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Schiff: Taxing the Wealthy Won't Cure Financial Woes

The CEO of Euro Pacific Capital, who lives in Weston, says reducing the size of government is the answer.

As America approaches the fiscal cliff, Republicans and Democrats are still working through negotiations to see if a deal could be struck before the end of the year. If nothing is done, tax cuts enacted on the richest Americans under President George W. Bush would expire, raising the tax rate on those earners from 35 to 39.6 percent.

But raising taxes on America's wealthiest earners won't help fix America's bleak finances, according to Peter Schiff, a Weston resident who is the CEO of Euro Pacific Capital.

Schiff, who unsuccessfully sought the Republican nomination for Connecticut's U.S. Senate seat in 2010, wrote an op-ed piece published in the Wall Street Journal last week which seeks to debunk President Barack Obama's notion that taxing the rich at higher rates—which has been done in the past—will help America climb out of yearly deficits and ever-increasing debt. Schiff took to CNBC recently to defend his op-ed

"Raising taxes on the top two percent—they're already paying more than their fair share," he said. "Increasing taxes on that group isn't going to solve the problem. We do need to dramatically cut government spending, and if we fail to do that, then we're going to have to increase taxes dramatically on the middle class. The fiscal cliff is just a small down payment on paying the piper. We have to pay for all this government. The big mistake was growing government."

Schiff said the wealthiest are already paying more than enough in taxes. In his op-ed, he said that while the tax rate on the wealthiest has fallen since the 1950s, the tax burden has remained relatively flat because almost half of those who file taxes pay none. 

"Right now, I'm paying 45 percent of my total income in income taxes, both to the state of Connecticut and to the federal government, and if you take the three percent Medicare tax," he said. "After the tax hikes go into effect next year, more than half—more than half of my total income is going to go to the government. You tell me, what's fair about that when medieval serfs pay 25 percent, I'm paying half. I don't care what the majority voted to do, they don't have a right to steal my money just because they vote for it."

And what will happen if taxes are raised on the rich?

"You know what the wealthy are going to do," Schiff said. "They're going to invest more abroad, they're not going to work as hard, they're not going to pay as much in taxes, they're not going to employ as many people. Their employees are going to pay all the taxes."

John Loeser December 11, 2012 at 12:54 PM
First, I pay my taxes each year with a smile on my face. We have one of the most bountiful bargains on the planet. I have no objection to paying my fair share, just as I would expect Peter to be willing to pay his fair share. Second the United States offers a vast collection of opportunities to invest and prosper. United States has so many millionaires because they chose to do just that - invest in the United States.
Cathy Sorge December 11, 2012 at 01:20 PM
I do not believe he pays that amount in taxes! No way!
Cathy Sorge December 11, 2012 at 01:27 PM
This guy schiff is a liar, and a cry baby and the article was really not worth wasting my time reading. What he said was just too ignorant for words.
Karla Donovan December 11, 2012 at 02:34 PM
Is there anyone left who is saying raising taxes a lousy 3 to 4 percent on the highest income levels is going to solve all the problems? No. Everyone with a brain in their head agrees that expenses also need to be cut. Mr. Schiff has done extremely well, especially through all the Bush years when taxes were low, and expenses went up and up. Did Mr. Schiff make any personal sacrifices for the war effort? I doubt it. This editorial seems like it was written three years ago. Get over it. The rich need to pay a LITTLE more as part of the entire package. Unless Mr. Schiff is under 30 years of age, he has paid these rates before and survived just fine. If he is saying that he will simply stop working if He has to pay another 4 percent income taxes on his adjusted income that is over $250,000 then that is his character flaw. The rich are really into patting themselves on the back and simultaneously feeling sorry for themselves. This country is going down the tubes because we idolize the rich Instead of admiring people who do the right thing, The author of this piece is also a libertarian. Where is the news here? This is not just yesterday's news, it is last year's news! I guess they're still trying to get the rich to revolt.
Anne Frederiksen December 11, 2012 at 02:43 PM
When he mentiones 45% taxes paid, he includes the Medicare tax that wealthy tax payers are assesed. He probably also includes his Real Estate Taxes to get up to 45%. And he is right. Raising taxes on the riches 2% is not going to solve the fiscal problems alone. But it is a start and should be implemented IMMIDIATELY. A. Frederiksen
martin munitz December 11, 2012 at 02:50 PM
Less government for this greedy man means more money in his pockets. Raising taxes on those who can most afford it, is a start, but to ask others to make sacrifices while RICH WHITE AMERICA takes another holiday, is scandalous and immoral.
Bill December 11, 2012 at 03:25 PM
Here's another hidden tax not yet discussed: When the Federal Reserve is buying 40 billion dollars a month in mortgage backed securities, it devalues the dollar at a rate of approximately 3% per month, At the end of just one year, the dollar will be worth 36% less than it did prior to this insane scheme. And one must ask, why is the Federal Reserve buying up home mortgages? When the home owners can no longer pay their mortgage due to the devaluation of the dollar and over taxation, the Federal Reserve will swoop in to grab their homes, eventuating in the Federal Reserve owning all the real estate in the United States. It should be noted that the Federal reserve is not Federal at all. It is a consortium of private profit making banks.
Susanne Krivit December 11, 2012 at 04:00 PM
I think The Weston-Redding-Easton Patch should be neutral and stick to local news. During the recent election cycle it was obvious The Patch was conservative leaning, as it is obvious from this article. The voters in Weston-Redding-Easton as a group voted for Obama and his agenda, not Romney and the conservative agenda. If The Patch wants to increase and not decrease their readership, they need to be more aware of who lives in these towns. Just because we are affulent as a group does not mean we are not interested in a progressive tax system.
Karla Donovan December 11, 2012 at 04:31 PM
Agree. The Patch should be neutral, but it always pushes a far right agenda.
Andrew Ziemba December 11, 2012 at 05:49 PM
Stop picking on the millionaires. Start picking on the billionaires. They are the ones that control all governments and all money supplies. Millionaires create jobs. Billionaires create slaves. Schiff is a good man and pays way too much in taxes. Billionaires are untouched. They do as the please, because they control countries. Pick on the people who created and now RUN the Federal Reserve. Pick on the people who are trying to create a one world government. Pick on the people who do NOT believe in freedom, or liberty. Pick on those who oppose civil liberties for ALL, regardless of gender, orientation, color OR WEALTH.
Andrew Ziemba December 11, 2012 at 05:51 PM
Good to know that you know nothing of which you speak. To balance the budget EVERYONE would need to be taxes MUCH higher. EVERYONE. Not just the upper and middle class. It is an impossible situation. This is why the dollar is doomed, and more importantly, our country. I would advise you to prepare for the inevitable collapse as most intelligent people are doing.
Andrew Ziemba December 11, 2012 at 05:58 PM
We are all Americans. Some are just terrible examples of unpatriotic filth. There's no need to rant about "RICH WHITE AMERICA" as it makes you sound like you are part of the black panther group. Take money from rich PEOPLE who create jobs on their own in the private sector, and give it to unintelligent, uneducated ANIMALS who won't work and would rather steal money from people who do. Show me one period in history where that strategy worked. Take your time getting back to me, I will enjoy your response.
Andrew Ziemba December 11, 2012 at 05:59 PM
The biggest tax increase of all will be the inflation tax though. Now, since Peter has a functional brain unlike half of the people on this thread, he will prosper during severe inflation.
Andrew Ziemba December 11, 2012 at 06:02 PM
Errrr....This is local news. He lives in Easton. Also, Patch is NOTORIOUSLY liberal. Are you insane? Call it like it is. Romney was a moderate/Neocon - the only conservative thing about him was his style of clothing! Lastly, Peter Schiff is a LIBERTARIAN. He hates the right and hates the far right even more. Sorry to burst your bubble, but you are basically 100% wrong, both of you.
Cathy Sorge December 11, 2012 at 06:27 PM
Oh my we all are wrong . Isn't THAT interesting. Much more so then the rediculous article ! Lol So ,only one person responding to this article and Schiffis is 100 % right and all the rest are wrong and have no brains. Lol Wow! So if a person has their own opinion that differs from them ,then that person has no brains. I now see how it works. Good to know . Thanks
Karla Donovan December 11, 2012 at 06:45 PM
Despite what you write, Mr. Z., I am not picking on anyone. The private equity leaders have made tremendous amounts of money from 1998-2008. Government policies helped, and the government under Bush who repeatedly and foolishly pushed not,only higher spending in government but also pushed private citizens into spending more than they should by calling for extra shopping as patriotic and trying to gain even more control over the American public by fostering great anxiety and fear instead of calling for strength and bravery after 9/11 and the Iraq War, helped make the rich even richer. People spent out of anxiety. People who owned private equity made the easiest money ever during this time. Yes, I'm sure they worked long hours. So do many many people who do not earn mega money. I am not against millionaires. I am one, and I do not live off the government. The financial industry had the Perfect Storm in a good way for years when it came to financial dealings. I agree the billionaires should pay higher rates. I believe when someone makes millions and millions of dollars per year off dividends, then their rates should be higher than the average Joe investor... We need massive tax reform and people who can think outside the box. Their are solutions, and everyone is going to hurt. So get a box of Kleenex. I didn't take home equity loans to re-do my kitchen, neither my husband nor I nor the kids are on government assistance. Your insults bring nothing to any solution.
Kent December 11, 2012 at 06:55 PM
Can't you think of something better to do with your time Mr. Ziemba than insulting others? It may make you feel better personally to call people names or even animals (?!), but you're not convincing anyone with your 'the end is near' arguments when you also come off as unhinged.
Andrew Ziemba December 11, 2012 at 07:40 PM
Awww how thoughtful of you to single me out. Why don't you ask those above why they feel they should string Schiff up and bleed him dry just because he makes more than them? Certainly advocating peace is a more respectful cause than spreading the belief that people should be taxed by force through the threat of brute force and jail?
Karla Donovan December 11, 2012 at 07:50 PM
I guess I missed a few comments wherein posters wrote that Mr. Schiff should be "strung up and bled dry."
Cathy Sorge December 11, 2012 at 08:22 PM
I missed it too. Where was it said ?
Cathy Sorge December 11, 2012 at 08:24 PM
Which post said that ? Or is someone making things up ???? Hmmmmm???
Andrew Ziemba December 11, 2012 at 08:38 PM
Figuratively speaking, you all want to string up the rich and bleed them dry of their wealth. Or should we reserve that term for when it is 60%, 70%, 80%?
Andrew Ziemba December 11, 2012 at 08:45 PM
All of this was because of government intervention, Republicans and Democrats both. I'm not insulting anyone. The only people who are offended by what I am saying are people who feel that it is moral, right, and just to steal. Theft is immoral, and the only people who are allowed to do it are in the government. If you honestly feel that Schiff should pay more in taxes, and claim to be a millionaire yourself, then it is blatantly obvious that you are either delusional or made your money wrongfully. Either way, that's your problem. No moral person can claim the right to steal from another person.
Cathy Sorge December 11, 2012 at 08:50 PM
Don't you just love it when some people assume they know what you are thinking ? Mind reading now, how brilliant. I believe if I am not mistake that someone on this site stated he was a millionaire , and did not agree with Schiff. Now what ? Does he want to be bled dry by himself ? Not ONE person stated they wanted to bleed the wealthy dry. People should not assume what they do NOT know .
Andrew Ziemba December 11, 2012 at 09:22 PM
Well what % tax is too much? We started at Zero. At what point would you consider it slavery? A Medieval serf would only pay 25%. At what point would you figuratively say the rich are being hung out to bleed dry? 80%? 90%? If 90% of a rich person's wealth was taken from them then would it finally be considered to use that description of the action of stealing? These are legitimate questions. Give me a legitimate answer instead of coming up with bogus insults.
Karla Donovan December 11, 2012 at 10:29 PM
Someone is getting hysterical.
Cathy Sorge December 11, 2012 at 11:10 PM
I think it's called a " hissy fit " .
Bruce Johnson December 12, 2012 at 02:04 AM
Whenever I need money for things to make my life better, I either take it out of savings, make more money, or stop spending on other things. Our country is at a place where its savings are depleted, so we need to both take in more money through taxes and fees, and cut spending by deciding which programs are not needed right now. Both of these things need to happen. This is not a partisan issue, it is a pocketbook issue. People who do not wish to share in the benefits this nation offers should find something more to their liking. Everyone else needs to calm down and work out the problem. It is not that complicated. Less war, more health care, fewer writeoffs, longer waits for benefits, smaller programs, more research. Write your representatives and get them moving in the right direction.
Cathy Sorge December 12, 2012 at 02:53 AM
I agree Bruce .
Karla Donovan December 12, 2012 at 03:29 AM
Excellent comment, Mr. Johnson.

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