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Tax Benefits

Who benefits the most from the current tax system in the United States?

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  • me

    Those who collect benefits from not working through unemployment, welfare and food stamps and healthcare. It’s all free of charge to them, while those of us who actually work hard pay for it!

  • Doug Fabens

    Needs a few more choices and a follow-on with the verifiable facts that actually apply. Corporations which specialize in government and military contracting and which are major political contributors would be another class of taxpayers to look at as their political ‘footprint’ in making tax policy is magnitudes greater than whole states worth of taxpaying voters.

  • Kerry Darnall

    To people that work the Social Security is a TAX just the same as income tax, The rich pay out of it so to them it’s not a TAX. Thanks to Mr Ronald Reagan and his big Tax break for the rich and let the government take money out of SS to let the country run. Now it falls on the working class to put it back Thanks Ronald Reagan for screwing the working class from the grave. It needs to be were no one can pay out of it …………………………………………………..

  • ColoradoConservative

    Looking at the results of this survey, you can see why Obama was re-elected. These morons, who don’t pay taxes, think that the the people who pay the most taxes don’t pay enough!

  • Dennis B. Shultz

    Dennis Shultz
    The Program is nice, the persons to consult are Jame Galabraith and David Cay Johnston, among others, rergarding taxes. Why did Mitt Romney not disclose the previous 12 years of Income Tax Returns, as his father George Romney did???. I would guess that the returns which were not disclosed might have been embarrassing, when the actual rates were revealed, as in the case of the progressive “one percenter” featured on the program. People will be some what better informed boy following this link The article is titled

    “9 Things The Rich Don’t Want You To Know About Taxes”. There is voluminous data available, to us all, about the reality of the tax system. It requires a little digging and a little curiosity.

    I commend PBS for at least airing an introductory discussion of the tax topic.

  • Sophie

    Today’s report on taxes had in my opinion too many critical errors in making statements such as ….”they, take large itemized tax deductions”, it is not true statement, the deduction is not tax deduction but rather deduction to the taxable income. Or statement that standard deduction is something bad, it is huge amount in comparison to their earned income. They have have option to take itemized deduction but if they did that it would be less than 10% of the standard deduction that is given to them. Therefore, your reporting was incorrect and didn’t talk about other important issues that I can tell you about low income people. Your guests were very nice but many people from that income bracket like to show around 12k-14k because that gives them the largest income credit. That doesn’t mean that it was what they earned. Perhaps you need to investigate that too, ie. go to NJ’s clinics and check households of all these pregnant women who apply for charity care.Some of their lovers, husbands drive 30k cars etc. but they claim low income etc….you got the picture. You would like to help our country? Here is a tip make sure that on the W-2 government demands disclosure of time period that this “low income” was earned. Then 25% of earned income credit would be saved because these people would not meet this requirement, they purposely work six months in the year for W-2 income and the other six months they earning cash or go to south on vacation.
    The reporting should be fair not one sided, like the one today. Shame on YOU!

  • Gordon Flygare

    Tax program was filled with misinformation.
    In order to take advantage of itemized deductions most taxpayers need a morgage deduction to form a high enough base to allow local taxes and charity to have any effect. Expecting renters to itemize even in New Jersey (a high tax state) is unrealistic.

    The man with $400,000 it capital gains will not have anything like that in past or future years. The correspondent admited “his income varied wildly from year to year.” As it was, he gave his entire earned income to charity in the illustrated year.

    I have not understood why low rates with upper limits have not been set on interest and investment income to encourage saving and investment without giving a free pass to the wealthy.

    Are you old enough to recall when there was an interest income deduction of $100 ($200 for a couple) We lost that in the 70s when interst rates exploded.

  • AMT-is-unfair

    Overall a balanced show but I think it missed a key component by not considering AMT. Many earners who live in high cost of living regions can not take advantage of the deductions they highlighted in the show. The tax code does not take into account the relative cost of living in different places and 100k in one US state may may leave a family with much more disposable income than another based on COL, state tax rates, and price of housing (rent or mortgage payments).

    Simplicity and fairness is key. Treat all forms of income equally and get rid of the AMT and mortgage deduction. I feel that the deduction of state & local taxes is fair (why pay tax on money that you can’t use?) and those who live in no tax states should not be able to deduct their sales tax.

  • Baba Perelah

    The program was useful in showing effects of tax laws on taxpayers in different economic circumstances, but lacked nuances within categories. For example, a middle class retired person might be living on money saved during working years, but may not have opportunities to earn more, and may even have been displaced or enticed from the workforce early by company policies. Therefore, while I would agree (as the program seemed to suggest) that income earned from working should be treated at least as favorably as income from capital gains, rates could be capped in relation to total income. That way moderate income retirees living on interest, dividends and capital gains from their or a spouse’s prior earnings would not have to pay more taxes than is reasonable on their annual income.

  • sean

    i can see the poorer classes not having to pay taxes, but why should they receive money they never paid in? It seems the middle class, which is disappearing, has to pay the most… another note is that it is the consumer that creates jobs not the rich…

  • sgtwyo

    Your program was nice introduction to the inequities and complexity of our tax code. Digging a little deeper you would have found that (1) Social Security taxes (FICA) are not tax deductible so FICA taxes are part of your taxable income when you are working, (2) when your Social Security benefits are calculated a significant amount is redistributed from middle and higher-income recipients to low-income recipients, and (3) after you start receiving benefits up to 85% of Social Security benefits are included in taxable income for many middle income recipients. Triple taxation. With regard to the wealthy with dividend income, please note that they may also face triple taxation. First dividends generally come from corporate profits that have been taxed at the corporate rates. Then the dividends are taxed for wealthy tax payers at the 20% rate on their individual tax returns, and finally when a wealthy person dies with a large estate, their estate can be taxed again with death taxes. Triple taxation. How does this all work out in terms of fairness? Beats me! Your point that the tax code is far too complex and needs revision is spot on. Maybe then we could form an intelligent opinion if it is fair.

  • Matt

    As a union boilermaker working on power plants, oil refineries, and war ships. I watch these companies make millions per day. They pay less taxes than most people I know through loopholes and deception. They change there names to avoid legal problems. They say there main branch is over seas to avoid taxes. Never underestimate the power of greed!

  • edie groner

    Wonderful show on how our tax system affects wage earners at low, middle and high incomes including those at the top with capital gains lower tax rates. it is refreshing to hear someone from the 1% top income state that the wealthy should pay more taxes like himself. the explanation of how the earned income credit for the poor single woman with children makes it clear why we need it to fight poverty of families, and the working eletrician who sympathizes with poor single mothers as he had as a child, and at the same time holds tea paty views favoring the wealthy does not really understand how his tea party view puts him at a disadvantage in his desire to get ahead. I hope he learned something from listening to the wealthy taxpayer explain why he should be paying more taxes.

  • Diane Ramsey

    I love Mr. Schoenberg. He’s the progressive, and we need more like him.

  • Brett

    Capitol Gains rates (tax on inflation) could be taxed at income rates if equities value were adjusted for inflation.

  • lgfromillinois

    I appreciated the program as an exploration of what is fair taxation. I am willing to support with my taxes our America and all our citizens. I am retired; my income is modest. I will not begrudge anyone trying to make a living and keep themselves together. I am disappointed that many with means are so intent in avoiding a responsibility to support America when they are able to do so.

  • ed greisch

    Times were good in the 1950s. The highest tax rate for incomes over $400,000 was 91% or 92% from 1951 to 1963. We should return to those tax rates or higher for the highest incomes. The high tax rates made the wealthy keep their money in their companies to spite Uncle Sam. That created jobs. Don’t let them take their money out and play with it. Raise the personal exemption to one hundred thousand dollars and index it to inflation. That was the original deal in 1913. The entire history is at:

    Great Depression: The tax rate was low at the beginning of the depression.

  • Cheryl Siedelmann

    One thing that struck me during your show was that if the top 10% pay 70% of taxes, then our economic system is in serious trouble. Instead of a bell curve, with most people in the middle class, 47% of the population is too poor to even owe income taxes. The wealthy are keeping most of the income for themselves, instead of paying a middle class wage to their employees. There really is no reason why clerks get near minimum wage while CEOs rake in millions. Nobody should make more than the President. Instead of the 50:1 ratio od the past, we now have 300:1, and we aren’t better off.

  • Paul

    Sophie, I was reading your critique and was wondering what data or experience you have to substantiate your claims about lovers or husbands driving $30,000 cars? As a physician who work with low income population, many of my patients are struggling to get by based on their earnings and genuinely trying to make a honest wage. Are you using the exception, which is a small percentage of people who take advantage of the system, to prove the rule? (I would say there are also people in upper income who take advantage of their reporting and pay less taxes.)

  • Anonymous

    Because they are not paid enough to live, and our economy needs them to be alive so they can work at the low wage jobs that are necessary to keep the wealth pot bubbling.

    The alternative is that everyone who works is paid a living wage that covers the full market cost of food, shelter, clothing, transportation, health care, education, childcare, retirement savings and taxes. That will of course push the price of everything up. The middle class will really be struggling when a gallon of milk is $15 and a pound of oranges is $20.

    The working poor – the only ones able to benefit from the earned income tax credit – contribute mightily to our economy by contributing their labor and receiving in return less than it costs to live. In doing so they are making everything that the middle class needs to survive more affordable for them, and helping the wealthy pad their fortunes.

    Everyone should of course strive to better themselves. The fact remains though that even if everyone in this country were equally ambitious, hard working, intelligent, well educated, charismatic, creative, healthy and lucky, we’d still need someone – lots of them actually – to do the grunt work for less than it costs to live. As a society we pool our tax money to throw them a few bones to keep them alive and acquiescent, and still for some reason feel entitled to kick them around. We should, in reality, be very grateful for their contributions.

  • Edward Harmon

    It’s not that Black and White. Everyone benefits in different ways. It’s easy to make the rich look evil and the poor look like victims – but a full discussion is needed to really understand the situation. For example, state and local governments target the poor with ads for scratch-off gambling, quick pick, etc. Isn’t that just a regressive tax on the poor. You don’t see the 1% on line to buy lotto tickets. The rich have incentives to support museums and the arts; what if that went away. Without support, would people pay what it takes to go to the Metropolitan Musum of Art, or would those be restricted to the upper class. With every acton, there is a re-action we have to evaluate before we make knee-jerk decisions.

  • Mike Mathwig

    and when YOUR turn comes, we will pay for you, but with more love.

  • Mike Mathwig