Opinion L.A.

Observations and provocations
from The Times' Opinion staff

« Previous Post | Opinion L.A. Home | Next Post »

Cartoon: California is broke, but taxing the rich is out of the question


Ted Rall / For the Times


Milking parents in La Cañada

Video: 'Disposable Dan' tries to save his home while wife eats cat food

Video: Meet 'Disposable Dan,' casualty of corporate greed and the economic collapse

How much will budget cuts change community colleges?


Comments () | Archives (53)

The comments to this entry are closed.

Paul R.

The big problem with taxing the rich (class warfare aside) is that there just aren't that many of them. Do we really want to see how long the country can stand on the shoulders of 1% of its population before everyone falls?

Steven M.

I voted with my feet over ten years ago. I can luve in a one-bedroom apartment, driving a sub-compact car or live in Northern Virginia, with a house on a golf course, better schools and colleges, for the children and enjoy a nationwide country-club membership.

In case you haven't noticed, a lot of the so-called "rich people" and businesses have left California to tax itself out of existence.

c moon

Since when being a rich became a crime in this nation so called democracy. Whether one is poor or rich every one should be treated equal. It does not make sense to bring every one down to the welfare mentality, lazy, irresponsible,blaming every one else except themselves,unmotivated etcs. In 50years of welfare this country went from enterpuerner to welfare mentality. Now the people who are not contributing at all to this country but a burden has more voice and demand then the citizens who support the system. The current formula is taking us rapidly to road to ruin.

California Girl

We need a flat tax. Everyone pay the same rate.

Mighty Joe

Tax the rich!! 1% you say? How come they have 75% of the income? Tax the rich until they squeal like the stuck pigs they are.


Tell me rich haters, do you work for someone poor? It's THE RICH who create jobs!



We already tax the rich. This is just a canard from those who want to continue creating the same problems for themselves, but want someone else to bail them out of it.


Isn't it reported that the top 1% has 40% of the wealth and often pays only 15% tax rate on earnings after all their deductions, estate planning and tax shelters. Remember that the rich can afford the most sophisticated accountants.

Wealth enables freedom in many ways. The rich enjoys exponentially more benefits from our country? - political speech and influence, roads, infrastructure, defense, etc. So shouldn't what they pay in taxes be proportional to these benefits? The pain of taxes and death should be distributed equally. A 10% tax on $100 earning is not the same as 10% tax on $1,000,000 earning.

We have the highest wealth/income disparity among industrialized countries but we have one of the worst social services in the world. One definition of being part of our country, is a basic commonwealth citizens provide to one another. If no one is obliged to participate in this commonwealth of the United States, what's the purpose of calling yourself an American - we should all secede from everyone else?

- Opinions of a class worrier.

truth to power

How true, an, of course, we don't want the ultra rich and the mega corporations to pay their fair share of tax's now do we.


California is broke but deporting the MILLIONS of illegals bankrupting every facet of our economy is out of the question.


Here's an idea: make all your favorite celebrities pay their back taxes. Lets start with Wesley and Pam. Between them they owe millions.


Obviously we have take all the money from anyone who belongs to a union, and use it to give tax breaks to rich people. It is the repub way and the repubs shall prevail. There will be 10,000 rich people in this country and about 1 million of their lucky servants. The rest will work and eat at each others' fast-food restaurants...

Richard H.

I don’t think California state employees will appreciate being depicted in this way. Most of them attempt to hide their wealth.


Return to the fed. tax code under ronald reagan. Yes, thats right, rr, who the republican fools think is godlike. gwbush and his republic hacks systematically have destroyed this country with the largest re-distribution of wealth since the robber barons of the 19th century. Unfortunately, the wealth was redistributed from the middle and lower classes to the upper class (talk about welfare). The result has been a socialization of risk at the expense of privatizing wealth amoung a smaller and smaller percentage of the population!
Step 1: redraw the tax code - to make it more fair and have rich people pay a greater share and stop all the loopholes that accountants can drive their clients wealth through.
Step 2: Cut military spending by at least 50%

If neither happens...

Step 3: Move to another country, this one is nuts!


I had to move out of California 10 years ago, the taxes were so high I could not afford to live there. I moved to Florida, I can save 10,000 dollars a year. I put this savings into my retirement funds. there are people who say that we "rich" do not pay their fair share of taxes. In California I paid 60% of my income in taxes and in Florida, I pay 42% of my income in taxes. If I stayed in California I would be poor

Henry Ford

California is broke but cutting off the illegals is out of the question. The rich didn't break us but the illegals have.

Mike K

"Isn't it reported that the top 1% has 40% of the wealth and often pays only 15% tax rate on earnings after all their deductions, estate planning and tax shelters. Remember that the rich can afford the most sophisticated accountants."

This is a pretty ignorant statement. Try looking up the amount of income tax paid by decile or quintile. Remember that income is taxed, not wealth. That is why John Kerry can buy a $7 million yacht (and not pay the sales tax).


people need to get a grasp on the #s here. if there is class warfare going on, it's from the top down since '80. The wealth gap has widened to a point that is unsustainable. if we want to live in a feudal society, then we need to say so. that's the way we are going- back to a monarchic/oligarchic class with a sick, broken, uneducated mass of people locked in virtual slavery. i never envisioned America turning into Afghanistan. some in this country still think of wealth as being tied to, the now being stolen, 'American dream'; with many of those being robbed defending the robber barons. this is a fealty to a discredited philosophy and not to common sense, real-world execution or success when allowed to flourish over the last 40 yrs


The wealthy become wealthy because they know how to pay very little in income tax, the people that pay the most tax are the middle class. Don't be fooled, businesses and landowners pay very little in tax compared to what they make. I know, because I am one of those that benefit from a tax system that favors the wealthy.

The people with the most to waste are the ones that waste the most. If you want to cut waste and inefficiency, cut from the top, not the bottom.

Emerald Laughter

Class warfare is what is going on in Wisconsin. Once our collective bargaining rights are gone, I suppose our rifles will be our last line of defense.


Tax the rich!

matrix unplugged

The rich get just as much welfare from the government as the poor do. They take the extra money and gamble with it or buy another house they don't live in.

Roll back the Reagan tax cuts and get rid of Prop 13 while your at it.


We have bad schools, bad roads and bursting water pipes all over town. No matter how much we give the politicians they always want more. Their appetite for our money is insatiable. NO MORE TAXES!


The rich should remember the adage "to whom who much is given, much will be required." Whatever happened to noblesse oblige?


I read that veteran firefighters making $43,000 and teachers making $50,000 a year were overpaid, we are fighting two wars that were not paid for, while the tax cuts for the upper incomes were to be extended.

Not hard for me to see the problem.

Steve Gurley

What income level do you consider rich? And do you think there are enough rich people to cover the bill? My state income tax went up $900 on my 2009 return. That was a pretty big hit.


Maybe someone can explain to me why the business owners think they should pay our medical expenses?

Never been able to see why no one ever questions that.

Bob/San Diego

Stop cutting taxes for the rich and corporations. Start collecting all the taxes due - from everyone. I know that Republicans don't like either idea. They'd rather gut programs that help the Middle Class and poor. But the GOP ideas are failing the reality test and are being rejected by the American people now that they know what the real GOP agenda is. Too bad so many voters in other parts of the nation were duped last November.


To those below who say the rich create jobs: check out the latest figures on all the jobs that would be killed by the Republican-proposed budget. And when you attack public employees you are killing jobs. These were good middle class jobs that the Republicans are destroying. The middle class is going, boys, and it ain't coming back. And Republicans who want to wreck everything public will be a big part of the reason it dies.


The cartoonist, Ted Rall, is a committed liberal who habitually plays the class-warfare game. Facts get in the way of his view points, most of the time. He knows that the rich ( top 2%) pay over 90% of the taxes in this country. He also knows the rich create the jobs and prosperity for all of us. I wonder if committed liberal Ted Rall ever got a job from a poor person.


Charles, you say it best. Thank you...

Luna Stoutheart

The rich, what are they good for...obviously not paying taxes!

trust no one

In CA, if you make more than 85k/yr, you're rich. So cough it up, you greedy, underwater home owning, smog producing, overworked, stressed out heathens.

10% sales tax, nation leading car tag fees and high priced property taxes aren't enough to heap on those narrow, weakened shoulders of yours!


As the wealthy are only there by standing on the shoulders of the middle class (who stand on the shoulders of the working class) and most have gotten that way not through any sheer talent or ingenuity of their own but by taking advantage of structural advantages provided to them, that in many instances were also provided to their forefathers (inheritance, class and racial segregation, etc.) , they should be taxed at a much higher rate than they even are now. There is no one "starting line" and as greedy as these people are (see the NFL owners for one example) who are often the beneficiary of tax payer money, be it for stadiums, government contracts, etc., it seems ludicrous to not increase the tax rate for these people higher than it already is especially in light of the extension of the Bush tax policies.


I love the comments - there aren't enough rich people to make taxing them worthwhile, when did it become a crime to be rich. Comments either by those who are rich, or who aren't paying attention. I pay a total of about 30 percent of my income in taxes (I own a car; I can't afford a home). Do rich people pay that much? Do the research before you accept my answer, which is a resounding NO. No they do not. Not even close. If they did, we regular joes wouldn't have to pay anything.




Do you Remember the Mcords? and their bitter divorce? I remember they have to submit their tax returns and guess what! THEY PAID ZERO TAXES, None, nothing, because the were at a loss when they invested in property, they own 7 homes!( which makes them richer ) is that fair? So if someone can make 10 million a year and don't pay a penny ...do you think they are the only wealthy people to do this? End tax shelters, foreing tax heavens and tax loopholes...and billions of dollars will be rolling in...no more taxes...just end the tax breaks.


the rich will eventually get out of dodge or face a revolution like they've never seen.... alas it is merely history's grand theme


Dear Steve G. :
If you worry about paying 900 dollars more a year , then you're not rich...sorry, that's about how much a Beverly Hills housewife spends on a hair salon per week!

Jolly Roger

Since taxing the rich is such a bad thing, can someone explain to me why this society slides every time their taxes are cut? It is easy enough for anyone to confirm with a bit of the Google. Hell, some of us have lived long enough to see it and report on it ourselves.

Jason V.

Roll back the taxes to at least Clinton era levels. The economy did very well during that time, if you noticed. It also did very well in the 50's and 60's, when the tax rate at the top was much higher. The reason that after a certain level of income, more income does not get spent, does not stimulate the economy, and doest not create jobs.

In the last 20 years, the corporate profit has gone up 100%. The average wage has gone up only 4%. The minimum wage has gone down 9%. And the CEO pay has gone up 300%. CEOS made 100 time more than the average worker in 1990. In 2005, they made over 400 times more. As you can see, when the profits increase, the benefit goes to a very small number of people.

That is why those at the very top should be taxed much more. It does not affect their lifestyle, it does not reduce the motivation to succeed or innovate, it does not hurt job creation or the economy. It is the only fair way.

What the rich should realize is that a middle class with money to spend is the one and only savior of the economy, jobs, and corporate profits. Kill the middle class and help rich, and you have killed the goose that gives the golden egg. You may make only 800k instead of 1M year, but those taxes are very necessary for creating a middle class that will help your business.


Income disparity increased from the early 80's because women entered the workforce in much greater numbers. Many of them became professionals and then married other professionals. At the same time out of wedlock birthrates rocketed. It should be no surprise that a two income family earns more than a single income family. Both taxes and income statistics are calculated on "household income" NOT individual income. If it were based on individual income we would have an income distribution pretty much the same as in the early 80's.


We have some friends. Great people. Both on the public payroll, she was in Caltrans management , he was a county fireman. While working, together they pulled in about $170K and got taxed in California accordingly. Both retired after 30 years in their mid-50's. She was paid to leave the state early - enhanced formula, benefits and retirement dollars. Both agree their retirements respective formulas are insane, but being the smart people they are, they took it. Their retirement is about $155K. They promptly sold their house and fled California! Taxes are too high they told us. Now, the smart state of California is never going to be to tax their income. Smart people!


Jim to your point on the retired guvment workers who now earn 155k retired. If you are in the private sector you would need over three million dollars in investable assets to have that amount of income. So who is really rich here?


For that matter, most the rich that are still there are the ones in Hollywood screaing for all the liberal socialist programs so yea, tax 'em!

No way

I'm amazed at the simpletons who think they can balance the state's budget on the back of people already paying most of the taxes. Where did you go to school? The Jacobin Finishing School for economic Growth?

And increased taxes are for what? So UC professors can retire at age 50?

So State employees can cash in sick days the rest of us use when we're sick, retire at age 55 with a 90% of salary pension (which they'll collect out of state where they won't be taxed)?

So we can vote more bond measures for local colleges like the boondoogle the Times (to tis credit) reported on alst week?

Resentment at rich people is not an economic policy.

Cartoonists should depict union pension bosses on fat salaries, dwp workers at strip clubs, LAUSD principals using LAUSD credit cards for personal uses and so on with the caption "Work For It? Why? I'm in a union!" Its a lot more accurate.


if the rich 2% payed the same rate as when Eisenhower was pres, then we would have not budget issues, and a surplus. its time they at least pay the same rate percentile as working folk. 35%, not 15.

Steve M.

1. "The power to tax is the power to destroy." Look at Los Angeles and the State.

2. Taxing 10% of $100 isn't the same as taxing 10% of $100,000. The $100 guy is paying a whopping $10, while the $100k dude is paying $44,000, in Federal and state income taxes. Take enough of these $10 taxpayers and look at how Obammy got elected- through $5 and $10 donations.

3. If the McCords paid zero personal income taxes, I'll eat my hat. There is something called an alternative minimum tax, which everybody gets suckered into, who is a productive citizen.

4. Anytime I hear, "Rich people don't pay their fair share of taxes," I say, get educated, work hard, pay your student loans and then you can have my problems. See what you say then!

5. Save the "rollbacks" to Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan or FDR. When there are more people working, there is more revenue coming to Washington. The tax rates are just fine, if not can be lowered, thank you very much!!!

Finally, 47% plus, of working Americans pay ZERO income tax. Time for them to have "skin in the game."


Here is a question for all: How much should Kobe Bryant pay in taxes...I don't know how much he makes but let's just say $10 mil a year. What percent should he pay in taxes? What percent for someone who makes 10k or 100k a year?


Great cartoon. Spot on.

The rich are the ones who create poverty. It's a 1-to-1 equation.

1 2 | »



In Case You Missed It...



Recent Posts
Reading Supreme Court tea leaves on 'Obamacare' |  March 27, 2012, 5:47 pm »
Candidates go PG-13 on the press |  March 27, 2012, 5:45 am »
Santorum's faulty premise on healthcare reform |  March 26, 2012, 5:20 pm »


About the Bloggers
The Opinion L.A. blog is the work of Los Angeles Times Editorial Board membersNicholas Goldberg, Robert Greene, Carla Hall, Jon Healey, Sandra Hernandez, Karin Klein, Michael McGough, Jim Newton and Dan Turner. Columnists Patt Morrison and Doyle McManus also write for the blog, as do Letters editor Paul Thornton, copy chief Paul Whitefield and senior web producer Alexandra Le Tellier.

In Case You Missed It...