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January 25th, 2012
03:12 PM ET

Ben Stein: I agree with Obama's plan of raising taxes on millionaires

Economist and author Ben Stein explains to Brooke why he thinks that President Obama's tax and short term loan plan is fair, adding that raising taxes on millionaires is necessary if the United States is to avoid financial default.

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Filed under: Anchors • Brooke Baldwin
soundoff (39 Responses)
  1. June Clendening

    amen to that. I couldn't agree more that taxes must be raised. I'm middle class and so grateful to live in this great nation that my husband and I will happily pay additional taxes.

    January 26, 2012 at 10:11 am |
  2. Pat

    In all the discussion about the low tax rates for the very wealthy, no one seems to think about the charitable donations that many of them may make – to food pantries, soup kitchens, senior centers, cancer research, etc. When Obama speaks of everyones's responsibility to do the right thing, he seems to leave out the single women who bring more children into the world than married couples, and depend on the government and taxpayers to subsidize them. A lot of the poverty that we hear about could be reduced if they too behaved more responsibly.

    January 26, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
  3. William

    Earlier, Poppi Harlow reported from Swizterland about a comment made by a CEO of CISCO stating it was easier to conduct business in Russia, amoung other countries, than it is to do business in the US. Neither Poppy Harlow nor the CEO from CISCO gave the reasons for such a claim. Without listing reasons for such a claim, the statement is meaningless poliitical hyperbole. How does this CEO expect things to change for the better by making such inflamatory statements without stating more details or offering possible solutions for the problems. IMHO, if the CEO thinks it is easier to conduct business in Russia, why doesn't he just go there? I just hope he doesn't expect help from the US when the Russians confiscate his business " for the good of the state".

    January 26, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
  4. Janet

    I was solid middle class until Bush and I had less and less as time went by.All my bills have gone up as well as food and everything else have gone way up. Taxes are up and seniors have been kicked to the curb. I payed to have medical and dental for my children as they grew up now that people don't have jobs or lost alot when they were out of jobs the kids all get medical and dental. Hey I want it to!. I would never vote for any of those rich men.Put me back in middle class and then we all could make donations.

    January 26, 2012 at 9:23 pm |
  5. Janet

    I have no more to give. I will join the welfare people rather than go through much more! It is getting to be not worth the stress. Make the rich pay. As we have had our turn.

    January 26, 2012 at 9:33 pm |
  6. Kelly

    Pat–you're feeding off of misconceptions. First, do you REALLY believe that single women bring more children into the worth than married couples do? It simply isn't true. Unemployment, while high, is still only around 10%. Only 8% of the population is on welfare and food stamps. Are all those single mothers?? Of course not. You get angry because you don't like people leeching off of the system. Fair enough, but they contribution to the issues are negligible.

    January 27, 2012 at 12:52 am |
  7. Pat

    Kelly – I didn't mean that single women bring a greater total number of children into the world than married couples do. I meant that many times you hear of single women who have four or five children while many married couples have one or two. All too often these women are unable to financially support their families. It stands to reason that if you are in a low paying job and have one income, you and your children will be poorer than if you were part of a two income household. It also means that the children may well have less supervision, and less parental involvement in their education than if there were two parents. All people should behave responsibly – not just those in a certain income level. By the way, I am not feeding off misconceptions – I grew up in a neighborhood where there was a large number of single mothers, and from what I understand, the statistics are much higher now. As many as 70% of children in certain groups are born to single mothers. I don't think we help deal with poverty and other problems if we don't address all the issues involved. Simply focusing on having the wealthy pay more, and ignoring the number of children born to single mothers who may not be able to adequately care for them, only perpetuates a lot of the problems in our society.

    January 27, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
  8. clemen

    The Bible says when a person has been found stealing, they should repay twice as much back which they have stolen.
    So I feel since the millionairs have not payed their fair share of taxes (which means they have stolen the money from the american people, with help from the government). Millionairs should pay 15% per year back taxes, for the past 10 years. or they should pay 60% per year of taxes for the next 10 years. or they should release all the thieves in jail that have also stolen money from the american people. And america needs to stop being nice to rich crooks and cruel to poor crooks.

    January 30, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
  9. Ifor1

    The Penny Tax…fair for everyone…
    I heard about this 30 years ago and thought it was a great idea then as I do now.
    It is actually a “transaction tax” on everything from raw material to finished product be it a car or a box of tissues.
    Everyone pays and there are NO deductions of any kind. Neither in the corporate world, nor the private sector. Deductions would be a thing of the past.
    It would save the average American thousands of dollars a year! Here’s why:
    For every transaction there would be a penny charged in taxes. Raw material per ton would be 1 penny charged in tax.
    Then through processing another penny would be added to the material for each component it became such as metal could be gold or silver or zink or aluminum or steel etc.
    Skipping ahead a little let’s say a new car has 10,000 parts. Each part would have been charged a penny or $100 in taxes. Add in the number of times the raw material changed hands let’s say 1500 times or $15 added onto the $100 or $115 tax for a new car regardless of how much it cost retail.
    From then on each time that car changed hands a penny would be added to the original tax of the new car. So if it changed hands 5 times during its life the tax for the last buyer of that car would be $115.05.
    The key is every transaction from payroll to buying a jetliner would have tax charged a penny per transaction.
    I am no accountant but I can tell you this guy from I think Indiana said that the government would have so much money to spend they could never spend it all with this system every year. That means entitlement programs no sweat, infrastructure no sweat, better education for all no sweat, the deficit, what deficit there’d be none….etc, etc, etc… Even Newts going to the moon would be funded if we used this system…
    Just a thought………

    February 1, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
  10. yahmez the mad

    Taxing the rich is a great idea. Let's do it. Will it offset the out of control spending on Bush's wars and the costs incurred by the bailouts on Bush's economic collapse? No, but it is a start. Tariffs on imported goods will help offset the costs of unemployment, and perhaps give the "job cremators" incentive to move manufacturing back to the US. This will reduce long term unemployment and expand the middle class, enlarging the tax base and reducing some of the burden on the wealthy they always cry about. All this talk about another war to fix the economy is stupid. Wars cost a lot of (borrowed) money. WWII helped with the Great depression, but the rich were taxed at a 90% rate to pay it off. All you war hawks seem to be the same idiots that want to lower taxes. That is unsustainable. Also, war is BAD. People can get hurt, or even KILLED.

    February 4, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
  11. Mike

    To those who think the rich should pay more, do you not think they earned that money? Your greed is what is making you feel that way, wanting more than you have is what makes you feel like you don't have enough. If you consider yourself religious, this is a sin. If not, than this should weigh on your conscience like a ton of bricks.

    February 6, 2012 at 9:05 pm |
  12. Consequence

    Increasing taxes on the rich is a red herring. it is a populist cause...a will o' the wisp that makes light then vanishes. The wealthy already pay the lion's share of taxes in this country...and lowered tax rates on capital gains are meant to encourage investment – which they do! For the cup is half empty crowd – they see the wealthy pulling something off on the rest of us. for the cup is half full folks, we see a huge source of investment revenue which, if taxed, would only be siphoned away from investment and sunk into Obama's spending programs. I do not trust Obama's judgement to spend our money for us or to invest it in costly and bureaucratic schemes that perpetuate his partisan interests. i would rather see investors place their money in enterprises which, on average, stand the best chance of success over time. Because success.....breeds success. And success is what we desperately need, not more Obama.

    February 7, 2012 at 12:14 am |
  13. owhit

    At least 20% of the debt should be paid by taxing the wealthy. The lion's share is going to be medical– Medicare, Medicare, Prescription coverage etc.

    As we age, we need to be healthier and thinner. We need to walk every day and eat our veggies. It will save trillions.

    February 7, 2012 at 8:10 am |
  14. Greg Shaffer

    Generally speaking, the richest among us have done little to nothing to earn their money, and certainly not in proportion to the ridiculous gap between the rich and poor. Our system is set up such that past a certain point of wealth, your cheat codes become enabled. We don't begrudge success, we just want the cheat codes turned off.

    When you tax the poor and lower middle class, you are taking food off the table and demand out of the marketplace for anything beyond the bare essentials; the poor spend their money, and thus contribute to the economy and indirectly create jobs. When you tax the very rich, the only tangible effect upon the rich is that the number on their bank statement drops a little; they transition from having every conceivable human luxury at their disposal to ... still having every conceivable human luxury at their disposal, you don't affect their spending habits, and you certainly don't cause them to "create jobs" – as if jobs were a luxury that rich people just hand out when they're flush with cash, and not an investment that they're willing to make because they perceive that the arrangement will be profitable.

    February 9, 2012 at 9:29 am |
  15. David

    When CEO's that already have staggering salaries are then given a bonus that exceeds what most people would make in MULTIPLE lifetimes, then yes, I will continue to want to tax the rich. Those who make excuses for this behavior would do well to honestly look deep inside to see what in life they truly worship. Those bonuses are legal, but very unethical (and even more immoral), forms of stealing from people. As long as the Republican Party supports this sort of thing, my conscience will never allow me to vote Republican.

    February 9, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
  16. chloe

    Thank you Clinton, you are right on target and I couldn't have said it better myself! Pat – you live in LaLa land.

    February 13, 2012 at 8:25 pm |
  17. belinda

    I am amazed , someone, ( Republican ) who is actually being honest , not manipulative , or deceiving , concerning this particular situation . I have suddenly changed my mind about this man !!!!

    February 14, 2012 at 12:36 am |
  18. Terry

    I am a register Republican but have always voted for the person whom I felt would be a servant of the people, Republican or Democrat (all people, rich and poor) and not ego in a tower. We, as these post show believe every word that one media out or the other says and that is wrong each outlet is biased one way or the other, each supports one party or another and all of them report 'facts' that are not correct. First of all, it's time to stop blaming Bush he has been out of office for three years and President Obama, if he has any guts will start taking the blame where he should as well as taking the credit for his policies. Secondly lets look at the economy. A country cannot survive as a Service industry because it is not an industry at all. We have let our politicians do as they wished both Democrat and Republicans and therefore we have let industry leave this country in mass. Let's face it Americans are materialistic we like our toys and we will buy them from wherever we can. If Taxes were charged (a tariff) on every item coming into the country and yes things would get expensive and as well they should and after a while the need for affordable products and manufacturing would start too return to this country. And yes allowance must be made for those money men (investors) to create these opportunities and therefore JOBS. It is a simple truth that poor people do not create jobs argue all you want it won't change it. It is also a truth that the biggest money waster in this country IS the government, don't believe it then instead of being closed minded look up a copy of the yearly federal budget and read it. I was raised poor and am in the poor range now I mean I can easily apply and receive food stamps if I want them but I do not. I owe a crap load of money in student loans but it is not the governments responsibility to pay my debts. I will fight, I will survive and so will my family. Wake up, take responsibility for the papers you sign and stop thinking someone owes you something. All social welfare systems reed reforming so that those that truly need them can get them and those that do not need to get off the couch and wait for a government check and by the way I do not collect unemployment either. Lay off those in Washington that waste money and please stop thinking that the Rich stole your money or that all the money belongs to the government to redistribute as they wish.

    February 14, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
  19. JohnJasper54

    In other words...Ben Stein doesn't agree with Grover Norquist's ridiculous policy of "just say no to any new taxes ever again." If Obama wins in 2012, and I think he will, it is because of Grover Norquist's ludicrous demand that all good Repubicans sign an anti-tax pledge. Ben Stein is showing that it is possible to be a reasonable Republican, but the independents who actually detemine who gets to be the POTUS, know that most Republicans are unreasonable, and therefore untrustworthy.

    February 15, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
  20. KJ

    I don't know if anyone is necessarily opposed to the rich paying a bit more in taxes. BUT for all of us to deny they don't pay the bulk of the taxes already is ridiculous and not factual. And the rich also donate most of the money to charity. We should only raise taxes on the rich if we are willing to slash spending – social programs included. The idea that we simply tax the rich because they are rotten and don't pay their fair share is just flatout stupid. We are supposed to be a Capitalist is the system that has made us the envy of all nations and has created more wealth than any system in world history and has distributed that wealth more fairly than any other system. Is it perfect? Not even close, but it is better than any alternative. In fact, the further we go down the path of socialism the more wealth gets concentrated in fewer hands. We need the tax system to be fair. I don't think it is. I would support the wealthy paying more in some manner, but the working poor should pay something too, even if only 1%, now they pay nothing but use lots of the resources. Everyone should pay. The sacrifice and the priviledge to live here should cost something and be shared. Class warfare will do nothing to help. Big gov't, big business and big unions all seem to get corrupted by power...the less of all three that we have the better. And everyone should be responsible for themselves. That doesn't mean society can not help those who are down, but it means that help should actually "help" them and not enable them. Also, when people talk taxes they often don't understand what they are talking about. Wealth is the value of assets, not earnings. Though they are related they are not the same. Bill Gates and Warren Buffet are very wealthy, but they may or may not earn that much per year. If the companies they founded see an increase in stock price their wealth rises, but their taxable income would not, unless they sold some of that stock. It seems people want to tax their wealth, which is impossible. By contrast, some of us in the middle may have a couple really good years in which we earn a great living only to see the government (state and fed) take half of it. Then a year or two later we could really use all that money the gov't took from us. Was I rich in those years? Far from it. We need fairness. So, many of the posts just seem to want to blame the "rich" and get them to pay. It is not that simple and is probably not fair. The current and former President spent too much! We need smart reasonable people to come with a solution of increased taxes and decreased spending!

    February 15, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
  21. TewksburyBob

    I applaud Ben Stein for helping us with the deficit...Hey big a check are you sending???

    February 16, 2012 at 10:38 pm |
  22. Darin Arterburn

    No nation has taxed itself to prosperity. We pay enough taxes. We should spend less, bailout less and drop fewer bombs on foreign nations.

    February 21, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
  23. hazel steward

    We refuse to face facts,we are broke. we cant afford to borrow so we must tax or we will have to cut a lot to keep from defalting.

    February 21, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
  24. alex


    " It is a simple truth that poor people do not create jobs argue all you want it won't change it."

    You fail to see the whole picture. Do poor people spend most of their money? Where does that money go? How do people get paid at their jobs?

    You need customers to have jobs, and the majority of our population is below the 50% wealth mark. A single poor person doesn't help create many jobs, but millions of poor people help sustain millions of jobs by buying the things they need every day. Just because you are poor, it doesn't mean you don't spend money; you just spend less, but more of your whole income.

    The power is in numbers and you fail to see that.

    February 23, 2012 at 10:59 am |
  25. 111Dave111

    Conservative Ben Stein on TV today 5/29/12 saying default will happen. Guess he doesn't believe the Tea/GOP/Republ party will raise taxes on the rich (over $200,000/yr income & Capital Gains (Stock/Investments) taxes).

    May 29, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
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