Stimulate the economy: buy another yacht!

Spotted on teh Twitters yesterday:

It was supposed to be a laugh line, I assume. A real gotcha. Because Mitt Romney is rich and another tax break would mean he would have more disposable income, with which he would clearly do nothing productive but would just buy another yacht. The nerve.

It’s basic populist, class warfare rhetoric. It’s also a symptom of why this disaster of a president’s policies have caused an economic crisis to turn into a societal and economic malaise. It’s also sloppy.

For starters, I wonder how all those people who manufacture yachts and yacht accessories, or the raw materials used in yacht production, would feel about their livelihoods being slighted.

Yachts don’t descend from Mount Olympus, whole and entire, clad in platinum and birds eye maple, landing gently in some small New England harbor where they wait, sleek and pretentious, until T. Coddington van Voorhees VII comes by in one of his chauffeured Bentleys that runs on the tender tears of baby seals to snap up another one. To use for firewood.

Someone builds those yachts. In fact, a whole lot of someones build those yachts in New Jersey, Wisconsin, Florida, Tennessee, California, New York, Washington state, North Carolina, South Carolina, and other states. They get paid to build them. Chances are good that the majority of those who labor to build them cannot afford to buy them. So if more are purchased that means more people are doing more work to build them. If more are purchased, more people are hired and paid money to build them, which means more people have money to live their lives.


Second, any president who, in the midst of an economic crisis, would chuck around $6.5 billion of taxpayer money down money sinkholes like Solyndra, Ener1, and Abound, and push stinkers like the Chevy Volt with massive taxpayer-funded subsidies has no right to lecture anyone else on what is an appropriate thing to do with their own money.

Third, millionaires like Mitt Romney didn’t *become* millionaires by buying another yacht. Self-made millionaires make their money by working hard, taking risks with their own money, and investing their own money wisely in companies that prosper. In the process healthy companies grow and hire more people. Unhealthy companies close, thus freeing up resources—including laborers—to contribute to the economy in a company that will progress and grow.

So, if you give tax cuts to those who pay lots of money in taxes they then have more of the money they earned to use either to buy stuff, which spurs economic activity, to directly invest in companies, which spurs economic activity, or to donate to worthy philanthropic endeavors, which spurs some economic activity and good deeds.

But don’t just take my word for it, check out what Obama’s former chief economist said about tax cuts and tax increases.

Behold: John Kerry's foreign-built $7 million sailing yacht "Isabel."

(Side note: anyone else remember the time John Kerry—a millionaire who did not earn his millions but married into them—was caught docking his brand new yacht—a 76-foot, seven million dollar, foreign made behemoth, I might add—in Newport, Rhode Island, rather than Massachusetts to avoid paying Massachusetts taxes on his luxury liner? Fun times.)

So if the intention is to spur economic activity then even by the standard set in Obama’s own demagoguery, a tax cut for millionaires would not be a bad thing. Whether he millionaire buys another yacht or invests in a startup or even, perhaps, a company with a new energy saving technology (read: green energy)—but one that is *worth* investing in on the business merits—the tax cut for the millionaire seems like a good idea.



36 thoughts on “Stimulate the economy: buy another yacht!

  1. someoneyoudontkown says:

    This is who you are endorsing. You are disgusting and catholic in name only.

    1. Teawithsheep says:

      That is incredibly disappointing, but it isn’t exactly surprising- we’ve all known Romney isn’t as pro-life as we would like. However, Romney is still a more pro-life candidate than Obama because he has promised to support pro-life legislation. I am not saying Romney would be a great win for the pro-life movement, but he is currently the most pro-life candidate of the candidates capable of winning a majority. I know plenty of people who argue that we should have third-party candidates, but the fact of the matter is that our current laws require a majority win, not a plurality (meaning that you can’t win by getting 40% of the vote versus 35% and 25%)- and that’s not going to change before November. Unless you know of a candidate who is currently above the 40% mark in voter support other than Romney at this point in the election cycle, I’m unaware of how you can avoid voting for Romney without tacitly supporting Obama. And Obama is unabashedly pro-choice.

  2. Boo Hoo says:

    Demanding justice is not a matter of envy. You just want to ignore what constitutes justice. Class war has been waged by the rich against the poor pretty much since the beginning of time. It’s a matter of bullying. You make it sound like the rich are bullied victims.

    1. Joe M says:

      Boo Hoo. Can you give a specific example of “the rich” waging class warfare? Do they conduct meetings? How much do you have to make in order to join?

      1. Just Sayin' says:

        How about that $5000 a plate dinner where Romney castigated half the nation as dependent on government welfare? So they have to make more than you do.

        1. Joe M says:

          Ok. So, when you refer to “the rich” you are referring only to the people that were in that room? — Or, would you like to walk back the absurd notion that the rich are working together?

        2. Teawithsheep says:

          Hmm…Obama, as much as he talks about caring about the middle class and poor, has held many dinners at similar rates for fundraising. Actually, that’s a pretty normal way to raise money for any given cause. So, I don’t think you are really making the point that you think you are.

    2. Tom Crowe says:

      Yes, I just want to ignore what constitutes justice. At least justice as far as you’ve defined it. You make it sound like anyone wishing to keep what they earn so that they can do with it what they see fit is a form of bullying.

    3. JCV_Truth says:

      you forgot that the one who offer a decent job to the poor is the rich, that is why they are rich, because they invest their money to generate more goods and services, and growing his company they hired more “poor” people, and then those people became less and less poor, and then some of that same people have the courage to also invest their own money to create a new business… and that new business create new jobs…and that’s the business cycle… But with all this class warfare complex you cant understand that!

  3. Sir Robert says:

    Why has America become such a selfish, jealous, victimized populace? I am not rich…probably never will. I do not expect either candidate to help my particular circumstance all that much….but why should I care that someone is successful and rich? At the same time, Christ warned us to not turn our back on the poor, so I think a prudential and charitable attitude taken on by the richer among us in inline with the gospel. The poor will always be with us. I would like to see individuals take on upon themselves more austere living, but I just don’t want government condemning people for being successul and making them do so…

  4. GREG SMITH says:

    Dear Tom ~ For a guy who is may be at the lower end of the 54% I actually know a little about yachts. A friends in the parish sometimes takes me to lunch at the St. Francis Yacht club
    and I get to chat about them with the folks who have one (not two I don’t think).Did Kerry (who isn’t running for president this year) really pay 7 million for that dinky little
    thing? Hope it has knockout interiors and state of the art electronics. BTW, I really don’t think we can build an economy on products and services for the wealthy and defense. The one country that managed to do that is Saudi Arabia which, when the oil revenues stop, IS going to implode. Pax, Greg

    1. Tom Crowe says:

      Well, $7 million is the reported price tag for that “dinky little thing,” and I’m not proposing that we could, or should, build an economy on yacht manufacturing, service to the wealthy, and defense; but I think you realize that.

      1. Mara says:

        There’s a very simple way to put fairness into our tax system. Those who buy more “yachts” pay more taxes. Income tax would be replaced by a tax on purchases. He who buys more goodies pays more taxes. No more IRS, which would save billions of dollars in reduced federal costs. More take home pay rather than deductions for income taxes. The rich would pay their “fair” share because they buy more things and more luxury things. The middle class and poor would pay less taxes because they purchase less. It’s simple, straight forward and fair. Hiding income in off shore accounts would be just fine because taxes would be based on purchases and not on income.

        1. Tom Crowe says:

          I like it, in principle. No idea if it’s practicable. And there’s no way it could happen politically! Wait! Stop the presses: Mara and I agree on something! 😉

          1. Mara says:

            It would happen politically if we all spoke up. Many great things would happen if Americans got off their keasters and spoke up. And yes, we did agree. Perhaps we’re not all that different after all.

      2. ifollowHATE says:

        seems to be exactly what you are suggesting. Hows that beer?

        1. Tom Crowe says:

          The beer it delicious, thanks for asking. And it only sounds that way to h8ers who want to hear me saying it.

  5. Sadly, trickle down economics has never worked. We’ve been trying it for the past 30 decades, and the poor have become poorer, while the ultra-rich have become even richer. There is no reason why Mitt Romney should pay 13% taxes, while myself and other teachers pay 17%. That’s not fair. Even worse, the Ryan budget reduces the tax on the highest earners to practically nothing. If the Republican’s plans are implemented, Mitt Romney would pay 0.86% in taxes while everyone else pays more. That’s looking out for number one!

    1. Jamie, “trickle-down economics” has been a roaring success, as you yourself just showed. It’s a made-up piece of public relations jargon foisted on an ignorant public by populist campaigners as being the position of their opponents. It has to be one of modern history’s most successful “straw men.” My challenge to you is this. Either 1) show me a single conservative economist who has ever used the phrase “trickle-down” to describe his own work or 2) say precicely what economic policies you are referring to that we’ve “been trying for the past 30 decades” [I presume you mean 30 years] without success.

        1. A bit obscure but OK. Citation please. I presume you weren’t referring to “Some people may attempt to dismiss the essential
          points I have made as “the trickle-down theory.” Such disparagement does not in
          any way refute any of those points. They all remain true.”

        2. A bit obscure, but OK. Citation please. I presume you weren’t referring to: “Some people may attempt to dismiss the essential points I have made as “the trickle-down theory.” Such disparagement does not in any way refute any of those points. They all remain true.”

      1. ifollowHATE says:

        Let’s not get lost on facts here Robert. The point being, that during the last 30 years, while the highest income tax bracket has gone from 50% to 39% to current 35%, the poor have gotten poorer. Romney says he pays 13% in taxes, but most Americans pay far more than that, and have far less to give.

        1. Tom Crowe says:

          Wait, the poor have gotten poorer? You mean so poor that only a meager 1/3 of those who live below the nominal “poverty line” can afford a wide-screen plasma or LCD-screen TV? Dinesh D’Souza famously remarked when he came to the U.S. that the U.S. is the only country where even the poor people are fat. And he didn’t mean because McDonalds forced Supersized meals down their throats.

        2. OK, Hate Follower.
          First, you need to understand the difference between marginal tax rates and effective tax rates. The Internal Revenue Code has actually become MORE progressive over the past few decades if you look at the share of national income that people earn and the share of taxes that they pay. And yes, that includes Mitt Romney since you seem so interested.
          “Top one percent guy only pays 13% while we pay more” sounds plausible because most of us pay the bulk of our federal tax bill as income taxes (followed by FICA which is only a tiny portion of the tax bill for the wealthy). But if the question is “do the rich pay their fair share?” it really shouldn’t matter what line item is the biggest on their tab. Doesn’t it make more sense to look at their WHOLE income and their WHOLE tax bill, whether it shows up on their return or not?
          Fortunately for us, the Congressional Budget Office generates a report that captures ALL federal taxes (including personal incom taxes, FICA, corporate income taxes and excise taxes) and breaks down who pays what by household income. In 2009 (the most recent year we have complete data for) the top one percent earned 13.3% of the national income and shouldered 22.3% of the tax burden while the middle twenty percent of us earned 14.4% of the total income and paid 9.4% of federal taxes.
          There are plenty of conversations and debates to have about taxes: for example, what the fairest levels are, whether we should modify the structure of the tax code rather than just playing around with the rates, and whether it matters WHAT we tax as well as WHOM (it does). But before we can even get to those important discussions, we need to begin with the world as it really is. And the notion that Mitt Romney, Warren Buffett, Oprah Winfrey, and the rest of the “super rich” are paying a smaller share of their income than the rest of us is pure fantasy.
          That brings us to your assertion that “the poor have gotten poorer.” Poorer in what way? Do you mean that they have less disposable income than before? consume less food? have higher infant mortality or receive less health care? own fewer houses, cars, and appliances? Or do you just mean that their situation has not improved at the same pace as the well off? If that’s what you mean, then I agree and I agree that it’s a problem, a HUGE problem. I just don’t think it’s a function of the tax code. Nor do I think that we help the situation by speaking in facile bumper sticker slogans like “the poor get poorer.”
          Perhaps you could consider leaving Hate and becoming a follower of Reason.

        3. Joe M says:

          It appears that ifollowHATE doesntfollowECONOMICS.

    2. Tom Crowe says:

      Supply-side economics don’t work? You better call the mid-to-late 80′s, the majority of the nineties, and well into the 2000′s and let them know they never happened. Further, I’m not sure your definition of “fair” and how you arrive at it, but it appears to include class envy rather than a sound economic or social justice theory. Perhaps rather than complain about the percentage of tax Romney paid, consider three things: 1) 13% of Romney’s income is millions of dollars (which, I’m guessing, is more than your tax bill); and 2) as of 2009, the top 10% of earners (those making over $112K) pay 71% of the income taxes while the top 1% of earners (making at least $344K) pay 36% of the taxes (source:; 3) As my post outlines, the more of their own money the wealthy have the more they can use it to spur the economy.

      1. ifollowHATE says:

        The top 10% of earners pay 71% of the taxes you say? Well, according to UCSC research, they control 83% of the wealth. So, they aren’t paying their FAIR SHARE and are sticking all the other Americans with the tax bill. I suspect that most Americans will say they are better off when Clinton was president, than in any year since, when tax rates were higher, how exactly does that work, Mr. Supply Side Economics?

        1. Tom Crowe says:

          Again, what’s with the class envy? Why do you H8 those who are successful? Should their percentage of the tax bill necessarily be tied to what percentage of the wealth they control? Why? How do you arrive at your definition of “fair”? How can you say that they’re “sticking all the other Americans with the tax bill” when they pay 71% of it, draw the least amount of services from the government dole, and 47% of Americans don’t pay any income tax at all? Did you notice that the economy rebounded during the Clinton years after the Newt Gingrich-led GOP congress cut taxes (reversing the trend started when George H.W. Bush pushed through a tax *hike*)?

          1. ifollowHATE says:

            What’s with the dishonesty? I said nothing about class envy. I said that the richest Ameicans are paying less in taxes than poorer Americans even though they have more to give. Why do you support tax laws that penalize the poor and underprivileged?

          2. Joe M says:

            ifollowHATE. You applauded the Clinton years yourself. The tax laws passed then were very similar to the cuts that Paul Ryan and the Republicans are calling for now. Poverty decreased after those policies were passed. Do you like that result or not?

          3. Guest says:

            Yes, I applaud the work of the Newt Gingrich-led Congress in the years 1995-96, and I would prefer a president like Clinton with his political sense to Obama and his lack of it. Clinton signed the tax cuts because he would have lost his reelection had he not. Same with the welfare reform law that he vetoed at first, and then signed after Dick Morris told him it would cost him reelection, and was such a boon for this country until Obama gutted it by removing the work requirement. I of course applaud good actions by the government, regardless of who holds the reins of power. Problem is, I’m hard pressed to find any good actions promoted by this President and his administration.

          4. Tom Crowe says:

            You don’t have to say the words “class envy” to exhibit it. The rich are not paying less in taxes—see Robert Corzine’s comment that deals with this. I’m not clear on how opposing excessive taxation of success somehow penalizes the poor and underprivileged. Why do you support laws that penalize success?

          5. Tom Crowe says:

            Yes, I also applaud the work of the Newt Gingrich-led Congress in the years 1995-96, and I would prefer a president like Clinton with his political sense to Obama and his lack of it. Clinton signed the tax cuts because he would have lost his reelection had he not. Same with the welfare reform law that he vetoed at first, and then signed after Dick Morris told him it would cost him reelection, and was such a boon for this country until Obama gutted it by removing the work requirement. I of course applaud good actions by the government, regardless of who holds the reins of power. Problem is, I’m hard pressed to find any good actions promoted by this President and his administration.

  6. Dandee says:

    Sadly I never thought I’d live to see the day an American President would put down success or jobs.

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