Obama takes tax plan to Facebook billionaires

SAN FRANCISCO Tue Apr 19, 2011 5:06pm EDT

President Barack Obama answers questions from the audience at a town hall at Northern Virginia Community College, Annandale Campus in Annandale, Virginia, April 19, 2011. REUTERS/Jim Young

President Barack Obama answers questions from the audience at a town hall at Northern Virginia Community College, Annandale Campus in Annandale, Virginia, April 19, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Jim Young

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SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - President Barack Obama may face a tough audience when he brings his tax-hike-for- billionaires message to Facebook on Wednesday -- Silicon Valley is full of the sort of people the president wants to pay more tax.

National debt is a major concern, particularly after the rating agency Standard & Poor's threatened to downgrade the U.S. credit rating, and Obama has set a goal of cutting the deficit by $4 trillion within 12 years or less.

Obama now plans to touring the nation to tout his plan, including ending tax cuts for those making more than $250,000.

"If we're asking people who are going to see potentially fewer services in their neighborhoods to make a little sacrifice, then we can ask millionaires and billionaires to make a little sacrifice," he told Virginia students on Tuesday.

He will get to make that pitch to the 19th wealthiest person in the United States, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who is worth a cool $13.5 billion, Forbes calculates.

Obama will host a Webcast meeting on the economy from Facebook headquarters on Wednesday afternoon.

Business is booming in the tech capital, including at Facebook, the social networking site in a bidding war for talent with the likes of Google and Twitter.

The Silicon Valley economy is recovering from the recession, adding more than 12,000 jobs last year, according to Joint Venture: Silicon Valley. The top shops are in a fight for top talent, as well, say recruiters.

"The war is still very, very hot and very, very hard," said Al Delattre, global managing director for the technology industry at executive placement group Korn/Ferry. As companies make the move to mobile and social networking, competition for senior executives has ratcheted up.

Those people at the top work very hard, argues David Nosal, who runs his own recruiting firm in San Francisco.

"So the harder I work, the more you want to take?" said Nosal, who himself would be affected by the proposal.

"They have to figure out a way to incentivize people who are not working as hard to work harder," he said. "I think (Obama's) going to get a bit of that and should get a bit of that from the people he's going to meet with in the Valley."

(Reporting by Peter Henderson and Alexei Oreskovic)

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Comments (6)
fred5407 wrote:
I think the working harder statement is a bunch of bunk. The small business community, of which I am one, is willing to anti up and get the country on track, but the wealthy have to pay their share also. The country gave them the opportunity to earn what they have and like a loan, it has to be paid. It costs money to run a country. There are lots of programs for the free loaders and for the large corporations to minimize their taxes, but those have to go. We have to take care of our older people, but an open check book on medical costs has to end.

Apr 19, 2011 5:28pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Skruples wrote:
Those people at the top work very hard, argues David Nosal, who runs his own recruiting firm in San Francisco.

“So the harder I work, the more you want to take?” said Nosal, who himself would be affected by the proposal.
—end quote—

Does Reuters just phone anyone with a half-important sounding title and report verbatim what they say? 80% of what I read in these articles is emotive nonsense with very little to do with the actual topic. The issue here isn’t a matter of how much ‘work’ someone puts in. I challenge anyone to demonstrate that Mr. Nolan here does more ‘work’ than an urban emergency room nurse. I’m not making an issue of whether he should be paid more, since he is more specialized than an ER nurse and this is the nature of our capitalism. Just don’t call it class warfare.

I’m a full time student writing my senior thesis on structured hierarchical abstracted models of cognition in the brain. I work as an emergency medical technician on my campus between 24 and 30 hours a week, down from 70 earlier in the semester when we had fewer supervisors. I’m compensated for 12 of those hours due to student payment guidelines. I also paid my own way through a private pilots license, something I pursued after surviving a plane crash on a small commercial flight. I’ve also, for the past two years, volunteered as a service dog trainer, being fully responsible for an animal from age 8 weeks to a little under 2 years, and paying for all costs out of pocket. I’m training my second animal now. I have two potential patent ideas that I simply don’t have the money or time to pursue right now.

I realize that I’m a rather exceptional case, but, all the same, anyone who thinks that someone makes 250 thousand dollars a year at a 9-5 job solely because they work harder than someone like me, who would literally be starving if my father didn’t help pay the bills, is probably missing the big picture. Don’t take this the wrong way. I’m not saying I deserve rich people’s money. I’m saying, given the overriding economic theories at work here, given the ‘tough’ choice between taking an extra 10% of Mr. Nolan’s income and, say, de-funding food stamps for millions of people who already have no recourse for that loss, that Mr. Nolan should shut his mouth and sleep well knowing he’s helping America.

I have yet to see any evidence that lowering taxes on upper levels on income earners has a single net-beneficial effect on the larger economy. I’m not saying it doesn’t encourage people to make money, simply that this is not in and of itself a good thing, and this is a point that fiscal conservatives and individuals like Mr. Nolan seem to miss on a regular basis. If you understand the term “decreasing marginal utility of wealth”, you shouldn’t be complaining about progressively increasing taxes on higher levels on income.

Apr 19, 2011 6:22pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Skruples wrote:
realized that I misspelled Nosal’s name throughout that entire post. My mistake.

Apr 19, 2011 6:34pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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