Not Shown – Rising sea levels due to “climate change”
CEOs got smaller raises. It would still take a typical worker two lifetimes to make their annual pay | AP News
I found this disturbing at first. The average worker needing 50 or 60 years of salary to earn as much a CEO. (See link above).
Which CEO is average, though? I draw a distinction between guys (and women) who invent something neat, then risk everything to bring it to market. Steve Jobs of Apple. Bill Gates of Microsoft. Maybe even Elon Musk, of Tesla – although much of his good fortune comes from conning the Obama administration into doling out tax rebates for millionaires buying his first edition $100,000 Telsa hot rods. That's called “an inflection point”. Once you reach a critical mass of sales, you're home free.
I'm less certain about CEOs who don't invent stuff – just hype it. Jeff Bezos didn't really invent the idea of online shopping and home delivery. That was probably Sears Roebuck. Which went bankrupt because they couldn't figure out how to get it right. And kudos to Bezos for using other people's money to build thousands of warehouses, and serving us up a bunch of faux/imitation crapola from China. Is Jeff a genius? Compared to you and me, for sure! If I had the brains and guts to do that, I surely would've. I just hope I didn't go bankrupt and into oblivion if I got it wrong.
True confession – I've always hated Facebook. Not Mark Zuckerberg personally. Just the idea that a website - invented to keep you connected with friends and family- has become a monster. One of the biggest threats to personal privacy. It sells our “cookies” to the highest bidder. When I research a potential purchase – dog kibble, a car, or some obscure book –for weeks afterwards I will be inundated with alternative products, from obscure companies. Until car and kibble cookies are eclipsed with my latest search for canvas summer shoes. Do I need to remind everyone that Facebook is also a stew of "moderator approved" conspiracy theories and state sponsored trolls?
Google is the real cookie monster. Online search engines aren't the kind of game changer as fire, the wheel, or atomic fission. But Google is getting it's comeuppance. Hemmed in by a gazillion lawsuits for "scraping" intellectual property from other sites, and for manipulating their search results for a kickback. Just wait 'til Artificial Intelligence really gets rolling. Search engines will serve up amalgamated/composite results, instead of linking us to trusted sources. If you ask CHATGPT if the earth is round, it might hedge its bets and tell you there's a 2% chance the world is flat. That, of course, would be based on the millions of results it has seen. How else could AI conclude that white supremacy, pedophilia, and genocide of Jews are mainstream ideas?
Back to giant CEO pay. I'd have less angst if there were also giant CEO taxes being paid. But no one really knows how much bozos like Bezos pay. Certainly they have enough left over to build 500 foot mega-yatchs. To buy mansions in 7 countries,. To keep a small army of guys in Zurich watching over their numbered, tax evading bank accounts.
I should confess that i am NOT a tax accountant. All I know is that there's more than 2,000 pages of IRS regulations - just for me. That's the length if you're an individual filer with a normal W2 wage statement. If you're a billionaire, or a corporation, or a subchapter S partnership, or an entertainer with royalties, or an NBA superstar college dropout with deferred income going decades into the future . . . well, who know how many pages of loopholes are baked into YOUR regulations?
My point is this: that the world – well, America at least - would be a lot fairer if we had a straight income tax. Exclude the first $25,000 or $50,000 in income. Then pay something easy to understand on the rest. 17% ? 25%? I've seen both numbers argued. Forget all the deceptive crap. Tank those tax deductions for yachts masquerading as second homes. Drop carry forward interest. Let capital sinking funds sink under the waves. Forget farmland tax credits on land which you had no intention of farming, and never got enough rain to grow squat on anyway.
Pick a number for the income tax rate, and let's go with it. Maybe even two numbers. A normal rate for incomes less than $250,000 a year, and a higher rate for incomes over that. But no BS deductions. Your rate is your rate. Whether you're a stoner, a schoolteacher, or software billionaire with a yacht bigger than the Titanic.
Can we at least discuss this?
I now open the floor for debate: to everyone in this forum claiming to be a tax accountant, a socialist/redistributionist, or a millionaire. Tell me straight up why its unfair to have simple income taxes? And forget all the tricky loopholes created by politicians for their rich buddies?
Yes, I'm aware that someone is going to snark that “rich guys” will simply flee to a place with low taxes. Someplace usually run by a nasty dictator. That's their choice. I guess we'll just have to depend on the self evident advantages of democracy, a fair legal system, and human rights to make America's case. After all, people like Elon Musk (from South Africa), Sergei Brin, co-founder of Google (from Russia), and Zoom founder Eric Yuan (China) didn't come to America because they heard about our tax rates, did they?