For the Little People

I’m rich.  Didja know?  Wildly, fabulously wealthy.  Dripping in cash even.  I own more homes than Mitt Romney and John McCain combined.   And I will soon install a car elevator in each and every one of them.

Being so rich, I try to avoid taxes.  Usually, I just make my team of accountants/tax avoiders do them and sign the form on the dotted line.  Then I wash my  hands thoroughly. Really, though, I don’t even like to think about taxes.

You see, I believe in the Leona Helmsley rule:

“Only the little people pay taxes

With all that money, couldn't she afford a bag to put over her head? (Google image)

So I must say I was ticked off when the White House came up with this Widget that lets people know whether I might be paying a lower percentage of my income in taxes than they are.  And just how many of my NASCAR-team-owner-buddies are too.  [I was even more annoyed when, despite my best efforts and all the technological assistance I was willing to pay for, I could not embed it on my blog.]

But I learned something from this Widget, nevertheless.  I learned that I am still paying a higher percentage of my money in taxes than other, lesser mortals.

Here, you try it.

Happy Tax Weekend to all the little people!

(Google Image)

Ummm.  That gold is mine, by the way.


Filed under Conspicuous consumption, Elections, Humor, Hypocrisy, Politics, Stupidity, Voting

77 responses to “For the Little People

  1. Maybe you’re just smarter than the average bear!


  2. Great post. I will shy away from political comments right now and maybe always. I’m a wimp.


  3. Can’t wait, I will have to give this a try…


  4. I avoid discussing politics like the plague (my mom does it for me, I suppose…) but I really enjoyed your post, Elyse, and reading everyone’s comments.


  5. Our tax code definitely needs a revamp. Perhaps we should nix it altogether in favor of a sales tax or something else. Yikes!


    • Sales taxes are more regressive and hit the poor more, so I don’t think that will work, either.

      A value-added-tax is used in much of Europe and that’s kind of like an all-over tax on stuff. The fear there is it is really easy to raise (and that was done frequently in Switzerland).

      I think that we need to start with the Buffett Rule and then go on and straighten out our tax code.


  6. What are taxes? Said the multimillionaire.

    I’m one of those who would gladly pay more in taxes if it’d help make things better. But I’m not too keen on paying more than richie old white dude.


  7. You are richly funny is what you are. Taxes, schmaxes. I live in Canada and it’s basically the same. You make something you pay. You make nothing, you pay. You make lots, you don’t pay as much… the great wheel of economy ever turning for the those at the top spokes while quashing the little sparks on the other end of the same metal bar. I dunno. But I do know you present everything in a most entertaining fashion. Love your wit 🙂


    • Thanks Janis (I’ve been misspelling your name all this time? Sorry — I’ll just have to remember Janis Joplin). For some reason (change in your name) this comment had to be approved. If you’re not seeing your comments elsewhere, that may be why!

      Anyway, thanks for your comment. I’m glad I make you laugh sometimes :). Now go pay your taxes (and mine while you’re at it!)


  8. I am a small business owner. Sucks to be me. First they tax my business, then they tax me on my income after the fact….WHAT? Oh well, I must still be really really really rich, I think I still paid more than Mitt (%) wise.

    As a percentage of my income I am not actually doing to bad. I just wish they would stop using my income to kill people and start educating them instead. But you know, that is just me.


    • I’m pretty sure I paid more than Mitt, too (although he hasn’t released his yet, so who knows. What with the accounts in Switzerland and the Cayman Islands …. ).

      Sorry for the double taxation — that does suck.

      But I agree with the poor uses they are putting our money towards. Education would be great. So would not jailing folks for non-violent crimes (there are few things dumber than the three-strikes laws). So would giving people hope that they might just possibly escape the world of poverty and jail that they expect is their lot in life.

      There are a lot of problems to solve.


      • The three strikes law is one of the worst in a long time. But stand your ground has to be right up there.

        The double taxation for small business owners like me, it really isn’t doubling down, it is just the way the system works. I suspect if I really looked deeply enough I am saving about 3% annually. So why complain.


  9. I do think the Buffet Rule is politics but so what. I get a little annoyed with an immediate conclusion that it’s “class warfare”. It’s a legit way to get the rich to pay their fair share and it exposes Romney as one who underpays taxes but can afford an elevator for his cars. Romney’s talent is amassing wealth. This tax rule is not warfare on his class, it’s just a slight bump on his ride to the next pot of gold.
    PS-The Ryan budget doesn’t solve all our problems either.


    • When you get down to it, all government is politics (and all politics is local, yes, I’m channelling Tip O’Neil). But folks should all pay their fair share — it isn’t fair as it stands, and that’s the bottom line.


    • You’ve got Romney all wrong. He gives at least 15% or more of his income to charity where as Obama apparently gives 1%. Why is everyone annoyed with people who are wealthy? I thought that was part of the American dream? I can’t name one politician who isn’t wealthy. Is it bad to be a success in America? I guess I don’t understand what all the venom toward successful people is about. Did you feel that way about John Kerry when he was running?


      • How do we know what Romney does? He won’t release his tax forms (and applied for an extension for 2011 taxes).

        The Obamas paid a 20 percent income tax rate. They made ~$750,000 last year, of which they gave approximately $130,000 to charity. That’s pretty good if you ask me.


      • Oh, and quite frankly, I am rather well off. I don’t have a problem with wealth. I have a problem with inequity, with lack of fairness. And I believe wholeheartedly with what Elizabeth Warren says in the clip above. Nobody got it alone. It’s a joint effort. Keep a big hunk of it, but help pay for the roads, the education, the other things that make America what it is. What it should be.


  10. Well, for you Mags, I might be convinced to share the gold.

    And really, I think that things are crazy all over. Everywhere!


  11. Hi,
    I just want the pot of gold at the end of your post. 😀
    Enjoyed reading the comments and the post, it does give me a bit of an idea of what is happening in American politics, doesn’t sound that much different to Australia. Debates are always good. 🙂


  12. It’s reaching a point where I’m starting to support a tax policy of “You know what? We had a good run. Let’s just have some wine, maybe some ice cream, and take a nap. See what happens after that.”


    • Isn’t that what we did during the Bush Administration? I’m not sure, I was napping. Or maybe I was drunk because such an idiot took over the Oval Office.


  13. Is there anyway to start up a relief fund for millionaires? I just feel so bad that if they have to pay their fair share in taxes, they might not light as many cigars with $100 bills. Won’t anyone think of Rich Uncle Pennybags?


    • It’s ok, Uncle Andy in the first comment is thinking all about Rich Uncle Pennybags.

      But I’d be willing to donate to that. Oh, if I hadn’t already sent in my donations to Obama, Elizabeth Warren (MA Senate) and Tim Kaine (VA Senate). Darn. I wish I’d written this post sooner and that you’d commented before those checks went out …


  14. As soon as I read the first comment, my eyes got real big! … so I say Yes Elyse. I agree Elyse, Whatever you say Elyse. You are so right dear Elyse. 🙂 …. and well done.


    • Glad to know you have my back, Frank!

      Folks all expect to be in the situation where THEY will one day be too rich to pay taxes, and so they are willing to cut rich folks a break that they don’t need.

      Oy vey.


    • You said it, Katy!


      • Even worse are the corporations which not only don’t pay any taxes but get huge (billions) rebates which they then give to the CEOs, CFOs and other millionaires.


        • Absolutely. Those “job creators” who create and/or shift job overseas and then give their top execs millions. Makes me see fire!


          • Chicago Sun TImes – March 27, 2011

            WASHINGTON—With federal income taxes due in a few weeks, Sen. Bernie Sanders, the Vermont independent allied with Democrats, on Sunday released a list of ten big profitable U.S. companies paying little or no taxes. Sanders wants to close the loopholes that make this tax avoidance legal. Some people call the income tax system with generous loopholes for big companies corporate welfare or corporate entitlements. As Congress returns to work this week–after yet another break–to negotiate over big budget cuts–with social safety net programs facing reductions–Sanders is pushing for corporations to pay more of a fair “share.”

            The Bernie Sanders Ten, per release….

            1) Exxon Mobil made $19 billion in profits in 2009. Exxon not only paid no federal income taxes, it actually received a $156 million rebate from the IRS, according to its SEC filings.

            2) Bank of America received a $1.9 billion tax refund from the IRS last year, although it made $4.4 billion in profits and received a bailout from the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department of nearly $1 trillion.

            3) Over the past five years, while General Electric made $26 billion in profits in the United States, it received a $4.1 billion refund from the IRS.

            4) Chevron received a $19 million refund from the IRS last year after it made $10 billion in profits in 2009.

            5) Boeing, which received a $30 billion contract from the Pentagon to build 179 airborne tankers, got a $124 million refund from the IRS last year.

            6) Valero Energy, the 25th largest company in America with $68 billion in sales last year received a $157 million tax refund check from the IRS and, over the past three years, it received a $134 million tax break from the oil and gas manufacturing tax deduction.

            7) Goldman Sachs in 2008 only paid 1.1 percent of its income in taxes even though it earned a profit of $2.3 billion and received an almost $800 billion from the Federal Reserve and U.S. Treasury Department.

            8) Citigroup last year made more than $4 billion in profits but paid no federal income taxes. It received a $2.5 trillion bailout from the Federal Reserve and U.S. Treasury.

            9) ConocoPhillips, the fifth largest oil company in the United States, made $16 billion in profits from 2007 through 2009, but received $451 million in tax breaks through the oil and gas manufacturing deduction.

            10) Over the past five years, Carnival Cruise Lines made more than $11 billion in profits, but its federal income tax rate during those years was just 1.1 percent.


  15. cooper

    I thought that WAS a bag over her head….yeesh…


  16. Hahahahah I had to read this twice because when I got to “With all that money, couldn’t she afford a bag to put over her head?” I was laughing out loud, because I just got done saying the exact same thing! As far as the widget….do I want to my despair in print? No


    • Yeah, I think if your soul is ugly, sooner or later the ugliness makes it through the plastic surgery!

      If you use the widget (even if I had been able to embed it) you do it privately. It doesn’t register. Without a screen shot, anyway. Hmmmm, I could add a screen shot, I guess.


  17. You know, I briefly read how tax payers were paying to keep up the lawns on forclosed, bank-owned homes. That’s crazy. They’re going to get us one way or another for their crookedness.


  18. bigsheepcommunications

    Oh Leona, why would I want to use that widget? I can find plenty of things to be depressed and/or outraged about on my own!


  19. A new Congressional report shows that even if the so-called “Buffet” tax rule were enacted precisely as Obama wanted to, it would only raise $47 billion in taxes over the course of a decade. It’s a fact. Check it out below.

    In 2011, the United States central government spent $3.8 TRILLION. The $47 billion over ten years from the Buffet rule tax would mean the government would see only $4.7 billion more every year in tax revenue. In other words, to break it down into numbers that are easier to manage, if the government spent $38, the Buffet rule tax would provide the US Treasury with a scant $.05. That would come out to be .001315% of the budget. If Buffet thinks he isn’t paying enough taxes, let him write a check to the federal government. No one is stopping him.

    In other words, fellow citizens, you’ve been made a fool of by Warren Buffet and his hired hand, Barack Obama. The Buffet tax rule won’t raise any revenue for the government of any real actual significance. These liberals are playing on your lowbrow emotions of jealousy and envy. Liberals don’t want to write a proper budget for the nation. They just want to use class warfare as a political issue. This is no way to write public policy, or run a country

    A bill designed to enact President Barack Obama’s plan for a “Buffett rule” tax on the wealthy would rake in just $47 billion over the next 11 years, according to an estimate by Congress’ official tax analysts obtained by The Associated Press.


    • I do love a debate. But I’d like to warn readers that anyone who starts out a blog piece with this statement:

      I hate post-bumpers, but this witless prattle and hackery by B. Hussein Obama has to be addressed…
      is probably in the wrong neighborhood.

      Now, “Uncle” Andy,
      I believe that it is an issue of fairness. It’s less an issue of money. I don’t know and frankly, I don’t care if enacting the Buffett Rule would not raise a dime more. It is an issue of fairness. It is an issue of the fact that, as Elizabeth Warren said, nobody did it alone.

      Our economy is in the condition it is in because of the Republicans and because of George W Bush. Bill Clinton left us with money in the bank. Money that was squandered. Period.


      • Yipes. I’m gonna have to agree with Uncle Andy on this. Anyway, I’ve always been for a flat tax. Everyone should pay 10% of their income. Period. That would be the most fair.


        • That’s close to Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 which economists I read determined would increase the deficit by a whoppingly HUGE amount.

          I don’t disagree about a flat tax, just that it needs to be a higher amount. And it needs to be fairly applied.

          And I have a real problem agreeing with anyone whose blog is as hate-filled as the one post of “Uncle Andy’s” I read.

          Thanks for your comment. (And I do welcome comments that don’t necessarily agree with my point of view.)


      • What is inherently unfair is when the wealthy, or anyone else making investments, are double-taxed by capital gains. That is unfair. The investor makes investments with money that was taxed, and then has his investments taxed. That’s unfair. Moreover, it discourages investment, which is precisely what we do not need right now.

        I’ll tell you what else is unfair. It is unfair that the botom 50% of wage earners pay zero federal income taxes – none, zip, zilch, nada. These freeloaders have no skin in the game, while the rest os uf pull the wagon. That is unfair.

        And when is the economyowned by Obama? The mantra of “its Bush’s fault” is getting old. is anything ever Barry’s fault, for that matter? Be it the Japanese earthquake, European debt, Congress, the Supreme Court, Wall Street, or the Boogeyman, Barry always has an excuse for why someone else is to blame. When does this sorry president take some responsibility?


        • What trite nonsense. The bottom 50% pay an enormous amount of their income in taxes. Lets try to be honest rather than use Faux talking points and disingenuous misdirection, shall we?

          First and foremost, they pay state income taxes. The fed doesn’t get first cut, they get second swipe at the apple. That 50% you are whinging about? Yeah, they pay taxes to the state they live in for the services they receive from the state. There are only a handful of states that do not have a state income tax.

          Next, they pay taxes for all the products they purchase. This is called a state sales tax. It is generally, in most states an average of 8%. For these people it is a significantly greater portion of their income than it is for those earning $100,000 a year. Why you ask? Well first, they don’t get all those taxes as a deduction from their Income Taxes at the end of the year.

          Next, they pay taxes on all the commodities they must purchase just to live, these include gasoline for their automobiles, utilities for their homes. All those federal excise taxes, yeah they are certainly pulling their weight and again as a % of income it is significant. If they own homes they also pay property taxes, if they rent part of their rent pays the landlords property taxes.

          Finally, lets talk about the idea that you or anyone else should not have to pay tax on capital gains. Really? This is income and you have not paid tax on this income, it is not being doubled taxed no matter how you would like to attempt to game the system, this is income earned on investment. The investment is not being taxed only that income that has been earned over and above the investment. Yes, indeed you should pay tax on it. Nothing is free. There is no double tax! Do the math 1+1=2 always has and always will. Do you want to count your losses? Well then count your gains!

          As for the rest, use some logic. The cost of two wars, the cost of unpaid for tax breaks to the wealthy, the cost of the Medicare Part D; none of these were paid for and that is what this President is still contending with. The cost of a GOP that said clearly their only goal is to make this President a one term President, that is what this President is contending with. Yes, global catastrophe affects our economy. Yes, global economic meltdowns affect our economy. If you are unaware of this perhaps you should review your premise.

          By the way this Presidents name is President Barack Obama, show some respect.


        • First of all, I want to ask you to have a bit of respect on my blog for President Obama. That doesn’t mean that I don’t welcome dissent and disagreement, actually I do. I think it is healthy. But if you want to spew venom, please do it elsewhere. “Obama,” “President Obama,” “That Guy in the White House,” etc. are all acceptable. And I WILL reserve my right to edit out stuff like that — I will not change content, though. So just be respectful from the start, please.

          President Obama has been fighting uphill for three years to save the economy which was in a free-fall when he took office. He has made enormous strides in jobs. The stock market is trending upward. People are starting to spend money again. There is a pretty long list of accomplishments.

          Accomplishments that occurred in spite of GOP intrangigence. MItch McConnell’s main goal in 2009 was to make Obama a 1 term president. Not to fix the economy. Not to create jobs. Not to do anything but play politics.

          I will agree with you that more investment is needed in the US. But does that mean the money earned that way shouldn’t be taxed? If I get a second job to earn more money, my earnings aren’t tax-exempt.

          As to when President Obama will accept responsibility, well, I think he has. And he has been working to solve those problems since he took office.

          But you know something, I don’t see too many GOP candidates at any level cozying up to George W Bush for support. They stay far away from him because his record is toxic. He implemented policies that did significant and in some cases lasting damage on my country, my future (can you say retire at 85?) and the future of my son’s generation. I for one will not forgive George W Bush.


      • How did you know I was going to start like that?


    • Hey, Uncle,
      It always amusing me that when we are talking about cutting services, reducing the education budget, etc, no one says, “Don’t do that because it won’t solve the whole problem.” What they say is, “Every little bit helps.” In other words, a billion here, a billion there and pretty soon you’re talking about real money.
      I’ve been following this debate pretty closely. At no time did the President or Mr. Buffet ever say that increasing taxes on the super rich would solve the entire deficit problem. Put your fangs away, please, and try to be fair.


      • The problem is, I think, that folks on the other side think “fair” is only what they like. Cuts are fine as long as they involve the poor, who they keep well away from.

        And don’t get me started on the Tea Partiers over 65 shouting “Keep Away From My Medicare.”

        It’s about fairness. It’s about everybody chipping in. It’s about addressing problems through “compromise,” a word that the GOP can neither claim nor define.


      • No, neither Big Ears or Lord Buffet said the new tax would solve “all” the deficit woes. They said it would help address the deficit. they said the rich need to pay their share. The rich are paying more than their share. I’ll tell you who is not paying their share – the lower classes, and bottom 50% of wage earners, who pay nothing.


        • Just to finish my comments and stop this from further silliness. Repeating conservative talking points that have no basis in real truth does no one any good. The fact is we have been a deep recession since 2007, the number of families living in poverty has grown and thus the number of households who will not owe Federal Income Tax. The article is worth reading.

          For those who don’t want to read, this is the breakdown of those who will not owe Federal Income taxes in 2011, by category:

          * 50 percent are in this category because their incomes are so low that they are less than the sum of the standard deduction and personal and dependent exemptions for which the household qualifies. As TPC Senior Fellow Roberton Williams has noted, “the basic structure of the income tax simply exempts subsistence levels of income from tax.”

          * Some 62 percent of the households who will owe no federal income tax in 2011 have incomes under $20,000.

          * Another 22 percent do not owe federal income tax because they are elderly people who benefit from tax provisions to aid senior citizens, such as the exemption of Social Security benefits from income tax for beneficiaries who have incomes below $25,000 for single filers and $32,000 for joint filers and the higher standard deduction for the elderly.

          * Another 15 percent (of the households who don’t owe federal income tax) don’t owe the tax because they are low-income working families with children who qualify for the child tax credit, the child and dependent care tax credit, and/or the earned income tax credit, and the credit(s) eliminate their income tax liability.


        • Andy, Valentine has answered your points in well researched fashion (thanks Val).


          • You are more than welcome. I have a huge amount of research on this subject at my fingertips, so this was an easy one! I have always despised ‘talking points’ over facts.

            Just grab me anytime you need them.


        • Having worked in politics (for a Republican) much of my career, I tend to avoid debates like this and prefer to observe from the sidelines. But this is just too much for me. I think the whole spreading the wealth thing gets painted as taking the rich’s hard earned money and giving it to a bunch of freeloading lazy good for nothings that have only themselves to blame for not going to college (insert bootstraps statement for good measure). These millionaires and billionaires didn’t get there on their own, they been carried by many decent working people and there isn’t a single mega corporation that hasn’t reaped the benefits from the labor of minimum wage paid workers. (When they aren’t outsourced to other countries, that is.) These workers, whether you think ther jobs matter or not, are not paid near enough for whatever slop they’re shoveling to help tick up the millionaire CEO’s hefty annual bonus, not enough to pay for daycare, not enough to pay rent and not enough to afford healthcare. The way I see it, these folks are the ones who’ve been carrying the most dead weight on their backs these past few decades. Is it too much to ask that this dead weight simply start paying their fare share?


          • Angie,
            I think I love you. You should run for office (or maybe you ARE — see the Elizabeth Warren clip above or below or wherever the hell Word Press has put it.)
            David Cassidy loves you too. Sorry it’s not Sean.


            • I promise I will read it tomorrow and will look forward to doing so. My husband has been hearing “just give me one more minute” a few times too many tonight!


          • “fair”
            And I apologize for the most poorly edited comment ever. My iPad sometimes won’t allow me to read my full comment box after typing it out so I sometimes hit “post comment” and simply hope for the best. 😉


            • Don’t worry about it. Most people reading my blog are going to agree with you regardless of the spelling. And we’ll realize that we just need to increase spending on education :).


          • I am beating Angie’s drums


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