Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Why I Support Barack Obama (#2)

Another reason that I support Barack Obama is that I think it’s a good idea for the very wealthy to pay higher taxes. Free market capitalism contains no correction for greed. There is no reason in the world that ExxonMobil needs to clear $44 billion in profits in a quarter. Someone’s going to argue that profits benefit shareholders, but before that person starts, they should go find a copy of any big company’s annual report (that’s SEC form 10-K) and flip to the section on compensation. The number of shares of the company’s stock owned by its executive management and board of directors might strike you as disproportionate. When the CEO makes 400-500 times more than the lowest-paid employee, something is wrong. This country is already quasi-socialist, so the argument that Obama’s plan is socialism is both erroneous and disingenuous. Until the ratio between CEO compensation and lowest-paid-employee compensation comes way down, a tax on the very wealthy is appropriate.

13 comments:

Prime Mover said...

The only problem is, what do you consider very wealthy? Barack considers those making 250,000 or more a year "wealthy". And I believe that's per household (200,000 for single income). While that's a good living it's by no means what I would consider wealthy. It seems the point of your argument is to punish those CEO's (or in your case EXXON who already pay a ton in taxes) who get away with everyone pensions while they get away with millions when everything goes belly up, but Barack's tax plan goes beyond CEOs and the like. How would you like this. You're a Chemist/Pharmacist/Lawyer or anything that makes a decent living, you've worked hard your entire life and now your expected to fork over your cash to the government that will probably fucking waste it on some bullshit, like say the bailout, just because some socialist feels your making too much money. I wouldn't feel to great about that. Besides, whoever gets into office will have to raise taxes on everyone, it's inevitable. Besides, those making 300,000 or more a year already pay what? 95% of the taxes already? Plus, most wouldn't Barack's tax plan hurt the small businesses? Most of what I read say yes, and he keeps reiterating that he wants to help the small businesses.

You've mentioned before that Barack's plan is not in the same ballpark of socialism. Maybe it's not exactly plopping the Kremlin on top of the White House, but it's a good start. What exactly would you call "spreading around the wealth?"

Godfather Weilhammer said...

I have absolutely nothing to add. Well done, Mr. Spears.

Michael Maier said...

So if I decry our past and current socialism is my anti-socialism decrying about possible futures also disingenuous?

Barack IS a socialist. Every "solution" he offers has a federal government program behind it. If he could nationalize the entire country overnight, I believe he would. That's from just listening to the man. Everything is the President's business. That's BS.

John, why did people give Exxon their money? Because they wanted Exxon's products. If Exxon sold $44 billion in products, they earned that money.

If Landmark Keystone all of a sudden started selling every seat of every show, it would be ridiculous for someone to come by and say "You're selling too much movie seats and popcorn. Now you owe higher taxes!!"

It's just silly. Because when you earn more, you already pay higher taxes! But Wait!!! That's not enough! Now because you pleased more customers, you get to pay a HIGHER RATE on top of it all!!!!!

That's punishing success. Tax receipt records show that it's counter-productive. JFK lowered tax rates and watched the dough pour into the treasury. Morally, it creates a social atmosphere of jealousy and a sense that it's okay to rob Rich Peter to pay Sit-On-His-Ass Paul. And while fostering class hatred works at the ballot box, it sucks to use it as a tactic to further an agenda.

CEO compensation is no one's business except the shareholders'.

Furthermore: government regulations on CEO compensation CREATED the Enron and simliar messes. They had a good hand in creating the Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae goof-ups too.

Short version: cutting off the tax deductibility of direct payment compensation led to offering stock incentives to the big wigs instead. Which led to a VERY big incentive for those same big wigs to lie about their companies' financial health to boost stock prices for their options. Look how well THAT all turned out. Plenty of your "lowest paid employees" lost their jobs, their pensions and their stock funds cuz of that crap.

Government intervention will have its very big downsides. It always does. These CEOs will get their money somehow. They always do.

Simplifying the tax codes, eliminating loopholes and lowering rates is the better course of action. Otherwise, those lowest-paid employees can keep watching our jobs go overseas.

Michael Maier said...

BTW: Standard disclaimer: John McCain sucks donkey balls. He's a socialist idiot, but only when it suits him politically. He's not a true believer like Obama is.

John-O said...

Socialism also includes the state owning the means of production. That would be what the current administration is doing with failing banks and mortgage lenders.

You argue that spreading the wealth around is socialism. It's not. It's rolling back tax rates for the wealthiest 5% to what they paid under Clinton. One of the better lines in Obama's stump speech is that they (the upper 5%) "were still rich under Clinton." John McCain was against those tax cuts before he was for them.

We can't have a rational discussion about tax plans if you're going to continue to use "socialism" incorrectly as a fear-mongering tool.

ExxonMobil, by the way, has paid around 10% in income taxes in each of the last three years. (Find that information here.

John-O said...

I spent way too long trying to figure out what I wanted to say in response to Josh. Michael, you got your two comments in between the first two and mine, so don't take mine as a retort to yours. I didn't know yours were there until I posted mine.

Prime Mover said...

"You argue that spreading the wealth around is socialism."

I never said it was socialism, I said it was a good start. And I asked, what would you call spreading around the wealth? I asked you honestly what you thought. I might have worded that a little harshly.

Here's a direct qoute from wikipedia.org which is like the all knowing web site of all time in regards to socilism:

"Socialists mainly share the belief that capitalism unfairly concentrates power and wealth among a small segment of society that controls capital and creates an unequal society. All socialists advocate the creation of an egalitarian society, in which wealth and power are distributed more evenly, although there is considerable disagreement among socialists over how, and to what extent this could be achieved."

"We can't have a rational discussion about tax plans if you're going to continue to use "socialism" incorrectly as a fear-mongering tool."

Again, I never equated socialism to Barack's tax plan, I just think it's really unfair and full of crap, that's my opinion, nothing more, I'm not trying to fear monger. If I am don't environmentalist use global warming as a fear mongering tool? Anyways if Barack is elected and everything comes out hunky dory I will be the first to come and kneel before like Zod to kiss your ring and say "I was wrong, you were right". I'm not being a dick I mean it, I will do it. As a side note, I'm not too hot on McCain either. For once I would like to vote for someone instead of vote against someone.

I would like to have a rational, respectful discussion, I enjoy debating you. I did insinuate that Barack is a socialist but you've said things like Darth Cheney and King George or why this country sucks and George Bush should be eaten by alligators.

I'll be sure to read your EXXON link but I read in a lot of online articles that gas companies pay a lot in taxes. When I have time I'll dig those up for your enjoyment.

Prime Mover said...

BTW: Thank you Mr. Weilhammer.

I meant to add on something after the wikipedia quote. Barack's presidential plan might not be the very definition of socialism, but equal distribution of wealth and power, spreading around the wealth. Yeah, your right it's not true socialism but man, I might be over reacting, it sure seems were headed that way.

Prime Mover said...

John-O, here's some interesting articles about Exxon and taxes.

www.businessweek.com/bwdaily/dnflash/content/may2008/db2008051_596535.htm?chan=top+news_top+news+index_news

seekingalpha.com/article/63131-exxon-s-2007-tax-bill-30-billion?source=side_bar_editors_picks

There are other also.

I read through the Exxon link and I couldn't find where exactly they only pay 10% in income taxes. I saw in gross and net incomes but nothing about taxes paid.

Michael Maier said...

I just want to add that - for myself - "socialism" in this country doesn't have mean state ownership.

If the state just regulates the hell out of companies they get the benefits of ownership without the headaches.

And just because those inclined towards totalitarianism have to work towards their goals without offending the masses doesn't mean they don't have those inclinations. It just means they'll lie about those inclinations until they get into power, then subvert the law in every way possible.

And before you object John, please note that in addition to criticizing a potential Obama presidency, I also just described Bush's presidency too.

John-O said...

I wasn't planning on objecting. I'm getting pummeled on this one anyway.

Michael Maier said...

Sorry, I didn't mean to be piling on here.

Can we talk about Rush instead?

Michael Maier said...

http://www.worthyourattention1.blogspot.com/

(You don't have an email link, thought you might like this.)