How You Spend Your Money

Our brain nearly broke looking at this graph the New York Times published this weekend called How Americans Spend Their Money (click to enlarge). By the looks of it, poor people spend twice as much as they earn in taxable income. Rich people outspend the middle fifth on financial stuff by a factor of ~20:1. What the middle fifth and the lowest fifth spend on goods and services is closer than what the middle fifth and the highest fifth spend. The lowest fifth financial flows are very much in the negative. And that’s about all the staring at a crazy graph we can do for the moment. What other trends can you see?

You Are What You Spend [NYT]


Edit Your Comment

  1. UpsetPanda says:

    Well, the first thing I’m seeing is that it might be incredibly difficult to live within your means if the average low-income household consisting of two (1.7?!) people is only $10k. A full time job at Wal-Mart pays $16k, correct? Who gets $10k?! But even if it really did happen, I can see how it is easy to overspend because regardless of your income level, some things can only go so low. You might not have car insurance or health insurance, but gas is still $2.xx wherever you go, and public transportation is the same as well.

    It’s also a cycle…poor nutrition leads to health problems, which leads to doctors visits, medication, etc., and that can cause problems with work productivity, which affects your ability to make money, but all of it requires money to fix…what to do?

  2. jaydez says:

    My head hurts….

  3. xQuizx says:

    I see we spend twice as much on Entertainment then we do on Education…

  4. ARP says:

    One thing I noticed is that the graph seems to counteract Supply-side (trickle down) economic theory. The wealthy do spend more on most things, but not in proportion to their greater income. Most of their money seems to go to taxes and investments. There’s nothing wrong with investments (we should all invest) but the theory is supposed to be that if we give them more money, the rich buy much more stuff, which helps the overall econonmy. Here, they’re buying SOME more stuff, and socking the rest away. So wealthy are not using the tax savings to consume and drive the economy.

  5. UpsetPanda says:

    @xQuizx: I saw that too, but even for a household of 2.5, where .5 might be a small child, education doesn’t factor into it yet. It can be said that for the majority of full-time workers with a household, either they have finished college, or they didn’t go to college and their high school education is done. So since entertainment is a consistent expense, education (while being a larger sum) is paid all at once, or contained within a loan.

  6. K-Bo says:

    I can’t believe that education number is so low. My brother and I both went to public universities, but my parents still spent way more than that. Only thing I can think is if they only count tuition, not room and board as an education cost. I could see arguments both for and against counting room and board towards education costs though.

  7. stevegoz says:

    @UpsetPanda: Wal-Mart has full-time employees?

  8. Dead Wrestlers Society says:

    Those are very cool graphs.

    The same percentage of hhs have the internet as do a dishwasher. I’d love to see a median age for that chart too, but it might make someones head explode.

  9. cef21 says:

    Whether you’re rich or poor is a function of what you HAVE, not what you earn.

    The reason that the people to the left on this chart spend so much more than they make is because this is where many retired people and people in-between jobs are. Some portion of this number is people who, for example, went back to school to get an MBA. They live off their savings, not off their earnings.

    There’s an op-ed by two prominent economists, also at the NYT, explaining why the chart actually shows a good thing: []

    If you want the compete graph, look at the one I linked to, not the one in the article. It shows that many items of consumption are more more evenly distributed than they were 40 years ago. In 1970, only about 1/2 the people had A/C or Color Television; in 2005, nearly everybody did. Those things used to be the exclusive domain of the rich; now everybody has them.

  10. enm4r says:

    The wealthy do spend more on most things, but not in proportion to their greater income.

    That’s exactly why a flat consumption tax would disproportionately target those with a lower income. The contention isn’t that they don’t consumer more, they obviously do. This chart helps illustrate that it just isn’t proportionate to their income.

  11. coss3n says:

    Wait, does “before taxes” mean it’s not counting certain government transfers (like EITC payments)? There’s something strange about the bottom quintile.

  12. unklegwar says:

    I am most shocked that the $150K household income is considered “rich”!!!!

    Maybe it’s where I live, but I certainly don’t feel so rich!

    Of course, as far as the wealthy socking money away, how do you think they get wealthy. There are so many things that people blow money on, that they don’t even remotely need (iPhones, iPods, other frivolous crap). If everyone would get a grip on their “ooh shiny, I want!” urges, a lot more people would be able to sock money away and move up the chart.

  13. cef21 says:

    @ARP: You have the supply-side theory wrong. The supply-side idea is that by allowing wealthy people to keep more of their money, they will *invest* it, and those investments will have a trickle-down effect. So, for example, if I have a few hundred thousand, I may open up a hardware store that employs 10 people.

    There’s no such thing as “socking away.” If I buy stock from a company, that company then uses the money to employ people, buy equipment and generate power. If I put the money in a savings account, the bank lends it to somebody so they can buy a new house or to a company so it can open a new store. The idea behind supply-side economics is that it’s easier to make those sorts of investments when you have a concentration of capital. If I had $1M, I might open my own company. But, if I only have $100K, I’m much less likely to get together with 9 other people to open the same company.

    Also, “if we give them more money” is just factually incorrect — this is money they generally earn themselves; I think you mean “if we don’t tax away most of their money.”

  14. ARP says:

    @unklegwar: I agree, that’s how you get rich. But my point was that all the right-wing politicians justify disproportionately reducing taxes on the wealthy because (the theory goes) that they’ll buy more stuff and help the overall economy. That’s what supply side/trickle down/voodoo economics is all about. Well, this shows that they don’t buy (much) more stuff. So the primary underlying reason for their economic policy doesn’t pan out here.

  15. Mojosan says:

    But my point was that all the right-wing politicians justify disproportionately reducing taxes on the wealthy because (the theory goes) that they’ll buy more stuff and help the overall economy.

    Please show us where all the “right-wing politicians” justify disproportionalty reducing taxes on the wealthy.

    You won’t be able to, because it doesn’t occur.

    You can’t reduce taxes on the 40% of American’s who don’t pay taxes.

    Maybe if people spent more effort on working and bettering themselves, as opposed to petty covetousness, they’d be in a better financial position.

  16. ARP says:

    @cef21: Thanks, I wasn’t aware that investment was considered just as large of a driver of the economy as buying things. GWB always says we can help the troops and help the economy by going shopping. So, does he have it wrong? So, how is providing the wealthy with more money (via reduced taxes) more beneficial to the economy than providing the poor with more money? Is it your posulate that concentrating wealth will allow for more efficient use?

  17. reviarg says:

    One thing that would make this graph more interesting is if the costs were displayed as a percentage of their income instead of actual dollars. We all know that rich people spend more than the lower earners, but it would nice to compare how much of their income goes to different places.

  18. Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ゜-゜ノ) says:

    @ARP: I see double spending for a 0.5 increase in household size. More consumption per person seems to me like a genuine increase in consumption instead of a shell game.

  19. GearheadGeek says:

    @unklegwar: the median of the 5th quintile is possibly due to the small percentage of people who have huge incomes. Since you’re dealing with the top quintile as a whole, the much larger number of people at the low end of the quintile affects the average… this is how Bush was able to lie about the average income of those who benefited from the tax cuts, including the median figure would be useful here.

  20. cef21 says:

    @ARP: Yes, the President does have it wrong. The current stimulus package is basically just an example of the “if there’s a drought, you better do a rain dance” theory of politics. (If it rains, you can take credit; if it doesn’t, you can always say you tried. But, if you don’t, you’ll be blamed for doing nothing.) The people who recognize it as a charade are not generally up for re-election this year.

  21. Mojosan says:

    GWB always says we can help the troops and help the economy by going shopping

    Can you provide a cite for the President stating “We’re helping the troops by going shopping”?

    So, how is providing the wealthy with more money (via reduced taxes) more beneficial to the economy than providing the poor with more money?

    You’re not “providing” the wealthy with more money. It’s theirs, not yours.

    Also, how much of your money have you provided to the poor. Surely you’re not only proposing that other pople give up their hard earned income…you do the same, right? We could all learn by your example. So, do you give an extra 5%? 10%. More? Please enlighten us.

  22. GearheadGeek says:

    @GearheadGeek: d’oh… should be “the average of the 5th quintile” and not mention median until the end of the post. damn the lack of edit after posting.

  23. Anonymous says:

    They need to add ‘lottery investing’ as a category.

  24. Smackdown says:

    Keep in mind that the “investment” also includes mortgage principal, which I imagine makes up a large portion of that little arrow.

    I agree, though, I can tell you from perspective, $150k does not feel even remotely rich to me.

  25. Elcheecho says:

    increasing consumption increases size of the current “pie” (or even for a few years) but investment increases the size of the “oven” and “pie dish”… er….if that makes sense.

  26. Joafu says:

    Higher income brackets may spend more money but save a great deal more, too. How do you think they became so properous in the first place? (Hint: Not all rich people draw their salaries off the backs of the poor; most just know how to work hard and spend less).

    Also, why do people think that a flat tax would be scamming the poor? Yeah, slummy CEO’s get out of paying their taxes because they can afford laywers who can find loopholes for them; your average doctor, college professor, engineers are considered ‘rich’, but pay most of their wages back in taxes pays easily . Whether a man makes $10,000 or $100,000 should make no difference in how much he ‘owes’ the government; skim an equal percentage off the top off all workers for the government, and I mean a *skim* amount.

  27. tk427 says:

    Spending more that they earn is all too easy when it comes to the lower 5th. Payday lenders, rent-to-own furniture & appliance assholes will get their hooks into the poor and bleed them dry. It’s not all “So shiny-I gotta have it!”. I’m sure that’s a part of it. A large part of it, though, is “I gotta have a working stove/fridge/car” period.

  28. ltlbbynthn says:

    my mom and I lived on around $9,000 for a few years. I had no idea she made so little, I had assumed $20k was the least anybody made, since that was the lowest check box on most forms. It’s surprising how little you can get by on.
    @Mojosan: You’re wrong. If you don’t have a proper argument, don’t just start attacking people. That’s just like people who say John Edwards is wrong for caring about poverty because he lives in a big house. The rich are the biggest recipients of government subsidies under Bush. OUR TAXES GO INTO THEIR POCKETS. Maybe they don’t need to be so filthy, obscenely rich in order for millions of real working people can live a better life.

  29. Superborty says:

    @Mojosan: Shhhh, that’s a democrat secret! You don’t want to air their dirty laundry, do you?

  30. cef21 says:

    @ltlbbynthn: What subsidies? I hear this repeated a lot, but having a tough time locating any. (The exception may be farm subsidies, which seem to go all over the place.)

  31. PermanentStar says:


    Pre-school teachers make below $10,000 a year…Now generally that’s not their sole source of income, but my boyfriend’s mom is a preschool teacher, and she grossed $8,000 last year. Sad that people entrusted with early education are paid half of what a wal-mart clerk earns.

  32. Superborty says:

    That number that the bottom 5th are earning 10k a year. BS to that one. Please. Are they including high school kids with summer jobs? Nobody working full time or close to it earns 10k.

  33. howie_in_az says:

    @Smackdown: I dunno, I used to make around that amount in a state I absolutely hated. I could bank an entire paycheck based on my expenses then. I guess it all depends on your budget.

  34. GearheadGeek says:

    @ltlbbynthn: The tax regime is part of the picture, but one of the reasons “the rich” are so many times richer than the average now as compared to 50 years ago is the exremely nonlinear way that compensation goes up in the corporate world, especially when the compensation isn’t justified when looking at company performance. What really skews the statistics is not the successful small businessman netting $200k/year from his hard work, but the corporate officers netting 10x and 50x that with no real risk, since they’ll get their money even as they drive their companies into the ground.

  35. peacemongermom says:

    @Mojosan: GWB said this: “I ask your continued participation and confidence in the American economy” during a speech given soon after 9/11. Here’s the link: []

    Or you can just do what I did: Google “Bush + speech + shopping.” That will lead you to plenty of links in which President Douchey McDumbass made the statement.

    And LTLBBYNTHN – Yes. I agree.

  36. mrlactose says:

    I’m curious what this chart would look like in percentage format. The poorer fifth appear to pay a higher percentage of their income on everything except taxes – but does this include tax write offs, benefits from business ownership, etc? The pooerest fifth even give a higher percentage income to charity than the wealthiest 5th. Dollars are meaningless, percentages matter.

  37. cef21 says:

    @GearheadGeek: The CEOs of the Fortune 500 made, on average, about $10M/yr in ’06 — a total of $5.4B. In 2004, those with incomes over $1M made a total of about $86B, out of a total pot of $2.4T. (This is based on federal tax returns, so doesn’t include those who paid no tax.) Even if you could take away ALL of the money these people make, there would be no real dent in the budget. (But, of course, you can’t — the instant you try, they stop making it.)

    Those CEOs make up such a tiny portion of the total that they don’t do a whole lot of skewing.

  38. xl4xlus3iehl says:

    To those who are asking who makes only $10k, does this include those who are retired? If so it would also skew what it shows they are drawing from savings and retirement plans.

  39. JimiSlew says:

    @K-Bo: Always count Room and Board with your education costs. The colleges do. Trust me. It all goes into the same pot, shaken up, and poured out where needed (or wanted).

    Think of it like Taxes. You have Federal & Social Security. Separate taxes on paper but they tend to get combined somewhere along the line. Sort of.

    The same can be said of most ‘fees’ you might pay. Tech fees. Admissions application fees, graduation fees, transcript fees, late fees, drop fees, withdrawal fees, parking fees, God I love working in Higher Ed.

    Oh, and btw, don’t forget campus dining halls. Wow. Money makers! I’m not going to touch that one.

    All this said, higher ed does need more cash from states. Just because someone nickel and dimes you doesn’t mean they don’t need the coin.

    Can you spare a dime?

  40. ptr2void says:

    What is the source of this data? Less than $10K income for the lowest quintile? According to [], 8% of households make <10K. Also note that “non-family households” are in this bracket at a rate greater than 3x that of “families”. Are there college students in this group, perhaps? It just seems so out of whack to me.

  41. Elcheecho says:

    it’s a lot more complicated, which you obviously realize, but i wanted to point out that disregarding outliers, if they’re extreme enough, can significantly change the distribution. Given your $86B and $2.4T, and assuming those making over $1M are the top 1%, the mean shifts 3% if you take them out. Not saying they are 1%, but the point it, extreme outliers can make a difference.

  42. hwyengr says:

    @Superborty: $5.75/hr x 2080 hr/year = $11,960.00/yr.

    @cef21: Back in the olden days, the absolute highest tax bracket was ~90%. Paying off the debt is a straw-man, but you can build and maintain a lot of roads with an additional annual 77.4 billion in the coffers.

  43. Striking thing:
    Po folks pay over 50% of their earnings in rent. General guidelines suggest not to go over 30%.

    Non-surprising, yet still mystifying thing:
    Po folks give approximately 10% of their pre-tax earnings to charity. Lemme repeat that with numbers:
    Po Folks: Avg income: ~$10,000
    Po Folks: Avg charity donation: ~$1,000

    Rich folks, and median folks are giving out much lower percentages, and also have positive capital flows. Either the church or their community values are keeping them down as much as The Man is. Take that $1000 back, right now. If you get the Earned Income Tax Credit, DO NOT GIVE MONEY TO CHARITY. YOU CANNOT AFFORD THIS LUXURY! LUXURY should be in 72pt, bold type, with flashing lightbulbs around it. I know that poor people give more than rich people, in terms of marginal dollars. I will never understand it, even with Bill Clinton’s help.

    Unsurprising, and disappointing thing:
    Mid level people spend no more on education than po folks. Now, this is probably reflective of the high cost of private/parochial education in K-12 rather than college costs or school supplies, but, me as one of those non top 20% people, if I had kids (god forbid), I’d maybe get them some fencing lessons or chinese lessons or something extra. Afterall, I have all this income sitting around (strong argument against kids is the amount of income you wind up having sitting around). May as well put it towards getting my kids closer to the golden land of living in the black zone.

  44. princess_peach says:

    @ARP: I don’t think that this graph proves or disproves supply side economics… all it shows is how spending varies by household income. In order to examine whether or not supply side economics is working, wouldn’t you have to look at the effect of each dollar spent by the rich, and how many times that dollar gets spent in the economy as a whole?

    Maybe I am wrong… it has been years since I cracked open the econ text book.

  45. ARP says:

    @Mojosan: Here is what he said on 01/14/03:

    “As we work with Congress in the coming year to chart a new course in Iraq and strengthen our military to meet the challenges of the 21st century, we must also work together to achieve important goals for the American people here at home. This work begins with keeping our economy growing. … And I encourage you all to go shopping more.”

  46. @princess_peach: Martin Cripps, my econ professor at the Olin School of Business, Washington Univesity in St. Louis (I want to make sure we’re clear that he’s an econ guy at a business school, and not a communist in the econ department), with bach, masters and doctorate from the LSE, when asked about supply side economists said, in his daftest englishman accent, “They’re not economists, and supply side is not economics.”

    I don’t think you can get more equivocal than that. Despite what the republicans would have you believe. It’s the creationism of economics.

  47. cef21 says:

    @Elcheecho: Oh, I agree that they can make a difference in the mean (in reality, it appears that they don’t; those making over $10M accounted for about $18B in 2004). But, it’s really beside the point. A lot of people complain about what “the rich” get, but ignore that there are really very few “rich” and they, cumulatively, don’t really matter that much. There are just too few of them to worry about.

    @hwyengr: Except that nobody paid the 90% tax rate. Why bother putting in the effort when Uncle Sam is going to take away 90 cents out of every dollar?

  48. mfischer1 says:

    Reminds me of a great story my econ teacher sent out to us…

    Bar Stool Economics
    Suppose that every day, ten men go out for beer and the bill for all ten comes to $100. If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this:
    The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing.
    The fifth would pay $1.
    The sixth would pay $3.
    The seventh would pay $7.
    The eighth would pay $12.
    The ninth would pay $18.
    The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59.
    So, that’s what they decided to do.
    The ten men drank in the bar every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until one day, the owner threw them a curve. “Since you are all such good customers,” he said, “I’m going to reduce the cost of your daily beer by $20.”
    Drinks for the ten now cost just $80.
    The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes so the first four men were unaffected. They would still drink for free.

    But what about the other six men – the paying customers?
    How could they divide the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his ‘fair share?’

    They realized that $20 divided by six is $3.33.
    But if they subtracted that from everybody’s share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would each end up being paid to drink his beer.

    So, the bar owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man’s bill by roughly the same amount, and he proceeded to work out the amounts each should pay.
    And so:
    The fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% savings).
    The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33%savings).
    The seventh now pay $5 instead of $7 (28%savings).
    The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12 (25% savings).
    The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 (22% savings).
    The tenth now paid $49 instead of $59 (16% savings).
    Each of the six was better off than before. And the first four continued to drink for free.

    But once outside the restaurant, the men began to compare their savings.
    “I only got a dollar out of the $20,”declared the sixth man. He pointed to the tenth man,” but he got $10!”

    “Yeah, that’s right,” exclaimed the fifth man. “I only saved a dollar, too. It’s unfair that he got ten times more than I!”

    “That’s true!!” shouted the seventh man. “Why should he get $10 back when I got only two? The wealthy get all the breaks!”

    “Wait a minute,” yelled the first four men in unison. “We didn’t get anything at all. The system exploits the poor!”
    The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up.
    The next night the tenth man didn’t show up for drinks, so the nine sat down and had beers without him.

    But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important. They didn’t have enough money between all of them for even half of the bill!
    And that, ladies and gentlemen, journalists and college professors, is how our tax system works:

    The people who pay the highest taxes get the most benefit from a tax reduction.
    Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up anymore.
    In fact, they might start drinking overseas where the atmosphere is somewhat friendlier.

  49. TechnoDestructo says:

    So the entire lowest fifth is on welfare, then?

  50. lockdog says:

    @PotKettleBlack: People who are poor give to charities because they are thankful for what they have and want to help those who are even worse off than they are. The people who benefits from those gifts to charities may be friends or neighbors. They may also give in dollars what they cannot give in time volunteering with their charities. Mostly I suspect that they give because giving makes them happy and if helping other people is what makes you happy I suspect you aren’t really as poor as the economists might say you are.

  51. Superborty says:

    @hwyengr: That number for minimum wage is too low. Not many people make that number outside of college kids on jobs. That still equates to over 10k. No way does the bottom 20% make this. No way.

  52. K-Bo says:

    @Superborty: I think the reason it’s so slow is because the lowest 20% would include people who have no income ( like retirees ) so a bunch of people with 0 income would really skew that number.

  53. cef21 says:

    @TechnoDestructo: Only if you count “Social Security” as welfare. Remember that this is a measure of income, not wealth. So, if you’re retired and drawing down on your 401(k) plan and savings, you’re going to show up on the bottom quintile, even if that 401(k) happens to be worth several million dollars.

  54. Chigaimasmaro says:

    This graph is just another view of the stuff I see on a regular basis. There are people who live in houses with NO furniture, getting a minimum wage pay to take home and yet there’s a BIG SCREEN television in the living room. Also, 10k sounds about right and spending twice as much on entertainment than education looks right too. People are more willing to rent a movie or buy entertainment than read a book or just sit with family and talk.

    Those with money are always encouraged to spend it to drive the economy, but they are always STRONGLY encouraged to invest and save their money too. Where as those on the bottom and middle fifth are more prone to just get encouragement to save money, but almost never told to invest it. So I think that tends to gear people in the bottom and middle fifth to just spend and spend.

    @TechnoDestructo: I would have to say the greater portion of those on the bottom fifth are probably on welfare.

  55. Elcheecho says:

    @cef21: i think what i was trying to say (it was yesterday after all) is that the rich (over $1M in this case) can and do matter. If the mean changes 3%, then revenue should change accordingly if we use a flat tax. The fact that we have a progressive tax means that the change should be greater than the 3%

  56. Jamie Beckland says:

    @ARP: I think the idea of supply side economics is not that if the rich have more money they will buy more stuff (which trickles down somehow?); but instead, that if the rich have more money, they will invest in factories and companies, which create jobs, which allow the poor to work.

    I agree with your overall point, but this is a common misunderstanding when discussing supply side economics.

  57. Jamie Beckland says:

    @UpsetPanda: Um, you guys, a household of 2.5 people does not mean two adults and one small child. It means two households – one with two people and one with three. It is more accurate to talk about the two groups in that mix – the 50% who have two people, and the 50% who are two people plus one child.

    This is an oversimplification, of course, but when you are talking about disposable income, and purchasing priorities, there are important differences, e.g. one household will spend more on diapers and formula.

  58. Jamie Beckland says:

    @cef21: Yes, but! Remember that the rich now have a whole new class of goods that the middle class do not. Think large gifts to universities to virtually guarantee placement for their children; yachts/sports cars; second/third homes.

    Check out the book “Richistan” for some entree into the new world of the rich. While some products are now mass-comsumptive, the rich will always be able to distinguish themselves by “having” more stuff.

    Of course, the point is not that the rich have more, but that today’s poor have more than yesterday’s poor. Which is a great thing!

    Remember those pictures of Robert Kennedy on the campaign trail in 1968, visiting poor Southerners? Really harrowing stuff by today’s standards.

  59. Jamie Beckland says:

    @unklegwar: Hm, I think this is an oversimplification. Maybe where you are (and where I am, for that matter) you are not rich (nor am I, despite the income charts suggesting otherwise).

    But remember, you and I spend a lot of money on things that most people would consider luxuries, or at least unnecessary. I am thinking of name brand suits, which may be a necessity according to the social structure of your business officer, but can’t really be considered “necessary spending” by most people’s definition.

  60. Jamie Beckland says:

    @Mojosan: Um, I agree with your point, but government most certainly CAN reduce taxes on people that do not pay (income) tax (remember, the poor still pay all kinds of consumption and property taxes!)

    That’s why we have negative numbers. Government can make transfer payments to people that pay absolutely no tax, thereby making their tax burden -5%, -10%, or any other negative percentage.

  61. AndyRogers says:

    I notice that there ARE two Americas:
    One pays 79% of taxes, the other pays 21%
    John Edwards was right. But wrong…

    My wife and life in DC. Our AGI this year was 153K. So we’re rich, right? Not in DC where we pay $4 grand in mortgage a month for a townhouse and $3.40 for a gallon of gas.

    But we pay an assload of taxes though.

    This graph is crap.

  62. AndyRogers says:


    Preach on, bro! Couldn’t have said it better myself!

  63. AndyRogers says:

    Sure – but then who picks up that burden? The “wealthy” who are already paying a disproportionately high tax?

    Tell you what, I’ll sweeten the pot. I’ll just go ahead and GIVE half of the income that I bust my ass for to people who are poor.

    Why don’t we just adopt socialism while we’re at it?

  64. Jamie Beckland says:

    @Joafu: I didn’t know that anyone was still seriously advocating a flat tax. Even Mike Huckabee has morphed the flat tax idea into the “Fair Tax”.

    A flat tax is not fair to the poor because the poor spend a higher percentage of their income on basic needs (as this graph reinforces!)

    And, if you are a doctor earning over $100,000, and you don’t have a very good accountant, I would suggest you are being irresponsible with your own money.

  65. Jamie Beckland says:

    @AndyRogers: Isn’t is obvious – it is added to our national debt! No need to take anything away from the rich, just keep on letting it accrue to future generations.

  66. banmojo says:

    @enm4r: it would target EVERYONE proportionate to what they consume. wealthy people GOT that way by saving rather than buying the latest flat screen. should they be PENALIZED for having sense to save and invest? a Flat Tax would ALSO target illegal immigrants and drug dealers, etc (anyone who operates on the black market) which would bring in FAR more money to compensate for that ‘lost’ by the rich not spending their hard earned cash.

    I feel like insulting you right now, but will exercise my right to refrain. cheers.

  67. ltlbbynthn says:

    @cef21: The oil companies get a lot of money from the government. And all the contractors in Iraq are being paid with tax dollars. They have no-bid contracts, which is how a contractor can make ten times what an American soldier makes for doing the same work. Maybe they are not “subsidies” in name, but they are getting paid with public funds. I would call that welfare.

  68. AndyRogers says:

    Spoken like a true liberal!

  69. Jamie Beckland says:

    @AndyRogers: Huh? I am not a liberal…I am actually a moderate.

    If you recall, it was the economic conservatives that were the thorn in George W. Bush’s side when creating the Medicare prescription drug benefit – because of their concerns about the long term increase in the national debt!

    There is no serious debate in Washington about the need to increase revenues to the federal government AS WELL AS reign in costs on entitlement programs.

    Your knee-jerk reaction leads me to recommend this website for your hubris: