Overheard on CNN.com: Should wealthy Americans be taxed differently?
Congress is debating how to extend the payroll tax cut set to expire at the end of the year.
December 7th, 2011
07:35 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Should wealthy Americans be taxed differently?

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

In light of Congress' work to fix the budget and haggle over the payroll tax cut, the perennial debate over the haves and have-nots is heating up. President Obama said Tuesday that some of the wealthiest in America pay far less in federal taxes as a percentage of their income than many lower on the income scale. He said in a speech that "a quarter of all millionaires now pay lower tax rates than millions of middle-class households. Some billionaires have a tax rate as low as 1%." (These numbers are not fully verifiable.)

Obama: Billionaires and millionaires should pay more taxes

The CNNMoney commenter response to this statement was interesting, and both passionate and personal. We heard from several folks who read the story and talked about how they became wealthy.

clr33: "I was a single, broke female with a child. I scratched a living while I put myself through school with no child support (father dead). I am now quite wealthy. I still work over 14 hours a day. I donate 20% of what I make. I set aside 10% more for my son and his family's inheritance. I pay for my parents' mortgage as a means to pay back the help they gave me in a time when I needed someone to watch my son. Why am I condemned now for this? Why must I give over most of my money to those who do not want to work this hard?"

There was also some cynicism about earning wealth.

bobbiss: "I have associated in a partnership with so-called millionaires in my career, as a partner and both were crooks. I went on my own. So my opinion of millionaires is just that, they got their fortunes, as crooks. The system is set up for them to screw people. The system is there to help them succeed. I am retired with money I earned honestly and paid taxes for and still pay taxes. I left these partnerships when I smelled a rat. The Occupy generation needs your support to get it right."

Many commenters said it's important to have wealthy people around to build the economy and create jobs, and many commenters also said they feared keeping taxes low would hurt the government and economy.

hokiefan: "Any money flowing downward from the corporations, rich, etc., feeds the economy. Show me a country where 'from each according to their ability, to each according to their needs' has ever worked? Who cares if the rich spend less of a percentage? They pay more taxes than 90% of the rest of us. This POTUS and his tribe are feeding the flames of class warfare. Class warfare has never created a stable, prosperous country."

useyourhead: "Lower taxes have never produced a great economy either. (And especially without record government spending, which hides the fact that low taxes even works at all!)"

There was a heated debate over flat taxes, with some saying they're fairer for everyone and others saying the numbers are deceptive.

fleetingfree: "We could cut everyone's taxes to a much more reasonable level if the write-offs were just gone. This would benefit the middle class the most. The write-offs are a scam for people with lawyers and accountants. All we need is one standard deduction for poverty level and then a flat tax rate."

phelonius: "Sorry, flat taxes do not benefit anyone but the richest. Period."

But many felt the rich weren't paying enough.

PeterPSA: "I also want to pay no taxes, just like those 4,000 households earning more than $1 million. I work hard, every day, often evenings and weekends. I don't have a swimming pool to lay by or swim in, I have a tiny backyard with a lawn chair, but lord knows I work my b'tt off. I work as hard or harder than those rich folks. And if corporations are people, then I also want to be treated like a corporation, since I am a person just like they are. I've heard they pay no taxes, either. Why am I being left out of these nice deals?"

hokiefan: "We do tax the rich at 35%, plus 7% state, plus 15% capital gains, plus sales tax. The top 10% pay 70% of all collected taxes in the U.S. Why is that not enough?"

Now, we want to know what you think about taxes, wealth and the economy. How much should people be taxed, and in what way? Is our current system fair, and how can we fix it? What do you think about the current loopholes out there? Share your ideas for solving the tax conundrum in the comments area below.

Share your opinion in the comments area below and in the latest stories on CNN.com. Or sound off on video via CNN iReport.

Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

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Filed under: Economy • Finance • Overheard on CNN.com • Taxes
soundoff (38 Responses)
  1. RUFFNUTT (pit bull trainer)

    OF COURSE THEY SHOULD BE TAXED... I WANT TO SIT IN MY HOUSE and smoke weed all day..
    i shouldn't have to pay for all my baby momma's babies medical expenses.. that's the goverments job..

    December 7, 2011 at 7:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Shiela Johnson

      Arrest Eric Holder – for giving thousands of assault rifles to cartel members and then letting them be used to kill border patrol Agent Brian Terry.

      Impeach Obama – for "Operation Fast and Furious" and committing treason against the American people.

      December 7, 2011 at 8:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • RUFFNUTT (pit bull trainer)

      i liked all the fast and the furious movies...

      December 7, 2011 at 8:42 pm | Report abuse |
  2. gung hoe

    Differemtly no same way would be good this is why we need a flat tax

    December 7, 2011 at 8:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • RUFFNUTT (pit bull trainer)

      falt tax will never happen... that would be way way way to simple...

      December 7, 2011 at 8:43 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Peikovianii

    The latest science discoveries in quantum entanglement prove that all protesters are billionaires and can go home now.

    December 7, 2011 at 8:39 pm | Report abuse |
  4. genomega1

    These so called millionaires have already paid the taxes on their earnings, they already pay the bulk of taxes that keep this country going. What these Marxist wannabes want to do is confiscate their money. They fail to see what is going on in Europe, they have run out of other peoples money. The sad thing is that the leftist know that their supporters are totally ignorant of all things economic, they could not even balance a checkbook if their life depended on it. People with money do not get a weekly paycheck so there is no income to tax period. What Obama is trying to do is raise taxes on small businesses, you know the people that create the jobs in this country. Sad state of affairs.

    December 7, 2011 at 9:05 pm | Report abuse |
  5. bobcat (in a hat)

    These so called millionaire corporate owners have not been creating jobs either. These are the people who are sending americans jobs overseas in order to inflate the ludicrous profit they already make.
    So yes, they should be paying a little more on their multi-million dollar homes and their yachts, all of which they extraordinary loopholes to get away with next to nothing. The common person doesn't get the same consideration.

    December 7, 2011 at 9:32 pm | Report abuse |
  6. jake

    We all need to save all the money we can and turn to GOD. If you have enough money and GOD on your side usually things turn out ok.

    December 7, 2011 at 9:33 pm | Report abuse |
  7. s kel

    Shut up Brian, your asz needs to be impeach from my country traitor.

    December 7, 2011 at 9:49 pm | Report abuse |
  8. banasy©

    Hey, bc(iah).
    What shakin, bacon?

    December 7, 2011 at 9:52 pm | Report abuse |
  9. s kel

    I would say that even if pres was republican, indi. Dem. Back up what the hell u say FOOL!

    December 7, 2011 at 9:53 pm | Report abuse |
  10. banasy©

    Ah, s kel, my dear...calm as usual! 😉

    December 7, 2011 at 9:54 pm | Report abuse |
  11. s kel

    Hey Bansay.....:-( waters comming in my basment.

    December 7, 2011 at 9:54 pm | Report abuse |
  12. s kel

    Calm???? Lol noooooo only on Christmas Day.

    December 7, 2011 at 9:56 pm | Report abuse |
  13. banasy©

    S'el, you're kidding me! That sux! How much water, and why?

    December 7, 2011 at 9:57 pm | Report abuse |
  14. s kel

    oh well

    December 7, 2011 at 10:00 pm | Report abuse |
  15. banasy©

    Ah, s kel, my friend, I was only kidding. You're one of the more feisty people I know! The lovely chrissy is another one...

    December 7, 2011 at 10:00 pm | Report abuse |
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