Wednesday, March 09, 2011

This is Amazing

Somebody pasted this into our comments section, and I found it amazing. From Daily Kos:
Number of teachers in Wisconsin: 59,552
Number of millionaires in Wisconsin: 89,977 (according to Phoenix Marketing International)

Yes, it's amazing, but true: Wisconsin by far has more millionaires than school teachers. Suffice to say, the two categories do not appreciably overlap.

Average Wisconsin teacher salary: $46,390 (US rank: 28th among all states)

Typical wage cut faced by a Wisconsin school teacher if Gov. Scott Walker's non- negotiable give-backs are enacted: $5,567 to 6,958 per year (based on net total compensation reduction caused by Walker's plan).

Continuing average income boost for millionaires in Wisconsin and elsewhere, thanks to the recent extension of 2001 Bush-era federal tax cuts: Approximately $100,000 per year. In Wisconsin: Millionaires v. Teachers


You see why they're mad.

I am actually at a loss for words. This is amazing.
If the State of Wisconsin increased taxes on resident millionaires to take back just one-twentieth of the extra money they've been keeping in their pockets thanks to the Bush tax cuts, that would totally wipe out the need to slash teacher salaries under Walker's scheme. Totally.

Would Wisconsin millionaires walking around with an extra $100K in their pockets every year notice the loss of five or six grand apiece? Unlikely.

Will hard-working school teachers notice the loss of five or six grand from each of their pockets, thanks to Gov. Walker? Damn right they will.

The middle class in the US is shrinking, and this is why. The rich are looking out for themselves, and the rest of us are out of luck.

I don't mind if somebody does well, in fact to tell you the truth I'd like to be a millionaire myself, I think it sounds like a pretty good deal. But I can totally understand why the people of Wisconsin decided to come out with the torches and pitchforks.
Is that fair? Is that just? Does that even make any kind of rational public policy sense?

This little exercise might be called a teachable moment, but you have not and will not hear it mentioned by Republicans, or for that matter many in the mainstream news media. Because, increasingly, the conventional wisdom is that being wealthy in America is a virtue; whereas being a teacher is a moral defect, and, moreover, that the two conditions are utterly unrelated.

I've always wondered what it would take for Americans to rebel against the system. It looked like they'll put up with anything. Apparently there is a limit. Good.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why does Jim think that someone else's money should be his?

I find that to be completely amazing.

March 09, 2011 7:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

we live in a free country

if teachers in Wisconsin believe citizens of Wisconsin are not offering a fair wage, they can try to find a job in another state or with a private school or try another profession

public employees are in a unique situation because if they are not happy with their compensation or some other circumstance of their employment, they can make it a political campaign by contributing and voting for those who will approve their employment desires

this is unfair and should be forbidden

public employees should not be able to strike

and, Jim, if you think the conditions of the teachers situation is destitute, go ahead and start a charitable foundation to support them

see how many will voluntarily give up their hard-earned assets to improve the economic situation of teachers

btw, I think it's odd that the whole conversation here about the Wisconsin situation seems to revolve around the teachers when the issue is about all public employees

sounds like you're latching onto teachers becuase you think the public is more sympathetic to them-


so is Wisconsin better off with 90,000 millionaires and 60,000 teachers or 90,000 teachers and 60,000 millionaires?

most sane people would prefer how it is

March 09, 2011 7:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ladies and Gents,

Barack W. Obusha:

"As President Obama prepares for his re-election bid, his approval rating among independent voters - a bloc whose support will be crucial in 2012 - has dropped, according to a new Reuters/Ipsos poll released today.

The poll found that only 37 percent of independents approve of the work Obama has been doing in office, which is a sharp drop from his previous mark of 47 percent."

March 09, 2011 8:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous...assuming you consider yourself a practicing Christian, you do yourself and your religion proud. Pathetic. It's no wonder that people are turning against the hypocracy of religion. The teachings of Christ have obviously fallen on deaf ears. Hypocrite!

March 09, 2011 9:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So this is Theresa again. I have a good friend who is a teacher, and at one point she was trying to decide whether or not she should take a management position in the schools she had been offered. It was about a 20K raise.

Since I know a little about taxes, we worked through the numbers together and decided that since she was going to have to give up her summers off and it was going to pop her up a bracket it probably wasn't worth it, per hour it really wasn't that much of a raise and with the increased taxes almost negigible. Hey, her choice, if she is happy with the hours she works and she enjoys her summers off to pursue her writing career, more power to her....

What was funny is that after she had left I continued the calculation, and worked out that hour for hour (given the amount I typically put in on a day versus what she had told me she did)...
I figured out I was making just about 10K a year more after tax than she was, adjusted for the number of hours per year.

March 09, 2011 10:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Republicans in Wisconsin strip all the financial language from the bill, which allows them to pass it without a quorom. And then they pass it before the AWOL democrats can get back home.

I love Scott Walker. What a lesson. We will not give into extortion or hostage situations, we will simply go around you.

The Republicans may just have found their nominee.

March 09, 2011 11:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just what the GOP needs, another lying crook.

After claiming for weeks that it was essential to strip government workers of collective bargaining rights in order to help balance the budget, Wisconsin Republicans pulled a neat legislative trick on Wednesday night: by defining the collective bargaining rules as non-budgetary in nature they were able to go ahead and pass their stripped down bill without a quorum.

Let's repeat that: Wisconsin Republicans stripped the "fiscal" elements of a "budget repair" bill in order to pass it. If that sounds like a contradiction-in-terms to you, you're not wrong.

Protesters who had been showing some signs of burn-out immediately stormed the state capitol. And with polling in Wisconsin indicating a significant majority disapproved of Walker's agenda, it seems likely that efforts to recall state senate Republicans will get a big boost.

Of particular interest is a state Supreme Court election in just three weeks that could change the balance of power on the court. Since there are certain to be legal challenges to both the substance of the new bill and the manner it which it was passed, that election will undoubtedly be hotly contested.

But the beauty of this whole struggle is that ultimately, lawyers and judges won't make the final call. The people will decide. The Democratic state senators who fled Wisconsin and created the space for popular opposition to Walker's bill to flourish took a big risk. They broke the normal rules of politics, and there was no certainty that the public would ratify their decision. They could have just been dismissed as sore losers. And they still might be. But we'll see -- the momentum for recall elections for both Democratic and Republican state senators seems unstoppable. Governor Walker pulled a power move on Wednesday, but the people still get to choose who wins in the end.

March 10, 2011 8:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you find the numbers of millionaires to working stiffs in Wisconsin shocking, try these numbers on for size:

The top 400 individual earners in the US make the same amount of income as the bottom 50% of all US wage earners.

Repeat, the top 400 wage earners in the US make as much each year as the bottom 155 million American wage earners.

March 10, 2011 8:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"400 richest Americans also pay the lowest taxes

The income of the top 400 earners in the US reached record highs in 2007. However, the more their income soared, the less taxes they paid, In fact, according to data recently released by the Internal Revenue Service, taxes paid by the 400 top-earners in the US fell to a record law.

In 2007, the top 400 made an average income of $344.8 million. This was a 31% increase from the average income of $263.3M they "earned" in 2006 and means that they each earned in the low six figures every three hours in 2007.

The figures should dispel reports, widely published in newspapers across the country, that the richest among us were becoming poorer due to the financial crisis.

At the same time, the effective income tax rate of these 400 individuals fell to an all-time low of 16.62% of income. That is down from the average 17.17% income tax rate they paid in 2006. The new low rate is lower than the usual effective income tax rate paid by the average American worker.

According to the Tax Foundation, tax payers between the 95th to 99th percentile of income (those earning between $255,000 and $451,000) paid Uncle Sam an effective income tax rate of 17.52%. By comparison, the top 400 wage earners enjoyed an average daily income of almost $945,000. Of course, by paying less taxes, they also got to keep more of their "hard earned" dollars. Put another way, the top 400 wage earners earned 1.59 cents, up from 1.31 cents, out of every dollar earned by all Americans.

Adjusted for inflation, the top 400 enjoyed a 27% increase in their income. According to University of California at Berkeley's Professors Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez, this represents nine times the rate of increase for the bottom 90% of wage earners in the US.

A review of the unemployment figures during this economic crisis should convince everyone that the rich are obviously not creating jobs. Of course, one could argue that it is in the best interest of the ruling class to have the working as poor and tied to the "I'll do anything for a pay check" through. Perhaps (at the risk of being labeled a "socialist", gasp!), it is time to discuss raising taxes on the rich."

March 10, 2011 9:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Two comments.

The Democrats in Congress rammed though Obamacare and didn't deliver the final bill until hours before the vote, leaving no time to read it. Now we found out that a bill that was supposed to not have appropriations in it did, which is of course why the Democrats didn't want anyone to read it, it had a 100 bilion of appropriations in it they weren't telling anyone about. So much for saving money.

It is not like Walker had not begged the Democrats to come back for weeks. What the Democrats were doing was holding hostage the government. I don't approve of that tactic, not one bit. So what Walker and the Republican congress did, strip the collective bargaining stuff out and run it through w/o them. Good for him. And you can't possibly condemn him if you don't also condemn what the Democrats did with Obamacare. Not that I like to see those tactics exercised by either party.

On the other subject, the top 400 paying less effective tax-rate than the majority of Americans, I am not one bit suprised. I doubt that very little of that income was W2 income, it was probably investment income, capital gains, S corporations etc. There is another little trick you can play. You can become a member of a partnership, and the partnership then loses money on paper which you deduct against your income and reduce your tax burden. Actually there is tons of stuff you can do, if you have an army of accountants and the ability to invest some of the money in start-up firms, etc. Which of course everyone at the level does. More arguments for chucking the income tax and going to an overall VAT flat tax.

On the bottom 50%, however, they don't pay any taxes already. In fact, they usually get money back. My babysitter told me years ago that there was a booming business in fake social security numbers so that lower income folks could put them on their income tax returns and get Earned Income Credit and Child tax credits back, and actually get money back from the government.

And again, raising rates on earned income doesn't fix the problem you are discussing here, because the really rich will just come up with more ways to reduce the amount of reported income (and again, legally) through our very complicated tax code. And I am sure that most of the income they are reporting isn't earned income (ie W2 like income) anyway. On income earned other ways, capital gains etc, you can offset that income with losses, and those losses aren't necessarily real losses they can be paper losses because of depreciation schedules. So raising the rate doesn't help very much in getting more money out of these folks.

The whole system should be discarded and we go to a flat tax.

March 10, 2011 11:21 AM  
Anonymous Russ Feingold said...

"Last night will be remembered as a black mark on the history of Wisconsin government. The actions by 18 Republican state senators leave no doubt that Governor Walker's attack on Wisconsin workers has nothing to do with the budget and everything to do with advancing a national corporate agenda. Sadly, these actions further drive divisions within our state and threaten the future economic recovery of Wisconsin. Proponents of this plan should remember: Wisconsin's citizens will hold their elected officials accountable."

March 10, 2011 5:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

thanks for sharing, Russ

the rollback of public unions will bring an economic renaissance in America, similar to when Gingrich forced Clinton to reform welfare and Reagan slashed marginal tax rates

when you dare greatly, you score big

it's morning in America again

and we have a governor in Wisconsin who stared down the socialists and has a bright future nationally

March 10, 2011 8:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah...they will love him in Uzebekistan. He should find life there his cup of tea and it offers such tempting prospects of a bright future!

March 14, 2011 9:45 AM  

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