.

McLean Chiropractor Talks Taxes In New York Times

Kristina Collins was interviewed for an article about raising taxes.

As the fiscal cliff looms, politicians in Congress may consider President Obama's call to raise taxes on couples who make more than $250,000 a year. Of course, there would be no shortage of those who would be affected in McLean.

Kristina Collins, the owner of Old Dominion Chiropractic in McLean, was quoted in a New York Times article on Sunday about how close she and her husband are to that income threshold.

In the article,

Ms. Collins said she felt torn by being near the cutoff line and disappointed that federal tax policy was providing a disincentive to keep expanding a business she founded in 1998.

“If we’re really close and it’s near the end-year, maybe we’ll just close down for a while and go on vacation,” she said.

In an email to McLean Patch, Collins said she had been happy to weigh in.

"Many of us in McLean care about this issue," Collins said. "Local business owners need to know they are not alone in navigating this important topic."

The full article is available on The New York Times' website.

Would you like all the local McLean news delivered to your inbox every morning in one convenient email? (Think of it as the digital version of a daily newspaper). Sign up for the McLean Patch newsletter here. It's free and easy. 

Jessica November 20, 2012 at 04:06 PM
I get your point, Vince. And I think some people like that do exist, like probably Steve Wynn who has high priced accountants and financial advisors to tell him the facts. But I think others truly don't understand, probably like Dr. Collins, who may only see an accountant once a year so doesn't understand the proposed law. I think the interesting part is how the very rich people control the messages through the GOP party so that a mass of regular folks don't understand they are being conned and used by the very rich for their own financial gain. People like Dr. Collins think they are protecting their own financial interests, when in fact they aren't at all.
Vince Forcier November 20, 2012 at 04:07 PM
Oh, and I do agree that the NYT should have done a better job calling out the errors. Unfortunately, most of the big media players don't bother. They let everyone have their say as though all opinions are equally valid.
Dr. Kristina Collins November 20, 2012 at 05:37 PM
Thank you all for your comments. The NYT interview was much more detailed than the article showed and therefore the statement I made may seem erroneous and or out of context. However, I do completely understand how marginal tax rates work. My point was that being self employed one has no "paid" sick leave or holiday time. In fact, I limit the amount of time that I am on holiday away from my practice. I was stating that if I were near the 250,000.00 cut off I would prefer to enjoy some time with my family rather than go over the limit by a few thousand dollars. When you are self employed you see how every dollar you bring in is split up and I was stating that rather than going over 250,000.00 this year I would consider taking some extra holiday time with my family. I think this is a fair choice. My patients would still be taken care of I assure you.
Cecilia Kalish November 20, 2012 at 06:17 PM
If you are content with limiting your income to $250,000, fair enough. And, yes, of course, taking more time off to be with your family is a "fair choice." I have no problem with your choice to have more leisure/family time versus putting more hours into making more money. But that choice really has not much to do with tax rates. It has to do with market conditions and your personal preferences for how you allocate your time. Assuming there is room for growth in the McLean-area chiropractic services market, other chiropractors will be willing to make a different work/leisure allocation, regardless of tax rates and grow their practices while you choose to stay at the same size. That is a fair choice.
Jessica November 20, 2012 at 06:27 PM
Thank you for clarifying, Dr. Collins. I too am self employed, and it can be difficult to find a work-life balance. However, if it were me and I had the opportunity to make a net profit of $250,000 vs $255,000, I certainly wouldn't be dissuaded by the extra $25 or so I'd be paying in taxes. It will be interesting to see the various behaviors of small business owners if the tax rates change, and how those behaviors will impact the economy as a whole. Certainly if you close your offices for a week or two, that could benefit the economy by providing opportunities for other chiropractors, and by your vacation spending. And of course, the personal advantages of family time and relaxation would contribute non-financial benefits too.
Anon November 20, 2012 at 07:13 PM
I think the point that she is making, that everyone in this income bracket understands, is that the incentive to work harder decreases as you increase tax rates in the upper levels. It is a policy designed to select out the highest performers (financially) in society and instead of motivating them, demotivate them. I understand we need to increase taxes and it has to come from somewhere but let's call it for what it is. It's a way of targeting a smallest group of people to raise taxes so it gets the popular vote and passed into law. Whether those who have the most have a bigger burden on society to pay back and support the poor and infrastructure is a point to be debated.
Anon November 20, 2012 at 07:15 PM
I think the point that she is making, that everyone in this income bracket understands, is that the incentive to work harder decreases as you increase tax rates in the upper levels. It is a policy designed to select out the highest performers (financially) in society and instead of motivating them, de-motivate them. I understand we need to increase taxes and it has to come from somewhere but let's call it for what it is. It's a way of targeting the smallest group of people to raise taxes so it gets the popular vote and passed into law. Whether those who have the most have a bigger burden on society to pay back and support the poor and infrastructure is a point to be debated.
Anon November 20, 2012 at 07:33 PM
In addition, my personal stab at her situation, having no idea how much money she makes, is that she probably makes more than $250k. She fixed has business expenses and a home mortgage based on a budget of, let's say $400k, for sake of argument. Up until this year, she was taxed, say 25% on the $150k after $250k. Now she has to pay 35% taxes on it. She has to find other ways to meet her budget now that she been handed a reduction in take-home pay by the government. I can only imagine the outrage and the anger if this was forced on middle America. Obama would've been out in a nanosecond for a second term if he was touting this as his "tax reform" plan. The only reason this is popular is because it is selecting the smallest number of people and basically scapegoating them.
Cecilia Kalish November 20, 2012 at 07:36 PM
Wrong, market conditions determine how hard one works. If market conditions are such that businesses (whether small or large) see opportunity to increase profits, they will expand. Moreover, there is no empirical evidence to support the notion that tax cuts on high earners spur growth (if they did we'd have seen economic growth during the Bush years, we did not) or that higher taxes on higher earners slows growth (if that were so, we'd have seen slow growth during the Clinton years, we did not).
Anon November 20, 2012 at 07:41 PM
Depending on the income, yes, you may be talking about growth. But there is a bracket of people above earning above $250k for which this turns out to be a paycut. Sure, for that money that is yet to be earned, I agree, let's tax it for all it's worth. It's future earnings and I'd rather earn something extra than nothing extra. But that's not the case for everyone. For some, this means taking home $250 gross this year and taking home $230 gross next year. If you have a budget that requires $240 then you will have to cancel that SAT class for your teenagers and soccer camp.
Anon November 20, 2012 at 07:42 PM
I meant net, not gross.
Jessica November 20, 2012 at 07:57 PM
"Up until this year, she was taxed, say 25% on the $150k after $250k. Now she has to pay 35% taxes on it. She has to find other ways to meet her budget now that she been handed a reduction in take-home pay by the government. " But wouldn't the answer to this be to work a little more to make up for that extra 10% of taxes, instead of forgoing all the $150,000? Wouldn't that make it even harder for her to meet her budget? And of course, if you're talking about forgoing that $150,000, and then going on a vacation instead, aren't you spending even more money?
Locally Involved November 20, 2012 at 08:13 PM
LOL! Jessica, foolish is an understatement! Ms Collins and her husband will NOT actually pay 3-4% since the income tax is graduated. Perhaps a 0.25% or a quarter of one percent. Let's say Ms Collins and hubby achieve $300,000 AGI, in other words, earned an addtional $50,000. The incremental tax paid will be $125 or $10/mo. What if Ms Collins tax rate went up 1%? That would mean another $500 in taxes. Ms Collins would prefer to forego $49,500 of incremental income in order to avoid paying $125 or $500 in taxes. Seriously? Anyone out there willing to pick up her business? Ms Collins apparently feels she doesn't need nor want any more business. Good thing Ms Collins is in medicine and not business. There is not one true rational thinking business person that would turn down an opportunity to grow their business just because of incremental taxes. Seems to me there is an entitled class out there ... Ms Collins is part of that class.
Vince Forcier November 20, 2012 at 08:38 PM
I will argue with the idea that marginally higher taxation discourages the wealthy from working. If after amassing enough wealth to fulfill your every need, a 5-10% hit will really affect your interest in your work, that is shallow indeed. Perhaps you should stay home and make room for a more passionate entrepreneur. A lot of wealthy (and hardworking) Danes, Germans, French, Japanese, etc.. would call this absurd, and they would be right. Progressive taxation is based on the notion first; that the wealthiest can afford to contribute more to the common good, and second; that they benefit most from the structure that a functioning society creates. They have the most to lose should social order break down, the most to lose should our economic or foreign policy fail in some catastrophic way. The systems maintained by the government and courts makes their accumulation of wealth possible. Warren Buffet knows this. Mitt Romney, not so much. To suggest that it is only for political expediency that the wealthiest are tapped for increases when funds are needed is just silly. They are the biggest beneficiaries of the structure we have created here. If you doubt it, try to start a business in most second world countries. Corruption, nearly no rule of law, uncontrolled crime. These are all impediments to building wealth. We UNDERTAX the wealthy by any modern standard. They get an INCREDIBLE bargain living in the United States. And yes, $250,000 is at least well off, even in DC.
Anon November 20, 2012 at 09:00 PM
Well by that logic, why should the upper bracket work harder to make that extra when the work can be divided into millions of people? The policy in debate here is that her group is the lottery winner for having to work harder to earn the same. Isn't that demotivating vs the alternative if you knew the whole country was working harder with you?
Anon November 20, 2012 at 09:02 PM
"If after amassing enough wealth to fulfill your every need" .... really?? If you really believe $250k is enough money to fulfill your every need then you should really pick a different country to live in.... I recommend a socialist one.
Vince Forcier November 20, 2012 at 09:15 PM
I said need. Not want. Not wish. and yes $250,000 (500K married) is certainly enough to fulfill any need. That some have a constantly expanding definition of need, and a willingness to deprive others (and the country itself) to meet the constantly expanding definition of need, is part of the problem. Call it socialist if you like. I am not that interested in labels. All government is re-distribution, the debate is how much, from/to whom, and for what.
Vince Forcier November 20, 2012 at 09:29 PM
Just to be clear: are you proposing that the Bush era tax cuts should expire for everyone in the interest of fairness? This is actually the intent of the original agreement. That should the surplus disappear, all of the tax cuts would be rescinded, and taxes would return to the rates during the Clinton era.
Marty Chase November 21, 2012 at 04:20 AM
This is a foolish story, to be sure...and misleading. Rachel Maddow called out the NYT and the McLean chiropractor her show tonight on MSNBC, citing it as yet-another example of reporters failing to understand either marginal tax rates or basic math.
Anon November 21, 2012 at 04:21 AM
I am not proposing anything. I think whether the "haves" have a responsibility to pay a higher rate on taxes and exactly how much higher is a philosophical question and not one with an easy answer. I understand we need to raise taxes and it has to come from somewhere. If middle class was targeted for tax increases just as those making above 250k are being targeted now, Obama would have a huge backlash and he would not enjoy the popularity he has. We would get quotes far more outrageous and see attitudes far more upset than what Dr. Collins said (think birthers and Obama's done nothing to them personally yet). Obama's plan includes additional tax cuts for people making the lowest income, keeps Bush era cuts for middle earners and raises taxes for highest earners. If he wanted to be more serious about reform, we could go back to the Clinton era taxes where all Bush cuts have expired. Why isn't that on the table? Because it is not popular. Everyone wants more but no one wants to pay. The whole country is pointing the finger at the rich uncle to foot the bill. Let's not skewer Dr. Collins because she happens to be the rich uncle who won't wholeheartedly pay up.
jon won November 21, 2012 at 04:34 AM
If she is this stupid, I don't want her working on my back !!!
Vince Forcier November 21, 2012 at 05:04 AM
I for one would gladly pay more (and offer additional cuts to the neediest, I was there once). and I am well below the 250K threshold. The condition: stop treating cap gains more favorably than labor income (buffet rule). raise the cap on SS to something WAY higher. Raise the marginal rates for top earners. The problem for many center/left middle class folks like myself is that we know someone will pay (probably including us), but for the last 30 years, most of the rate cuts have gone to the highest earners. I will continue to vote for the policies I believe in, and be willing to pay for them. One of the policies I believe in is rolling back the tax reductions that the wealthiest have secured for themselves for the last 30 years. I will happily pay my share of the needed increase, will they pay their share? Willingly? No tax avoidance wizardry? I doubt it.
whaddeva November 21, 2012 at 03:33 PM
"If (Obama) wanted to be more serious about reform, we could go back to the Clinton era taxes where all Bush cuts have expired. Why isn't that on the table? Because it is not popular." Wrong again. Raising middle class taxes is not "on the table" because it would risk another recession right now. When the economy is stronger, we will probably need to raise middle class taxes, too. That does not mean we don't need to use the tax code to help mitigate the problem of income inequality.
Anon November 21, 2012 at 06:06 PM
Ha. You see what you want to see. Raising taxes on upper crest will surely boost the economy? These are the job creators. Dr. Collins to offset that additional tax can easily just let go of one of her staff. Problem solved.
Anon November 21, 2012 at 06:13 PM
I'm getting kind of tired of these sub-$250k'ers talking like Dr. Collins owes the country something by default. The sentiment is entitlement and this arguing back and forth talking about who should pay because it is "right" is the wrong attitude. I see this over and over all over the internet-- the have-nots arguing about what the rich should pay. I think Dr. Collins and people like her should just cut jobs and don't feel bad. You should only feel bad for yourself for having to pick up the slack for the staff you just fired.
whaddeva November 21, 2012 at 06:29 PM
This debate was aired extensively during the election. Fortunately, Keynesian economic thinking prevailed. The electorate decided against a return to the disastrous Bush-era policies. The facts are not in question. Nevertheless, some have chosen to ignore all the evidence and hang on to disproven trickle down mythology. It's not worth any more of my time to try and change their minds.
Vince Forcier November 21, 2012 at 07:35 PM
1) plenty of people making OVER $250K are making the same argument that we are. The wealthiest Americans are undertaxed given our deficits. And undertaxed by any modern standard. 2) I am sure you are sick and tired. The trickle down fantasy is OVER. It is amazing how when a debate is all but lost, we start complaining about the terms of debate. 3) "job creators" a term that will die with other wealth worship phrases like "supply side economics". It is a term that is used in a cynical attempt to justify the continued transfer of the productive efforts of the country to benefit the wealthiest alone. 4) I agree that no business owner should keep people on the payroll if the business priorities require them to be let go. Just don't blame it on the BS excuse of a few extra points on your taxes.
Susan Smith November 24, 2012 at 04:48 AM
Seriously? You want to seriously argue that you would turn down $49,000 in additional income simply to avoid an additional $500-$1,000 in taxes? I cannot believe someone would argue such nonsense with a straight face.
Susan Smith November 24, 2012 at 05:03 AM
"Dr. Collins to offset that additional tax can easily just let go of one of her staff. Problem solved." Your comment reminds me of that scene in Blazing Saddles where Cleavon Little holds himself hostage to make the posse back off. But this isn't the movies. So if you're foolish enough to cut your income by tens of thousands of dollars to avoid a one or two percent tax increase on those dollars, by all means, go for it. Someone else will be more than happy to take up the slack.
Catherine November 25, 2012 at 01:53 AM
Dr. Collins is one of the smartest and best chiropractors around. She and her husband David have responded to emergencies for our family like no other doctor we have ever had. Furthermore, they work their tails off while managing their young family and a demanding schedule. Like many small business people -- and few of you commenting on this board appear to own your own businesses -- I completely relate do the points Dr. Collins was making. They are already stretched in so many ways - so to work their butts off even more so the government can simply take more - forget it. Yea, I might take a vacation too. It's not all about the money.

Boards

More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »