Who Actually Earns $400,000 Per Year?

by Emily Guy Birken · 5,327 comments


After the unending media coverage of the fiscal cliff throughout December 2012, it was a relief to everyone when a last-minute compromise was reached. In particular, the most reported-on compromise had to do with the extension of the Bush-era tax cuts. Those cuts will remain in place permanently for any individual making less than $400,000 per year, and for couples earning less than $450,000. Those fortunate few who make more than that amount will see their rates rise from 35% to 39.6%.

The news about this particular tax rate increase got me wondering: what professions can expect to earn that kind of money? Since I don’t personally know anyone bringing home $400,000 per year, I decided to find out what kind of jobs command such high salaries:

1. The President

Perhaps the most famous $400,000 per year job is the leader of the free world. The office of president not only pays a $400,000 annual salary, but also provides the president with a $50,000 annual expense account, a $100,000 nontaxable travel account, and a $19,000 entertainment account.

There are some obvious downsides to this particular career, however. Besides being very difficult to get, the job is highly stressful, and advancement post-office can be considered somewhat iffy. And, of course, you can’t expect regular raises: the last salary increase for the commander-in-chief (from $200,000 to the current rate) was in 2001. Prior to that, the previous raise (from $100,000) occurred in 1969.

2. Surgeons and specialists

Even a local general practitioner can expect to pull in over $100,000 per year, but the real money in medicine is reserved for those who specialize. Anesthesiologists, heart surgeons, and brain surgeons can all expect to make up to $400,000 per year at the height of their career. Plastic surgeons can make up to twice that amount.

3. CEOs

The median salary of a Chief Executive Officer is over $700,000. These directors are in charge of both short- and long-term profitability for their companies. CEOs generally have to know the industry backwards and forwards (although there are certainly plenty of counter-examples), and need to have worked their way up over many years.

4. Wall Street Bankers and Lawyers

If you work in either finance or finance law, the place to go for fat paychecks is Wall Street. According to an October 2012 report, “the average salary of financial industry employees in New York City rose to $362,950 in 2011.” While that still falls short of the mark required for the higher tax bracket, it’s important to remember that this figure represents the average (meaning some people are making more) and that there have almost certainly been raises in the past year and a half.

The Top Percent of the Top Percent

These high-income earners are really rare. Consider the fact that most articles listing the highest paying jobs in America don’t even include any professions with median salaries of $400,000. Those individuals making $400,000 per year are in the top one percent of the top one percent — and often, they’re also public figures.

Thankfully, even though individuals in this bracket are few and far between, the government estimates that raising the tax rate on this small group will raise about $600 billion in new revenues over the next decade.

Not bad for a group that small.

What other professions that earn annual incomes of $400,000? 

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{ 5327 comments… read them below or add one }

Steven H October 6, 2015 at 6:12 pm

A couple more tonight:
Rick Deckard January 31, 2013 at 5:19 pm
A high tax rate on those jobs that pay over a certain threshold will likely do nothing to the productivity of the top earner. There is no logic to the idea that more pay means proportionally more effort. If that were true, a CEO would be working 100 or more times as hard as his gardener.

Instead, if the tax rate is very high on high incomes, it encourages a company or owner to re-invest the money that would have gone to a bloated CEO salary back into the company itself as the additional $ will hire many more workers at much lower salaries, which can actually increase the productivity.


Ricardo November 13, 2015 at 5:50 am

Your logic to withhold high salaries from CEO’s is flawed beyond belief. Compensation isn’t about how hard one works, but how effective the effort is. A ditch digger works hard, really hard – but he’s never going to make much money. A CEO who’s hired to turn around a failing publicly traded company (name any one of hundreds) is going to use their skills to work smart and build a team and a culture to right the ship. That is worth considerably more than “working hard”… Your method will not allow great leaders to leave good jobs to attempt to tackle hard ones where there is great risk.


Steven H November 18, 2015 at 8:32 pm

I see your logic Ricardo, but you are missing the point. I am not raising status or wage of a ditch digger above CEO. Of course a skilled manager should earn a very good living. But at some point of raiding the salaries of the middle class and working class to inflate the salaries of the most wealthy, it gets out of hand. Should we for instance, over the next 30 years seek to double or triple the real incomes of the upper 1% while giving 90% of Americans a 25% cut in their share of the national income pie. No? Why not? Don’t the rich deserve more than other common folks, due to their more effective effort, and indeed, do they deserve just as much as they can manipulate into their bank accounts by any political and economic means they can muster?

How about if you give 75% of all national income to the upper 1% and split the rest among every one else. When is it too much?

From 1980 to today, with a couple of hiccups after 2000 and 2009, the richest 1% went from receiving about 10% of all income to about 23% of all income, a 130% increase. The lower 90% went from receiving 66% of all income to 50%, which is about a 25% decrease. Last time it got this bad in 1929 and we know how things went after that.

AND why should the rich, especially the million earners, whose real inflation adjusted salaries have more than doubled in 35 years complain if an additional 10 or 15 or 20% gets pulled from their income? Would you take that deal? Let’s say someone is going to double your income, whatever it is, and then take back 20% of total income, which is 40% of what they added to your income. Would you take the deal? Of course. you still have a 60% pay increase. Would you then complain about the taxes instead of rejoice at your prosperity?


Steven H October 6, 2015 at 6:25 pm

Last one, bookending with another MOR post:
Man-of-Reason January 24, 2013 at 12:57 pm

Not every business owner is greedy or unfair to his workers, nor every worker who doesn’t make enough to pay taxes, a “freeloader” or spendthrift. All of that is mutually exclusive.

The enmity between employees and their employers can only be mitigated through communication which fosters trust. Yet, we are deliberately limiting the ability of employees to be heard as more states pass “Right to Work” laws or eliminate the ability of workers to negotiate wages and benefits.

Without the benefit of communication between all associated humans, a business becomes amoral as opposed to moral or immoral. Amoral is considering the bottom line and competition in the marketplace and excluding the consequences to the lives of real people. Cigarette companies, old time slave holders, and even the Catholic Church have be good examples of that. It is very difficult for corporations to consider anything other than the bottom line and therefore, we form governments, not only to protect us from external threats, but also from internal threats from amoral interests which have no responsibility to promote the public interest.

When a man can’t tell his employer why he thinks he has more value than reflected in his wage, or such statements fall on deaf ears, he will feel exploited regardless of your opinion. To say that exploitation doesn’t happen, or that it’s simply a complaint of young spendthrifts to justify not being promoted or achieving your level of success, is a red herring which has no bearing on the subject. You see, Thomas Jefferson was a spendthrift also and managing money is a weakness for many across class lines.

The fact is that currently the U.S. has a problem with the growing gulf between wealthy and middle class. The fact is that tax favorable legislation for the wealthy, reduced regulations on corporations, reductions in union representation for workers, and reduced benefits to our safety nets, have all contributed to a distrust of government to represent the interest of all citizens. The fact is that “greed” did contribute a great deal to the current recession and debt crisis we are now faced with.


Steven H October 8, 2015 at 4:32 pm

A couple of posts tonight. First is regarding straw man arguments.

The Straw Man fallacy is committed when a person simply ignores a person’s actual position and substitutes a distorted, exaggerated or misrepresented version of that position.

The idea of course, is that it easier to refute a fake straw man argument than an actual argument. In today’s political environment however, it seems to many observers that the GOP stands up a bunch of arguments as false and fragile as any straw man and which are easy to refute, but which they stand behind none-the-less, continually stuffing the straw back in as best they can. Such as the following political and economic arguments:

1) Seven Benghazi investigations costing $14 million found no significant governmental wrongdoing but we need an 8th one costing $4.5 million (so far) to figure out what really happened and it is not a political witch hunt.
2) Accusations against Planned Parenthood are clearly based on heavily edited undercover videos which misrepresent what actually happened, yet despite multiple state investigations that have found no wrongdoing, we need a congressional select committee to investigate, but this is not about abortion nor is it a political witch hunt.
3) We need more guns to stop gun violence.
4) We need more tax cuts to solve the deficit problem.
5) We need more tax cuts specifically going to wealthy people to help solve the high income disparity problem.

On that last one, which has the most relevance to this forum, that is amazingly an actual argument, as per:

Appearing at a candidate forum in late January, three likely Republican presidential contenders — Senators Ted Cruz,Marco Rubio and Rand Paul — all made a striking confession: They considered “the increasing gap between rich and poor” to be a problem. But on the question of whether the government should intervene to solve it, Mr. Cruz and Mr. Paul rejected that approach, and Mr. Rubio appeared to agree with them. When “government takes over the economy,” Mr. Cruz said, “it freezes everything in place. And it exacerbates income inequality.” He proposed lowering taxes and loosening regulations instead. …

Jeb Bush, arguably the most outspoken potential Republican candidate on the subject, has struck much the same posture as his more conservative rivals. “We believe the income gap is real, but that only conservative principles can solve it by removing the barriers to upward mobility,” Mr. Bush wrote when announcing the formation of a political action committee this year. Mr. Bush vowed to “celebrate success and risk-taking, protect liberty, cherish free enterprise.” … It’s not just right-wing presidential aspirants like Mr. Cruz and Mr. Paul whose statements on inequality diverge from public opinion.

The Democrats don’t need to create straw men when the GOP does it for them. The mystery is why the GOP actually believes any of these arguments can have any credibility. And why we let them get away with it.


Steven H October 8, 2015 at 5:07 pm
Steven H October 8, 2015 at 5:03 pm

This is a test. Debt Ceiling Silly Season is approaching and everyone needs to understand some facts about the debt ceiling so they can follow the news stories. Based on news reports so far, some of our potential Presidental Candidates would fail this test. So test your knowledge and answer the following True or False.

1) Raising the Debt Ceiling authorizes new government spending.
2) Raising the Debt Ceiling authorizes governmental borrowing in order to pay financial obligations that have already been incurred.
3) The government can prioritize important bills and deprioritize less critical bills to avoid default and stay under the debt ceiling.
4) Government systems are set up to pay bills automatically millions of times per day, when they come due, and their is no legal, technical, nor practical mechanism that exists to allow bill payment prioritization.
5) Defaulting on our debts due to a refusal to raise our debt ceiling will help the US credit rating by showing we are serious about debt reduction.
6) Defaulting on our debts due to a refusal to raise the debt ceiling would create a catastrophic reduction in our credit rating and US financial credibility, along with an increase in our interest rates for borrowing.
7) Limiting the debt ceiling will reduce the deficit.
8) Limiting the debt ceiling will simply postpone payments that must eventually be paid, possibly result in default, and possibly raise our interest rates on borrowing, all of which ultimately increase the deficit.

Answers tomorrow, but I think most people can figure this out. Not sure about Ben Carson.


Steven H October 8, 2015 at 5:14 pm

Let me add two more:
9) You have to cut raw dollar federal spending and reduce the raw National Debt value to control debt long-term. Our goal should be to eliminate the National Debt completely.
10) You can control debt, with the least negative impact on economic growth, by maintaining an annual deficit that is a bit less than annual GDP growth. Setting a policy of true budget surpluses and eventual debt elimination is counter-productive and will result in excessive taxation, and constriction of economic growth.


Steven H October 9, 2015 at 6:04 pm

The solutions are easy. Odd numbers are false, evens are true. But you already figured that out, right?


Steven H October 9, 2015 at 6:14 pm

I find it remarkable that I put all those posts on the previous page showing how the experts in economics backed up my assertions on the best way to pay down the national debt, and that aiming for surpluses and paying down the dollar debt was not the way to go. After all of the insults and complaints I got telling me I was being partisan and naive and that I needed to take an economics course to understand how things really work, there is a deafening silence when I show that the people who would teach such an economics course back up my assertions. No comments? I guess I was finally persuasive and convinced the doubters…


John Dillinger CPA October 12, 2015 at 8:48 pm

Believe it or not in San Francisco $450,000 a year for professional couples is barely enough to make ends meet! Marginal tax rates should take cost of living into consideration.


Peter October 13, 2015 at 6:48 am

More than 1/3 of the top 1% income earners live in four metro areas – NY/NJ, DC metro, LA and SF. All places where it is extremely expensive to live.


JTM November 13, 2015 at 5:11 pm

Could you please explain how they “barely make ends meet”. Even in these areas, there are many who make less than 100k/year. I would posit that their choices, especially towards what their living quarters are, make it hard to make ends meet. What other expenses are so detrimental? Though they may not like it, they could easily choose to live differently, like those who make much less, and they wouldn’t be under so much financial pressure. But, you know, keeping up with the Jones’s and all…


Tiffany Sparkles November 18, 2015 at 10:53 am

God forbid someone doesn’t have a smart phone, for example. Or a car. Or a flat-screen TV. These are now “entitlements”, not “luxuries”.


Steven H November 18, 2015 at 8:13 pm

Or heaven forbid they should cook in a kitchen instead of eating out.


Steven H November 18, 2015 at 8:11 pm

And yet these same $450K/couple people would vote against $15/hr minimum wage, which is about 7% of that “barely make ends meet” household income. Do you see some irony here?


Tiffany Sparkles November 19, 2015 at 6:57 am

I would vote against that too. Would have to cut back my employees if that were to happen. Would rather just pay my employees who deserve it more than minimum wage than have to pay everyone $15. Imagine many other small businesses would have same problem.


Steven H November 20, 2015 at 9:32 am

So you have sympathy for a household earning $450K a year, but you couldn’t care less about a minimum wage household with a single minimum wage worker earning $15K a year, who feeds and serves those $450K earners. Seems rather harsh.


Tiffany Sparkles November 20, 2015 at 10:18 am

I have sympathy for everyone. But that doesn’t mean I just want to double people’s income for no reason. To be honest, if I have 6 employees making $7/hour and minimum wage goes up to $15/hour I would probably go down to 4 employees just to make the costs work. And 4 people get their income doubled for no apparent reason whatsoever and 2 people now have no job at all. And what about those that have worked their way up to make $40/hour? How are they going to feel if the lesser employees get 100% raises and they get nothing? Bad business for me and kind of a nonsensical suggestion.

Steven H November 20, 2015 at 7:59 pm

OK, how about raising from $7.25 to $10.10? This proposal is a couple years old, but did you know …?

The Fair Minimum Wage Act (H.R. 1010) will increase the minimum wage in three steps, from $7.25 to $10.10 per hour. The rate will then be indexed to inflation each year thereafter. In addition, the legislation will increase the required cash wage for tipped workers in annual 85 cent increases, from today’s $2.13 per hour until the tip credit reaches 70 percent of the regular minimum wage.

Business for a Fair Minimum Wage (July 2014): 61 percent of small business owners with employees strongly favor raising the national minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 and adjusting it to keep up with the cost of living in future years.

Small Business Majority (3/6/14): Small Businesses Support Increasing the Minimum Wage to $10.10

Wall Street Journal/ NBC (12/11/13): 63 percent of Americans support raising the minimum wage to $10.10 from the current $7.25 rate.

Quinnipiac Poll (12/10/13): American voters support 69 – 27 percent, including 49 – 44 percent among Republicans, raising the minimum wage. No group is opposed.

National Journal Poll (12/17/13): 71 percent of Americans support raising the minimum wage.

ABC News/Washington Post poll (12/18/13): 66 percent of Americans support raising the minimum wage.

Steven H November 20, 2015 at 8:02 pm

And the increase is not “for no reason”. It is due to the fact that minimum wage has steadily declined by inflation, causing people to work harder for less money “for no reason”. In other words, the very good reason is to help restore the working and middle class and build up the customer base that every small business owner needs to have as a market. One person’s employee is somebody else’s customer.

Tiffany Sparkles November 23, 2015 at 10:58 am

So I should tell my foremen that have worked their way up to a $15-20/hour pay scale that I’m giving the laborers raises to equal the pay of a foreman because “minimum wage has steadily declined by inflation” and that I’m trying to “restore the working (offensive term by the way) class”??? Wonder how that will go over? I think the foreman think they are part of the working/middle class too. Hell, I think I am as well. Maybe we should all get raises.

PhilosoFred November 11, 2015 at 7:33 pm

I guess I don’t understand why most or all of the Republican Presidential candidates want to give even more big tax cuts to the wealthiest people when (a) it will balloon the deficit, and (b) income inequality is already a threatening the well-being of the country. Wouldn’t it make more sense to boost taxes to pay down the deficit, or at least, if tax cuts are affordable, to just give them to middle class where it is needed?

Ballooning the deficit and crushing the middle class hardly seems like conservative principles. Aren’t the Republican candidates just trying to give away free stuff to their donors? That’s certainly what it seems like.


Tiffany Sparkles November 12, 2015 at 9:46 am

Rand Paul doesn’t want to balloon the deficit. The problem is the Republicans want to give away free stuff to their base(tax breaks) and the Democrats want to give away free stuff to their tax base (higher entitlement spending). It’s all the same song and dance – both sides of the aisle – year after year after year after year. We are DOOMED


Tiffany Sparkles November 12, 2015 at 9:47 am

And neither reduce the deficit. If you want that, you vote for Rand Paul.


PhilosoFred November 13, 2015 at 8:45 pm

Tiffany, rand paul’s tax plan, as I undetstand it, is a flat tax with a $50k deduction which gives it some small progressivity, but less than the current tax policy. Plus it adds a VAT tax. Both amount to more tax burden on the middle class than the rich. And it counts on cutting government programs that serve the poor and middle class in order to make up the shortage of the tax benefits that go to the rich. So once again, its frer stuff for the rich, and crushing the middle class.

How about a plan that balances the budget without taking anything away from the middle and poor and without giving one more dollar in tax breaks to the rich, since they absolutely do not need it?

Not politivally likely is it? Not as long as the rich folks grt to buy our politicians.


PhilosoFred November 13, 2015 at 8:49 pm

Sorry for the phone typos …


Tiffany Sparkles November 14, 2015 at 8:05 am

Actually he wants to cut spending across the board – everywhere including the military. Not targeting the poor or middle class at all. He also simply wants to pass on most of these Federal costs to the states. I don’t love flat taxes, but he does propose that we eliminate the payroll tax which is a huge benefit to the poor and middle class. The reduction of taxes on small businesses would also be a huge benefit to the poor and middle class. And most specifically it removes EVERY special interest tax break and loophole.


Tiffany Sparkles November 14, 2015 at 8:07 am

Oh and no VAT tax in his proposal…. Reading some of the past posts I am guessing the PhilosoFred is Steven H….am I right?

PhilosoFred November 14, 2015 at 11:07 am


I only know what I read about Rand’s tax proposals. This article says it has a VAT tax or something like it. The article, which seems to actually like the flat tax idea, still thinks it won’t work. It just seems to me like a complicated plan to hide that you are shifting more money from poor to rich.

The article says…
“In addition, Paul proposes a 14.5 percent “business activity tax” that would operate much like a European Value Added Tax or VAT. Despite its widespread popularity among OECD nations, VATs serve as a pernicious form of taxation, harming American consumers through increased prices and broader tax bases.
Unlike a conventional sales tax that is only charged at final sale, VATs are charged in small amounts along the entire supply chain. Ironically, the “business activity” component of Paul’s proposal will be primarily borne by consumers, as corporations charge higher prices to customers in order to shoulder increased costs. …
when combined with the 14.5 percent business activity tax, it will not lower rates as much as advertised. The tax rate on income that is spent, rather than saved, will be 29 percent, not 14.5 percent.”

And no I am not Steven H.

PhilosoFred November 14, 2015 at 11:21 am

Tiffany, I can see the appeal of the Paul tax plan if you don’t look too deep. A $50K earner would pay no income tax and no payroll tax. A 100K earner would only pay 14.5% on half his income. And no matter how much you make, you pay no more than the 14.5% on your income. But how can this possibly work? How can everybody pay less?

Cutting the military? With ISIS attacking Europe? Blindly cutting government agencies? This seems naive to think it is just that easy.

The business/VAT tax apparently makes up the difference and increases costs on everything. Since poor and middle class spend more of their money, they ultimately pay more of their income into the flat and VAT.

Money for government has to come from somewhere. If the rich pay less, everybody else pays more. So beware any tax plan that rich people are trying to sell you.

PhilosoFred November 14, 2015 at 11:25 am

And Paul’s tax plan is estimated to cost $1 trillion over 10 years, ADDING to deficits and debt, even after rather optimistic business growth projections.

PhilosoFred November 14, 2015 at 11:56 am

I’m trying to be fair so I looked up another article, this one from the Tax Foundation, which is supposed to be non-partisan, but Wikipedia also describes as friendly to business and conservatives. It says the Paul plan will cost $1.8 trillion over 10 years and it gives a table of benefits to various income groups under “static” and “dynamic” economic assumptions. Under dynamic assumptions, most people get a 14% to 15% increase in after tax income, but people making more than 1 million dollars get a 27% increase in after tax income. 27% increase!!!! No wonder the millionaires like this plan.


Since purchases will presumably cost more due to higher prices from the business tax, this erodes that income increase for most folks. And since the tax won’t pay for itself, it would probably have to be higher than 14.5% anyway just to avoid a ballooning debt. There is no real guarantee that anyone making less than a million dollars will benefit from this deal.

PhilosoFred November 15, 2015 at 8:21 am

It’s interesting looking up the details of Paul’s Flat/VAT taxation plan, but it just proves what I originally stated. Paul’s plan, which is actually less debt-ridden than some of the others in the GOP, still primarily (or only) benefits millionaires, and just makes the income inequality problem even worse, as do all of the Republican plans. It could possibly be fixed to be revenue neutral, but the basic structure is flawed: giving free stuff to millionaires at everybody else’s expense. All flat tax plans are structured this way. Since Republicans, even more than Democrats, are dependent upon rich donors, this is completely expected.

As for the proposals of the Democrats, they are also too expensive. USA Today “Making College More Expensive” thinks the Democrat proposals for free or lower cost tuition generally are not addressing the full problem, or not in the right way.

The Republicans oversimplify the problems of government and taxation by claiming they will slash entire government agencies, which they cannot and will not actually do. The Democrats oversimplify the problems by claiming they will vastly increase taxes on wealthy to pay for all of their big plans, which they cannot and will not do.

Are we DOOMED?

No. But we need to have more nuanced solutions. No one thinks that the politicians in either party will do be able to accomplish all of their goals. But we need to at least move in the right direction. Small business needs to be boosted, which may require better tax incentives and some regulation streamlining. Taxes need to be made more progressive, not less, to have upper incomes help close the gap on our deficit without costing the middle class. Something needs to be done about our too-expensive higher education system beyond throwing federal dollars as tuition subsidies and loans. We at least to restore the old policy of carefully price-controlled state colleges which kept private tuition down through competition. We need to keep improving the ACA, not throw it out the window.

Neither party has all of the answers. But it at least looks like Democrats are aimed in the right direction of trying to help the middle class directly. The Republicans are still claiming they will help the middle class by giving middle class money to the upper class. That has not worked very well in the past, and I don’t think it will in the future.


Steven H November 17, 2015 at 7:01 pm

Nice posts, PhilosoFred. Welcome aboard.


Martin November 16, 2015 at 6:37 am

Not sure how someone could have the perspective that the Democrats are trying to help the middle class. Sure that’s what they say but their policies – particularly those of the establishment like Hillary – say otherwise. Hillary’s palms are as greased by the rich as any republican.


Steven H November 17, 2015 at 7:28 pm

Martin, what policies of Hillary’s would hurt the middle class?


Steven H November 17, 2015 at 7:21 pm

Martin, as a Democrat, I too am worried about Hillary’s ties to big banking. And unlike Bernie, she has a SuperPAC. But if I am looking for someone to
promote legislation and appoint Supreme Court judges to
(a) reverse the dangerous impacts of Citizens United ruling
(b) restore the Voting Rights Act
(c) enact sensible tax policy that increases marginal rates on millionaires instead of giving them even more wasteful government subsidies and tax breaks
(d) respect science and address global warming
(e) respect the freedom and liberty of women to make their own medical decisions
(f) strengthen labor policies like minimum wage and unions
(g) have a fair and equitable immigration policy

… then Hillary is really the only viable candidate to vote for.

If you instead want to allow continued massive corruption of government through “donations” of the rich, to bankrupt the government with big unfinanced tax giveaways to millionaires, to erode the voting rights of the young, poor and elderly, to ignore science, to control and micromanage women as if they are too stupid and immoral to make their own decisions, to force the poor and middle class to struggle with declining wages and unmanageable student debt, and to march 11 million immigrants naked back across the border, then go ahead and vote GOP. They’re your guys. But I hope you don’t really want to make that choice.


Martin November 18, 2015 at 8:27 am

That’s a bit of a slanted view of the Republicans, I must say. Clearly we all know what side you are on! I’m surprised that you think Hillary would stop “massive corruption of government through donations of the rich” or not “bankrupt the government”. Even if somebody likes Hillary, I’m not sure how they would think she would not do these two things. As a democrat myself, Hillary would be very hard to vote for.


Steven H November 18, 2015 at 8:00 pm

OK, granted, its a bit of a caricature of the GOP. Yet, to be honest, the rightmost elements of the GOP are a bit of caricature when viewed in broad daylight. Trump? Carson? Cruz? God help us if any of these nuts were to lead the nation.

As for Hillary, I think she is a lot less likely to bankrupt government than any of the GOP. To the best of my knowledge, every single GOP candidate who has a tax plan intends to cut taxes in such a way that deficits will skyrocket and most of the giveaway goes to millionaires. This is dreadfully bad planning for the economy. They CLAIM to want to cut government, but if history is any teacher, they will not follow through with the latter sufficiently to fund the cuts in revenue. Cut taxes now; fail to cut government later; reward the donors first. That’s the policy.

Hillary at least has motivation to reward the middle class and not millionaires primarily. And she can raise taxes as needed to bridge the deficit without getting flak from her base. Not true of GOP. And yes, I think she would advocate for reversal of Citizens United. Do you think GOP would?

I support a lot of Bernie’s ideas. Is that who you prefer? Not a bad choice. I just worry that a labeled Democratic Socialist cannot win and that he doesn’t have the breadth of experience that Hillary can bring to the job.


Steven H November 18, 2015 at 8:06 pm

Or is that you, O’Malley?


Martin November 19, 2015 at 7:44 am

That’s awful naive to give Hillary the benefit of the doubt but not the GOP. They are all the same when it comes to this – just different rhetoric. And if Trump, Carson and Cruz are “nuts” then Bernie Sanders is like Chex Mix! One thing I like about Trump and Sanders though is that their campaigns are not funded by Super PACs. That’s 90% of the problem right there.


Steven H November 19, 2015 at 7:45 pm

So you are a Democrat who can’t seem to fathom voting for any Democrats for President? You never answered why Hillary would be hard to vote for.


Steven H November 19, 2015 at 8:25 pm

And I give Hillary the benefit of the doubt because she is running to support the middle class. At least, if she is politically pandering, she is pandering to the middle class, a group that needs some pandering to at this point in history. The GOP is pandering to millionaires who already have historic highs in wealth and income share. They don’t need more.

And yet, each of the GOP tax plans that have yet been put forward reward millionaires with higher percentage increases in after tax income (20 to 30%) than the middle class (10 to 15%), according to Tax Foundation. And they all increase deficits (except possibly Rand Paul’s if you believe the dynamic projection … but his also raises product costs for consumers with his business/VAT tax, as PhilosoFred pointed out above).

If the United States is to be judged as a business, why should it invest most heavily in tax cuts for the millionaires who already have hoards of capital, and short the middle class who are starved for disposable income which actually fuels the economy. Every single GOP candidate is pandering to millionaires and ignoring the working Americans who both need and deserve a boost in income. This is why I do not give GOP benefit of doubt. Because I have no doubt that the more Republicans who are in office, the dimmer this country’s economic and social future will be.


Martin November 20, 2015 at 10:05 am

I guess I don’t have the disdain for the millionaires of the country that you do I suppose. I do have disdain for dishonest leadership – and I just view Hillary as someone that will say whatever she needs to say to further her own political career – and yes, as someone who is driven by money and her Super PACs (i.e. millionaires) rather than by the American people at large.

So no, I can’t see myself voting for any of these Democratic candidates. Once again, we have another tough decision to make between lots of unlikeable options.


Martin November 20, 2015 at 10:07 am

And Trump, Carson and Paul aren’t pandering to millionaires. Whether you like them or not, that isn’t true at all. Paul is practically a libertarian, Trump is paying for his own campaign and if Carson is pandering to anyone, it is the religious right.


Steven H November 20, 2015 at 7:27 pm

the feeling that someone or something is unworthy of one’s consideration or respect; contempt.
“her upper lip curled in disdain”
synonyms: contempt, scorn, scornfulness, contemptuousness, derision, disrespect; More
I don’t have disdain for millionaires. I just don’t think we need to invest even MORE of our taxpayers dollars in tax breaks to millionaires when it is the middle class who have been shorted for decades.


Steven H November 20, 2015 at 7:48 pm

My definition of catering to millionaires:
Giving economic advantage to millionaires at the expense of taxpayers and/or average citizens.

According to Tax Foundation dynamic scoring (most optimistic), let’s list tax plan impact after ten years to:
(a) the projected percentage income increase to average median income Americans
(b) the projected percentage income increase to upper 1%
(c) net cost to government revenue over the 10 years (negative adds to debt)

Trump: 19.5% , 27%, -$10.1 Trillion
Paul: 14%, 23 to 27%, +0.74 Trillion (also adds business/VAT tax increasing consumer prices, as per PhilosoFred’s post up the page)
Carson: [analysis not available, but as a flat tax would give huge benefit to upper 1%]

So yes, each of these candidates are pandering to upper 1% and millionaires. Why go into debt investing in the one segment of the economy where that investment is wholly wasted? And no, I’m not saying that millionaires are a waste, but giving more and more money to the wealthiest and highest paid people on earth and in all of human history IS indeed a waste.

gratify or indulge (an immoral or distasteful desire, need, or habit or a person with such a desire, etc.).
“newspapers are pandering to people’s baser instincts”
synonyms: indulge, gratify, satisfy, cater to, give in to, accommodate, comply with
“David was always there to pander to her every whim”


Steven H November 20, 2015 at 8:05 pm

(a) and (b) in above post were AFTER TAX income, directly impacted by the tax giveaways to the rich that the GOP candidates propose.

Steven H November 20, 2015 at 8:18 pm

“someone who is driven by money and … millionaires … rather than by the American people at large.”

That would accurately describe EVERY single GOP candidate, including Libertarian Paul and self-funding TRUMP. You don’t think Trump would seek to grease his own skids once in office and pass a bunch of costly pro-business laws that would fund him and his cronies for decades? His tax plan adds $1 Trillion/year to debt!!!! While the economy is projected/assumed to be in growth. God help us at the next downturn. Every one of the GOP wants to get in office to pass laws that cut their own taxes and those of millionaires and just presume that some benefit will “trickle down” to the average schmuck.

The following facts are proven:
Trickle down does not work. Tax cuts don’t pay for themselves. And the average American is more prosperous under Democrats.


Martin November 22, 2015 at 9:32 pm

Kind of a naive, overly simplified partisan slant really. To each their own though. Totally respect why you see it the way you do – and I’m sure many others share your sentiment.

Tiffany Sparkles November 20, 2015 at 10:19 am

It’s amazing the amount of misinformation on here. Not sure where people are getting their news!


Steven H November 20, 2015 at 7:23 pm

For instance … ?


Peter N November 21, 2015 at 7:51 pm

All democrats do is talk about taking wealth from others. Give me a plan about generating wealth.
Democrats are lame and their leaders pander to the stupid masses.
Yes, I have disdain for liberals that only want to take but not make.

Steven H cherry so called “facts” from other liberals.
BTW, what tax breaks I have missed? My taxes of gone up not down.
I am calling Steven H out on this one.

Tiffany, if none of the 4 employees are worth $15/hr what then?


Tiffany Sparkles November 21, 2015 at 9:19 pm

They aren’t worth $15/hour now! In fact, every time we post a job we get LOTS of applicants so I know many others would love to have the job at the current $8/hour pay scale.


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