fastcompany:

For the cost of the Tomahawk Cruise Missile program, we can hire 4,784 elementary school teachers for one year. Use this tool to find out where your tax dollars are going and how they might be better spent. Read more>

Don’t forget NASA’s funding allocation, or lack thereof

shortformblog:

OK, who’s the smart aleck that registered this site(Click the link to see what we mean.)

Brilliant

kateoplis:

via

Fuck you, Mitt

msnbc:

From Last Word:

Attention tax nerds, we found an awesome graph via The Fix, showing how Romney’s tax returns compare to previous presidents. It’s incredible. Note, the Sunlight Foundation provided all the data; we added the OMG arrow ourselves.

inothernews:

  1. “It’s okay, I saved the Olympics.”
  2. “It’s okay, I invented Staples.”
  3. “It’s okay, I filed for an extension on my 2011 tax returns.”
  4. “Hey, why don’t you focus on Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul?  They’re technically still in the race!”

(Source: think-progress)

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

pantslessprogressive:

Rep. John Fleming’s “By the time I feed my family, I have maybe $400,000 left over” quote is running around the Internet faster than Tea Partiers applaud executions and curse freedom-hating uninsured folk.

The quote wasn’t quite that straight-forward, which was pointed out by Tumblr user fochaux.

While people are quick to disregard this quote as out of context - though not as quick to Political Wire was to pull this statement out of context - I have yet to see anyone actually provide the full context. So here you go.

Chris Jansing: Is there a real disconnect with most of America that’s really hurting, Congressman, and we’re seeing through loopholes… through funny accounting… through all the ways that people have money to hire accountants - spend a fraction percentage-wise… give the government a fraction of their income… compare to what middle America does?

Rep. John Fleming: Again, if you go after the higher income earner, you’re also going after the job creators.

Jansing: Okay, explain this to me, because I’m truly trying to figure this out. I’m not an economist, I don’t own businesses and I know that you do. But aren’t we talking about taxing people who are making personally - their personal wealth - a million dollars and more a year? How does that hurt them from their business which is successful… and we know that businesses are making more money than they have been in a very long time when you look at the corporate earnings - 

Fleming: Yes, right.

Jansing: How does that stop them from hiring people?

Fleming: The answer is no for two reasons. Number one: this actually raises taxes on those making $200,000 and more, and then an additional tax on those making $1 million and more. Most small businesses in this country today are taxed at the individual level - S corporation, LLC. So whatever is cut out of those earnings is money taken out of capital for re-investment for creating more jobs, opening up more locations. So the more you tap that down, the less jobs are going to be created - 

Jansing: But that’s still separate from their own personal income.

Fleming: No, no, it’s all mixed together.

Jansing: Well you can’t use - you still have to file a personal income tax. If you’re taking a salary from a business you own, those taxes are separate from your own personal income taxes.

Fleming: No that really isn’t how it works, Chris. What happens is, in my own case - I own LLCs - the income flows to my personal tax return and whatever is left over after taxes are paid, I feed my family on the one hand and on the other hand I re-invest in my business.

Jansing: Well, with all due respect Congressman, the Wall Street Journal estimated that your business - which I believe are Subway sandwich shops and UPS stores, very successful - brought you last year over $6 million.

Fleming: Yeah, that’s before you pay 500 employees, you pay rent, you pay equipment and food. The actual net income of that was only a mere fraction of that amount. 

Jansing: So you’re saying that if you have to pay more in taxes, you would get rid of soem of those employees? Those are not as successful business as we indicated?

Fleming: I would say that since my net income - and again that is the individual rate that I told you about - the amount that I have to re-invest in my business and feed my family is more like $600,000 of that $6.3 million. And so by the time I feed my family, I have maybe $400,000 left over to invest in new locations, upgrade my locations, buy more equipment, all of that.

Jansing: You do understand Congressman that the average person out there who’s making 40, 50, 60 thousand dollars a year… when they hear that you only have $400,000 left over… it’s not exactly a sympathetic position. You understand that?

Fleming: Well again, class warfare has never created a job. That’s people that will not get jobs. This is all about creating jobs, Chris. This is not about attacking people who make certain incomes. In this country, most people feel that being successful in their business is a virtue, not a vice. And once we begin to identify it as a vice, this country is going down.

The most interesting revelation to come out of this clip is that it apparently takes costs the Congressman $200,000 to feed his family. Even if he more broadly meant it costs him $200,000 to generally support his family, let’s face it: the man is still very, very well off compared to his 46 million neighbors. On the business side - as much as I love to stick my nose where it doesn’t belong - I can’t comment on his $400,000 income because I have no idea what his operational costs are or what his typical expense sheet looks like.

The idea of $400,000 left over to use for business stuff after “feeding my family” is difficult for me to comprehend. Poor, poor you, Congressman.

(via pantslessprogressive)

OUR leaders have asked for “shared sacrifice.” But when they did the asking, they spared me. I checked with my mega-rich friends to learn what pain they were expecting. They, too, were left untouched.

While the poor and middle class fight for us in Afghanistan, and while most Americans struggle to make ends meet, we mega-rich continue to get our extraordinary tax breaks. Some of us are investment managers who earn billions from our daily labors but are allowed to classify our income as “carried interest,” thereby getting a bargain 15 percent tax rate. Others own stock index futures for 10 minutes and have 60 percent of their gain taxed at 15 percent, as if they’d been long-term investors.

These and other blessings are showered upon us by legislators in Washington who feel compelled to protect us, much as if we were spotted owls or some other endangered species. It’s nice to have friends in high places.

Last year my federal tax bill — the income tax I paid, as well as payroll taxes paid by me and on my behalf — was $6,938,744. That sounds like a lot of money. But what I paid was only 17.4 percent of my taxable income — and that’s actually a lower percentage than was paid by any of the other 20 people in our office. Their tax burdens ranged from 33 percent to 41 percent and averaged 36 percent.

If you make money with money, as some of my super-rich friends do, your percentage may be a bit lower than mine. But if you earn money from a job, your percentage will surely exceed mine — most likely by a lot.

To understand why, you need to examine the sources of government revenue. Last year about 80 percent of these revenues came from personal income taxes and payroll taxes. The mega-rich pay income taxes at a rate of 15 percent on most of their earnings but pay practically nothing in payroll taxes. It’s a different story for the middle class: typically, they fall into the 15 percent and 25 percent income tax brackets, and then are hit with heavy payroll taxes to boot.

Back in the 1980s and 1990s, tax rates for the rich were far higher, and my percentage rate was in the middle of the pack. According to a theory I sometimes hear, I should have thrown a fit and refused to invest because of the elevated tax rates on capital gains and dividends.

I didn’t refuse, nor did others. I have worked with investors for 60 years and I have yet to see anyone — not even when capital gains rates were 39.9 percent in 1976-77 — shy away from a sensible investment because of the tax rate on the potential gain. People invest to make money, and potential taxes have never scared them off. And to those who argue that higher rates hurt job creation, I would note that a net of nearly 40 million jobs were added between 1980 and 2000. You know what’s happened since then: lower tax rates and far lower job creation.

Since 1992, the I.R.S. has compiled data from the returns of the 400 Americans reporting the largest income. In 1992, the top 400 had aggregate taxable income of $16.9 billion and paid federal taxes of 29.2 percent on that sum. In 2008, the aggregate income of the highest 400 had soared to $90.9 billion — a staggering $227.4 million on average — but the rate paid had fallen to 21.5 percent.

The taxes I refer to here include only federal income tax, but you can be sure that any payroll tax for the 400 was inconsequential compared to income. In fact, 88 of the 400 in 2008 reported no wages at all, though every one of them reported capital gains. Some of my brethren may shun work but they all like to invest. (I can relate to that.)

I know well many of the mega-rich and, by and large, they are very decent people. They love America and appreciate the opportunity this country has given them. Many have joined the Giving Pledge, promising to give most of their wealth to philanthropy. Most wouldn’t mind being told to pay more in taxes as well, particularly when so many of their fellow citizens are truly suffering.

Twelve members of Congress will soon take on the crucial job of rearranging our country’s finances. They’ve been instructed to devise a plan that reduces the 10-year deficit by at least $1.5 trillion. It’s vital, however, that they achieve far more than that. Americans are rapidly losing faith in the ability of Congress to deal with our country’s fiscal problems. Only action that is immediate, real and very substantial will prevent that doubt from morphing into hopelessness. That feeling can create its own reality.

Job one for the 12 is to pare down some future promises that even a rich America can’t fulfill. Big money must be saved here. The 12 should then turn to the issue of revenues. I would leave rates for 99.7 percent of taxpayers unchanged and continue the current 2-percentage-point reduction in the employee contribution to the payroll tax. This cut helps the poor and the middle class, who need every break they can get.

But for those making more than $1 million — there were 236,883 such households in 2009 — I would raise rates immediately on taxable income in excess of $1 million, including, of course, dividends and capital gains. And for those who make $10 million or more — there were 8,274 in 2009 — I would suggest an additional increase in rate.

My friends and I have been coddled long enough by a billionaire-friendly Congress. It’s time for our government to get serious about shared sacrifice.

Warren E. Buffett is the chairman and chief executive of Berkshire Hathaway.

(Source: letterstomycountry)