COLLEGIAN WIRED: follow the thread

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Sounding Off

California’s “Millionaires Tax” may land on the ballot in November. More than 500,000 signatures are required.

Thousands of Californians are demanding that the wealthiest residents in the state start paying their fair share. The “Millionaires Tax” is the only proposed measure that directly funds higher education.

Robert Reich is a veteran of three presidential administrations and current Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley. He says that this is “the best public policy solution for funding our declining universities.”

The California Federation of Teachers and California Nurses Association support the measure. Chevron, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and PG&E all oppose it.

Students took sides on the issue.

See what they have to say.


Anna Minasyan (http://reportingjustic3.tumblr.com/)

   A millionare’s tax? Meaning people who work hard for their money have to just give it away with paying more taxes? That’s absurd. It is highly unfair to tax someone “over the limit” to fix problems you (The Government) brought upon themselves. How do I know where my money is going? A question I’d ask someone in favor of this tax would be, Why do I have to mend what you have damaged, with my hard work and sweat?

   The issue will not be fixed with more taxes, the issue will only be fixed with rational spending. Since the people of power have not properly spent over the years, we are now in national debt. However, simply because the country is in debt does not mean you have to tax people who have worked very hard to get where they are at now; being millionares, or even less than that, having a quarter of a million dollars. Truthfully, nowadays in “rich” households, with even $250,000, each penny is counted and already spent.

   A millionare’s tax would only discourage people. Think about it; students would think, “What is the point of working hard in school, if I have to pay most of what I make to the Government?” I mean, I would. It does not make sense. How do I know where the money I sweat for is going anyways? Honestly, how do I know that money is not going straight into the bank account of someone of higher power? This tax would only cause harm. Remember, we do not need more taxes. We just need less spending, and a better plan.


Carey Gabbert (http://polishyourrock.tumblr.com/)

   In the upcoming elections this November a new Millionaires Tax initiative will be on the ballots in California. The measure proposes raising taxes on those that make over $1 million annually by 2% and those that make over $2 million annually by 5%. The extra tax money, estimated to be up to $6 billion a year, would be used to help fund the budget-thirsty public education system in California, at both grade schools and secondary education institutions.

   People for the measure are saying that the rich can afford to pay more to help out the state that they amassed their fortunes in. The opposition, however, are saying that disproportionally taxing the rich is like punishing them for their hard work and success.

   What makes this case of “the 99% vs. the 1%” unique is the fact that the extra money is being used to invest in our states public education, a system that everyone who lives in California owes a debt to.

   In most cases the rich have worked hard to get to where they are at, and one must be careful to assume that all of that wealth just fell into their laps. The path to being a doctor or a lawyer is not an easy one, and it takes a great amount of time and effort to create and run a successful business.

   But before the wealthy make the mistake of believing that they did it all by themselves, they must look at the vehicle through which they were able achieve such great things. I’m talking about a thing called society.

   The collective effort of all citizens has been responsible for creating things like roads for businesses to bring goods from one place to the next. The armed forces that we ALL pay for and contribute to are what’s keeping someone from coming and blowing up their factories, mansions, and shiny cars. Our public education system has taught many of these entrepreneurs, and prepared the middle class to be able to work for the companies of the wealthy, to be able to make their companies more valuable with our ideas and collective knowledge.

   An honest investment in our youth via the education system is crucial to maintaining these great systems, and it could be said that the rich are the individuals that are especially responsible for their debt to society. They are the ones that have gained the most from it, and I believe it’s their civic duty to give back in proportion to what they have received.

   Then again, it does cost a lot of money to fuel and maintain a yacht. Who am I kidding?


Dilan Diwakara (http://qapmoc1977.tumblr.com/)

   The new proposal of the “Millionaires Tax” that people earning more than $1 million a year pay at least the same tax rate as middle-class earners to help reduce the budget deficit in the United State.This is call “Buffett rule” after billionaire investor Warren E. Buffett, a supporter of his who recently called the tax system unfair, noting that it lets him pay a lower rate than his secretary does.

   “Right now, Warren Buffett pays a lower tax rate than his secretary, an outrage he has asked us to fix, We need a tax code where everyone gets a fair shake and where everybody pays their fair share”,Obama said this month in a nationally televised address to a joint session of Congress.

   Just thinking about economic crisis in United State, need some financial support to get out of this situation. So this proposal would help government to get substantial amount of bills to Government.

   Paying bit of attention to this statistics,  income over $379,150 is taxed at 35%, but the overall average tax for those earning more than $1 million a year in 2009 was 24.4%, according to the IRS. For those earning between $125,000 and $150,000, it was 11.7%. Reducing for the wealthy as a result of tax relaxation available to them, such as a lower rate on capital gains.

   I would say America is a providing equality to the nation. Why wealthy pays less tax than everybody else pay. They got to start think fishing “Big Fish” right now. This is an absolutely outstanding proposal to up the capital in United State.


Pablo De Jesus (http://pablodejesus.tumblr.com/)

   The rich in the state of California should definitely be taxed at a higher rate by the federal government. Since the economic meltdown of 2008, everyone has felt the the detriments that revolve around capitalism. Many people have lost their homes, jobs, life savings, and more importantly their livelihoods. The people that make up the one percent in corporate America, do not even know what it is like to be a ordinary joe. While many people continue to feel that wrath of the financial meltdown; the elite has been given a handout by the government with resources such as bailouts.

   It is time that they pay their fair share and bring something to the table. Many hard working individuals in America do not have the flexibility of having lobbyist or interest groups that can help them like the elite do. It is very important that the government holds the rich accountable just like other individuals that help make the United States the country that it is. So it if means having to put loads of cash in Uncle Sam’s account then so be it.

   The surplus of revenue that would tax the rich can be used towards public education, which is a broken system. It can also provide more financial resources for higher education level institutions as well. For the rich in America, this would seem unfair because they have been accustomed to the way things have been for such a long time. Capitalism at the expense to those that really do the dirty work. Since the economic crisis, things have not really changed for those who have been lining their pockets. The lavish lifestyles are still intact, but I probably could not say the same  thing for those at the bottom of the totem pole at the company.

   Taxing the rich in the state of California would be great because it would assist in building the infrastructure and would also help to fund more social service programs. These outlets play an instrumental role for the California of tomorrow. It also helps to bring more transparency in politics,which is direly needed; when it comes to many government resources favoring those with the most revenue.


Jessica Ann Driscoll (http://badgeringbadger101.tumblr.com/)

   Billionaires and millionaires alike should definitely pay higher taxes. If you work hard and play hard you should expect to pay even harder, considering the people paying for your yachts and worldwide trips are the 99% which consists of me and my friends and family. Why should someone that’s making 99% more than me receive any tax breaks?

   I’m a student and work full time and still struggle in paying bills on time and getting food on the table for me and my small family. It seems as though the more money one makes, the more that’s taken away. If that’s the case then why do I have to pay anything, if I’m barely making anything to begin with. Some households earning more than $1 million a year paid as little as 24 percent of their income to the Internal Revenue Service in 2006. That’s outstanding! Families making less than $100,000 a year faced a top effective tax rate exceeding 26.5 percent. That percentage includes myself and I can’t bare to even think about how simple it would be to clean up the economy if the overly rich would consider helping the less fortunate.

   Obama argues that policymakers should overhaul the tax code to ensure that millionaires pay at least as large a share of their income in taxes as middle-class families do, a principle the president dubbed “the Buffett Rule.” Now this I can accept. “The current U.S. tax system violates the Buffett rule in that a large proportion of millionaires pay a smaller percentage of their income in taxes than [do] a significant proportion of moderate-income taxpayers,” Hungerford wrote, although “not to the extent alluded to by Mr. Buffett.” Hungerford is a specialist in public finance. Poverty is at an all time high and the only way we can eliminate such is by taxing the rich, getting people back to work and increasing the minimum wage, but one thing at a time. Tax the greedy rich and save the world!


Gisselli Rodriguez (http://night-reader.tumblr.com/)

   A recent tax proposal for taxing the richest, “millionaires-tax”, in the state of California, has stirred up controversy. The proposal ultimately affects every tax payer but the wealthiest 2% (hence the name), will be the ones to fork over the cold cash. Believe me, I slightly sympathize but I fully sympathize with the states current condition.

   Although I may not agree with Brown’s initial proposal, I do believe that the Brown-California Federation of Teachers (CFT) proposal has promising provisions. For example, raising the sales tax to 1/4 cent will benefit the entire state. Surely there will be grunts and moans with this sales tax increase but, it will be a collective effort to regain a steady economy in the state.

   Education has taken a major blow with budget cuts so I believe that Brown’s proposal to increase the sales tax by a half-cent for everyone would be fair compared to the Brown-CFT proposal to only tax the rich with state-income tax rates.

   Not only will multimillionaires and billionaires be taxed, those who make above the $250,000 bar will be taxed more according to the proposal. In most cases, all those who fit the above criteria have worked hard to earn the amount they earn.

   U.S. education is often ridiculed by other countries. Some European countries will not even accept U.S. degrees unless they are from an Ivy league school because they believe their studies were not focused enough nor thorough enough. Other countries slam the U.S. for cutting education when the country is in peril. We tend to forget that we can improve the economy by prepping the youth through education. Education should not be suffering so I am glad that with this tax proposal, California’s education will be recuperating. But, if the state wants to see better futures for themselves and their children, they too, should be willing to sacrifice a bit for that causes instead of throwing all the responsibility to the rich.

   These wealthy folks probably spent a lot of money on their education or spent a lot of money repaying loans for their education. Considering that they too have had to throw a lot of money into books, I believe they should be understanding with these tax hikes that will go back into education. Receiving a higher education is what creates higher salaries so as a repayment, in giving thanks, paying higher taxes should not be an issue.


Bryan Adams (http://willadams53.tumblr.com/)

   I personally am not a rich man. I work hard for the money that I earn and I believe that most individuals do as well whether they’re rich, poor or average. I cannot support this “millionaire’s tax” because of my future aspirations to be a self-made millionaire and also because of the damning effect it will have on our states long-term economic growth.
 
   I know that if that day ever comes when I am worth seven figures, that I will know that I worked very hard and possibly a lifetime for the money I’ve earned. It is not my fault that America was found on the claim that anyone whether young or old, immigrant or natural citizen can build their life here and achieve prosperity and that we’ve been taught that our whole lives. The wealthy should be strongly encouraged to give more if they’re so inclined, but they should not be forced to pay more due to their usually self made fortune. California could provide certain benefits to individuals who CHOOSE to pay extra taxes such as stock share in businesses created by california tax dollars or a temporary tax exempt card for everyday purchases. The taxpayer will be given a base percentage of taxes they must pay, but if the taxpayer is inclined then they may give an extra percentage of either 1%, 2% or 3% while keeping in mind the benefits of doing so. They would also not be able to exceed the 3% increase in order to keep billionaires from writing large checks for a say in California’s elections or legislature. This idea doesn’t stray far from Gov. Brown’s proposed plan that will raise taxes for the same demographic by the same percentage points, it simply gives the taxpayers a choice.
 
   Didnt our California legislators learn to ask politely instead of taking things from people. They are essentially reaching in the pockets of any earner of over $250,000 per year and getting away with stealing their money because the rich are out populated in the state. According to Anthony York of PolitiCal, ” Brown’s new proposal will raise rates on those earning more than 250,000 (per year) by one percentage point”. York goes on to point out that the richer you are the more you will suffer by stating “(the rates increase) by two points on those making more than $300,000 and by three points on those earning over $500,000”. But what exactly will they do with the money?
 
   California has a history of mis-using tax payer dollars for lavish trips to Hawaii, boxes of cigars, pricey bottles of liquor, expensive meals and other getaways. Why should anyone pay another tax dollar after this news!? The state of California cannot even offer the most basic of request that tax payers ask for such as schools, fire, police and roads. Our roads are terrible and so are the freeways! The schools are filled with sex predators and half the kids aren’t even graduating! The firefighters budget has been cut severely, therefore their response times and effectiveness have gone in the toilet! We as taxpayers aren’t pleased with these simple requests, therefore why should we trust the legislators with more of our money despite who it’s coming from! This to me seems like an easy way to squeeze more money out of the bloody and beaten California. This type of practice of taxing the wealthy and mis-using the funds has conintued to drive businesses out of California. If you dont believe me, please read this.
 
   Legislators know that the rich are part of the California minority which should help win an election because of there simply aren’t enough of the rich to out vote the rest of the populous. We as honest californians should stand up and not let these slimy crooks steak anymore of our citizens dollars! I, again, am not rich, I’m not even close to being rich. But I know right from wrong and the legislators have been using our tax dollars in a wrong manner and that is what should be stopped. We cannot afford to let our state go down in flames because of incompetent state “leaders”. We and our children are in danger because they cannot keep us safe any longer. It seems as if the basic needs for taxpayers is simply too expensive to grant to california taxpaying citizens. Gov. Brown, please bring back the California I once knew and loved, but don’t take all my money trying to do so.


Julian Spencer (http://nocturneinj.tumblr.com/)

   A million dollars won’t buy as many Rolls’ as it used to. That’s a sad fact of todays world. Likewise, $1,000 won’t get you as many used Honda’s as it once did. The same can be said of a good education where it was once within reach for most people but is now going farther out of reach for those who are willing to work their hardest for it.

   The Millionaire’s Tax of 2012 seeks to redress this issue by providing extra tax revenue to California schools by adding taxes to those who can afford it. A general  way to describe the Millionaire’s tax is that it tacks on an additional 3% income tax to those making at least $1M annually which goes to 5% for incomes of $2M or more. These extra taxes would be used as revenue to fund education. Do the math and that’s more in taxes than a lot of people make in a year. And that would be taxes on top of existing taxes.

   The controversy, of course, is that Millionaires feel that they are unfairly targeted because they’d be giving a higher proportion of their income than others. However true that may be I believe there would be a greater benefit to society at large if this tax were implemented. Those benefits would extend to those millionaires who have been disproportionately taxed.

   Think of it this way; widespread access to higher education is the primary source of any nation’s competitive advantage. It’s no secret that we as a nation are falling farther aback from where we have been. Therefore, providing our people access to education would go a long way toward halting or reversing that trend. Now, if these so called “job creators” can’t buy in to this concept then clearly that term used to describe them is as big a joke as most believe it is. Who among them wouldn’t want better qualified employees? They’d be investing in themselves.

   Industrious University students used to be able to work their way through college by getting part-time jobs at places like McDonald’s and Target. Today it seems like students would need two full-time jobs and maybe some extra cash made by volunteering as test subjects to accomplish the same thing. Oh! And go to school too!

   According to info obtained from the Millionaires Tax of 2012 Home Page  (http://www.millionairestaxca.com/), California university students have had to deal with a 300% tax increase over the past ten years. 300%! That’s outrageous! What does that mean for prospective University students in California? What does that mean for prospective students from outside of CA who would want to go to school here? If opponents of the tax want to argue that it would lead to wealthy residents leaving the state and taking their $$ with them, then I would argue that out of control tuition is driving the best young minds away from California schools.

   The truth that most often gets lost is that the wealthy have always paid more for schools than the average person. The thing is, they were paying for their own children to attend above average schools while average taxpayers have been paying for less than average schooling. What’s mostly ignored about the tax is that 36% of it is allocated to K-12 schools. Those schools which have been mostly funded through property taxes from where they’re located. Therefore, if you live in an upscale neighborhood then you go to a nice clean school with new computers and a swim team. Live in a poor neighborhood and well … good luck trying to find a book in the library.

   I like to think that I would support the Millionaire’s tax if I was a millionaire. I would but it wouldn’t be for the sake of altruism. It would be because I didn’t want to end up in a third world country with a massive depressed underclass and a small wealthy elite. Living in a high-walled fortress amid rampant civil unrest and violence wouldn’t appeal to me.


James Palmer (http://jamesp2626.tumblr.com/)

   The new millionaires tax is a good idea on paper. It’s predicted to  bring in an extra five billion dollars annually in taxes. However I do see a few problems with it.

   The tax punishes people who have achieved the American Dream. The extra money sounds good, but the means of aquiring it do not. Many Republican politicians are accusing Obama of trying to incite class warfare. There have also been reports that the plan wouldn’t actually bring in as much revenue as predicted, because the income of those who will be taxed is extremely volatile.

   Everyone that comes to the United States wants to pursue their dreams of becoming wealthy. Why should those people who make it to the top be treated differently than those who are’t there yet? They can afford it, you might say. Thats not the point. The point is they are being treated differently because of their succes.

   My next issue with this tax is: what is going to be done with the money? I know the government is notorious for wasteful spending. The several trillion dollars that we are in debt is evidence of that. I thought we were trying to cut “Big Government Spending”. So why do we need to raise the tax? The government may say they want the extra money to stimulate the economy. In my opinion, leave it in the pockets of the people, and let us stimulate it ourselves.

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