Public's tax burden fuels debate over candidates' tax plans


Report: Americans Spend More on Taxes Than on Food, Clothing and Housing Combined

John Layfield: This banter between these guys is just offensive. We're trying to pick the tallest leprechaun, out of the group. They want to talk about each other's spouse, who is getting money from who. Nobody is talking about policy, the reason we had 70,000 plus pages in the IRS and the effective tax rate has stayed basically the same since the 1950s. Look, we take in about 19 percent of GDP per annum, despite the fluctuation of tax increases and tax decreases and the reason is because the wealthy are getting benefits from politicians and the burden is falling on the middle class. Nothing has changed and these politicians are just trying to get elected. I don't think any of them even care about policy going forward. They just want to be in the White House.

Suzy Welch: We need an easier tax system. We need a system that people can understand. Right now, you couldn't find a single person who could explain our tax system. I say we need to have a really big food fight about this. We need to have a big national argument about it, because the tax code of the United States, which must be reforms and hasn't been reformed in a really long time, is really just a reflection of American values, right? Tax code in any country, France, Mexico, it is a reflection of what the country, what it values, how big government should be, who should be taxed, who are the heroes, who are the villains. Now, right now we've got a political election that proves to me one thing, which is that there are no more two parties in the United States. There are four parties, the way left, there's the sort of left. There's the sort of right and the way right. And so it's going to be pretty hard to find consensus on what our tax code should be, but let's have the fight. Let's stop talking about all the dumb stuff that john mentioned and let's talk about the real stuff, the stuff that really matters because we can't continue the way we are. Let's have that fight and let's have that discussion.

Nomi Konst: Yes and no. Up until this point I think I agreed with everybody here which is a shocker, we made it three minutes in. For the middle class on a decline for the past 40 years. Poverty is at an all-time high. This say problem when working class citizens working double the hours paying more in taxes and can't afford daily goods that means there's something wrong. The people paying taxes are the working class and the CEOs getting tax benefits and sending their businesses overseas for tax benefits this is a major problem and part of the tax code that has been lobbied by and it is complicated, Suzy, but it's been lobbied by companies who don't want to pay their fair share and want to put their burdens on the backs of the workers and still not give them enough hours to get government benefits. Overall it's a system that's broken, the tax system, no one wants to pay their fair share and unfortunately people have to go on government assistance.

Gary B. Smith: I think, Dagen, the real question, what should the real size of the government be? No politician, in my opinion, the size of the government should be much smaller than it is now but no politician especially on the left is going to say hey, elect me. I'm going to do less. No one is going to say that, although that's what they should do. The answer from the left is always we need more money. We need more money and to Nomi's point about the fairness, she always points out, not she but the left always points out the rich fat cats, these corporations aren't paying their fair share. She's right. They're paying more than their fair share. We've discussed this on this show many, many times, "the rich" pay the bulk of the taxes in this country. It's the middle class and the poor that pay, if anything, a lot less. My question though is, if you ask the average person what are they getting for their taxes, they look around and they say I don't really know. We have a poverty rate as pointed out higher than since the war on poverty took off. We have a military budget that's eight times bigger than the next eight countries combined, and yet terrorism is springing up all over the world and we got an infrastructure despite the billions that we spend on transportation, that sort of stuff, that's falling apart. I can't figure out why the money we send to D.C. Now has any effect at all.

Jonas Max Ferris: OK, let's correct a few miscues. Just because the average voter thinks they pay a lot of federal tax and doesn't know what they're getting doesn't mean that's necessarily so. This study includes all the super wealthy people who pay so much more in tax than they eat and what their house costs, even their beach houses. That's why that figure is what it is. The average, the typical American working family spends way more on food, housing and the other thing than they pay in taxes. Probably paying a single digit federal rate because of all the complexities and deductions and child credits in the tax code now. We have a hugely progressive tax code. It's more progressive now than under Clinton. Obama raised the high end higher and kept the low cuts that bush put in. You pay very little tax. Let's forget that lie that politicians keep telling you, so you believe it. The other slight problem is at the top end it becomes tax avoidance and things inspect code that let you pay -- we're talking about a few thousand people, maybe 10,000 now that we look at the panama papers who are paying essentially no tax on some fraudulent income that's hidden and low tax rate on the capital gains. The vast majority of wealthy people who can't afford to set up Panama LLCs they are paying the vast majority of the taxes. To say that's not a fair share is absurd.

Bernie Sanders Attacking Hillary Clinton Over Her Ties to Wall Street

Gary B. Smith: Well, of course he's right. I mean look, she demonizes Wall Street and then takes money from them. Is that the definition of a hypocrite? Absolutely. But look, if we said no hypocrites can run for any office in the country, we'd have no one in government. It's almost part of the resume. I suppose. I do want to get to one bigger issue this whole demonizing wall street especially things that Bernie Sanders said, people should step back and think my gosh, let's just say there was no wall street. We'd have no insurance. Most people wouldn't be able to go to college because that's where loans come from. They wouldn't be able to own cars. They wouldn't be able to own homes. Wall Street isn't just a vital cog. It might be the vital cog in America's success. People should be lauding Wall Street and accepting money with open arms from them and defending them.

Jonas Max Ferris: Because she doesn't really think they're demons and in that sense she is a hypocrite. Bernie keeps buckling on Hillary attacks. He's already weak in the beginning. He wants to be her vice president I guess but the bottom line is she's right and if you're going to be a democrat, and you believe wall street almost destroyed the world which it didn't but let's pretend you believe that, at what point is taking hundreds of thousands of dollars from wall street to speak essentially a quid quo live. It's better for the economy anyway, pretend you believe it he's right. We dropped the e-mail thing too soon that was bigger than he thought. It really was a sign she thinks she's above the law. Bernie could be winning this if he wasn't acting like a vice president.

Suzy Welch: The hypocrite here is Bernie Sanders. I can barely talk about it, it makes me so upset. Look, beanie Sanders is a guy called for companies to create high paid quality jobs and invest in communities. Last week he calls out GE as destroying the fabric of America, okay? Meanwhile GE has a factory in the little state of Vermont that has 1,000 great high-paying jobs and invested $100 million in the little state of Vermont and he is hating on GE. I mean, he's the hypocrite and it's hypocrisy, if it means you can't run for office he should drop out today. This is ludicrous. You have to peel me off the ceiling.

Nomi Konst: It's not oh my gosh, Wall Street and corporations are terrible. It's paying their fair share. When the executives took down the economy in 2008, got promoted, hang on this is true and what Americans are frustrated by. When Hillary Clinton goes out and campaigns that she is going to regulate, have better regulations on Wall Street yet she's accepting bundlers on her campaign staff raised over $4.5 million for her, sneaky is all though super PACs channeling in hundreds of thousands of dollars. The problem with the Democratic Party is they're owned by big business. That's the difference between Republicans and Democrats.

John Layfield: The demagoguery Bernie Sanders goes through and finds out he has no substance when he can't answer the question how would you break up the big banks? He talks about anti-trust, nothing to do with solvency or too big to fail. Like the absent-minded professor you worry will show up in his bath robe the first day of school.

Group of Economists in DC: Child Care Should Be 'Human Right' in America

Suzy Welch: Let's let the government take care of our youngest children, our precious children because they did so well taking care of another precious part of our population, the veterans. Even the absurdity of that aside this is like putting an expensive Band-Aid on a broken leg. The problem is not the cost of day care which is terrible, it's the fact there aren't high paying jobs for the women. If you're a clerk at Macy's or work at McDonald's you can't afford to pay for day care. Instead of making day care run by the government, a horrifying thought, create better high paying jobs for women so they can pay for good day care where they choose and be given by people they choose.

Gary B. Smith: It's not a $90 billion solution as people say. It's more likely to be close to a $1 trillion solution. Medicare is supposed to be in 1990 cost $12 billion. It was $98 billion. Medicaid supposed to be $1 billion in 1992. It was $17 billion. $90 billion? That's a joke, probably closer to $1 trillion before it's all said and done and another program we can't afford.

Nomi Konst: If were as simple as that. Two-parent house, one parent not making the family's economy better if it's single parent household, how does that person pay $33,000 a year for child care? And they've enacted early childhood development in New York City and already made quite a significant difference because listen, it's not affordable.

Jonas Max Ferris: It's not affordable. Look, if we can make revenue neutral it might make sense. We spend more money on the last few years of life by taxpayers than the first few years. Doesn't make any sense if you stop and think about it. As far as the tax code you could take away the tax credit for having kids and give it to companies, no politicians will say that to put more child care in the workplace so they have incentive to do it.

John Layfield: Like student council in middle school. Free pizza. How are you going to pay for it? I don't know, get the rich kids to pay for it. The only thing bipartisan in D.C. Is they still earn money to get reelected.

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