You. Have. GOT. to be kidding me.

I meant in a “critique-the-government” sort of way. The government simply has no resources to determine if all members of Straight Dope approve of the personal accounting choices made by the recipients of tax spending.

From 1936 to 1980 the top tax rate was always greater than 70%. From 1950 to 1963 it was greater than 90%. Somehow my history classes never mentioned that crippling 44-year economic slump the United States must have suffered through in the middle of the century. :rolleyes:

Do you have a cite for those figures? Who would put up with a 90% income tax rate? Or was it not personal income tax?

As I understand it, Bat Mitzvahs are kind of a newfangled American tradition. But yeah, that’s supposed to be the idea.


This isn’t authoritative, but it seems to do the job for the time being. Better cite later, maybe.

Do note that this was the top marginal tax rate, for people making $200,000/year or more. The average tax rate for someone that rich was relatively high, but still much lower, and certainly you would never get poorer by getting into a richer tax bracket. I remember one of my professors explaining that by the time you got up there, you were far and away beyond the comfortable (or even moderately extravagant) lifestyles, so it was considered something akin to noblesse oblige. For comparison, adjusting by the median household income, this is someone making about $1.4 million dollars per year today, at a conservative estimate. Filthy rich.

I remember him saying that beyond a certain point, money is trivial, just a means of keeping score, because you can fulfill all of your reasonable wants and needs (and even most of the unreasonable ones). Even an average tax rate of 50% on an income of $1.4 million gives you many hundreds of thousands of dollars per year. A brand new Lincoln Navigator every month at sticker price (maybe you adore that new-car smell?) will run you about $600,000 (neglecting resale value - just trade ‘em in for taxes and registering the new ones), so even with that, you have several entire average households’ income devoted to keeping you fed, housed, dressed, and entertained. Is more money going to improve a lifestyle like that in any measurable way? I guess it might, if you get bored of Navigators and want to buy a new Escalade every month, but short of that…

There’s a whole different structure to corporate taxes; I’m not entirely sure how it works and what the rates were. I’ll talk to my roomie (studying to be a tax accountant) if anyone really wants to know.

Sure it is. The activities of fatuous fat cats are always a wonderful target for all of us who aren’t. It’s no substitute for being wealthy, but it’s something.

Well, there’s the tax rate, then there’s how much people and corporations actually pay. Apparently, wealthy individuals and such can pay virtually no taxes and it’s Perfectly Legal.

It is his money, though he probably isn’t giving the taxpayers a great deal on his merchandise. And although it’s his money, what a waste. Imagine five years from now and you are her suitor, how on earth are you going to try to keep up with that?

Yeah, wealthy fat cats are always trying to game the system. Unpatriotic jackasses. If they don’t like paying their fair share they should move to Russia.

Don’t be silly; that’s what we have gigolos for.

Who is Liv Tyler’s dad?

Steve Tyler, lead singer of Aerosmith. IIRC, he didn’t even know he had a daughter until she was well into her teens.

You saying that reminded me how I did back-of-the-envelope calculations for “cost of government”. Since my family moved from Russia about 8 years ago we payed about $400,000 - $500,000 in taxes total in the US, without even getting an opportunity to vote yet.

A really fair tax would be a flat amount, not a flat percentage.