Sound Off: Tax the Rich?

The governor says he won't support renewing a tax surcharge on the wealthy; what's your take?

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has come out against extending a tax on New York's highest earners, according to a report in The New York Times. 

Despite the ongoing Occupy Wall Street movement–with income inequality as one of its main rallying cries–and a new Siena College poll showing that 72 percent of New Yorkers support raising taxes on those making more than $1 million a year, Cuomo told The Times that extending the tax surcharge would drive residents and businesses out of the state.  

According to The Times, Cuomo said of the tax: “The fact that everybody wants it, that doesn’t mean all that much. I represent the people. Their opinion matters, but I’m not going to go back and forth with the political winds.”

Where do you stand? Vote in the poll below and share your thoughts in the comments section.

dan pichney October 21, 2011 at 01:16 PM
Although in the US we all have equality under the law, obviously all of us have different levels of intelligence, talent and ambition. Not everyone wants or can be an entrepeneur. There is only one percent of the population with most of the weath: other than in the case of inherited wealth, the combination of intellect, drive, and just plain luck is hard commodity to come by. Calling the protesters or people who think like them jealous of the wealthy or just plain lazy is the kind of comment made through the mind set of a person who simpley doesn't share their values. Some people feel fulfilled in their lives in occupations that simply do not pay alot. Some people want to spend more time with their spouses and children, some people, frankly, just aren't that smart! What most of them share in common however is that they want to live and let live. They want to work and they want to be paid a living wage. Any money they receive goes right back into the economy in terms of basics like food clothing and shelter and has a ripple effect in the economy that produces jobs. The construction of one yacht or luxury home employs a handful of people for a short time. Life necessities employ many people for a long time. Hard working people deserve to enjoy the benefits of all they have worked for and shouldn't be punished for it. But when their actions, such as in the financial sector, result in other people not being able to enjoy their lives, it is both immoral and grossly unfair.
Kelly Berdolt October 21, 2011 at 01:57 PM
Well said Dan.
Larry October 21, 2011 at 06:01 PM
Your right to that the financial sector was wrong in what they did, however its starts in washington. with the people like barney frank and chris dodd who basically controlled freddie and fannie and forced bad loans down their throats. there is alot of blame to go around right down to the individual. If you earn 50k and you apply for a 500k mortgage, its your fault for entering into that arangement without further due dilligence. there is no one spot to say its there fault they did it, the blame goes around and its been coming for 20 years. it got to a point where owning a house became an entitlement, my wife and i saved our ass off for years to get the 20% down payment needed and we had an 11% interest rate. we new what our finances were our lawyer explained the terms and we made sure it was affordable to us. the blame starts at the bottom, those banks would have never had the chance to make those loans had the congress not pushed on them and the people have to take responsibility for their own stupidty
Pete October 21, 2011 at 06:33 PM
This is a capitalistic society. They taught us that in 6th grade. That was your wake-up call to work hard, bust your butt EVERY day and make as much money as possible, with no apologies to anyone if you succeeded at this. Yet, instead of buckling down and getting straight A's, getting into a GREAT college and getting on the Dean's List, and then getting a Great job with a Fortune 500 company that had room for advancement (which would have been a GOOD plan), many kids cared more about being "cool", smoking dope, drinking beer behind the bleachers, etc. They got into party colleges instead of a good school, they got a weak job with no davancement, and now they are crying about it. Their fault!!! Sorry to seem insensitive, but everyone on this board knows I'm correct. No body told us the world would hand you a nice house, a hot car, a sexy spouse, etc. I came from a blue-collar upbringing, yet by junior high school had figured out that getting good grades and getting a college degree from a major university, then getting a job at a Fortune 500 company in NYC, then getting promoted up the ladder each 3-4 years was how it worked here in the good old USA. Why haven't these other people figured that out??
Gary October 21, 2011 at 07:22 PM
http://www.fairtax.org ?
dan pichney October 21, 2011 at 09:01 PM
Larry, you may be right about Freddie and Fannie forcing loans down the throats of banks, but nobody told them to bundle these bad loans and give them an A rating when they knew that these mortgages were pure garbage. That is what caused a financial meltdown on both a national and global scale. People who couldn't afford their houses may have very well defaulted, but the impact on the economy would have been alot less. Pete, we have the same blue collar background and followed the same path of studying instead of partying and getting into a good college and in my case graduate school. However I still stand by my statement that basically not everyone wants or has the ability even to be a minor 'master of the universe' let alone a wall street tycoon. These are the honest people like both our dads and moms whohave been robbed by a small part of the population that seem to have no moral boundaries.
Larry October 21, 2011 at 11:56 PM
you are 100% correct. The only thing I would lend to that is if the people would have been more educated on the type of loan they were going for and if washington might of tightened the regulations a little (god did i say that word i might get hung now) and not allow things like no doc loans, arms that adjust to 3 times what the mortgage was i am sure you get the point. then these banks could have never been able to package them. listen i understand the blame goes around. the topic is however why slam one part of the population for the failures of others.
Ronald P. Matonti October 22, 2011 at 02:19 AM
If our governor does not tax the rich more heavily, we know he is getting a kick back or payola or graft from them!!!
Judi October 22, 2011 at 02:26 AM
Has anyone ever told you that this is NOT a socialist country??? Nor do we want it to be???
Sal October 22, 2011 at 06:28 AM
You know ronald, you must be right. The governor must be getting some kickback for realizing that its not only is it unfair but also a poor way to stabiize the NYS economy by leaning on the rich rather then trying to develop new business's and income for the state. Shame on him for realizing if you continue to tax the rich they will simply move and claim another state for income tax.
dan pichney October 22, 2011 at 12:03 PM
Larry, I hear you and we can go round and round forever. My last word on the subject is that the government asks out of stupidity and it hurts people. Wall street could have packaged those mortgages as junk securities (as they were) with a higher yield and then it would have been a question of 'buyer beware'. My point is that the government acted out of well meaning stupidity and Wall St acted out of well considered malice.
Larry October 25, 2011 at 04:32 PM
'We are Wall Street. It's our job to make money. Whether it's a commodity, stock, bond, or some hypothetical piece of fake paper, it doesn't matter. We would trade baseball cards if it were profitable. I didn't hear America complaining when the market was roaring to 14,000 and everyone's 401k doubled every 3 years. Just like gambling, it's not a problem until you lose. I've never heard of anyone going to Gamblers Anonymous because they won too much in Vegas. Well now the market crapped out, and even though it has come back somewhat, the government and the average Joes are still looking for a scapegoat. God knows there has to be one for everything. Well, here we are. Go ahead and continue to take us down, but you're only going to hurt yourselves. What's going to happen when we can't find jobs on the Street anymore? Guess what: We're going to take yours. We get up at 5am & work till 10pm or later. We're used to not getting up to pee when we have a position. We don't take an hour or more for a lunch break. We don't demand a union. We don't retire at 50 with a pension. We eat what we kill, and when the only thing left to eat is on your dinner plates, we'll eat that.
Larry October 25, 2011 at 04:32 PM
For years teachers and other unionized labor have had us fooled. We were too busy working to notice. Do you really think that we are incapable of teaching 3rd graders and doing landscaping? We're going to take your cushy jobs with tenure and 4 months off a year and whine just like you that we are so-o-o-o underpaid for building the youth of America. Say goodbye to your overtime and double time and a half. I'll be hitting grounders to the high school baseball team for $5k extra a summer, thank you very much. So now that we're going to be making $85k a year without upside, Joe Mainstreet is going to have his revenge, right? Wrong! Guess what: we're going to stop buying the new 80k car, we aren't going to leave the 35 percent tip at our business dinners anymore. No more free rides on our backs. We're going to landscape our own back yards, wash our cars with a garden hose in our driveways. Our money was your money. You spent it. When our money dries up, so does yours.
Larry October 25, 2011 at 04:33 PM
The difference is, you lived off of it, we rejoiced in it. The Obama administration and the Democratic National Committee might get their way and knock us off the top of the pyramid, but it's really going to hurt like hell for them when our fat asses land directly on the middle class of America and knock them to the bottom. We aren't dinosaurs. We are smarter and more vicious than that, and we are going to survive. The question is, now that Obama and his administration are making Joe Mainstreet our food supply…will he? and will they?'
confectioner October 27, 2011 at 02:00 AM
Just to clarify the issue the American economy is a mixture of capitalism and socialism, it happens to be what our society wanted. The reforms such as Social Security, welfare, unemployment insurance and Medicaid are all socialistic programs by definition. Do you scream that your grandmother is a Socialist because she accepts Social Security checks? No, of course not. These reforms and many other were put in place to make people's lives better. Prior to these programs the abuse of child labor was rampant, farmers would lose their property due to a flood or storm. Farm subsidies are socialistic, taxes have been increased for the greater good. Who has profitted more from a stable, productive society more than the truly wealthy?
confectioner October 27, 2011 at 02:06 AM
Yes, Larry make that money but don't cry when it's gone or go to the Fed looking to cover your short position. Ultimately the money machine you tend gets it's money from the Federal Government both tacitly and outright. It could be argued that Wall Streets love of outsourcing and short term profitering have crippled the US economy but as long as you get yours, it's all good.
Judi October 27, 2011 at 02:35 AM
"ACCEPTS" Social Security checks???????? Did you ever notice the deduction in your paycheck for SSI??? That's money that's coming OUT of your paycheck and being put away for YOUR use when you retire . . . . that money that ones "Grandmother" ACCEPTS is HER money that she PUT IN for a good 30 or 40 years of her life.
Tyrone Johnson October 27, 2011 at 03:05 AM
SSI, like welfare and medicaid is simply charity ---a form of extortion actually. Medicare and Social Security are earned . In fact Medicare is not free and it covers less than medicaid.
Judi October 27, 2011 at 03:10 AM
Forgive me. I stand corrected . . . what I meant was the deduction for Social Security benefits . . . not SSI. Thanks.
Fred Stewart October 27, 2011 at 03:28 PM
the middle class is already knocked to the bottom.
Fred Stewart October 27, 2011 at 03:29 PM
thank you for a rational post sean.
AL October 28, 2011 at 02:52 AM
Last time this ciuntrynhad progressiventax reform wasnin the 70s, worst decade in the history of our national economy.
Chris F October 28, 2011 at 01:26 PM
Why do we always have to raise taxes and create new taxes? The top 1% pay 40% of all the taxes in the United States. The bottom 50% in comparison pays only 3% of the taxes levied. You want Socialism? Ok fine, let's start by capping the MAXIMUM salary of all public sector employees at $80,000 a year regardless of position or length of service. That means for example if they reach 80k after say 15 years service they will never get another raise again.
dan pichney October 28, 2011 at 01:43 PM
Which means that the middle 49% pay 57% of taxes but possess only a fraction of the total wealth, which is what the hub-bub is all about. However, you are really on to something with capping public sector salaries. A County Exec or a Police commissioner does deserve at least $100,000 plus inflation adjustmentsw because of the level of responsibility; but with a little tweeking, your idea would work. As a tradeoff, I would want executive salaries tied to company performance and as a set percentage of average employee salary.
confectioner October 28, 2011 at 01:57 PM
Judi, Grandma may or may not have contributed to the Social Security system via her paycheck deductions as she may or may not have worked. The money that she gets in her SS checks is not her money as it has not been held for her all these years. Today's payroll deductions are used for today's retirees with the tacit promise that when our time comes to retire we will be able to draw on workers after us. And yes I have noticed the 6 figure SS deduction total over my career. I would love for the Government to scale back it's spending but not at the expense of the poor and needy and I certainly don't believe people earning 1 million dollars a year need to have their taxes go from 35% to 9%.
dan pichney October 28, 2011 at 02:05 PM
As an fyi to my 9:43 post below, during the 1950's when the country had its greatest economic boom ever, ceo salaries were on the average 15 times his average worker. Now, it is multiples of 100 times the average worker, even when the company tanks.
homey the clown November 17, 2011 at 06:24 PM
I realize from the posts that there is alot of confusion here. Most wealthy people spend a lot of money, they pay alot of taxes(fed, state and local as well as sales tax on purchases), they eat out in restaurants, go on vacations, renovate their houses, buy new cars boats etc etc etc. Their spending is more efficient than giving it to government. The US govt spends 1TRILLION dollars more per year than they did in 2007. If you dont know this, this is absurd and totally unsustainable. If the govt is the answer to our problems, we are in worse shape than I thought.
Tony Chliek November 17, 2011 at 06:46 PM
On Wednesday, a group of millionaires lobbied congress to raise taxes on those making over $1 million. That's right, he wants to pay more taxes. Check out the video for his interview. http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/politics/july-dec11/millionaires_11-16.html
Judi November 17, 2011 at 06:52 PM
I just tried to check out that video and it says that article is "not available" . . . ???
Tony Chliek November 17, 2011 at 07:03 PM
I tried it again and it worked for me. Try this YouTube link. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7b682jzn_B0&feature=player_embedded


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