Historically, state & federal government “income” taxes have been, ultimately, used for projects and causes associated with “the commons”. And, often, higher wage earners, business owners, corporations, etc. have paid more, in total, to them. Yet, with such “commons-earmarked” taxes,each of these entities that have historically paid more into (in total) into the state and/or federal government’s coffers have NOT, in return, expected to receive some kind of “codified perk” (e.g., getting to drive in a “special, less-crowded lane” on the freeway, or getting “free tickets” to local, public attractions, etc., every year, etc. - NOR should they, in a decent society, expect as much. Get it?

Yet, on the other hand, a “commons”-themed, TAX on US income tax, such as “FICA” (i.e., payroll taxes allotted to help fund Social Security & Medicare), which, effectively, helps “fund” the government-run, Social Security program, and which, at its core, was set up to help prevent America’s “poor” retirees, from “ending up in the gutter”, per se, effectively DOES just that! That is, obscenely enough, and since it’s inception, the highest Social Security check payouts (i.e., monthly checks) have actually gone to America's WEALTHIER workers, under the guise, or non-egalitarian mindset of, “these financially-set/comfortable retirees put more into the system, so they should get more out of it".


But, then again, Social Security was actually set up, in the first place, to help keep WHO, again, "from being relegated to the streets", during retirement? THE WEALTHIEST US workers? Or was it the POOREST? Speak up! Well, whatever your response, based on the way the system has ALWAYS been set up, and ACTUALLY operated, over the last eighty (80)-plus years, one can ONLY assume that the federal government is clearly MORE concerned about the financial plight of America's WEALTHY retirees, over that of it's POOR, and "living hand-to-mouth", retirees. My, my, my. Now THAT's a truly "Christian" country for you, right there! Onward Christian soldiers!

I mean, think about it. Just HOW SILLY is it to "set up" a government-run, program, effectively meant to keep the nations “poor” retirees “off the streets”, during retirement, BUT YET, in the end, shamelessly awards the HIGHEST monthly, Social Security checks, to America’s WEALTHIER workers! Not only this, but for the millionaires out there, who’ve had the “luxury” of being able to “retire early” and, say, had to work for only 20 years (or less), during their career, and have ALSO been fortunate enough to have taken advantage of “many financial investment vehicles”,out there, throughout that time, YES, THEY could STILL end up having a “35-year, annual salary average” - the principal basis in which the Social Security program now calculates one’s ultimate Social Security check (and EVEN after inserting “zero’s” in for the 15 years of no work record), than the poor, life-long, “minimum wage” worker, who may have even ended up, exhibiting a great “work ethic”, by working well beyond 35 years! Yes, even “Mr./Mrs. Millionaire’s” 35-year, annual salary average would STILL FAR exceed that calculated for Mr. Mrs. $15k/yr, at the end of the day. Oh yeah. THAT’s EXACTLY how “Social Security” (get it?) is “supposed” to work in the end, now isn’t it? Huh? Riiiiiigght. Now, WHAT’s wrong with THAT picture?

In fact, it gets worse, in the sense that the Social Security benefit/check ultimately drawn by a “life-long, minimum-wage” worker” will even be "less than half" of that, of a worker who averaged, say (even), $75k/yr, over a 35-yr working career. Just pick out any Social Security benefits calculator you want, on the internet, and “run the numbers”, yourself. For the “poor, life-long, "minimum-wage" worker, you could enter an annual salary average or basis of say $15k /yr (which is based on a 40 hr work week, at the obscene, yet current, “federal” minimum wage of $7.25/hr - and which does reflect the “real-life” dilemma of so many MILLIONS of Americans- don’t kid yourself) and THEN run the same monthly benefit calculation for a person averaging say, even a mere $75k /yr, over the course of their working life, and you’ll “see” exactly, what’s being decried and pointed out here!

Now, with that said, and with respect to potentially addressing this problem, let no one be under ANY “illusion” that the soul-less, “modern-era” Republicans (you know, the home-grown, tax-payer-funded, “legislative terrorists” to America’s poor and middle-classes), would ever spend one second deliberating about, much less opting to correct this blaring inequity in America, as they have clearly demonstrated, through their insensitive, cruel & often-diabolical-calibre, “anti-99%” legislation that they do NOT possess compassion for all Americans - only themselves and their largest individual and corporate donors. It’s just a FACT. Indeed, no one seriously expects these “money changers in the Temple” to remotely budge from their heinous, insensitive, (pseudo) Chreeestian” views (wink, wink).

THUS, it will ultimately be up to the Democrats/Progressives, etc, to secure with a solution to this BLARING injustice in America. In turn, ONE “possible solution” to this issue would simply be to “re-define” how the monthly Social Security benefits/checks are calculated, entirely. For example, one’s ultimate Social Security payout could be based on HOW MANY YEARS a person has worked during their career (I.e., their career LENGTH), RATHER than HOW HIGH their 35-year salary average turns out to be.And, in so doing, one might say that this would, effectively, redefine the amount of a retirees Social Security check based on his “work ethic”, as opposed to the current predominating factor of a retirees career fortune and wealth, which is simply a patently ridiculous basis, by ANY moral person’s standard. In turn, for those who work an EQUAL number of YEARS, in the American workforce, they would ultimately receive the SAME AMOUNT, in monthly, Social Security benefits, upon retirement -REGARDLESS of their annual salary history. Get it? In fact, administering the Social Security program in such a way would, indeed, make this so-called, “financial safety net program” for retiring workers in America, MORE EQUITABLE, by ultimately rewarding those having an EQUAL number of “documented work years”, in the system, with the HIGHEST Social Security checks.

And, for all the cynical, anti-Christian types out there, who would try to attack such a plan, by saying that this would only serve to “incentivize scammers” who would simply opt to work “minimum-wage” jobs, for their entire working life, WHO, that’s remotely human, would EVER want to be humiliated throughout a “40-year” career, wearing a “paper hat, flipping burgers, putting up with public insults and discord over food orders, every hour, and mostly working alongside so many inattentive, disrespectful teenagers, to boot, merely to try to scam a few hundred extra dollars a month - but NOT UNTIL THEY’RE 68 YEARS OLD. Riiiiggggghhtt. Oh yeah. THAT's their plan, all right! Yeah, you figured them out! They’d clearly rather suffer through “40 years” of flipping burgers, for just THAT meager benefit AFTER they reach the ripe old age of 68 - IF they even make it to that age, after such a horrendous, ungodly life?! Again, REALLY? What a joke!

And wouldn’t the above approach also be preferable, whereby the Social Security system would, instead, honor “that ever-so-noble” concept of WORK (a concept seemingly “so revered” by the phony GOP, by the way), by rewarding a retiree based on the “number of YEARS” they’ve actually worked in the workforce, rather than the morally-dangerous, and clearly-SENSELESS and counter-intuitive metric (in THIS case) of “how WEALTHY”, and financially fortunate (and thus, “non-needy”!!), a person has been, during their work life,

But, it gets WORSE, as the wealth INEQUITY endured by “the poor” in America CONTINUES to manifest in yet other ways!


Well, for one, ONLY the first $127k/yr of one’s income is NOW even being TAXED, on American paychecks. That’s right, America. If YOU make UNDER $127k/yr, YOU HAVE to pay FICA taxes on EVERY SINGLE PENNY ( as in, “100%”) of your income! Oh but this is NOT so for the wealthy! Not by a long shot! In fact, for the person whose salary is $1 million? Well, HE/SHE ONLY has to pays (FICA ~ i.e., Social Security/Medicare) taxes on that “FIRST” $127k/yr of their income - and so, THEY are NOT TAXED, AT ALL, for FICA on the remaining $873,000! Oh yeah, they incur OTHER taxes on that salary - sure - BUT NOT “FICA” TAXES. Like ALL OTHER AMERICANS earning less than $127k/yr pay! Get it? My my. How nice it must be for a “millionaire” to NOT have to pay ”FICA” taxes on “$837,000 of their income - ALL WHILE the poor, “minimum wage” worker/stiff pays “FICA” taxes on EVERY LAST PENNY (“100%”!) of THEIR meager, little income! That’s not only “patently unfair”, but just downright OBSCENE, no matter HOW you cut it.

So, once again, as is so often the case, anymore, “ONLY in America”, would Social Security- purportedly a “financial safety-net” program, as well as a commons”-themed program (as in, one in which it’s inherently IMPLIED, that the wealthy will be expected to “pony up a bit more”, for SOCIETY’s benefit) - be relegated to being funded by ONLY TAXING the FIRST $127k of a worker’s income, RATHER than on “100%” of “EVERYONE’s” income. Indeed, IF you really expect the POOR and middle-class to have to pay FICA taxes on ALL of their income, then WHY in the world would the SAME not be enforced on the WEALTH, as well? I mean, EVEN if a “sliding, downward/declining” tax rate schedule would be used for the “wealthy” workers, AT LEAST they’d THEN, and AT LAST, be paying taxes on “EVERY PENNY” of THEIR income, as well - JUST LIKE the rest of America! And WHAT is so hard to understand about that?

To reiterate, for all of the “GOP-minded”, “whats in it for ME?” and the “anti-Christian” crowd out there, the fundamental purpose or goal of the government-run program (NOT an investment vehicle), known as “Social Security” should NEVER have been set up to ultimately BENEFIT the WEALTHY retiree, over the POOR retiree, by acting like a typical stock, bond, municipal fund (that the WEALTHY have been able to use) - which is what has essentially done, over the last eight (80) years. Instead, it should have been PROPERLY set up, so that, “in the end”, it would NOT ONLY serve as a “financial safety net program”, for American retirees - poor retirees, especially - to help ensure that they are not “left out on the streets”, upon retirement, BUT ALSO distribute /disburse it’s monthly, Social Security checks, in a MORE EQUITABLE WAY, such as in REWARDING one’s NUMBER of YEARS in the workforce, RATHER than one’s WEALTH - a concept that is so obscenely backwards, that only in America, could “everyone be fine with” such pro-1% and “anti-99%” notion!. In fact, most “Fox so-called New-marinated” Americans probably couldn’t even spell the word “egalitarian” if you gave them the first several letters!

In closing, WHY would any, remotely-fair, sensible and Christian-minded person, of wealthy status, not clearly understand that they’ve been “extremely fortunate”, in THIS country (hello!), and that the most decent among us have always subscribed to the notion of “from those with broader financial shoulders, MORE is CLEARLY expected”, as far as the “commons” or the “common good”, is concerned. ESPECIALLY, in the WEALTHIEST COUNTRY on the PLANET, no less!

So YES, taxing “100%” of American worker’s salaries, instead of just intentionally “short-funding it”, with this insane $127k/yr wage base/ “tax cap”?!! INDEED, if ALL worker’s incomes were to be taxed at “some prescribed rate”, this would, INDEED, go a LONG WAY (and possibly even ALL of the way) towards providing the “perpetual” funding, that this direly-needed, and morally-compelling program TRULY deserves and requires, to ensure its solvency, for generations to come! And wouldn’t THAT, at least, be one small way in which we could help to TRULY make America “great again”??! Anyone? Buehler? Buehler?

Now, as far as this possible “solution” is concerned, a very interesting article on Bernie Sanders proposals for Social Security, and the lifting of this “wage base” that is the very source of the blatant workplace inequity we see, today, can be viewed at the following link:


In closing, “only in America”, would one ever see the WEALTHY, and financially-privileged come out “FIRST”, on a program set up to protect poor retirees, via a government-based, “financial safety net” program.Unbelievable. Without a doubt, the REALITY is that, DESPITE the “empty, duplicitous, rhetoric” to the contrary, “mammon” has LONG BEEN the one TRUE “god” in America - and ESPECIALLY to the GOP, Fox “so-called” News and right-wing hate radio. Yes, America, this is, indeed, the “ugly truth”, and one of the MANY reasons behind the “ugly American” descriptor, uttered by oh so many foreigners. For crying out loud, America has just GOT to change - and SOON! And this could, at least, be a “positive” start.

So, if YOU just happen to be one of the “financially fortunate” in America, and have had enough disposable income to occasionally “park” it into a financial investment vehicle or two, throughout the course of your working life, then hey, good for you! I hope it worked out well for you. But as for the way that Social Security “payouts” have always been calculated, it’s not only absolutely ridiculous, but obscene! Indeed, we have just GOT to be a more intelligent and compassionate country than that, and begin CORRECTING such issues and blaring INEQUITIES NOW“- before we get to a “French Revolution” stage of public revolt, one would fervently hope!

But I digress…..


gShawn's picture
gShawn 1 year 50 weeks ago

Thom spoke with a caller Scott today near the end of the show; he claimed to be making $250k a year and paying 67% in taxes. You challenged him to find a developed nation where the wealthy could pay less than 30% a year.

Well, the U.S. is such a nation (Russia is another). According to data from the IRS, Americans who make $1 million or more had an average tax rate of 20.4 percent in 2010. William Buffett asserted that his 2010 “federal tax rate” was 17.4 %. Part of the problem in this country is that the upper middle-class pay high tax rates while the wealthiest do not. Payroll taxes are appreciable to the upper income earners (not the billionairs). State taxes often hit them. They may also pay other professional fees and taxes.

Republicans like to keep them all angry and hating government, because there are a lot of them and they keep voting Republican. On the other hand the wealthiest oligarchs that own our politicians assure that their interests are taken care of with lobbyist guarantying them tax breaks at every step.

Coalage3 1 year 50 weeks ago

That is a misnomer that millionaires/billionaires are all republican. The rich take their income in the form of capital gains which is subject to a lower rate than "normal" income. That is what Warren Buffett was referring to. Not sure who William Buffett is.

Zeke Krahlin's picture
Zeke Krahlin 1 year 50 weeks ago


{{ And, for all the cynical, anti-Christian types out there, who would try to attack such a plan, by saying that this would only serve to “incentivize scammers” }}

Sorry, but your bringing religion into this is not only irrelevant, it's manipulative and insulting. Far be it for me, to suggest that the vast majority of ignorant, greedy scammers are professed Christians. Big fail, Oceanbreeze1!

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The Thom Hartmann Program Newsletter Tuesday 21 January 2020

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