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Liberals Pine for China's Top-Down Society

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

Kenneth416 wrote: While I will not be affected by the increase in the marginal rate of taxation of salaries and wages from the current 35% to 39.6% (as under the Clinton-era), I doubt that it will have a serious effect on the behavior of the highest earners. Note that, for a high earner who earns $1M, the additional income tax will be only $46,000, less than the cost of the luxury Mercedes or Lexus he or she drives (and which is probably provided by his/her employer, anyway). The real bite comes in the tax on Dividends and Cap Gains, where the majority of super-rich derive their income (e.g., Buffett, Gates, et al)- World Begins to Heal with Taxes on Rich January 1st


Dear Comrade Ken,

Well I’m sure surprised that a LIBERAL like you wouldn’t be concerned with the “fairness” of raising taxes on someone who isn’t you. Glad to hear you won’t be affected, therefore it’s unimportant.

I’m surprised the Democrats haven’t nominated you for Congress yet. 

I’m also terribly surprised that you aren’t voluntarily writing out a check to the US Treasury as a patriotic act like all the other liberals are.

And you are right. For a guy or girl earning a million bucks, they aren’t gonna miss it. The people who are gonna miss it are the 10,000 workers at the Tuscaloosa, Alabama Mercedes plant who depend upon luxury car sales in order to feed their families.

The $46,000 that you casually dismiss as of no importance to you, your liberal friends and the millionaires, is also being dismissed from the private economy.

That’s where the jobs that count are created.

And if government employment and government spending passed as wealth Obama would have made us rich already. But the opposite is true.      

Canetoad wrote: Let's see, Corporate tax receipts as a share of profits are at their lowest rate in forty years. Somethings got to give and it shouldn't be the middle class.- World Begins to Heal with Taxes on Rich January 1st

Dear Comrade Mr. Toad,

Did I ever tell you how much I loved your Wild Ride at Disney when I was a kid?

I really did.

You are on to something here. Of course, you’re liberal and the fact that you have a point is accidental and unintentional.

But you have made an effective case why tax rates on corporations should be lower, rather than higher.

It’s true that corporate tax receipts as a percentage of GDP are smaller than they used to be. But the graph from ThinkProgress that you are likely talking about shows 2009 numbers. That was the height of the recession- fair enough- but then they go on to say that profits are at a record high today.

That’s not quite an apples to apples comparison; not even apples to bananas. It’s more like apples to onions. Profits for today can’t be compared to tax receipts for 2009.  


Now if you are talking about the report from February that’s shows corporate taxes at a 12.1 percent effective rate, that’s all Obama and the stimulus bill that he and the Democrats championed:

From Time Magazine:

The story is complicated, but the biggest factor in the recent collapse in corporate tax receipts appears to be a set of tax breaks built into recent stimulus efforts.

In 2010 and 2011, companies were allowed to deduct the full cost of the purchases of new equipment, while normally these costs would be expensed over several years. In 2012, this deduction will go down to 50% and be eliminated altogether thereafter, causing the effective tax rate to return to roughly the 25.6% average effective tax rate corporations paid since the late 1980s, according to CBO forecasts.

When conservatives accused Obama and the Democrats of using pork barrel politics with the stimulus, we weren’t kidding.  

"The fifth and most recent economic stimulus act impacting section 179 is H.R. 4853," says the IRS, "otherwise known as the 'Tax Relief Act of 2010'. This Act extended and expanded the Bonus Depreciation available to businesses spending more than $2 million on capital equipment to write-off 100% of the cost."

It was better known as the "Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, Job Creation Act."
And it was signed as the Democrats were set to give up the US House in December of 2010.

Still it shouldn’t surprise us, generally, that corporate tax receipts used to be higher. There were barriers to companies domiciled in the USA doing business overseas in the 1960s, like transportation costs, that don’t exist today.

We live in a globally-competitive world where persons and corporations can choose to relocate to countries where the tax rates are lower with very low costs to do so, comparatively speaking.

The solution is to offer a tax rates on paper that are competitive with what other countries offer. It is better that corporations find it easier to stay here, and pay a reasonable tax rate, then to relocate offshore and pay lower taxes.


And yes, tax reform should get rid of loopholes that benefit select groups.

That said, higher corporate tax receipts as a percentage of GDP doesn’t indicate relative health of an economy.

Italy and France are amongst the top ten in tax collection as a percentage of GDP, and they stink. Economically.        

UpwithRomney wrote: Here we see another example of conservatives refusing to acknowledge reality. If you look how far China has come economically, you cannot just dismiss what they are doing or how they are doing right.- GE’s Immelt: The Damndest Scoundrel and the Damndest Fool

Dear Comrade Up,

And you just can’t dismiss that still peasants in the rural countryside in China make $3 a day, while metro-dwellers make $30,000 a year.

You guys cry “income inequality” here in the US and openly admire China, but come on?

Who are you trying to fool?

What you really admire is that China has a command economy that is run by a small group of elitists who are responsible to themselves only.

That’s Obama’s and the Democrats’ great dream, come true.     

Gungy wrote: What would Dean Rusk, an old style Democrat, who fought Communism all his life say if he was around today and saw it find a warm welcome on our shores? "The theory of communism can be summed up in one short sentence--Abolish all private property"--Karl Marx. That is what Immelt is calling for (excepting his property and that of our Communist overlords)."Communism is the death of the soul. It is the organization of total conformity - in short, of tyranny - and it is committed to making tyranny universal."--Adlai Stevenson. Would he be a Democrat today when Democrat Party and Communist Party have become nearly synonymous?

Ransom, what you didn't mention unless I missed it, is that GE pays NO taxes. In fact the government gives them money back. He is a scoundrel but not a fool. ­-GE’s Immelt: The Damndest Scoundrel and the Damndest Fool

Dear Gungy,

No, Stevenson would not be a Democrat, nor would Truman, nor would John Kennedy.


You didn’t miss in the article that GE pays no taxes: 1) I don’t care that they don’t pay taxes if they are doing it legally and 2) I can’t always say everything I want in every column. I have to stick to the topic at hand. That means I cut points for clarity that I would like to include. I mention this only because people often say “You forgot to mention….” Sometimes I forget, mostly though it’s deliberate.

After all, I have to keep something in reserve for you guys to post about.

And yes, Immelt is a fool. Guys invited to that banquet, like he’s been, usually end up footing the bill.        

Big_D_ wrote: With you all the way....up to your fixation with the dam Buckeyes. What's the point of mixing sports and college allegiances with important stuff like RTW?- Hail, Hail Michigan

Dear D,

You might notice that I often employ humor in my column. Sometimes is has a moral and sometimes it’s just gratuitous.

The Hail, Hail Michigan title set it up perfectly.

And in the case of the University of Michigan, the humor is highly moral: You should always rag on a Wolverine if you get the chance.

My dad told me that the day before he died.


I’ll never forget it.

Supercarp wrote:  It's true that unions have outlived a lot of their usefulness. They got too strong for their own good and contributed to their own demise. On the other hand, some company managers can't lead a company, yet are compensated so handsomely it's unbelievable. Management is removed from the workers in today’s companies in that they never worked alongside them; they got a business degree and went directly into management. I think this is the main reason for all the poor management there is in companies. They also don't care much about the safety of the workers; They are far removed from it. They follow the letter of the law, no more. - Hail, Hail Michigan

Dear Comrade Carp,

Some comments are so stupid that they need to stand on their own, like art for art’s sake, with no commentary from me.



FletchforFreedom wrote: John, for once I am disappointed. You have been far too generous to unions. You failed to note that capitalism has been solely responsible for the improvement in compensation, worker safety and prosperity (including the end of child labor) - a trend dating back to the very beginning of the Industrial Revolution before unions could have had anything to do with it). Nor did you mention the Vedder & Gallaway study showing that unions have, conservatively, cost the US economy some $50 trillion that would otherwise have been available to do things like compensate workers. Unions are demonstrably an economic disaster. - Hail, Hail Michigan

Dear Fletch,

Duly noted. Please consider your comment as an amendment to my earlier column. You may now resume your JD Powers-level satisfaction with me.

MorganDog wrote: you have obviously never negotiated a contract with an employer. If you think that you could go to your boss and negotiate work terms and rules with them, you are sadly mistaken and not very well informed. He would eat you up and spit you out. You probably would leave the room making less money per year and with fewer,if any, benefits. The reason collective bargaining works is because of numbers. The more people you have bargaining, the easier it is to come to an agreement. A labor contract protects you from your employers' natural greed and firing you because he does not like you for whatever reason. - Hail, Hail Michigan

Dear Comrade Dog,

I negotiate a contract with my employer every day that I show up for work- which is every day.

Here’s the deal: I work hard and provide the best work product that I can. My employer pays me an agreed-upon amount on time.

If I don’t like it, I find another employer. If my employer doesn’t like me he finds another employee to replace me.

My employer is greedy- thank you employer because your greed keeps me employed. But I am greedy too. Thus all things are happy. In our mutual greed, we find success.


Ericynot wrote: I always figured that, if given enough time, Ransom would get around to the subject of glory holes :) - Finally, My Views on Gold

Dear Comrade Eric,

I’ve seen some really dumb comments, but this one is one of the dumbest. There are some comments that are so dumb that they deserve further mention, kind of like when a judge lectures a felon at the sentencing.

Look, I don’t mind potty humor- I’m immature so I kind of enjoy it. But humor has to have some relevance, otherwise it’s just crass and rude.

But I always figured that, if given enough time, you would get around to crass and rude.


Thegoshdarnlibreal wrote: Using gold to support your diatribe against the left shows your readers to be dreamers and pie in the sky faithful who refuse to accept any responsibility for their condition because God did it all and who are we to challenge it. - Finally, My Views on Gold

Dear Comrade Gosh,

I know. I’m terrible.

I’m manipulating gold for my own petty partisan purposes.

Charge me with a hate crime. Or better yet, accuse me of not being patriotic.

Or here’s an idea: call me racist, or greedy. Tie me somehow to work for the Koch Brothers, or accuse me of profiting on an offshore deal.

Talk about how I’m just a rich, Wall Street Republican who manipulates gold and rhetoric to protect corporations and wage a war on women.

I think I have just about exhausted the current stable of Democrat talking points.

What have I missed?    

Doctor Roy wrote: I think he meant the 79 protons bound together in the nucleus of the gold atom. - Finally, My Views on Gold

Dear Comrade Doctor,

My bad. 79 protons, not atoms. You are correct.

McBurg Larry wrote: What constitutes a collision of neutron stars? Wouldn't a direct collision produce a black hole? A near miss might tear off plasma from their surfaces through a combination of tidal forces and angular momentum. Even that type of event would be too rare (except maybe in a galactic core) to account for the relative abundance of gold on planet earth. Sorry to burst your bubble, John. - Finally, My Views on Gold


Dear Comrade Larry,

I have no bubble to burst. What I wrote was merely speculative, as I said in the column. There is no consensus on how gold was created.

I hate to burst your reading comprehension.

Here; mouth the words this time:

Even today, scientists still do not agree how gold was created. 

They do know that it would have taken a force with both extreme temperature and extreme gravity in order to combine the basic hydrogen and helium atoms found in nature to create gold.

Some scientists theorize that a massive supernova- the explosion of a large star- would have been enough to create gold. Others say that the force and heat of a supernova would have been inadequate to create gold. Rather, they insist, it must have been the collision of two neutron stars that created gold.

That’s it for this week.



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