As a Well-Off Tech Worker, I Want to Be Taxed on My Wealth

Comments

1

cool story, tech bro with beard.

2

You can always write a check payable to the United States Treasury if you feel insufficiently taxed.

3

@2 Dimwitted conflation of individual action with general systems is a hallmark of the lower quality reactionary rhetoric.

Al Gore is against global warming, but then he rides a jet plane! derp.

4

Oh raindrop.
Same here in Australia. Capitalism is a bust.

5

@3, I thought raindrop’s comment funny. And don’t abuse people.
Yes, great if those who have it good stand up for what’s right. In taxes. And their actions meet their words.

6

@2 @4 @5, The IRS has nothing to do with State Taxes. You're meant for each other.

7

@idiot 6 the general gist of idiot #2 is still true - the tech-brah can still donate to WA St govt in many ways, or to general charity.
idiot 4's reply would still be true in spirit.

idiot me stands alone.

8

@3 the critique of some people against Al G and other 'star' environmental heroes is more towards their hypocrite status on lifestyle and consumerism etc and their wealth based on resource consumption vs their perceived holier-than-thou rhetoric. It may be reactionary, byt hardly qualifies as lower qual or false.

I still think Al;s a star, but he could do better putting his coal and tobacco money where his mouth and brain is.

9

God, I hate pathetic, navel gazing dribble like this and Nick Hanauer's op-ed in the Times https://www.seattletimes.com/opinion/please-tax-my-capital-gains-profits-washingtons-crises-demand-it/). None of these proposals will do a thing to revise the supposedly upside down WA tax code. Not a single sentence in any of those bills speaks to reducing either the sales tax or property tax. It's all new revenue piled on top of the regressive taxes they are currently collecting. Beyond that I have yet to see one data point that says instituting an income tax (and yes a capitol gains tax is absolutely an income tax) will do anything to make WA state a more equitable place to live. How is it working out for CA, IL, NJ, NY? All of these places have high income, property and sales taxes and shocker its far for a panacea for people living there. Give me a break with these moral arguments to revise the tax code along with vague claims of fairness. If you want to revise the tax code and truly make it less regressive than come up with a proposal that lowers sales and property tax to be revenue neutral and has strict limits on the legislatures ability to expand it beyond its proposed scope.

Can I also point out the capital gains proposal has an "emergency clause" so it is not subject to referendum. What does that tell you right there? The legislature knows they can't win a vote on this. Complete bullshit.

10

@9, X2!

12

So woke he can't sleep.

13

Telling people they can pay more taxes themselves if they want, in response to a plea to raise taxes, is truly idiotic.

It's like telling soldiers in war, if you want, you can charge the enemy, but you can just stay behind if you'd prefer.

It has to be everyone or it doesn't work. That that has to be explained speaks to the intelligence, or lack thereof, of the original commenter.

14

@9 agreed. Why doesn't he simply choose one of his neighbor's kids that is interested in software engineering, pay for extra tutoring (or do it himself) then pay for their tuition for their SWE program? Or - donate to any of the many organizations that already exist to help? Why the fuck do they think $ must be channeled through layers of bureaucracy to do any good? FFS.

No one hawking this ever mentions the states that already have layers upon layers of taxes - with the same damn problems!

15

@14 Yeah. I mean, why do we need taxes to pay for bridges or the military. Everyone should just sponsor an individual bridge or individual soldier.

That way the cutest ones get all the money! They deserve it most!

After all collective social actions never work.

It's why we're still under a feudal lord and city state system ...and why we lost WWII... and never went to the moon... or built highways!

Oh. Wait. Which time line is this again?

16

Kevin's preaching to the choir. Of course it all makes sense. Instead, the state legislature will find a different way to fuck over the less wealthy. Unfortunately, his piece is also troll catnip, as is shown by most of the comments.

@5 LavaGirl, Raindrop is a shit-for-brains troll, and a shitty human being.

17

@16: This is no time to be impertinent.

18

@15 your stellar debate skills have changed my mind: instead of doing something that would bring about a tangible difference in a person's life now, with the ability to control/direct the endeavor for maximum benefit, it is much better to flail around with empty words suggesting solutions already in place that don't seem to be working well either. Why try to get the best outcome for the money when you can funnel money to government inefficiently piss away?

Also - in the case of capital gains, isn't is common practice to sell an asset at a gain, then another at a loss to offset the taxes paid? Don't you think people will use this work around, thus lowering their tax burden?

19

@13 So is telling other people they should pay more taxes simply because you can personally afford it.

20

@13, " It has to be everyone or it doesn't work."

Ok then, why don't they want everyone to vote on it? It seems important enough for the voters (everyone) to decide. Especially since it's such a dramatic change of our State Tax system.

Is there any relief to the Regressive Taxes? No. It's just a new Tax pilled on all the others.
A New Tax! Hooray!

21

Oh and yeah, let's go with a State wide Sugar Tax. The City of Seattle has taught Olympia a Sugar Tax is a great source of money that does nothing but sound good. Another Democratic Regressive Tax! Hooray!

22

@19,

Everyone who can afford it should pay more. Not "since I can afford it, everyone else should pay more."

23

@22,
What your neighbor has in his bank account is none of your business.

24

@22 Why?

25

@24,

Because vulnerable people are struggling, suffering and in desperate need of assistance. Unfortunately, not everyone is blessed with a sociopath's lack of empathy, though we certainly do envy you in this regard.

26

@25, More Taxes of course, it always worked in the past.

27

Higher taxes work quite well in many developed countries. Universal healthcare, more affordable college education, better social welfare for lower income families. Those that don't have higher taxes than US just don't waste trillions on defense.

28

@25 and what makes you think giving a bunch more money to the state will do anything to alleviate any of that? Do you remember when property taxes were raised upwards of 40% under the guise of improving education? Well the WEA sucked up all that money and I have a hard time seeing much improvement in what my kids are receiving. As noted this revenue is designated to provide to provide childcare and does nothing to reduce regressive taxes. Questioning the effectiveness of our current government does not make one a sociopath but there is a saying about a fool and his money that would seemingly apply to you.

29

To run a modern state you pretty much need all three (sales, property, income taxes). We might not like it but that is kind of how it is. Te capital gains tax they're looking at now is a good approach as it would not hit middle-class or lower people much, if at all, and it would bring investment income into what is taxed. That's probably the most progressive approach available. I'd REALLY like to see a small tax on stock transactions that would hit day traders and the like. But that seems unlikely here.

30

I have never been able to grasp the claim by a progressive think-tank that the poor pay 18% of their income in taxes in WA. How is this possible and is this accounting for money received? Think about a family making $40,000 in Seattle. To have a place to live they must be receiving rental subsidy. They are getting food assistance. They are getting health care assistance via Medicaid. If they take local transit they likely are getting a free pass and the rest of us pay billions for this subsidized system. The library is also paid by the rest of us by and large. Child care subsidy - check. All of the above are other people's money. I won't even get into the school, city, state and county resources they receive that vastly exceed the taxes they pay. So what taxes do they pay to come up with anywhere close to 18%? Food is untaxed. Their rental subsidy includes property taxes paid by others. They pay no or virtually no Federal taxes. If they have a car, they pay some license taxes and gas tax. If they consumed sales tax good with every dollar of the 40K, it would be 9% or so.

I do not begrudge any of the above, and more but I am seriously lost at the oft-repeated claim of 18%. If anyone really can help me grasp this credibly, please advise. To date I think that it is a number that is rigged to conveniently ignore funds received and would imply for example that the property tax of their subsidized housing is paid by the family etc.

I do take issue with the claim that the wealthy have rigged the system for decades. Washington state has been around a long time and functioned more than adequately without cries of a need for an income tax. Arguably much of the success might be due to the attractiveness to business of the structure in place. And while I understand the difference between state and Federal taxes, make no mistake that the wealthy pay overall taxes at a significantly higher percent of their income, whether salary or even capital gains, and the majority of the nation's taxes. I think that the lower long-term cap gains rate makes little sense, and the so-called carried interest deduction is totally abusive. These are Federal matters to address.

As it is, a capital gains tax is an income tax by all interpretations of the tax code and if passed in WA, such a tax will likely be held illegal upon the inevitable appeal. Calling it an excise tax on transactions is likely wishful thinking. The writer also mischaracteres those who are not in favor of this tax as the wealthy. It includes many working people who are unimpressed with the State's ability to make good decisions, including many residing outside of Puget Sound. The West coast has 2/3's of the nations street homeless, and in-migration is conveniently denied and ignored. The last thing some of us want is to generate even more funds to waste on perpetual victimhood. There is sadly an infinite supply of those who have little tying them to a place, who will and are gladly coming in large numbers, where they are loved unconditionally, as they are in Seattle and other west coast cities. There is little credible evidence that our state knows how to spend effectively when given windfalls that such a tax would certainly generate.

31

@29, The problem is this is just another money grab wrapped in a pretty package that looks Progressive. If revenue ever falls short of expectations other funds, more than likely regressive, will have to be immediately found to keep these programs up and going. These "emergencies" never go away or are ever allowed to sunset.

32

I'm not averse to a more progressive taxing structure (income tax, capital gains tax, etc.), but there is no way on God's green earth that Washington taxpayers will give the free-spending liberals in Olympia a shiny new income stream without removing one that's already here. Sales tax or property taxes would have to go buh-bye and not come back.

They also would have to see better stewardship of the money they're currently getting. This is the same bunch of jackasses who not only managed to lose over a half-billion to Nigerian princes, but the stupid woman in charge got promoted! Park Place is also right about our tendency to hurl money at self-declared 'victims' attracting legions of would-be freeloaders and malingerers who are all to happy to live the life on our dime.

Sooo....I think the do-gooders in Olympia need to do some housecleaning, belt-tightening and fish the spare change out from under the sofa cushions before they come to me with their hand out. And that SJW TechBro jackass ('Mr. Tax Me Please!') can STFU.

33

Hey Kevin, it's nice that you are doing so well and hats off to you for caring about your community. However, I always get confused when wealth tax advocates start throwing around numbers like overall tax rates of 18% (low income) and 3% (for the wealthy). Pardon me, your wrote, "up to 18%." Well what does "up to" mean? Well, you made me curious so I got out my little Casio fx-300ES and crunched some numbers.

I recently filed my taxes so obviously I know my numbers. I happen to have an adult niece, who for whatever reason, routinely refuses to file her taxes, although she always gets money back. (That is another story for another time.) Consequently, every year, I call her up and offer to help her with her return. (I actually just do it. I know, I'm enabling her. One of my many faults.) In 2020, her adjusted gross income was about 23,000. Her tax bill was about 1,050. Wait a minute, that's about 4 to 5%. Okay, there are other taxes she is subjected to. Well she doesn't pay state tax or any capital gains tax, that leaves what, sales tax? Okay, but that doesn't get her anywhere near 18%. Conversely, my federal tax bill was over 26,000. That works out to about 14% of my income. I pay more sales tax and gas tax than my niece does. Am I not paying my fair share? Okay, I'll admit there is probably a little more to it. My point is, that when you look at the numbers instead of hiding behind percentages, it becomes a little more clear. I pay a great deal more in taxes than my low-income niece does. I am one small person in this world, just like her, but society benefits far more from my labors. Okay, the proposed law targets people with income that by far exceeds mine. But Kevin, your statement, "that's a great start," is what concerns me. Because sooner or later, Progressives will be knocking at my door demanding that I pay my fair share. But wait a minute, I pay my fair share. Furthermore, why do you get to say what my fair share is? Okay, I've rambled on enough. If you want to make the argument that the very rich should pay more, whatever. But play fair. Kevin, you have no idea how many wealthy Washingtonians are really at the 3% level, or how many low income citizens pay 18%. It's just a fun set of numbers to throw out there. If you want to make the argument that our community is in need and we all have to tighten our belts, make it. But don't use numbers that you can't possibly back up.
(Did I say all that out loud?)

34

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35

But how will young Amazon PR people afford to buy bottle service for every lunch and dinner outing if they have to actually pay taxes on their stock sales?

36

Boo F'ing Hoo. Want to pay more taxes? Consult a tax attorney. They can figure out legal ways for you to pay more taxes.

Here are a few suggested methods you can run by them. I am not a professional finance person, or licensed legal professional, but know enough to be dangerous. And am fed up reading these stories here, in the NYTimes, and in the Guardian.

(i) Pay Use Taxes - pick a jurisdiction that has state and local tax components. You don't actually have to buy anything, just say you did and pay the extra tax. Downside - during an audit, if you can't show you actually purchased anything requiring a Use Tax payment, you might get your money back. Talk to the tax attorney to see how this would play out. Or call the state Dept of Revenue directly. They are very helpful folks. Link to find your applicable rate. Feel free to forum shop.
https://webgis.dor.wa.gov/taxratelookup/SalesTax.aspx

(ii) Setup a Washington State Social Purpose Business Organization.
I believe they can be either a Corporations or an LLC - again, check with your tax attorney. Confirm if you can setup an SPC whose sole purpose is to pay extra taxes. Confirm what tax liabilities it may have to assume and pay as federal taxes may come into play here. Some reporting requirements too. Use those docs for further self-aggrandizement.
https://www.501commons.org/resources/tools-and-best-practices/starting-a-nonprofit/social-purpose-corporation

(iii) Contact the local, big foundations to see if any of them make contributions to the city / state etc. Ask if you can make restricted donations to that organization that they will be obligated to pass on to the city / state.

(iv) Get a City of Seattle business license and pay city b&o taxes. Again, consult with tax attorney regarding other potential obligations this may create. May have audit issues as mentioned above in Use Tax.

(v) Consult with an estate and trust attorney. Ask if a trust can be setup just to make donations to the city. I can't believe no one in the history of the city hasn't done exactly that before.

(vi) Lobby the city to setup a tip jar / patreon account. Seriously, why has no one in the city done this?

(vii) Write the actual legislation you want enacted and submit it to your representatives. This last one is specifically aimed at those folks who have more commas in their bank balances than most folks have zeros printed on their statements (both to the left and the right of the decimal). Your reps are not going to do it. So you are going to have to do it for them. PERIOD!

(viii) Write the occasional big check to the Seattle Union Gospel Mission.

(ix) Have the taxable value of your home increased. You will then pay more property taxes. Consult a real estate attorney on how to do this. Most folks go the opposite way, but hey, you wanna pay more taxes.....your neighbors will HATE you.

This is just scratching the surface. Money is a tool. Use it to accomplish your ends.

Just to repeat:

YOU HAVE THE FUNDS TO PAY EXPERTS THAT CAN HELP YOU LEGALLY PAY MORE TAXES. DO IT THEN! STOP WRITING ABOUT IT!

Where's the f'ing follow thru? Lazy wealthy people.....

Failing the above, if you don't know what to do with your money, I will gladly assume the excrutiating burden of having more cash than I would know what to do with.

Best to you.

37

Yes, yes, a thousand times yes, tax the wealthy. As income decreases down toward the middle and lower income strata, so should the tax rate, especially in corndoggy, mossy Washington State, with our regressive sales tax that hits the less wealthy in the bread basket and at the cash register. Pollysexual admires these hairy tech bros who are willing to take one for the team. Trump is such a big, hairy, smelly orange howler-monkey and could have written everyone in America a COVID check with his excessive wealth, much of it stolen from the U.S. Treasury through tax evasion. Instead, he stuffed everything up and the Democrats headed by Madame Pelosi and Mister Schumer came to the rescue for COVID ravaged American taxpayers.

38

A tiny group has at least half the wealth in the country which they stole from us. Period.

Take it back. No more billionaires. Its stolen monies from the community and workers.
Human rights rulings: Decent shelter, food, water, medical care offered for every human being.

No more bloated police budget and abolish the prison system.

39

If this Tax is so popular then put it up for a Vote.

40

@38: Abolish the prison system?

You have no intellectual honesty whatsoever.

42

Give the government whatever money you like. I shall keep as much of mine as possible.

43

The government has enough of our money, they need to use the money they do have more efficiently. Life isn't fair, get over it.

44

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