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Tax cut logic simplified...(72 posts)

Tax cut logic simplified...Matno
Jan 27, 2003 8:05 PM
Came across this analogy today that is wonderful. I just don't understand how so many people fail to understand this simple concept of economics...

This is a very simple way to understand our tax laws. Let's put tax cuts in terms everyone can understand...

Suppose that every day, ten men go out for dinner. The bill for all ten men comes to $100. If they paid their bill the way that they pay their taxes it would go something like this: The first four men---the poorest---would pay nothing. The fifth would pay $1 The sixth would pay $3 The seventh would pay $7 The eighth would pay $12 The ninth would pay $18 and the tenth man---the richest would pay $59 That's what they decided to do.

The ten men ate dinner in the restaurant every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement until one day, the owner of the restaurant threw them a curve (in tax language, a tax cut)
"Since you are all such good customers" he said, "I'm going to reduce the cost of your daily meals by $20." So now the dinner for the ten men only cost $80

The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes

So, the first four men were unaffected. They would still eat for free. But what about the other six---the paying customers? How would they divvy up the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his fair share? The six men realized that $20 divided by six is $3.33. But if they subtracted that from everybody's share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would end up being paid to eat their meal
So the restaurant owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man's bill by roughly the same amount as the percentage they paid, and he proceeded to work out the amounts each should pay. And so the fifth man paid nothing, the sixth man pitched in $2, the seventh paid $5, the eighth paid $9, the ninth paid $12, leaving the tenth man with a bill of $52 instead of $59. Each of the six was better off than before and the first four continued to eat for free

But once outside the restaurant, the men began to compare their savings
"I only got a dollar out of the 20 declared the sixth man, but he got (pointing to the tenth man)$7!" Yeah that's right said the fifth man, "I only saved a dollar too".---It's unfair that he got seven times more than me!" That's true shouted the seventh man, why should he get back $7 when I got $2. The wealthy get all of the breaks!!!" "Wait a minute" yelled the first four men in unison. "We didn't get anything at all. The system exploits the poor!" The nine men surrounded the tenth man and beat him up

The next night the tenth man didn't show up for the dinner, so the nine sat down and ate without him. But when it came time to pay the bill they discovered, a little late, what was very important. They were FIFTY-TWO DOLLARS- SHORT OF PAYING THE BILL !! IMAGINE THAT !!

And that, boys and girls, journalists and college instructors, is how the tax system works. The people who pay the highest taxes get the most benefit from a tax reduction. But tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just might not show up at the table anymore. Where would the rest of us be then? Unfortunately, many people cannot seem to grasp this rather straight-forward logic.
Excellant analogyPaulCL
Jan 28, 2003 6:29 AM
This example says volumes. I know a lot of ambitious, smart, hard working people who are taking the roll of the 10th guy and quiting. They live off their investments. Why? Not due to age. But due to their ambition, will to work and produce sucked out of them by the government and the stupid tax laws. We, speaking as the US economy, need these type of people. They generate income, taxes, ideas, jobs for others, industry, etc. That's why our tax system must be changed. IMHO. Paul
worthless drivelDougSloan
Jan 28, 2003 7:02 AM
You guys don't get it. These issues are not decided by logic, reason, or pragmatics, but rather pure emotion. How naive. All the logical analogies in the world, no matter how accurate, cannot compete in the public arena with concepts such as "fairness," "welfare for the rich," and "greedy bastards." People don't make money because they deserve it, because they earned it, or because it's legal; they accumulate wealth only due to their oppression of the poor and working class, tax loopholes, and pure greed. Grow up and see what's really going on around you.

Taxation is theft.OldEdScott
Jan 28, 2003 7:19 AM
The money I make is MINE. The government takes it from me whether I want to pay taxes or not -- and I DON'T. That's the definition of theft to me.

We'd have a pretty good life here in America if we could just keep OUR OWN MONEY, and not have it appropriated out of OUR pockets to pay for things THE GOVERNMENT wants. I can't think of ONE THING the government spends money on that isn't an absolute waste. If I wanted to buy Cadillacs for welfare mothers, I'd do it myself; I don't need some bureaucrat deciding which welfare queen gets the luxury car bought with MY money.

Name just one thing the government spends MY money on that's worthwhile.

Where did this 'government' come from, anyway? Who died and made them God?? I thought this was supposed to be a free country. I don't see a lot of freedom when some 'government' sits up there taking MY money and telling me what to do all the time.
Not all taxation is theft.Matno
Jan 28, 2003 9:01 AM
I fully agree that taking money from you to give it to someone else who arguably "needs" it more is theft, pure and simple. But not all taxes are bad. There would be absolutely no way to maintain a "free" country without certain basic protections that all cost money. If you don't WANT to pay taxes to support the military, fire dept, police departments, etc, you are free to move somewhere else under our system. That's the beauty of it. On the other hand, if you choose NOT to pay taxes, you have no right to enjoy the benefits (and they are big benefits) of those services. Unfortunately, somewhere along the line, we got into the habit of spending money on everything we can think of. Redistribution of wealth is unacceptable "legalized plunder" (one of my favorite quotes from Bastiat). Much of our tax money is wasted, but there are still SOME things that the government spends your money on that are worthwhile...
You mean 'the government,'OldEdScott
Jan 28, 2003 9:16 AM
that alien force that appeared out of nowhere, composed of total strangers who have nothing to do with us, actually does SOME good things with the money it steals from us? Do tell.

All, I know is, it's MY money etc etc.
i hope you guys are being sarcastic (nm)ColnagoFE
Jan 28, 2003 9:26 AM
Taxation is theft - you're an idiot!PdxMark
Jan 28, 2003 9:58 AM
First, taxes are based on laws, and laws make things legal. Taxation is not theft.

Second, without taxes there is no basis for maintaining society or even the basic semblence of a decent economy, you selfish idiotic bastard. You drive on roads, have an economy based upon a publicly educated population, sanitation systems, clean water, etc. etc. etc. that all are based on taxes paid currently and in the past. Your whining drivel about not wanting to contribute to society, while sucking the benefits of a society that supports your income, is pathetic!

There are plenty of examples of countries without taxes, and without the corresponding infrastructure to run even a rudimentary economy. Afgahnistan, much of Africa, major parts of the former Soviet Union (including Russia). Your money wouldn't amount to much more than $1000/year if you had a society without taxes, you dolt.

You might want to whine that feeding or housing the poor (or retired) is a waste of money, or paying the interest on Republican-inspired Federal debts is a waste, or military programs. Fine, argue those allocation choices. But "thinking" (and I use the trem loosely in your regard) that you should be able to opt out of paying ANYTHING toward a society that enables you to earn much more than the global average is pathetic, idiotic, unsupportable nonsense.
But it's MY money! nmOldEdScott
Jan 28, 2003 10:03 AM
Yes, and you have to pay for things with it...PdxMark
Jan 28, 2003 10:14 AM
It's the law. If you don't pay for what you use, you're a thief.

You use the society suported by taxes to earn an ioncome and then WHINE that you have to pay for what you use. You're so stupid that you don't understand that the taxes you pay ALLOW you to earn what you do!

Again, if you dislike the way taxes are spent, between social programs, military, debt service, fine. But to not want to pay ANY taxes is unsupportable. If you are in the US, our tax burden is about 26th out of the largest 30 economies in the world. (According to one site, anyway - I'll track down a link for you if you care)
No, it AIN'T YOUR moneybigskulls
Jan 28, 2003 10:43 AM
Look at it. What does it say? "Federal Reserve Note."
YOUR MONEY only has value because "the government" exists. Like it or not, the government protects the value of YOUR MONEY (really all of our money) for which you (well, probably not YOU but everyone else who doesn't freeload) make a small contribution. You get YOUR MONEY because you live in a society which allows you to get it. And you use plenty of goods and services that the rest of us taxpayers foot the bill for - whenever you ride your bike for instance.

It's really "the government's" money, which you are using. Without "the government" YOUR MONEY doesn't exist. Take a Confederate bank note into the supermarket next time and see what you can buy with it....

I thought this whole MY MONEY BS died with Tim McVeigh. It should have...
"laws make things legal" lolDougSloan
Jan 28, 2003 10:14 AM
I love that one. Tell it to blacks in the South in 1840.

I suppose "laws make things legal," is true. However, does that make them right?

Doug - are you saying there should be no taxes?PdxMark
Jan 28, 2003 10:34 AM
I understand you to want a different allocation of taxes, I think. Should we shift the tax load to lower income folks? We could cut taxes by cutting military spending, or debt-related payments, if we could get out from under to debt service from Reagan-inspired deficits. Or cutting social programs, of course.

My point about laws making something legal was addressing the basic point that taxes are theft. If you're saying taxes at all are not right I have to disagree with you. Some laws are of course not right, and some are even not legal, but as you know, the legality of income taxes has long been settled.
here's the bottom lineDougSloan
Jan 28, 2003 10:51 AM
As long as there are relatively few wealthy voters, it will be perfectly legal and just to tax them disproportionately. Justice is a concept that is determined by the majority, right? If the majority of voters make under $30k a year, then it is perfectly just for them to implement (legally) zero taxes for themselves and 80% taxes for the rich. Until the rich are in the majority, then they have no legal right to complain, right?

Two more bottom lines128
Jan 28, 2003 11:07 AM

"Ducking the Question"

Until very recently, wasn't the Journal itself worried about the fact that non-rich people actually don't care how heavily rich people are taxed? In its now infamous "lucky duckies" editorial from last month, the Journal concluded, "As fewer and fewer people are responsible for paying more and more of all taxes, the constituency for tax cutting, much less for tax reform, is eroding. Workers who pay little or no taxes can hardly be expected to care about tax relief for everybody else." Well, which is it? Is the average American's sense of fairness so offended by the fact that rich people shoulder too much of the tax burden that he'll take to the streets to demand tax cuts in their name? Or is the average American being lulled into tax-cut complacency by the fact that only rich people really pay much in taxes? Doesn't seem like you can have it both ways....
Legal system vs Justice systemMatno
Jan 28, 2003 3:47 PM
We strive for the latter, but certainly live under the former...
I think you found the problem53T
Jan 30, 2003 9:08 AM
Obviously, laws can only make things illegal. Without laws we would have no illegal left turns, illegal drugs, illegal relationships, illegal proceedure (no wait, that's something else).
Exactly. :^)Matno
Jan 28, 2003 8:52 AM
We need more logic, but how do we convince an undereducated public? It's not likely, but at least it's worth trying!
Exactly. :^)DougSloan
Jan 28, 2003 8:57 AM
Sorry; my sarcastic side is full bore this morning.

Don't worry.Matno
Jan 28, 2003 9:02 AM
I didn't suspect anything else! Sarcasm can be a great tool to make a point, can't it? :^)
cut taxes and close the schools!ColnagoFE
Jan 28, 2003 9:30 AM
then you'll have even more ignoramuses running around.
My kids are grown.OldEdScott
Jan 28, 2003 9:36 AM
Why should the government steal MY money to pay to educate other peoples' rugrats?

All schools should be private, and those that use them should pay for them. Where did 'the government' get this notion that there should be free public education for every damn kid born in this country?
Are you for real?ColnagoFE
Jan 28, 2003 10:05 AM
If so you must be the most selfish, short sighted person I've heard from in a while. Democracy/capitalism does not function well in a ill-educated society. If you choose not to support schools then be ready to construct lots of prisons with YOUR money.
Damn - you reproduced!?PdxMark
Jan 28, 2003 10:05 AM
Society, and our economy, benefits from an educated public. Your money wouldn't be a fraction of what it is without public education. Show me ONE industrial economy in the world that does not have universal public education. Economies without reliable, universal public education abound - Afgahnistan, much of Africa, etc....

I suppose you were privately educated, and your kids were too. And your parents too. Or, are you as hypocritical as your are stupid? Sucking the benefits from society and then once you get them whining about having to contribute back to the system.
sure, but only because of the governmentDougSloan
Jan 28, 2003 10:09 AM
If not for the government teaching him how to procreate he'd never have figured it out, though. Good thing Uncle Sam and the states have programs in place to teach us such things. Also, they don't teach such things in private schools, so only public school graduates have any idea how this whole thing works.

:) not true - Catholic schools teach it too..PdxMark
Jan 28, 2003 10:15 AM
By 8th grade our neighbor kid was tired of learning about sex in his Catholic school
What did people do for sex before public education? nm128
Jan 28, 2003 10:50 AM
Good points53T
Jan 28, 2003 10:10 AM
I know you are trying to be sarcastic in your earlier posts to emphaisse that the government is in fact not the King. We elected the government and we alone can replace them.

Your last post on free universal public education is more interesting. this was not a founding principle of the Republic, and did not reach the South until reconstruction. It was not even widespread in the North until about 1820.

Since 50% of my town's tax budget and a very large % of my state's budget is spent on universal public education, it is strange we don't hear people questioning the roots of the system a little more often. For the record, the federal government only spends $60 Billion a year on education, which wouldn't make a difference in our federal tax rates.

To answer your question, when asked the same thing, T. Jefferson said "A nation that expects to be ignorant and free expects what never was and never will be."
and how much tax $ goes to creating WMD and the military? (nm)ColnagoFE
Jan 28, 2003 10:16 AM
People don't realizeOldEdScott
Jan 28, 2003 10:26 AM
that the feds spend almost nothing on education, and that it's the biggest expense states incur.

I'm really surprised the right wing doesn't come out more forcefully for abolishing universal public education. They really just nibble around the edges of the idea without saying outright that that's what they want.
He does have a point with that one...Matno
Jan 28, 2003 3:58 PM
I'm not entirely opposed to public education (even if it is the absolute WORST form of education ever), but I AM opposed to FEDERAL public education, which is not constitutionally sanctioned (and is exactly the reason why we have such incredibly poor education). State and local governments are the proper place for any such organized public schooling.

The point Ed makes is a good one though: Education is not a right. It is a privilege--one which our country is blessed to have in abundance. I fully agree that it ought to be a "pay per service" type of structure though. People who do not directly benefit from education shouldn't have to pay for those who do. I say that as someone whose parents paid education taxes my whole life, in spite of the fact that I went to private schools and was eventually home schooled (gasp!) because of the lack of quality education in our area. Much more fair would be a voucher system in which parents would at least be able to choose which schools their children attend. That, in turn, would create a "semi free market" competition among schools (competing for tax dollars), and it would provide a MUCH needed incentive for schools to improve. I'll bet I could go on all day on this topic... :^)
the single most significant bolster to real estate prices in mybill
Jan 28, 2003 4:13 PM
(anecdotal) experience is the quality of the public schools. There is no other explanation for why, as is the case in numerous neighborhoods in my little 'burg of Arlington, Virginia, houses on one side of the street command 10% more than houses on the other side. This is a solid benefit to all that far outweighs some measely tax credit or voucher. Those that say "I don't have kids in school" are extremely short-sighted.
Those that propose a "free-market" competition for students I just don't understand either, completely overlooking the role geography plays in this so-called market as well as the role of the public schools. What is going to happen to a "failing" school? It'll fall down, and now who gets hurt? The people in the community, the ones who can't afford to do something else, the ones whose kids may be deserving but who haven't got it together to work the system, that's who. We're talking about CHILDREN here, remember? Give them hope or shoot them, but don't sell this blather.
If you want kids to have hope...Matno
Jan 28, 2003 5:04 PM
their parents have to want it as badly as they do. Trust me when I say that if my parents could drive me to a private school 25 miles away every day, ANYBODY could do it. But then, my parents didn't have ANY priorities higher than their children's education. I guess some parents are different.

Your geography argument might hold a little water in a rural setting where the nearest alternative is far away, but in urban settings (where education is arguably the worst anyway) it is not much of an issue. You admit that you don't understand the free-market model of education, which was obvious from your idea of what would happen to a "bad" school. Under a voucher system, parents' financial situation is irrelevant since each student gets the same amount of tax money to give to whichever school they want. According to Adam Smith's "invisible hand" (which is dead on, by the way), the schools with crummy teachers would a) go out of business (and thus open the market for someone better to step in - and someone always does when there's money involved), or b) be forced to improve their quality of teaching to remain competitive. I don't see how anyone could say this is a bad system. Surely you don't think it's worse than our current system?! (Possibly the worst public education in the developed world--speaking of national averages at least). Look at American colleges, many of which are private, and all of which "compete" for students to some degree (they all want to attract the best students they can). The standards there are FAR higher than our primary education and compare far more favorably on an international level. Why shouldn't we learn from that?
No, I don't think YOU understand what happens to a badbill
Jan 29, 2003 7:11 AM
school. Are you kidding with this? I guess you're not, because I hear the same sort of stuff elsewhere.
First of all, are you going to a straight, profit-motive model for schooling? Because that's never worked anywhere. And it's unrealistic for an across the board system. To provide schooling and to take a profit would, surprise, increase the cost. Who's going to pay for that? Some are going to pay more than others, and you'll have what you were trying to get away from. It would gut completely the concept of universal public education.
Let's explore how this might work. I live in Arlington Virginia. I think that there are about 15 public elementary schools here. My school district isn't the worst, but it isn't the best, either. I would love for my children to be able to go to one of about three other schools in the county. So would the rest of the county. That leaves twelve empty schools, and three way overfull, now very sh*tty ones, concentrated in one part of the County.
Now the teachers and principals in those other schools, what do they do? They leave -- who needs this crap? So, now you have schools empty of students and teachers. The market has won! And you've changed completely the character of public education.
It's a ridiculous model. I can't see for a moment what problems it solves without creating worse ones.
It doesn't work as compared to collegiate model for a number of reasons. College, but for a relatively brief period in the sixties and seventies, is not considered a universal opportunity. Even the ones that provide universal opportunity from a financial standpoint don't, really, because students have to compete to get in. And the ones that let anyone in; well, those aren't much worth the trouble.
We don't want that for our public schools. That's not what
they're for. We want everyone to go. We want some shared skills and shared culture. For everyone. Unless you think that if you're parents don't speak the language or have the savvy or are intimidated or whatever, you should get screwed, too. Or, maybe that is what you want.
Sure I do.Matno
Jan 29, 2003 10:38 AM
Your "argument" was about the least thought out, most clueless example you could have come up with. Perhaps an economics lesson is in order here.

To provide schooling and to take a profit would, surprise, increase the cost. The private sector NEVER has higher costs than the federal gov't, which is the absolute least efficient organization for running just about anything (exceptions being those outlined in the Constitution). If costs went up under a privatized, competitive system, you can be assured that quality would also go up.

Who's going to pay for that? I'm talking about a voucher system. Everybody with a kid would get money from the government the same as they do now, except that they would get to control where it went rather than having that decided for them. The source of the money is not in question here. We're talking about where it goes.

So, now you have schools empty of students and teachers. The market has won! This doesn't really deserve a reply, but perhaps a question: How does "the market" win if schools go under? We're talking money that is available for the taking. Those who can earn it by being better than others...WILL earn it. The schools would never sit empty unless there were no kids to go to them. Period. You can't send all the kids to the same school so different schools would have to make themselves more appealing in whatever way works for them. (e.g. one school could have a great football team while another may not have one at all).

Now the teachers and principals in those other schools, what do they do? They leave. Exactly. And where do they go? If they're crappy teachers, they do something else where they can actually get a job. Good riddance. If they're good, they go to a different (better) school. If the school's administrators are bad enough that they can't hire decent teachers, why should we care if the school goes under? Another better one will take its place. That's how "the market" works. (And it DOES work).

College, but for a relatively brief period in the sixties and seventies, is not considered a universal opportunity. That has no relevance to the fact that the business model exemplified by colleges is applicable to the primary education scene as well. You'll notice that more and more people are going to college. (Heck, Pres. Clinton practically made it a requirement). As the number of college students has risen, so has the number and quality of colleges. Hmmm. Imagine that. And they don't even have a guaranteed source of students like public schools under a voucher system would.

It's a ridiculous model. Right back at ya, pal. If you can't see the benefits, maybe you need to open your eyes. (Or go to college).
I am reminded of what my cousin the professor wanted to say tobill
Jan 29, 2003 12:11 PM
one of his students but was prevented from saying by his more charitable wife.
This is so wrong, it's not even wrong. (Actually, what my cousin said is "You're so wrong, you're not even wrong," but I would like to avoid personalizing this.)
Your argument overlooks a premise of what I am saying that underlies the whole situation, which the business model completely misses.
We are not talking about using the cheapest, most efficient means of acquiring the cheapest, most efficient raw materials to use in the cheapest, most efficient processes to churn out the best product we can with the highest profit margin. We are talking about educating children. This means that we don't get to choose our raw materials, we have to use ALL the raw materials, regardless of quality, and we don't get to discard inefficient or non-profitable product lines. We have to turn them all out as best we can.
End of economic model. Actually, economic model never had a start. Schools are just different, my friend.
The idea that the "worst" schools can be allowed to fail is so frightening I can't imagine it. While people who espouse this voucher program would like to define the "worst" schools by, I suppose, test scores, in fact what determines test scores, and hence the "best" schools, is the wealth of the attendees. This is the one dependable determining factor in a school's success -- the wealth of the community from which it draws. You can argue this if you like, but the research is there.
So, you want to create a system where the success of a school is determined by the wealth of the community. All others are lesser or failing schools. You can say that this is not what you want, but it is the logical conclusion of what you argue. You can accept this or point out the flaw in my logic.
I enjoy testing my own opinions against opposing points of view. Often enough I find out that the disagreements lie in emphasis rather than in analysis, so that arguments, seemingly diametrically opposed, really are at cross-purposes, and the difference is not in logical process but in what the arguer considers important. Respect all around.
This debate is something else.
Exactly backwards...Matno
Jan 29, 2003 12:47 PM
You're looking at it from the wrong angle. Students are not the "raw materials." The raw materials in this case are tax dollars, the product is schools, and children (and their families) are the consumers. "The Market" (consumers) do not want crummy education. People want the best possible education for their children. A free market, in the absence of major gov't intervention, provides what consumers want. Period.

How is the idea that the "worst" schools can be allowed to fail so frightening? Why on earth would we want bad schools to continue to operate when good schools could take their place? You're obviously not grasping the fact that when a demand arises a supply will ALWAYS arise to fill the gap, if allowed. Our current system doesn't allow that because people who want an alternative still have to pay public education taxes ON TOP of any private school tuition they choose to pay for.

What determines test scores, and hence the "best" schools, is NOT the wealth of the attendees. That is incidental. The single most determining factor of how children perform in school is how much attention their parents pay to their education.
The whole idea that you can judge a school by test scores isbill
Jan 29, 2003 1:55 PM
itself frightening and, in my mind, misguided. Kids for whom English is a second language do lousy on tests. Black kids do lousy on tests. Poor kids do lousy on tests. When you say that the wealth of the familiies isn't determinant but how much attention their parents pay to education is, well, you may believe that, and I kind of think that what you say may go some distance to explaining the phenomenon, but there are no data to support your hypothesis as far as I know. The research is pretty clear that, yep, it's wealth. Even if we were to find that the parent's motivation is determinative, we're back to giving up on kids because of their parents' motivation, their parents' situation, and I am not comfortable with that at all. Not at all. I also think that you underestimate the degree to which immigrants, for example, are motivated by education for their children, and there simply are other pressures at work.
But look, the thing that bothers me most is this. Schools don't fail. They are brick and mortar. They've served neighborhoods in some cases for many years, rising and falling with the fortunes of their communities. Their staff changes over time. Maybe some are so inherently plagued by bad air or decrepit facilities or evil staff that you can say that the school fails, but I think that this is very rare and that for the most part the people serving in the so-called "worst" schools are highly motivated by the challenge, which is what it is. You know that you're going to lose a lot of kids in the process but you do it because you hope to win a few. My neighbor's sister has moved as principal of "failing" school to "failing" school for just that reason -- when things get better, she moves on to a new challenge, because she's good with "failing schools." She's not motivated by money; as far as I know money doesn't enter into it. That's not what motivates these people at all. This is another factor your argument doesn't consider.
This is all so wrong. The raw material is money? What is this, alchemy? What can you possibly mean by that? School is the product? And then you want to rate the product pass/fail by the performance of the consumers? With the result being that the consumers would lose their product and be bused somewhere else or something if the consumers make the product fail? And, if you happen to be where everyone is doing poorly but you, which is not as strange as it sounds (teachers look for that silver lining kid), you still could lose your school or your product or whatever? And you have to go somewhere else because your school failed even though you didn't? How does this work? How do we avoid my whole county ending up at three schools? What are people supposed to do when their product fails?
I'm flabbergasted. Makes no sense.
And it probably never will...Matno
Jan 29, 2003 3:54 PM
...make sense to you.
no, raise taxes and teacher salaries, etc.DougSloan
Jan 28, 2003 10:06 AM
Come on. Bill Gates is worth $50 billion! No one needs more than enough money to have a moderate house, Honda Accord, and put food on the table. Thus, tax 100% all income and assets over a very liberal $1 million (and graduated down from there). Anyone can invest that much and live off the income. Just think of all the teachers you can hire, roads you can build, people you can feed if we simply tax greed! We'll have a 1:1 teacher/student ratio, and teachers will be able to afford the same house as Gates. That's fair, isn't it? No more problems with SUV's, either; without tons of disposable income, no one can afford the vehicles or the fuel to put in them. Jeez, we solve so many problems by a simple correction the tax code, it almost seems ludicrous not to do it immediately.

I know you are being sarcastic but...ColnagoFE
Jan 28, 2003 10:14 AM
I agree...50 billion is a lot of money for one person to control. money issues become pretty much irrelevant when you have access to that much cash. my mind can't even comprehend that much cash. did he earn it? yes technically, but who did he mow over in the process of getting it?
does it matter how he got it?DougSloan
Jan 28, 2003 10:19 AM
Let's cut to the chase. It doesn't matter if Gate's made $50 billion inventing a cure for cancer. No one needs that much money. He's giving away a token hundred million here and there, but that's just an effort to distract from his real greed and ostentatious spending. Let's not mess up the tax code with efforts to determine the fairness with which money is made; just tax everything over subsistence level and be done with it. Justice will be served one way or another.

Hey, it's HIS moneyOldEdScott
Jan 28, 2003 10:21 AM
Etc etc etc.
From each according to his ability...(nm)53T
Jan 28, 2003 6:19 PM
Sloan, you damn liberals areOldEdScott
Jan 28, 2003 10:16 AM
all the same. Tax, tax, tax, spend, spend, spend. Whoever said life was fair? You see the word 'fair' in the Constitution? Or do you even read the Constitution?

I worked hard to make MY money. The government didn't give it to me, and no bureaucrat had anything to do with it. Why you liberals think I owe you or anybody else anything for having the brains, skill and work ethic to make millions while you're busy eating tofu and whining about SUVs is beyond me. I made it, it's mine, and I don't owe anybody anything.
go live somewhere else, thenDougSloan
Jan 28, 2003 10:25 AM
This country was not designed for anyone thinking they can make and accumulate money at the expense of others. This concept of "freedom" has been blown far out of context from originally intended. All it meant is that you are free to do those things and accumulate those things the government says you can. It's naive to think otherwise. Remember, majority rules -- those are the rules of the game. If the majority wants what you have, then give it up. YOu are perfectly free to go to another country and live by its rules.

Besides, you may think you made money yourself, but you only were able to do so because the government raised you from a pea and taught you everything you know; therefore, you have an obligation to spend the rest of your life paying back that debt to society.

So what if I inherited my money? It was myOldEdScott
Jan 28, 2003 10:32 AM
great granfather's money, then it was my grandfather's money, then it was my father's. Now it's MINE. So what if it was originally made in ways that would be illegal now? We have too many laws these days anyway. What's the big deal about child labor, anyway?

So what if we used that original money -- which I'm sure you liberals think was obtained immorally -- to leverage more and more money over generations, concentrating vast wealth in the hands of a few of us SMART enough and HARD- WORKING enough to have inherited it fair and square.

Inheritance taxes are theft, just like income taxes.
I'll concede...DougSloan
Jan 28, 2003 10:43 AM
I'll concede that at least you have an argument to retain some of the money you actually made; we need to encourage a minimal level of productivity.

However, you did nothing to generate your grandfather's or father's income. We won't allow ourselves to be controlled by the cold hand from the grave. Once someone dies, their wealth is transferred to the state. Every individual should be on equal footing when starting out, and no one should grow up thinking they hit a triple when they were born on third base. No sir. Everyone stands up to the plate and hits just like everyone else. Besides, inheriting wealth only continues and rewards racial and other injustices of the past. Transferring the wealth of the past to put everyone on equal footing now is just. No harm done, anyway, as the dead and gone aren't here to complain -- or vote. The dead have no rights, at least none set forth in the Constitution. If you truly desire to benefit your progeny, then spend your time with them teaching them the values of activities like protesting to save snail darters rather than sitting in some executive office overseeing a thousand oppressed workers building some carbon spewing metal road monstrosity.

I don't know about you ...OldEdScott
Jan 28, 2003 11:01 AM
but my head's about to explode. Don't know if I can forge on with adequately representative right wingism here -- especially considering you make such a convincing & persuasive liberal.

Let's just say you're right, I'm convinced! :-)

And pdxMark, your sputtering denunciations of me ('an idiot') gave me the best horse laugh I've had in a long time.

All power to the people! Hasta la siempre victoria! Right on!
shucks; that's no fun ;-) nmDougSloan
Jan 28, 2003 11:04 AM
how does inheriting it make you smart or hard-working?ColnagoFE
Jan 28, 2003 11:20 AM
i'm thinking you are just pulling everyone's chains here. nobody could be as dense as you seem to be. i'd say if what you say about inheriting your money is true then you are just born lucky...nothing to do with hard work or smarts.
Dude! Didn't you notice Sloan beingOldEdScott
Jan 28, 2003 11:32 AM
uncharacteristically liberal? We were doing some role playing, like therapy. I was the right wing nut and he was the Red bastard, for a change. It was invigorating! I enjoyed being viciously attacked by my brother liberals! "Damn, you reproduced?" HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!!!!!!!
who said anything about role playing?DougSloan
Jan 28, 2003 12:05 PM
I don't know about you, but I genuinely have changed my beliefs based upon everything I've read here. I was such an lunkhead before. Our sarcasm escaped everyone because we were just too good at it.

Jan 28, 2003 12:06 PM
It was really funny watching all your cohorts jumping your ass for a change, though.

Funny as hell.OldEdScott
Jan 28, 2003 12:13 PM
The sad thing is, it suggests my side is either (a) humorless or (B) dense.

I noticed not a single one of YOUR co-conspirators jumped on you. I can only assume it's because your position on taxes is so predictable they didn't even bother to read 'em.

Gotta admit, my guys can be pretty vicious, in an inadvertently hilarious sort of way.
I'm just gladOldEdScott
Jan 28, 2003 12:15 PM
old Czar didn't grab ahold of me.
he must be out protesting something nmDougSloan
Jan 28, 2003 12:18 PM
I changed my mind too.czardonic
Jan 28, 2003 12:39 PM
Protesting is futile. Plus, as you say, "fairness" ultimately carries the day. Some subscribe to the notion that they are poor because wealthy influences have rigged the system in their own favor. Others subscribe to the notion that they have only themselves to thank for their good fortune. It is the tension between the two that preserve each from the "logical" consequence of their own self serving mythologies.
Word. nmOldEdScott
Jan 28, 2003 12:45 PM
you guys were over the topColnagoFE
Jan 28, 2003 1:59 PM
I knew sloan was being sarcastic, but you had me going for a while. funny/sad thing is that there are REAL people out there that think like both of your alter egos.
Where do you think I gotOldEdScott
Jan 29, 2003 6:10 AM
the 'It's MY money' mantra? Right here on this board!
have a nice life scrooge (nm)ColnagoFE
Jan 28, 2003 11:17 AM
worthless drivelBikeViking
Jan 28, 2003 10:48 AM
Man, you must be having a ROTTEN day!! I had saved the very same article when you posted it a few months ago.

Hope all is well...
I just came to my sensesDougSloan
Jan 28, 2003 10:57 AM
The little article makes an attempt at a logical, reasonable approach to demonstrating the unjustice of disproportionate tax cuts (tax cuts only benefit the rich, right?). What we too often fail to realize is that logic and reason have little persuasive effect in the public arena. Emotional approaches designed to appeal to the sense of unjustice and unfairness (or envy), no matter how disconnected from logic and reason, are much more effective. If the latter weren't true, then we'd have a flat tax, wouldn't we?

I just came to my sensesBikeViking
Jan 28, 2003 1:33 PM
I suppose you are right...once we get the rich to contribute their fair share, we can then start providing free health care to ALL Americans and, if we have any money left, we can get better housing for the poor. Those downtrodden wretches can't POSSIBLY take care of themselves and the Government should do ANYTHING in its power to provide those things people have a right to, like health care and housing.
Is THIS for real, PaulCL? Lots of people living off investmentsbill
Jan 28, 2003 2:24 PM
because they don't want to make money that is taxed? People that you know? I'm a little lost here.
Anyone who knows someone who says that they quit working to avoid paying taxes knows a liar. That's all I can say. I don't know whether to pay this any more mind or if it is tongue in cheek as so much else is in this thread, but that idea is ridiculous, and it is the bald fallacy behind much supposed economic thinking on tax policy. Even if you keep less of your next dollar, you still get to keep more money in absolute terms, and the people making that kind of money could give a sh*t, they still want the next dollar and whatever they can keep of it. I defy anyone to tell me differently. You also can't live off investments without getting taxed, so it's a non-starter.
You guys don't get it about progressive taxation and why it exists. It doesn't exist because "there are fewer rich people," which, is (a) wrong, because the rich are getting richer -- the ranks of multimillionaires continues to swell, and (b) misses rich people's motivations entirely.
The idea that tax policy has much of anything to do with democratic politics is laughable. The rich have access, and access dictates policy. Progressive taxation IS the policy of the rich.
Why is it the policy of the rich? It is a devils deal. In order to keep the underclass in this country from revolting, as almost happened in the early part of the last century, we have a semi-socialized state and a progressive tax code. The welfare state saved capitalism, crocodile tears of the wealth notwithstanding.
We have 2 threads here: no taxes and allocation of tax burdenPdxMark
Jan 28, 2003 10:24 AM
I'm disagreeing with the notion that taxes are theft - that no-one should pay taxes. Tax allocation is a different issue - which started this message thread - but I'm not arguing that one - yet.
Jan 28, 2003 10:59 AM
Did you ever consider that tax laws that may rankle your incredible sense of entitlement are simply the price of living in a society that makes such wealth possible in the fist place?
What does "wealthy" mean in the hypo?128
Jan 28, 2003 11:31 AM
I imagine a lot of the problem in this argument is definitions. While the 'less-tax' side is correct up to a certain dollar amount, the 'tax-ok' side is correct AFTER a certain dollar figure. It's not an all or nothing proposition is it? In todays world I have a hard time seeing even 120K houshold income as "wealthy" and subject the hpyo at all. How much was the guy who walked away making? 120K or 35million??

I think we all agree we need a taxes, and that there is a innescable mathematical ratio between how the very rich and the very poor are taxed. It's the "middle" that seems neglected in this purist debate.

Nobles oblige.
Middle ClassMatno
Jan 28, 2003 8:28 PM
Seems like what used to be middle class is now considered "wealthy." I guess that's what happens when you increase the number of people below the poverty line. Either that, or inflation has shifted the tax bracket. I'm not sure how that works. 120 grand a year is still wealthier than 99% of the world's population. Heck, that's almost half of what the average surgeon makes in this country. Just seems kind of unfair for ANYBODY to have to pay more than half of their income in taxes. (Before anybody goes off on me, here in NYC, combined state, city, and federal taxes can easily exceed 50% for moderately "wealthy" people. Almost like being under fiscal slavery...)
hard to tellDougSloan
Jan 29, 2003 8:21 AM
I don't think there is a formal definition of "Wealthy", as there may be for "poor." I'd say something like top 5% of income families, but that's entirely unscientific.

We already pay far more than 50% in taxes. Remember we pay lots of taxes indirectly, not limited to income taxes, like sales tax, property tax, gasoline tax, fees, and all sorts of taxes along the chains of commerce that we never see, but are added to the prices of things.

That makes it all the more painful...Matno
Jan 29, 2003 10:48 AM
It's a shame to see so much money going to the least efficient welfare organization in the world. I hadn't even thought about all the "other" taxes we pay. I was just thinking of my parents in NYC who pay over 50% in income taxes alone! Wow. This makes it even worse... Of course, many of those taxes can be avoided. For example, you don't HAVE to own property or buy gasoline, which at least gives you a LITTLE bit of "leverage." :^) But indirectly, I'm sure you'd still be paying most of them. Of course, you could just not work and thus avoid income tax as well, but most upstanding citizens wouldn't consider that a real option, even if our current system makes that kind of appealing.

How about defining "wealthy" as those who pay the top 95% of all income tax? That's probably pretty close to what most people think of as wealthy anyway.

Incidentally (and only slightly off-topic), I'm always amazed when people fail to recognize that giving tax breaks to the "wealthy" benefits the poor too. Who provides almost all non-gov't jobs in this country? The wealthy. Along the same lines, I'm always surprised that people actually believe that having a minimum wage helps anybody. Sure, short-run it helps those who still have jobs, but a lot of people lose their jobs every time the minimum wage is raised, and the effects hurt everyone. Big picture. It's all about the big picture...