28 thoughts on “Happy Pay It Forward Day

  1. Momkat says:

    A wise man in our not too distant past said, “I don’t mind paying taxes; it buys me civility.” My sentiments exactly.

  2. Newt says:

    Joe’s forebearers would have been lifted out of poverty 48 months sooner if New Deal spending and make-work projects hadn’t held them down.

  3. Dennis Lang says:

    Beautiful! My dad was also an independent businessman. I often wondered if his maturing years during the Depression contributed to his positive outlook on paying taxes. He seemed to find some genuine virtue in it. Of course paying in more the more he earned: ” I guess we’re doing something right.” he would say.

  4. 108 says:

    The Oliver Wendel Holmes quote is, “I like to pay taxes. With them I buy civilization.”

    That’s true. We buy civilization with taxes.

    Paying it forward – karma – good will – reciprocity – is in know way related to paying taxes however. That’s a conflation.

  5. Joe Loveland says:

    Paying taxes isn’t voluntary paying forwardness, it’s true. But expressing support for current or higher taxes on yourself is a voluntary act, and millions of Americans do that every year…in the spirt of paying it forward. Not all, but lots.

  6. Joe Loveland says:

    Citizen journalism update….Huffington Post, just posted this:

    Tax Day is tomorrow, April 15. With all the new initiatives going forward, including the health care bill, there are sure to be Tea Party Tax Day Protests in response. We need you to be inside the crowd taking photos and video, jotting observations, and using Twitter to give HuffPost readers the on-the-ground coverage of the Tea Party protests.

    It’s a new day in journalism.

  7. Newt says:

    What boggles the mind when reading all this is the complete avoidance of tax justification. That is to ask, Why do we tax at the levels we do?

    No one here is honest with themselves about basic questions: Are taxes for provision of government services, or to penalize or reward behaviors, achievement, constituent groups?

    To gleefully write checks to the IRS and proclaim yourself a patriot seems, quite honestly, retarded if you haven’t bothered to answer these questions.

    1. Joe Loveland says:

      Mr. Newt, taxes are for financing the provision of government services. Differential tax rates are to a) account for differences in ability to pay and b) reward behavior that the democratic majority supports, such as home ownership. My opinion: Presenting your position through name-calling — “retarded,” “facile-minded,” etc. — doesn’t strengthen your argument.

  8. Newt says:

    Joe – So i just listened to a caller on the radio who pays $0 in federal income tax and $0 in state tax (8 kids, stay at-home dad). This guy receives an $8,000 federal check and a $5,000 income credit check from the MN Treasury.

    Under what category do you classify this use of taxation, other than to “reward behavior that the Democrat majority supports”?

    (And yes, I used a big D on purpose.)

    1. Dennis Lang says:

      Of course none of us know the story behind this “guy” Mr./Ms. Newt. What do you think? Should he be exiled to Siberia? Clearly he is unfit as a ward of the state isn’t he? Why should his gross irresponsibility be your responsibility when presumably you’re doing just fine?

    2. Joe Loveland says:

      I personally believe everything I hear on talk radio, so I’ll accept the story at face value for the purposes of discussion.

      The Dad is getting rather than receiving because his eight kids would be living in deeper poverty if he paid income taxes. I share the frustration with the decision of this guy to parent eight kids without the the means to support them, but I oppose tax changes that would punish the innocent victims in the scenario, the kids.

      By the way, someone once called the Earned Income Tax Credit that makes scenarios like this possible “the best anti-poverty, the best pro-family, the best job creation measure to come out of Congress.” His name was Ronald Reagan.

      1. Mike Kennedy says:

        Yeah, Joe, you are right about the EIT credit.

        And most economists favor giving money directly to people, like the earned income tax credit does, as opposed to fooling with price mechanisms like minimum wage and rents and farm subsidies and all the programs we have of that ilk.

        If we as a society want to help people, let’s give them money directly instead of trying to mess with market pricing mechanisms.

        What is debatable, though, is the level of taxation. Many people are beginning to feel it is getting to the point of being too high — including federal income tax, state tax, payroll taxes, gas taxes, sales taxes and many other taxes.

        Just what is your definition of middle class because I think you’ll find it’s changed. It’s no longer the $75k that Al Gore talked about. The middle class has moved up.

        The liberal myth of the middle class shrinking turns out not to be a myth at all. It turns out that the middle class is moving up in income so we may have to redefine what it now means to be middle class. Those making $100k used to be considered well off. Now, well, they may be considered middle class.

      2. Joe Loveland says:

        Re: “Just what is your definition of middle class…”

        The statistic cited below is that “the median family’s federal income taxes will equal just 4.6 percent of its income in 2009.” Those with income at the median – the middle value in a distribution – certainly are middle class. And I don’t think 4.6% of income is too much to ask of them.

        Frankly a lot of folks self-identify as middle class when statistically they’re in the top quintile, which relatively speaking should reasonably be considered upper class. My guess is that there has never been a time in American history when the upper quintile wasn’t feeling like they were paying too much in taxes.

      3. Mike Kennedy says:

        There are so many problems with the definition of the median income as the middle class that I barely know where to begin.

        First, they include the very young who aren’t earning much and the elderly — in the same boat. Second, the data reports income for households and not individuals and third, it does not adjust for family size. Weight the data according to people in the prime earning years and adjust for individuals and family size and you have a decline in the under $35k group of -1.7 between 1980 and 2008. You have a decline of -12.1 percent in the $35k to $70k group, a decline of -0.5 percent in the $70k to $105k and an INCREASE of +14.2 percent in the $105k plus income category.

        All this is wonderfully chronicled in the new book “Rebound. Why America Will Emerge Stronger From the Financial Crisis.”

        The interesting thing is that it was written by Stephen J. Rose, a liberal economist, Georgetown professor and and former senior advisor to Robert Reich. It is a book that will make you think about all the claims the middle class is shrinking.

        This might help explain why working folks think their taxes are too high — it’s because their incomes are higher. In our progressive tax system, the more you make, the more you pay.

    3. Ellen Mrja says:

      I doubt that the Democratic majority (whomever they are) would support irresponsible breeding. Do you?

  9. Newt says:

    No sense in quibbling over this guy’s circumstance. He did say that he chose to be at home and live frugally.

    What’s unavoidable is the fact that 47% of Americans pay no federal income tax, that taxation is used by the incumbency class of politicians as a wealth transfer mechanism.

    The thing liberals have to be careful of is snuffing out the shrinking productive class, or scaring them off.

    I know of no human who exists for the purpose of supporting the state – neither here, Sweden, Cuba nor the former USSR.

    1. Joe Loveland says:

      The NYT Times piece PM shared noted that, according to the non-partisan CBO, “about 10 percent of all households pay no net federal taxes” and “about three-quarters of all American households pay more in payroll taxes, which go toward Medicare and Social Security, than in income taxes.”

  10. Joe Loveland says:

    And why exactly are Tea Partier’s protesting today? Well, because taxes are so ungodly high on middle class families under the socialist Obama!!!!

    Reality check from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities:

    …the median family’s federal income taxes will equal just 4.6 percent of its income in 2009. That is lower than in any year since 1955 (the first year for which these data are available) except for 2008, when another stimulus-related tax cut was in effect.”

      1. Joe Loveland says:

        Newt, is it your sense that Tea Partiers are a) rich people who are getting screwed tax-wise and therefore are are justifiably outraged or b) middle class people who have the lowest taxes since 1955 and therefore are delusional about getting screwed?

      2. PM says:

        Newt–freeloader means that they pay no taxes at all, yet you are referring only to those who pay no federal INCOME tax–you are comparing apples and oranges to make a BS point.

        The percentage of people who pay no federal taxes at all ( ie, those who MIGHT concievably be called “freeloaders”, even though they are still paying all sorts of taxes, such as state taxes, property taxes, gas taxes and sales taxes, etc.) is around 10%, and, obviously, the number of people who pay no taxes at all would be miniscule (who do you know, besides children, who never pay sales taxes or gas taxes, for example?).

        This whole 47% number is crap, and you know it. the rest of us also know that you are engaging in total BS when you keep repeating that meaningless statistic. Show some intellectual honesty, and drop that stupid point.

  11. Newt says:

    Sorry PM – half the nation pays federal income tax, PLUS all the other taxes you referenced.

    Joe, Tea Partiers are those upset that federal deficit at the end of 2020 will be more than 100 percent of GDP.

    It doesn’t matter who pays the taxes when 100% of the nation’s output goes to paying the national credit card – so I guess that makes them racist and unreasonable.

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