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Davian93
08-03-2009, 10:24 AM
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/32260411/ns/politics-white_house/

There's another possible solution to the rampant spending and deficit...STOP SPENDING STUPID!

Gilshalos Sedai
08-03-2009, 10:50 AM
At least we didn't have to read his lips.


He won't be re-elected, not if he raises them in this term.

GonzoTheGreat
08-03-2009, 10:50 AM
Yeah, but if you cut your defense budget in two then you'd be ... well, still the biggest defense spender in the world. But I'm sure there's a reason not to do that. Somewhere.

Sinistrum
08-03-2009, 10:53 AM
Hey, you voted for him Dav.

Yeah, but if you cut your defense budget in two then you'd be ... well, still the biggest defense spender in the world. But I'm sure there's a reason not to do that. Somewhere.

Merely the fact that you and people like you think its a good idea is enough not to do it.

Sei'taer
08-03-2009, 10:53 AM
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/32260411/ns/politics-white_house/

There's another possible solution to the rampant spending and deficit...STOP SPENDING STUPID!

Obviously you haven't been paying attention, Dav. You have to spend your way out of debt. The money to do that has to come from somewhere.

Davian93
08-03-2009, 10:56 AM
Obviously you haven't been paying attention, Dav. You have to spend your way out of debt. The money to do that has to come from somewhere.

I was under the assumption we'd just invade Canada and use all their natural resources to pay for it...I feel betrayed!

Belazamon
08-03-2009, 11:55 AM
I was under the assumption we'd just invade Canada and use all their natural resources to pay for it...I feel betrayed!Do people in other nations accept moose as currency? Because otherwise, I think there's a flaw in that plan.

Davian93
08-03-2009, 11:58 AM
Do people in other nations accept moose as currency? Because otherwise, I think there's a flaw in that plan.

They have HUGE oil reserves and all that timber. Also, there is some pretty good mineral wealth as well...and of course, all the oil under the Polar cap that we'll take.

The U.S. government said Thursday Canada holds the world's second-largest oil reserves, taking into account Alberta oil sands previously considered too expensive to develop.

The Energy Information Administration, the statistical wing of the U.S. Department of Energy, has included recent private sector estimates that an additional 175 billion barrels of oil could be recovered from resources known to exist in Western Canada since the 19th Century.

At a briefing on this year's EIA International Energy Outlook, EIA Administrator Guy Caruso cited a December report in the Oil and Gas Journal that raised Canada's proven oil reserves to 180 billion bbls from 4.9 billion bbls, thanks to inclusion of the oil sands - also known as tar sands - now considered recoverable with existing technology and market conditions.

"Canada will be producing a lot of oil from the development of these tar sands, but the quality of those reserves differs substantially from the Saudi reserves in terms of cost and ability to bring...the productive capacity on in a meaningful way," Caruso said.

Just think, almost 1/5th of Canadians want to be part of the U.S. anyway...they're ripe for the taking.

GonzoTheGreat
08-03-2009, 12:02 PM
They have HUGE oil reserves and all that timber. Also, there is some pretty good mineral wealth as well...and of course, all the oil under the Polar cap that we'll take.But Global Warming is not real, so the polar cap will grow again, which will scupper that plan of yours. Then you'll be stuck with lots of moose and no oil.

Davian93
08-03-2009, 12:05 PM
But Global Warming is not real, so the polar cap will grow again, which will scupper that plan of yours. Then you'll be stuck with lots of moose and no oil.

Two Words: Oil Sands


And Moose are fun...they're like big dogs...really really big dogs. My biggest fear when hiking in VT is running into a Moose during mating season...or any other time of year. They can be quite dangerous and we have a TON of them up here. I always see their dropping when I'm out. They're usually above 2,000 ft in elevation and I joke that we're entering Troll country when I see the first droppings...(vague Eddings reference)..fun times.

Ozymandias
08-03-2009, 12:33 PM
I have no problem with him increasing taxes; a tax increase has been a long time coming and in my mind has little to do witht he current spending. This is the catalyst, but not the cause, of the need to raise more revenues. We've had 20 years of Neocon rule since Reagan, and their entire philosophy is spend with the one hand and... cut taxes with the other. Now I by no means blame our current debt solely on them, but thats an untenable philosophy and in many ways its beyond belief that they've managed to lose the Presidency or congressional seats while abiding by it.

My problem comes from his idea to tax the wealthiest 5%. At some point, middle class Americans are going to have to shoulder some of the burden. It may be politically expedient to demonize the rich, but its (a) something that could begin to disincentivize the wealthy from working as hard, and (b) drive them out of the country to friendlier tax environments.

And, from an ethical standpoint, its ridiculous that they be asked to take on this crushing debt while most Americans just stand by and reap the benefits. Like Wall Street... were not fixing the system of irresponsible use of debt that gfot us into this situation, just passing the problem off for another time or another group of people. And everyone should be slammed with taxes to pay for their folly, not just the people everyone loves to hate.

Ivhon
08-03-2009, 12:34 PM
I have no problem with him increasing taxes; a tax increase has been a long time coming and in my mind has little to do witht he current spending. This is the catalyst, but not the cause, of the need to raise more revenues. We've had 20 years of Neocon rule since Reagan, and their entire philosophy is spend with the one hand and... cut taxes with the other. Now I by no means blame our current debt solely on them, but thats an untenable philosophy and in many ways its beyond belief that they've managed to lose the Presidency or congressional seats while abiding by it.

My problem comes from his idea to tax the wealthiest 5%. At some point, middle class Americans are going to have to shoulder some of the burden. It may be politically expedient to demonize the rich, but its (a) something that could begin to disincentivize the wealthy from working as hard, and (b) drive them out of the country to friendlier tax environments.

And, from an ethical standpoint, its ridiculous that they be asked to take on this crushing debt while most Americans just stand by and reap the benefits. Like Wall Street... were not fixing the system of irresponsible use of debt that gfot us into this situation, just passing the problem off for another time or another group of people. And everyone should be slammed with taxes to pay for their folly, not just the people everyone loves to hate.

This

Gilshalos Sedai
08-03-2009, 12:39 PM
My problem comes from his idea to tax the wealthiest 5%. At some point, middle class Americans are going to have to shoulder some of the burden. It may be politically expedient to demonize the rich, but its (a) something that could begin to disincentivize the wealthy from working as hard, and (b) drive them out of the country to friendlier tax environments.

Where the hell do you figure the middle class doesn't pay it's share? We pay higher taxes percentage-wise than either end of the spectrum and have fewer loopholes to get out of paying them. I don't know were you get your data, Ozy, but please, furnish the stats.

Sei'taer
08-03-2009, 12:53 PM
I have no problem with him increasing taxes; a tax increase has been a long time coming and in my mind has little to do witht he current spending. This is the catalyst, but not the cause, of the need to raise more revenues. We've had 20 years of Neocon rule since Reagan, and their entire philosophy is spend with the one hand and... cut taxes with the other. Now I by no means blame our current debt solely on them, but thats an untenable philosophy and in many ways its beyond belief that they've managed to lose the Presidency or congressional seats while abiding by it.

My problem comes from his idea to tax the wealthiest 5%. At some point, middle class Americans are going to have to shoulder some of the burden. It may be politically expedient to demonize the rich, but its (a) something that could begin to disincentivize the wealthy from working as hard, and (b) drive them out of the country to friendlier tax environments.

And, from an ethical standpoint, its ridiculous that they be asked to take on this crushing debt while most Americans just stand by and reap the benefits. Like Wall Street... were not fixing the system of irresponsible use of debt that gfot us into this situation, just passing the problem off for another time or another group of people. And everyone should be slammed with taxes to pay for their folly, not just the people everyone loves to hate.

Tax revenue goes down while unemployment goes up...yup, lets raise taxes so more people lose jobs and stop paying what they were paying while they were employed and we lose more money so we raise taxes again to make up the loss and more people lose jobs and their tax contribution goes down so we raise taxes to make up the difference...makes total sense to me.

John Kennedy lowered taxes and almost doubled revenues. Jimmy Carter raised taxes and revenue dropped. Reagan cut taxes and revenue more than doubled. There's an article in AP today that talks about all of this but I can't link to it on my phone.

Davian93
08-03-2009, 12:56 PM
Where the hell do you figure the middle class doesn't pay it's share? We pay higher taxes percentage-wise than either end of the spectrum and have fewer loopholes to get out of paying them. I don't know were you get your data, Ozy, but please, furnish the stats.

Spoken from the mind of a person who DOES NOT pay taxes and thus doesn't understand the current burden on the middle class.

Its a hell of a lot easier to pay 40% of ones salary when you're a multi-millionaire compared to even 25% of your salary when you might make $100 K as a couple. In one case, you're maybe cutting one Ferrari in the driveway, in the other, you're behind on your mortgage. Slight difference. The Upper Class whining on the current tax rate is laughable at best. We should go back to the 1950s tax brackets where the Upper Class paid something like 80% of their gross income over a certain mark.

There is a reason that the middle class is disappearing...saying that we don't pay a fair share is laughable at best.

Sei'taer
08-03-2009, 04:35 PM
Just out of curiosity...

I have no problem with him increasing taxes; a tax increase has been a long time coming and in my mind has little to do witht he current spending.

So, on April 15 you donate all of the money you were to get back to the gov't? Or maybe you figure it down and then pay extra every check and then don't worry about the refund? Either way, that's the best way to handle the need to pay extra. I personally don't pay any extra and I try to play the game with my taxes so at the end of the year everything zeros out. I've been close a time or two but never actually had $0 owed/$0 return.

We've had 20 years of Neocon rule since Reagan, and their entire philosophy is spend with the one hand and... cut taxes with the other.

Since reagan or including reagan?

Bush Sr.= 4 years
Bush Jr.= 8 years

Am I missing someone? Maybe you are talking about Congress? That happened in 1994 and went out in 2006(4?). Meh, either way. 20 years seems off a little.

Now I by no means blame our current debt solely on them, but thats an untenable philosophy and in many ways its beyond belief that they've managed to lose the Presidency or congressional seats while abiding by it.

Right. What we should be doing is cutting taxes and cutting spending, but getting either of these idiotic parties to that is going to be tough to do. They argue like hell and then run to the mics to tell everyone how much money they are saving us by adding more spending to the budget. I think people are catching on though...hopefully.

My problem comes from his idea to tax the wealthiest 5%. At some point, middle class Americans are going to have to shoulder some of the burden. It may be politically expedient to demonize the rich, but its (a) something that could begin to disincentivize the wealthy from working as hard, and (b) drive them out of the country to friendlier tax environments.

We should make our tax environments friendlier and keep business here. I know it hurts to hear it, but the wealthy people are the ones who employ and pay the middle class. If you tax them more you hurt the middle class in the end. I don't know of anyone who works in the private sector that is employed by homeless person, or someone who is broke. Most small businesses aren't in the "wealthy" class, but they employ millions of people and they are going to be the ones taxed at the higher rate so they will have to make cuts somewhere and the easist way to do it is to cut your workforce. My wife lost her job a couple of weeks ago for almost this exact reason. Costs of doing business are going up while business is going down and someone had to go. I don't have anything against the wealthy. I'd like to be one someday.

And, from an ethical standpoint, its ridiculous that they be asked to take on this crushing debt while most Americans just stand by and reap the benefits. Like Wall Street... were not fixing the system of irresponsible use of debt that gfot us into this situation, just passing the problem off for another time or another group of people. And everyone should be slammed with taxes to pay for their folly, not just the people everyone loves to hate.

IMNSHO it's not right for anybody to take on this burden. The Gov't should learn some control. It appears, according to the administration, that right now, if all these bills go thru that Obama wants to pass, we have 2 choices: raise taxes so high no one will be able to get anywhere or print money and send us into an inflationary spin that will be very hard to get out of and take years to do.

My personal choice is to cut taxes and revive the economy, bring up tax revenues and get things rolling again...of course, this is overly simplistic because there are a lot more things that could be done, but this is first on my list.

Spoken from the mind of a person who DOES NOT pay taxes and thus doesn't understand the current burden on the middle class.

Its a hell of a lot easier to pay 40% of ones salary when you're a multi-millionaire compared to even 25% of your salary when you might make $100 K as a couple. In one case, you're maybe cutting one Ferrari in the driveway, in the other, you're behind on your mortgage. Slight difference. The Upper Class whining on the current tax rate is laughable at best. We should go back to the 1950s tax brackets where the Upper Class paid something like 80% of their gross income over a certain mark.

There is a reason that the middle class is disappearing...saying that we don't pay a fair share is laughable at best.

When Reagan came in, they paid 78%, when he left they paid 28%, but tax revenue doubled in that time. I don't see a problem, I guess. Seems to me if the gov't wants to make money, thats how you do it. JFK had 91% on marginal income greater than $400,000. And he cut it only to 70%, but it was set to increase at 4% every year.

Anyway, I gotsta go now.

Davian93
08-03-2009, 04:42 PM
When Reagan came in, they paid 78%, when he left they paid 28%, but tax revenue doubled in that time. I don't see a problem, I guess. Seems to me if the gov't wants to make money, thats how you do it. JFK had 91% on marginal income greater than $400,000. And he cut it only to 70%, but it was set to increase at 4% every year.

I agree that the apparent cause/effect seems like it's present. Reagan also VASTLY increased spending (particularly in the defense industry) which jumpstarted a huge sector of the economy that had gone dormant in the late 70s. Had he cut taxes a bit less, its very likely we could have still had that boom in revenue but it would have been even larger...he very well might have failed to cash in on his massive economic stimulus (pretty much what that defense spending was when it comes down to it as 99% of that gov't money when to US companies and then to US Workers).

I think we could easily stand to raise the upper tax bracket significantly with no ill effect on the overall economy.

Ozymandias
08-03-2009, 05:11 PM
Its a hell of a lot easier to pay 40% of ones salary when you're a multi-millionaire compared to even 25% of your salary when you might make $100 K as a couple. In one case, you're maybe cutting one Ferrari in the driveway, in the other, you're behind on your mortgage. Slight difference. The Upper Class whining on the current tax rate is laughable at best. We should go back to the 1950s tax brackets where the Upper Class paid something like 80% of their gross income over a certain mark.

Yeah... but in a lot of cases its more like 20% and 50%. As I said, progressive taxes are all well and good, but the wealthiest 5% furnish close on 70% of national income tax revenue. Excuse me if that seems high.

Since reagan or including reagan?

Bush Sr.= 4 years
Bush Jr.= 8 years

No offense... but why even ask? One scenario comes out to 20 year of neocon rule, one comes out to 12. My "since" was perhaps inapporpriately worded... but it should have been quite obvious which situation I was referring to.

Where the hell do you figure the middle class doesn't pay it's share? We pay higher taxes percentage-wise than either end of the spectrum and have fewer loopholes to get out of paying them. I don't know were you get your data, Ozy, but please, furnish the stats.

They obviously don't. I mean, "paying your share" would ideally be a straight poll tax where everyone pays the same. Obviously that won't happen, but what does "your share" consitute? If I represent the 5% and you represent the rest, and your reaping the benefits of what we're taxed, how are you "paying your share?"

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for a progressive tax system, but in no demented corner of a madman's universe does this constitute everyone chipping in. The rich are taxed because its easy for politicians to pull it off and they can afford it. Just because thats the right decision, doesn't mean its the fair one.

We pay higher taxes percentage-wise than either end of the spectrum

You do realize that a progressive tax regime based on taking a set proportion of a paycheck means you literally, by definition, NOT be paying higher taxes percentage wise than people on the higher end of the spectrum? I don't even need to furnish facts for you, because the very semantics of your argument doom it to fallacious inconsistency.

Davian93
08-03-2009, 05:29 PM
Yeah... but in a lot of cases its more like 20% and 50%. As I said, progressive taxes are all well and good, but the wealthiest 5% furnish close on 70% of national income tax revenue. Excuse me if that seems high.

So, how's the view from the Ivory Tower? Its easy to spout off about fairness and a flat tax when you don't pay taxes.

A progressive tax system is the fairest and smartest way to do things. Honestly, the rich SHOULD pay more taxes. After setting yourself up to live comfortably (that whole bracketing/marginal rate thing), there should be no problem with paying more and more of one's massively excessive income in taxes. Just like they should keep the inheritance tax on any inheritance over a certain capped amount (say 1 million perhaps). There is no reason for inheritance to not be taxed and every reason for it to be. Allowing families to build up massive wealth over generations only weakens democracy. Men like Carnegie and Vanderbilt understood this as does a guy like Warren Buffet who is giving most of his wealth to charity. Otherwise, the gov't should take it in taxes.

A flat tax is complete BS that only super rich people support because its a huge payday for them and an unfair burden on the middle and lower classes who can barely afford to live paycheck to paycheck as it is.

JSUCamel
08-03-2009, 05:45 PM
I don't feel like quoting, so I'll paraphrase ST. The upper class employs the middle class. Hurt the upper, they pass it on to the middle.

The other big trick the government likes to use is to "tax big businesses". ...really? Do you really for an instant think big businesses actually pay taxes? Well, yes, they have to send a check to the IRS every so often, but do you really think that when taxes are raised, they sit down and say "Well shit, now we're gonna make less money."

HELL NO. They say "Okay, we're getting taxed an extra million dollars this year, so we'll bump the price of this bubble gum from 79 cents to 89 cents, and we're projected to sell 10 million packs, and that'll make it up for it.

What?

THEY PASS IT ON TO YOU.

Raising taxes on big business doesn't save you money -- at best, it breaks even for you.

As far as spending to stimulate the economy, I say that what we've spent so far is doing its job as well as can be expected, so let's not spend any more, mmkay? Let's just cut spending and not mess with taxes at all.

That would make me happy.

JSUCamel
08-03-2009, 05:52 PM
A flat tax is complete BS that only super rich people support because its a huge payday for them and an unfair burden on the middle and lower classes who can barely afford to live paycheck to paycheck as it is.

I'm a proponent of a national sales tax. Abolish the other taxes (income, property, estate, death) and institute a national sales tax (like 20%ish). That way you get taxed based on what you spend, not what you save (the way it is now).

The rich would spend more, thus paying more proportionately in taxes, and the poor would spend less, paying less in taxes.

Genius.

It's called the Fair Tax (http://fairtax.org) Plan. Learn it. Love it.

Orc
08-03-2009, 05:58 PM
I read the title as "Obama to Raze Texas" and thought, "Wait, Texas is already pretty barren, who'd notice?"

Davian93
08-03-2009, 06:01 PM
I'm a proponent of a national sales tax. Abolish the other taxes (income, property, estate, death) and institute a national sales tax (like 20%ish). That way you get taxed based on what you spend, not what you save (the way it is now).

The rich would spend more, thus paying more proportionately in taxes, and the poor would spend less, paying less in taxes.

Genius.

It's called the Fair Tax (http://fairtax.org) Plan. Learn it. Love it.

I would have no major issue with that. However, there would have to be no loopholes (like internet sales, overseas sales, etc). Though it does make shopping in Canadia kinda crappy because not only do you have to deal with their funny looking currency, you also have to add 20% to any purchase due to their national & provincial sales taxes.

Ozymandias
08-03-2009, 06:27 PM
A progressive tax system is the fairest and smartest way to do things.

I agree... and have stated as much. But at some point, progressive turns into "tyranny of the majority." And while I agree the wealthy should pay more, I think at some point you should ask the less well off the contribute too. A 2% tax hike for the rich and a .5% tax hike for the middle class maintains your requirements for a progressive tax code while simultaneously requiring all people to chip in to what is, in the end, a public fund.

Honestly, the rich SHOULD pay more taxes. After setting yourself up to live comfortably (that whole bracketing/marginal rate thing), there should be no problem with paying more and more of one's massively excessive income in taxes.

I think you'll find very few people who dispute this. Your making a straw man here; I'm not disputing that the rich ought to pay more, merely the mindset that designates them as societies piggy bank.

There is no reason for inheritance to not be taxed and every reason for it to be.

Hey, if I work my whole life and make it good, and am being taxed my 50-55% or whatever year in and year out, why should the state then have the right to tax me more? How to dispose of one's wealth should be a personal choice, not a governmental one.

Allowing families to build up massive wealth over generations only weakens democracy.

Its no longer democracy when you decide that 5 or 10% of the population isn't entitled to the same economic protections that the rest are.

Men like Carnegie and Vanderbilt understood this as does a guy like Warren Buffet who is giving most of his wealth to charity. Otherwise, the gov't should take it in taxes.

And I can promise you this will backfire in more ways than one.

A flat tax is complete BS that only super rich people support because its a huge payday for them and an unfair burden on the middle and lower classes who can barely afford to live paycheck to paycheck as it is.

Firstly, let me again object to this definition of fair and unfair. A progressive tax code is by nature "unfair," namely, it does not treat everyone as equals and does not demand an equal share. However, its inherent unfairness doesn't mean it isn't right. But if anyone deserves to have moral outrage on their side, its the rich, who are both heavily taxed and demonized for their remaining wealth.

Again, that doesn't mean I don't think a progressive tax regime isn't the right way to go, merely that you classifications of fair and unfair are being mixed up when you should be saying "right" and "wrong."

John Snow
08-04-2009, 10:28 AM
Since reagan or including reagan?

Bush Sr.= 4 years
Bush Jr.= 8 years

Am I missing someone?

Clinton. In all honesty, and I'm not being facetious here, he was as much as neo con as the rest.

Neilbert
08-04-2009, 10:41 AM
the wealthiest 5% furnish close on 70% of national income tax revenue. Excuse me if that seems high.

They also own 95% of all the wealth. But let's just ignore that little bit.

When Reagan came in, they paid 78%, when he left they paid 28%, but tax revenue doubled in that time. I don't see a problem, I guess. Seems to me if the gov't wants to make money, thats how you do it. JFK had 91% on marginal income greater than $400,000. And he cut it only to 70%, but it was set to increase at 4% every year.

Reagan didn't solve any problems, he just kicked them down to the next generation (borrow and spend baby!). You like him for the exact same reasons I loathe the man. Well, that and South America.

91% on marginal income over 400k sounds incredibly reasonable even if you don't adjust for inflation. 400k is a ton of money, and I don't see any merit in a system that increases income inequality indefinitely over time. The end result is a handful of absurdly rich and everyone else barely scraping by, but for some reason lots of people don't have a problem with that.

I've seen surveys where people were asked to name their household income and where they relative to everyone else. An absurdly high % of people thought they were in the top quartile. That's probably, give the plebs the illusion of wealth and they will happily vote to defend the wealthiest.

Sinistrum
08-04-2009, 11:54 AM
Honestly, the rich SHOULD pay more taxes. After setting yourself up to live comfortably (that whole bracketing/marginal rate thing), there should be no problem with paying more and more of one's massively excessive income in taxes.

Why? And how do you define "excessive?" Where do you draw the line between "excessive" and not "excessive?"

400k is a ton of money, and I don't see any merit in a system that increases income inequality indefinitely over time. The end result is a handful of absurdly rich and everyone else barely scraping by, but for some reason lots of people don't have a problem with that.

Um, that's sort of the end result no matter what economic system you use, even in socialistic/communistic societies. The "wealthy" just mask their wealth in the guise of party system power. Inequality is an inexorable result of the human condition. People are born with different levels of intelligence and different levels of capabilities. Those different levels dictate that you will always have inequality of results in economics. Generally speaking, the rich get rich because they are capable of it and the poor are poor and "barely scrap by" because that is what they are capable of.

This hamfisted idea that "everyone MUST succeed at life or the system is a failure" completely ignores the fact that not everyone can succeed at life, and quite a few people are simply born to fail no matter what you do with them. When you have a system that mandates equality of results you automatically have to adjust the quality of life it results in downward because of the limited capablities of your lowest common denominator. You can't force them to succeed. To draw a rather crude illustration, you can't force a mentally retarded person to produce the same results as Albert Einstein, no matter how hard you try. His natural capabilities simply do not allow for it. However, give Einstein enough blows to the head or other "handicaps" and you can force him to lead the life and produce the results of a retard.

The point is that equality of results always has the bar for what is equal set by the failures in life. The only way to truly get it is to adjust everyone downward becauase a lot of people simply aren't capable of adjusting upward. So instead of having a handful of rich people with a bunch of others just scrapping by, you get EVERYONE just scrapping by. I would rather have a handful of elite with everyone else at least having the possibility of joining them then everyone doomed to a subsistence level existence where nobody can strive for anything simply because its supposedly "unfair" for some to succeed and others to get left behind. So yeah, that's pretty much why economic inequality doesn't bother me.

Ozymandias
08-04-2009, 12:38 PM
They also own 95% of all the wealth. But let's just ignore that little bit.


If believing that helps you sleep at night, go ahead. But I will ignore it, because its blatantly false. According to wikipedia (which quotes the CBO, so I'll take their word), in 2001, the wealthiest 5% of Americans made 27.5% of all wages earned, and simultaneously paid 55.2% of all federal income taxes. So don't even start on this whole wealthy oligarchic thing. Rich people pay a huge share more than they earn.

Now that number may have changed, but somehow I doubt it went from making 28% to making 95% of American incomes.

Again, rich people should be paying more. But at some point, progressive tax code turns into "abuse the rich." How is that any different than the bailouts middle class America loves to rip on? Wealthy Wall Street companies used their money to maintain their corporate lifestyles, so to speak. And now they turn around and take money out of the pockets of the wealthy so they don't have to spend. Seems fairly hypocritical.

The point is that equality of results always has the bar for what is equal set by the failures in life. The only way to truly get it is to adjust everyone downward becauase a lot of people simply aren't capable of adjusting upward. So instead of having a handful of rich people with a bunch of others just scrapping by, you get EVERYONE just scrapping by. I would rather have a handful of elite with everyone else at least having the possibility of joining them then everyone doomed to a subsistence level existence where nobody can strive for anything simply because its supposedly "unfair" for some to succeed and others to get left behind. So yeah, that's pretty much why economic inequality doesn't bother me.

Somebody sounds like a Terry Goodkind monologue! But I agree with you. There should be a balance, but the only way you'll achieve the proper one is by acknowledging that some people are idiots and don't deserve the same level of success as, well, successful people.

Davian93
08-04-2009, 01:25 PM
Now that number may have changed, but somehow I doubt it went from making 28% to making 95% of American incomes.

Apples and Oranges. You can't compare yearly income with overall wealth. Thus, you are wrong. I believe that the Top 10% possess something like 90% of all the wealth though...as a result of years of saving building it up due to being undertaxed. ;)

Davian93
08-04-2009, 01:42 PM
Here's an interesting article on Wealth Inequality: http://multinationalmonitor.org/mm2003/03may/may03interviewswolff.html

Its from 2003 but the overall numbers are likely to be fairly similar.


Edit: "The top 1% own 38.1% of the wealth in the country, the next 4% own 21.3%, and the next 5% own 11.5%. That is to say, the top 10% of the country owns 70.9% of the wealth of this nation."

Ozymandias
08-04-2009, 01:54 PM
Edit: "The top 1% own 38.1% of the wealth in the country, the next 4% own 21.3%, and the next 5% own 11.5%. That is to say, the top 10% of the country owns 70.9% of the wealth of this nation."

Somewhat misleading, of course. First off, someone with higher net worth may be making the same amount as someone with less, and just making smarter decisisons. And using the 5%-own-more-than-the-remaining-95% argument is also a bit disingenuous, because it takes into account a large number of people who pay no taxes and should have no vested interest in the tax code.

But as Sini said, thats the way it works. Wealth, talent, and education tend to engender more wealth. Plenty of middle class people can move up, and plenty of upper class people move down.

Simply put, excessive taxation and regulation puts a damper on risk taking and just enthusiasm in general. I'm a lot less motivated to make a risky investment which could earn me wealth if I know 90% of it will be taken away than I am if only 50% will be. Same with a small business. If I want to open a business, and know that 90% of my profits will be eaten by gov't, why even bother?

Davian93
08-04-2009, 02:01 PM
They should strengthen the inheritance tax (did they even bring that back yet?). That's a huge source of income that could be tapped into. That also promotes democratic values by helping to eliminate the formation of a permanent upper class. Make the Inheritance Tax something like 80% of all wealth over $1 million. Thus, Ma & Pa Kettle won't be effected but uber-rich guy's family won't be able to live off of generational wealth.

Note: By Inheritance I am actually referring to the Federal Estate Tax on a person's estate at their death....its something that Bush Jr gutted back in 2001 to help all his trust fund baby friends. It only effects the top 2% of Americans.

Gilshalos Sedai
08-04-2009, 02:02 PM
Yeah, but, Dav.... then you get rid of Sentor Smith's inherited money and he won't like that.

Davian93
08-04-2009, 02:07 PM
Yeah, but, Dav.... then you get rid of Sentor Smith's inherited money and he won't like that.

Yeah, it'd suck for him to actually have to earn his own living and not be set for life because of his parents.

Ozymandias
08-04-2009, 02:11 PM
They should strengthen the inheritance tax (did they even bring that back yet?). That's a huge source of income that could be tapped into. That also promotes democratic values by helping to eliminate the formation of a permanent upper class. Make the Inheritance Tax something like 80% of all wealth over $1 million. Thus, Ma & Pa Kettle won't be effected but uber-rich guy's family won't be able to live off of generational wealth.

Note: By Inheritance I am actually referring to the Federal Estate Tax on a person's estate at their death....its something that Bush Jr gutted back in 2001 to help all his trust fund baby friends. It only effects the top 2% of Americans.

I don't know that I agree with this. Again, it disincentivizes working for people with the potential to do so. If I work my whole life and pay 55% of my earnings to some gov't or another, why should I be required to pay more when I die? Plus, what if my widow can't afford it?

Sinistrum
08-04-2009, 02:13 PM
That is to say, the top 10% of the country owns 70.9% of the wealth of this nation."

Ok, so explain to me why this is a "problem?" Is it merely the fact that they have more than everyone else or is there something more to it?

EDIT: As for the inheretence tax issue, that won't solve anything. All that will lead to is a great deal of inter vivos gifts that accomplish the same effect in the long run.

Davian93
08-04-2009, 02:18 PM
I don't know that I agree with this. Again, it disincentivizes working for people with the potential to do so. If I work my whole life and pay 55% of my earnings to some gov't or another, why should I be required to pay more when I die? Plus, what if my widow can't afford it?

If she can't afford to live off of the $1 million plus 20% of anything over that, then there is a problem. The first million or so is tax free so the majority of people would be okay with such a tax. You wouldn't particularly care because you'd be dead anyway. If anything, it would encourage spending of money while the person is alive which would stimulate the economy.

So if you died with a $50 million estate...your heir/heirs would get the first $1 million plus another $9.8 million after taxes. Yeah, they might not be able to sit back and do nothing but they'd hardly be beggers.

EDIT: As for the inheretence tax issue, that won't solve anything. All that will lead to is a great deal of inter vivos gifts that accomplish the same effect in the long run.

Those types of "gifts" can be taxed as well. Just close the loophole. I believe there are already hard caps on those types of gifts already and those caps are pretty low considering amount of wealth we're talking about.

GonzoTheGreat
08-04-2009, 02:59 PM
So if you died with a $50 million estate...your heir/heirs would get the first $1 million plus another $9.8 million after taxes. Yeah, they might not be able to sit back and do nothing but they'd hardly be beggers.To be honest, if I got $10.8 million, I think that I would be able to sit back and do nothing.
I'm definitely willing to try that experiment, I can tell you that.

And I think that you meant "beggars". The word "beggers" would seem to apply more to bankers who are asking for a bailout than to rich heirs, I think.

Davian93
08-04-2009, 03:01 PM
To be honest, if I got $10.8 million, I think that I would be able to sit back and do nothing.
I'm definitely willing to try that experiment, I can tell you that.

And I think that you meant "beggars". The word "beggers" would seem to apply more to bankers who are asking for a bailout than to rich heirs, I think.

I believe you are likely correct on both statements.

Ozymandias
08-04-2009, 03:42 PM
So if you died with a $50 million estate...your heir/heirs would get the first $1 million plus another $9.8 million after taxes. Yeah, they might not be able to sit back and do nothing but they'd hardly be beggers.


Its not quite that simple, because if I'm not mistaken your taxed on all your assets and have to pay in cash (well... not in assets). And selling all those things off, say, in an economy like today's, is not easy. You have to sell it for knockdown prices, further reducing value.

I just think an extra 80% off the top of the 55% I (as a hypothetical rich person) am paying is ridiculous, when Mr. Middle Class out there pays next to nothing. As I said, there is progressive tax codes, and then there is just making the rich pay for everything.

Gilshalos Sedai
08-04-2009, 03:56 PM
Because Mr. Middle Class HAS nothing to pay on. Do you even pay taxes, Ozy?

Sei'taer
08-04-2009, 04:20 PM
You like him for the exact same reasons I loathe the man. Well, that and South America.


Sure, asshole. The man royally (and personally, yes, personally, he, himself did it all on his own, he stood up and said the words to MY FAMILY) screwed my family, caused many years of very hard times, was a dick of infinite proportions, and I despise, loathe and think less of him than you ever could. I shed not a single tear and even had a beer to honor him finally being fucking dead. You should take your shoes off and stick your nasty fucking feet in your mouth now for even making a dumbass assumption like that you little weasly prick. To everyone, yeah, that fucking pisses me off, take it or leave it...fucking whatever.

The only thing I was pointing out was that his and JFK's (a bastion of democratic love...hell he built camelot and all) tax cuts worked. Right now we are getting very little revenue through taxes because so many people are unemployed. The way you raise revenue is by getting people employed, not by getting more unemployed. then you raise taxes slightly if you have too. I think it's bullshit, but I hate paying taxes for shitheads up there to spend and waste on useless shit.

Ozymandias
08-04-2009, 04:44 PM
Because Mr. Middle Class HAS nothing to pay on. Do you even pay taxes, Ozy?

To my great regret, I am a taxpayer these days.

Your sense of entitlement makes you no better than the Wall Street bankers I'm sure your livid about bailing out (which I am one of, now... sad).

I honestly see little difference. The bailout, plus the auto bailouts and AIG, were to benefit the middle class. And now they want to dip into someone else's pocket to pay for it. Sounds familiar, huh?

Davian93
08-04-2009, 04:57 PM
Because Mr. Middle Class HAS nothing to pay on. Do you even pay taxes, Ozy?

He's a 21ish year old college student...no he does not.

What could you possibly be paying taxes on...unless you are independently wealthy. I thought you were a UPenn student...

Crispin's Crispian
08-04-2009, 05:22 PM
He's a 21ish year old college student...no he does not.

What could you possibly be paying taxes on...unless you are independently wealthy. I thought you were a UPenn student...
Who cares if Ozy currently pays taxes or not? He's going to some day, and likely is affected by the taxes others have to pay, in one way or another.

I'm generally pretty left of center, but I have to dissect Dav's arguments here a bit:

They should strengthen the inheritance tax (did they even bring that back yet?). That's a huge source of income that could be tapped into. That also promotes democratic values by helping to eliminate the formation of a permanent upper class. Make the Inheritance Tax something like 80% of all wealth over $1 million. Thus, Ma & Pa Kettle won't be effected but uber-rich guy's family won't be able to live off of generational wealth.
Why shouldn't the guy's family be able to live off generational wealth? If I make $10M, you bet your ass I want my family to partake in it after I'm gone. Sure, I'll donate a shit-ton to charity, and I'm a firm believer in paying taxes, but you're talking about taxing something (a) that's already been taxed, (b) for the wrong reasons.

Taxes are supposed to be used for paying for government services. The current tax system is so jacked up precisely because it's used instead as a tool to equalize income, to incent behavior that is favorable to the government (or to the powers behind the government), and to punish behavior that's unfavorable. This is fine to an extent, but in our current republic it's not working very well.

Davian93
08-04-2009, 05:25 PM
Who cares if Ozy currently pays taxes or not? He's going to some day, and likely is affected by the taxes others have to pay, in one way or another.

I'm generally pretty left of center, but I have to dissect Dav's arguments here a bit:


Why shouldn't the guy's family be able to live off generational wealth? If I make $10M, you bet your ass I want my family to partake in it after I'm gone. Sure, I'll donate a shit-ton to charity, and I'm a firm believer in paying taxes, but you're talking about taxing something (a) that's already been taxed, (b) for the wrong reasons.

Taxes are supposed to be used for paying for government services. The current tax system is so jacked up precisely because it's used instead as a tool to equalize income, to incent behavior that is favorable to the government (or to the powers behind the government), and to punish behavior that's unfavorable. This is fine to an extent, but in our current republic it's not working very well.

It would promote equality and ensure that a permanent upper class doesn't exist. Its very democratic.

Your family would still get $2.8 million from a $10 million inheritance. That's not that brutal. I think most could survive off that and survive quite well.

Neilbert
08-04-2009, 05:38 PM
I'm a proponent of a national sales tax. Abolish the other taxes (income, property, estate, death) and institute a national sales tax (like 20%ish). That way you get taxed based on what you spend, not what you save (the way it is now).

The rich would spend more, thus paying more proportionately in taxes, and the poor would spend less, paying less in taxes.

That's what we call a regressive tax, one that makes the poor poorer, and the rich richer. Rich people don't spend their money, they invest it. People who need to spend a greater portion of their income to meet the necessities of life would be completely screwed over by such a tax, there's nothing fair about it.

JSUCamel
08-04-2009, 05:38 PM
It would promote equality and ensure that a permanent upper class doesn't exist. Its very communist.

Fixed.

Davian93
08-04-2009, 05:45 PM
Fixed.

That's one opinion. How is the perpetuation of a generational upper class good for democracy?

Neilbert
08-04-2009, 05:46 PM
Sure, asshole.

Eh, my apologies then. I'd be just as offended if someone accused me of liking that scumbag.

The only thing I was pointing out was that his and JFK's (a bastion of democratic love...hell he built camelot and all) tax cuts worked. Right now we are getting very little revenue through taxes because so many people are unemployed.

I think it's far more complicated than that, you can't just say tax cuts worked without looking at everything else Reagan and JFK did. It's beyond me, but tax cuts = more jobs is a massive oversimplification. There's no reason a rich person getting a tax break would employ more Americans, instead of turning profits into more profits, sending jobs over seas, or many other things. Personally I think that it's been made perfectly clear that the rich will continue to screw over and exploit the other classes regardless of how many breaks they get, or how wealthy they become.

Tax cuts on the wealthy increased income inequality. That's telling in and of itself.

Neilbert
08-04-2009, 05:52 PM
Fixed.

Some day someone is really going to have to explain to me the difference between true communism and true democracy. They are so similar when it comes down to it that I don't see how someone can use one as a good word and one as a pejorative without some rather severe cognitive dissonance going on.

Davian93
08-04-2009, 05:56 PM
Some day someone is really going to have to explain to me the difference between true communism and true democracy. They are so similar when it comes down to it that I don't see how someone can use one as a good word and one as a pejorative without some rather severe cognitive dissonance going on.

One's evil and Russian...

Matoyak
08-04-2009, 10:27 PM
Generally in one, the Government (tending to be something similar to an oligarchy) controls everything dealing with money, production of goods, and distribution of goods. In the other, IIRC, it is just a description of a certain system of government where the masses rule (democracy was actually a term most people shied away from until recently. it implied mob rule, and it's one reason America was set up as a republic rather than a democracy. There was a favoring towards the elite in the beginning whether people care to admit it or not.)

EDIT: This is overly simplified, but it should get the generalities across I think.
EDIT EDIT: A true democracy has every citizen voting for each issue. A democratic republic has people vote for the person who votes on the issues. (And then there is the Pluralist Democracy versus the...can't remember teh exact term...Majoritarian? Democracy. The founders tended to form more with pluralist in which interest groups are the main democratic force, and that's what we have today, for the most part.)

Jalyn
08-04-2009, 10:44 PM
Some day someone is really going to have to explain to me the difference between true communism and true democracy. They are so similar when it comes down to it that I don't see how someone can use one as a good word and one as a pejorative without some rather severe cognitive dissonance going on.

Communism is an economic system and democracy is a political one. Democracy should be compared to totalitarianism - presumably the choice there is obvious. Communism should be compared to capitalism.
(Obviously, there are mid points between both and republicanism, which is what the US actually has, is one of them.)

Crispin's Crispian
08-05-2009, 10:23 AM
It would promote equality and ensure that a permanent upper class doesn't exist. Its very democratic.

Your family would still get $2.8 million from a $10 million inheritance. That's not that brutal. I think most could survive off that and survive quite well.
This is just begging the question.

Using your logic, if we triple- or quadruple-taxed inheritance, we would be even more equal. Why not start double-taxing income too? Why doesn't the federal government start taxing property while we're at it. Rich people own more and more valuable property, right?

Emotionally, I'm in complete agreement with you, Dav. The very rich don't need 2,000 times more money than it takes to live comfortably. But your reasons for double-taxing them and taking away their freedom to have that money seem pretty thin.

JSUCamel
08-05-2009, 10:32 AM
I actually agree with Sini here. If I make $2 million, why should I have to pay 80% taxes while someone who makes $200,000 only has to pay 45%? You want to penalize my success? How is that even remotely close to right?

That's like saying that once you win the Super Bowl, your team can't play for six years, but if you make it to the playoffs, you only have to wait three months between seasons to play again.

Crispin's Crispian
08-05-2009, 10:39 AM
I actually agree with Sini here. If I make $2 million, why should I have to pay 80% taxes while someone who makes $200,000 only has to pay 45%? You want to penalize my success? How is that even remotely close to right?

That's like saying that once you win the Super Bowl, your team can't play for six years, but if you make it to the playoffs, you only have to wait three months between seasons to play again.
Progressive income taxation doesn't bother me that much (though 80% is a bit high...LOL).

I look at that less about penalizing success and more as giving a break to the poor and lower incomes. In my mind, everyone should have to pay taxes, and you come up with the amount by budgeting (haha) how much the government needs. Then, you apportion the tax burden based on income, so that people that make less pay less.

This is all in my ideal world of functional government and a non-existent K street.

Davian93
08-05-2009, 10:58 AM
This is just begging the question.

Using your logic, if we triple- or quadruple-taxed inheritance, we would be even more equal. Why not start double-taxing income too? Why doesn't the federal government start taxing property while we're at it. Rich people own more and more valuable property, right?

Emotionally, I'm in complete agreement with you, Dav. The very rich don't need 2,000 times more money than it takes to live comfortably. But your reasons for double-taxing them and taking away their freedom to have that money seem pretty thin.

Its not a double tax because it only happens after the person who earned it is gone. Thus, its better than brutally raising their current income which would more greatly effect them. Making it a progressive tax (I.E. the first million or so is untouchable) ensures that you wouldn't be unfairly impoviserishing (sp?) anyone.

Neilbert
08-05-2009, 11:01 AM
I actually agree with Sini here. If I make $2 million, why should I have to pay 80% taxes while someone who makes $200,000 only has to pay 45%? You want to penalize my success? How is that even remotely close to right?

How is that penalizing your success? You are still richer than everyone else. Because you are receiving a greater benefit from the American "system" you should pay a greater share out to that system.

If I make zero dollars I pay zero taxes, but if I make 20k suddenly I am paying taxes. Is that penalizing my success too?

Alternatively, because far and away the biggest determining factor in how much money you can make is how much money you have; the system is broken and there needs to be a fix.

That's like saying that once you win the Super Bowl, your team can't play for six years, but if you make it to the playoffs, you only have to wait three months between seasons to play again.

That's actually nothing like denying a team the ability to compete because they won. It's a lot more like salary caps, so the winningest team can't afford to draft all the best players, and most of the mediocre players and win forever and ever amen. (Think like the Yankees taken way way to the extreme, I'm not good with sports or sports metaphors.)

Communism is an economic system and democracy is a political one. Democracy should be compared to totalitarianism - presumably the choice there is obvious. Communism should be compared to capitalism.

You can't have an economic system without a political system backing it. You may want to separate the two, but in reality it's impossible to do without going all laiz faire. Democracy is rule by the people, communism is ownership by the people. There really isn't that much of a difference. I disagree with going pure communist or pure democratic, because I believe that people are entitled to some profit from their ability and hard work, but the system we have currently is not that.

The choice between democracy and totalitarianism is not at all obvious, there are problems inherent in democracy just like there are problems inherent in totalitarianism. There's a reason were a democratic republic, not a pure democracy, even though that too has become rather twisted against the ideal.

Capitalism is incredibly flawed too, but nobody ever wants to point it out. The theory is that a person who makes an inferior product and an "unfair" price (as determined by the market) will go out of business and a competitor making a superior product at a more reasonable price will thrive. There are many reasons this doesn't actually happen in real life, but the most fundamental one is that it only works if the consumer has access to perfect information, and that never happens.

GonzoTheGreat
08-05-2009, 11:18 AM
Does anyone else have the constant urge upon reading the title of this thread to start an "Obama to Raise Texas..." thread?

The only reason why I haven't done it, yet, is that I don't know what to put in it.

Davian93
08-05-2009, 11:34 AM
Does anyone else have the constant urge upon reading the title of this thread to start an "Obama to Raise Texas..." thread?

The only reason why I haven't done it, yet, is that I don't know what to put in it.

All things considered, it would more likely read "Obama to Raze Texas"

JSUCamel
08-05-2009, 11:36 AM
How is that penalizing your success? You are still richer than everyone else. Because you are receiving a greater benefit from the American "system" you should pay a greater share out to that system.

It is most certainly penalizing my success. I EARNED $2 million, and Dav wants to take most of it away, so that I'm equivalent with the guy who EARNED $300,000 but only had to pay 1/3rd in taxes. That's not right.


If I make zero dollars I pay zero taxes, but if I make 20k suddenly I am paying taxes. Is that penalizing my success too?


The problem isn't paying taxes -- I'm all for everyone chipping in. The point is paying excessive taxes just because I was successful and you weren't.

Alternatively, because far and away the biggest determining factor in how much money you can make is how much money you have; the system is broken and there needs to be a fix.

This is precisely the problem. The problem is that I'm being penalized because I successfully earned millions of dollars. If the tax code was based on how much I SPENT (ie. national sales tax), then yes, I'd be spending 200 times what the average American would spend, and I'd be paying 200 times the taxes -- but in that case, it's my choice and I don't get penalized because I'm successful.

And maybe the football thing was a bad analogy.

Sinistrum
08-05-2009, 11:36 AM
You are still richer than everyone else. Because you are receiving a greater benefit from the American "system" you should pay a greater share out to that system.

I keep asking this question and nobody seems to want to answer it. Why is this true? Why should the rich pay more? Simply because they have more?

All things considered, it would more likely read "Obama to Raze Texas"

Considering a good portion of our military is from Texas and we've got more guns per capita than any other state, I'd love to see him try.

Davian93
08-05-2009, 11:38 AM
I keep asking this question and nobody seems to want to answer it. Why is this true? Why should the rich pay more? Simply because they have more?

Because they can afford too. And because we all have an obligation to our society to help improve/support it as much as possible.


Disclaimer: Yes, I know full well you completely disagree with my viewpoint on this. That's why you consider yourself a conservative and I'm a wacky left-wing guy from VT.

JSUCamel
08-05-2009, 11:39 AM
Because they can afford too. And because we all have an obligation to our society to help improve/support it as much as possible.

If that's the case, then I fully expect you to donate your computer, fancy hiking shoes and TV to Salvation Army, because you can afford to do it. Sorry, Dav, that's a bullshit reason.

GonzoTheGreat
08-05-2009, 11:40 AM
Considering a good portion of our military is from Texas and we've got more guns per capita than any other state, I'd love to see him try.Man, now I'm tempted to say "you're not the only one".
This thread sure is chock full of temptations.

Sinistrum
08-05-2009, 11:42 AM
Because they can afford too. And because we all have an obligation to our society to help improve/support it as much as possible.

Ok, so the answer really is because they simply have more. I'm not going to argue with you on the obligation to contribute toward society. That is something I agree with you with because without that obligation, a society doesn't function or serve its primary purpose (survival of the majority of its members).

However, the obligation to contribute doesn't automatically equate to contributing more if you have more. There has to be something more to it before you get there, which is why I think your statement about them being able to afford to is the crux of your answer. So now that we've established that it is simply because they have more that they should pay more, let me ask a follow up question. What is it about having more wealth than others that incurs the obligation to contribute more?

Davian93
08-05-2009, 11:52 AM
What is it about having more wealth than others that incurs the obligation to contribute more?

Honestly, because it won't effect them as much. Its like a flat tax. Yeah, its great to say we should take 20% from everyone to make everything "fair" but "same" and "fair" are not synonyms.

Situation A: A guy making $25K a year (basically $12.50 an hour or so) most likely can't afford to lose 1/5th of his income due to a "fair flat tax". In our current tax system, he would pay very little if anything after his personal deduction. He'd likely get a pretty decent refund too. If he had any dependents, it would go down even further.

Situation B: a guy making $2.5 million a year (a lot more an hour) would lose that 1/5th and not even notice it other than maybe one less trip to Nantucket. Thus he can much more easily give that money and not be affected. So to have the same overall "impact" on each person, the percentage has to be a progressive one in order to make it fair. Everyone can survive at at least a marginal rate and those that do make a bunch of money will still get to enjoy the fruits of their labor (better car, bigger house, likely a better looking spouse, etc) despite paying a far larger percentage of their income.

A higher estate tax would do the same thing. The rich would not be impoverished by it but they also wouldn't be able to compound wealth over generations creating a permanent upper class. That would create a situation (one that many argue we already somewhat have) of a small but extermeely powerful oligarchy of interests that drowns out the large share of the actual population of a nation.

Thus, it isn't "communism" as the rich guy doesn't have to give up all his wealth and go work on the the commune along side the $25 K guy. Both still get rewarded in accordance with their ability to earn a living and a marginal level of existance is guaranteed for even the worthless dregs of society.

Gilshalos Sedai
08-05-2009, 11:54 AM
With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility?


Money = power.


There was a reason the Aes Sedai were named what they were named after all. They were supposed to serve according to their abilities. Of course, one could make the argument that that's what pushed the Forsaken to fall....


(I'm not taking sides, just taking pot-shots.)


Both still get rewarded in accordance with their ability to earn a living and a marginal level of existance is guaranteed for even the worthless dregs of society.

Paris Hilton?

Sinistrum
08-05-2009, 12:02 PM
Honestly, because it won't effect them as much.

I understand that taxing them more doesn't hurt them as much as it would the middle or lower class. But there are plenty of other things we can say that about that doesn't lead to justify an increased shouldering of responsibility for others or financial pain. I mean I don't really see Gilly and Bryan incurring any obligation to buy me a car or pay my rent. They certainly have more than me at this point in life and it would certainly hurt them less than it does me to pay for that stuff. Is that really the only basis for this obligation to pay more?

Both still get rewarded in accordance with their ability to earn a living and a marginal level of existance is guaranteed for even the worthless dregs of society.

Ok, so why is a level of existence for people supposed to be a guarantee?

Davian93
08-05-2009, 12:03 PM
I understand that taxing them more doesn't hurt them as much as it would the middle or lower class. But there are plenty of other things we can say that about that doesn't lead to justify an increased shouldering of responsibility for others or financial pain. I mean I don't really see Gilly and Bryan incurring any obligation to buy me a car or pay my rent. They certainly have more than me at this point in life and it would certainly hurt them less than it does me to pay for that stuff. Is that really the only basis for this obligation to pay more?

Not really...other than a general level of societal obligation.

Ok, so why is a level of existence for people supposed to be a guarantee?

A basic level of a safety net should be a guarantee. You can't allow people to basically starve to death homeless on the streets.

Sinistrum
08-05-2009, 12:09 PM
Not really...other than a general level of societal obligation.

Ok but as I've pointed out, people can meet that general level of societal obligation without having to pay more than everyone else. What you are talking about is an INCREASED level of societal obligation. And I'm trying to figure out why that increase in obligation goes hand in hand with a higher level of success at gathering resources.

A basic level of a safety net should be a guarantee. You can't allow people to basically starve to death homeless on the streets.

Why? This doesn't answer my question, but merely restates the point I was questioning in the first place.

tanaww
08-05-2009, 12:21 PM
I saw on the news that yesterday was the anniversary of the imposition of income tax. In 1862, partly to help fund the Civil War, a 3% income tax was imposed. I am lazy, right? But I'd like to know what that revenue would look like. What if we just taxed 3% of every dollar made by anyone and taxed corporate revenue at the same rate. No loop holes, no exceptions. You earn a dollar and the feds let you keep 97 cents. Someone less lazy than me run the numbers, m'kay?

I also support a consumption-based tax. It works for Europe, right? It would work as well here except it might taste bad for over-consumers. Tough shit.

As a quasi-economist, it turns my stomach when people say savings hurts the economy. So. Not. True. The more you save, the less you will look to the government for later. Seems almost logical.

Crispin's Crispian
08-05-2009, 12:56 PM
Ok but as I've pointed out, people can meet that general level of societal obligation without having to pay more than everyone else. What you are talking about is an INCREASED level of societal obligation. And I'm trying to figure out why that increase in obligation goes hand in hand with a higher level of success at gathering resources.

I actually did answer this already. You're looking at it from the wrong perspective. The point of a progressive tax system is NOT to take more from the wealthy, it's to take less from the poor. A progressive system recognizes that taxes become a greater burden as income drops.

This whole idea of "punishing the successful" was probably invented by the successful.

Sinistrum
08-05-2009, 01:18 PM
The point of a progressive tax system is NOT to take more from the wealthy, it's to take less from the poor

That may be the point, but its certainly not the only effect. Like I said, I acknowledge that its going to hurt the little guy less. But what I'm wondering is how that, and that alone, justifies hurting the rich person more?

JSUCamel
08-05-2009, 01:23 PM
That may be the point, but its certainly not the only effect. Like I said, I acknowledge that its going to hurt the little guy less. But what I'm wondering is how that, and that alone, justifies hurting the rich person more?

Yes, what Sini said. I'll try and mesh both Sini and Crispin's points into one question, since I kind of see where both are coming from:

I think Crispin is suggesting that the "starting" tax bracket is the highest one, and the rest are adjusted lower because they're making lower income.

For instance, let's say the starting tax bracket is 38% -- If it were not progressive, everyone would pay 38%. However, since we care about hurting the little guy less, we're gonna drop the tax by X% for every Y number of dollars of income over Z amount.

Therefore, the rich aren't being hurt more -- they're being hurt exactly enough -- and the lower income families are helped along by paying less.

That's one way to look at it.

And let's assume that's how it is: if you raise taxes on the top tier (the "starting" tax bracket), then how do you justify not raising taxes on the lower? THAT is "hurting the rich more".

I think Sini is suggesting that if you're going to raise taxes, it should be raised on most (if not all) brackets -- THAT is fair. There's no good, solid reason to single out the highest brackets for increases and pick on them simply because they're rich and more successful.

Neilbert
08-05-2009, 01:53 PM
If the tax code was based on how much I SPENT (ie. national sales tax), then yes, I'd be spending 200 times what the average American would spend, and I'd be paying 200 times the taxes -- but in that case, it's my choice and I don't get penalized because I'm successful.

No, you wouldn't be spending 200 times what the average American spent. You haven't thought this through.

I'm going to make up some numbers to illustrate this:

A poor person spends lets say 60% of their income on necessities, stuff they can't live without. They pay 30% national sales tax on what they spend. So the poor person pays 18% of their total income in taxes just on necessities.

Most poor people I know live paycheck to paycheck, and don't have any savings, so if they spend upwards of 75% of their paycheck (which is not hard to do) they pay the rest in taxes and then have absolutely no savings.

At 75% spending Mr Poor is paying 22.5% of income in taxes, with 18% being taxes that Mr Poor could not possibly avoid.

Mr Rich spends 5% of his income on necessities, because while his cost of living might be greater, his income is much much greater.

He is paying a minimum of 1.5% of his income on taxes.

However, he wants a new swimming pool, and his wife want's to see Europe, and his kids need their private education etc, so lets say he's spending another 20% of his income on luxuries.

25% of his income gets spent, and he is paying 7.5% of his income in taxes.

Already the Mr Poor is getting hosed by the government, because his share of the tax burden (by % of income) is almost 3 times that of Mr Rich.

And it gets worse, because Mr Rich still has 75% of his income sitting around. He is going to invest a good chunk of that income and turn it into more income, and he is going to save a chunk of it for a rainy day. He doesn't pay taxes on those investments, or if he does he makes sure that his rate of return makes the investment profitable.

So Mr Rich becomes fantastically richer, and Mr Poor stays poor until he breaks a leg or something, then hospital bills bankrupt him.

You can play with the numbers if you want, but a national sales tax replacing income tax would be incredibly regressive and put a huge tax burden on the poor, while giving the rich a proportionally smaller tax burden.

It's the exact opposite of what you were complaining about. Instead of the rich being forced to pay a greater portion of their income in taxes, the poor are.

then yes, I'd be spending 200 times what the average

There's the flaw in your assumptions. The rich don't spend the same portion of their income that the poor do. They have more savings and more investments, which would not be taxed by a national sales tax.

I think Sini is suggesting that if you're going to raise taxes, it should be raised on most (if not all) brackets -- THAT is fair. There's no good, solid reason to single out the highest brackets for increases and pick on them simply because they're rich and more successful.

If income distributions in this country weren't so wacked out then Sinistrum would be making a good point. Unfortunately that is not the case. Median income is far lower than mean income.

If you are making >250k according to wiki you are in the top 1.5%. However, statistics like this are misleading because it is damn near impossible to find income information on the top .01%, and that's where the REAL money is.

Above 250K could stand to be taxed rather large, I think something in the middle range would be appropriate 50 or 60 %. However, what nobody is willing to talk about is the .01% ers. There should be another income bracket on top of the current highest which is taxed at around 90%. (Idk maybe starting at 800k or something)

Crispin's Crispian
08-05-2009, 02:05 PM
I think Sini is suggesting that if you're going to raise taxes, it should be raised on most (if not all) brackets -- THAT is fair. There's no good, solid reason to single out the highest brackets for increases and pick on them simply because they're rich and more successful.
Well, now you're talking about raising taxes, which is something different. In principle, I agree with you. In principle, the starting tax bracket should be adjusted based on the needs of the government, and that change should cascade down proportionately.

In practice, the whole thing is facked up because each little lobby group gets to affect which taxes get taken from where.

Unfortunately, it's also not quite as simple as just adjusting the withholding. It also has to be weighted with the population in each bracket, else you end up taking way too much or way to little money.

JSUCamel
08-05-2009, 03:10 PM
No, you wouldn't be spending 200 times what the average American spent. You haven't thought this through.

Of course I've thought this through, and what's this percentage bullshit?

Here's the scenario:

If I spend $360,000 a year for my house, that may be 10% of my income, but it's 20 times what the "poor person" in your example spends on their home. If there were a national sales tax, I'd be paying 20 times more in taxes than Joe Dirt.

How is this hard to grasp?

Just because I made 100 million dollars doesn't mean I should have to give up 70 million of it for taxes.

JSUCamel
08-05-2009, 03:11 PM
Well, now you're talking about raising taxes, which is something different. In principle, I agree with you. In principle, the starting tax bracket should be adjusted based on the needs of the government, and that change should cascade down proportionately.

In practice, the whole thing is facked up because each little lobby group gets to affect which taxes get taken from where.

Agreed 100%.


Unfortunately, it's also not quite as simple as just adjusting the withholding. It also has to be weighted with the population in each bracket, else you end up taking way too much or way to little money.

Unfortunately, this is true, but it still doesn't justify taxing the shit out of rich people just because they're rich.

JSUCamel
08-05-2009, 03:23 PM
Above 250K could stand to be taxed rather large, I think something in the middle range would be appropriate 50 or 60 %. However, what nobody is willing to talk about is the .01% ers. There should be another income bracket on top of the current highest which is taxed at around 90%. (Idk maybe starting at 800k or something)

OK, let's look at this with real numbers.

Let's say you make $700,000. Under your proposal, a very "appropriate" 50% of it goes to income taxes, so you're left with $350,000.

Now let's say I make $3,000,000, which under your plan gets taxed at "around 90%". Let's say 90% since it's a nice, round number. 90% of $3,000,000 is $2,700,000, leaving me with a whopping $300,000.

Under your brilliant plan, I make over 4 times what you make, but I only get to keep the same amount.

How is that fair?
How is that NOT punishing me for being successful?

Short answer: That's not fair at all. If I make more money than you, I should get to keep more money than you - period.

Ivhon
08-05-2009, 04:01 PM
Of course I've thought this through, and what's this percentage bullshit?

Here's the scenario:

If I spend $360,000 a year for my house, that may be 10% of my income, but it's 20 times what the "poor person" in your example spends on their home. If there were a national sales tax, I'd be paying 20 times more in taxes than Joe Dirt.



Because that $18k according to your math is not 10% of Poor Joe's income, its 50%.

JSUCamel
08-05-2009, 04:11 PM
Because that $18k according to your math is not 10% of Poor Joe's income, its 50%.

Doesn't matter. I spent 20x what he did. I contributed more financially than he did. As far as I'm concerned, I met my financial obligation to society. To complain about it sounds like he's bitching because I was able to contribute more than he was.

Just because it's a higher percentage of his income than mine doesn't mean jack shit. I still spent more money than he did, I contributed more taxes than he did, and I should get to keep the rest of my money.

I earned that money, the way Dav earned the money to buy those fancy schmancy hiking shoes, but you're asking the millionaires to give up a disproportionate amount of money, simply because they have more. If you ask me, if Dav's so concerned about financial obligation to society, he should have taken that $100 he spent on those shoes and given it to Uncle Sam. But of course, he won't, because he doesn't want to pay any more taxes -- he'd rather foist off the burden on someone else.

Sei'taer
08-05-2009, 04:12 PM
Here (http://www.treas.gov/press/releases/reports/president_taxrelief_topics_0508.pdf)

It's a pdf so if you can't do that then you're a loser.

some quotes:

In 2005, the latest year of
available data, the top 5 percent
of taxpayers paid more than onehalf
(59.7 percent) of all
individual income taxes, but
reported about one-third (35.7
percent) of income.

In 2005, the top 1 percent of
taxpayers paid 39.4 percent of all
individual income taxes. This
group of taxpayers has paid more
than 30 percent of individual
income taxes since 1995.
Moreover, since 1990 this groupís tax share has grown faster than their income share.

Taxpayers who rank in the top 50 percent of taxpayers by income pay virtually all individual income
taxes. In all years since 1990, taxpayers in this group have paid over 90 percent of all individual
income taxes. Since 2000, this group paid over 96 percent of the total. In fact, in 2005 they were
paying 96.9 percent of all individual income taxes.

Interesting. And it comes straight from the Treasury Dept site. Here's the link for that too. (http://search.treas.gov/search?q=the%20U.S.%20individual%20income%20tax%20 is%20"highly%20progressive,"&access=p&sort=date%3AD%3AL%3Ad1&output=xml_no_dtd&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&client=default_frontend&proxystylesheet=default_frontend&site=default_collection)

Ozymandias
08-05-2009, 04:17 PM
Short answer: That's not fair at all. If I make more money than you, I should get to keep more money than you - period.

Well that situation will never arise.

But the points being made are ones I agree with. I should not be penalized for success. I understand that the argument the pro-taxation people are trying to make is that we don't want a permanent upper class. Of course, my first thought would be, "aside from the knee-jerk reaction against it, why is that so terrible?" Despite the massive wealth disparity in this country, people of all walks of life are still better off than their counterparts in every other country in every other period on Earth or in Earth's history. And thats BECAUSE rich people have a high incentive to innovate and create new business and new wealth.

The rich can afford to pay more, and they do. But if your going to increase taxes, you should increase them proportionally. If conventional social wisdom right now states that the rich should pay 50% of their income and the middle class 25%, then if we bump the taxes of the wealthy up 2%, we should do the same for the middle class by 1%. Under that scenario, the system is maintained and you don't discriminate against wealth.

There is no logical reason that the rich should be forced to pay disproportionately. Economically speaking, each citizen should contribute and exactly equal amount, because every citizen receives and exactly equal amount of benefit from the system (well the homeless get more for nothing, I suppose). I don't enjoy the protection of the armed forces any more or any less than any of you. We all get equal value out of it. I don't get any more or less value out of the bureaucratic salaries my tax dollars pay. And yet, I'm paying for a much higher percentage of them, which is inherently unfair.

Oh, and I do pay taxes. I am a college student, but I have some investments (not in the stock market, thank god) from various times I've gotten money, and I have a job that pays me a disgustingly large amount of money for the summer, so I don't qualify for tax rebates.

Gilshalos Sedai
08-05-2009, 04:21 PM
My point is that for every time the rich have gotten a tax break, prior to @ 2000, the middle class didn't. And suddenly, the reverse is true and the rich are bitching. Loudly.

Neilbert
08-05-2009, 04:28 PM
Of course I've thought this through, and what's this percentage bullshit?

Wow. You haven't worked the percentages and you are advocating a new tax system? That's special.

Neilbert
08-05-2009, 04:33 PM
Let's say you make $700,000. Under your proposal, a very "appropriate" 50% of it goes to income taxes, so you're left with $350,000.

Do you know what a tax bracket is?

Because your numbers are very very wrong.

Now let's say I make $3,000,000, which under your plan gets taxed at "around 90%". Let's say 90% since it's a nice, round number. 90% of $3,000,000 is $2,700,000, leaving me with a whopping $300,000.

Here's the tax brackets from wiki:

* 10%: from $0 to $8,025
* 15%: from $8,026 to $32,550
* 25%: from $32,551 to $78,850
* 28%: from $78,851 to $164,550
* 33%: from $164,551 to $357,700
* 35%: $357,701 and above

So the guy who made 3 million would pay:

10% on the first $8,025 which would be $802.50
15% on the next $24525 (32550-8025) which would be $3678.75
25% on the next $46300 which would be $11575.00
28% on the next $85700 which would be $23996.00
33% on the next $193150 which would be $63739.00
35% on income $357701 - $800,000 which would be $154804.65
and 90% on income $800k - 3M which would be $1980000.00 ((3M-800K)*.90)

All together the guy making 3 million in a year would pay $2238595.90 in taxes. He would take home $761404.10 not $300,000, which means he would actually be paying 74.62% of his income in taxes, not 90%.

Did that help?

How is that fair?
How is that NOT punishing me for being successful?

Because of the existence of a little thing called "tax brackets". You're welcome.

Sinistrum
08-05-2009, 04:39 PM
Under this system you are a leach. Society allowed you to become super wealthy, and you return a smaller portion of the wealth that society allowed you to acquire.

So a persons ability to acquire the resources necessary to survive is completely dependent upon society, and thereby, other people?

Ozymandias
08-05-2009, 04:54 PM
My point is that for every time the rich have gotten a tax break, prior to @ 2000, the middle class didn't. And suddenly, the reverse is true and the rich are bitching. Loudly.

And our point is that the rich pay such a disgustingly disproportionate amount of taxes that they could get a dozen more and it would still be ridiculously tilted in favor of the middle class.

You don't have a right to their money. You just don't. To act for one second like a progressive tax system is anything other than a gift from them to you is beyond arrogant. If I'm... Bill Gates, say, why should you have some sort of god-given right to a product I invented (effectively) on my own?

I can't believe your actually complaining you don't get an appropriately disproportionate share of my income.

Neilbert
08-05-2009, 04:57 PM
So a persons ability to acquire the resources necessary to survive is completely dependent upon society, and thereby, other people?

In a round about way absolutely.

To give an example let's take Alsakan oil. An American can drill for that oil, and sell it on the market, and make a huge profit because American society has decided to embrace oil. But I'm sure that's too vague for you so let's use something a little less vague.

The reason some enterprising Russian can't gather a up a bunch of AK-47s, and kill you, then take "your" oil and use it themselves is because you are protected by the government of the United States.

It sucks, but the world just isn't as small as it used to be.

Of course, your use of "survive" is a bit leading. We aren't talking about survival, we are talking about acquiring wealth. Wealth is dependent on society. But I guess that's why you are a lawyer. Don't go moving my goalposts.

Nobody can survive on their own if they do nothing but drill for oil, but with society they can not only survive, but thrive.

JSUCamel
08-05-2009, 05:10 PM
Wow. You haven't worked the percentages and you are advocating a new tax system? That's special.

I know what percentages are, asshole. I'm talking about hard numbers. If I get taxed $1,000,000, that's 200 times the $5000 that Joe Dirt pays. Percentages don't enter into this equation.

Neilbert
08-05-2009, 05:36 PM
I know what percentages are, asshole. I'm talking about hard numbers. If I get taxed $1,000,000, that's 200 times the $5000 that Joe Dirt pays. Percentages don't enter into this equation.

You know jack shit about jack shit and you've made that abundantly clear.

I gave you hard numbers and you still don't have a fucking clue what you are talking about. You clearly don't understand the fundamentals of tax code, so any ignorance that you are spouting off is just that. Fantasy, everyone should pay an equal amount bullshit that would fall apart the second it came into contact with reality.

Under your brilliant plan, I make over 4 times what you make, but I only get to keep the same amount.

Your ignorance speaks for itself.

Ozymandias
08-05-2009, 06:15 PM
I gave you hard numbers and you still don't have a fucking clue what you are talking about. You clearly don't understand the fundamentals of tax code, so any ignorance that you are spouting off is just that. Fantasy, everyone should pay an equal amount bullshit that would fall apart the second it came into contact with reality.

But thats not what we're saying... we're saying its wrong to demand an ever increasing share from the rich while the less rich continue to pay proprtionately less and less. I don't deny the rich should pay proportionately more... but in this instance, you can raise taxes on both upper and middle class Americans and still have the wealthy paying the same greater proportion than the middle class. And thats fair. Just continuing to suck wealth off the rich because you feel they can afford it, and because its politically easy, isn't right at all. They work hard for their incomes, and 90% of the time acquired it through hard work and smarts, and its not your place to say your entitled to more of it merely because your work ethic, intelligence, or perhaps your luck, were not as good as the guy living in the McMansion.

Davian93
08-05-2009, 07:10 PM
And our point is that the rich pay such a disgustingly disproportionate amount of taxes that they could get a dozen more and it would still be ridiculously tilted in favor of the middle class.

You don't have a right to their money. You just don't. To act for one second like a progressive tax system is anything other than a gift from them to you is beyond arrogant. If I'm... Bill Gates, say, why should you have some sort of god-given right to a product I invented (effectively) on my own?

I can't believe your actually complaining you don't get an appropriately disproportionate share of my income.

Actually we do have the right...there's a whole amendment even. Crazy.

Davian93
08-05-2009, 07:15 PM
Considering our nation has already had a 90% tax bracket (under a Republican even (Eisenhower) and being as its a "progressive" thing that has been explained...not 90% of your entire income, just 90% of the top part of it...I doubt it would destroy us to go back to it.

The UK did a similar thing in the 50s and 60's to pay for their sweeping social changes including their healthcare....what an odd coincidence.

Sei'taer
08-05-2009, 08:18 PM
The UK did a similar thing in the 50s and 60's to pay for their sweeping social changes including their healthcare....what an odd coincidence.

Yeah, good thing we decided we wanted independence from the UK. So now we can go full circle and be just like them again! Maybe we take over Canadia and then remake the colonies...sound like loads of fun.















I'm not drinking hot fuckin' tea or eating crumpets (whatever they are).

Davian93
08-05-2009, 08:54 PM
Come on...Socialism isn't necessarily a bad thing.

It works for a lot of nations...and VT.

Sei'taer
08-05-2009, 09:41 PM
Come on...Socialism isn't necessarily a bad thing.

It works for a lot of nations...and VT.

It's like the retard in high school who wanted tests graded on the (bell) curve. Yeah, I studied so you could get a better grade for staying out all night, getting drunk, high and stupid. Thanks loser...go push some shopping carts.

GonzoTheGreat
08-06-2009, 06:35 AM
So a persons ability to acquire the resources necessary to survive is completely dependent upon society, and thereby, other people?Not totally, but I am willing to predict that if you cut off New York City from the outside, and leave all the people in there to either fend for themselves with no help from other people or to die (if they so choose), then more than 99% would take the second option.

And the same is true for just about all urban concentrations, and quite a lot of rural ones too.

Nowadays, very few people are truly self sufficient. Our planet could possibly support 100 million people in that life style, but that would still leave more than 6.5 billion of them to starve.

Tell me, Sinistrum, could you mine the lead ore for your bullets, extract the lead from it, and then cast bullets so that you can shoot dangerous animals or food animals? I'm willing to grant you the last of those three, but I am not at all convinced you would know what to do with lead ore, and I even more doubt that you could recognise where to start digging for the stuff.
And that's just one of the things society does for us.

Gilshalos Sedai
08-06-2009, 08:03 AM
I can't believe your actually complaining you don't get an appropriately disproportionate share of my income.


:rolleyes: Yeah, cause that's exactly what I'm arguing.


I'm saying that from the 80's onward, the tax brackets were skewed to favor the wealthy, not the middle class. Not that the rich should fork it over. I hope to be rich some day, too. NYT authors make quite the pretty penny. The middle class did and has paid an unfair share of the tax burden, because not only were they getting shafted by the government, they were paying higher rates for the products they bought because the companies transferred their own tax burden onto the price of their products. So, in effect, the wealthy were wealthy because of the middle class. They need some sort of break so they can keep making the wealthy money.

Both the rich and the middle class need each other. (Not sure where the poor fit in except as a source of cheap labor, but they do.) So, just because the middle class have gotten a few tax breaks when the wealthy haven't, when the reverse has been true for far longer, the middle class is suddenly mooching? Sure.


So a persons ability to acquire the resources necessary to survive is completely dependent upon society, and thereby, other people?

And Sini, that's possibly one of the dumbest things I've ever heard you ask. Unless you've got a working farm in your apartment with cattle, corn and cotton, yes, your survival is dependent upon society's and therefore, other people. Money's only good as the faith society puts in it.

Sei'taer
08-06-2009, 08:32 AM
Tell me, Sinistrum, could you mine the lead ore for your bullets, extract the lead from it, and then cast bullets so that you can shoot dangerous animals or food animals? I'm willing to grant you the last of those three, but I am not at all convinced you would know what to do with lead ore, and I even more doubt that you could recognise where to start digging for the stuff.
And that's just one of the things society does for us.

See, thats the thing. I could make bullets. Lead bullets are easy to make because it just requires a fire and melting lead, which is soft enough to do over a camp fire. It doesn't even have to be molten, just hot enough to form. Then all you need is a form and thats not hard to make either. I'm fairly sure I could find lead ore, but mining it alone could be a problem. What I am absolutely sure I can do is make a bow and arrows, staff, traps, fishing pole, drying racks, smoking racks, etc. I can also grow food and know in general what kind of wild plants I can eat and which I can't eat. I can build my own shelter and start fires with sticks or sticks and strings or a flint. I'm not even that good at it because I don't practice a lot, but there are people around who could do everything I can better and can do a heck of a lot more than I can. I don't fear the end of society much, I fear over-control by society more.


Nowadays, very few people are truly self sufficient. Our planet could possibly support 100 million people in that life style, but that would still leave more than 6.5 billion of them to starve.

I think you are underestimating the will and intelligence of the people of the world. We're are adaptable and while the rate of death might be high, I don't think it would be as high as you think...my guess would put the death rate at about 50% from starvation and disease.

Not totally, but I am willing to predict that if you cut off New York City from the outside, and leave all the people in there to either fend for themselves with no help from other people or to die (if they so choose), then more than 99% would take the second option.

And the same is true for just about all urban concentrations, and quite a lot of rural ones too.

Snake Plissken (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L08ez2HhMFE&feature=related) made it....

Zanguini
08-06-2009, 08:36 AM
I advocate a flat tax of 17% for everyone. With no possibility of refund.

Davian93
08-06-2009, 08:42 AM
As someone who spends an inordinate amount of time outdoors in isolated areas...EVERYONE should have some basic understanding of survival tasks. Know how to build a fire without matches/lighter. Know how to build a few types of imprompto shelters (several are quite easy actually and even a fairly permanent structure can be done in several hours if need be. A basic lean-to or windbreak type of overhang shelter can be done in under an hour. Know what plants you can eat and what will kill you (about 90% of things growing will kill you).

If I ever get caught out somewhere for whatever reason in a Survivorman scenario, I am confident I could survive the prerequisite 7 days with what will be in my pockets. Even if I lose my pack, I'll still have some basic stuff on me in various pockets (I always have my compass, flint, signal mirror, mini streamlight in belt holster, knife, E-blanket and waterproof matches as well). My pack will have everything else to keep me alive till I can figure a way out or the search team hopefully finds my dumb ass.

I agree taht 99% of people couldn't survive overnight in most locations without serious issues.

Davian93
08-06-2009, 08:42 AM
I advocate a flat tax of 17% for everyone. With no possibility of refund.

So you hate poor and middle class people?

Zanguini
08-06-2009, 08:45 AM
No i am poor and middle class

And what kind of pants do you have that you can keep an entire walmart in them?

Sei'taer
08-06-2009, 08:47 AM
So you hate poor and middle class people?


I do...I hate middle class. I want to be upper class. (almost said high class, but I already am a high class individual)

One good goddamn scratch off and I'd be there.

Zanguini
08-06-2009, 08:49 AM
One good goddamn scratch off and I'd be there.

oooo Arkansas Lottery starts in Late September.

Gilshalos Sedai
08-06-2009, 08:52 AM
I don't fear the end of society much, I fear over-control by society more.

I fear both. As this last month has taught me, I'm dependent now upon a drug for my survival since that tiny organ in my neck has decided to go on permanent strike. I can do most, if not all, of the things you described and I'm a damned good farmer, but for people like me, society is important. (Synthroid and its relatives don't have a high shelf-life: artificial hormones don't last long.) Society keeps me alive.

Am I willing to pay for that? Yes and I do. I'm on the lower end of that 28% tax bracket. I'm also making my endocrinologist a very wealthy woman.

Crispin's Crispian
08-06-2009, 11:02 AM
I agree taht 99% of people couldn't survive overnight in most locations without serious issues.
That's great and all, but this line of argument absolutely nothing to do with the questions at hand.

Whether or not you have a government, you always have a society. There are just too many damn people and despite our best efforts were going to run into them eventually. Despite our best efforts, there will be conflicts over resources (ST can go make arrows and bows and fucking catapults if he wants, but he better not make them with wood from my backyard).

So really, who cares if you can survive like a 1500s Plains Indian?

The fact of the matter is, we have a government, it does provide services, and as long as that's true, it will need revenue from the people that it governs.

Davian93
08-06-2009, 11:10 AM
That's great and all, but this line of argument absolutely nothing to do with the questions at hand.

Whether or not you have a government, you always has a society. There are just too many damn people and despite our best efforts were going to run into them eventually. Despite our best efforts, there will be conflicts over resources (ST can go make arrows and bows and fucking catapults if he wants, but he better not make them with wood from my backyard).

So really, who cares if you can survive like a 1500s Plains Indian?

The fact of the matter is, we have a government, it does provide services, and as long as that's true, it will need revenue from the people that it governs.

Its a tangent/hijacking of a thread. It happens occasionally around here. ;)

And what kind of pants do you have that you can keep an entire walmart in them

I tend to hike in a pair of canvas ripstop cargo pants (similar to old style BDU pants but tan instead of forest camo) I think I got them at Eastern Mountain Sports at some point...I have a couple pairs of them. Between my belt holsters (knife, compass, flashlight) and the pockets (matches, flint, whistle, small mirror, E-blanket), I can usually get on pretty well. My pack is always strapped to me either way.



Back to the somewhat original argument:

I agree completely, Society provides services that we pretty much cannot live without. Thus, the basis for taxes the members of that society to provide those services. I am completely okay with taxes and with making them fairer by not letting the rich off easy. Thus, I am a liberal on this issue.

Gilshalos Sedai
08-06-2009, 11:15 AM
Taxes hurt and the rich just have a higher pain threshhold than others?

Davian93
08-06-2009, 11:16 AM
Taxes hurt and the rich just have a higher pain threshhold than others?

Yup.

Sei'taer
08-06-2009, 11:21 AM
ST can go make arrows and bows and fucking catapults if he wants, but he better not make them out of wood from my backyard.
But you have all the good wood!

Society hasn't even ended yet and we already have our first postapocolyptic war.

Neilbert
08-06-2009, 11:26 AM
I hope to be rich some day, too.

I do...I hate middle class. I want to be upper class. (almost said high class, but I already am a high class individual)

There's a big difference between becoming rich, and becoming as rich as the top .01%. One is attainable, and one is not barring some sort of major miracle. You will never join the upper class (.01%), EVER, unless you become the next Bill Gates, and they make far far more than 250k a year.

The tax code is designed to make you think you have achieved rich when you break that 250k/yr, but the truth is you are just upper middle class. If you want a chance to ever become upper class, then you should be supporting a higher tax bracket on the super rich so that their wealth isn't completely entrenched.

Gilshalos Sedai
08-06-2009, 11:26 AM
So a persons ability to acquire the resources necessary to survive is completely dependent upon society, and thereby, other people?

And Sini, that's possibly one of the dumbest things I've ever heard you ask. Unless you've got a working farm in your apartment with cattle, corn and cotton, yes, your survival is dependent upon society's and therefore, other people. Money's only good as the faith society puts in it.

I'm sorry, Sini. Shouldn't have said that like I did. Context is very difficult to see via an MB.

Davian93
08-06-2009, 11:28 AM
But you have all the good wood!


So yeah...you like Sdog's wood?

Gilshalos Sedai
08-06-2009, 11:29 AM
Oh, hell. I can't give you rep for that.

Davian93
08-06-2009, 11:37 AM
Oh, hell. I can't give you rep for that.

Its the thought that counts. :)

tanaww
08-06-2009, 11:42 AM
Its the thought that counts. :)

Actions speak louder than words. I repped him for it.

Sinistrum
08-06-2009, 12:04 PM
In a round about way absolutely.

Nowadays, very few people are truly self sufficient.

Unless you've got a working farm in your apartment with cattle, corn and cotton, yes, your survival is dependent upon society's and therefore, other people. Money's only good as the faith society puts in it.

You know what would be great? If people would stop making assumptions about why I'm asking these questions. Yes, those of you who have responded are correct that people's survival is dependent upon. That's never what I was arguing against and it was foolish of all of you to assume such. The entire point of society is a survival mechanism which is why I phrased it in terms of survival. However, all of the things that you've mentioned (which, btw, my question was designed to illicit) thus far that are necessary for survival that society provides (military protection, food, ammunition, clothing) have something in common. You have to pay for them.

As someone pointed out, people specialize their occupations now. They aren't very many general survivalists anymore. But just because you specialize in something that may or may not be directly condusive to your survival doesn't mean that the end game for that specialization isn't directly linked. Its just one step removed, and that step is money. You don't get Farmer Bob's crops for free nor do you get ammo from H&K or clothes from the gap. You take the end results of your specialize labor and use that to pay for the things you need to live. Society is based upon that quid pro quo.

Why is that fact so important to my argument? Because all of you are arguing as if society just gives us all these things we need to survive out of the goodness of its collective heart and therefore us getting it somehow incurs an obligation to fork over more in taxes. But we pay for all of these things, so in my mind, the obligation is met the minute you swipe your credit card or hand them cashier your twenty dollar bill. Obligation met, you owe no further. What you are suggesting to me is that we have the obligation to pay for them twice.

But what about government services like military protection and roads Sini? We need taxes to pay for those right? Of course you do, and those of you how know me should know that I have no problem forking over a portion of my work to make sure that I can get anywhere I want in the country and make sure China doesn't decide to set up shop here. But that's not what you're asking me to pay for here is it? And its not what Obama is asking me to pay for either. Both you and he are asking me to pay for things that don't directly benefit me and never ever will. I'm being asked to pay for things that only ever directly benefit other people like social security, welfare, medicaid, medicare, other people's health care in general, AIG bail outs, car company bail outs, $2 billion dollar highway tunnel digs that only service Boston, MA. and a host of entitlement programs and pork spending that benefits only a select portion of society and effectively redistribute wealth.

Those programs, not military spending, not roads, not education, or anything else generally useful, are the reason Obama is pushing to raise taxes. And it is for those programs that you are arguing that the rich have an obligation toward society above and beyond what is expected of everyone else simply because they have more.

Sei'taer
08-06-2009, 12:07 PM
Actions speak louder than words. I repped him for it.
Zan was the one who pointed out the load in his pants.

I'd rep him too...but he's a dickhead.

Crispin's Crispian
08-06-2009, 01:22 PM
But you have all the good wood!
Game.
So yeah...you like Sdog's wood?
Set.
Actions speak louder than words.
Match.



This conversation so far is just begging to be rearranged into something hilarious. I just don't have the time or wits to figure it out right now. ;)

Sei'taer
08-06-2009, 01:39 PM
:rolleyes:
Game.

Set.

Match.





dickhead

Zanguini
08-06-2009, 01:39 PM
(military protection, food, ammunition, clothing)


Odd order in which to put things...

Protect me from bad people.
Feed me.
Give me bullets so I can kill bad people too.
Give me Clothes so im not running around naked.

Crispin's Crispian
08-06-2009, 03:04 PM
I totally get where you're coming from, as hopefully evidenced by my post earlier to Dav. No one has argued that most people nowadays can survive on their own, nor that society doesn't provide any benefits. Moreover, the argument was heading toward defining society as government, and vice versa, which is incorrect.

Still:
Both you and he are asking me to pay for things that don't directly benefit me and never ever will. I'm being asked to pay for things that only ever directly benefit other people like social security, welfare, medicaid, medicare, other people's health care in general, AIG bail outs, car company bail outs, $2 billion dollar highway tunnel digs that only service Boston, MA. and a host of entitlement programs and pork spending that benefits only a select portion of society and effectively redistribute wealth.

You're young, healthy, and well-educated. When you're old, sick, and unemployed/retired, come back and argue against social security, Medicare, and other "entitlements" that don't directly benefit you.

You can't conflate the Big Dig or other pork with social security or Medicare. It's not nearly the same thing.

Davian93
08-06-2009, 03:13 PM
FWIW, the Big Dig actually completely revitalized the city of Boston. It was a very worthwhile infrastructure project. Local corruption screwed up the money part of it, not Federal financial support of the actual idea.

Ozymandias
08-06-2009, 04:35 PM
Taxes hurt and the rich just have a higher pain threshhold than others?

No. There are just fewer of us to complain about it.

And just because something is in "an Amendment" doesn't make it right. Quoting the Constitution as an example of something that spells out our rights and responsibilities is silly... go tell that to the next 3/5 of a black person you see.

Ozymandias
08-06-2009, 04:38 PM
You're young, healthy, and well-educated. When you're old, sick, and unemployed/retired, come back and argue against social security, Medicare, and other "entitlements" that don't directly benefit you.


So when we're old, sickly, and completely useless, we get the right to demand even more from people, simply because they've got it and we don't?

Neilbert
08-07-2009, 12:20 PM
Because all of you are arguing as if society just gives us all these things we need to survive out of the goodness of its collective heart and therefore us getting it somehow incurs an obligation to fork over more in taxes.

This sentence makes not a lick of sense to me. Something done out of the goodness of your heart incurs no obligation. Nobody is arguing as if that is the case, and I'm not sure where you got that impression.

Both you and he are asking me to pay for things that don't directly benefit me and never ever will.

Bullshit.

I'm being asked to pay for things that only ever directly benefit other people like social security, welfare, medicaid, medicare, other people's health care in general,

You are being asked by me (IDK WTF Obama is doing and from what I've seen I hardly approve) to expand these programs so they do directly benefit everyone including yourself.

AIG bail outs, car company bail outs,

And fuck you sideways with a pitchfork for accusing me of supporting this shit.

Those programs, not military spending, not roads, not education, or anything else generally useful, are the reason Obama is pushing to raise taxes.

That may well be the case.

And it is for those programs that you are arguing that the rich have an obligation toward society above and beyond what is expected of everyone else simply because they have more.

But that is not why I am arguing that the rich should pay more, and fuck you very much for making my argument for me. Your entire post is just a shitty caricature of any argument that has been made here, it's almost as poorly done as it is insulting.

You support raising taxes on the wealthy so you support every crappy government program there ever was is as retarded an argument as I have ever heard.

Sinistrum
08-07-2009, 12:43 PM
Yes because explicative and ad hominem ladden rants that don't make a single substantive point are a great way to further debate and insure that someone responds to you in an cordial and intellectual manner. :rolleyes:

Crispin's Crispian
08-07-2009, 12:49 PM
Yes, that's what I meant Ozy. I just can't wait to get old so I can live off rich lawyers like Sinistrum.

Davian93
08-07-2009, 02:07 PM
Yes, that's what I meant Ozy. I just can't wait to get old so I can live off rich lawyers like Sinistrum.

I know. Sini, you better get crackin' so we can mooch off your riches. Of course, as a civil servant I will always mooch off every tax payer. As a disabled vet, I get to doubly mooch off of you. Go Public Sector!!!

Zanguini
08-07-2009, 02:14 PM
the government will not pay for your maple syrup induced diabetic coma

Neilbert
08-08-2009, 10:29 AM
Yes because explicative and ad hominem ladden rants that don't make a single substantive point are a great way to further debate and insure that someone responds to you in an cordial and intellectual manner. :rolleyes:

If your idea of a cordial and intellectual conversation is goalpost moving and strawmen then I'm not interested in an "intellectual" conversation with you. You're arguing with yourself already, you might as well remove me from the conversation.

Sinistrum
08-08-2009, 01:09 PM
you might as well remove me from the conversation.

Strangely enough, I'm ok with this. And FYI, it wasn't just your points I was addressing, but you seem to be the only one getting their panties in a twist over what I said. I think that's pretty telling about whether your criticisms of my argument tactics are valid or not. I also think its pretty telling that you assumed I was ONLY responding to you.