Posts Tagged ‘taxes’
Tags: cartoon, drones, Halloween, inequality, jobs, Obamacare, Republicans, taxes, Tea Party, Thomas Friedman, United States
Tags: CEOs, corporations, dividends, economists, fast food, food stamps, Medicaid, neoclassical, profits, taxes, workers
Everyone knows we live in a fast-food nation (everyone, that is, who has read Eric Schlosser’s book or seen Richard Linklater’s movie). But not everyone is aware that it’s only a tiny portion of the nation that benefits—directly and indirectly—from the existence of fast food.*
Some, of course, benefit directly, because they either receive in CEO compensation or in the form of stock dividends a portion of the enormous profits created within the fast-food industry.
The reason profits are so high is because fast-food wages are very low (an average of $8.69 an hour for those working at least 27 weeks in a year and 10 hours a week), and fast-food employers are able to shift the cost of the low wages they pay their employees to public programs (such as Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, Earned Income Tax Credits, food stamps, and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families).
Those at the very top of the nation also benefit from the fast-food industry because, as a result of low wages and public programs to assist the working poor, fast-food prices are kept down. Thus, the price of one of the elements of the wage bundle of all workers—food—is kept low. Thus, workers in all industries—not just fast food but the production of all goods and services—have to spend less of their day working for themselves and more of the day working for their employers. That, in turn, raises profits in those industries, a portion of which shows up in the executive-compensation packages and dividends of the tiny minority of income earners.
The prototypical high-net-worth individuals who are “coastal, educated, older, white and male,” certainly don’t consume fast food on a regular basis.** But they’re the folks who benefit, both directly and indirectly, from the existence of a fast-food nation.
*The information in this post comes from two recent reports: Super-Sizing Public Costs: How Low Wages at Top Fast-Food Chains Leave Taxpayers Footing the Bill [pdf], by the National Employment Law Project, and Fast Food, Poverty Wages: The Public Cost of Low-Wage Jobs in the Fast-Food Industry [pdf], by Sylvia Allegretto et al. at the University of California, Berkeley, Center for Labor Research and Education and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Department of Urban & Regional Planning.
**Although at least one neoclassical economist who opposes any increase in the minimum wage, John Cochrane, occasionally does.
Tags: budget, cartoon, corporations, debt, Obamacare, Republicans, shutdown, taxes, Tea Party
Today, as we commemorate the centenary of the federal income tax, John Buenker and Sam Pizzigati remind us of the howling about the perils of taxing the economic elite that took place then, which is exactly the howling that takes place now when there’s even a suggestion those at the top should pay more.
Exactly a century ago, on October 3, 1913, President Woodrow Wilson signed the first modern federal income tax into law. The sky did not fall.
That may have surprised the eminences of the American plutocracy. For years they had predicted the most dire of consequences should the federal government begin taxing the incomes of America’s most comfortable.
Those warnings took a shriller turn in 1909. A flurry of cynical congressional maneuvers sent the states a constitutional amendment, ostensibly designed to allow a federal income tax. Conservatives in Congress felt confident that the amendment had no chance of gaining enough state support to be ratified. To clinch the amendment’s defeat, they unleashed a fierce rhetorical fusillade.
Friends of grand fortune would reserve a special venom for the notion of “progressive” taxation — the idea that high incomes should face the highest tax rates. They characterized a “graduated” tax on the incomes of America’s affluent as “extortion,” a “penalty upon ability and intelligence” and an imposition on a “small class of people powerless to defend itself.” Taxing the wealthy, they contended, would be “killing the goose that laid the golden egg.”
In the Virginia House of Delegates, Speaker Richard Byrd predicted that an income tax would put freedom itself in jeopardy. Any new income tax law, Byrd charged, “will of necessity have inquisitorial features.”
He forecast: “Under it men will be hailed into courts distant from their homes. Heavy fines imposed by distant and unfamiliar tribunals will constantly menace the taxpayer. An army of federal inspectors, spies and detectives will descend upon the state.”
An income tax, Andrew Carnegie summed up, would simply destroy initiative and create a “nation of liars.”
Tags: corporations, debt ceiling, rich, taxes
In one sense, Henry Aaron is right: the limit on the debt ceiling is “a law with no discoverable purpose.” He suggests, therefore, that Obama ignore it.
But there are at least two other ways to avoid the problem. One is for the Treasury to avoid the federal debt limit by handing the Federal Reserve a single $1 trillion platinum coin. But that’s too easy (even though Jon Stewart didn’t get it). The other is to raise taxes on large corporations and wealthy individuals. Raise them by a lot. Set a marginal tax rate of 100 percent.
That’ll fix the problem almost immediately, since those threatened with paying higher taxes will quickly run to their stooges in Congress and demand they raise the debt ceiling. Anything to avoid paying higher taxes, in order to keep the lion’s share of the surplus in their pockets.
Tags: cartoon, economy, food stamps, Gilded Age, inequality, poor, rich, stocks, taxes, United States
Tags: cartoon, crisis, economy, inflation, military, Obama, Syria, taxes, unemployment
Tags: cartoon, corporations, fast food, General Electric, GMOs, minimum wage, Monsanto, taxes, United States, workers
Tags: chart, national income, profits, statistics, taxes, wages
The national income accounts may have been revised (changing, among other things, the way research and development and pensions are treated) but the results remain roughly the same: corporate profits after taxes amounted to a record 9.7 percent of GDP (meaning that in each of the last three years it has been higher than the earlier record high, of 9.1 percent, which was set in 1929) and that wages and salary income in 2012 amounted to 44 percent of GDP (the lowest at any time since 1929).