f You Can’t Have Wealth Taxes, You Don’t Have a Country

Babba

Former Staff
Jul 2007
78,410
70,508
So. Md.
I saw some reporting over the weekend that only one in fifteen millionaires gets audited and one in eight billionaires is audited. Why? The IRS is underfunded and lazy. Too much work, so they go after poor people and the middle class.

The Internal Revenue Service is in a bind. The agency's job is to collect the taxes that fund everything else in the government, from Social Security to the Post Office to Medicaid to the military's endless conflicts across the globe. But the IRS is struggling: According to Vox, Americans owe a cumulative $131 billion in unpaid taxes, enough to completely fund the Department of Education for two years. The bulk of that money is owed by the wealthiest people in the country, yet the IRS isn't attempting to collect it from them. Instead, as IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig confirmed in a letter to Congress recently, the agency literally can't afford to audit the rich, so it's pursuing the poor instead.​
ProPublica has published multiple stories on the sad state of the modern IRS over the past year. They found that a person is more likely to get audited if they make $20,000 a year than if they make $400,000. That's because it takes a lot less time, money, and people to investigate someone who receives the earned income tax credit, one of the government's largest anti-poverty programs, than it does to look into the complicated holdings and filings of someone else making 20 times as much. And even further up the economic ladder, things aren't any better: Millionaires were 80 percent less likely to be audited in 2018 than they were in 2011.​

Continued:

I've known this is true for a long time. Again, it all goes back to the outsized influence the super wealthy have on our elected officials. It's one of the biggest reasons a high rate of income inequality is so bad for our form of government.
 
May 2013
20,757
21,574
N Oregon Coast
I've known this is true for a long time. Again, it all goes back to the outsized influence the super wealthy have on our elected officials. It's one of the biggest reasons a high rate of income inequality is so bad for our form of government.
Yep, I've probably averaged just into six figures for past 20 years and not once been audited. Have friends who average 50 grand and been audited 2-3 times over the same time frame. I also know a couple of multi millionaires. Asked them if they ever get audited and not one of them has in past ten years.
 
Mar 2012
59,991
41,456
New Hampshire
I dont like a wealth tax per se, because what constitutes wealth? I would prefer regular higher income taxes. Plus Europe has had trouble with wealth taxes.

Normally progressives like to point to Europe for policy success. Not this time. The experiment with the wealth tax in Europe was a failure in many countries. France's wealth tax contributed to the exodus of an estimated 42,000 millionaires between 2000 and 2012, among other problems. Only last year, French president Emmanuel Macron killed it.

In 1990, twelve countries in Europe had a wealth tax. Today, there are only three: Norway, Spain, and Switzerland. According to reports by the OECD and others, there were some clear themes with the policy: it was expensive to administer, it was hard on people with lots of assets but little cash, it distorted saving and investment decisions, it pushed the rich and their money out of the taxing countries—and, perhaps worst of all, it didn't raise much revenue.

The U.S. government will have to get very good at valuing art, diamonds, superyachts, and all the other fabulous things the super rich collect. Indeed, Warren's plan includes a call for "a significant increase in the IRS enforcement budget." It was the hefty cost of enforcement that played a big part in Austria killing their wealth tax back in 1993. It turns out it costs a lot to track and value rich people's stuff every year.

And a wealth tax may not even be legal. The ability of the federal government to tax is tightly curtailed by the U.S. Constitution. Legally imposing the first income tax in 1913 required a constitutional amendment. Legal scholars are currently debating whether a wealth tax would need another amendment.

 
Apr 2012
82,094
6,685
This piece is an interesting argument about how to go about taxing wealth at a rate that helps sustain, maintain and and help our country progress. Essentially, we need to enter into agreements with the rest of the world that reduces the number of tax havens so that the super rich have no choice but to pay their taxes. The lax tax laws that the wealthy have been functioning under since the 80s have been a big reason why we have such high debt. Insisting that our meager social safety net is the cause is absurd.



The author also points out how a majority of Americans think the wealthy don't pay enough in taxes but because of the concentration of wealthy in the hands of a few those few have an outsized influence over our government and our elected officials who write laws that benefit the few to the detriment of the many. And because policies and laws that would benefit the average American are ignored for the sake of the few, Americans have come to hate government because it doesn't work for them. I don't see how anyone could argue that most of our economic growth has benefited the wealthy in a far greater way than it has the vast majority of Americans and a big reason for that is the fact that the wealthy pay so little in taxes.

The government needs to balance the budget. More taxes without balanced budget just means more spending and more debt
 

Babba

Former Staff
Jul 2007
78,410
70,508
So. Md.
I dont like a wealth tax per se, because what constitutes wealth? I would prefer regular higher income taxes. Plus Europe has had trouble with wealth taxes.

Normally progressives like to point to Europe for policy success. Not this time. The experiment with the wealth tax in Europe was a failure in many countries. France's wealth tax contributed to the exodus of an estimated 42,000 millionaires between 2000 and 2012, among other problems. Only last year, French president Emmanuel Macron killed it.

In 1990, twelve countries in Europe had a wealth tax. Today, there are only three: Norway, Spain, and Switzerland. According to reports by the OECD and others, there were some clear themes with the policy: it was expensive to administer, it was hard on people with lots of assets but little cash, it distorted saving and investment decisions, it pushed the rich and their money out of the taxing countries—and, perhaps worst of all, it didn't raise much revenue.

The U.S. government will have to get very good at valuing art, diamonds, superyachts, and all the other fabulous things the super rich collect. Indeed, Warren's plan includes a call for "a significant increase in the IRS enforcement budget." It was the hefty cost of enforcement that played a big part in Austria killing their wealth tax back in 1993. It turns out it costs a lot to track and value rich people's stuff every year.

And a wealth tax may not even be legal. The ability of the federal government to tax is tightly curtailed by the U.S. Constitution. Legally imposing the first income tax in 1913 required a constitutional amendment. Legal scholars are currently debating whether a wealth tax would need another amendment.

Well, as is pointed out in the piece, it would have to be something agreed upon by many nations. Then they have no where, or many fewer places to run to. But I'm open to any methods that would raise taxes on the wealthy.
 
Apr 2012
82,094
6,685
Well, as is pointed out in the piece, it would have to be something agreed upon by many nations. Then they have no where, or many fewer places to run to. But I'm open to any methods that would raise taxes on the wealthy.
If you raise taxes on the wealthy the democrats will make loopholes for their donors as we have now. It will as always hurt the middle class not the wealthy
 

Babba

Former Staff
Jul 2007
78,410
70,508
So. Md.
Translation let congress stop over spending and balance the budget and pay down their debt
We're allowing our infrastructure to deteriorate. We pay more for health care than any other country. There are so many things we're doing assbackwards in order to bend over backwards for the wealthy. It is one of the biggest reasons we have such a ridiculously high debt. And the average person knows that they're not getting value for their tax money and that's why they hate on government. Give people value for their tax money instead of giving the wealthy tax breaks.

I don't know why I'm bothering to explain this to you because you won't comprehend it.