Woozle Hypertwin
 Durham, NC,  last edited: Sun, 03 Feb 2019 13:37:01 -0500  
In an article entitled The Golden Age of Hollywood Tax Avoidance[1], Bloomberg gives away only the first and most obvious layer of the con they're playing in the subtitle "Do you really think Bing Crosby and Bob Hope paid 90 percent of their income to the taxman?"

Uh, no, because (for the zillionth time, and as very ably pointed out by AOC), a marginal tax rate is not an overall tax rate.

For those who actually go on to read the article, it does go on to correctly[2] calculate that the tax on $1 million of taxable income would have been over $800k, or >80% overall (it's actually $858k, or 85.8% overall).

$ bracket % rate amount taxed bracket tax amount total tax amount
$200k+           91% $800k $728k   $728k
$150k - $200k 90% $50k   $45k     $773k
$100k - $150k 89% $50k   $44.5k $817.5k
$90k - $100k   87% $10k   $8.7k   $826.2k
$80k - $90k     84% $10k   $8.4k   $834.6k
$70k - $80k     81% $10k   $8.1k   $842.7k
$60k - $70k     78% $10k   $7.8k   $850.5k
$50k - $60k     75% $10k   $7.5k   $858k    
It then goes on to present a series of other bad arguments against raising the marginal rate... but let me summarize:

1. "Do you really think Bing Crosby and Bob Hope paid 90 percent of their income to the taxman?
The implied claim, that nobody was actually paying 90% tax on their income, is irrelevant. (Nobody who was informed actually thought this; it's not new information.)
2. "Myself, I had a hard time believing that wealthy people in the 1950s had a different attitude toward the taxman than wealthy people do today. And guess what? I was right. <..> the top 0.01 percent in the 1950s paid <...only> 45 percent of their income in taxes"
This is another straw-man, corollary of the first; nobody is arguing that the rich will ever pay their full tax rate. They certainly don't now; the top marginal tax rate for 2013 is 39.6% -- lower than the effective tax rate at which the article scoffed.
[*= 3. "When Bing Crosby won’t give a concert, it’s safe to say that the marginal tax rate is too high." ] ...no it isn't? He was still giving concerts, but for free, and was still making more money than most of us will ever see (he had "to live on a mere <..> half a million in today’s money"). What's ironic is that this directly contradicts half of claim #1, the implication that Bing Crosby wasn't actually paying that much in taxes.

The bulk of the article lists a number of tax loopholes performers have used -- some reasonable, most less so; if anything, the article is a reasonable argument in favor of eliminating tax loopholes, but it is not an argument against raising the marginal tax rate.

Sadly, many people will no doubt be left with the impression that it is.

1. ...but which won't let Hubzilla fetch a preview because it might be a bot
2. ...assuming they've got the various margins and rates correct

Woozle Hypertwin
 Durham, NC,  
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Woozle Hypertwin
 Durham, NC,  
Are Universal Basic Incomes 'A Tool For Our Further Enslavement'? - Slashdot
Douglas Rushkoff, long-time open source advocate (and currently a professor of Digital Economics at the City University of New York, Queens College), is calling Universal Basic Incomes "no gift to the masses, but a tool for our further enslavement.

...but his argument misses the major point of UBI.

Apparently Rushkoff was in favor of UBI until he gave a talk at Uber and discovered that executives there were also in favor of it:
Shouldn’t we applaud the developers at Uber — as well as other prominent Silicon Valley titans like Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes, bond investor Bill Gross, and Y Combinator’s Sam Altman — for coming to their senses and proposing we provide money for the masses to spend? Maybe not. Because to them, UBI is really just a way for them to keep doing business as usual.
(emphasis mine)

Um, no, it wouldn't work that way -- because who would drive for Uber if they didn't have to? UBI would decimate the supply of wage-slave labor across the board -- not just Uber drivers, but fast-food workers, Walmart floor clerks, and so on, and completely destroy the plutonomy's ability to control us through our need for "jobs".

Uber is welcome to think this would help their business model, but I don't see how it would. They would have to raise wages in order to continue luring drivers, would have to raise prices in order to afford those wages -- and they suddenly wouldn't be nearly as competitive with standard taxi services that treat their employees like human beings deserving of some security.

Much the same would be true of places like Amazon and Walmart: they would no longer be able to pay people starving wages, and would have to raise their prices to the point where people (especially those with lower budgets) would no longer feel compelled to use their services because of the savings. Smaller businesses would be able to compete better.

The rest of Rushkoff's argument seems predicated on this assumption: that people currently working dead-end jobs out of desperation would continue doing so out of habit -- which misses the entire point of UBI: that it would free us to make our own choices about what work to engage in, and make capitalism live up to its fake promises of "choice" and "competition".