Is it patriotic to pay more taxes?


This week Newark Mayor Cory Booker saying at the DNC that it's patriotic to pay your fair share-not class warfare. Would increasing taxes help or hurt economy right now? Yes? No? Why?

STEVE FORBES: Patriotism means wrecking the economy, no it doesn't. Patriotism is the last refuge for scoundrels. Same what Johnson said, including tax collectors and big government types. But it is red white and blue, it will lead to government red ink, bleed the economy white, and more blue is for more unemployment. Red white and blue of the wrong kind.

RICK UNGAR: I am going to quote my own American icon, Spiderman's Uncle Ben who said ‘with great power, comes great responsibility. It's time for people to understand that it is a duty of citizenship to pay taxes, when you can pay taxes. Nobody wants to do something that isn't fair. All Cory Booker was talking about was how we should accept our responsibility and be fair. That is patriotic.

RICH KARLGAARD: This is code language for get out of the capital gains differential and dividends tax differential. The progressive wing of the Democratic Party hates the fact that once you have earned your money, and have invested it, now you get taxed at a lower rate. If they really believe that they should work to change the tax code. The patriotic thing is to follow the tax code, but not pay a penny more than the law requires.

BILL BALDWIN: I think nobody is paying their fair share, how about that David? I think it will be very patriotic to take this nation off its present course which is a long slow slide to a Greek style bankruptcy. That would be patriotic and it should be done gradually. For example, we need a tax on carbon, start at a penny a pound, it goes up a penny every year. Since this is a flat tax, Steve Forbes is going to love it.

MIKE OZANIAN: I've met Mayor Booker, I like Mayor Booker but he is dead wrong here. The problem with his idea is that you are going to be taxing the businesses creating the jobs right now, that's exactly what Obama's plan would do. That's exactly what you do not want to do and would hurt the economic recovery. That's why if you look at the jobs report on Friday, it remains so dismal in spite of being in the third year of recovery.

VICTORIA BARRET: These small businesses get hit and that's just a higher cost to doing day to day business and that means they are going to hire less and that is bad news for the economy overall. If you are going to talk about this notion of economic patriotism, yes the top 10 percent are paying 70 percent of the federal income taxes. What is fairer Rick? To pay 95 percent? What about the half of Americans who aren't paying federal income taxes? Are they not patriots?

A Texas city is proposing taxpayers fund a full day pre-K. This new sales tax would cost taxpayers an estimated $29m a year. Americans already pay property taxes for public schools. Should Americans also pay a sales tax for public schools? Yes? No? Why? Is this sales tax for Pre-K a good investment? Yes? No? Why?

STEVE FORBES: What you have already on the federal level, the head start program, which has not lived up to its expectations, and piling on new taxes on a failed school system is not the way to go. Since 1982, we have had massive increases on public education and very little to show for it. The real answer is to give all parents coupons, be able to take the money to the school of their choice, get accountability, and then these things will work. Otherwise, it's just more taxes for a failed monopolistic system.

MORGAN BRENNAN: On the flipside, part of the reason that this sales tax is even being discussed is because money is being pulled back on the federal and state level for funding on these programs. I think this is potentially a good investment. In San Antonio, they want to make it a more quality Pre-k. Study after study shows that quality Pre-k leads to cost effectiveness down the road. My favorite study happens to come from the University of Wisconsin; it shows that $6,700 invested in early education for a child leads to $48,000 in savings down the road in incarceration employment expenses.

VICTORIA BARRET: There are a lot of interesting studies that show tremendous value in Preschool education and that we disproportionally pay a large amount on public education later on in terms of high school and now college and you can extend that into incarceration rates. We should be investing as a society in early childhood development. However, what San Antonio is doing is looking at a full day preschool instead of a half day, to me what it sounds like is that you are just getting public involvement and public dollars in daycare, which I don't necessarily agree with. We should look at this as a school instead of full on daycare.

RICK UNGAR: Morgan, you got it right. The money is not there because the state and the feds have both pulled back and they are short on money. Look, none of us live in San Antonio, it's not being jammed down their throats, its going up for a vote and if the people of that city think of it as a full day of Pre-k is going to help their kids, then they will vote for it, if they don't they won't.

RICH KARLGAARD: I agree with everything that Steve said, if you're going to experiment, experiment at the city level first, at the state level second, and only when things work should you ever bring it to the federal level. I think that this is probably not going to work; San Antonio has every right to try it and if they pull an upset and it works, then we will all learn from it. The beauty of the United States is that we can run all of these state and city experiments.

ELIZABETH MACDONALD: What we need to get into the debate is the fact that the San Antonio school system, the local news reports are abuzz with the nepotism, cronyism, fat cat pay, bookkeeping abuses, tax payer, abuses of taxpayers in the area. When you fix that first, then maybe you can come back to the taxpayer and start saying, yes try to pay for that. When you fix your books first, I think it will be fair to do that.

Toys R Us is waiving its layaway fee and minimum requirement, and Walmart is expanding its layaway season. Is this a bad sign for the economy and the holiday spending season? Yes? No? Why?

ELIZABETH MACDONALD: It's not just getting a jump on holiday spending, before internet retailers are the competition. Toys R us was one of the first to bring back layaway along with Sears because credit for the consumers was non- existent, the job market is poor, those same reasons still stand today. The middle class consumers are still hurting.

RICK UNGAR: As somebody who has been following Toys R Us for many years, the only thing that was amazing is that they were boneheaded enough to put a fee on layaways to begin with. This is a company that has been struggling with deep discounters, the internet; they have been in survival mode. Of course they would take the fees off layaway they can't do anything that might send toy business to somebody else. This isn't about the economy; this is about Toys R Us.

MIKE OZANIAN: I'm with Emac, it shows how weak the economy is. Layaways have been around for a long time but not extended for this period of time. What they are essentially doing is taking advantage of negative real interest rates to finance these programs and they are going to clear out their inventory because both companies face slowing sales growth.

BILL BALDWIN: I see 2 good signs; one thing is the layaways don't work when prices are going haywire. This is a sign of reduction in inflation, which is evil. It's also a sign in shrinkage in the credit card industry, which is also evil. Inflation is evil, reduction is a good thing.

STEVE FORBES: This is not a good thing, it shows what happened in the jobs report is happening in the economy, the crisis in Europe, the crisis in the Middle East, the crisis in Asia, and it's all affecting consumer sentiment here. People know there are problems in this economy and the global economy and that's why stores are going to be doing this and more things to try and get sales for the Christmas season.

Apple set to introduce its newest iPhone next week. Amazon releasing its newest Kindle Fire after selling out the current model.

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MORGAN BRENNAN: Avago Technologies Limited (AVGO)

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