Add Some Advice For The 1 Out Of 3 People Who Could Not Afford A $500 To $600 Car Repair Without Going Into Debt


When I first moved here, that was definitely the attitude. No one rode the bus unless they had to. It’s changing, which is good, because no one in here is saying mass transit is only for poor people. It’s for everyone. If there were a decent bus line from my neighborhood to my office I’d use it. There isn’t, so I drive all the time.

I’m a regular on Car Talk, so obviously I like cars and driving, but sitting in rush hour traffic jams isn’t enjoyable. I’d much rather be on the bus reading.

But I do think it’s telling that the 40% bus route reduction here seems to be targeted primarily on impoverished suburbs like Brooklyn Center. Rich suburbs like Maple Grove and Plymouth won’t see any service reduction because they run their own bus routes (paid for at least in part from the same fund that pays for standard Metro Transit buses). So, at least right now, our current legislature seems to be taking the position that you only get to ride the bus if you’re rich.

This all boils down to the most sweeping attempt since the 1920’s to separate the rich from the rest of us. The poorer they can make everyone else, the more buying power they have. That’s the goal. Transportation is only, albeit a very significant, part of it.

No, mass transit is not reserved only for poor people, but poor people derive a large benefit from it. The money they would have spent doing a timing belt job on their 20 year old Honda is instead spent buying food and clothes, which reduces the strain on government assistance programs and charities. Kill mass transit and you’ll see a ripple effect that will hurt everyone except the very wealthy.


Making people poorer does no one any favors. Not the rich nor middle class. I may be mistaken but this seems to come from the thought that the “economic pie” is finite. The rich do not get rich at the expense of the poor. Far from it. Capitalism is not a zero sum game, it is the single greatest solution to poverty the world has ever created.

Henry Ford was successful because he made cars his employees could buy. And also made cars the rich would buy (Lincoln). It made Henry Ford very rich but it also pulled 100’s of thousands into the middle class. The same could be said for Bill Gates. He created something from nothing - software - that is a supercharger for productivity.


That is very true, but it is clear that air pollution is no longer perceived as a problem by some elements of the government. I think that we may see Federal grants for the development coal-powered vehicles in the very near future.


The rich do not have to get rich at the expense of the poor, but under our current system they do. Trickledown economics is designed specifically to sequester wealth in the coffers of the already wealthy while being paid for by the middle and lower classes. Cutting assistance programs and mass transit programs which benefit the non-wealthy further increases the gap between the rich and everyone else.

We’ve drummed up a system in which we give government handouts to the wealthy in the form of tax breaks, while taking assistance away from the poor.

The “economic pie” may or may not be finite (it is, actually, but it’s big enough that everyone could have enough if we’d eliminate rapacious greed) but the wealthy have a vested short-term interest in cutting off access to the pie to everyone but themselves.

And I say short term because the wealthy have failed to learn from history and are therefore bound to repeat it - namely, once a system gets so unbalanced in favor of the rich that everyone else suffers, the pitchforks tend to come out and the rich tend to die messily. It would be in their long-term best interest to accept simply being rich, and not insist on continuing to get more rich at the expense of everyone else.


Actually it’s very good for the rich and super rich. Poorer people bring overall costs down. How to make your $200 million go farther is to bring down the cost of goods. Keep pay as low as possible brings down the cost of goods. The rich and super rich already have their money. Now they are just living off their investments.

Stocks jump when companies lay people off. Read Jack Welch’s book Winning.


Speaking of Henry Ford, did you see the proposed developement of Belle Isle in Detroit?

How does such a tax free utopia for the super wealthy effect the vast majority of Detroit’s population?

Belle Isle’s grand scheme is on hold but in the mean time the country is developing into restricted gated commumities for the well to do and deteriorating bankrupt commuities for those struggling to live on minimum wage. A rising economic tide does not lift all boats.


Yet the rich still pay a far greater share of our taxes than the middle or lower class. 39.4% of all federal taxes are paid by the top 1% earners.

And the 1% pay the highest tax rate of 33.7% if state and local taxes are considered

As for;

I think I can prove quite easily the pie is not finite. Software is the best, cleanest example. It is created from the mind of man, uses no natural resources like oil or gold to create and generates income for the creator. Depending on the software, it generates greater income for the purchaser.


The chart totally ignores income from capital gains. I wonder why?


And since the top 1% own the vast majority of wealth in this country…Why not.

It’s very very liberal of you to even consider the rest of us pay Federal tax. How about we go back to the way taxes were paid when this country was founded. Only businesses and landowners paid taxes.

I too am in the highest tax bracket…and super rich income is well over 1000% higher then mine.

And then there’s payroll tax like SSN which is capped $200,000. So someone earning $20m/yr…only 1% of their income is subject to the SSN tax, where as most of us it’s 100% of our income is (Thank you Ronald Reagan).


Yes, the political shell game with FICA taxes and capital gains income tax rates keeps the public confused and easily mislead.


Which chart? Adjusted Gross Income? AGI includes capital gains distributed in that tax year.

Check line 13, Form 1040, a box for “Capital gain or (loss)” included in AGI.


Why shouldn’t it be capped? The SS payouts are capped so the income is as well. We all know it is a pay-as-you-go tax masquerading as a retirement fund. It will be insolvent if we don’t do something and removing that cap as well as means testing recipients seems like a start.

I am not sure that should mean we get to tax heck out of them when they already pay the bulk of the freight.


You say this as though you think that’s not how it should be. The rich use more societal resources than the rest of us in order to make their money. Even those who got rich via software. Bill Gates wouldn’t have a dime if society hadn’t set up an energy grid to power his headquarters, a road network to get his employees to and from work, an education system to train him and his workers, not to mention providing the rest of us with those things so that we would have money with which to buy his products.

The old “rich people are overburdened with taxes, they got rich solely through their hard work and ingenuity and the government wants to take their money away” line is utter bunk.

If you don’t believe me, try this little thought experiment: Move to a deserted island, cut off all contact with society, and try to get rich.

Rich people are rich because society makes it possible for them to be rich, and they owe society a payback for facilitating that.


I’m not saying we should either…but there are people who earn over 100 times what I do and pay LESS TAX. Not just tax rate…but LESS TAX. The super rich have a lot of other avenues to hide their money that you and I don’t have.

That right there would pay off the national debt.


Where did you get that figure?

Depending on how much money you earn, you may not pay Social Security taxes on your entire income. That’s because a cap is set each year on the amount of income subject to Social Security taxes. Last year, that limit was $118,500, but in 2017, it jumped to $127,200. Now if you earn, say, $50,000 a year, that increase won’t make a difference, because you’ll still be paying Social Security taxes on your entire income no matter what. But if you’re a higher earner making, say, $130,000, you’ll pay an additional $539.40 in taxes this year because of that increase.


No, but that’s how you took it. Just pointing out the progressive nature of federal taxes today. The second article still showed progressive taxation but far less at the state and local level. This was to counter your point that the rich get away without paying their fair share of taxes. I think 1% paying 40% is more than fair.

Keep in mind that energy grid - the transmission part - is 80% privately owned as is 50% of the distribution. Most of it was created by private entities, not public.

Please note I didn’t write this line, you did.

As for the "Bill Gates on a desert island example, it does nothing to counter my argument of the infinite nature of the “pie”.

Yes, society that willingly gave money for something the guy getting rich was selling. The payback is a good product at a reasonable price being delivered. Society benefits from the taxes paid on the income that created. Seem society benefits already, all around.

Additionally, I hear the argument that the disparity of wealth concept cannot continue with no argument as to why is is a bad thing. Yes, I understand the historic “peasants with pitchforks” argument but no one seems to explain to me why the concept is bad other than it makes people jealous. Would you care to try? I’ve failed to find an answer on any progressive website.


Yes there can be rich guys who pay less tax than you but the facts, in aggregate, show the opposite. They pay more tax and a higher rate. They pay a higher rate and a larger amount. Back to that 1% paying 40% of federal taxes.

As for the Forbes article, it is interesting but that isn’t just Americans’ wealth. That’s $21T from all the worlds wealthy. As long as each country has its own tax laws, (or states for that matter) and people are free to travel, they will seek out the location that benefits them the most. The US IRS is trying very hard to interfere with that but we are one of the few countries that taxes income earned in another country when repatriated to the US. That’s why the money stays offshore.


I suspect, like most people, myself included, you are viewing your life the way you’ve been able to set it up based on financial circumstances.

If you didn’t have enough money to afford a car, your life would be significantly different. You’d have adjusted your expectations to match. Of course you’d have enough time to walk/take the bus because you’d have no alternative. Your life wouldn’t be set up such that 1/2 hour made a difference. That only happened because you have the financial wherewithal to have a car in the first place.

Poor people always have more time than money. Only after you have money do people say they have more money than time and go on to complain about spending money on things to provide time relief.

There was a good story on the news not long ago about a guy that walked something like 20 miles a day to TWO jobs he had (both minimum wage). He was doing what was necessary to make ends meet and lift himself up out of poverty. In the interview, not once did he say he NEEDED a car. It wasn’t even on the radar for him. Good news was that his fellow employees were raising public awareness of this guy’s determination in the face of the odds against him and some company donated him a car. The TV show donated something like $15k to help with expenses (gas, insurance, maintenance etc). I bet this lift accelerates his exit from financial straits but I suspect he had it in him anyway, just take a bit longer.

As mentioned poor people probably can’t afford 10 bags of groceries in the first place and they do what it takes, like shopping more frequently so they can manage to get what they can afford home on the bus. Same for kids extracurricular equipment needs. If you’re poor, you don’t have money for those sports, let alone the required equipment…so you don’t even need to worry about how to transport that stuff.

I think we invent NEEDS based on our situations, myself included. But they are not truly needs but wants that are achievable only because of financial wherewithal.

The poor guy takes the bus and needs 2.0 hours to commute. The middle class earner has a car and that takes 1.0 hour to commute. The rich guy has a helicopter and it takes 0.5 hour. I’m betting the rich guy says “I can’t afford to sit in a car for an hour” It’s all perspective and relative :wink:


Federal and state taxes are a can of worms and who pays what is difficult to determine for the outsiders but for those at the top the loopholes and technicalities can be plucked out by tax experts and utilized to play into the shell game to good advantage.


Rod, That article is about LOW income people being given a break on capital gains taxes, not high income folks. They still pay 15% up to the very highest tax bracket who then pay 20%. Middle and lower income retirees living off SS and their IRA’s would fall into the lowest - 0% - group.