If The Rich Would Rather Leave than pay Taxes, Let Them

FDR had this to say about paying taxes:

"Taxes, after all, are the dues that we pay for the privilege of membership in an organized society. And as society becomes more civilized, Government - national, State and local government - is called on to assume more obligations to its citizens.

"The privileges of membership in a civilized society have vastly increased in modern times. But I am afraid we have many who still do not recognize their advantages and want to avoid paying their dues."

Yes, we definitely do, and in fact FDR continues along those lines here:

"On the one hand, there has been the vast majority of citizens who believed that the benefits of democracy should be extended and who are willing to pay their fair share to extend them. On the other hand, there has been a small, but powerful group which has fought the extension of those benefits, because it did not want to pay a fair share of their cost."

Which is just boiling it down to the essential issue here, which is that FDR wanted to use tax dollars to expand things like Medicare. Well, it wasn't Medicare back then. Social Security, certainly, unemployment insurance, things like that.

And the equivalent of the Koch brothers of that day, the wealthy conservatives of his day were saying, "wait a minute, this is socialism, you're helping people out and they didn't work for the money and they didn't inherit the money and you have to do one or the other, right?"

Right. FDR continues:

"Taxes shall be levied according to ability to pay. That is the only American principle."

This should be fairly straightforward stuff, fairly easy to figure out. And here he is one more time. This is Franklin Roosevelt about taxes:

"We fought the World War; and it cost us twenty-five billion dollars in three years to win it. We borrowed to fight that war. A Democratic Administration provided sufficient taxes to pay off the entire war debt within ten or fifteen years. Those taxes had been levied according to ability to pay. But the succeeding Republican Administration did not believe in that principle, and there was a reason. They had political debts to those who sat at their elbows. To pay those political debts, they reduced the taxes of their friends in the higher brackets and left the national debt to be paid by later generations."

And it was 1936 that Franklin Roosevelt made that speech. He was talking about what happened in the Roaring Twenties. When you consider it, it's really quite extraordinary, the whole story of taxation, and there's almost nothing new here. In 1936 Franklin Roosevelt said Republicans want to cut taxes on rich people because they owe them political debts. Now, what kind of political debt did they owe them? Well, obviously the rich people helped them get elected, gave them power. Here's FDR again:

"They got out from under then, they would get out from under now - if their friends could get back into power and they could get back to the driver's seat. But neither you nor I think that they are going to get back."

They have got back right now. They're essentially running the show, and that's the thing that FDR obviously didn't anticipate. Here's FDR one more time:

"But you would think, to hear some people talk, that those good people who live at the top of our economic pyramid are being taxed into rags and tatters. What is the fact? The fact is that they are much farther away from the poorhouse than they were in 1932. And you and I know that as a matter of personal observation."

In other words FDR had fixed the economy to a large extent. Keep in mind this is 1936, we were arguably still in the Great Depression, but a lot had had resolved. This is just amazing to step into the Wayback Machine and discover that the exact same fight that we're having today, which is Republicans standing up for the interests of rich people and wanting to screw working people, is the exact same fight that Franklin Roosevelt was fighting in 1936. Here he is:

"A number of my friends who belong in the very high upper brackets have suggested to me on several occasions of late, that if I am reelected president, they will have to move to some other Nation because of high taxes here. Now I will miss them very much."

There you go. We're all going to miss them very much.


Willie W's picture
Willie W 6 years 27 weeks ago

They must have all changed their minds when they came to realize how great Trump was going to make everything. I know I can't wait to see.

Legend 6 years 27 weeks ago

I am traveling internationally next month and I am sure that I will be asked embarrasing questions about what is going on in America.

Getting back to subject. Most of the 1% do not care about the rest. They live in secured communities usually behind guarded gates. They socialize in private clubs that are tax write offs. They travel in private jets. They do care that their airports and navigation systems are maintained by tax dollars. Letting CHIP (Childrens Health Insurance Program) lapse shows how much the Republican Fascists care about the poor. They want to bring children into the world but do not want them to have healthcare. How cruel can you get? Now they want the recent tax cut legislation to be paid for with cuts in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Diane (Post #1) is on Social Security and Medicare but is so brainwashed that she will defend that. I am on Social Security and Medicare that I paid for and do not want 1 cent to go to the 1%.

MaxM 6 years 27 weeks ago

There are factual errors in this blog. In particular, FDR clearly understood that payroll taxes were not meant to cover SS payouts. He put them in place so workers would believe they had a stake in the program and thus more likely to defend it when it inevitably came under attack by the capitalists. He also hoped the taxes would send a message to the opposition to lay off. Some in his Administration believed that levying a tax in the midst of the depression wasn't exactly wise (i.e. that the program should just be carried by the government). FDR admitted that they were right on the economics, but his tax was a political and psychological strategy, not an economic one. https://www.ssa.gov/history/Gulick.html

Moreover, FDR's remarks on tax fairness had nothing to do with needing that revenue to finance government spending. It is not widely known that he suspended the gold standard.

FDR took us off the gold standard domestically in 1933 to have more spending latitude to deal with the depression.
- NY Fed Chair Beardsley Ruml:
[With an] "...inconvertible currency, a sovereign national government is finally free of money worries and need no longer levy taxes for the purpose of providing itself with revenue... It follows that our Federal Government has final freedom from the money market in meeting its financial requirements... All federal taxes must meet the test of public policy and practical effect. The public purpose which is served should never be obscured in a tax program under the mask of raising revenue."
Taxes For Revenue Are Obsolete, 1946

Ou812's picture
Ou812 6 years 27 weeks ago

@3 Legend:

The real embarassament is a washed up leftie 1% like yourself (from the other end of the curve) will explain what is going on in America. Personally, I have no problem with people traveling in private jets, they are paying for them, they are paying the taxes. It's those 1% from your end of the curve who don't pay taxes, want everything for free, and complain about those who do pay taxes.

Oldskoold's picture
Oldskoold 6 years 27 weeks ago

Well; we are gonna see tomorow about this time if $$$ is the root of political evil also, especially in Alabama. What concerns me much "Moore" (no pun intended but it expressed itself with an extra o) ; is that if, and when, progressives do win the moral arguement and control, what the money people do. As I proffered in a previous post, we have the power but it will take organization and coordination to bring the economy to it's knees. Merely 3 or 4 days of staying home, not purchasing a damn thing, not buying gas, burgers, nothing!

Will the faschist moneychangers beat us to it and colapse the economy should we gain control? I guess that's where the coporatist will have to decide "country" over evility and greed. I never in my wildest thoughts considered this crap could happen here and that we are living through it! As Thom read comments from a german after the war and has many times; the Corn got over their heads and they cannot see! No bless heart from me!

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 6 years 27 weeks ago

Hey Bachmann: Can't you come up with something more original than the rightie talking point that people want everything for free???? Nothing is free...in a true democracy we call it the commons, "promote the general welfare of the people" ...you familiar with that?

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 6 years 27 weeks ago

Diane the cha ching girl! What the hell does your list have to do with Thom's post?

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 6 years 27 weeks ago

High tax rates on the extremely wealthy are necessary to preserve representative democracy. Money is power and when that power gets abused to where it both owns controls our government, then welcome to fascism.

Contol of the message/media is the Fascist's main weapon and obviously it works on the simple minds of the rightie populous.

HotCoffee's picture
HotCoffee 6 years 27 weeks ago

Well maybe the 1% on the left could be a good example and offer to give up the Social Security they don't need, health care would change quickly if they had to abide by the same laws and and standards we do. Don't think they would be drug testing for food stamps if they had to get tested before each check was handed out or vote was taken. No flying those jets around it's not good for the enviornment. Notice their jets are exempt from global warming. How come they get to keep their salary and benifits even after being tossed from their jobs??? No organic food for them, let them eat GMO's.

Never ending hiprocracy. Yet somehow the left thinks it all started when Trump was elected.

535 people have voted these problems into existance and they were not all on the right.

16 of the last 32 years the democrats were in office,and they had just as many banksters on the payroll.

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 6 years 27 weeks ago

Hot Coffee: Hiprocrisy is your Kochbagger party passing a bill that will skyrocket the national debt. Hiprocrisy is demanding dems step down for sex harassment, but not demanding an accused child rapist and self admitted sexual predator step down from his illegit presidency.

HotCoffee's picture
HotCoffee 6 years 27 weeks ago


Many of those questions might be about all those senators and congress critters that can't keep their hands where they belong. Not to mention all the photos and Obama awards that went to the hollywood misfits, like Harvey,Cosby,and many more.

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 6 years 27 weeks ago

Why aren't all the Senate Dems who foolishly demanded that Franken step down not demanding that Crooked Donny step down??? WTF????

Franken should never have stepped down. Was Gillibrand just eliminating competition for a future White House bid????

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 6 years 27 weeks ago

Hot Coffee...how about the pussy grabber not keeping his hands to himself???? ... or does he get a pass like he gave his KKK pals "good people" at the Charlottesville protest?

HotCoffee's picture
HotCoffee 6 years 27 weeks ago

It wasn't the right that made Franken step down. Cosby got a trial as should any accused.

And if you falsely accuse someone you should get the punishment they would have gotten if convicted. Thats for Gloria and the false signature stunt she tried to pull.

I'm just say'in

Oldskoold's picture
Oldskoold 6 years 27 weeks ago

Wow! Sorry I startet this crap sling if I did.... They (especially females) in states south, usually go to this. Still; No bless hearts. It's too critical now....

Kend's picture
Kend 6 years 27 weeks ago

I would like to know what "fair share" is. The top 20% pay 80%. 50% of Americans do not pay Federal taxes, seems fair already. The hardest thing for me as a business owner is they keep changing the rules and it screws with my budgets. I think it should be a percentage. Say 25% of revenue. Personnel or corporate. Of course taxes would start at after minimum wage or a certain level.

Hephaestus's picture
Hephaestus 6 years 27 weeks ago

There arn't 'arf some evil folk on this blog!

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 6 years 27 weeks ago

The thing that sticks out to me most about all of the foxmerized righties that post on this blog, they still haven't faced the reality that they're not really winners, they're just pathetic victims being played like a violin by their own Kochbagger Party. The billionaires are laughing all the way to the Cayman Islands.

Juantarde's picture
Juantarde 6 years 27 weeks ago

It appears that you posted first and were not "waiting" at the time of posting.
I think the clever thing you were aiming for is, "I'll wait." The difference is pretty important.

Next, you did a fine job and probably spent some time putting that list of garbage links together. Unfortunately, nobody cares. Look up, "whataboutism" and try to grasp the idea that only gullible dolts (Fox News/Trump types) will fall for that nonsense. You have failed to make a point. Bless your heart.

Legend 6 years 27 weeks ago

#5. Everyone pays sales tax and gas tax. Numerous other hidden taxes are also paid. Property tax is added in rent. The renters just do not get to deduct it. Should they pay incomt tax if the have no income? Or their income is so low that it is below living wage standards. How many do you personally know that want everything for free. You response in post #5 is so Fox News.

Dianereynolds's picture
Dianereynolds 6 years 27 weeks ago

@ rick Steves

Everyone pays sales tax and gas tax.

People only pay sales taxes on items that qualify.

Gas tax is only paid if you purchase fuel and following the leftie/socialist tripe, no democrats have a drivers license which is why they are not allowed to vote in states where voter ID is required.

Property tax is added in rent. The renters just do not get to deduct it.

Rent credits are issued and tax deductible in many states.

Should they pay incomt tax if the have no income?

What is your definition of no income? Are you unaware of the income tax tables?

45% of Americans pay no federal income tax

How many do you personally know that want everything for free.

Don't personally know him but he was just screwed out of a nomination and is still made over $1,000,000 in 2016.

Bernie Sanders

Ou812's picture
Ou812 6 years 27 weeks ago

#7 Mother Teresa of the Southern Tier

"The Commons" is a euphemism for free stuff. You washed up lefties want free health care, free internet, and anything you want to call "the Commons".

Another way of saying "promote the general welfare" would be "encourage good behavior ", or good wishes. "Have a nice day" :)).....You see I just promoted your general welfare. :)

Legend 6 years 27 weeks ago


Most items are taxed. Gas tax has both federal and local taxes. You left out the part about numerous other hidden taxes.

Your rent credits are only applied on a few state taxes, not Federal.

Of course when you take sentences out of context. You missed the part about Income is so low that it is below a living wage. It is really sad that the Republican Fascist Party has blocked all attempts to raise the minimum wage and take these people off of the welfare rolls. Interesting that Half of the 45% that do not pay taxes get there with tax deductions. Have you ever heard of Carried Interest tax deduction that the wealthy use and was not stopped in recent tax cut calculations? But it is very sad that in this great country the other half (22.5%) do not make the paltry amount that would put them in the taxable bracket. But You would rather squeeze it out of them. Of course Roy Moore says that the last time the country was great was when we had slavery.

Our highways are not free. They are paid for with taxes. Infrastructure is paid for with taxes. Education is not free, it is paid for with taxes. Our commons are not free, they are paid for with taxes.

Dianereynolds's picture
Dianereynolds 6 years 27 weeks ago

You forgot the part where people move from California to Colorado to avoid paying high state taxes. Know any of them?

Legend 6 years 27 weeks ago

State taxes are minor compared to Federal. Those that do move out of Calfornia must be taking their income with them to Colorado if they are infact avoiding taxes. Hard to do. I left CA at 21 due to high cost of housing and traffic.

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