Harry Reid - "Millionaire job creators are like unicorns"

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Dec 26, 2011 5:28 PM GMT
    http://www.forbes.com/sites/paulroderickgregory/2011/12/25/sen-harry-reids-unicorns-fact-checking-a-whopper/

    Sen. Harry Reid's Unicorns: Fact Checking A Whopper

    Tax policy should be serious business carried out by serious politicians using real facts and figures. This is why we have the Library of Congress and the Congressional Budget Office, among other expert institutions.

    How can we take Congress seriously when the Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid, makes patently inaccurate, outrageous and bizarre claims on an important tax-policy issue without any heads being turned? I guess this is what we have come to expect of Congress. No wonder citizens with favorable opinions of Congress are as rare as unicorns, to borrow a phrase.

    Harry Reid’s statement on December 6 on his proposed 1.9 percent surtax on million-dollar incomes has kicked up some dust. Here is his statement:

    “Millionaire job creators are like unicorns. They’re impossible to find, and they don’t exist… Only a tiny fraction of people making more than a million dollars, probably less than 1 percent, are small business owners. And only a tiny fraction of that tiny fraction are traditional job creators…Most of these businesses are hedge fund managers or wealthy lawyers. They don’t do much hiring and they don’t need tax breaks.”

    Taking their cue, National Public Radio launched a search for one millionaire job creator. They triumphantly announced:

    “NPR requested help from numerous Republican congressional offices, including House and Senate leadership. They were unable to produce a single millionaire job creator for us to interview.”

    Were it not for Google, I would have accepted Harry Reid’s unicorn story and NPR’s confirmation. Unlike Harry Reid’s office, I went to the IRS’s Table 1.4 “Sources of income, adjustments, and tax size of adjusted gross income, 2009” to check things out. (I summarize my sources in a separate blog posting). Here is what I found:

    There are 236,883 tax filers with incomes of a million dollars or more. By Harry Reid’s count, only one percent, or 2,361 of them, are business owners, and a tiny fraction of them create jobs. I do not know what Harry means when he says “a tiny fraction of a tiny fraction.” If we let 5 percent represent Harry’s “tiny fraction,” we are left with 118 businesses owners who earn a million or more and create jobs. Yes, they are only slightly less rare than unicorns, if Harry is to be believed.

    This leaves 236,765 million-dollar-plus tax payers, most of whom are “hedge fund managers and wealthy lawyers” who “don’t create jobs and don’t need tax breaks.”

    My Google search for Harry Reid’s quarter million hedge fund managers and wealthy lawyers came up empty handed. I could identify at most sixteen thousand “wealthy lawyers and hedge fund managers,” not Harry Reid’s quarter million.

    Well, Harry Reid’s numbers leave much to be desired, but maybe he is right that millionaire business owners do not create jobs.

    What does the IRS have to say about this? Millionaire tax filers earn a total taxable income of $623 billion, on which they pay the highest average rate (30 percent) of any tax bracket. (Either Warren Buffet’s secretary has an incompetent tax accountant or Buffet has some pretty juicy tax breaks. I think the latter is more likely). A 1.9 percent tax surcharge on million-dollar-earners would yield $11 billion, assuming those shifty millionaires take no evasive action to avoid the tax.


    Millionaire tax filers earn $221 billion – almost a quarter of a trillion — from business and professions, partnerships, and S-corporations. This is puzzling: If Harry Reid’s figure is correct (2,361 millionaire businesses), then the average millionaire-owned business earns almost a hundred million dollars, and all, except 118 of them, do this without hiring anyone. These super heroes do their own typing, selling, drafting. public relations, building, and manufacturing. They do not need employees. Remarkable!

    To summarize:

    Millionaire tax filers earn almost a quarter trillion dollars from their businesses. They must hire hundreds of thousands of employees to do so.

    There are a trivial number of millionaire hedge-fund managers and wealthy lawyers (who, according to Harry, do not hire anyone and don’t need tax breaks). The millionaire tax surcharge is not aimed at them, but at the tens of thousands of millionaire business owners.

    A 1.9 percent surcharge on millionaires would raise at most eleven billion dollars. By today’s standards, this is chump change, within the federal budget’s rounding error.

    The millionaire’s tax is not about balancing the budget. It is about gaining political advantage through the use of envy and greed (two of the seven deadly sins).

    Why would Harry Reid tell such whoppers, which are so easily disproved?

    Ryan Streeter has hit the nail on the head. He writes that even bearded Occupy Wall Street misfits understand the difference between “earned” and “unearned” success. Those who earn success by creating value honestly are the true heroes in our economy. They should be lauded rather than targeted. Bill Gates and Steve Jobs are heroes. Bernie Madoff and, now it seems, John Corzine are not, and everyone, irrespective of their political leanings, understands this.

    Reid, in his clumsy way, is trying to portray Republicans as the party of dishonest millionaires, who have not earned their wealth, have not created jobs, detract rather than create value, and refuse to pay their fair share. Such class warfare will be the anchor of the Democrat election playbook


  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Dec 26, 2011 5:56 PM GMT
    Bottom line: Bush Tax Cuts have not created jobs. They have made the wealthy richer at the expense of the middle class. Republican playbook: scream socialism and class warfare. Read my lips: Repeal the Bush Tax Cuts!!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Dec 26, 2011 6:00 PM GMT
    catfish5 saidBottom line: Bush Tax Cuts have not created jobs. They have made the wealthy richer at the expense of the middle class. Republican playbook: scream socialism and class warfare. Read my lips: Repeal the Bush Tax Cuts!!


    Ya, they have trouble reading :-/
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Dec 26, 2011 6:03 PM GMT
    TigerTim said
    catfish5 saidBottom line: Bush Tax Cuts have not created jobs. They have made the wealthy richer at the expense of the middle class. Republican playbook: scream socialism and class warfare. Read my lips: Repeal the Bush Tax Cuts!!


    Ya, they have trouble reading :-/


    Or they don't and that only the truly economically illiterate could believe that trying to make the rich less so would translate into a wealthier society.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Dec 26, 2011 6:09 PM GMT
    riddler78 saidOr they don't and that only the truly economically illiterate could believe that trying to make the rich less so would translate into a wealthier society.

    I think many of the smarter Dems know the sum total wealth is not fixed, not a zero-sum game, but it is a good position to support their class warfare politics.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Dec 26, 2011 6:11 PM GMT
    So how many of you have higher degrees in economics here?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Dec 26, 2011 6:14 PM GMT
    TigerTim saidSo how many of you have higher degrees in economics here?


    Conflating credentials with knowledge again are we on something as basic and simple as this? Douche.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Dec 26, 2011 6:17 PM GMT
    TigerTim saidSo how many of you have higher degrees in economics here?

    Let's not get into this bullshit. You're much more endearing when you are making your catty comments. BTW - hope you're enjoying Cambridge this time of year and have the opportunity to interact with faculty members of both of Cambridge's esteemed universities. Worth the effort.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Dec 26, 2011 6:19 PM GMT
    catfish5 saidBottom line: Bush Tax Cuts have not created jobs. They have made the wealthy richer at the expense of the middle class. Republican playbook: scream socialism and class warfare. Read my lips: Repeal the Bush Tax Cuts!!


    Better yet, get some of that underground economy paying some income taxes – drug dealers, pimps and prostitutes! Bet the IRS would like to have a piece of that.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Dec 26, 2011 6:23 PM GMT
    socalfitness said
    TigerTim saidSo how many of you have higher degrees in economics here?

    Let's not get into this bullshit. You're much more endearing when you are making your catty comments. BTW - hope you're enjoying Cambridge this time of year and have the opportunity to interact with faculty members of both of Cambridge's esteemed universities. Worth the effort.


    It's not bullshit. I'm pointing out that there are precisely *zero* actual experts in economics in this forum. So comments about the economically "illiterate" are rather misplaced.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Dec 26, 2011 6:25 PM GMT
    And who is the arbiter of that?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Dec 26, 2011 6:26 PM GMT
    That's not correct. Riddler is here.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Dec 26, 2011 6:26 PM GMT
    freedomisntfree saidAnd who is the arbiter of that?


    Very simple. If you don't have a PhD in Economics, you're not an expert.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Dec 26, 2011 6:31 PM GMT
    The folks who go out and make it happen are the experts.

    Riddler, what do you think?
  • rnch

    Posts: 11524

    Dec 26, 2011 6:32 PM GMT
    catfish5 saidBottom line: Bush Tax Cuts have not created jobs. They have made the wealthy richer at the expense of the middle class. Republican playbook: scream socialism and class warfare. Read my lips: Repeal the Bush Tax Cuts!!




    anyone except a GOP congressman understands this icon_exclaim.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Dec 26, 2011 6:32 PM GMT
    freedomisntfree saidThe folks who go out and make it happen are the experts.


    And which of the people on here "go out and make it happen"?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Dec 26, 2011 6:34 PM GMT
    TigerTim said
    socalfitness said
    TigerTim saidSo how many of you have higher degrees in economics here?

    Let's not get into this bullshit. You're much more endearing when you are making your catty comments. BTW - hope you're enjoying Cambridge this time of year and have the opportunity to interact with faculty members of both of Cambridge's esteemed universities. Worth the effort.

    It's not bullshit. I'm pointing out that there are precisely *zero* actual experts in economics in this forum. So comments about the economically "illiterate" are rather misplaced.

    I didn't interpret the comment directed at specific forum members, but the public at large. I also agree that there are experts, even by your specific standards, that are on different sides of issues. My opinion is hard ideology can overcome the objective analysis that one would expect of an expert, e.g., a particular NY Times columnist.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Dec 26, 2011 6:36 PM GMT
    freedomisntfree saidThe folks who go out and make it happen are the experts.

    Riddler, what do you think?


    I find it perhaps telling that those who feed on the productivity of others are the ones who most advocate higher taxation. Government will get scaled back and the world of education is about to go through some massive change.

    I don't think you need a PhD to grasp the most basic of ideas.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Dec 26, 2011 6:38 PM GMT
    socalfitness said
    I didn't interpret the comment directed at specific forum members, but the public at large. I also agree that there are experts, even by your specific standards, that are on different sides of issues. My opinion is hard ideology can overcome the objective analysis that one would expect of an expert, e.g., a particular NY Times columnist.


    Well you obviously misread my question:

    Who here has a PhD in Economics?

    and the answer is:

    Noone!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Dec 26, 2011 6:41 PM GMT
    TigerTim said
    freedomisntfree saidAnd who is the arbiter of that?


    Very simple. If you don't have a PhD in Economics, you're not an expert.


    And you have maybe someone like Samuel Bowles or John Kenneth Galbraith and then one like Milton Friedman, all three PHDs so who is correct?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Dec 26, 2011 6:44 PM GMT
    freedomisntfree said
    TigerTim said
    freedomisntfree saidAnd who is the arbiter of that?


    Very simple. If you don't have a PhD in Economics, you're not an expert.


    And you have maybe someone like Samuel Bowles or John Kenneth Galbraith and then one like Milton Friedman, all three PHDs so who is correct?


    I'm just gonna laugh at you:

    ROTFL
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Dec 26, 2011 6:47 PM GMT
    TigerTim said
    freedomisntfree said
    TigerTim said
    freedomisntfree saidAnd who is the arbiter of that?


    Very simple. If you don't have a PhD in Economics, you're not an expert.


    And you have maybe someone like Samuel Bowles or John Kenneth Galbraith and then one like Milton Friedman, all three PHDs so who is correct?


    I'm just gonna laugh at you:

    ROTFL


    Sure ..... that beats coming up with an answer!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Dec 26, 2011 6:50 PM GMT
    freedomisntfree said
    TigerTim said
    freedomisntfree said
    TigerTim said
    freedomisntfree saidAnd who is the arbiter of that?


    Very simple. If you don't have a PhD in Economics, you're not an expert.


    And you have maybe someone like Samuel Bowles or John Kenneth Galbraith and then one like Milton Friedman, all three PHDs so who is correct?


    I'm just gonna laugh at you:

    ROTFL


    Sure ..... that's beats coming up with an answer!


    Well you didn't even ask a question. Correct about what?

    Not one of those people would claim they were "correct" in some blanket, unspecified manner. That isn't how economics (or any rigorous study of any subject in fact) works. You have to frame careful questions, look at data, work out where your errors might lie, understand the limitations of your analysis, etc, etc.

    Frankly if anyone did any of that ever on RJ, from any direction, we'd actually have interesting conversations instead of the third grade tedium.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Dec 26, 2011 7:02 PM GMT
    get over yourself. you made the statement

    "Very simple. If you don't have a PhD in Economics, you're not an expert."

    and regarding my non question

    "And you have maybe someone like Samuel Bowles or John Kenneth Galbraith and then one like Milton Friedman, all three PHDs so who is correct?"
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Dec 26, 2011 7:11 PM GMT
    TigerTim said
    socalfitness said
    I didn't interpret the comment directed at specific forum members, but the public at large. I also agree that there are experts, even by your specific standards, that are on different sides of issues. My opinion is hard ideology can overcome the objective analysis that one would expect of an expert, e.g., a particular NY Times columnist.


    Well you obviously misread my question:

    Who here has a PhD in Economics?

    and the answer is:

    Noone!

    No I didn't but I don't think that is a useful, or even appropriate question to make in a forum such as this. First, it is quite arbitrary for purposes of establishing discussion credentials. By your standard, a master's in economics or a PhD in Political Science or Business would be disqualifying as being an expert. Second, to expect someone to state that specific information, if they have previously mentioned or suggested which school they attended, maybe the age, etc.,leads to the possibility that someone could piece information together and determine the person's identity. You should certainly be sensitive to that. Third, credentials can be inflated. Even if they can seem false, such claims detract from the discussion. I suggest that the ideas should stand or fall on their own and not be bolstered or sunk by stated credentials unless someone is quoting analysis of a third party, where that person's credentials might be relevant.