back to article Activist millionaires protest outside Jeff Bezos' homes to support tax rises for the rich

Well-heeled protesters gathered outside Jeff Bezos's New York City pad on Monday in support of raising taxes for the mega-rich. The rally was organized by an activist group known as the Patriotic Millionaires. The campaigners showed up the swanky Madison Square Park home of the Amazon moneybags – who has a net worth of about $ …

  1. Khaptain Silver badge

    Tax avoidance costs

    I wonder how much each off these billionaires pay each year in order to avoid paying taxes?

    1. David 132 Silver badge

      Re: Tax avoidance costs

      And if they feel so strongly that they're not being taxed enough, there's nothing to stop them writing a large check to the IRS each year over and above their tax liabilities. "Here! Have more of my money!"

      1. ecofeco Silver badge

        Re: Tax avoidance costs

        You forgot the /s tag.

      2. codejunky Silver badge

        Re: Tax avoidance costs

        @David 132

        "there's nothing to stop them writing a large check to the IRS"

        You got there before me. But of course they want the rich to be taxed more, the rich being richer than them.

        1. sabroni Silver badge
          Boffin

          Re: the rich being richer than them.

          No, they want themselves to be taxed more too.

          1. codejunky Silver badge

            Re: the rich being richer than them.

            @sabroni

            "No, they want themselves to be taxed more too."

            They can do that voluntarily. They dont need the gov to take it

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: the rich being richer than them.

              Typical selfish attitude from you there. It doesn't work if only a few people do it.

              I suppose the homeless and unemployed should put themselves up by their bootstraps? The American dream is available to all, right?

              I presume you also support Bezos billions whilst our tax dollars subsidies his staffs wages?

              1. codejunky Silver badge

                Re: the rich being richer than them.

                @AC

                "Typical selfish attitude from you there. It doesn't work if only a few people do it."

                Eh? Its selfish to not want to steal from other people? The protesting group has 200 members all millionaires and I will assume Tim Worstall knows the voluntary amount (in his comment below): "Raises about $4 million a year" so how much are they contributing voluntarily? $20,000 each?

                "I suppose the homeless and unemployed should put themselves up by their bootstraps? The American dream is available to all, right?"

                Kinda hard where the gov put them out of work but before covid the US had full employment and reducing relative poverty.

                "I presume you also support Bezos billions whilst our tax dollars subsidies his staffs wages?"

                I didnt say that. But if we are pushing for equality when do we also soak the middle class and poor in the rich countries to reduce global inequality?

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: the rich being richer than them.

                  Kinda hard where the gov put them out of work but before covid the US had full employment and reducing relative poverty.

                  Source?

                  I didnt say that. But if we are pushing for equality when do we also soak the middle class and poor in the rich countries to reduce global inequality?

                  You've obviously got the wrong end of the stick. You soak the top x% in each country.

                  1. codejunky Silver badge

                    Re: the rich being richer than them.

                    @AC

                    "Source?"

                    https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=2ahUKEwj-oPTeo9XwAhUMjhQKHeohDyYQFjALegQIAxAD&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.bls.gov%2Fopub%2Fmlr%2F2020%2Farticle%2Fjob-market-remains-tight-in-2019-as-the-unemployment-rate-falls-to-its-lowest-level-since-1969.htm&usg=AOvVaw1EtxF7Ij8FpC6gqsdrIRcP

                    "You've obviously got the wrong end of the stick. You soak the top x% in each country."

                    Why? I thought this was about equality? Therefore for all to be equal you soak the rich (including poor/middle class in the rich countries) to make all equal.

                    1. This post has been deleted by its author

                    2. Anonymous Coward
                      Anonymous Coward

                      Re: the rich being richer than them.

                      Kinda hard where the gov put them out of work but before covid the US had full employment and reducing relative poverty.

                      Your source says nothing about relative poverty.

                      Let's look at why employment was the way it was:

                      In sum, the current ultra-low unemployment rate is not due to a particularly high job-finding rate but rather to unusually low rates of people moving into unemployment, which reflects the long-run downward trend.

                      Comparing the actual and trend unemployment rates over time shows that the recent gap between them is similar to the gaps during the past two labor market peaks, in 2000 and 2007. This suggests that the current labor market is no tighter than during the previous peaks. These findings can help explain apparent anomalies in the current labor market, such as moderate wage growth and limited price inflation despite a historically low unemployment rate.

                      Nothing to do with the previous administration.

                      Why? I thought this was about equality? Therefore for all to be equal you soak the rich (including poor/middle class in the rich countries) to make all equal.

                      Basic mathematics would say that obviously reduces equality and widens the gap between the rich (most able to bear taxes) and the poor/middle class (not so able to bear taxes) in western countries.

                      A better kind of equality would be "levelling up" the poorer countries, wouldn't it?

                      1. codejunky Silver badge

                        Re: the rich being richer than them.

                        @AC

                        "Your source says nothing about relative poverty."

                        Your question didnt say anything about relative poverty. You just said 'Source' (assuming your the same AC). Feel free to go look it up or go through my comments and find one of the links discussing poverty.

                        "Basic mathematics would say that obviously reduces equality and widens the gap between the rich (most able to bear taxes) and the poor/middle class (not so able to bear taxes) in western countries."

                        Eh? Reducing global inequality reduces equality? Not sure how your basic mathematics works.

                        "A better kind of equality would be "levelling up" the poorer countries, wouldn't it?"

                        Depending how you mean it that is what is happening.

                        1. Anonymous Coward
                          Anonymous Coward

                          Re: the rich being richer than them.

                          Your question didnt say anything about relative poverty.

                          You answer included a the phrase "reducing relative poverty" with nothing to back it up.

                          Eh? Reducing global inequality reduces equality? Not sure how your basic mathematics works.

                          Your argument that driving western countries' middle class and poor into poverty is a viable way of reducing global inequality is one that I don't think I've ever read before by anyone who takes themselves seriously. The rich will continue to be rich wherever they are, westerners will become poor, and poor people in developing countries will continue to be poor people in developing countries. It will increase inequality. I don't think any further elaboration is necessary.

                          1. codejunky Silver badge

                            Re: the rich being richer than them.

                            @AC

                            "You answer included a the phrase "reducing relative poverty" with nothing to back it up."

                            And your single word question was useless. However as I said go look up the many other posts discussing relative/absolute poverty.

                            "Your argument that driving western countries' middle class and poor into poverty is a viable way of reducing global inequality is one that I don't think I've ever read before by anyone who takes themselves seriously."

                            Thats the point. It is the extension of the argument to 'rob more from the rich but only those richer than me'. There is always someone with less than others unless you want to look at the really equal societies where almost everyone is starving to death equally (bar the leadership).

                            Absolute poverty is almost non-existent in the developed countries. So we are discussing relative poverty where someone has more than someone else.

                            "It will increase inequality. I don't think any further elaboration is necessary."

                            And that is where you really do need to elaborate. If the idea of rob from the rich in the rich countries (in the name of equality) works then apply it globally. So it should work then too. If you think it will make things more unequal then you need to elaborate.

            2. MarkTriumphant

              Re: the rich being richer than them.

              I would be happy to pay more in tax (to a degree). What I would not be happy with is paying more than people in a similar position to myself. I already donate to charities, but taxation should be rigorously formal.

              1. codejunky Silver badge

                Re: the rich being richer than them.

                @MarkTriumphant

                "I would be happy to pay more in tax (to a degree). What I would not be happy with is paying more than people in a similar position to myself."

                So your not happy to pay more tax. Otherwise you would be willing regardless of others. This noble societal cause. If your happy to go on then. If not thats also your choice, and its your choice.

                "I already donate to charities, but taxation should be rigorously formal."

                Bezo's also gives to charity as he pleases doesnt he? Various people of various income choose to give money away, but tax is taking your money at the point of a gun. It is taking your money through threat of force. Hence because are not happy to just give that much in tax as you have said at the start of your comment. And the thug taking decides the degree.

                1. MrDamage

                  Re: the rich being richer than them.

                  >> "I would be happy to pay more in tax (to a degree). What I would not be happy with is paying more than people in a similar position to myself."

                  > So your not happy to pay more tax. Otherwise you would be willing regardless of others. This noble societal cause. If your happy to go on then. If not thats also your choice, and its your choice.

                  Or maybe he would be perfectly happy paying more tax, if he knew it would go to worthy causes, like infrastructure, and social services, instead of going to the military so they can make you deaderer 0.5 seconds quicker, or to the police, so they can make you deaderer quicker, or into a billionaires fucking bank account.

                  1. codejunky Silver badge

                    Re: the rich being richer than them.

                    @MrDamage

                    "Or maybe he would be perfectly happy paying more tax, if he knew it would go to worthy causes"

                    Your comment is a really good argument for low tax. I agree.

            3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              Re: the rich being richer than them.

              "They can do that voluntarily."

              That's not a solution because only a few, such those in the group, would do it. If you read the article, you'd know they are campaigning for a change io the law so it applies to everyone, which would have a much bigger effect.

              The problem, as we in the UK saw some years ago, is that some of the rich will move their assets and/or themselves to some other country which won't tax them so much. Just look at the money Apple is retaining outside of the US because they don't want it taxed at current rates. They will leave it outside the US until another "tax holiday" is announced. In effect, blackmailing the US government.

              1. codejunky Silver badge

                Re: the rich being richer than them.

                @John Brown (no body)

                "That's not a solution because only a few, such those in the group, would do it."

                Because they dont want to do it. Just as Biden wants to increase tax on those earning more than he does. The green eyes are always watching.

                "If you read the article, you'd know they are campaigning for a change io the law so it applies to everyone, which would have a much bigger effect."

                I did read it. So these millionaires dont want to contribute more, they want someone else robbed instead. Shocked.

                "The problem, as we in the UK saw some years ago, is that some of the rich will move their assets and/or themselves to some other country which won't tax them so much."

                Thats what a change in law does, it changes peoples behaviour. When robin hood steals from the rich the rich use different routes, security and the thief gets less.

                "Just look at the money Apple is retaining outside of the US because they don't want it taxed at current rates."

                Trump changed that law didnt he so now the US does tax profits globally. And yes when some thief is waiting to steal your money you try to keep it safe.

                "They will leave it outside the US until another "tax holiday" is announced. In effect, blackmailing the US government."

                Blackmailing the gov how? The gov are the ones saying 'bring it here so we can take what you earned'. Are you blackmailing thieves by having locks on your door?

              2. MachDiamond Silver badge

                Re: the rich being richer than them.

                "Just look at the money Apple is retaining outside of the US because they don't want it taxed at current rates."

                Why would Apple want to bring money into the US for it to be taxed and then sent out of the country again? Money that was earned by selling products built outside of the country to entities also outside of the country.

                The US has one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world and the politicians keep wanting it raised. This goes to show how much business is held in contempt by government.

                1. Chris 239

                  Re: the rich being richer than them.

                  What utter bollocks!

                  "bring money into the US for it to be taxed and then sent out of the country again" this is TAX on profit not revenue why would it go back out of the country? they are retaining the money outside the US waiting to it slip it in when they have applied enough grease to your government to get a tax holiday so they can pay more of it to their rich shareholders.

                  "US has one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world" https://taxfoundation.org/publications/corporate-tax-rates-around-the-world/#Rates

                  There's many places higher, e.g. France, Germany, Japan, Brazil, India but don't let the truth get in the way of a good rant!

      3. Ciaran McHale

        Re: Tax avoidance costs

        "there's nothing to stop them writing a large check to the IRS each year".

        Perhaps they do. And perhaps they make large donations to charity. Doing such things is compatible with them trying to change tax laws so rich people pay more taxes.

      4. Filippo Silver badge

        Re: Tax avoidance costs

        That doesn't work. You can't base a system around voluntary taxation, because it gives a strong competitive advantage to non-volunteers. Such a system is inherently unstable. Taxation must be as evenly spread as possible (for some vaguely reasonable definition of "even"); a voluntary basis is the opposite of that.

        These people who protest, I'd wager the reason they protest is because they understand the above perfectly. So, no, volunteering money would be against the ideals they're pushing.

      5. Nightkiller

        Re: Tax avoidance costs

        That's not high enough profile virtue signaling. It has to be done by others or else you do not gain status.

      6. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: Tax avoidance costs

        > there's nothing to stop them writing a large check to the IRS each year over and above their tax liabilities.

        If the IRS is anything like HMRC then whilst there is nothing stopping you from paying more than you owe, HMRC will eventually refund you any over payment. So if you really want to pay more you need to complete your tax return in a way that doesn't result in an overpayment discrepancy.

        I wonder if you told an accountant, I wish to pay $1Bn to the IRS instead of my normal $1M, whether they could massage the figures accordingly and not commit suicide.

    2. codejunky Silver badge

      Re: Tax avoidance costs

      @Khaptain

      "I wonder how much each off these billionaires pay each year in order to avoid paying taxes?"

      Enough to employ people who employ people who employ people while each level also spends money into the economy.

      1. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge
        Headmaster

        Re: Tax avoidance costs

        Trickle down economic theory is a fallacy when tax is less than 50% and when those getting the tax breaks don't reside where their wealth is generated (if a billionaire makes his/hers/their money in New York but lives in California - where do you think the money is going to be spent? What on a global scale? How often do American billionaires spend serious cash investing in local economies outside of the States?).

        Whilst yes, there will be some very wealthy accountants telling them how to horde their wealth, you can't guarantee that the money everyone makes not giving back in taxes will go to where its needed.

        1. codejunky Silver badge

          Re: Tax avoidance costs

          @Sgt_Oddball

          "Trickle down economic theory is a fallacy"

          I have yet to see that demonstrated. So far with the greatest reduction of global absolute poverty ever in recorded history and increasing living standards it seems to work.

          "when those getting the tax breaks don't reside where their wealth is generated"

          Lets take Amazon for example. So Bezo's has how much? Now look at the global reach of amazon. What is the benefit of people being able to search, order and have delivered at a good price the products they want? The reduction in price from competition benefiting the locals. What is the value of people getting the equipment and technology they need to improve their lives? At lower costs.

          "How often do American billionaires spend serious cash investing in local economies outside of the States?"

          Africa benefits from the development of smartphones as a way to securely transfer money without carrying cash hence reducing violent muggings. China has gone from making my cheap tshirts to making my robust mobile phone. Thanks to facebook/skype/etc I can call my friends globally for nothing, not something just for the rich.

          "Whilst yes, there will be some very wealthy accountants telling them how to horde their wealth, you can't guarantee that the money everyone makes not giving back in taxes will go to where its needed."

          You can guarantee taken in tax it wont go where its needed. Amazingly the USSR tried it. These people provide value and pay tax and employ people and yet the greedy want more.

          1. Adelio Silver badge

            Re: Tax avoidance costs

            The one thing i will add is that Amazon, like most large corporations try very hard NOT to pay their general staff too much or pay much in taxes, as i recall AMAZON spent many years trading at a loss (apparently)

            The imbalance between the top earners in a company and the rest of their staff is just getting worse and worse.

            And these rich people managing to pay less and less taxes just insults everybody.

            Most of us would love to pay (as a percentage of their wage) as little as the top 1% of rich people.

            1. codejunky Silver badge

              Re: Tax avoidance costs

              @Adelio

              "as i recall AMAZON spent many years trading at a loss (apparently)"

              Investment into the business to serve more people and even employing more people is an expense before there can be profit to tax.

              "Most of us would love to pay (as a percentage of their wage) as little as the top 1% of rich people."

              I doubt most people could afford to pay as little as the top 1%. Especially as the top 1% pay a large chunk of the tax collected.

              1. jmch Silver badge

                Re: Tax avoidance costs

                "Investment into the business to serve more people and even employing more people is an expense before there can be profit to tax."

                Amazon spenmt many years trading at a loss because it was busy driving competitors out of business using investors' cash to absorb the losses

                "the top 1% pay a large chunk of the tax collected."

                Yes, you're right, the top 1% pay about 25% of taxes. However they also rake in about 50% of the income*

                The numbers are from independent estimates I saw a few years ago, but they won't have shifted much. They probably vary across countries vs globally, but the pattern is clear. The richest people pay the least as a %age of tax.

                1. codejunky Silver badge

                  Re: Tax avoidance costs

                  @jmch

                  "Amazon spenmt many years trading at a loss because it was busy driving competitors out of business using investors' cash to absorb the losses"

                  Not bad for an online bookshop with huge losses. The outcome being that prices have reduced not just from amazon but from its competition. Many people have greatly benefited from this massive improvement to our lives.

                  "Yes, you're right, the top 1% pay about 25% of taxes. However they also rake in about 50% of the income*

                  Erm, https://www.heritage.org/taxes/commentary/1-chart-how-much-the-rich-pay-taxes-

                  The latest government data show that in 2018, the top 1% of income earners—those who earned more than $540,000—earned 21% of all U.S. income while paying 40% of all federal income taxes. The top 10% earned 48% of the income and paid 71% of federal income taxes.

                  1. jmch Silver badge

                    Re: Tax avoidance costs

                    @codejunky - don't have the time to dig it up, but my figures were global not just US. Granted they might be skewed by stupidly rich sheiks and Russian oligarchs who are multi billionaires paying little or no tax. And double - granted my memory may be faulty.

                    Having said that the figures you quote seem fair enough, keeping in mind it's only income tax (sales tax / vat disproportionately falls on lower income earners)

                  2. Swarthy
                    Alert

                    Re: Tax avoidance costs

                    Ah, there's the disconnect. You are looking at "Income earners." The individuals that are drawing the ire here do not earn an income, thus pay no income tax. Dividends or profit generated by stocks are not income, they are "Capital Gains" and taxed at a much lower rate. Alternatively, they take out loans with their "paper" wealth as collateral. The loans are not taxed (not income), and by defaulting on the loan, the transfer of collateral is not taxed, as it wasn't sold, it was repossessed.

                    I have said it before, if you are getting a paycheck you are getting screwed.

                    1. codejunky Silver badge

                      Re: Tax avoidance costs

                      @Swarthy

                      "I have said it before, if you are getting a paycheck you are getting screwed."

                      Thumbs up to that. The proportion that its an issue is questionable though-

                      https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaeldurkheimer/2018/03/01/0-001-percent-one-percent/?sh=565f2ba62cf2

                      They still pay such a disproportionate amount of tax. The problem with the higher tax crowd is that some of them are 'screw the rich' which is just evil, 'they got more than me' which is just envy, 'I want sweets and they should pay for them' which is just greed and then there are some who look at it from the cost of providing the basics.

                      The problem with providing the basics is developed government spray so much for so little that any increase just encourages the thieving buggers.

              2. MachDiamond Silver badge

                Re: Tax avoidance costs

                "Especially as the top 1% pay a large chunk of the tax collected."

                New York is finding this out as many companies and high earners have fled to other states. The city is a S-hole compared to somewhere nice such as Florida and the taxes and crime just keep going up. Is this day and age of easy communications, there is no need for companies to collect everybody in one high rise building for efficiency. Even having employees across a couple of time zones isn't a big deal for many companies. The art department and HR can be on opposite coasts of the US and not impact the functioning of a company. Each branch can also house sales staff so the company has a presence in both places as far as customers are concerned.

            2. TheMeerkat Bronze badge

              Re: Tax avoidance costs

              Amazon does exactly like every other company or person.

              Most of those who demand that other people did not do what they legally do to pay less taxes, do the same when they have the opportunity.

            3. Inkey
              Unhappy

              Re: Tax avoidance costs

              @adbelio

              'The imbalance between the top earners in a company and the rest of their staff is just getting worse and worse.'

              Wich just goes to show that mayortocricies don't work ... If they did amozon workers would be minted

            4. MachDiamond Silver badge

              Re: Tax avoidance costs

              "as i recall AMAZON spent many years trading at a loss"

              Yes, they did. They are still taking write downs on "profits" from those years when they lost money. Amazon's margin's also suck and they have higher costs than many other businesses when you compare them to other consumer goods retailers. Your local independent hardware store likely only sees a lawsuit against them very rarely when Amazon may be having several a day filed against them as they are a huge target. All of that free and expedited shipping at a low cost comes from somewhere. In the US it's been on the back of the postal service. Amazon delivers to the easy addresses and has the post office deliver to the expensive out of the way places. Amazon does get a benefit from being able to work from warehouses at cents per unit area vs a retail store paying an order of magnitude more.

              The problem isn't the people being taxed, it's the laws and the politicians that write them. So many people whine that so and so isn't paying their "fair share" when they are, in fact, paying what is required. They are just in a better position to hire accounts that can find deductions and make suggestions about where to spend, invest and store capital for the lowest tax exposure. Many of those shelters don't make sense for people with average salaries. It doesn't make sense to pay good financial advisors to sort out those advantages unless the sums are significant enough. The people to bitch at are the lawmakers. They should be working to simplify tax codes so it's easier to comply with lower tax rates coupled with fewer special interest loopholes. In the US, if you call the IRS for assistance, you can still be penalized if they give you incorrect information. They don't even have people that can give you definitive answers on the tax code it's so complicated.

          2. vtcodger Silver badge

            Re: Tax avoidance costs

            ""Trickle down economic theory is a fallacy" I have yet to see that demonstrated."

            I don't think you've been looking very hard (or at all). Here in the US In the forty years since we put that pompous windbag Ronald Reagan and his sociopathic henchmen in charge, the lot of the poor and middle class has changed hardly at all. For the most part, they're barely keeping their heads above water. And far too many of them are a couple of missed paychecks away from bankruptcy. Meanwhile the wealthy have walked away with everything not securely fastened down and as much as feasible of that which was. As Warren Buffet famously said “There's class warfare, all right, but it's my class, the rich class, that's making war, and we're winning.”

            I'm not against Jeff Bezos or Bill Gates or Warren Buffett being wealthy. Quite the contrary. But can we perhaps try a bit of restraint and share some economic growth with the bottom 90+ percent of our population?

            1. codejunky Silver badge

              Re: Tax avoidance costs

              @vtcodger

              "Here in the US In the forty years since we put that pompous windbag Ronald Reagan and his sociopathic henchmen in charge, the lot of the poor and middle class has changed hardly at all."

              Really? Because the poor and middle class are better off than in the 80's. Also the great depression of the 1930's was compared to the great crash of 2008 and there was a significant difference.

              "For the most part, they're barely keeping their heads above water"

              Is this in relative or absolute poverty terms because there is little poverty after welfare is taken into account.

              "And far too many of them are a couple of missed paychecks away from bankruptcy"

              Oddly this can (and often is) a personal habit thing. Easy credit being used by people in well paying jobs in great displays of affluence with little to fall back on. In the UK I know people too who are like that. More tax doesnt change that.

              "Meanwhile the wealthy have walked away with everything not securely fastened down and as much as feasible of that which was"

              Like what?

              "As Warren Buffet famously said"

              Read page 218 about the congress hearing. Hell read the book its a good one-

              https://books.google.nl/books?id=EU5gY-JY-mwC&pg=PA248&lpg=PA248&dq=%22the+end+of+prosperity%22+warren+buffett&source=bl&ots=aXjVFL6R39&sig=ACfU3U00oxY-BAJ3XhInU0gqOulbn-mirg&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwii2_aGn9PwAhUkMewKHeVJB7QQ6AEwEHoECAoQAw#v=onepage&q=%22the%20end%20of%20prosperity%22%20warren%20buffett&f=false

              "I'm not against Jeff Bezos or Bill Gates or Warren Buffett being wealthy"

              How generous. They work, damned hard, they create and provide and they get some money for succeeding. But your not against them being rewarded for their hard work and grinding away to make a living.

              "But can we perhaps try a bit of restraint and share some economic growth with the bottom 90+ percent of our population?"

              Sure. So the developed world is insanely rich. So rich that those middle class and even poor earn vast sums above those in absolute poverty and above. So lets see your wealth redistributed first. Hands off mine, if you feel so strongly about the inequality of rich and poor lets see your hard earnings taken for them. And they will of course want more after you do because you will still have more than they do.

              1. Snake Silver badge

                Re: Absolute DREAMING

                Codejunky said:

                "Really? Because the poor and middle class are better off than in the 80's"

                Then you are in DENIAL. And worse? You believe and ACCEPT your denial as "truth".

                The American middle class has SHRUNK, by every measure *and* government acknowledgement, since 1970

                https://www.pewresearch.org/social-trends/2015/12/09/the-american-middle-class-is-losing-ground/

                In 1970 62% of Americans qualified as "middle class", that figure is now 43%.

                And the "worse" part is poverty has GROWN

                https://www.forbes.com/sites/tommybeer/2020/12/16/largest-increase-in-us-poverty-recorded-in-2020/

                You believe that supply-side economics works??? Then you are the PROBLEM with America, the believers of fantasy as long as it meets your personal political agendas.

                1. codejunky Silver badge

                  Re: Absolute DREAMING

                  @Snake

                  "The American middle class has SHRUNK, by every measure *and* government acknowledgement, since 1970"

                  By relative measures (hence class) where the rich getting richer changes the measurement of the middle class without actually reducing the income of the middle class. Basically that measurement seems to be showing a roaring success as more people become more affluent. Doesnt seem to be the poverty rate-

                  https://www.statista.com/statistics/200463/us-poverty-rate-since-1990/

                  Also the US measures poverty before welfare while other countries measure after welfare. In absolute terms about 1.7%-

                  https://www.macrotrends.net/countries/USA/united-states/poverty-rate

                  "And the "worse" part is poverty has GROWN"

                  Absolute terms by 0.5%.

                  "And the "worse" part is poverty has GROWN"

                  By your link it directly attributes it to the coronavirus pandemic. Otherwise-

                  https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/15/business/economy/poverty-record-low-prior-to-pandemic.html

                  The share of Americans living in poverty fell to 10.5 percent in 2019, the Census Bureau reported, down 1.3 percentage points from 2018. That rate is the lowest since estimates were first published in 1959.

                  "You believe that supply-side economics works???"

                  I believe in the laffer curve. I believe in what I can see. I am not an economist but I do see the hypocrisy of people demanding equality, as long as it doesnt involve giving up what they have.

                  "Then you are the PROBLEM with America"

                  I am in the UK

                  1. Martin Silver badge
                    WTF?

                    Re: Absolute DREAMING

                    There are dozens of things I could take from your comment - but I'll stick to just two.

                    "I believe in the Laffer curve."

                    You do? Well, let's look at this. According to Wikipedia

                    The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics reports that estimates of revenue-maximizing tax rates have varied widely, with a mid-range of around 70%

                    So, you'll be wanting taxes increased. then?

                    "I am in the UK"

                    Then, as the guy said, you are the PROBLEM with the UK also. There is something appalling about a government who have asked our health service professionals to slave their guts out during a global pandemic, and then say "Sorry, we can't afford to pay you more than a 1% pay rise." While at the same time, their mates are getting rich off PPE contracts.

                    We could EASILY afford it. We'd have to increase tax on the wealthy (and I include myself in that). We can afford it to pay a bit more tax. God knows the average nurse can't.

                    1. codejunky Silver badge

                      Re: Absolute DREAMING

                      @Martin

                      "So, you'll be wanting taxes increased. then?"

                      Why? Also my understanding of the 70% is that there are no deductions and its the grand total.

                      "Then, as the guy said, you are the PROBLEM with the UK also."

                      The UK is pushing against the laffer curve.

                      "There is something appalling about a government who have asked our health service professionals to slave their guts out during a global pandemic"

                      Eh? The NHS is the bureaucracy that just so happens to contain hard working health professionals. A number who are retiring due to being taxed for working. We were so short of professionals that those wanting to come back gave up because they needed stupid diversity training to give vaccinations. The army had to step in to get supplies where they were needed because the NHS screwed up. PHE dropped the ball terribly.

                      But more to the point we have a huge economic hit again with great reductions in private earnings (the thing taxed to pay for the health service) and yet the health workers want a pay rise? I assume they will lobby for a cut at some point?

                      "We could EASILY afford it."

                      By increasing our deficit already balooning to support closing the economy?

                      "We'd have to increase tax on the wealthy (and I include myself in that)"

                      No need. Just send your cheque to HMRC.

                      "God knows the average nurse can't."

                      Nor unemployed, on furlough and other governmentally screwed people.

                      1. Martin Silver badge
                        FAIL

                        Re: Absolute DREAMING

                        Again, just two items.

                        "yet the health workers want a pay rise?"

                        Yes, they DO fucking want a pay rise. They have worked their bloody socks off - and for what? A round of applause every Thursday a year ago? And your diatribe about the NHS and PHE is utterly irrelevant to the point that they have worked their socks off nevertheless for a pathetic pay rise, while anyone who knows a cabinet minister can get a nice little PPE contract (with a nice little cut for themselves) with none of this tedious tendering.

                        "Just send your cheque to HMRC"

                        No, no, no, no.

                        If I think the roads should be better looked after, should I go out and fill the potholes myself?

                        If I think the NHS is underfunded, should I send them some money?

                        If I think that a decent government of a civilised country should be ashamed if their citizens need to use food banks, should I cook meals for them? (I do actually give money to the Trussel Trust, but I shouldn't need to.)

                        My individual cheque will do nothing. The taxation system needs to be made more fair. And in particular, we should tax people who can afford it, and not tax those who can't.

                        See, the basic difference between you and me is that you seem to think it's acceptable for a government to screw over the poor to improve the lot of the rich. I think that it's not just unacceptable - it's evil.

                        1. codejunky Silver badge

                          Re: Absolute DREAMING

                          @Martin

                          "They have worked their bloody socks off - and for what?"

                          Job security while the rest of us lose jobs and income. Pay rise during times of economic distress where the rest of us lose money (which is taxed to pay for the bureaucracy). Should I demand a pay rise when the technology breaks or do I do what I am employed to do?

                          "If I think the roads should be better looked after, should I go out and fill the potholes myself?"

                          I dont see a problem with that. You do need to make sure it meets the regulations but if your roads are so bad after paying your tax it shows the money is not going where you obviously see a need. So why not do something about it?

                          "If I think the NHS is underfunded, should I send them some money?"

                          If you believe them to be and you feel its a worthy cause why not? If people who thought it was underfunded sent it more then maybe it would be less underfunded in their eyes.

                          "If I think that a decent government of a civilised country should be ashamed if their citizens need to use food banks, should I cook meals for them?"

                          Sure go for it. But food banks are the peoples solution already because the gov who takes so much isnt as good at giving the money out where it is needed. Gov is too slow and has its fingers in too many pies. So yeah go ahead, why do you think its wrong to do what you feel is right?

                          "My individual cheque will do nothing."

                          Then I guess we should all feel that way and and not give money to charity either (you say you do). What a waste of money that you think your piddly little contribution changes anything (\s). Yet obviously you do as do others who contribute willingly.

                          "The taxation system needs to be made more fair"

                          Fair is a word with little meaning. It isnt a value or a boundary. So what is fair? Is stealing fair? Taking money through threat of force (tax). Is it fair to take more money from the rich to give to the poor? If so then the poor and middle classes of rich countries need to be taxed in the name of equality because there are absolute poor out there still.

                          "See, the basic difference between you and me is that you seem to think it's acceptable for a government to screw over the poor to improve the lot of the rich."

                          If that is the difference you see then poor you. I dont believe it is acceptable for the gov to screw people over. Using your logic then you seem to think it is ok.

                        2. MachDiamond Silver badge

                          Re: Absolute DREAMING

                          "If I think that a decent government of a civilised country should be ashamed if their citizens need to use food banks, should I cook meals for them?"

                          Many schools don't have home economics/cooking classes anymore like when I grew up. Kids aren't often learning how to cook at home. Ready meals and take-away are the order of the day. When I was in school decades ago, the all too short cooking class was a load of fun. It wasn't until later in life that I really got into cooking and that's after having a gran that taught me quite a lot. I can eat a steak, potato and veg dinner I make myself for less than a McD happy meal. I also know what's going in to my meal. On the kitchen wall I have a season calendar to tell me what foods are in season to help plan cost effective meals. When stone fruits are being harvested, I'll buy a case at the farm stand and spend some time canning and freezing. I can make some dead simple treats with a pear, orange and oatmeal without using any sugar.

                  2. jmch Silver badge

                    Re: Absolute DREAMING

                    "I believe in the laffer curve"

                    Firstly, the Laffer curve is simply a way to maximise government tax income, it very simply says that as you increase tax %age from 0% or reduce it from 100%, government tax revenue will increase until there's a maximum somewhere in the middle. It has nothing to say about social equality or inequality, or the optimal outcomes thereof. True to Goodhardt's law (measurements become targets), governments have followed the idea of increasing GDP per capita simply because it's easier to measure than how happy their citizens are. But the job of governments isn't to increase a country's economy above any and every other priority, hence tax at a non-maximal point of the Laffer curve might be a more desirable outcome.

                    Secondly, it very notably is an observation, not a formula. So there is no known way to calculate where the peak is, and indeed that would depend on dozens of other societal factors. If you listen to supply-side economic theories, even with current extremely low tax rates we are on the 'right' side of the curve and reducing rates will increase tax take, but there's absolutely nothing to support that view. Indeed, Trump's tax cuts given to the richest Americans didn't increase government tax take overall, they just increased the deficit. Which clearly shows that the Laffer curve 'sweet spot' for current US conditions is at a higher tax %age. For UK / EU conditions

                    Finally, a simple thought experiment - the idea of trickle-down economics is that if the rich are richer they will spend more and there will be more for everyone. But half a seconds critical analysis would point out that a dollar spent by a rich person is no different to a dollar spent by a poor person. Also, poor people, exactly becuase they are poor, do not spend as much as they would like to, but would spend more if they were slightly richer. Rich people on the other hand, already save or invest a good portion of their income, so a marginal increase in their income will not change their spending habits much. In other words, given the same total economic base, there is a higher increase in the economy if the poor have more money. This in turn means they have more to spend on whatever rich people sell (Henry Ford's wisdom that if his workers earned enough they could buy his cars).

                    The 'rising tide lifts all boats' metaphor only works if the poor (small, but far more numerous) take the metaphorical part of the sea, and the rich (fewer and economically 'larger') are the boats. And yet the metaphor is mostly used the opposite way!

                    1. codejunky Silver badge

                      Re: Absolute DREAMING

                      @jmch

                      "Firstly, the Laffer curve is simply a way to maximise government tax income"

                      Is this not the aim? Maximise government income to reach the limit of their spending ability (because of the cries always for more tax).

                      "It has nothing to say about social equality or inequality"

                      That is true. It is not about dragging people down to the same level and punishing success due to greed. There are of course people who argue for this because they are greedy buggers but thats why I ask when they should be 'taxed' in the name of global equality.

                      "But the job of governments isn't to increase a country's economy above any and every other priority, hence tax at a non-maximal point of the Laffer curve might be a more desirable outcome."

                      Maybe. But since the economy is basically the provider of our living standards it is certainly part of our needs and wants we shouldnt be aiming to go above that point, so staying under the curve makes sense.

                      "So there is no known way to calculate where the peak is, and indeed that would depend on dozens of other societal factors"

                      Very much agreed.

                      "Indeed, Trump's tax cuts given to the richest Americans didn't increase government tax take overall, they just increased the deficit."

                      Interestingly Trump also benefited from the lowest unemployment and a very good economy up to covid. The deficit increase being planned by the Dems too but Obama was also trying to convince people to put up with the 'new normal' of poor economic performance, until it went well then claimed it as his victory.

                      "Rich people on the other hand, already save or invest a good portion of their income, so a marginal increase in their income will not change their spending habits much."

                      Big problem there, where does the money go? Invest is to put the money into the economy to be borrowed and spent. To save by say depositing in a bank leads to the bank lending it out.

                      "In other words, given the same total economic base, there is a higher increase in the economy if the poor have more money"

                      There is a trick to this. If you give people a lump they pay off their debts or save it. If you slightly increase their take home pay they spend it.

                      "This in turn means they have more to spend on whatever rich people sell (Henry Ford's wisdom that if his workers earned enough they could buy his cars)."

                      That isnt wisdom that is stupidity. Paying his workers more to buy his cars is a massive loss making exercise. You cannot make money that way. That is why the public workers paying tax does not actually make a country money, they have to spend on other things. Henry Fords wisdom was to reduce the churn of workers.

                      "The 'rising tide lifts all boats' metaphor"

                      If all are getting richer even if some are getting richer faster is all boats rising. And it is the case.

                  3. Snake Silver badge

                    Re: Poverty rate

                    "By your link it directly attributes it to the coronavirus pandemic."

                    Exactly. We are talking about raising taxes in order to fund [currently] necessary social programs due to the pandemic. That's the point of this entire discussion.

                    1. codejunky Silver badge

                      Re: Poverty rate

                      @Snake

                      "Exactly. We are talking about raising taxes in order to fund [currently] necessary social programs due to the pandemic. That's the point of this entire discussion."

                      Then you are using the wrong measurement. You were complaining the number of poor has grown but that is during the pandemic so of course it has, the gov shut down parts of the economy. Pre pandemic should be the measurement you use as that is when there is an economy (hence the number of poor should shrink).

                  4. elip

                    Re: Absolute DREAMING

                    It's fairly tough for me to believe so many people are ignorant about the improving state of the world (especially poverty - which keeps shrinking and shrinking). Granted I didn't grow up in the US, but no doubt we're all better off now than in 1980. In 1980 my comrades were getting dragged into the woods and shot in the head. At least now some of us get a trial.

                2. J.G.Harston Silver badge

                  Re: Absolute DREAMING

                  Codejunky said:

                  "Really? Because the poor and middle class are better off than in the 80's"

                  Then you are in DENIAL. And worse? You believe and ACCEPT your denial as "truth".

                  I don't know where you are, but in the 1980s my mother was unemployed, we had no central heating, and no television. Today, I'm unemployed, have fully functional central heating, and a television. And this computer to reply to you. How is that "no better off"? You're the one in denial.

                  1. chololennon
                    Facepalm

                    Re: Absolute DREAMING

                    "I don't know where you are, but in the 1980s my mother was unemployed, we had no central heating, and no television. Today, I'm unemployed, have fully functional central heating, and a television. And this computer to reply to you. How is that "no better off"?"

                    Are you being sarcastic? (because of "I'am unemployed") If you aren't, just one thing: Personal anecdotes are not scientific evidence, you can't generalize based on personal experience.

                    1. elip

                      Re: Absolute DREAMING

                      There is no generalization involved. Worldwide, we're *all* in a better place than we were in the 80s. Do you remember the 80s? I grew up in the middle of the revolution in Eastern Europe. I remember standing in food lines/bread lines and our currency collapsing overnight, twice. My kids have never even seen a soldier working a national curfew/martial law, let alone tanks rolling down the street. They've never seen completely barren store shelves. I've never seen the poor be so rich. Amazing how quickly our perspectives change.

                      1. Anonymous Coward
                        Anonymous Coward

                        Re: Absolute DREAMING

                        Yes, East Germany is better off. So, undoubtedly are other places.

                        They are not being discussed though, and don't have any relevance to the worsening situation in the UK and the US.

                3. MachDiamond Silver badge

                  Re: Absolute DREAMING

                  "In 1970 62% of Americans qualified as "middle class", that figure is now 43%."

                  I blame the government. Companies such as Walmart and Amazon pay such a low wage that some employees qualify for public assistance. That's subsidizing those companies' payrolls or they'd have to pay higher wages. The also get fantastic incentives to locate stores and warehouses in certain areas. Once the incentives expire, they move a few miles away to the next town/county over for a fresh set of incentives leaving behind buildings partially designed to be unusable by any operation that can't make use of the whole space and so large that only another company of the same size could make use of it.

                  Taxes continue to rise as politicians spend more and more money on programs that will buy them votes in the next election rather than on the core responsibilities of government. Namely, infrastructure. Every little bit nibbles away on every pay packet.

                  People are also taxing themselves to pieces. Lots of $5/$15/$50 per month services that auto-pay from their credit/debit cards. Gone are the video stores where you handed over your money when there was something worth renting. Now it's a monthly fee that you pay regardless of whether there are any good offerings. Unlimited cell phone service for the whole family. Cable/Sat TV plus more and more things that used to be included now on a separate charge. $7 coffees. Ad nauseam. Big ticket items such as cars and homes have gone straight up to the point where car loans can be for 6-7 years instead of just 5. People are signing up to be owned by a home where in the past a bank wouldn't have approved those loans. There is also the disposable lifestyle of here tomorrow gone today, use it up and throw it away, buy another one just the same (more or less). <Nik Kershaw> Rich people often buy really top quality things such as furniture that will last a century or two and gain in value rather than press board Ikea stuff that lasts a few years and appears as a pile of sawdust one morning.

              2. MachDiamond Silver badge

                Re: Tax avoidance costs

                "So lets see your wealth redistributed first. Hands off mine, if you feel so strongly about the inequality of rich and poor lets see your hard earnings taken for them."

                I'm with you CJ. Where I live has a contingent of people that have made and continue to make poor choices in life. Loose living, drugs, alcohol (the Hip Hop lifestyle). They make themselves unemployable with piercings and tattoos and extreme fashion choices (ghetto for the most part). They get by through government largesse which is my tax money taken from me against my will regardless of whether I need groceries, phone service or house payment funds. Their subsidies are guaranteed while it's on me to bring in jobs to eat and live indoors. With this staring me in the face everyday, why should I feel that my taxes are being well spent?

                There are tremendous opportunities in the first world to do very well if one tries. For a bit less effort, one can do ok and for almost no effort, one can survive. "Sharing" the wealth at the point of a gun doesn't work as has been seen time and time again. The USSR should have been a paradise and the wall built to keep from being overrun by people trying to get IN. Venezuela, with big oil reserves, should be a fantastic place to live as a socialist country that shares its wealth with the populace. Human nature (greed in particular) means that socialism will never work. Those on top will always believe that they are entitled to vastly more than anybody else they their virtue of being on top.

                There is also a ton of positive feedback built into that system. (in the electronics sense of being a bad thing)

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Tax avoidance costs

            Here's the study:

            https://www.lse.ac.uk/News/Latest-news-from-LSE/2020/L-December/Tax-cuts-for-the-rich

            1. codejunky Silver badge

              Re: Tax avoidance costs

              @AC

              Its a shame you didnt post with your handle, thumbs up from me. Thanks for the link I will have a read of the paper.

              It does seem odd that they study dropping tax as no real effect but then say-

              "Researchers say governments seeking to restore public finances following the COVID-19 crisis should therefore not be concerned about the economic consequences of higher taxes on the rich."

              That flies in the face of observed fact with the 2008 crisis and France ramping up tax on the rich. The rich left to the benefit of its neighbours (including the UK). They have a similar problem in India-

              https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-56659615

              Destinations for millionaires seem to lean toward tax friendly-

              https://www.businessinsider.nl/countries-where-millionaires-are-moving-2019-5?international=true&r=US

              As is often the case, if these people think they need to pay more they can do. Yet very little is raised from such 'socially minded'

          4. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: I have yet to see that demonstrated.

            No, you've yet to acknowledge that it's a fallacy. We've had it since the 1980s, it hasn't trickled down to me yet.

          5. Tom 7 Silver badge

            Re: Tax avoidance costs

            ""Trickle down economic theory is a fallacy" I have yet to see that demonstrated."

            And no-one has yet seen the opposite demonstrated.

            1. codejunky Silver badge

              Re: Tax avoidance costs

              @Tom 7

              "And no-one has yet seen the opposite demonstrated."

              Except for the examples I have given.

          6. ST Silver badge
            FAIL

            Re: Tax avoidance costs

            > So far with the greatest reduction of global absolute poverty ever in recorded history and increasing living standards it seems to work.

            No, it doesn't work. What worked was the deliberate extraction and transfer of wealth from wealthy nations to poor ones. Trade agreements and outsourcing. Relocation of production (manufacturing) from high-wage countries to low-wage ones.

            This has nothing to do with trickle-down economics.

            1. codejunky Silver badge

              Re: Tax avoidance costs

              @ST

              I guess it depends on your definition. Amazing how all that wealth didnt just accumulate in the rich places but flowed to those open to the advances and wealth trickling down from the rich.

              1. Dr_N Silver badge
                Trollface

                Re: Tax avoidance costs

                mini-worstall> trickling down from the rich.

                Are you sure your fixation with all things trickle-down isn't because you get the words affluent and effluent mixed up?

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Facepalm

                Re: Tax avoidance costs

                Amazing how all that wealth didnt just accumulate in the rich places but flowed to those open to the advances and wealth trickling down from the rich.

                Yes. All those Amazon warehouse workers going off into space in Bezos' rockets.

                1. codejunky Silver badge

                  Re: Tax avoidance costs

                  @AC

                  "Yes. All those Amazon warehouse workers going off into space in Bezos' rockets."

                  I think you might have replied to the wrong thread. Even so what a stupid statement. Most people aint saving to visit space.

                  1. Dr_N Silver badge

                    Re: Tax avoidance costs

                    codejunky> Even so what a stupid statement.

                    After days and almost 30 TL;DR manifesto style postings on this thread that has to be the richest thing of all.

                    Seek help.

                    https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/the-squeaky-wheel/201811/why-certain-people-will-never-admit-they-were-wrong

                  2. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: Tax avoidance costs

                    You said "amazing how all that wealth didnt just accumulate in the rich places but flowed to those open to the advances and wealth trickling down from the rich" and it's patently wrong.

                    No Amazon worker is going up in one of their bosses rockets, not when it costs 1.4 million.

                    Most people aren't saving to go into space because they aren't rich and they would never save enough to go into space in their entire lifetime.

                    Trickle-down economics is a fallacy. Is it beginning to dawn on you yet?

                    1. codejunky Silver badge

                      Re: Tax avoidance costs

                      @AC

                      "No Amazon worker is going up in one of their bosses rockets, not when it costs 1.4 million."

                      The Amazon workers boss is unlikely to be going up in rockets, nor their bosses boss. Most people dont have the money for such extreme luxury. If you measure poverty by not having enough for extreme luxuries then almost everyone in the developed world is dire poor, which is why such a measurement would be total utter moronically idiotically stupid.

                      "Most people aren't saving to go into space because they aren't rich and they would never save enough to go into space in their entire lifetime."

                      Relative measurement of rich being relative and not about absolute poverty. Aka- he has more than I do.

                      "Trickle-down economics is a fallacy. Is it beginning to dawn on you yet?"

                      Except you didnt demonstrate that at all. Only that you use a measurement which cannot be taken seriously unless put to nursery school children.

                      1. codejunky Silver badge

                        Re: Tax avoidance costs

                        @AC

                        Just to kick the idiot while he is down (and as AC anyway wont make a difference to them) there are some interesting graphs to show you worthwhile measurement-

                        https://www.continentaltelegraph.com/2021/05/you-will-be-poor-peasants/

                        1. Anonymous Coward
                          Anonymous Coward

                          Re: Tax avoidance costs

                          In terms of social justice, what matters is levels of inequality (i.e. disparities in wealth). It seems the socialist-leaning countries are doing best on this, as illustrated by OECD statistics. Note from the graph that UK levels of inequality were generally coming down under a left(ish) government, until circa 2010 when the Tories got in, when inequality plateaued and then began to generally rise again (although I admit that this could also be down to a variety of other factors). In any case, where there are large disparities in wealth, there is injustice. It's not enough to simply tell the poorer and potentially socially disenfranchised people that they should be happy because they're not starving.

                          1. codejunky Silver badge

                            Re: Tax avoidance costs

                            @AC

                            "In terms of social justice"

                            That is never a good start.

                            "what matters is levels of inequality"

                            And this is why. That is called envy. Isnt it more important that lives are improved at all possible levels? Why is inequality the important factor when absolute poverty has been all but wiped out in the developed world, globally it is falling faster than ever and could be eliminated in our lifetimes and at all levels our standard of living is consistently improving?

                            "It seems the socialist-leaning countries are doing best on this"

                            Socialist countries are awesome at this. USSR, N.Korea, Venezuela, Communist China were all very successful at reducing inequality and N.Korea being their greatest success story. When China reduced the socialism and welcomed the capitalism they actually caught up quite well to the developed world instead of a starving peasant utopia.

                            "as illustrated by OECD statistics"

                            I dont see any socialist countries represented there. But if you are talking about the nordics then thats something a bit different (they tried socialism and turned away just in time). So your advocating for less regulation, more academies in education, privatise the NHS? Of course we would also need to stop paying for a useful military and have the US pick up the tab, become highly restrictive in immigration (homogeneous population seems required), accept a lack of social mobility, accept a loss of entrepreneurship and increase in welfare dependance

                            "In any case, where there are large disparities in wealth, there is injustice"

                            If this is true then when do we soak the rich countries with all the wealthy people (including poor and middle class) to correct the global inequality?

                            "It's not enough to simply tell the poorer and potentially socially disenfranchised people that they should be happy because they're not starving."

                            Have roofs over their heads, 3 square meals, medical care, education, welfare. For someone not contributing to the economy, the economy is supporting them with all that and more. So how much more extra do you feel is necessary? Now compare what they have available to them to actual poverty.

                            In the UK we dont have absolute poverty outside of severe drug/alcohol/mental issues. In a lot of cases people who dont want to be helped (actively turn it down).

                            1. Anonymous Coward
                              Anonymous Coward

                              Re: Tax avoidance costs

                              Socialism is not communism (though the US Republicans don't seem to know this), and I specifically mentioned successful "socialist-leaning" countries, also known as "countries that have adopted and enacted socialist ideas and policies and have seen success in improving their societies by doing so".

                              It seems from your long post history that you're something of a free-market libertarian, while I'm more of a social democrat. Our world views are so clearly different that I don't feel I'm going to get very far with anything I say to you. But then I suppose the reverse is also true, so I call stalemate.

                              1. codejunky Silver badge

                                Re: Tax avoidance costs

                                @AC

                                "Socialism is not communism"

                                That is why I included Venezuela and N.Korea. They are socialist governments run the socialist way. Of all variants of socialism the single success story has been N.Korea for lasting as long as it has. The bar isnt very high.

                                "and I specifically mentioned successful "socialist-leaning" countries"

                                Which is an oxymoron. Then you seemed to be pointing to the nordics which backed away from socialist economics and went rampant with free market but high wealth redistribution. And that has its existential issues.

                                "It seems from your long post history that you're something of a free-market libertarian, while I'm more of a social democrat."

                                Ok, thats fine (and yes I am), but thats why I was trying to get to what you ment. Since you mean the democratic socialist (aka free market, high wealth redistribution) that makes more sense than 'socialist' which has just never worked.

                                But to make the social democratic ideal we would need to ramp up tax on the middle class as the rich cant pay for the vast spending. Also it means privatising all the various state services which socialists (in the UK) want government controlled in communist ways. I dont know how you see that but it would require a drastic change to the country I dont think it could cope with (closing down borders, mass privatisation, huge increase in tax on middle class).

        2. Dr_N Silver badge
          Trollface

          Re: Tax avoidance costs

          Sgt_Oddball> Trickle down economic theory is a fallacy when tax is less than 50% ....

          Yup. And doubly so when people get "ideas" like trickle-down economics confused with real world effects like economies-of-scale.

          Lots of jealously on display. Must stick in the craw of the less well-off wannabee-elites that people better off than them are displaying empathy and social conscience. Very triggering.

          More of this!

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Tax avoidance costs

          Trickle down theory is a concept not invented by free market proponents, but by non-free marketers. So you can be assured it has terrible economic underpinnings.

        4. DS999 Silver badge

          Trickle down is a failure

          The stimulus payments and extra unemployment paid during the pandemic demonstrated that, as while certain sectors of the economy dependent on lots of people getting together (bars, theme parks, concerts) have suffered badly, the parts of the economy not dependent on that not only didn't suffer much many of them have been booming. The rich certainly weren't investing in building new production capacity during this time - in fact they were taking it offline which is why we are seeing price spikes here and there due to shutdowns of oil wells, lumber mills, and so on during that time.

          It is people at the bottom spending that grows the economy, not rich people investing (and bidding up the price of bitcoin, NFTs, gold, or stock of existing companies doesn't add a single iota of production capacity so it shouldn't be considered "investment" in that sense) Starting up a business does no good if you don't have customers with money to spend. Unless you cater exclusively to the upper middle class and above, it is harder to get consumers to open their wallets today than it was 40 years ago, because they have less disposable income due to higher housing costs, student loan debt, and necessities you have to pay for today that didn't exist 40 years ago like internet service. That's why single earner households are much more rare today, and why there are so many people at the bottom working more than one job - they can barely keep up as it is.

          Obviously we can't continue such stimulus payments, but we should at least be able to recognize that giving the rich access to more money (i.e. the typical Fed response to any sort of downturn to lower interest rates and maybe do some quantitative easing to clear the market) serves only to inflate the prices of assets. The rich have more money to spend on investment property, stocks, and so forth so those prices increase, but it doesn't lead to any economic growth.

          They are only going to invest in new production capacity if they know there are consumers with money at the ready to make purchases. And if at all possible, they'll invest in that new production capacity in China so they can pay workers less and keep more profit for themselves.

          1. codejunky Silver badge

            Re: Trickle down is a failure

            @DS999

            "The rich certainly weren't investing in building new production capacity during this time - in fact they were taking it offline which is why we are seeing price spikes here and there due to shutdowns of oil wells, lumber mills, and so on during that time."

            The government shut down the economy. Not much anyone can do about that. Numerous businesses tried to innovate out of it or try something new.

            "(and bidding up the price of bitcoin, NFTs, gold, or stock of existing companies doesn't add a single iota of production capacity so it shouldn't be considered "investment" in that sense)"

            If you buy bitcoin, gold, stock etc what happens to the money? Its a trade and the money is spent in the economy. The money didnt vanish. So the poor guy trades his money for something or the rich guy trades his money its still trading money. Pause the economy and much less money is being traded.

            Basically the solution to your entire comment seems to be open the economy back up. Thats not a rich/poor thing but a gov thing.

        5. MachDiamond Silver badge

          Re: Tax avoidance costs

          "How often do American billionaires spend serious cash investing in local economies outside of the States?)"

          More often than you think due to taxes. It's also a way to corner a market by investing in areas with far less competition. The US is saturated and it takes a lot of work to find a business location with a big advantage if you aren't large enough to have the government pay for your infrastructure ala Amazon/Tesla etc.

      2. Howard Sway

        Re: Tax avoidance costs

        I'm surprised you haven't taken a job in an Amazon warehouse then, seeing as you're telling us that doing so enables you to earn and spend so much that the economy simply roars ahead. Just think of the army of chefs, gardeners, chauffeurs and personal assistants you'd be able to employ!

        1. codejunky Silver badge

          Re: Tax avoidance costs

          @Howard Sway

          "I'm surprised you haven't taken a job in an Amazon warehouse then"

          I have a job I enjoy thanks. But is there something wrong with Amazon warehouse workers?

          "seeing as you're telling us that doing so enables you to earn and spend so much that the economy simply roars ahead"

          It is more helpful to the economy that they are employed and being paid for work instead of being unemployed. Surely you agree?

          "Just think of the army of chefs, gardeners, chauffeurs and personal assistants you'd be able to employ!"

          You do know an economy isnt just about employing people? People earn money to spend into the economy (which is transactions). But the nearest to your measurement for me is the window cleaner I guess.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Tax avoidance costs

      They are mostly Trust Fund kids, so their income is well sheltered in the Trusts they inherited.

    4. ST Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: Tax avoidance costs

      > I wonder how much each off these billionaires pay each year in order to avoid paying taxes?

      Orders of magnitude less than they would have to pay in taxes if our tax code wasn't so skewed towards tax-exempting the richest people on Earth.

      Is it worth paying a tax attorney $500K in order to avoid paying an extra $50M in taxes?

      I'm not sure if the hypothetical $500K in tax attorney's fees is tax-deductible. Generally, tax preparation fees are tax-deductible, but there might be some upper bound.

    5. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Tax avoidance costs

      "I wonder how much each off these billionaires pay each year in order to avoid paying taxes?"

      A lot less than what they save by employing these accountants with tax specialisms.

  2. Dinanziame Silver badge
    Meh

    $1M a year — is that a lot?

    Suppose you're one of these people protesting. You have to make $1M a year to join the group, so suppose you make, oh, $10M a year, every year! Lot of money, huh?

    Then lucky you, it will only take a century for you to have a billion dollars... and Jeff Bezos has two hundred billions dollars.

    They have a point.

    1. Qarumba

      Re: $1M a year — is that a lot?

      And their point is...we don't like people being richer than us so increase tax for them but not us, as we are poor millionaires. I wonder if these are the ones who inherited their weatlh and didn't have to work for it.

      1. tiggity Silver badge

        Re: $1M a year — is that a lot?

        @Qarumba

        Or maybe they are just not total selfish sociopaths & think that if you have plenty you could afford to pay more taxes. Not everyone is obsessed with their own selfish cash accumulation at the expense of the wider society.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: $1M a year — is that a lot?

          think that if you have plenty you could afford to pay more taxes

          No-one is stopping them.

      2. Ciaran McHale

        Re: $1M a year — is that a lot?

        Several books including "The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America's Wealthy" and "The New Elite: Inside the Minds of the Truly Wealthy" suggest that the majority of millionaires and billionaires are first-generation wealthy.

        1. codejunky Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: $1M a year — is that a lot?

          @Ciaran McHale

          "suggest that the majority of millionaires and billionaires are first-generation wealthy."

          Its easier to argue attacking someone if you can paint them a monster. I havnt read 'The New Elite' I will look it up.

    2. Tom 38 Silver badge

      Re: $1M a year — is that a lot?

      He doesn't have $200bn, he has a lot of shares in the company he started. Its a tricky one; I'm not in favour of anything that would say force him to sell shares to pay a wealth tax - that just seems like forcing someone to sell their company.

      On the other hand, he does occasionally sell chunks of those shares to fund his other endeavours, buying big ass yachts, newspapers or building space rockets. I'm well in favour of taxing those sales quite highly - at that point, its not the government forcing him to sell shares, he's deciding to cash out.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: $1M a year — is that a lot?

        Yes, this.

        It is a very easy narrative to just say someone "is rich" without considering where it all comes from. And the "rich lists" that estimate (or make up) people's "wealth" don't seem to always bother making this clear. Musk, for example, is particularly affected by this as the majority of his current very high "wealth" is based on his Tesla shares and, if the Model 3 roll out hadn't succeeded, those would all be worth zero now and he would not even be close to the top of any of these lists.

        Basically you can tax three things (*): income, realized gains in asset value or the asset itself (a.k.a. wealth tax). Lots of people will call for a wealth tax until they realize that means that one day they will have to sell their house (many people's biggest asset) to pay the asset/wealth tax on it. I think France does have a wealth tax and this is one of the issues associated with it. e.g. older people who have lived in a house for decades suddenly find it is worth a lot (because the area is suddenly popular or whatever) and have to sell it to pay the tax bill or use some funky inverse-mortgage to pay the tax bill but sacrifice the value when you do sell it (or die or whatever).

        Basically, taxing people is complicated. Taxing people fairly is even more complicated. And if someone claims to have an easy solution that can be expressed by one slogan, they almost certainly don't understand what they are talking about....

        (*) well you can have sales tax too but that is slightly different - you are skimming something of the top of a voluntary(+) transaction as opposed to taking something from someone that might otherwise have rightfully belonged to them

        (+) yes it gets complicated when you start describing purchase of food, water, heat, etc. as "voluntary"

        1. Graham Cobb Silver badge

          Re: $1M a year — is that a lot?

          Yes, tax is complicated. But this group are not trying to recommend how the government decides to balance sales, income, capital gains and wealth taxes (all of which already exist in some forms in every economy).

          However, their one, simple slogan is perfectly reasonable, perfectly clear and indicates they exactly understand... "tax us (and the people who have even more than us) more in order to build a better and fairer society - experts can work out the details".

          This isn't a US-only problem. I, and many others, have long voted for political parties who would increase the tax I pay. I suspect many others here are the same (after all, tech generally pays well).

        2. ST Silver badge
          FAIL

          Re: $1M a year — is that a lot?

          > Basically, taxing people is complicated.

          Yup. Excuse #235.

          The US used to have a progressive tax scheme until the early-mid 70's. It really wasn't that complicated. And then Reagan, Thatcher and the trickle-down crew took over.

          $1M a year is not a lot by Jeff Bezos standards, but it's very comfortable even in high-cost places such as NYC or SF. There is a difference between comfortable and excessive. Does one really need five Lamborghini's?

          -----

          [*] Unless one's main worry is tax avoidance at all costs.

          1. Fred Daggy

            Re: $1M a year — is that a lot?

            Sort of agree. I have no qualms about paying more, if those who "have lots" are paying their fair share.

            Those who have only a little are not given a free pass. But obviously a smaller share.

            The PAYG taxpayer never gets to exploit the loopholes that the mega rich can. I can't shift my income to a lower taxing place. The use of trading companies and artificially inflated "management services", royalties, etc, etc from mega corporations and the mega rich will lead to them being "the first against the wall when the revolution comes".

          2. iron Silver badge

            Re: $1M a year — is that a lot?

            > Does one really need five Lamborghini's?

            Clearly one needs seven Lanborghinis, you don't expect one to drive the same car two days in a row?

            1. J.G.Harston Silver badge

              Re: $1M a year — is that a lot?

              The whole *POINT* of being human is more than satisfying needs, but satisfying *wants*. Nobody "needs" a model railway set. Nobody "needs" novels. Nobody "needs" soap operas. Nobody "needs" Call of Duty".

              1. ST Silver badge

                Re: $1M a year — is that a lot?

                > Nobody "needs" Call of Duty".

                How many copies of Call of Duty do you own?

            2. jmch Silver badge

              Re: $1M a year — is that a lot?

              "you don't expect one to drive the same car two days in a row?"

              Then you need ...erm.... 2 Lamborghinis?

      2. Robert Grant Silver badge

        Re: $1M a year — is that a lot?

        When he buys a yacht etc he pays VAT, and the company he buys it from pays various taxes.

    3. Ciaran McHale

      Re: $1M a year — is that a lot?

      "suppose you make, oh, $10M a year, every year! [...] Then lucky you, it will only take a century for you to have a billion dollars".

      Wealth accumulation rarely occurs in a linear manner. Rather, the money is invested in, say, a high-interest bank account (if such things still exist), index funds, the stock market, growing your company, and so on. Compound growth on the investment over a few years/decades can do wonders.

      1. jmch Silver badge

        Re: $1M a year — is that a lot?

        "Compound growth on the investment over a few years/decades can do wonders."

        True, but most people can't use that.

        Anyone make £20k a year is likely spending pretty much all of it just to cover rent, food and basic expenses, and has zero left over to invest.

        Anyone making £100k a year can live quite comfortably on half of that and have loads left over to invest (even though in practice most people earning £100k will simply spend 80-95k of it).

        Compound growth isn't available to those living paycheck to paycheck

        1. Ciaran McHale

          Re: $1M a year — is that a lot?

          I don't disagree with you. But my comment was in response to a scenario in which a person earns $10M a year. With that sort of money, it should be possible to live on a fraction of $1M and let compound growth work wonders on the other $9.xM.

    4. jmch Silver badge

      Re: $1M a year — is that a lot?

      It's a lot for a lot of people.

      The thing is humans are very bad at correctly grasping numbers at extreme scale. For someone making $30k/yr, there isn't much difference between $1m and $1b, it's anyway just a huge unattainable number.

      I don't think there's anything hypocritical about well-off people wanting higher tax rates, and it's not just a question of cutting a cheque themselves. Tax systems disproportionately favour business owners, investors and inheritance beneficiaries over employees because of different built-in rates for capital gains, investment and inherited income vs 'earned' income.

      A simple first step towards more tax fairness would be to pool income from all sources (including deemed benefits such as use of corporate jet) and tax the total using the current income tax rates. A fairly simple second step would be to exclude all tax breaks, exemptions, deferments etc etc for any income above, say, $5m. System is simplified and no rate changes needed

      1. Graham Cobb Silver badge

        Re: $1M a year — is that a lot?

        A simple first step towards more tax fairness would be to ... . A fairly simple second step would be to ... . System is simplified and no rate changes needed

        With respect, I don't think you, or I or any other commenter here could design a useful and effective tax system. "Simple" tax systems tend not to work particularly well. And governments also use tax systems to "nudge" people into behaviours they want. For example, maybe the government think NFTs are a waste of society's resources - so they tax NFTs more heavily. Maybe they want people to invest in "war bonds" for an emergency they are expecting - they will often use the tax system to do that.

        That isn't a problem. Complexity isn't really the problem. As long as it is progressive and there are not significant loopholes. I don't care whether the tax rate is identical for earned income over $10M and investment income over $10M. I care that they are both high.

  3. mark l 2 Silver badge

    I hadn't realised the tax rate in the US was so low even if your a billionaire. The UK start taxing your earning at 40% above £37K which and 45% over £150k (this is 46% in Scotland)

    I really think there needs to be more tears over what we have already. If your earning over 500K per year. it should be 50% tax, 1m per year, 60% tax, 2m+ 70%.

    You might argue that will not encourage people to work as hard because their money is going to get taxed. But the majority of those earning 2m+ a year are sports stars, actors and CEOs of multi nationals. And I would rather have better paid emergency service staff, public facilities and more money to help those struggling. And less Tom Cruise movies, less football on TV, less new shiny shiny items to buy on Amazon if they do stop working as hard.

    1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      The UK start taxing your earning at 40% above £37K

      Not quite. It's 0% up to £12.5K, 20% up to £50K, and 40% over that (until the £150K point). The £37K is £37K *above* the non-tax threshold, not the actual threshold.

      If your earning over 500K per year. it should be 50% tax, 1m per year, 60% tax, 2m+ 70%

      Historically that doesn't work, people just leave the country and move to a tax haven, like pop stars did in the 60's when Labour governments tried the 'soak the rich" taxes.

      But the majority of those earning 2m+ a year are sports stars, actors and CEOs of multi nationals.

      Exactly the kind of people who can, and will, leave the country to avoid the problem.

      The more you earn, the more tax you pay.That's how percentages work anyway. Punishing people for earning more is counter-productive.

      1. batfink Silver badge

        They don't even have to leave the country any more, just move their money to somewhere anonymous.

        This is one of the biggest obstacles to fairer taxation, and solving it is actively worked against by various governments, including the UK. You may recall the long "notice period" that was given before even the slightest surveillance (beneficial owner recording) was brought in for the British Dependency tax havens, just to make sure Our Mates had enough time to make other arrangements.

        Of course I have no idea why this might be the case, but maybe the fact that tax-dodging (sorry, "minimisation") seems to be rife amongst lawmakers might be a clue. IIRC, Cameron's dear old dad's business was working with people to offshore money. Even Saint Maggie Thatcher moved all her money offshore after she retired, thereby setting a good example for her successors.

        1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

          They don't even have to leave the country any more, just move their money to somewhere anonymous.

          If they do that legally they will still be taxed on it, since tax is paid where you're fiscally resident (or where you are domiciled, if you manage not to be resident anywhere).

          Obviously hiding the money in an offshore tax haven will mean you can avoid the tax on it, but that's illegal & changing the tax percentages won't fix that, only jail time will.

      2. jmch Silver badge

        "Historically that doesn't work, people just leave the country and move to a tax haven"

        I'm sure there's a level of tax at which the rich will up sticks and leave, but that level is certainly well above 50%. Pretty much every non-micro country in mainland Europe has a highest tax rate of 45-55%, and rich people don't leave there in droves. Partly because, contrary to earlier poster, most rich people are business people and investors (eg owners of SMEs) and have to be based close to home. Sportspeople etc are more high-profile but there are actually very few of them that are both mega-rich AND can up sticks and leave. The largest category of high-paid athletes, footballers (and generally any team-sport members), have to live wherever their club is based.

        Generally speaking, the UK could probably edge up it's maximum rate without many rich people upping sticks, and the US has considerable margin to do so (for most of US history, the rate was 70%+ for high incomes, it's only since the cold war ended that it's been consistently under 40%)

        1. iron Silver badge

          Did you not read the post you were replying to? Labour did this in the 60s and 70s, it is why everyone from Lulu to Sean Connery moved abroad. Some of us are old enough to remember.

          1. zappahey

            " it is why everyone from Lulu to Sean Connery moved abroad."

            OK, that's the upside, what about the downside?

          2. jmch Silver badge

            I did read the post I was replying to, perchance you didn't read my reply? Just because a lot of high-profile wealthy people such as singers, actors and formula 1 drivers are moving abroad doesn't mean there is a mass exodus of the rich.

            And I wasn't at all advocating a return to the 70s Labour taxes of 70%+ (up to at one point 83%). That's totally insane. If you read my post you can see that I said teh UK could afford to edge up their rate a little. Not massively and certainly not double!!

            Indeed if you see any of my other posts, I advocate simpler solutions: (1) pool all income, whatever the source, and tax it at the same rate (2) remove all tax exemptions, breaks deferrals etc for any income above say 5 million. This will not only lead to fairer taxation it also simplifies the system.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              The original post was proposing 70%+ tax for anyone earning over £2m/year.

              The top 1% already pay over £30bn per year in income tax, the original poster's suggestion would almost double that. Of course they'll leave.

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            "Historically that doesn't work, people just leave the country and move to a tax haven"

            I don't think anyone is realistically proposing squeezing every last drop out of the rich and super-rich, but putting up the tax rate that they pay by even 1% (or even a fraction of a percentage point, given the magnitude of wealth involved at the top) would raise quite an amount of income that could be spent on better public services: like, for example, a national health service, something that the USA is oddly resistant to, despite the fact that, every year, many of its citizens end up in terrifying levels of debt because of horrific private healthcare bills.

      3. Adelio Silver badge

        I think the issue is NOT about them paying more tax (as a percentage) than us but paying anywhere close to the SAME percentage as us. I guess Bezos probably pays less than 10% of his income in tax. probably a lot less.

      4. Dr_N Silver badge

        Phil O'Sophical> Historically that doesn't work, people just leave the country and move to a tax haven, like pop stars did in the 60's.

        Did a recent tax hike cause Jim Ratcliffe to move to Monaco? (Or build his new Santana PS10 copy in [checks notes] France?)

      5. Robert Grant Silver badge

        At 100k you start losing your personal allowance, so the tax rate between 100k and 120k(ish) is 60%.

  4. Eclectic Man Silver badge

    You know you're rich when ...

    The head of Berkshire Hathaway (recently on the Register as the share price was so high it broke one of the stock exchanges limits on price listings https://www.theregister.com/2021/05/07/bug_warren_buffett_rollover_nasdaq/), asked why he pays a lower percentage of his income in tax than his secretary, pointing out that this did not seem fair to him. Of course, Leona Helmsley had the opposite view: "only the little people pay taxes".

    I do find it annoying when politicians are so keen to dis other people who evade or avoid taxes (like Jimmy Carr), while inheriting millions tax free as it was kept offshore in a tax haven (like David Cameron).

    Maybe the definition of rich should be when your accountant saves you at least twice as much in taxes as it costs you to employ them. (By this definition I am not rich.)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: You know you're rich when ...

      On that note then, my wife is rich rich rich!...... But then her accountant charges about £350 a year to file her paperwork after she collates it for them. And they just file out the costs that she's allowed to claim back on since she's not VAT registered, self employed as a dentist (and a landlord on a flat that's not actually worth selling, since the increase in value over the time owned is less than a year's rent....) as well a dentist (so has alot of outgoings relating to mandatory courses, materials, training, lab work).

      It's well worth her doing but the taxes have already been paid and she's claiming them back, rather than avoid spending in the first place.

      Tax, riches and wealth is a complex matter requiring knowledge on the difference between transitory riches and more sustainable wealth.

      Anon because who wants to admit to being married to a dentist?

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Patriotic Millionaires

    Please submit your bank account statement* as well as a Verified* Patriot* Certificate* to apply to join this event*

    *Click here to receive 10% off the Verified* Patriot* Certificate* Training* Course* Online* Package NOW!*

  6. Lars Silver badge
    Happy

    Something to consider

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7onxDNmSLwA

  7. Tim Worstal

    A useful little test

    There's something called the "Gifts to the United States" account. Think you're not paying enough in taxes? Send them a check. Raises about $4 million a year.

    They also send thank you letters back. My test for someone demanding higher taxes. Can we see your thank you letter?

    I once got the similar numbers out of the UK Treasury. How many people pay more tax than they need to? Or, more accurately, how many send in a cheque for more? In 2005 it was 5 people - and four of them were dead leaving bequests.

    The number of people who believe so strongly in higher taxation that they pay, themselves and voluntarily, more taxation is remarkably small.

    1. claimed

      Re: A useful little test

      No, Tim, I dont like that argument, I've seen it a few times here but I think its wrong.

      I'm from the UK, lots of people in the UK agree that queuing is a fair way to organise ourselves so that we are served/allowed access to a venue, whatever. This is not true of all places and countries.

      Now, I am one of those people, I think queuing is a fair system and happily participate.

      If I'm waiting at a bar and there are a few people, I'll often keep track of who arrived before me and even voluntarily prompt the bar staff "no, this person is first" if they make a mistake in serving in the right order. The same applies to queues for food stands at festivals, etc.

      However, if the queue system collapses and the bar is full, self regulation is not an option - I will compete to be served and will not correct bar staff on a mistake. This is due to my perceived place in the queue where although I'm 'pushing in', more people have already pushed in front of me, to me it's fair for me to do so.

      Without everyone participating in the system, its not fair. You can't expect people to stand at the back of the unregulated queue bar at the bar (tax themselves) when everyone else is not forced to. That is not a fair system and they are just disadvantaging themselves. If there is a ticket system and you can't get served by bar staff out of order.... watch the happy queue reform and most people by and large will happily participate.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: A useful little test

        Even after yesterdays opening of "indoor service", there's still no queueing at the bar allowed so I assume the above is all hypothetical? :-))

    2. ST Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: A useful little test

      > Think you're not paying enough in taxes? Send them a check.

      Congratulations for the Whataboutist Rebuttal Of The Year.

      Problem: Jeff Bezos is, and has been, engaging in tax avoidance by employing high-powered tax attorneys that the IRS or the State Tax Authorities do not have the means to fight in Court.

      Worstal's Retort: "Why don't you pay more?"

      Can you explain why should someone else pay more in taxes to make up for the revenue shortfall created by Bezos' (and others) tax avoidance schemes?

      Leona Helmsley much?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: A useful little test

        Tax avoidance is completely legal. The laws were written specifically to compel people to do specific things (buy a house, donate to charity, hold stocks for more than a year). Tuning your income to maximize these specifically written clauses is nothing more than doing what the government wants you to do. The fact that the politicians have written so many of these clauses specifically to benefit those whith more money is easily explained by 2 things.

        1) The rich pay people to insert these things into the tax laws

        2) The poor don't pay any income/capital gain taxes and therefore have no need for "loopholes". Their loophole is the 0% rate they're paying.

        In the US in 2017, the top 1% paid 38.5% of all of the income taxes while simultaneously earning "only" 21% of the income. In terms of fairness, that seems to be skewed. The top 1% pay an avg tax rate of just under 27%, the bottom 50% pay an average tax rate of 4%. Even the top 50% have a tax rate 4 times that of the bottom 50% (16%). Someone isn't paying their fair share. But none of those people are in the top 50% of income earners.

        I realize those arguing to "tax the rich" have no facts to support their feelings. But, if you want to tax the rich and you're personally paying less than 27% of your income to the government, show us your "thank you letter" or STFU.

        1. ST Silver badge
          Mushroom

          Re: A useful little test

          > Tax avoidance is completely legal.

          Not in the US it isn't, unless the IRS says it is. Refer to my earlier comment about the IRS fighting Bezos and the likes in Court.

          > But, if you want to tax the rich and you're personally paying less than 27% of your income to the government, show us your "thank you letter" or STFU.

          My effective tax rate - combining Federal, State and Local - is 48.3%. If I were to add sales (consumption) tax, it would be over 50%.

          So: why don't you share with us your effective tax rate, O Brave Anonymous Coward.

          If the only thing you have to offer are boring platitudes and fictional percentages coming straight out of your arse, why don't you kindly clench your very muscular sphincter and STFU yourself.

          1. Roland6 Silver badge

            Re: A useful little test

            >So: why don't you share with us your effective tax rate, O Brave Anonymous Coward.

            Well I'm not that AC, but my effective tax rate last year was 63%(*) (VAT + Business Tax + PAYE + NI) before VAT and import duties on consumer purchases, and local council taxes - so probably somewhere closer to 70%...

            I know I could, reduce my effective tax rate by a few percentage points, but can't be bothered with the effort (and additional non-fee earning time) it would require.

            (*) Yes, the lockdown was good for me.

        2. Getmo
          Facepalm

          Re: A useful little test

          Anonymous Coward: "Tax avoidance is completely legal."

          Are you actually this stupid? Or is this a stupid game you like to play, pretend to be dumb, then when you get called out for being dumb, "ho ho, I was just pretending!"

          Do you have no idea what the word loophole means? Here's a quick definition: they tried to make it illegal, but failed. The wording of the law, combined with all the other laws before it, make it so the thing they tried to make illegal can still be legal in certain circumstances.

          The IRS tax code is more words & pages than the bible. It contradicts itself in several places. No one human being on the planet knows what it all says together. When politicians try to close the loopholes, they write a bill that gets appended to the back end of the tax code, which creates different loopholes. It's swiss cheese. It's a labyrinth, and the ultra-rich have helicopters with spotlights showing them the secret exits.

          Example: New tax laws made it illegal to write-off a cruise as a business expense. HOWEVER, if that cruise has a stop, say in the Bahamas, and there's a restaurant in the Bahamas where your business meeting is held, then the cruise is simply transportation to your meeting, and the whole trip can be written-off as a tax deduction. That was certainly not the intent of the lawmakers, in fact they intended the opposite, to make this type of thing completely illegal.

          This was told to me by an ex-IRS agent who had worked there for 10 years, now doing taxes for the rich, literally at a real estate convention where she was advertising her services. Bezos and Buffett have an army of these types of people. Buffett is also in support of major tax reform, he made the point when Obama said he was going to TRY to raise taxes on the ultra-rich, that he still paid into a lower tax bracket than his secretary. Because he already knew it wasn't going to work, Obama would only create more loopholes. Major tax reform means burning the whole book and starting over, but that's scary to everybody.

          "Tax avoidance is completely legal." while technically correct, is not supposed to be, and you missed the point so completely it might as well be in orbit over your head. Literally everything you wrote after that about how "that's the way they intended it to be" is not only wrong, it's the exact opposite of that. Look up the word "loophole".

          1. Ciaran McHale

            Re: A useful little test

            You seem to be talking about the USA, but things might be a bit different in the UK, as I now explain. In the UK, "tax evasion" refers to an ILLEGAL way to not pay tax, and "tax avoidance" is a LEGAL way to not pay tax. So, the statements "tax avoidance is completely legal" is correct, as is the statement "tax evasion is illegal".

            In an effort to encourage people to save/invest, the UK government has "ISA" (individual savings accounts) which is a tax avoidance wrapper around saving/investing accounts. You can put in up to £20,000 per year into an ISA. Whatever gains you get in an ISA are completely tax free.

            Clearly, ISA is a (legal) tax avoidance scheme that is ENCOURAGED by the government (rather than being a loophole they have failed to close). I have several books on my shelves on topics such as "how to reduce taxes for a small business" and "how to pass on your wealth to your kids to reduce inheritance tax". Such books provide numerous examples of (legal and even encouraged) tax avoidance.

            Contributions into a pension fund are free-of-income tax, and when you reach retirement age you can take out 25% of the fund tax free (again, legal and encouraged tax avoidance), and then take out the remainder at your then tax rate. Since a person is likely to have a lower income during retirement than during their working years, the "deferred tax payment" of a pension is also a form of (partial and encouraged) tax avoidance.

            I haven't bothered to read the entire thread you and Anonymous Coward are participating in, but I figured I should explain the above in case differences in laws in different countries might be partially fuelling the anger.

            Some tax avoidance techniques are of the "uninended loopholes that haven't been closed yet" variety, but some other tax avoidance techniques are of the "the government ENCOURAGES you to use this to reduce taxes" variety.

          2. Robert Grant Silver badge

            Re: A useful little test

            > "Tax avoidance is completely legal." while technically correct, is not supposed to be

            At least here in the UK avoidance is totally legal and expected. This is the point of "well why don't you overpay tax?" - you're not meant to pay more tax than you owe.

            If the rules are complex and self-contradictory, the onus is on the organisation that wrote them and that will get you locked in a box for years if you don't pay them the amount of money their rules specify to make the rules simpler and more consistent. It's ludicrous to expect otherwise.

      2. J.G.Harston Silver badge

        Re: A useful little test

        Yes, and I engage in tax avoidance by not purchasing tobacco or spirits, and by being poor. Your point being?

    3. You aint sin me, roit Silver badge

      Re: A useful little test

      Or you could look at whether a person has voted to pay more tax. I must admit I benefit from Tory tax reductions, but I vote in the hope of a fairer system of wealth distribution even though it will cost me.

      I choose to believe, however, that we'd all benefit from a fairer society. So I suppose you could say that my voting habits have a degree of self-interest.

    4. Dinanziame Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: A useful little test

      "I think people should stop throwing garbage in the street"

      "If you don't like streets full of garbage, why don't you pick it up?"

    5. Filippo Silver badge

      Re: A useful little test

      That "test" is testing for the wrong parameter. The problem being denounced is not "we are not raising enough taxes" or "we don't have enough money for the poor"; it's "the current taxation scheme is unfair". You can fix "we need money" with voluntary payments, but you cannot fix "unfair" that way. You just can't; it would literally be making the problem worse.

      You can, of course, argue that the current system is not unfair at all, and that would be an opinion worth debating.

      But people who don't share that opinion don't need to give to charity and/or voluntarily pay more taxes in order to be coherent. Because those actions don't do zilch to make the system more fair, and arguably work against that objective.

    6. J.G.Harston Silver badge

      Re: A useful little test

      When I was married I refused to claim the Married Person's Allowance (when it existed). Do I get a Virtue Signalling Award? ;)

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fair Share. Rich.

    Define it.

    Because people (usually those who leech a free life for life off the taxes other people work to pay) clamouring for 'the rich' to pay 'their fair share' never define what a fair share is. Probably because they aren't paying any kind of 'share' at all.

    Maybe Joe Biden can tell us what 'a fair share' is, and why Hunter won't be paying it either.

    "It is easy to be conspicuously 'compassionate' if others are being forced to pay the cost." - Murray N. Rothbard

  9. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    Bezos can't change the tax code. They should be protesting outside the legislature, not outside somebody's home. And further to that, if they want specific laws changed they should elect people to change those laws.

    1. Ciaran McHale

      I agree that protesting outside of Bezos' home is somewhat illogical. However, since he is one of the richest people around, he is a symbol of wealth. The protestors are probably hoping to get more media attention by incorporating that symbolism into their protest. It's less about "logic" and more about "a good publicity tactic".

    2. ST Silver badge
    3. ITS Retired

      What makes you think Jeff Bezos has not changed the tax code? I'm sure not him personally, but the lobbyists he hires to bribe Congress sure have.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Zuck off!

    "Zuckerberg and Musk aren’t off the hook. The group said it may protest outside their homes in the future. “We didn't go to either of their homes today, but we may potentially do more targeted actions at them or other CEOs at some point,” the spokesperson said.""

    That may be more difficult than they think.

    Zuckerberg has been busy buying up acreage on a island, you know, for more privacy.

    Dumb fucks.

    https://www.cnet.com/news/zuckerberg-i-know-that-people-dont-want-privacy/

  11. Gerlad Dreisewerd

    Tax us more so we can raise prices

    Actually the little millionaires are asking for more taxes so they can collect more taxes for the government and claim more special privileges.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Simple facts

    Simple facts:

    * Police and Military are the lions share of all government budgets

    * The Police and Military primarily exist to protect citizens lives and property

    * The more property a citizen has the more benefit they accrue from government

    So the rich benefit the most from government yet pay the least for that privilege, while those of us who have less to lose, pay more of our incomes to protect the property of the rich.

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