D. Lovejoy: Time for a revolution

I am a liberal; I won't obscure that with words such as progressive, or to the left of center.

I am a liberal.

We elect people to represent us — you know — "we the people." I am sick of gerrymandering; I am sick of partisanship; and I am sick of our elected government not listening to "we the people."

I am sick of seeing people trying to live on a minimum wage and seeing them being blamed because they need help with housing, food and medical care for their children.

The rich are reaping 90 percent of the harvest and the poor, working poor, lower middle class, middle class and upper middle class are losing ground every day.

Yes, we need more taxes on the rich; yes, we need to close loopholes; and yes, we need more government — a government that serves the people; not the rich, not the corporations ... the real people, the poor, the disenfranchised, the middle class, women, children, seniors and people of color.

I hope for a revolution, and I fear for our country.

Diana Lovejoy, Buckfield

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Comments

Joe Morin's picture

I wish Liberals could do math...

The Fed govt. will be setting revenue records for 2012... yet have a huge budget shortfall. There are not enough "Rich" people in the country to cover deficit spending!

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

"...and yes, we need more

"...and yes, we need more government-a government that serves the people; not the rich, not the corporations".....
What are you whining about? It's you liberals that elected the government we have now. If it's all so bad, why on earth did you elect these people? When will you learn that liberalism almost always brings about the exact opposite of its stated intent.

CLAIRE GAMACHE's picture

The government

By definition a government is a coalition of a lot of people. If you live in isolation you do not need a government. The paramount question is does that government function to the benefit of an elite while the rest serve them and live in squalid conditions or does the government operate to benefit everyone, at least on some level ie the social safety net? The revolution we are looking at is not new. Work for profit, as it has been known in the past, is disappearing. Manual labor has mostly been replaced by robots and computers are fast replacing intellectual labor. As a result, we have large pools of people who have been carved out of the workforce, seniors, college students, military personnel, government workers, teens, homemakers, non-profit workers, the handicapped etc.. A smaller and smaller pool of workers provide all that our for- profit corporations need to be profitable and even they are being replaced by an investor class who make money by investing money into hedge fund bubbles rather than by making things. The liberal says that we need to find a way for all of these groups to have a good life. The conservative believes in survival of the fittest and says "let them eat cake" History has already shown us the last chapter in that novel.

 's picture

Wrong. The conservative says ...

... let them eat what they grow or buy, through their own labors. We help those who can't work; we don't help those who won't work. Compare this to the liberal agenda: We punish those who work and help everyone else.

Those "carved out" folks, a good many of them, have carved themselves out by ignoring 30+ years of advice from industry, politicians, educators, and media: The US is changing (has changed) from a manufacturing economy to an "information" economy. If you dig in your heals, refuse to adapt, and demand a good job on the assembly line, you are condemning yourself to unemployment, poverty, and a life with your hand out, palm up.

By the way, Claire, those squalid conditions you mentioned. They look pretty damn good to the poor in most of the rest of the world.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Yet nearly 50% of the

Yet nearly 50% of the population does not want your brand of government – the all controlling nanny.

I’m tired of people sucking off my labor. Bring on your revolution; it is time to remove the parasites from my wallet.

Freedom does not mean you are free to pick my pocket.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

But that's the big problem in

But that's the big problem in America, Mark; nearly half of the population DOES want her brand of government.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

The beauty of a small central

The beauty of a small central government is that people are free to associate with those of like mind and create their rules to live by. They can even chip in cash to take care of the less fortunate in their clan.

Oh wait, they’ll need someone else to pay the bill.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Precisely. Socialism does

Precisely. Socialism does work; until the other guy's money runs out.

Bruce Hixon's picture

parasites

Mark, I fear your lunchtime farays with Rush Limbag are clouding your judgement. It's the very people that you support that are sucking the dollars from your wallet. I dumped the Republican party in 1970. When did you join them? I fear that if your religious zeal was similar to your politics, you would have followed Jim Jones into the jungle in Guyana, where you would have drank the same KoolAid you now consume.

 's picture

Who's drinking what?

You have the Executive, the Senate, a majority of governors and legislatures, nearly 100% of academia, and almost the entire media establishment. Yet it's those mean Republicans who are really pulling all the strings and raking in the cash.

I think you are Jim Jones, sending your dark messages to the present by channeling Bruce Hixon.

RONALD RIML's picture

"Your Labor?"

WTF, Mark!! You screw around all day playing on these forums.

At least I'm retired.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

As seen with the quality of

As seen with the quality of my grammar on occasion, I limit each response to 60 seconds or less.

Yes you are retired living on the Maine coast on my labor. A leach comes to mind.

RONALD RIML's picture

But it's the thirty minutes of brain fart leading up to it.....

Leach on that for awhile.........

Jason Theriault's picture

That's the thing

The taxes are not pointing at your pocket. Mitt Romney demonstrated it perfectly. Taxing capital gains differently than normal income results in the rich paying far less than their fair share. Tied in with loopholes that most of us cannot take advantage of, they get away with paying tax rates in the teens while most of us pay rates in the 20's.

The point is to take weight off of people like us, and put it on the rich, who over the past 30 years have seen their net worth go through the roof.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Even today with 15% capital

Even today with 15% capital gains tax, the investor can get screwed. For example, say you own a mutual fund that generates $4000.00 capital gains due to fund activity (i.e. selling shares for cash to pay other fund members who sell shares).

The investor pays 15% on the $4000.00 dollars. Now say 2008 comes along and your fund value drops 50%. You never sold any shares, but you paid taxes on money you don’t really have in your hand.

Is that fair?

You want people to be taxed heavily for taking a risk and being successful, but want them to absorb nearly all the losses - limited upside, all downside. Who will then invest?

Sounds like the government is no more than a milk maid.

Zack Lenhert's picture

You are incorrect. An

You are incorrect. An investor wouldn't pay the capital gains tax until they sold the stock, not when the stock increased in value. The tax is based on the difference from when you bought it and when you sold it, not what the value did in between.

In your scenario, the investor would be able to claim capital losses on their returns.

What people have a problem with is hedge-fund managers and CEO's being compensated with "carried interest", where their pay is taxed at a capital gains rate instead of the earned income rate. If they really believe they "earned" their compensation, let it get taxed at the same rate as the rest of us shlubs.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Man, I must be running a

Man, I must be running a fever; I just hit the 'agree' button.
Well stated.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

I’m correct. Any mutual fund

I’m correct.

Any mutual fund owner can attest to what I’m saying. Fund activity can generate both short and long term capital gain. Most individuals reinvest gains in new shares. You pay tax on the gains, but share prices can drop. That is, you pay tax on money that never goes into your pocket.

The crux is that all capital gains are taxed; tax dedications on losses are limited. Under a fair system limits should be applied to gains and losses or no limits on both.

Zack Lenhert's picture

You really believe that, as

You really believe that, as the system is set-up now, it's unfair to the investor class? Evidence suggests otherwise.

"You pay tax on the gains, but share prices can drop"... if the share price drops you will not pay capital gains tax, you would report a capital loss. If you reinvest your gains that you you just paid taxes on, and the share price drops, well, that's simply a bad investment, you picked a losing horse. If your fund manager is "churning" your investments, yes, you will get hit with taxes and fees because you are constantly cashing out your gains leaving you less money to reinvest.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

“If you reinvest your gains

“If you reinvest your gains that you you just paid taxes on, and the share price drops, well, that's simply a bad investment, you picked a losing horse.”

When is a losing horse a winning horse?

In a down market, an investment that losses less than others is still a good investment. Take the 2008 downturn for example, all stocks lost value.

Your blanket statements without proper context make for poor examples.

Zack Lenhert's picture

Nobody forced anybody to

Nobody forced anybody to reinvest their gains. They did so at their own risk.

"all stocks lost value."... Talk about blanket statements. There were some stocks that gained value.

http://money.cnn.com/2008/12/31/markets/SP500_year_end/index.htm

MARK GRAVEL's picture

I feel that you missed the

I feel that you missed the key point. Answer the following questions.
1. You have $100,000 capital gains – what do you pay in taxes in that year (assume 15% capital gains tax for simplicity)?
2. You have $100,000 capital lost – what can deduct in that year?

Answers:
1. $15,000
2. $3,000 only if your income does not phase out this itemization. Moreover, you can deduct nothing if you don’t itemize your taxes, but you are still liable to pay capital gains tax.

In regards to capital gain taxes, the investor takes all the risk, and the government takes it cuts of the rewards.

Zack Lenhert's picture

Why should anybody but the

Why should anybody but the investor take any of the risk? I kind of remember a taxpayer bail out of the investment banks for their poor choices.

Regardless of hypothetical situations, empirical evidence suggests that those making a living off capital gains are doing very well and the system appears to be treating them more than fair.

"The Congress shall have Power to lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts, and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States." Article 1 Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution.

If you have a problem with people being required to pay taxes you'll have to take it up with the founding Fathers.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

The constitution is not in

The constitution is not in question; it is the magnitude of the spending. Moreover, the constitution says nothing about bankrupting the country, which is what, is happening now.

I have a problem with the way some people are being asked to pay for runaway spending. BTW, we can walk away from the constitution as free men. That is, we can take our money elsewhere. In fact, we can do that and remain citizens.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

"Taxing capital gains

"Taxing capital gains differently than normal income results in the rich paying far less than their fair share."
You buy a house for $150 grand. You bought it with money on which you've paid taxes.
Because you happen to be a likable fast talking city slicker, you manage to sell that house to some poor sap moving to Auburn from Wytopitlock for $270 grand and are assessed a capital gains tax of x% on the $120K profit you made on the sale of the house.
Isn't that the same as a "rich" guy taking money on which he's already paid taxes, and investing it in various capital ventures, and then paying capital gains taxes on the profits, albeit at a lower rate, as you put it? How do these two situations differ?
By the way, in the house scenario, you had little risk (property values tend to rise) and a place to live all at the same time. The "rich" guy has probably had substantial risk in his investment and could easily have lost a bundle.
It's funny how liberals hate the rich, but when one of them hits some silly lottery that makes them rich all of a sudden, I've never heard of any one of them ever giving the money back. Maybe they just hang onto it and simply settle for hating themselves for being so rich.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Another thought - government

Another thought - government taxes capital gains, but limits capital losses. Like having the cake and eating it too.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

"Now that's fair", chimed the

"Now that's fair", chimed the capitalist parrot.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

First, every American

First, every American benefits from lower taxes (a result of lower government spending).
Second, many Americans, who are considered middle class by even your definition, invests in the stock market directly or indirectly. Minimal taxes on savings and investment help all Americans. Yes some people are not discipline in the art of savings; that is not my problem.

I volunteered as a credit counselor for one year. I had to stop because got so frustrated with droves of people who have no concept of basic finances. I liken it to teaching someone to spell “run” to someone who does not know the alphabet. IMHO, the only way to solve this deficiency is to teach these skill in school.

I diverge. The Warren Buffets of the world will always have opportunities to avoid taxes – always. The only thing that higher taxes do is to penalize the upper middle class, many of whom spend a life time of hard work climbing the economic ladder.

Lastly, the plight of the poor has more to do with inaction to globalization rather than the “rich” swooping down and taking the food out of the children’s mouth. Income disparity will always be with us; get used to it; there is no reason rob from the rich. If you aspire to be a simple laborer, reap your rewards and let the rest of us enter the new economy.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

The rich stay rich and the

The rich stay rich and the poor stay poor for the very same reasons. Both continue to do what made them rich or poor in the first place. Continuously repeating a behavior almost always brings about the same result.

Jason Theriault's picture

I disagree slightly

I would say no, that not all American's benefit from lower taxes. If the tax breaks make their way to companies that outsource jobs, that increase in economic activity happens outside of the US, and doesn't help us. And according to the Levy Institute, the top 1% own most stocks and financial instruments. The middle classes' wealth is concentrated in houses and other physical assets.

I however agree that globalization has caused alot of the financial hardships of the middle and lower classes. However, the Upper class has benefited substantially, because the multinationals that fueled globalization reaped huge rewards for sending America's wealth overseas.

I have no reservations about making them pay for that.

 's picture

Which government is not listening to you?

Surely you don't mean the federal gang. You liberals elected them and now, 4+ years later, you have buyer's remorse. It doesn't surprise me.

The best way to help all levels of the poor and middle class is to promote an economy that will create jobs for them in the private sector. The best way to effect that is for government to get out of the way.

One person's loophole is another's indispensable feature. We need an entirely new federal tax code that (a) does not punish success and (b) requires contributions from all workers. With about half the working population paying no federal income tax at all, they are coming to feel "entitled" to those services paid for by the other half.

 's picture

You could have a revolution,

You could have a revolution, but, I don't know where you will get the money to make it happen.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

I suppose we could do it by

I suppose we could do it by getting the rich to pay their "fair share" of taxes.
What's a fair share?
Liberal: All of it.
Conservative: None of it.
Therein, ladies and gents, lies the problem.

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