Higher taxes haven't hurt the rich at all

Roughly 75% of America's wealthy are spending just as freely as they were before the fiscal cliff, a new survey finds.

By Jason Notte Mar 28, 2013 3:48PM

Wealthy couple (© Digital Vision/Getty Images)Please tell us again how increasing taxes on the wealthy will completely bulldoze the economy and crush conspicuous spending. We couldn't hear you the first time over all the card swiping and receipt printing.

Before the New Year and the fiscal cliff debate, wealthy Americans not named Warren Buffett and their non-wealthy free-market advocates warned that taxing the rich would halt economic recovery and send the well-heeled packing their bags for greener pastures. On Wednesday, however, CNBC uncovered a survey that not only called that argument scatological, but found that taxes haven't affected spending by the majority of wealthy Americans in the slightest.

The Shullman Luxury and Affluence Monthly Pulse found that 55% of people making $500,000 or more said higher taxes have not impacted their spending plans. Lower that income bar to those making $250,000 a year -- the group President Barack Obama initially wanted to raise taxes on before Republican opponents haggled the new individual threshold for income tax hikes up to $400,000 -- and a full 61% said taxes have not dented their spending plans.

But wait, that must just mean they're not saving as much, right? No. Fifty-nine percent of those making $500,000 or more and 64% of the $250,000-plus earners said higher taxes haven't changed their investment strategies. Maybe they're throttling back their charitable offerings? That supposes that the rich aren't terrible at donating to charity in the first place, but the survey humored them a bit and found that 55% of the $500,000-or-more club and 62% of their $250,000-a-year counterparts weren't going to let taxes affect their giving.


But those aren't overwhelming majorities, so someone must be feeling the pinch, right? Not as many as you'd think. Less than a quarter of high-wage earners said they'd reduce spending as a result of taxes.


So what happened to all that pre-election, pre-cliff bluster about the rich not feeling rich anymore and being persecuted by looming tax hikes? Well, as a sporting goods company with dubious sponsorship partners so inelegantly stated, “winning takes care of everything.” Though about a third of those making $250,000 are pessimistic about the economy, another third are very optimistic about the economy. Among those numbers, those who own businesses are way more optimistic than those who don't.


The rich appreciate all the support through those trying fiscal cliff days but, if you'll excuse them, they have a few more things to shop for before they'll have time for you again.

More on moneyNOW

Mar 28, 2013 4:59PM
People in this income category (I am one of these people) do a couple things with our money. We do planned savings, we do some planned spending, and we have money we blow. The change in taxes simply changes that amount. We really just dont notice it.
Mar 28, 2013 5:35PM

Many of you still don't get it.  The wealthy GAINED during the whole recession at the expense of everyone else.  I bought real estate and businesses on the cheap and now they're beginning to bloom.  Buying the survivors after most of the competition bit it during the recession leaves plenty of growth.  Business is up, rents and leases are soaring, and the stock market is icing on the cake.

When you have investable assets, you can time any market.  Buy low and sell high.

Mar 28, 2013 6:05PM
I'm a CPA.... The rich, as you call them, haven't received (or paid) an increase in taxes. It is only March 2013! The rich won't pony up until October 2014 (final extension date) to know the impact. I have a client that made over $400,000 in each of the last several years. He still owes a balance of his 2011 taxes. The extremely rich won't feel the increase but try living in New York or California with kids in College and living on $250,000 a year. This is the worst one sided article ever written!!
Mar 28, 2013 4:24PM
I strongly feel that the government agencies are not doing a good enough job on screening, or checking the background of the individuals that apply for food stamps.  There are so many illegals in the country and with the forged ID papers etc. there is a lot of that happening.  I do not blame some of these people trying for a better life, but lets do it the right way, and make these people become part of this country.  As for food stamps, not the only problem, checking out the people living on welfare. You talk about wasting money, this dept. of government,  you give a individual  government housing to live in, and than next thing you know they bring in their boyfriend or just friends to live with them and some of those have jobs and are living off our government. There is a lot to be done in order to turn this country around, not just these two departments, but the politicians, the House and the Senate got to get together on things or this country is going nowhere. All this is just my opinion on things , been around a long time, served this country in Japan, Korea, Okinawa, and a lot of other men and women that serving and giving it their all. I said enough .
Mar 28, 2013 4:37PM

I can't wait for the Supreme Court to tell us that federal law requires us all to be treated as equals (gays, non-gays, people of all races, rich, poor, middle class).   Marriage to anybody and equal treatment under federal law.  Not only does this sound good it is the morally correct thing to do.


Eliminates the need for special definitions in the Equal Opportunity laws that define certain (former) minorities as automactically "disadvantaged"  and thus qualifying for special fed program money.  We all get treated the same.


But, most of all - EQUAL TAX RATES FOR ALL!  Why shouldn't we all really be equal and pay the same rate?   See how the Supreme Court wiggles out of that  - it will likely come before them sooner rather later and this gay right agenda is  a great  case for fixing so many things wrong with our system.


Let's see of Equal really does mean Equal or if it only applies when it benefits whiners.

Mar 28, 2013 5:01PM
This sounds like an MSNBC story.  The left continues to push class envy.  Wouldn't each of us prefer to be well off, rather than being on the public dole?  Yet, punishing those who are well off financially somehow makes us feel better.  Stealing from those who have to give to the downtrodden is exactly the message preached by communism.
Mar 28, 2013 5:36PM

"Lower that income bar to those making $250,000 a year -- the group President Barack Obama initially wanted to raise taxes on before Republican opponents haggled the new individual threshold for income tax hikes up to $400,000 -- and a full 61% said taxes have not dented their spending plans."


Well duh, of course taxes haven't affected the $250,000 crowd; they weren't affected by the tax increases.

Mar 28, 2013 4:56PM
Also, he tax rates have yet to kick in full.  Give it a year and see what happens.
Mar 28, 2013 5:18PM
yes laugh at the rich,until the bell tolls for thee
Mar 28, 2013 5:14PM
And we should allow rich people who feel so inclined to voluntarily send the government more money every year. 
Mar 28, 2013 5:46PM

I look at a lot of tax returns with what I do. Maybe its just here in the Northeast, but the rich really cheat on taxes. If they show 400k on paper they are usully hiding another 100k. How many of these dudes own a business and run all of there car leases through it when its actually their kids in out of state colleges and spouses, girlfriends driving them.

I can tell you they like to use those corporate credit cards for haircuts, groceries,, vacations, etc you name it.

All of this comes off of the bottom line for the business as an expense...its really just tax free income.

...Just an observation.

Mar 28, 2013 5:18PM

This is the biggest bunch of crap I have ever read. What about the 45% who make over $500,000 who will stop charitable giving, and the story you wrote about the rich not giving is crap. You are playing with the numbers. You didn't look at people who itemize and just about everyone who makes over $500,000. itemizes. MSN you are propaganda artists. It's the people who make the money who give the large sums of money to charities, often through trusts, which MSN also didn't look at. Call any charity organization and you will find that 10% give 80% of the money they receive.  


The new tax rates have not kicked in yet, nor has the inflationary money printing, but like a hurricane it will come and the consequences will be devastating. Charity always begins at home for everyone, saying me and mine first.

Mar 28, 2013 6:14PM
Anyone who wants to pay higher taxes is free to do so. Let's have an OPEN referendum and see who wants to raise taxes ON THEMSELVES. Then let them do it. Problem solved.
Mar 28, 2013 5:36PM
Higher taxes on the "rich" may not affect them all that much, however the fact remains that the actual cost of higher taxes on the "rich" are passed onto the "not rich" through higher cost of living.
Mar 28, 2013 5:26PM

My taxes are going up this year and yet I am probably pushing about 15% gain overall in paper profits for the year and it's only March.  Increased income will easily pay for increased taxes. 

It's not that I like taxes anymore than anyone else does, but having a surplus of funds and income exceeding expenditures gives a lot of leeway.  Besides, it's not like I "worked" for the money anyway.  Who needs to work when your investments pay for everything and then some.

Mar 28, 2013 5:35PM
One interesting item conveniently forgotten in this jealousy soaked piece of journalism (I am being kind), is the expenditure on ever more efficient 'automation', machinery, equipment to 'replace' the ever rising 'costs' of Human labor. Humans at one time had a set value depending on their individual and collective powers. Whether it be strength and stamina or intelligence and education, such as brought the highest dollar for 'Slaves'.

Typically over a Thousand Dollars (real 'precious metal backed' dollars) 'each', prior to the Civil War. Today the humanity  value is no longer a true Asset. With ever increasing Govt Regulation and assessed responsibility assigned to the modern 'slave Owner' of today, An employee, the relative equivalent of yesterday's 'Slave', is now approaching a distinct 'Liability'.

Noted is in the rise in discarded employees, laid off work force, with historic Disability roles burgeoning by a quarter million ...per month, to say nothing of the Federal/state Welfare roles at record increasing rates.

When a machine reaches the end of it's productive life, it is recycled. Not so, with a working human, who, unless they have wisely saved and invested for their Own future, then becomes a Liability, a Burden on Society. Even more so with a perpetually dependency addicted human and their prodigious Spawn, who quickly becomes distinctly unwanted Ballast on a Sinking, overloaded ship.
Mar 28, 2013 4:55PM

What a son a bitch snot nose left wing nut thie writer of this article is and it  shows how clueless the left is.  The spectre of higher taxes is realized thorugh an underemployment rate of 15%andthat middle class america has seen a decline in inflation adjusted disposble income.  YThe rich are not cutting back on spending because they cut back on employees.  Stock option values are rising because that turkey of a Federal Reserv echair is stuffing money into the economy so stock prices rise and the wealthy get wealthier.

Mar 28, 2013 5:27PM
They just passed all the higher taxes on so they did not see it, just the middle class in higher prices etc...
Mar 28, 2013 6:04PM
The rich will always be rich, the poor will always be poor, and the gap between them is getting bigger all the time.  The true middle class will disappear, and most of them will eventually fall on the poor side of the fence.
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