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Do taxes really hurt the ultra-rich?(59 posts)

Do taxes really hurt the ultra-rich?ColnagoFE
Apr 30, 2002 10:27 AM
Are there cases of rich people getting poor because they didn't get a decrease in taxes? I don't see Bill Gates or Ted Turner at the breadline because they had to pay taxes this year. Are we really supposed to feel sorry for them because they shoulder a disproportionate share of the taxes? Maybe we ought to start up a charity...
re: Do taxes really hurt the ultra-rich?BikeViking
Apr 30, 2002 11:04 AM
You are missing the point. I can only speak for myself, but it's THEIR money. Government had nothing to do with either of these two and the successes they have had. They did it on their own and EARNED their money. I am no fan of Ted Turner but he did it all on his own. You, I nor the government have a "right" to the money earned by others. It's called stealing

Just because they have a lot of money does not give anyone the right to that money. Tax cuts should be for everyone, not the ones "selected" by our political elites.
Sorry, it's not called stealing, it's calledscottfree
Apr 30, 2002 11:23 AM
taxes, and taxes are how we pay for government. It's a very simple concept. You buy a Clark bar, you pay the clerk. You buy a car you pay the salesman. You buy a road, an army, a national park, a Consumer Product Safety Commission test to make sure your helmet will protect your noggin with taxes. How this can be called stealing surpasseth understanding.
Sorry, it's not called stealing, it's calledBikeViking
Apr 30, 2002 11:36 AM
I use "stealing" to refer to the excessive removal of income from any American. What "excessive" is, is a subject of heated debate.
Sorry, it's not called stealing, it's calledTJeanloz
Apr 30, 2002 11:37 AM
I think everybody agrees that taxes are the cost of a civilized society. Where the issue of fairness comes in is: you buy a Clark bar for 5 cents, but they won't sell it to me for less than $1, because I can afford the dollar. But we got the same product.

We ask the government how much it will cost, and they ask us: "how much you got?"

So, isn't this classic racketeering?
Tjean, you normally strike me as a thoughtful young man,scottfree
Apr 30, 2002 12:02 PM
and to call the legal, democratically arrived at levying of a progressive income tax on the citizens of a wealthy country 'classic racketeering' is just not worthy of you.
I'm not saying it's illegal,TJeanloz
Apr 30, 2002 12:12 PM
Taxes are perfectly legal, and arrived at democratically, and I understand that I have an obligation to pay them. But that doesn't make how they were arrived at or determine right.

In another hot example, the death penalty is legal, but a lot of people (not including myself) don't believe it to be 'right.'

Or insurance- nothing more than a legal Ponzi scheme. But it is legal, just not right.
legal isn't alway rightDougSloan
Apr 30, 2002 12:12 PM
Slavery was "legal, democratically arrived at". Did that make it right?

Ideas can be wrong, even if legal. I'm sure we all can think of lots of examples.
And slavery was legally, democratically abolished.scottfree
Apr 30, 2002 12:26 PM
well, sort ofDougSloan
Apr 30, 2002 12:37 PM
It sort of took a war, too.
Yep, an expression of the popular will. If thescottfree
Apr 30, 2002 12:40 PM
American people conclude that taxes are an intolerable evil, a theft, I assume we'll see something similarly dramatic. Haven't yet.
you never willDougSloan
Apr 30, 2002 12:46 PM
Most of the electorate is not bothered by high taxation on the more wealthy, and there are far, far more voters in the lower rungs economically than the higher. So, the majority of voters will likely always vote to tax, at least for those more wealthy than they are. I doubt the vast majority of voters will ever make a philosophical decision that taxes should be reduced, even if it might result in their share increasing or receiving less government assistant of benefits.

Most people do have some sense of fairness and pragmatism, though. Like the diners in the other thread should have expected, most people will realize that if they want to take too much from the wealthy, they may kill the goose or run it off to another farm, at least (mixed metaphors).
stealing and hurtingDougSloan
Apr 30, 2002 11:40 AM
"You buy a Clark bar, you pay the clerk. (You and the clerk agree that you will pay $ for a Clark bar, and he gives it to you -- a voluntary transaction which you can take or leave). You buy a car you pay the salesman -- same thing.

Someone comes and takes your car without your permission -- what's that?

Someone comes and takes 40% of your income without your permission -- what's the difference?

Taking something that belongs to you without your permission is a classic definition of "stealing." The only difference with taxes is that the government is holding the gun to your head (sometimes literally) instead of common thief.

Whether it "hurts" the rich is not the point. If I took Bill Gates' car without his permission, it would not "hurt" him. If I embezzled a hundred million dollars from Gates, it would not hurt him. If I used his cell phone once without permission, it would not hurt him. If I make an unlicensed copy of Microsoft Office and use it, it would not hurt him. However, every example is nonetheless wrong.

We don't define right and wrong only by whether people are "hurt," or by how much.
Good Lord ...scottfree
Apr 30, 2002 11:57 AM
Permission HAS been given to levy taxes. It has been given by the Constitution, most fundamentally. It is given every time we have a free election in this country, and we elect representatives to speak for us in imposing taxes and spending money. How in GOD'S name is that theft? The government is NOT holding a gun to your head! You agree to be a citizen of this country and live by its laws and rules. You are absolutely free to leave, and not pay taxes here, assuming you don't want to live here or make money here. No one's forcing you to be an American or to pay American taxes. But if you decide to live here, profit from living here, and enjoy the many benefits of living here, the law requires that you help pay the freight for this lovely civilization we've built.

This really isn't a hard concept.

There's plenty rotten to say about the various unfairnesses that can be found in the tax code. But using terms like 'theft' and 'evil' to describe legally agreed upon and imposed taxes just makes the utterer sound nutty instead of thoughtful, when there's plenty of real issues to bitch about.
literal vs. philosophicalDougSloan
Apr 30, 2002 12:10 PM
Yes, I see you are reading this very literally, and some of us are looking at it philosophically.

Literally, legally, taxation is not theft. Of course not. We are not idiots. However, I think we are pointing out that philosophically, there is very little difference between taxes and theft. They have a lot in common.

I do not "agree" to be taxed. I tolerate it. I can't see a better choice. A thief holds a gun to my head, and says, "you can either give me your money or leave the country." Some choice.

Are you arguing that America is great BECAUSE of taxes? I think we are great largely because of our people, orui values, our work ethic (productivity), our relatively free system, natural resources, etc. Sure, the space program resulted from taxes, but also from a lot of smart and brave people's efforts.

Yes, the government indeed IS holding a gun to your head. Don't pay your taxes and see what happens.

I don't mind "paying the freight" at all. I don't mind paying a fair share. I do mind politicians, for political profit, over taxing and over spending to keep themselves ingratiated with constituents to perpetuate themselves in office. I do mind people (no one in particular) who may not be as productive as others attacking them for having or making more, as if they are not entitled to keep what they have or made.
I take you philosophicallyscottfree
Apr 30, 2002 12:22 PM
as well as literally. You have consistently objected to taxes generally; you have never said "A 10 percent tax rate is not theft; a 40 percent tax rate is." As far as I can tell, you philosophically object to the damn government taking your money, period, no matter the rate. And you think of it as theft in fact even if it's not theft de jure. You have called it evil, several times. That seems a fair representation of your beliefs

Philosophically, I think that's the iceburg tip of a scary anti-government nihilism.
I take you philosophicallyDougSloan
Apr 30, 2002 12:36 PM
If I vote a person into office that agrees that taxes should be, say 10%, and then that person effectuates that, then ok, it's no longer theft.

When people in the 5% income tax bracket effectively vote a tax increase only upon the wealthy, well, that's theft. It's not much different than a mob's looting. It's just all prettied up.

I overwhelmingly agree that government, and taxes to pay for it, is [a] necessary [evil]. Ideally, though, much of what the governmet has grown to do would be either eliminated or privatized, and our taxes reduced accordingly.

I'm not anti-government. I'm anti-excessive government. Government should be as small as possible, and controlled as locally as possible.
did it on their own?ColnagoFE
Apr 30, 2002 11:59 AM
well maybe ted turner, but how about someone that inherits the money? is that earning it? might be robber/baron money "earned" at the expense of breaking unions and such. There is a quote that goes something to the effect...behind every great man is a great crime. might be some truth there?
re: Big Difference between a "Taking" & "Stealing"jrm
May 1, 2002 6:08 AM
Just compensation in the form of the procurment, operation and maintenance of open space, roads, infrastructure, police, fire, security, disease control.

Where as there is no compensation in the form of anything with stealing something.
re: Do taxes really hurt the ultra-rich?BikeViking
Apr 30, 2002 11:16 AM
Another point about this...how much is enough? Do we go back to the 70% upper tax levels under Carter? Let's try 80% or 90%...After all 90% of $20 million is $18 million. That leaves them $2 million which is PLENTY!!!!!

Who gets to decide how much a wage earner keeps of their money? The confiscatory members of our Congress do.

This may be a rumor, but I recall running across an article stating the biggest tax cheaters were people taking the Earned Income Tax Credit that weren't permitted to. Anyone know anything about this
EITC Cheaters,TJeanloz
Apr 30, 2002 11:39 AM
Earned Income Tax Credit cheaters probably make up the largest group of cheats, but the maximum they are cheating is ~$5,000- so the dollar value of that cheating is nowhere near the top.
Thanks again for the infor. nmBikeViking
Apr 30, 2002 12:29 PM
No, but taxing the ultra rich will the hurt middle class...TJeanloz
Apr 30, 2002 11:58 AM
The issue of whether a tax decrease is equitable or not is only one side of the issue. The real question, and the one that people seem to ignore in favor of the more emphatically argued moral question, is what is the best tax rate? Sure, we could tax the rich at 99%, but it turns out that we'd get more money if we taxed them at 98%. This doesn't make any sense to most people, but the simple explanation is this:

A man makes $1,000,000. Under the 99% tax scheme, the government takes $990,000 of those dollars, leaving our rich man with $10,000. Our man says to himself: "next year I can work a little bit more, but for every $100 I earn, $99 is going to go to the government. So it's just not worth it for me to earn any more money."

Then the tax rate is lowered to 98%, at which point the man says to himself: "Now I get to keep $2 of every $100, praise the lord, the government is very generous, I will work a bit more." So, that year he works harder, and makes 10% more: $1,100,000. He keeps more money: $22,000 (he has, in fact doubled his earnings with just a 1% decline in the tax rate- that's incentive). But the government also gets more: $1,078,000.

A lot of left leaners confuse this with "trickle down" economics. It isn't- the same theory would apply even if there was a single class, and everybody made the same amount. The assumption is that people will work more when there is more in it for them. It seems obvious to me that I'd work more for $10 than for $5- so that seems like a safe assumption. Empirical evidence suggests that the ideal tax rate for the wealthy is somewhere around 29%; lower than the current rate.

So the middle class are all in a fuss about fairness, when they should be profit maximizing, and lowering the tax rate to achieve higher tax reciepts. When you over-tax the rich (or anybody- poor included, for that matter), you get less money than you might otherwise, and that hurts everybody.

We want (need) an ideal tax, not an arbitrary one.
Indeed, the logic of thescottfree
Apr 30, 2002 12:37 PM
Laffer curve is sound. Right-leaners have used it for pernicious ends (in politics, there are agendas inside of agendas, and talking about taxes isn't always talking about taxes) but considered just as a construct, it's inescapably true that there is an 'ideal' tax rate that raises sufficient revenue while not discouraging growth & productivity.
Tell that to Tom DaschleTJeanloz
Apr 30, 2002 12:54 PM
So, as long as we have established that the Laffer curve is, in theory at least, sound, why do people harp on and on about tax cuts? I suppose the argument from the left is that we are on the left (increasing) slope of the Laffer curve- but empirical evidence from all corners indicates that we are on the declining slope. And we would be foolish to presume that we are at the perfect spot.

So isn't cutting taxes the only appropriate choice?

What I fail to see, is that we have cut taxes to the rich 15 times, and 14 of them, it has resulted in higher reciepts. Why is the left so convinced that what has happened 93% of the time will not happen again? My own theory is that they would rather nobody have the extra money than the rich have a (disproportionate) little bit more. They would rather drag people down to their level, instead of helping everybody move up. But that's just my read on the situation.

If higher tax reciepts is the goal (which I think it is for the left), we should lower taxes for the rich. But the Senate will cut off their nose to spite their face, and block future cuts...
As I said,scottfree
Apr 30, 2002 1:03 PM
in politics there is more to a discussion or position than meets the eye. There are agendas within agendas.

That said, I would indeed say that if the analysis could be confined to tax policy only, we lefties would say we're still on the increasing slope of the Laffer curve. Recent declines in productivity are not related to taxation levels, in our view. And we would contend that big cuts at lower income levels would stimulate spending, which is what the economy needs right now. The rich won't spend any more than they already are with their massive cuts -- they'll invest it, which is a good thing, but not a short term need.
undisclosed agendaDougSloan
Apr 30, 2002 1:23 PM
Yup, you nailed it. Politicians elected by the left would be voted out if they even thought about reducing taxes on the rich. They were elected on a platform of "stick it to the rich." They must remain true to their constituents, no matter how wrong it may be. That's the game, isn't it?
Hardly.scottfree
Apr 30, 2002 1:54 PM
Certainly no more than Repubs would be voted out of office by their constituents if they failed to 'stick it to the poor.'

Come on. I could turn your post around word for word and it would apply. It's also unhelpful. Generally speaking, politicians (remember, I work for them) are advocates FOR, not opponents OF. You don't get elected by a negative. Lefty politicians are trying to do things FOR the poor people who elect them, and they need money to do that. It has nothing to do with 'sticking it' to anybody. Right wingers are trying to help the rich people who pay for their campaigns and elect them. I doubt they consciously think about 'sticking it' to poor people.

But if that's the dialectic you want to engage in, I'll insist it cut both ways.
Hardly.DougSloan
Apr 30, 2002 2:25 PM
The Right: They want to keep what they have.

The Left: They want what others have.

I disagree to some extent. I think politicians often to run negatively, either overtly or by implication. If a politician says, "I'm for more government programs and less taxes on the poor and middle class." What's that necessarily saying by implication?

Conversely, sure, a right winger might say, "I'm for lower taxes and fewer welfare programs." That might be seen as "stick it to the poor," but might be motivated by a philosophy of "we all do better if we are all as productive as possible."
We all ascribe nobler motives to our own side, I suppose.scottfree
Apr 30, 2002 3:07 PM
And the fact is, so little of the federal budget is spent for 'welfare' that it's hardly worth arguing over, even though the rich-poor dichotomy is the track we got off on.

In fact, it's not even where the real politics is.

And the real politics is not in government spending either -- it's a handy rallying cry, but businessmen know that government doesn't just throw money in the ocean, it contracts with business for things (planes, interstate highways, whatever) or dispenses it to people who spend it (federal employees, 'welfare' recipients) so ultimately almost every dollar that government spends ends up in the hands of businesses/corporations anyway. It's very nearly a zero sum game).

The real politics is in federal regulations, pollution, health and safety, energy policy -- all those areas where business and industry feel hamstrung by government, speaking in the name of the public, telling them what they can and can't do, i.e. directly impacting their bottom line. You want to see politics? That's where it happens. The rest is mostly just rhetoric.
We have a winner!Brooks
May 1, 2002 7:40 AM
It's military spending and gov't/corporate contracts and corporate tax cuts (corporate welfare)! That's where the big money is. Without fed regulations, do you think that we would have clean air, clean water, any trees left in the forest, etc.? I think I read that corporations are paying less in taxes now than in the 1950's (open to correction). So if corporations paid more (and they gain more benefits from gov't spending, IMHO), individual taxes could be less.

My $.02
Brooks
so incorporateDougSloan
May 1, 2002 8:02 AM
If it's such a big scam, why don't you go and incorporate yourself? Anyone can do it.

Welfare is NOT keeping what you already have.

Don't forget that there are dozens of hidden (other than income) taxes, as well, paid by both corporations and individuals -- gasoline, franchise, retained earnings, sales, personal and real property, user fees, import/export duties, and on and on. I'd bet if you add it up, we are each paying well over 50% of our income in taxes.
and also dozens of loopholes to get around said taxes (nm)ColnagoFE
May 1, 2002 8:20 AM
Taxes as a portion of income,TJeanloz
May 2, 2002 6:35 AM
Because I'm in finance, and I enjoy doing these silly exercises, last year at tax time I analyzed how I had spent my pennies over the course of the year.

The US government was the single biggest recipient of my money, garnering more than twice what I paid in rent (rent being the interest on my mortgage).

The State of Colorado (and its municipalities) was the second biggest recipient of my money. And the State of Massachusetts (and its municipalities) was the third.

These figures included sales taxes, property taxes, income taxes and capital gains taxes. The total number was well over 50%, more along the lines of 70% of income. My point is only that I do like the things the government gives (rents) me, and I don't mind paying for them one bit- but I am amazed at how expensive it all is. It just seems like they're getting a lot.
and those are the ones you know aboutDougSloan
May 2, 2002 6:58 AM
I imagine you did not include import duties or tariffs, corporate level taxes that are passed on to you, etc., which would be very difficult to determine. Of 70% is what you know about, I'd hate to think what it really is.

Politicians are pretty smart. They hide or distribute the various taxes so widely we don't even realize what we are paying.
On corporate taxes...TJeanloz
May 2, 2002 7:06 AM
This is a point lost on most left leaners who want to 'stick it to corporations'. Taxes can't be paid by corporations, they can only be paid by people. Any time you levy a tax on a corporation, either the shareholders or the customers will pay for it. And in the long run, the customers will pay for it. So, if you want high gasoline prices (which many people do), by all means, tax the oil companies- because the price will go up to reflect the new tax. Conversely, "Corporate Welfare" serves only to reduce the price of the goods that that company makes- helping the consumer.
On corporate taxes...Brooks
May 2, 2002 10:25 AM
And the hundreds of millions of dollars that upper management makes in salaries and bonuses aren't passed on? Let's get real here!
Nobody said they weren'tTJeanloz
May 2, 2002 10:52 AM
Corporate salaries are of course passed on. So are the salaries of the men cleaning the floors. But the notion of a corporate tax is just a foolish one. People think that high taxes for oil companies are good, but they don't seem to realize that unless they use no oil, it isn't a tax on the company, it's a tax on the consumer.
except maybe for market manipulationDougSloan
May 2, 2002 1:13 PM
If the government raised taxes on one industry but did not in a competing industry, let's say oil vs. electric power, the ability to pass on the taxes to the consumer might be limited, if the price then became high enough to make alternates more attractive. The taxes them might eat into profits/dividends and salaries. If the consumer is going to buy regardless of price, of course this doesn't apply.
a moderate's perspective.Steve98501
Apr 30, 2002 3:40 PM
Doug,

Taxation isn't theft. It's provided for by the constitution; it's the revenue stream that funds government; it's a cost of citizenship. The amount of government that should be purchased is certainly debatable, along with "are we getting our money's worth?" I think the concept of the graduated income tax is quite compelling. I'm not familiar with the Laffer curve that TJ and others mention, but I infer that certain tax rates are more suitable than others, in terms of productivity and revenue raised, and maybe it varies according to income level. That would be compelling.

I disagree with your construct of what the left and right want. The right simply prefers less government intrusion, and the left usually favors a greater role for government. We moderates detest the left and right almost equally.

Weren't you a philosophy and history major? You must recall that since the beginning of civilization, one of the first functions of government - whether is be a tribal chief or larger group covering a wider range of services - is the redistribution of wealth and income. Government redistribes it for the purpose of funding it. What gets funded changes and increases as the society's population increases. Who pays and how much and by what mechanism varies according to the power structure within a particular type of government.

We're a large society, and we like lots of government programs. The right likes programs that reward the rich while the left tends to prefer programs that favor the poor. We moderates have to pick and choose among the poorly thought out mix. But we all get to pay. Except the very poor.

I agree it's not a perfect system. It is very flawed, but it isn't fatally flawed. Or we wouldn't be doing nearly this well as a nation.
you gotta be kidding about sticking it to the richColnagoFE
May 1, 2002 8:17 AM
the rich who own big corporations, etc have some of the most powerful lobbies around. sure the politicians SAY they are sticking it to the rich, but they leave loopholes so the rich can exploit. how about campaign contributions? do you think the poor are sending in big donations?
Do taxes really hurt the ultra-rich?Turtleherder
Apr 30, 2002 1:02 PM
Nope taxes do not hurt the ultra rich. Remember the luxury tax on yachts? Congress thought it would be a good idea to put a surcharge on large boats. For some reason they did not figure out that the ultra rich really did not NEED to buy the boats. So when the sales stopped because of the tax the yacht makers went out of business. The real question is not whether they can afford the tax it is whether it is "right." While it is true that right and legal are not the same it does not mean that we should not strive for "right." I have never understood the logic of charging one person more for the same service because he has more in his wallet. Also, scottfree, you cannot just stop being a citizen. A few years ago some of the wealthy tried to renounce their citizenship and move out of the country. Congress passed a law stating that this practice was not going to be recognized and that they still owed the taxes no matter where they lived or who's citizenship they claimed.
re: Do taxes really hurt the ultra-rich?jrm
Apr 30, 2002 3:12 PM
Their earmings are disproportionally higher than other tax brackets. But in the long run they pay a smaller percentage of there income in taxes. So for the rich taxes are in fact regressive in comparison to other tax brackets. Hey take whatever breaks you can.
ethical flaw with "hurt" as a standardDuane Gran
Apr 30, 2002 7:59 PM
The notion that it is okay to fleece someone of his or her wealth because it won't hurt is absurd. I don't think someone has to be abused to the point of standing in a bread line in order for the abuse to be wrong.

I believe there is an ethical failure on the part of many to identify and react properly to theft. If a robber holds a gun to your head, steals your money and runs off, he is clearly a thief. However, if he did the same thing but instead gave the money to someone who dearly needed (and it could be argued that your money was excess or luxury) then many people would lose their moral stance. The two are equivalent activities of theft.

This is why some people, myself included, call taxes theft. As long as the vehicle for funding government operations (taxes) is used to appease the envy of the lower and middle class, it is theft.
Two martini lunches, skyboxes, etcBrooks
May 1, 2002 7:45 AM
I would consider these not to be legitimate "business expenses", along with many other deductions that businesses get. Same with middle class welfare (interest deductions on home mortgages). Are these theft as well?
keeping your own money is theft?DougSloan
May 1, 2002 7:57 AM
That's the mentality I oppose. Some seem to think that what we earn belongs to the government, and by its good graces we allowed to keep some. How in the world can keeping our own money, via deductions, be deemed theft, "welfare," or even taking something from anyone else? It's our money.

I can see it now. "Your honor, Mr. Middleclass here stole from me because he took a mortage deduction when I can't because I rent."
No, Doug. We're talking equity, your original topic. nmBrooks
May 1, 2002 9:06 AM
Yeah, 'it's our money,,' as you're fond of sayingscottfree
May 1, 2002 11:15 AM
but everyone knows that taxes are factored into compensation. You can't tell me you don't consider taxes when setting your hourly lawyering rates. I know I do. If you figure you need a hundred dollars an hour to live on (every cyclist does, I think!) and figure 50 percent of your income is going to various taxes, you set your rate high enough that you clear a hundred bucks an hour. It's simple, and everyone does it. I never take a freelance job without thinking: "OK, it's worth this much, but to clear this much, I have to charge this much."

It's not just professionals who do this, although it's easier for them. Wage workers have it more difficult, but in the market economy the wages workers are willing to accept reflect their determination that, after taxes, THIS is enough to live on.

Eliminate taxes and all those figures -- wages, professional fees -- would deflate dramatically. And we'd still have the same amount of 'our money' to piss away on expensive hobbies like bikes.
sort of backwardsDougSloan
May 1, 2002 11:30 AM
I don't figure rates based upon what I need to live on, taxes or not. My rates have always pretty much been based upon what the market will bear, considering my experience, expertise, and how much work I have, and may vary highly among clients.

If I'm really busy, I'll ask a higher rate. If I get it, fine. However, if I'm new in town and hungry for work, the clients get a bargain.

Where I do have to consider taxes is when hiring. I can't hire a new lawyer at $x per year and not factor in costs of taxes, insurance, and all that garbage. Usually, that adds 50% to the cost of the salary.

If taxes were eliminated, I'd probably RAISE my rates, not lower them. Clients would then have more money to pay me, right?
Don't believe you'd be competetive if you did.scottfree
May 1, 2002 11:41 AM
The lawyer you hire and have to add 50% to the cost of his salary -- would you STILL add 50% if taxes etc were eliminated? Just out of the goodness of your heart?

People who hire you to represent them -- would they pay YOU more, knowing you no longer have to pay taxes on your income and so your rate hike is pure gouging? No, some sharp lawyer down the street would advertise: "Since I don't have to pay taxes any more, I'm passing the savings on to my clients!" You would soon follow suit, or starve.

That's the way market competition works. I doubt we'd have much more of 'our money' to keep if taxes were eliminated. Might not have any national parks or interstate highways though.
Insurance is garbage?? That's some backwards sh*t128
May 1, 2002 12:19 PM
I don't mean to put words in your mouth but what do you want, free employees? 101% return on your investment? A damn kingdom?

These States United are a group of people, we do not remain united if we greedily hoard our own and do as we like with it, that is Ayn Randian fantasy, that is the seed of balkanization and fascism. You seem to be focusing on a microcosm (those damn welfare cheats) at the expense of the big picture (those damn unbriddled capitalists) If you don't like it, move. You'll be beggin to pay your taxes in about 2 days. The more well to do will always individually pay more in taxes, the poor will always pay more in taxes in the aggregate.

I do think the Fed. is WAAAY out of hand, as I do the private sector, regarding consumerism and economy. So much is wasted in process an administration. In my opinion we need to be far more conservative, and efficient with resources and people.
WHOADougSloan
May 1, 2002 12:46 PM
I get the impression that you are getting a little bit inflamed by this; that wasn't intended. The "garbage" comment simply was a reference to all the nickle and dime (actually much larger denominations) taxes and required insurance premiums due on employees, particularly here in California. Part of the cost is driven up from high worker's comp premiums, general liability premiums, malpractice premiums, and on and on.

I don't know where the "kingdom" comment comes from.

I never even mentioned "welfare cheats."

Yes, I am happy to live here, particularly compared to anywhere else, even with excessive taxes (which really just means excessive spending). But just as you feel sometimes, I imagine, just because you don't want to move, that does not mean you shouldn't speak out for change you feel is appropriate -- something about "redress of grievances" in the Constitution. It is one of the most protected and fundamental Constitutional rights. The Constitution does not say, "America, love it or leave it."

The poor do not pay more in taxes in the aggregate. That's wrong. The middle class and wealthy pay almost all the taxes.

I agree 100% with your last paragraph.
Really funnySteve98501
May 1, 2002 3:32 PM
Doug,

"America, love it or leave it," was the slogan of the right wing conservatives in the late 60s and early 70s, as if it were in the Constitution. Observing your conservative politics, and seeing you say it isn't in the Constitution seems almost ironic.
I never liked that sloganDougSloan
May 1, 2002 3:44 PM
Of course, that slogan was contrasted with the slogan attributed to the USSR: "Love it or lump it."
WHOA. Mia culpa. Should have said"than the less well to do"128
May 2, 2002 4:45 AM
instaed of 'the poor'. I sit corrected. But the point is somewhat to agree with you that tax rates will always benefit/burden those with more income. It's the 'fairly v. unfairly' question that attracts the attention, when the upper rates are increased.
No, I'm not too inflamed, I get a little amped when I hear arguments essentially grounded in "I want the benefits but not the burdens of the system" and the selective use of the founding principles of the founders and Constitution to promote what sounds like the anarcho-capitalist Libertarian agenda without coming right out and saying it.

'Kingdom' comes from the impression that you want free employees. (ok, sarcastic and inferred. Need to turn on the 'public forum' editor. and frankly, I do believe the SMALL business person get's absolutely hammered by the regs devised largely for larger employers...and many people tend to wrongly conflate 'big evil corp' and small bussiness enterprise. )
"welfare cheats" comes from I think the fair inference that you (we) don't want a portion of (y)our income unfairly distributed, and I'm guessing you mean to those who unfairly benefit. And that is a straw man.... Peanuts in the scheme of things. And moves the debate out of purely philophical into a context.
So, apologies again if I misunderstand.
I am keen on the issue and respect your opinion. Just debate. Any way, tough forum to have such great conversation....So I leave alot of room not to hold posters too closely to what they say..or mean.

Have a good one....
agree in partDougSloan
May 2, 2002 6:14 AM
To some extent, I suppose taxes do benefit the more wealthy more; I suppose they have more to protect, at least in terms of material wealth. However, the poor probably receive more benefits in relation to the taxes they pay, thoug -- public transportation or subsidized transportation (of which there really should be more), housing subsidies, food subsidies, medical subsidies, legal services, etc. While no, I'm not saying they have it good or anything, I'd bet they likely do actually receive a disproportionate benefit. I'm ok with that, particularly if they are contributing what they can to society in one form or another.

I never intended to imply that anyone should have "free" employees or anything like that. I think you might be projecting an image of someone else on me. All I intended to mean was that the various governments, by lots of different means, make the expense of employees far greater than the salary itself, and excessively so.

There is a difference between anarchy and libertarianism. While all views could be seen as a matter of degree, I think the libertarian view is basically to minimize government involvement, not eliminate it. I'd think that a communist or fascist dictatorship would likely be at the other end of the spectrum. For some weird reason, some people seem to associate libertarians and fascists -- nothing could be further from the truth. This, I don't understand.

I do believe the founding fathers were basically libertarians, at least more so than anyone in Washington now. The whole idea of federalism reflects that, not to mention a certain Constitutional Amendment that some people seem to despise or ignore (as I think they simply associate it with people they don't like).

I certainly do not want something for nothing. That's a false light shed upon many opposed to high taxes. I want less "something." I want the government to spend less and leave more programs to the private sector. I want less social manipulation by the government. So, basically, it's not high taxes I'm opposed to, it's high spending -- the taxes are the result, not the cause.

Back to my original story -- maybe the problem was not so much that the rich guy was paying $59 for his meal. Maybe the problem was that they all were paying too much for each meal, if half of them could not afford it. :-)

Doug
If taxes are theft then so is undercompensated labor128
May 1, 2002 10:17 AM
not spouting Marxist boilerplate, just arguing by analogy.( I agree with neither side of the analogy per se)
It's the system bub. You gotta pay to play. Can't have your cake and eat it too.

ps: The ultra rich don't pay taxes; they have trusts.
If taxes are theft then so is undercompensated laborBikeViking
May 1, 2002 11:44 AM
They are still paying a majority of the income tax, even with these "trusts".

I know I sound like a broken record, but it's THIER money! There enough people with "rags to riches" stories that, if a person is motivated enough, can also achieve wealth. There are those in this world who do not wnat ot put in the effort to do that. That's not right or wrong, that's just the way it is

I can't afford a Chevy Silverado, but that doesn't mean that those who CAN afford them should help me buy one because I can't afford one.
There's a reason 5% own 95%.SilentBob
May 6, 2002 11:42 AM
Because they know how to keep their money. And they're smart about it. They know as long as the through enough scraps to the middle class, we won't do anything about it. Oh well.