You see, asshole, INDIVIDUALS aren't required (yet) to file financial statements with the Feds, so the whole concept of off-balance sheet activities really doesn't make a whole lot of fucking sense now, does it?  But then again, sense isn't exactly your stock in trade now, is it?

Now, YOU go fuck yourself, Snowball motherfucker...and I'm sure the "Snowball" part is very appropriate in your case, fucknut.

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 05:19 | 1509341 slewie the pi-rat
slewie the pi-rat's picture

well, this is fight club
and you seem to be able to hold your own
(i won't say what)

anyhow, we see from your post that to go to law school costs a LOT of money
and the years that follow are an investment, too
and they deserve a return on that investment
and so on

which tells us that you are a lawyer!

which is quite surprising, b/c you certainly don't act like one!

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 12:56 | 1509956 BarrySoetoro
BarrySoetoro's picture

Awwww....sorry.  But thanks for playing.  And, even more so, thank you for the stark illustration of just what it means to be a whining, liberal, perpetual victim.  See, in your world, YOU are the focus.  And there is NOBODY who works as hard as you, and nobody who has sacrificed as much as you.  EVERYBODY else has had it easy and got all the breaks in life.  And everything they have, or ever will have, should have been yours if only the stars and meanie-pie Conservatives hadn't been lined up against you.

In my world, the world of reality, I see some people who bust their asses to get somewhere.  I see people who make plans that extend beyond their next tattoo or the weekend.  And I've a great deal of respect for these people and celebrate the fact that they get to reap the rewards of their hard work (although, again, they certainly haven't worked as hard as YOU).

Losers group themselves into little artificial subsets with other losers, then bitch and moan about everybody else who chooses not to be a loser.  The rest of us look to success and do our best to emulate the traits that brought that success.  Look at yourself and how, in your little shitty world, the only way a person could honestly assess or admire the hard work of another is if they were talking about themselves.

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 18:38 | 1510628 snowball777
snowball777's picture

- "You know how much it costs to go to law school..."

- " working shitty long hours for little pay..."

- "You think they'd go through all that..."

Tell us all about the 'victim card', whining pustule.

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 09:54 | 1509523 snowball777
snowball777's picture

Happily married for 3 years and have several lawyer friends (one environ, one PD, and one patent partner). It's TAX lawyers that I despise...parasites that live by climbing through loopholes and assisting off-sh-whoring.

I make six figures from home as a software contractor and my Stafford loans were paid before I graduated. Why is it my fault you went deep into hock with images of Ferrari horses in your eyes again, leech?

I know about SIVs from rubbing elbows with private equity wankers and have never read HuffPo (though I linked to that rag with great effect yesterday). 

Always amusing that you guttersnipe go there while ignoring derivatives, Buffett, and Trotsky...must be semen on the brain for some reason...oh, I know, it's because you make a living gagging on corporate cock!

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 13:05 | 1509974 BarrySoetoro
BarrySoetoro's picture

Hmmm...never read HuffPo, but somehow just magically began typing and SHAZAM a link to HuffPo just appeared. 

You don't even know what a "derivative" is, do you?  Grab a pencil, because this gets complicated.  Ready?  A "derivative" is a security that 'DERIVES' its value from the value of another security.  Options?  Futures?  ETFs?  Yeah, not so sinister and glamorous, now, are they?  It's a big word you lefties (who always seem to have great gigs making six figures) toss around to sound smart.

And, for the record, I LOVE tax attorneys.  They are the last line of defense between decent people and the jackboot pieces of shit at the IRS who tend to get a bit overzealous on a regular basis.

Your moronic, juvenile assumptions demonstrate just what a fucking pathetic retard you really are.

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 13:25 | 1510004 snowball777
snowball777's picture

It's called Google, made for a nice link to ridiculous private sector industries.

Okay then, "genius"...what's a snowball derivative? We'll wait.

Of course you love tax attorneys, that's why you're always lapping at their hairy sacks, chump.

Thanks for the low-down on your modus operandi.

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 14:31 | 1510160 BarrySoetoro
BarrySoetoro's picture

You're obsessed with gay sex...hmmmm, wonder why.  For some reason, you made it a point to mention the completely irrelevant fact that you are happily married...nobody asked and I don't recall marriage, or lack thereof, being the subject of discussion.  Nice cover, homo.  Does your wife (to whom you are 'happily married') know you're a closet twink?

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 16:31 | 1510369 snowball777
snowball777's picture

Aww...all out of facts and down to the dregs in your ad hominem barrel, bitchlet?

And you brought up gay sex, Rumpranger.

Still waiting on that definition of a snowball derivative...any time now...

Sat, 07/30/2011 - 20:41 | 1508553 BarrySoetoro
BarrySoetoro's picture

It's poll-driven.  The same morons who buy into it are the same morons whose big plans start and end at the lottery machines.  You hear these dipshits talk about how they're going to buy a mansion and a Ferrari and retire after they hit that huge $2 million jackpot. 
Let's just make sure the kiddies keep gobbling down their Ritalin, and learning about 'Global Warming' and peaceful conflict resoultion instead of economics.

Sat, 07/30/2011 - 20:44 | 1508558 firefighter302
firefighter302's picture

Maybe the 50% of Americans who don't pay taxes should be asked to do their fair share?

Has Obama considered that source of revenue?


Sat, 07/30/2011 - 21:06 | 1508587 blunderdog
blunderdog's picture

Times are tough, so I've levied taxes on my pets.  The deadbeats haven't paid a dime yet.

My next step is to buy some big fancy cages and pay sitters to imprison them until they come up with the revenue.

In the meantime, I'm going to steal bikes from quadriplegics and sell them on the black market to raise a few bucks.

Sat, 07/30/2011 - 22:32 | 1508770 Frankie Carbone
Frankie Carbone's picture

Do you think that your parrot is going to give a shit if its cage has prison bars on it or not?

Sat, 07/30/2011 - 23:31 | 1508915 blunderdog
blunderdog's picture

Birds are hateful, man, I'd never keep a pet bird.  The only pets worth a damn are mammals. 

*I'm* a mammal--I understand mammalian love.  You can look a dog or cat or even a rat in the eye. 

Try that with a parrot or a fish or a lizard.

Sat, 07/30/2011 - 21:51 | 1508615 DoChenRollingBearing
DoChenRollingBearing's picture

IIRC, that is almost 50% who do not pay Income Tax.

I believe that if we HAVE to have an Income Tax (which I hate and believe is an invasion of privacy), then EVERYONE should have to pay something.  EVERYONE should have to deal with the Form 1040.  Yeah, everyone.  Even if you cannot read!

Better yet, END the Income Tax.  Take 10%, 14%, 18% or whatever the right number is for a National Sales Tax.  That would be transparent and fair.  They kick up the rate 1% more?  EVERYONE would know it and feel it right away.  And if you want to pay less tax?  BUY less.  Good for the environment too -- a bonus!

Smaller USG tax collection apparatus would be nice too.

Sat, 07/30/2011 - 23:39 | 1508934 blunderdog
blunderdog's picture

What kind of rate would you want to see for people with no income?

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 00:39 | 1509072 sun tzu
sun tzu's picture

Maybe you have a reading comprehension problem. 




Sun, 07/31/2011 - 01:35 | 1509196 blunderdog
blunderdog's picture

I was asking about his second paragraph.  I saw the national sales tax idea.  Sure, fine by me--tax whatever the fuck you want.

Seriously for a moment: it's waayy easier to cheat on sales tax than payroll deductions, too.  Gotta love that.

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 10:46 | 1509626 snowball777
snowball777's picture

Maybe you have a math comprehension problem.




Sat, 07/30/2011 - 22:19 | 1508728 sasebo
sasebo's picture

Do you know how the average after tax income of the 50% you wanted to be taxed compares to the average after tax income of the other 50%? Just wondering.

Sat, 07/30/2011 - 23:49 | 1508961 firefighter302
firefighter302's picture


I don't care about how little someone makes... earnings are a choice based on effort and skill.

They use the roads, schools and everything else, and they should pay their fair share, just as everyone else does.


Sat, 07/30/2011 - 20:45 | 1508559 oogs66
oogs66's picture

What per cent of people making over 250k work on wall street?

Sat, 07/30/2011 - 20:50 | 1508565 slewie the pi-rat
slewie the pi-rat's picture

thats' good for us to know, especially those of us on fixed incomes


catfood in nyc = $2.49

catfood in little rock = $.99

economics, BiCheZ!

Sat, 07/30/2011 - 20:56 | 1508571 TJ00
TJ00's picture

Perhaps the difference between a millionaire and a billionaire will be just days under hyperinflation and so he has lumped them together.

Sat, 07/30/2011 - 21:26 | 1508618 DoChenRollingBearing
DoChenRollingBearing's picture

Gold will help ya there!

5th green was mine!

Sat, 07/30/2011 - 21:02 | 1508582 Bay Area Guy
Bay Area Guy's picture

Why should you expect anything other than a random number for the definition of rich?  It seems to me that the numbers being touted for the unemployment rate, GDP, inflation and virtually any other number out of Washington, not just by the Democrats, but the Republicans as well, could be defined as random.  And despite the fact that the numbers are random, fiscal and monetary policy decisions appear to be based on these make believe numbers.  That's the real problem.  Taxing people above or below a random number of $250,000 is just a symptom of a much larger problem in DC.

Sat, 07/30/2011 - 22:14 | 1508731 rambo1028
rambo1028's picture if we can just find a way to get the masses to see behind the curtain...

Sat, 07/30/2011 - 21:06 | 1508586 vipmoneymachine
vipmoneymachine's picture

Same reason a guy in Newyork can deduct his million dollar morgage from his income and guy in little rock only $150k. who the hell decided that ? Any if cat food is too expensive in Newyork, move or don't have a cat.

Sat, 07/30/2011 - 22:39 | 1508788 HungrySeagull
HungrySeagull's picture

There is no more mortgage to deduct.

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 00:21 | 1509038 sellstop
sellstop's picture

You meant "move, or don't eat" didnt you?


Sat, 07/30/2011 - 21:24 | 1508596 CrashisOptimistic
CrashisOptimistic's picture


If you taxed all households making over 250K at a tax rate of 100%, total confiscation of income, you would raise only 800 billion in revenue, still falling short of erasing the deficit.

That would be in year 1.  In year 2, they stop working, given that they make no money net after taxes, and the deficit returns to 1.4 trillion.

Sat, 07/30/2011 - 21:17 | 1508601 Rodent Freikorps
Rodent Freikorps's picture

The focus group probably reacted at $250k.

Simple as that.

I bet it was "Quarter of a million" that triggered the effect.

Sat, 07/30/2011 - 21:18 | 1508605 Anonymouse
Anonymouse's picture

I don't know the answer to the question, but I do recall first hearing it from Al Gore when he was pushing his "millionaire's surtax" that was then shown to be $250,000.  On being asked, he said, "Well in 4 years, that would be a million dollars".

You can't argue with that math!  He's a brilliant man.

I don't remember exactly when that was.  It may have been when he was running for president (so in '99 or '00), but I think it was a Clinton initiative around '96.

Sat, 07/30/2011 - 21:21 | 1508609 PPagan
PPagan's picture


The above article is simply ideologically driven crap--as are most of the comments. It pisses me the hell off that people who think they are intelligent and free thinkers fall for this shit and even regurgitate it.

Who the fuck cares exactly how the figure "250K" was come up with? Or the exact distinction between millionaires and biliionaires? You know you are only making it an issue because you have a certain ideology. Obviously, idiot, the point is that upper income level taxation is at a 40-year low; low taxation is just as much reponsible for the debt as are entitlement and military spending. And any moron can see that someone who doesn't have to worry about having enough to eat or whether his kid can go to college is more able to handle paying a bit more taxes than someone genuinely struggling to survive. Hell, Reagan raised taxes, and the rate under him was a lot more than it is now. Fucking GREED!

And don't you dare give me that "Class Warfare" shit! Anyone whose mind is not totally clouded by the right-wing propaganda campaign can see that the class war was won long ago--by the rich. The gap between rich and poor is vast and widening in this pathetic country, as the rich have the power to rig and manipulate the game in their favor. This is unconscionable, and is the source of immense human suffering. Then to turn around and accuse those who would ameliorate the situation of "class warfare"--gag me! The mindless, self-satisfied, stone-hearted excuse for a human who panders this crap is an example of the kind of twisted personality who will end up taking this whole beautiful world with them into oblivion.

Sat, 07/30/2011 - 21:28 | 1508625 CrashisOptimistic
CrashisOptimistic's picture


There is the rather uncomfortable reality that the Democratic party had full control of Senate, House and Presidncy for about 24 months, and for about 10 of those they also had a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate.

If they wanted to raise taxes, they could have done so.  They could done so 40 times if they did it weekly for those 10 months.

And yet, they didn't do it at all.  How very odd.

Was it perhaps because they feared losing the majority because the American people reject the idea?

Yes.  Now they would like to embed such a thing in a grand deal so they can dilute blame.  And obviously it has been rejected.

The bottom line being, they had literally months to increase taxes and didn't do it.  One can only conclude they are lying about a desire to do so.

Sat, 07/30/2011 - 22:49 | 1508812 PPagan
PPagan's picture

Yes, the Democrats are lily-livered cowards, who don't stand up for what they (say) they believe in. Doesn't mean they shouldn't have done it.

As to this appeal to "the American people"...have you noticed how everyone on both sides of the aisle seems to know what "the American people" think? Horseshit of course, there's no such thing.

In addition, public opinion is easily manipulated. Ask someone if they want to pay more taxes, they'll say no; ask them if they want to pay their fare share of the benefits they get from society, they'll say yes (with certain exceptions :))

Sat, 07/30/2011 - 22:58 | 1508834 hedgeless_horseman
hedgeless_horseman's picture

Good point.  They could have ended a war, or two, as well as closing GITMO and backing out of the Patriot Act.


Dream on!

Sat, 07/30/2011 - 23:33 | 1508919 Rodent Freikorps
Rodent Freikorps's picture

I'm holding out for world peace and cold fusion.

Sat, 07/30/2011 - 21:31 | 1508628 DoChenRollingBearing
DoChenRollingBearing's picture

Nice rant!  No junk from me!

But totally wrong.  The Income Tax is an abomination that invades our privacy.  You want an Income Tax?  Then make EVERYONE pay something.  Yes, let the poor feel the whip-sting of taxation, then maybe they will wise up.

A National Sales Tax would replace the Income Tax nicely.  15%.  18%  Whatever the correct number.  That would also encourage people to, you know, SAVE!  Stop spending so much, pay less tax!  What's not to like?

Oh, Big Government would not like it.  Too bad.

Sat, 07/30/2011 - 21:44 | 1508654 YC2
YC2's picture

I am not sure how taxing the paycheck to paycheck poor will make them richer.  They will consume the same amount, just get less in return and send more to the unproductive class in DC.  Those that consume the least consuming less seems like a rough place to put the burden.

I do think giing everyone a stake in things would be good for political participation, but I think taxation and government policy are very tenuously associated in most people minds.

Sat, 07/30/2011 - 21:56 | 1508683 DoChenRollingBearing
DoChenRollingBearing's picture


You do not have to tax them the same amount (perrcentages).  Tax them 2%.  But, the bulk of the poor will ALWAYS vote for whoever promises them the most.

They want an Income Tax?  Then they should pay some too.  And fill out the form.  And collect the receipts.  Why not?  Fair is fair.  Give them a taste that .gov is not so benign...

No representation without taxation!  <--- I am sure I did not invent that one.  Apologies to whoever did.

Sat, 07/30/2011 - 22:22 | 1508751 Rodent Freikorps
Rodent Freikorps's picture

Even if they don't pay anything, I think they still have to file to get the Earned Income Tax Credit welfare payment.

Sat, 07/30/2011 - 23:01 | 1508847 snowball777
snowball777's picture

Fighting the wars and doing the shit jobs isn't enough to grant them a vote?


Who do you think pays the bulk of the sales taxes, SS, and Medicare...they don't get out of that shit nor do they stop kicking in around June.

56% of all wage earners pay more in Social Security and Medicare taxes than they do income tax.

86% if you count the employee portion (which, if we're honest, comes off the top of their potential salary unless the business is run by a complete moron).

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 00:46 | 1509090 sun tzu
sun tzu's picture

The poor are all in Iraq and Afghanistan? Time to shut down HUD, medicaid, and section 8 housing. The military provides that for free.

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 01:28 | 1509183 DoChenRollingBearing
DoChenRollingBearing's picture

@ snowball777,

I did not say take away their right to vote (the poor).

I will accept your figures re the various taxes as I do not know them, and I have never seen you lie.

I STILL say, if we are to have an intrusive Income Tax, it should apply to EVERYONE.  YOU want an Income Tax, then pay up!  YOU want an Income Tax, then your poor cousin / housekeeper / McD employee / soldier, etc. has to pay it too.  No exceptions, everyone's privacy is at approximately equal risk...

YOU want ObamaCare (I am guessing you do), then force all the SEIU guys (esp. in Nevada) to be in that system too.  YOU want ObamaCare, then let Congress have it too!  YOU want ObamaCare, then NO EXCEPTIONS!

The Bearing rarely junks, so if it happens to you, it wasn't me, it was him!   --->

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 01:41 | 1509203 blunderdog
blunderdog's picture

This really should be a simple question: what would be that theoretical income tax rate for people with no income?

Would you want to just make 'em fill out the form and call it even or something?

(I have no argument with your idea, I'm just curious.  I don't care what's done with taxes.  No income tax sounds good to me.  Hell, just eliminate taxes and our government reps would all work for free.  And if no one would do the job, maybe it doesn't need doing.)

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 03:02 | 1509282 DoChenRollingBearing
DoChenRollingBearing's picture

No income, call it even.  No tax.  And if you all WANT the Income Tax, then step right up (inc. tax cheaters Tim Geithner).  But there are CHEATERS re the Income Tax.  

Hit us all re a National Sales Tax (of course ridding us of the odious Income Tax).  Transparent and after effects are obvious...

Fair and transparent would likely be a National Sales Tax.  We SEE how we are being taxed, that ould allow us to choose hoe we pay for government...

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 11:01 | 1509657 snowball777
snowball777's picture

Okay, let's clear some things up:

- the taxes already apply to everyone...$0 to $8500 -> 10% marginal rate

- what I think you mean is zero or negative tax liability...which applies to 32.6% of filers (not the "bottom 50%", many of whom DO pay taxes even beyond Medicare and SS)

- You forget that well-off people with sufficient lawyering can also incur zero or negative liability (just ask GE)

No, I don't want ObamaCare...I wanted single-payer with top-up insurance (similar to how things are set up in Switzerland) and was willing to have MY taxes raised to accomplish those ends.

I did not agree with the mandate even though I understand why full participation is a requirement for properly shared risk; people should be allowed to forego healthcare however dumb that may be as a life strategy.


Sat, 07/30/2011 - 22:24 | 1508754 PPagan
PPagan's picture

Taxes are the dues you pay for living in society.

Everyone should pay their fair share (of course, no easy task to decide what is fair).

And yes, there are a great many things the government spends on which I wish they wouldn't: most wars, $3000 toilet seats, election campaigns, corporate welfare, bank bailouts.

Unlike most people on ZH, I believe there are many good things government should do, things for the public good which should not be exploited for profit: highways, communication infrastructure, the military, the legal system, consumer protection, environmental protection, the social safety net, health care, education. Turning these functions over to the private sector is not appropriate: a large corporation has no morals, and is tasked only to maximize profit. the funtions I mention need to be done for their own sake, not for the sake of maiing as much money as possible. Of course I am also against governmental inefficiency, fraud and corruption in performing these functions. I believe a government can do a good job or a bad job in performing these functions. Sometimes I think Bush (W) did such an insanely bad job of governing just to turn people off government. And despite my hopes, Obama is failing to deliver on his promises of good government. But that does not mean it is not possible.

Not paying taxes is like being a dead-beat dad.

Sat, 07/30/2011 - 22:34 | 1508783 rambo1028
rambo1028's picture

I can't believe I am about to type this...but... for profit healthcare is an epic failure. I am a Ron Paul Republican/Libertarian and this is the only issue I cannot agree with him or the philosophy on. There has to be a better way than leaving millions without care and without the option of care. From where I sit, (almost low income) there is NO WAY I can afford a healthcare plan. I would gladly pay for a plan but they are all WAY out of my reach.

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 00:49 | 1509098 sun tzu
sun tzu's picture

Perhaps you haven't listened to Ron Paul on healthcare. Prices used to be low until the government got involved. One would be led to believe that healthcare didn't exist before medicare and medicaid. The US leads the world in medical technology. Do you think that might have a bit to do with profits?

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 06:01 | 1509361 Lord Koos
Lord Koos's picture

WTF, the high cost of health care has nothing to do with medicare, and a lot to do with private, for-profit medical centers and hospitals that are run to maximize shareholder profit as the #1 goal.  The goal is not to keep people healthy, it's to make as much money as possible.

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 11:04 | 1509665 snowball777
snowball777's picture

There is an abvious cost-shifting effect from seniors onto the less "entitled" medical service consumers,

but you're right that this also has a great deal to do with monopolization of healthcare and monetization of illness in general.

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 00:52 | 1509114 sun tzu
sun tzu's picture

The kings only required their serfs to pay a 10% tax for living in their kingdom. The US government takes 35% for income tax and 15.3% for payroll tax and you don't think it's enough. I forgot to add sales tax, state income tax, property tax etc 

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 11:08 | 1509671 snowball777
snowball777's picture

If they government "takes 35% for income tax", then why do effective rates paid range from 3% to 23% with an average of 12.24%, skippy?


Sun, 07/31/2011 - 14:30 | 1510155 Prometheus418
Prometheus418's picture

Two things:

First, no one- not even the government- pays $3000 for a toilet seat.  Well, maybe some oil-country kings, but that's on them.  Those stupid numbers are just funds being diverted into black-bag projects.  Anyhow, that's just nitpicking.

The second point is more interesting.  About 10 years ago, I got a letter from the city council in the town I lived in.  It was absolute brilliance, politically speaking.  I've always been a fiscal conservative, and really against taxation above and beyond the absolute minimum, and so are many others in my area.

So, someone had a great idea, and it was the best answer I ever saw to complaining about taxes.  They sent out a survey.  The first page was a list of all revenue and expenditures, and the second page was a list of services with costs and checkboxes.  Any voting citizen of the city could check the boxes for the services they no longer wished to pay taxes to support.  It wasn't an opt-out, but more in the nature of a ballot.  

So, I excitedly picked up my pen, and prepared to check off boxes like a madman- until I started to read the items.  Turns out, I was only against $1000 for flowers on Main Street (sounds like something the businesses should do, if they want them.)  Never bitched about local taxes again.  The parks stayed open, and they continued to treat the sewage and plow the roads, so I guess I wasn't the only one who decided not to cut the town's throat.

Now to be fair, I still do rant about the Federal taxes- they're out of line, and I get very little in return for them.  Why not move back towards what the Founding Fathers intended, and keep the things at the local level, where you can actually see and use the services?  Federal government could treat each county the way the city treated it's citizens (IE, like adults with a say in the matter) and the local residents could line item veto portions of the Federal request for funds through local referendum before their city or county sent the check.

I don't actually believe that even the most conservative people are interested in burning the country down and yelling F-you, I got mine, Jack.  We complain and protest because we have no voice, and no participation- and that was not the deal.  I'll vote to fund the military, coinage of money, interstate trade regulation, etc.  I won't vote to support funds for bridges in Alaska, community centers in Chicago, farm subsities in Iowa, or school lunches in Mississippi- the people who actually live there need to do those things.

Sat, 07/30/2011 - 22:31 | 1508764 PPagan
PPagan's picture

Sorry duplicate post.

Sat, 07/30/2011 - 22:27 | 1508766 rambo1028
rambo1028's picture

Sounds good to me... I consume next to nothing so my tax would still stay exactly where it is at. ZERO. But thats just me bc I learned early about living within my means. Which means no flat screen, 12 year old couch, 50+ year old bedroom set.... I think it's only fair that my counterparts down here who think new furniture every few years and big SUVs are within their means pay taxes. It might actually help wise them up. Open their eyes to what's going on in the world around them and maybe even help them remember some core values, like taking care of the things you buy instead of everything being constantly replaced.

Sat, 07/30/2011 - 21:35 | 1508632's picture

The mindless, self-satisfied, stone-hearted excuse for a human who panders this crap is an example of the kind of twisted personality who will end up taking this whole beautiful world with them into oblivion.

It's the statists, Red, Blue and otherwise who are determined to drag the world into oblivion. Despite what you might have been told, freedom is actually free. It's the lies and misdirection of government that cost a pretty penny.

Free your mind; your ass will follow.

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