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Hey, Joe, Where You Goin' With That Dumb In Your Hand?

Yesterday, Joe Biden reminded us all what a great gift he is to our nation. The man is deeply in love with the sound of his own voice. Fortunately for the rest of us, what he often says is so amazingly stupid that it is often awesomely entertaining. It's kind of like the current President Bush's gift, but with a couple of differences. For one, it's Bush's phrasing that is so funny, not the content. For another, Bush is perfectly aware of it and embraces it -- remember at the 2004 Republican National Convention? "People sometimes have to correct my English. I knew I had a problem when Arnold Schwarzenegger started doing it."

Anyway, back to Joe Biden. Yesterday, he started talking about taxes. Astonishingly, here's a Democrat who favors paying more in taxes -- who'da thunk it?

Here's the full quote from Joe:

"it's time to be patriotic ... time to jump in, time to be part of the deal, time to help get America out of the rut."

Oddly enough, the idea that people should be willing to pay higher taxes has been tried already. And we can see just how well it works out.

Several years ago, the Democrats who run Massachusetts pushed through a raise in the state's income tax, from 5.3% to 5.85%. It was slated to sail through when some anti-tax activists pulled one of the greatest acts of political ju-jitsu I've ever seen: they sneaked in a provision making the new tax rate optional, and the lower rate the default. If anyone thought they ought to be taxed at the higher rate, then they were free to check off a little box and pay half a percent higher. But if they thought that the state was already getting enough of their money, then they could simply choose to do nothing and pay the lower rate.

The most recent numbers I've seen on how well that works out are from 2006. In that year, there were 1,540,000 tax returns filed. Of those, 424 people chose to pay the higher tax rate, meaning that 1, 539,576 didn't feel any particular moral obligation to pay more than the absolute minimum. And I'd bet dollars to donuts that those 424 people -- whose income averaged about $20,000 a year -- didn't include folks like Ted Kennedy, John Kennedy, Barney Frank, Deval Patrick, or any other prominent Massachusetts politician.

Remember, Massachusetts is the bluest of the blue states. Democrats hold both US Senate seats, every US House seat, the governorship, every other statewide elected office, and over 87% of each House of the state legislature. The highest-ranking Republican is the Senate Minority Leader -- he leads four other Republicans in a body of 40 legislators. In the House, the Republicans hold 19 of 160 seats. In brief, the Democrats own Massachusetts, lock, stock, and barrel.

And in that bluest of blue states, one would think that Democratic ideals and values would be rampant. Instead, what is most obvious is the flagrant hypocrisy -- when given the chance to pay more in taxes, to give more to the state to perpetuate the goodness that only the government can provide, less than one-fortieth of one percent are willing to literally put their money where their mouth is.

Perhaps Senator Biden could take a trip up to Massachusetts and ask them what the hell is wrong with them. Don't they understand that it's their patriotic -- and religious -- duty to pay more in taxes?

Or, at least, call up some of his colleagues in Massachusetts' congressional delegation and ask them what the hell is wrong with their state?


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Comments (52)

What is wrong with asking p... (Below threshold)
wbgonne:

What is wrong with asking people to help the country?

Biden's right.... IF... (Below threshold)

Biden's right.... IF you believe that patriotism means not only being proud of America but doing everything possible to help America in time of need.... and IF you believe that America needs more tax money.... THEN it is incumbent upon all patriotic Americans to open up their wallets.

We (rightfully) describe as patriots those signing up to join the military to defend America. Fortunately, there isn't a shortage of folks volunteering to be patriots, so we don't have to resort to compelling patriotism (the draft). That's not the case with paying taxes; as Jay points out, very few people volunteer to be patriots in this regard. So the question is: why?

Is it because, unlike as with the military, there isn't a tradition passed down from family to family that taxes is duty of all patriots? Is it because Americans don't feel America needs the tax money, so they don't feel obligated to sign up for the cause? Or is it because Americans don't trust government to do the right thing with the tax money they collect? Or is it something else?

As an aside, I also want to compliment Biden on finding an issue on which all Americans, Democrat as well as Republican, are of a like mind, as next to nobody agrees with him... at least not when it comes to their own wallet.

"What is wrong with aski... (Below threshold)

"What is wrong with asking people to help the country?

You're joking right?

You don't honestly think Obama/Biden would be "asking" people to voluntarily surrender more of their income to the government. No one's that stupid.

I'll ask it otherwise: What... (Below threshold)
wbgonne:

I'll ask it otherwise: What is wrong with ASKING, EXPECTING, INSISTING, or DEMANDING that people help the country?

If the average income of th... (Below threshold)

If the average income of those 424 people is $20k, that means that some made that much or less. We don't pay a state income tax in Florida, so I'm not sure how much, if any at all, those making $20k or less would have paid even at the low rate. It would be easy (or stupid or just fun) for one to check the box for the higher rate if they're getting a full refund anyway.

It would be more interesting to know how many made significantly over the average and checked the box and what part of the $41k they're responsible for.

Steve, I think it's primarily that Americans don't trust government to do the right thing with the tax money they collect. [Tongue-in-cheek disclaimer here] $400 toilet seats notwithstanding :)

Americans don't trust go... (Below threshold)
wbgonne:

Americans don't trust government to do the right thing with the tax money they collect

We ARE the government. Of the people, by the people, for the people.

Flawed presumption there, w... (Below threshold)

Flawed presumption there, wb. You're saying that "taking money from the wallets of individuals and giving it to the federal government" is synonymous with "helping the country."

Let's just look at charitable giving. The American people are the most generous on earth in this area, and even the government recognizes this -- that's why charities are tax-exempt, and gifts to charities are tax deductible. The government KNOWS that more good will be done with the money if it is given freely by citizens to non-governmental agencies, and it does the best thing it can -- it gets the hell out of the way while people do good on their own.

And all without Joe Biden scolding them into doing it.

What's WRONG is in insisting that the best good deeds anyone can do is to give money to the government. That's not just wrong, it's dishonest and astonishingly stupid.

J.

I'll bite, wbgonne:<p... (Below threshold)

I'll bite, wbgonne:

Biden is ASKING that we vote for Obama so they can DEMAND more money.

It all depends on how one defines "helping the country". "Enabling the government" is a term that more readily comes to mind.

But hey, feel free to put YOUR money where your mouth is. No one is stopping you.

Whoops, Jay. I just accide... (Below threshold)

Whoops, Jay. I just accidentally voted you down :) You troll!

(Tax) dissent is the highes... (Below threshold)
JB:

(Tax) dissent is the highest form of patriotism.

What's WRONG is in insis... (Below threshold)
wbgonne:

What's WRONG is in insisting that the best good deeds anyone can do is to give money to the government.

No one said it is the BEST thing people can do to serve the country. Obviously, more direct public service -- military or otherwise -- is BETTER. But money matters and this is not the time for selfishness.

Thank you Jay. I ... (Below threshold)
Larry:

Thank you Jay.

I had never heard the Massachusetts story. I trust that your story will get favorable position on google.

wbgonne:And Congre... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

wbgonne:

And Congress has an approval rating of 9% because....?

Let's see. They want to take money from the individual, just for grins let's say it's about $1000.

It's going to cost roughly 10-15% for the IRS to gather that money. You've got people to pay there, after all, and government employees don't come cheap. So you're down to $900.

Now say that money gets disbursed to some state for welfare handouts. Figure another 15% is going to come off the top of that for administrative costs and handling by the state before the money even gets to the coffer it's supposed to come out of. State administrations are going to be a bit larger than government... or is it the other way around?

Well, anyway, that $1000 is now about $750. 25% lost in shrinkage, before a dime even gets tossed at a problem.

Would YOU donate to a charity like that?

How come democrats don't sa... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

How come democrats don't say we will reduce spending and entitlements and call that a patriotic act. Tell all the people with their hand out to cut back for the good of the country. How about reducing the amount of aid we give to countries that hate us? One constant though, is Biden will help our candidate. I knew it when Ocarter picked him. ww

"But money matters and this... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

"But money matters and this is not the time for selfishness."

You first. How much are you going to send to the IRS above and beyond the normal bite?

"What is wrong with ... (Below threshold)
Larry:


"What is wrong with asking people to help the country? "

Nothing, so why do you ask?

The post was about hypocrisy, a common element in political campaigns on both sides and Jay just pointed out one on the left.

This is probably an abuse o... (Below threshold)

This is probably an abuse of my power, but what the hell.

wbgonne, you appear to be posting from Massachusetts. Dare I ask at what rate you chose to pay on your income taxes?

J.

I'm voting Democrat because... (Below threshold)
Scottie Author Profile Page:

I'm voting Democrat because I think increasing the taxes on people in the top 5% and cutting the taxes for everyone else is fair. I believe this notwithstanding that the top 5% already pay over 40% of the total tax bill already.

By extension, it would be even more fair if the top 1% is forced to pay 100% of the taxes in the name of fairness and then the rest of the country could pay nothing. What could possibly go wrong?

Since the bottom 50% only pay 4% of the taxes right now, we're right on track to an absolute majority able to dictate tax policy without the need to contribute anything themselves.

The only question remaing: Does this mean that nearly half of the country isn't patriotic?

They should ask their hand-... (Below threshold)
JB:

They should ask their hand-out constituents and pigs-at-the-trough to "ask not what their country can do for them." That's patriotic and that's public service.

Ethanol subsidies: unpatriotic.
Farm subsidies: unpatriotic.
Earmarks: unpatriotic.

I think increasing the t... (Below threshold)
wbgonne:

I think increasing the taxes on people in the top 5% and cutting the taxes for everyone else is fair. I believe this notwithstanding that the top 5% already pay over 40% of the total tax bill already.

How much of the country's wealth belongs to the top 5%? The 80s are over. Greed in no longer good.

WB you are a lib moron. Lit... (Below threshold)
Michael:

WB you are a lib moron. Little Joe made over 2.5 million in the last decade and only donated 3,600 in charity. Obami put a million dollars in a tax free fund and cleaned up. Liberals just want everyone else to give away their money but want to keep theirs for themselves. Liberal = hypocrite.

you are a lib moron. Lib... (Below threshold)
wbgonne:

you are a lib moron. Liberal = hypocrite.

Here's the thing. Whether you think I am a liberal moron or all liberals are hypocrites really doesn't matter. The silly days are over. We have real problems to confront and -- brace yourself -- we will have to work together as Americans to solve them.

Ok, I'm going to give out a... (Below threshold)
Chip:

Ok, I'm going to give out a little personal information here...My wife and I make less than 35,000 a year. We manage to live on that, barely. I don't pay those dreaded "taxes" that the "rich" do; However, I work for someone that makes over 250,000 per year, this is a small business. If their taxes increase, what happens to my job? What happens to the products that business put out, don't those prices go up to cover the added expense? How is me losing my job because of a tax increase on the "wealthy" supposed to help me out? I'm not the sharpest tool in the shed but I can figure out what happens when Taxes get raised.

"The silly days are over. W... (Below threshold)
JB:

"The silly days are over. We have real problems to confront and -- brace yourself -- we will have to work together as Americans to solve them."

Oh, we only wish. Destructive liberal ideas (like giving loans to people who shouldn't receive them because they're minorities) will always be with us.

My wife and I make less ... (Below threshold)
wbgonne:

My wife and I make less than 35,000 a year. We manage to live on that, barely. I don't pay those dreaded "taxes" that the "rich" do; However, I work for someone that makes over 250,000 per year, this is a small business. If their taxes increase, what happens to my job? What happens to the products that business put out, don't those prices go up to cover the added expense? How is me losing my job because of a tax increase on the "wealthy" supposed to help me out?

You assume that raising your boss' personal tax rate will ruin his company and cost you your job? Um, your syllogism has some flaws.

#25 You don't know much abo... (Below threshold)
JB:

#25 You don't know much about economics or taxes, do you? Not surprising.

Oh, we only wish. Destru... (Below threshold)
wbgonne:

Oh, we only wish. Destructive liberal ideas (like giving loans to people who shouldn't receive them because they're minorities) will always be with us.

No, you don't wish to work together. You are looking to divide Americans.

#27"No, you don't ... (Below threshold)
JB:

#27

"No, you don't wish to work together. You are looking to divide Americans."

Too funny. This from a guy who thinks one group of Americans should higher taxes and one shouldn't.

+pay... (Below threshold)
JB:

+pay

a guy who thinks one gro... (Below threshold)
wbgonne:

a guy who thinks one group of Americans should [pay] higher taxes and one shouldn't

It's called a graduated tax system. You can look it up. BTW: After you answer my earlier question -- how much of the country's wealth does the top 5% possess? -- the discussion may have more substance.

"It's called a graduated ta... (Below threshold)
JB:

"It's called a graduated tax system."

Thanks. You've labeled the idea hence it's proper, acceptable and the best choice. Nice argument.

Criticizing liberal policies leading to failure is being divisive -- supporting them is being patriotic.

Good to know. I'm sure we'll "work together" splendidly.

"how much of the country's ... (Below threshold)
JB:

"how much of the country's wealth does the top 5% possess? "

And this matters...because...?

All this class warfare is so divisive, don't you think? I don't know how you're going to get Americans to work together.

I'm sure we'll "work tog... (Below threshold)
wbgonne:

I'm sure we'll "work together" splendidly.

Undoubtedly, there will be exceptions. Have a nice day.

"You assume that raising... (Below threshold)

"You assume that raising your boss' personal tax rate will ruin his company and cost you your job? Um, your syllogism has some flaws."

Ignorance.

Again, why raise or lower t... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

Again, why raise or lower taxes at all. How about we cut back on spending and entitlements to people who contribute nothing to this country. Why not hold the government responsible for the spending of everything outside what is laid out in the constitution. ww

Of course the list of liber... (Below threshold)
Mike:

Of course the list of liberals who have no problem using tax shelters or who commit outright tax evasion is long, and seems to be getting longer by the day:

Barack Obama - millions invested in tax exempt municipal bond funds

John Edwards - set up an "S-corporation" to receive lawsuit windfalls, so he would not be liable for Social Security and personal income taxes on the money

Ted Kennedy - had his mother's estate probated in Florida even though she was a lifetime resident of MA, because Florida has no inheritance tax

None of this stuff is illegal, but according to Joe Biden it would certainly be unethical and unpatriotic.

The list continues:

Dick Gephardt - shady tax loopholes; failure to pay taxes (this is from 1995 - read the link if you don't remember it)
Al Franken - failure to pay taxes
Charlie Rangel - failure to pay taxes

And there are scores of cases involving state and local Democratic officials.

The pattern is clear -- leading Democrats consistently refuse to put their money where there mouth is.


PS - JayTea, I think you mean "John Kerry" instead of "John Kennedy."

WB:Working ... (Below threshold)
Larry:


WB:

Working together is a splendid idea. I think you are on to something there. And I don't have a bit of a problem raising O'Reilly's taxes. HE does, I don't. And I think he is disenginuous about his projected investment strategy if his taxes go up.

Where I have a problem is pandering. Ever heard of "Indirect" taxes? Here is a couple of examples; windfall tax the oil companies means that to protect shareholder value, the price of gas goes up. Wow, now who pays the tax?

Tax Doctors more? Ok, they pass it on to patients. Tax O'Reilly more? Ok, he gets a raise on his next contract and ad rates go up and those who take out ads pass it on in the form of higher taxes.

The tax code is so complex and so intertwined that Charlie Rangel is semi-immune from his current problems because he is one of the few who really understand how it works. This is just like Wilber Mills in another day and time, who actually had to get caught dancing in a public fountain with a stripper to take the fall.

So tell me WB, who has the track record of working with the other side and who doesn't in the current campaign for President. Or are you gong to ignore that question? Be careful with your answer, I really have the evidence from credible sources on this one.

We ARE the governm... (Below threshold)
LaMedusa:
We ARE the government. Of the people, by the people, for the people.

Since when were you elected into office, wbgonne? This isn't a history test, and your scatter-gun, "independent" responses don't really add to the discussion. But just for the heck of it, I'll ask what you mean by 5 per cent:

Heritage Foundation Study Finds Democrats Represent More Wealthy Districts Than Republicans

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,312628,00.html

There is a Supreme Court de... (Below threshold)

There is a Supreme Court decision that specifically addresses Biden's silly remarks. What is says is that it is the taxpayer's DUTY AS A CITIZEN to pay the least amount of taxes LEGALLY possible.

I realize Rosary Joe is an expert in everything, but I believe he IS an attorney (by training at least) and that is a very famous ruling that is routinely taught - so why doesn't he know it?

Of course, there's a lot Joe Biden doesn't know - including the teachings of the Catholic Church (that ignorance has him teetering on the edge of excommunication) as well as basic economics - so I shouldn't be surprised.

wbgonne,I find it ... (Below threshold)
Sheik Yur Bouty:

wbgonne,

I find it interesting that you freely respond to everyone on this post...except Jay, who asked you whether you chose to pay the higher tax rate in Massachusetts.

Do you put your money where your big fat mouth is?

wbgonne - "But money ma... (Below threshold)
marc:

wbgonne - "But money matters and this is not the time for selfishness."

Well screw it then, a 10% across the board tax hike.

There, wbgonne, everyone is "patriotic and unselfish!

marc,Alternatively... (Below threshold)
Sheik Yur Bouty:

marc,

Alternatively, since the libs always feel like their patriotism is being questions, how about a 10% tax hike only on blue states...then they could all say "LOOK HOW PATRIOTIC WE ARE!!!11!!!"

wbgonne, you appear to ... (Below threshold)
marc:

wbgonne, you appear to be posting from Massachusetts. Dare I ask at what rate you chose to pay on your income taxes?

Forgive me JT, but your question needs to be readdressed, because the econ simpleton is obviously ignoring it. (Oh, and the odds seem to suggest something over a half a million to one he has selected the higher rate)

BTW, wb shouldn't we be asking Slo Joe if he thinks Rep. Rangle is unpatriotic?

I second marc's motion, #43... (Below threshold)
epador:

I second marc's motion, #43. But I think he went off puttering around on a motor scooter or something.

wbgonne:BTW: Afte... (Below threshold)
_Mike_:

wbgonne:
BTW: After you answer my earlier question -- how much of the country's wealth does the top 5% possess? -- the discussion may have more substance.

==========

The top 5% of income earners paid 60% of all personal income taxes at the federal level.

The top 50% of income earners paid >97% of all personal income taxes at the federal level.

(source for data: www.house.gov/jec/taxation/taxation.html)
==========

BTW, wbgonne: You didn't answer JayTea's question on whether you chose to pay the higher ("more patriotic") rate on your state taxes or the lower ("less patriotic") rate ?

Note the use of "more patri... (Below threshold)
_Mike_:

Note the use of "more patriotic" / "less patriotic" above was sarcasm directed at Uncle Joe's rather disturbing (and dare I say fascist sounding) rhetoric.

ww - "Again, why raise ... (Below threshold)
marc:

ww - "Again, why raise or lower taxes at all. How about we cut back on spending and entitlements

The best answer in the entire thread.

Congress can start by disbanding the postal service. Over the course of several years turn it over to both FedEx and UPS on a state by state basis.

Cut the ethanol subs pushed thru by 2-3 corn-belt nutjobs that has seen corn for human and cattle consumption sky rocket in price. (How's that for a "tax" increase wb?)

etc...etc.

epador -"I second marc'... (Below threshold)
marc:

epador -"I second marc's motion, #43. But I think he went off puttering around on a motor scooter or something."

Hope he didn't by one of hooson's scooters. and if you didn't notice I screwed up that post, it should read wbgonne the odds of him selecting the lower rate is over a half a mil to one.

So I take it that since the... (Below threshold)
Thomas Jackson:

So I take it that since the people that Biden aims to tax all ready pay 40% of the income taxes makes them more patriotic that if we tax those who pay 0% of the income tax light years more patriotic according to the troll logic that we see here.

So I propose that all individuals paying 0% now in federal income taxes pay the proposed Biden taxes on the rich to display their patriotism. Shouldn't the dhimmierat base pay the same and display their patriotism too?

I know all those patriotic dhimmierats will embrace paying their fair share immediately.

What I find comical is peop... (Below threshold)
marc:

What I find comical is people actually think either candidate will be in a position to cut taxes.

Lets consider Obama's sham of hikes for the top 5% and supposedly, allegedly, all hopey and changefully be given to the bottom 95 % of the population.

At the SAME time his additions of new and or "improved" gov. programs will add $343 billion in new spending each year to be budget according to.

OK all you ObamaMessiah-Bots how in the frickin' hell is he gonna do this. And do it in an economy that will take several months if not a few years to recover from the current housing/credit shocks?

If your puzzled and stumped for an answer ObamaMessiah-bots hes is the most likely scenario:

He will pull a Clinton, "But it was less than a month after his inauguration in 1993 that President Clinton, intent on so much new government "investment," gave a televised Oval Office address to the nation announcing that instead of a middle-class tax cut there would be a middle-class tax hike, "because the deficit has increased so much beyond my earlier estimates."

And frankly, the same problem exists for McCain.

Anyone who honestly believes any massive, or even moderate, tax cuts are coming from either party also has visions of Santa Claus arriving on a sled pulled by 8 Unicorns, with the Tooth Fairy riding shotgun and holding a bag of 1,000 dollar bills for lost teeth.

"...new and or "improved... (Below threshold)

"...new and or "improved" gov. programs will add $343 billion in new spending each year to be budget according to."

Is that the proposed cost of his programs? Because if it is, you'd better at least triple it. These programs NEVER cost any where near what we're told they will. Not even in the same ballpark. Not even in the same galaxy.

I seem to remember reading ... (Below threshold)
Suburban Scarecrow:

I seem to remember reading the following somewhere:

"From each according to his ability, to each according to his need."

I think the author was Karl somebody or other.

How about we cut back on spending and entitlements... Why not hold the government responsible...

Now that there is just crazy talk.




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