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Ear to the Ground

Rich Germans Want More Taxes

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Posted on Oct 25, 2009
E

While America’s super rich are coping with bailouts and bonus envy, a group of well-to-do Germans, led by a brewery heir, has delivered a petition demanding a 5 percent wealth tax—on themselves. Imagine if Pete Coors demanded that the government spend more of his money on “ecology, education and social justice.” 

Of course, America is not bereft of benevolent richies. Dieter Lehmkuhl would get a run for his money from the likes of George Soros and Warren Buffet, the billionaire who has famously said he doesn’t pay enough taxes. —PZS

BBC:

The group say they have more money than they need, and the extra revenue could fund economic and social programmes to aid Germany’s economic recovery.

Germany could raise 100bn euros (£91bn) if the richest people paid a 5% wealth tax for two years, they say.

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kids water shoes's avatar

By kids water shoes, October 27, 2009 at 7:55 pm Link to this comment

The data prove the answer isn’t about health, and our culture proves it isn’t about widespread allegiance to “Just Say No” abstinence.

Kim
Kids Water Shoes

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Fat Freddy's avatar

By Fat Freddy, October 26, 2009 at 4:00 pm Link to this comment

Those damned Germans are up to something, I just know it. It’s about time for them to take another shot at world conquest.

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Virginia777's avatar

By Virginia777, October 26, 2009 at 3:11 pm Link to this comment

can this guy be deported (to America)?

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By gerard, October 26, 2009 at 2:13 pm Link to this comment

It will be interesting to see how many corpses the corporate honchos on Wall Street are willing to walk over before they tumble to the greatest entrepreneurial opportunity of all time—Help the World Survive Capitalism.
  Self-isolating as they are in their gated communities and their private jets, perhaps they will just sit tight until all the proles either die of water-borne diseases or hack each other to pieces. 
  Then when they dare to peek out their frosted windows, perhaps, like Constantine the Great, they will see a huge dollar sign in the sky surrounded by a wreath of words:  “By this sign you have conquered.”  Conquered what?

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By voice of truth, October 26, 2009 at 1:42 pm Link to this comment

Writer, I have lived in other countries.  And I’ve seen first hand, even in Western European “democracies”, that there is no place like the US for individual freedoms, and not simply of the economic variety.

The UK, for example, has no Bill of Rights.  There are many severe limitations imposed on the freedom of speech in the UK and many countries in Western Europe.

Central and South America has been and always will be a culture of Haves and Have Nots.  Sure, there will be politicians who throw the masses a small bone, but the average person has absolutely no chance to escape the crushing poverty there.

Africa is simply a living hell.  There’s not much more you can say about that place.

The Middle East has EXTREME limitations on freedoms for the individual, that topic is not even up for a debate.

I really don’t know much about Asia, but considering that 20% of the world’s population lives in China (a noted human rights champion!!) and another 17% live in India (massive poverty and very rigid, class-oriented society), I’m not thinking they are going to challenge the US for individual liberties.

You may define freedom as “rationalization and
impunity to make as much money as they want”, I look at it as “I don’t have to be what anyone tells me” and “I can make a better life for my children than my parents made for me, and their parents made for them.”

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By kaydude, October 26, 2009 at 1:40 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Was it Voltaire who said, “Behind every great fortune is a great crime”?  Neither Mr Soros nor Mr Buffet are rumored to be donating any extra money to the US Govt, as ANY person is able to do who does not merely wish to pay LIP SERVICE to the idea of paying more in taxes. Just contact the IRS for instructions.  Mr Soros WAS well known to be funneling money into Mr Obama’s political campaign, and HE in turn appears to be hard at work creating that ‘underclass of sufficient size ...[for]...substantial change…[to]...take place’ that Blackspeare mentions in his post.
I did like Writer’s post, with the line about the middle class ‘vainly believing itself to be poised for wealth.’ Yes we do so delude ourselves, my own dreams having been killed first by the parasites of the Right, and now of the Left who sit firmly astride our necks. The only difference I see between the two camps is that the Lefties always call me a racist, a wingnut, a teabagger, a birther, and a friend of the rich when I won’t lick the butt of their various ‘saviors’; the Rethugs don’t trouble to care what I’m called. so long as they can exploit me. I REALLY don’t like being called names….(I’m reminded of the old line about the difference between Capitalism and Communism: Under Capitalism, Man exploits Man. Under Communism, It’s the other way around…)
Of those I’ve known who’ve had to live under official Communist regimes, what they noted was worst of all was the sense of hopelessness among the unconnected, and the sense of unlimited power among the connected. It’s a heady feeling to change the direction of a country, but don’t expect those of us who know what it’s REALLY all about to help push the tiller.

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By WriterOnTheStorm, October 26, 2009 at 1:27 pm Link to this comment

V.O.T. writes:

<“Rugged Individualism”, as some are wont to disparage, is the national psyche of the United
States, whether you like it or not.  No other country in the world, NONE, offers an individual the
freedom and liberty to do just about anything they want.  That’s just the way it is.>

If, by “freedom and liberty to do just about anything they want” you mean “rationalization and
impunity to make as much money as they want” and I agree with you completely.

The romantic marriage of free market and individual freedom is just another one of those myths
American Exceptionalists use to round out their world view. But anyone who has actually been
outside US borders has come face to face with the reality that there is in fact no more individual
liberty in America than in many other parts of the world. What intrigues is the desperation that
characterizes the statements of those who insist that this is not so.

One could argue that there is more OPPORTUNITY to pursue one’s freedom in America, if one
defines freedom as economic privilege. But even this notion is predicated on a resource
abundant/cheap labor America that has long passed into history.

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By voice of truth, October 26, 2009 at 11:51 am Link to this comment

Who cares what they are doing in Germany.  There are a lot of things that go into a nation’s collective belief system.  If that is the kind society you want to live under, then go there.

“Rugged Individualism”, as some are wont to disparage, is the national psyche of the United States, whether you like it or not.  No other country in the world, NONE, offers an individual the freedom and liberty to do just about anything they want.  That’s just the way it is.

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By Sol, October 26, 2009 at 11:51 am Link to this comment

This is the difference between being raised like a consumer and being raised like a citizen. The difference between unruly capitalism and social democracy. People learn to respect their fellow citizens and realize the distortions in a pure market system.

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By WriterOnTheStorm, October 26, 2009 at 10:16 am Link to this comment

Once one buys into that whole rugged individualism+meritocracy = success is always earned+failure is
always deserved equation, any sense of community or social responsibility is eclipsed by status anxiety and
an underlying fear of failure.

That fear is the jockey’s whip that drives us either to entrepreneurial glory (if you’re a card carrying capitalist)
or to petty avarice (if you’re a progressive). That anxiety is reclining on our shoulder while we are driving a
car with more horsepower than we will ever need, or living in a house with more square feet than we will ever
use.

The interesting question here is why some let this fear and anxiety rule their actions, while others seem to
rise above it. Once one lets go of the idea of meritocracy, the stigma of failure falls away, and the associated
fears abate. But in this scenario, of course, the elevated status that comes with success is also diminished,
since it would have to be admitted that success is not always earned.

It is curious, though no surprise, that the meritocracy mindset is always driven by the middle class, not the
wealthy. It is central to the thinking of what the French derisively call the Petite Bourgeoisie. Perhaps because
the middle class, vainly believing itself to be poised for wealth, yet still fighting in the filth of the economic
trenches, cannot countenance the possibility that all their hard work might be for naught.

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By the tshirt doctor, October 26, 2009 at 10:09 am Link to this comment

we will go down with are heads held high saying, “We are capitalist!  i don’t care if i’m bankrupt, homeless, with no job!  at least i’m not a socialist!!!”

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Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, October 26, 2009 at 9:29 am Link to this comment

I don’t know what the Germans want to do, but here in the U.S. if the rich would just pay more taxes the government could afford more wars.  At least in theory.

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Blackspeare's avatar

By Blackspeare, October 26, 2009 at 7:26 am Link to this comment

Those countries that are strong socialist democracies have a different mindset than those that are strong capitalist democracies.  I suspect that this mindset resulted from devastation during war.  Except for 9-11 the USA has never known any such devastation in modern times and 9-11 was assuaged by payoffs to the victim’s families to avoid massive lawsuits since it was not declared an act of war much to the chagrin of the insurance industry!  The USA is seeing a more defined line of class distinction than in the past.  It was always there but kind of blurry now its out in full view.  Only when an under-class of sufficient size is created will substantial change take place.

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PatrickHenry's avatar

By PatrickHenry, October 26, 2009 at 3:28 am Link to this comment

When the rich right wingers of this country call Obama a socialist I think this is what they’re scared of what he might implement.

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thebeerdoctor's avatar

By thebeerdoctor, October 26, 2009 at 1:26 am Link to this comment

“There is not only a division between rich and poor, but also between those who are wealthy and its resulting responsibility for the general public are aware and those who do not want to understand.”
Dr. Dieter Lehmkuhl

“vermoegende fur eine vermoegensabgabe”

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By C.Curtis.Dillon, October 26, 2009 at 12:40 am Link to this comment

Those Germans ... what a communist plot.  One of the biggest net exporters in the world despite having a very expensive social safety net and one of the best countries in the world to live in.  Their exports are mostly high tech machinery and expensive automobiles ... something the US also used to do.  But our high tech machinery industry is gone and we all know about the vaulted American auto industry.  The big difference ... their government actually cares about the people!  During this last disaster which hit Germany hard (net exports dropped around 30%), the government worked with companies to keep employees on the job.  They let companies go to short work weeks and paid the difference in their pay.  Very few Germans are being thrown in the streets.  And, yes, the wealthy recognize their special situation and are more than willing to help.  Greed seems to be tempered with a bit of compassion on this side of the pond.  And Europe is better for it because they are ready to rebound from the meltdown while the US will never recover.  Thank you our caring and helpful congressmen and politicians!  You are really looking out for our well being.

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By P. T., October 25, 2009 at 10:45 pm Link to this comment

Of all the industrialized countries, the U.S. is cursed with the most greedy, irresponsible ruling class.

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By Terry, October 25, 2009 at 10:19 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

but, that is socialism! Oh my! Rush will have a fit!

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