Tag Archives: private jets

“Trust-fund babies?”

President Obama and other politicians are advocating higher taxes, with a particular emphasis on class-warfare taxes targeting the so-called rich. This Center for Freedom and Prosperity Foundation video explains why fiscal policy based on hate and envy is fundamentally misguided. For more information please visit our web page: www.freedomandprosperity.org.

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Are all those rich people born that way?

The Real “1 Percent”

by Michael D. Tanner

This article appeared in The New York Post on November 8, 2011.

So just who are those top 1 percent of Americans that we’re all supposed to hate?

If you listen to President Obama, the protesters at Occupy Wall Street, and much of the media, it’s obvious. They’re either “trust-fund babies” who inherited their money, or greedy bankers and hedge-fund managers. Certainly, they haven’t worked especially hard for their money. While the recession has thrown millions of Americans out of work, they’ve been getting even richer. Worse, they don’t even pay their fair share in taxes: Millionaires and billionaires are paying a lower tax rate than their secretaries.

In reality, each of these stereotypes is wrong.

By and large, the wealthy have worked hard for their money.

Roughly 80 percent of millionaires in America are the first generation of their family to be rich. They didn’t inherit their wealth; they earned it. How? According to a recent survey of the top 1 percent of American earners, slightly less than 14 percent were involved in banking or finance.

Roughly a third were entrepreneurs or managers of nonfinancial businesses. Nearly 16 percent were doctors or other medical professionals.

Lawyers made up slightly more than 8 percent, and engineers, scientists and computer professionals another 6.6 percent.

Sports and entertainment figures — the folks flying in on their private jets to express solidarity with Occupy Wall Street — composed almost 2 percent.

By and large, the wealthy have worked hard for their money. NYU sociologist Dalton Conley says that “higher-income folks work more hours than lower-wage earners do.”

Because so much of their income is tied up in investments, the recession has hit the rich especially hard. Much attention has been paid recently to a Congressional Budget Office study that showed incomes for the top 1 percent rose far faster from 1980 until 2007 than for the rest of us. But the nonpartisan Tax Foundation has found that since 2007, there has been a 39 percent decline in the number of American millionaires.

Among the “super-rich,” the decline has been even sharper: The number of Americans earning more than $10 million a year has fallen by 55 percent. In fact, while in 2008 the top 1 percent earned 20 percent of all income here, that figure has declined to just 16 percent. Inequality in America is declining.

As for not paying their fair share, the top 1 percent pay 36.7 percent of all federal income taxes. Because, as noted above, they earn just 16 percent of all income, that certainly seems likemore than a fair share.

Maybe Warren Buffett is paying a lower tax rate than his secretary, as he claims. But the comparison is misleading because Buffett’s income comes mostly from capital gains, which were already taxed at their origin through the corporate-income tax.

Moreover, the Buffetts of the world are clearly an exception. Overall, the rich pay an effective tax rate (after all deductions and exemptions) of roughly 24 percent. For all taxpayers as a group, the average effective tax rate is about 11 percent.

Beyond taxes, the rich also pay in terms of private charity. Households with more than $1 million in income donated more than $150 billion to charity last year, roughly half of all US charitable donations. Greedy? It hardly seems so.

Michael Tanner is a Cato Institute senior fellow.

More by Michael D. Tanner

And let us not forget the fact that the rich provide the investment capital that funds ventures, creates jobs and spurs innovation. The money that the rich save and invest is the money that companies use to start or expand businesses, buy machinery and other physical capital and hire workers.

It has become fashionable to ridicule the idea of the rich as “job creators,” but if the rich don’t create jobs, who will? How many workers have been hired recently by the poor?

No doubt dishonest or unscrupulous businessmen have gotten rich by taking advantage of others. And few of us are likely to lose much sleep over the plight of the rich.

But shouldn’t public policy be based on something more than class warfare, envy and stereotypes?

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Occupy Wall Street vs. Steve Jobs

COUNTER-DEMONSTRATION: At Kappa Sigma house in Fayetteville.

  • COUNTER-DEMONSTRATION: At Kappa Sigma house in Fayetteville.

The Drew Wilson photo above went viral last night — at least in Arkansas e-mail and social media users — after the Fayetteville Flyer posted it in coverage of an Occupy Northwest Arkansas demonstration in Fayetteville. The 1 percent banner was unfurled briefly on the Kappa Sigma frat house at UA.

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I read this material above from the Arkansas Times Blog today.

I have posted a lot about Steve Jobs and I think this article below from the Cato Institute is probably one of the finest I have ever read on him.

I love reading the Arkansas Times Blog because Max Brantley does a great job of keeping us up with all the latest national and Arkansas news. However, when I read this article today on the Cato Institute, I thought of Max and his failed liberal ideas. Max is great at trying to fire up the middle class against the rich.

Michael Tanner of the Cato Institute said it all baby with this paragraph:

The next time someone suggests that what we need is more taxes, more regulation, more class warfare, more government programs, we should instead suggest that what we really need are policies that encourages a poor boy from San Francisco to become rich and thereby make the rest of us a little richer as well.

Occupy Wall Street vs. Jobs

by Michael D. Tanner

Michael Tanner is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute and coauthor of Leviathan on the Right: How Big-Government Conservatism Brought Down the Republican Revolution.

Added to cato.org on October 12, 2011

This article appeared on National Review (Online) on October 12, 2011.

The last week brought us a striking contrast that tells us much about the current debate over the direction of this country.

On one hand were the perpetually aggrieved protestors of Occupy Wall Street. While much of the media, desperate to find a liberal counterpart to the Tea Party (remember coverage of the state-house takeover in Wisconsin?), tried to pretend that this was an organic and leaderless uprising by middle America, the reality was that most of the demonstrators were the same motley crew that regularly shows up to demonstrate against the World Bank or G8 meetings, their ranks bolstered by union activists, MoveOn.org, and the Obama front group Organizing for America — not to mention the usual collection of filthy-rich movie stars who flew in on private jets and then climbed into waiting limousines to show up to denounce the filthy rich.

But while Roseanne Barr was suggesting that the rich should be beheaded and demonstrators were making such reasonable demands as the forgiveness of all debt, much of the rest of the world was mourning the death of Steve Jobs, the filthy-rich businessman who was responsible for all those iPhones and iPads that the iPod-sporting protestors used to organize their demonstrations.

[W]hat government jobs program has created as many net new jobs as Jobs?

Jobs certainly was rich. Estimates suggest he was worth more than $7 billion. But it’s important to realize that he didn’t start out that way. Jobs’s story was a quintessential American one. Born poor (and out of wedlock), he achieved success through hard work and brilliance. Along the way he failed sometimes. But when he did, he didn’t beg Washington for a bailout. Instead he frequently put his own capital at risk, taking chances, because entrepreneurship truly is risky. And he showed us that no amount of adversity can stop someone who is truly determined and talented from achieving the American dream.

Does it really matter what tax rate Steve Jobs paid? He was not even a notable contributor to charity. Yet, he did more to contribute to American prosperity and the general betterment of mankind than any government program could ever hope to. Start with the obvious: The various businesses started and run by Jobs employed more than 30,000 Americans and thousands more around the world. Jobs truly was one of those job creators so disparaged by the Occupy Wall Street crowd.

Estimates suggest that Jobs generated as much as $30 billion annually in increased wealth for the U.S. economy. Obviously, without the wealth that Jobs created, all of society would be that much poorer. And, of course, as Jobs drove the value of Apple from $2 billion to $350 billion following his return as CEO in 1997, all of us moved a bit closer to a comfortable retirement as the value of our pension plans and 401(k)s, almost all of which include Apple stock, increased.

But that only captures a small fraction of the social benefits generated by Jobs.

The technology that Jobs brought to the mainstream of American life doesn’t just let us listen to music or play Angry Birds. It has made businesses more efficient, lowering the cost of goods and services for all of us. It has made it easier for everyone from doctors to teachers and students to soldiers on the battlefield to access information and stay in contact with others. It has disseminated knowledge, improved medical diagnostics, and helped bring about the overthrow of dictators. It has helped the blind read the denominations of dollar bills and alleviated the symptoms of children with autism.

The Occupy Wall Street crowd, and for that matter President Obama, see government as the center of our existence. It is government that makes for a better society, while the rich, businessmen, and entrepreneurs are “takers” who don’t “pay their fair share.” But would we really have been better off if we had taken more of Jobs’s wealth and given it to the government? Would President Obama really have used it better than Jobs did? Would the government have given us all that Jobs did?

Government has spent trillions on schools that don’t educate, anti-poverty programs that don’t lift people out of poverty, stimulus programs that don’t stimulate, and health-care programs that don’t control the cost of health care. Compare Apple or Pixar’s record of success with the failures of government. For that matter, what government jobs program has created as many net new jobs as Jobs?

In fact, the next time someone suggests that what we need is more taxes, more regulation, more class warfare, more government programs, we should instead suggest that what we really need are policies that encourages a poor boy from San Francisco to become rich and thereby make the rest of us a little richer as well.

Related posts:

Steve Jobs’ Father

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Steve Jobs at Stanford

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Steve Jobs depicted at pearly gates with Saint Peter

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Steve Jobs: Great Entrepreneur

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Some say Steve Jobs was an atheist

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Steve Jobs and Adoption

Steve Jobs’ 2005 Stanford Commencement Address Uploaded by StanfordUniversity on Mar 7, 2008 It was a quite moving story to hear about Steve Jobs’ adoption. Ryan Scott Bomberger (www.toomanyaborted.com), co-founder of The Radiance Foundation, an adoptee and adoptive father: “As a creative professional, [Jobs’] visionary work has helped my own visions become reality. But his […]

What is the eternal impact of Steve Jobs’ life?

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Steve Jobs versus President Obama: Who created more jobs?

I loved reading this article below. (Take a look at the link to other posts I have done on Steve Jobs.) David Boaz makes some great observations: How much value is the Post Office creating this year? Or Amtrak? Or Solyndra? And if you point out that the Post Office does create value for its […]

Steve Jobs’ view of death and what the Bible has to say about it

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Steve Jobs was a Buddhist: What is Buddhism?

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Did Steve Jobs help people even though he did not give away a lot of money?

  Did Steve Jobs help people even though he did not give away a lot of money? (I just finished a post concerning Steve’s religious beliefs and a post about 8 things you may not know about Steve Jobs) Uploaded by UM0kusha0kusha on Sep 16, 2010 clip from The First Round Up *1934* ~~enjoy!! ______________________________________________ In the short film […]