One Day At The Double Tap In North Maplewood

I drove out to North Maplewood the other day to have a chat with some DFLer acquaintances of mine;  Stephen (never “Steve”) Plotznick-Hale, and his wife, Bella Plotznick-Hale-Rehavy.  Committed DFLers both, she is a social worker in the Maplewood school system, and he’s a grievance writer with the Department of Labor.

They sat, dourly focused on their organic boxed wine, as I walked into the bar.  They were in no mood for small talk; they cut right to what passes for the chase.

I’ll join the conversation there:

STEPHEN:  This shutdown is ridiculous!  The GOP is obsessed with protecting the rich!

MITCH: Well, no – the GOP Legislative caucuses are doing what they were sent to Saint Paul to do; oppose all new taxes.

BELLA: But if we taxed the millionaires, we could solve thish problem!  We could afford everything that the Lezh…Ledge…Lesbolature sayzh we needed!

MITCH:  Well, Bella, funny you should say that.  Let’s ignore, for a moment, whether all that spending is needed, much less wise. and start by definining “millionaire”.

STEPHEN: Easy.  Someone with a net worth of a million bucks.

BELLA: YEAH! Shomeone with more money than…Jeeeeebuzh!

MITCH:  OK.  Now, we’re talking income tax rates, here.  They don’t all make a million bucks; if we assume a million or more in net worth, we’re talking everyone from the CEO of United HealthGroup down to regular people who’ve invested very very wisely.  They may make $30 million a year, they may make $150K.  For purposes of this discussion, let’s say they make an average of half a million a year in income.

STEPHEN:  O…K… (takes another sip, fingers nervously drumming table).

BELLA: I’m gonna get a beer. (She sits motionless).

MITCH: OK.  So the first $200K in Adjusted Gross Income is taxed at the current top tier rate of 7.95%.  The rest of their income is taxed at 10.95%, as the Governor proposes.    We’ll hit all 7,700 of them.

STEPHEN:  Exactly!  That’ll close the deficit.

MITCH:  Which is how much?

STEPHEN:  Five Billion dollars.

MITCH:  Heh.  Not exactly.  Taxing “millionaires” according to Dayton’s plan, assuming an average income of half a mill a year, gives us a grand total of $375 million.  About six percent of the “Five Billion Dollar Deficit”.

STEPHEN:  (Stares blankly)

MITCH: Of course, the Dayton rate was never going to stop at an AGI of $200K.  It was going to be more like $135.


MITCH:  In which case, assuming a half a million a year in income, we the people rake in a total of a little over $390 million.

BELLA:  Oh, you’re sho full of…(belches)…crap, Merg.  They all make a million bucksh a year!

MITCH:  OK.  Let’s say the average income for these 7,700 millionaires is a million dollars a year.  Applying the Dayton tax rate gets you a total of…

BELLA:  Eleventy billion dollars!

MITCH: Hah!  Bella, you rock!  No – it’s just shy of $797 million.  And if you start the surcharge at $135,000, the extra revenue jumps to $811 million.

STEPHEN:  (Calculates frantically in his head) That’s, like, way less than five billion…

BELLA:  We should just TAKE IT AALLLLLL!  (Bella swoops into a face-plant on the floor).

MITCH: (after helping Stephen help Bella into her chair).  OK.  Let’s do that.  Let’s say we assume the average “millionaire” makes $500K a year, and we confiscate every penny above the $135,000 a year level – a 100% tax rate on the wealthy.

BELLA: (head down on table) Yeahhhh….

MITCH:  You get a total of $2.8 billion the first year – about half of the DFL Deficit.  And let’s say we assume the “millionaires” make a million a year apiece, and we confiscate everything over $135,000; the total we take in is $6.7 billion.

STEPHEN:  So you cover the deficit!

BELLA:  Yaaaay! (starts to vomit a bit in her throat)

MITCH:  Yeah – once.

STEPHEN: Well, that’s the Legislature’s problem, not mine!  Make it happen!  Eat the rich!

(Mitch grabs a mung rag and cleans up the expanding vomit slick under Bella’s passed-out head on the table).

9 thoughts on “One Day At The Double Tap In North Maplewood

  1. See if you can spot the flaw in this argument:
    “The richest 5% of Americans used to make 100 times as much as the lowest 5% of filers. Now they make 500 times as much as the bottom 5%. Therefore there will be no deficit if we increase taxes on the top 5% of filers.”

  2. “Tax the rich.” That captures the essence of the allegedly Progressive mind set these days. Back in the day, phrases like that passed for profound insight in post midnight bull sessions in college dorms. I continue to be amazed that many of the people who either spoke or nodded in agreement with the sentiment are now forty years out of college, and haven’t changed their minds in any way about sophomoric slogans like that. Some of them have pulled in six figure incomes, own vacation homes in other states, have reitred at fifty. Do they really think that if all of their wealth were transferred to government coffers that society would benefit in any but the most superficial ways? As you point out, Mitch, the next year we’d have the same problems to solve, only now we’d have no “rich” people to rob.

  3. Lazarus Long: “Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded–here and there, now and then–are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty. This is known as ‘bad luck.'”

    Stella: “(blurgh) Fact check! (blub).”

  4. I know the GOP is right but I get the feeling they’re about to lose the message war. Can’t we bring up that the DFL legislature and a GOP governor did what the new GOP legislature wants to do for the last 8 years and it was fine? Why does Dayton insist on doing something else?

  5. You should have just told them their Miller was being cut off because of the shutdown. They’d have caved immediately.

  6. My State Senator, Richard “Dick” Cohen sent an email yesterday:

    “Governor Dayton has made attempt after attempt to offer a middle ground, and he is met by silence. ”

    I had to reply and let him know that the above may be the propaganda, party, line, but was far removed from reality

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