Long-Shot Initiative Would Impose Income Tax on the 1 Percent

Comments

1
If there are loopholes that allow that figure of 1 million a year to be lowered to 500,000? or even 250,000? If so, theres no way voters will approve it.

It needs to be iron clad, 1 million or more, with no possible way to lower it. Half of the conservatives out there will scream about how its only a matter of time before its lowered to people making 50k to 100k a year.
2
Cool.

Of course, this preserves the tax giveaways that rich people get (AGI).

Still, better than the current insanity.
3
@1 Exactly. I'm convinced that 1098 failed because the opposition successfully played on people's fears that the legislature would eventually pass the tax on to lower income brackets. Remove any ambiguity and the idea of raising taxes on the richest Washingtonians has widespread support.
4
where can we sign this?
5
@1, 3:

NEW SECTION. Sec. 203. ABSOLUTE TAX THRESHOLD. It is the mandate of this act that in no event may excise tax be imposed upon adjusted gross income below one million dollars. No provisions of this chapter shall allow the imposition of tax upon adjusted gross income below one million dollars.


I think that covers it.
6
A delightfully long shot I must say. Tax fairness should be adjusted at the federal level with capital gains, not by a patchwork of state laws.
7
@1 That is impossible. Even if we put it in the Constitution it could still be lowered.

The fact is that any attempt to expand it would be met with a referendum were people could vote.
8
@7 by a constitutional amendment or another initiative.

But on a gut level, I have to agree that the hard floor must be 1 million dollars in earnings (AGI allows us to make it simple, flawed as it is).

Anything lower creates "exceptions" where people don't like it.

This also allows families with a stay at home dad and a multi-million breadwinner mom and five kids to be taxed appropriately. Since it is a surtax only on the money earned after the first million.
9
@1, 3, 5

Yeah! Because a million dollars earning is the cutoff at which we can revoke a persons property rights, damn it! Not $250,000 or $500,000, but 1 million, and then they have no damn right to their own money at all!

Keep telling yourself whatever helps, but 1098 was beaten on basic issues of fairness. Simply being successful isn't itself an obligation to foot the bill for government for everyone else. You know, the everyone else who actually uses the services the successful don't, but are asked to pay for.

Seriously, do you folks have any moral compass at all? Of any kind?

@6

I agree completely. Every citizen above poverty level pays precisely the same tax regardless of income. Since we all use government services theoretically equally (though in fact the non-taxpaying use the lions share of those services they don't pay for) it's the only fair system.

That WAS what you meant, right?
10
@9, taxation is theft? Who are you, Ron Paul's less charismatic younger brother?
11
@10

Taxation per se? No, of course not. You may not like the military, but it protects you the same as it does me. I may not like Social Security, AFDC and all the other nanny state bs, but theoretically if I were lazy and shiftless I could benefit just as any other citizen could.

Taxation leveled at successful people not because they consume more government services, or have more rights than their fellow citizens or for any rational reason, but just out of envy and malice? Yeah, that's theft.
12
Will any state legislators sign this and say that they have? A list should be started, questions asked, and pressure applied.
13
SB, if you ever manage to make $1 million a year, I'm sure you'll have more important things to worry about.

Heh. Like that's ever gonna happen.
14
@5

It better stand up to scrutiny. Because if it doesnt, then the same BS that occured during I-1098 will happen again. Every conservative forum will simply parrot the fact that its only a matter of time before its lowered to tax people above 250k, then 100k, etc, etc.
15
Actually, that was a poor analogy.

Taxation that provides for the services required of the federal government by the Constitution isn't theft. The military is a clear example of such a duty.

Taxation that takes my money for the ease and comfort of another citizen isn't constitutional, and is theft. So AFDC and Social Security aren't good examples. Sorry.
16
I'm already for this, if only because it's making Seattleblues have a meltdown.

Seriously, is there nowhere online that we can sign it?
17
@13

You're absolutely right. Unlike Will in Seattle, who dabbles in currency markets, derivatives and holds massive shares portfolios (by his own account) I'm middle class and unlikely to change in that regard. I have neither the ambition nor, frankly, the ability to become one of the top economic tier in this country.

I have yet to dispute a contract in court with a client or vendor. Should I therefore not care whether the courts have a predictable and fair system for dealing with such disputes? I have yet to have anything stolen from my home, but I still strangely think someone doing so should be prosecuted. I haven't and won't cheat on my wife, but I still hold adultery to be wrong. Taking a moral position doesn't require the person to have an immediate personal stake in the issue.

1098 failed because it was patently unfair, and seen to be so by a majority of Washington voters. So will this bit of brigandage, no matter what the far left whack jobs at the Stranger want.
18
@SB - Take a look at what this particular tax is funding: public school education and health care services. Please explain to me how those are "for the ease and comfort" and not the "basic necessities" of citizens.

If you educate and care for those less fortunate than yourself, then maybe they won't require other social services the government steals your money to fund, like unemployment, homeless shelters, prisons...
19
Will the mayor sign it?
20
"Revoke a person's property rights," Sb? Seriously? Have you been listening to the LaRouche people or something? Or are you an anarchist now?

I mean, I'm not even going to get into arguing about your weird classist fantasy world in which the vast majority of government spending somehow doesn't end up enriching the already wealthy. I just want to know how you expect to finance your wars without taxes, since you seem to think they're illegal, or at least immoral.
21
@20

How else would you define it? According to those writing here, any income a person makes above a million a year is to kept by them at the discretion of the majority of citizens, not at their own. If that isn't a revocation of property rights, what the hell is?

I don't personally have any wars. The United States government, in my view unwisely, engaged in one within it's lawful authority in Iraq, but I personally have no wars. The United States government, in my view with some justification but still unwisely engaged in one in Afganistan, again lawfully and within Constitutional authority, but I have no personal wars.

You misread what I wrote. A military, a judicial system, providing for interstate commerce and some other things are within Federal purview. Feeding people who refuse to earn their own bread? Not so much. Providing a retirement for the profligate who refuse to consider next month, never mind a few decades from now? Again, not really. Providing health care, housing, a college education, clothing, job training and all the other extra-constitutional bs from FDR on? Not at all.
22
@SB - I find the income gap to be patently unfair and morally wrong. We as a species can only survive in community, which means it is in the best interest of those with a wealth of resources to share some of those resources with those who don't have anything.

When you say you're against taxation for social services (unless, by your twisted logic, it's mandated at the federal/constitutional level), you're really saying, "It's cool if everyone else dies. Not my problem." But it is your problem, unless you're a doctor/blacksmith/mechanic/farmer and can provide for yourself indefinitely given no outside assistance.

Also, declaring that the poor "refuse to earn their own bread" is foolish and untrue. Yes, there are people who abuse the system, and I'm with you on despising them. But there are a whole slew of other people who, despite working, struggle to make ends meet, and turn to food banks and free health clinics because simple things like groceries and wellness exams would cut into money needed for rent and utilities.

Thank your preferred higher power that you've never been poor, because I don't think you could handle it.
23
@9 go sign up and do two tours of Afghanistan.

God, you wanna-bes are so whiny.
24
oh, and @17 never said I dabbled in currency markets, unless you count holding accounts in multiple currencies or selling puts or buying/selling calls on options.

But then I'm 50 percent LTV on my house, "comrade". And still saving 22 percent of my income.
25
HB2100, an asset tax, is already in the legislature.

It is more fair than an income tax.
26
HB2100:

http://apps.leg.wa.gov/documents/billdoc…

Exempts: the first 1M in assets

Taxes: Financial and intellectual property

Hated By: Poor little rich boys and girls at SLOG who want to feast of the work of the productive classes while inheriting a fat trust fund gratis.

27
I don't know about either unfair or morally wrong, but from what I can gather the income inequality in this country is a threat to our long term financial viability. Henry Ford made about 40 times what his factory floor workers did. The head of GE makes about 400 times (10 years ago, God knows what it is now) what their rank and file workers do.

From there to the determination that the income a person makes is at the discretion of Federal or state governments is a leap I can't make with you though.

I can shop at local hardware and lumber stores, rather than Depot or Lowes and I do. I can buy my clothes and food and other consumable goods at local vendors rather than Walmart or Target (which have poor quality anyway) and do. I can choose charities and business vendors on the basis of how they structure their management salaries as well as by what they do or sell, and I do.

But these business models aren't a moral issues, but a practical ones. Were enough people to indicate that they consider it immoral by not shopping at Walmart or buying from vendors they find morally objectionable, I can gaurantee you that they'll change for the practical reasons. We can and should as consumers address the growing income inequality in this country. I just don't think the government the actor best suited or best from a standpoint of basic liberty to do so.
28
#27

There is no morality to an income tax. It's inherently unfair.

An asset tax is inherently fair because it taxes according to the burden the individual places on society.

29
@28

"An asset tax is inherently fair because it taxes according to the burden the individual places on society."

How?

A wealthy person with 2 homes and a business is a net gain for his or her government. They produce jobs in the construction and maintanance of their homes and vehicles. They don't use any of the social services, and if they make enough they can't collect social security either. Their homes are protected by the police and fire departments, sure. But so is the poorest resident of the Ranier Valley. Their children get, or would if they aren't privately educated, an education at the expense of taxpayers, but so does that same Ranier Valley denizen. Their national security is protected, as is that of any citizen. Their bank account is protected, up to a certain amount, which is more than you can say for the poor whose entire accounts are protected by FDIC.

And now for the poor, who far from paying taxes are paid for their citizenship. They consume social services and food stamps and assistance with college and housing and so on and on and on. National or local security costs no more for them than their more affluent fellows, but it costs no less either. They drive on the same roads, have their kids educated, fed clothed and provided medical care on the taxpayers dime.

So how exactly is the wealthy person placing this onerous burden on the taxpayer again?
30
@26 Do you really think that most of the Stranger staffers and/or most of us commenters come from rich backgrounds and have trust funds, or is that just a knee-jerk straw man you keep coming back to?
31
#29

Most of the "work" of government is not cleaning the streets or unclogging sewers.

The "hidden" work of Government is protection.

Government protects property.
It protects money.
It creates a stable currency with agreed upon value.
It works to organize financial valuations, and ownership.
It assigns and enforces intellectual property.

It also fights wars, mostly to protect the rights associated with property and ownership.

Hence, those protection services should be paid for in proportion to the total assets held.

It is market driven, and the principle of yearly real estate tax is already established. Hence, HB2100 extends it to all forms of property that government protects.
32
#30

I think all this tax of "income taxes on the rich" is gigantic red herring to keep people from honing in on the real way to settle things...an asset tax (see my argument to #29).

So, to the extent that SLOG refuses to promote an asset tax, and will only feature an income tax, when the asset tax, HB2100, is ready and waiting for support, I have to say, I'm puzzled.
33
@31

Well, if you want to go back to basics, sure.

Government creates a stable environment in which individuals can conduct personal or financial business. It creates, as the saying goes, the playing field.

And anyone can avail themselves of that environment, or not, as they see fit. That some choose not to do so doesn't lay on obligation to pay for government on those who do.

At any rate, Joe Sixpack can buy his sixpack and watch TV all night in his rented apartment because his more industrious neighbor started and built the business that employs him and is sitting in his office trying to keep the thing afloat in these tough times. To that extent Joe benefits from the financial environment you describe as much as his employer. More, since Joe couldn't survive without a job someone else created, and the business builder has proven he can create a job not just for himself but for Joe as well.
34
@17: Yeah! You don't need to have a personal stake in an issue to stand up for what's right! That's why even though you have no desire to get gay married, you stand up for those who do. OH WAIT.
@21: The Federal, State, and Municipal governments have the right to levy taxes as they see fit (within the confines of the various constitutions). This is not giving them some new right to tax income over a million; it is solely exercising the right to tax.
Also, the Elastic Clause covers the stuff you whine about. Don't like the Elastic Clause? Too bad! You don't write the law of the land.

Oh wait, now the thread is devolving into a war between Seattleblues and SRotU. Anyone got popcorn?
35
@34

'Right' and gay marriage equated? How interesting a use of that word!

Well, no more novel and humorous than using words like wholesome or good to describe the execrable, and without hyperbole even evil, Dan Savage I guess. Really, before you use the language in this unorthodox way, you should warn people. Choking on the coffee running through my nose after the helpless laughter your language inspires could be dangerous.

As for the Elastic Clause, we've been over this. It grants some limited latitude within the spelled out limits of the language of the Constitution, sure. It's hardly the absolute grant of federal power you and the left generally seem to think it though. Biology may be your bag, I don't know. But law certainly isn't.

I never have questioned the right to a fair and equal tax on citizens to pay for the lawful activities of their government. Taxes aimed at some citizens for the sole benefit of others, picking one mans pocket to buy anothers bread? That isn't taxation, it's extortion.
36
@35: Your opposition to gay marriage is based on wholly-unsubstantiated fears of societal collapse and a teleological view of human biology. You may go now.
The Elastic Clause clearly allows for the social safety net. From Article 1, Section 8 of the US Constitution: "The Congress shall have Power To...provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States...To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof." The "general Welfare" of the country includes the well-being of its citizens, does it not? Explain to me where I am wrong and you are right. WITH FACTS.
The government is not taking the money of some to give it to others. Everyone pays in; everyone has the opportunity to collect benefits. Would you describe insurance as stealing from the healthy to give to the sick?
37
Why do you Washingtonians always WAIT UNTIL THE FINAL MINUTE TO GET OFF YOUR BEHINDS TO DO SOMETHING LIKE THIS???(No wonder most persons around here aren't poliitcally active enough!Pfft!!!)
38
I understand the drive to argue about this issue, I really do. However, it is pointless. Those who oppose this intitiative simply have an inherent and fundamental absence of compassion for those for whom this initiative aims to support. The opposition of this intitiative does not give a shit about the health of the poor, or the education of the poor's children. They like it this way- the poor stay poor and the rich get rich. They would run over a homeless person with their SUV if they could get away with it. The same with all these issues- gay marriage, for example- Those who oppose gay marriage are just idiots. There is no reasoning with them. So let's stop wasting our breath attempting to reason with brick walls and focus on the actions that will bring about the change we know that we need. This brings me to why I clicked on this thread in the first place:
Where the hell can I sign this petition? I've only found places to READ ABOUT this thing, where can I SIGN IT?!?
39
It isn't possible to get that many sigs in such a short time and I have no idea why they even started with only 3 weeks to get them, that's a wasted effort and demoralizing to those who get involved. I got the petition on Dec 25 just days before the effort was deadlined. There is no website! Why wasn't this started in the new year like every other initiative? Where is Amy Hagopian's groups spokespersons effort to answer the questions posted. It's like they all go unanswered and this is the only link to the issue if googled. Nothing else! Pathetic.