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Thread: Question about taxes

  1. #1 Question about taxes 
    Forum Masters Degree LuciDreaming's Avatar
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    This may be a rather naïve question - but I have to admit to knowing nothing about economics. We have a problem with tax evasion or using tax loopholes in UK amongst the rich and I cant help but think the way we tax individuals here seems unnecessarily complicated and unfair. Would it not be feasible to have a flat rate of tax for all individuals on the premise that by earning more obviously you pay more? It just seems to me to be a much fairer way of doing things - I would begrudge giving the government 50% of my income for sure. Would it work?


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    A flat tax rate is regressive. Asking someone to go without food and heating for half a month is not the same as asking someone to go without a second trip to his 3rd house Monaco for half a month, even if the % of income is the same. In addition, the money taken from low income is usually/might be circulating faster at a local level (more basics) where as the money taken from high income is usually not circulating quite as fast or as locally (luxuries).

    A progressive tax system with brackets can be relatively simple if you avoid piling on exceptions and credits.

    It possible to lower the taxation to that of somalia or haiti, depending on which type of society you wish to live in.

    All of this is moot of course, if the people with more money have more influence (campaign finance, studies-for-hire, etc) with which to tilt policies in their favour even more (generally with a combination of calls for flat tax rates, and trickle down economics nonesense, tax credits, etc).


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    Thanks - that makes sense.
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    Forum Radioactive Isotope cosmictraveler's Avatar
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    A flat tax beginning at 35,000.00 US would be a smart way to help the poor because they won't have to pay anything. So anyone earning over that amount would pay 15% of their earnings and no more. That way it is a fair tax for all.
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    Our tax system here in the US is a nightmare. And if that isn't bad enough, after they get it, the government wastes so much of it. It is one of the few things that I agree with the GOP: No new taxes! Not until the gov't quits wasting what it extracts from us. Almost every day in the paper I read about wasted taxes, at the federal, state, and county levels. There are a few other bricks in the GOP platform that I agree with.
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    Quote Originally Posted by cosmictraveler View Post
    A flat tax beginning at 35,000.00 US would be a smart way to help the poor because they won't have to pay anything. So anyone earning over that amount would pay 15% of their earnings and no more. That way it is a fair tax for all.
    Maybe that is too simple -- I don't know enough about the IRS -- but something like that would be far better than what we have.
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    Quote Originally Posted by LuciDreaming View Post
    Would it not be feasible to have a flat rate of tax for all individuals on the premise that by earning more obviously you pay more? It just seems to me to be a much fairer way of doing things - I would begrudge giving the government 50% of my income for sure. Would it work?
    That could indeed work (provided you started at the poverty line, not at the first dollar earned) but wouldn't do much to reduce complexity. The act of multiplying two numbers together (and doing that three or four times) to get an effective tax rate isn't the hard part. The hard part is business income, rental income, capital gains, tax credits, tax deductions, definitions of profit, stock basis vs sale price, straight sale vs options exercise etc etc.
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  9. #8  
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    Quote Originally Posted by PumaMan View Post
    Our tax system here in the US is a nightmare. And if that isn't bad enough, after they get it, the government wastes so much of it. It is one of the few things that I agree with the GOP: No new taxes!.
    Combine that with the democrats - no spending reductions! - and you get the deficit mess we are in now. We have to raise taxes and cut spending; there's no other way around it. Both are painful. Both are necessary.
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    Quote Originally Posted by billvon View Post
    We have to raise taxes and cut spending; there's no other way around it. Both are painful. Both are necessary.
    I have to disagree. Spending reductions combined with less waste would make the current taxes quite enough. And when I say spending reductions I mean very large reductions to the military-industrial complex spending. This is one area where I differ from the GOP.
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    "A flat tax beginning at 35,000.00 US would be a smart way to help the poor because they won't have to pay anything."

    quick note, a minimum threshold is a different concept, you can also have a progressive tax that also starts at 35,000 or any other starting amount to help the poor.
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    Quote Originally Posted by PumaMan View Post
    I have to disagree. Spending reductions combined with less waste would make the current taxes quite enough. And when I say spending reductions I mean very large reductions to the military-industrial complex spending.
    That doesn't close the deficit. (2013 military budget $625 billion; 2013 deficit $680 billion.) So you could cut the entire military (which would be a bad idea) and still not close the hole.

    So let's say you cut the US military budget by half, which would be pretty crippling; we'd have to mothball much of our air force and navy, close all overseas US military bases, pull all our troops out of every country they were in etc. Now you still have to cut $367 billion. Where does it come from?

    Plus keep in mind that you have just dealt the economy a huge blow by putting half the armed forces out of work, bankrupting dozens of large military contractors, turning the towns around bases into ghost towns etc.
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    Quote Originally Posted by billvon View Post
    That doesn't close the deficit.
    I just mentioned one area: the defense budget. I'm sure there are other areas where the gov't wastes large sums of money. And I wouldn't be opposed to taxing the rich a bit more, like maybe using the rates they used to be taxed in the 60s and 70s.

    Let me re-phrase my comment: No new taxes on the middle and lower classes. Now, where is that dividing line is between the middle and upper class -- I'm not sure where to place it -- but probably somewhere above $100,000 income per year.

    My politics are a mixture of Dem and Repub and Libertarian principles. Unfortunately I have to make a choice come election time. Not quite as bad as Sophie's choice, but pretty bad.
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    add a tobin tax and a tax or fines on weed (while reducing the judicial and prison industrial complex expenses?)
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    Quote Originally Posted by icewendigo View Post
    "A flat tax beginning at 35,000.00 US would be a smart way to help the poor because they won't have to pay anything."

    quick note, a minimum threshold is a different concept, you can also have a progressive tax that also starts at 35,000 or any other starting amount to help the poor.
    No, Just leave it at that rate. Businesses would pay the 15% on the NET INCOME that they earn. No deductions. No loopholes.
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  16. #15  
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    Quote Originally Posted by PumaMan View Post
    I just mentioned one area: the defense budget. I'm sure there are other areas where the gov't wastes large sums of money.
    Everyone says that. Then they get elected. And someone says "OK we believed you. Now cut all that waste." And all that stuff they were calling waste? Turns out that it's somewhat important.

    That's why specifics are important. Anyone can say "I will just trim the fat! Put the government on a diet. End wasteful, unnecessary spending. Trim bloated budgets and keep only the stuff that helps little kids and needy moms." Unfortunately, everyone who came before them has ALREADY done that. That's not to say it's impossible; it's not. But it is much easier to say than to do - which is why I asked for specifics.

    And I wouldn't be opposed to taxing the rich a bit more, like maybe using the rates they used to be taxed in the 60s and 70s.
    From 35% to 70-91% is "a bit more?" I assume you didn't mean that.

    But let's go with taxes on the rich. You want to tax the top 15% more. (That's $100,000 or higher.) How much more?
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    You know Bill, every other day I read about wasted tax money. Always in millions. Sometimes in billions. That's not much of an exaggeration either. I told my wife several months ago that I was going to start keeping records of these wastes. Note the date, what, and how much. That way, when someone like yourself asks me I can dump the file and say "here." But the way it is here in the US, no one seems to get upset over the waste and several days later it is forgotten. The military are best at it but they have serious competition with soc sec fraud, food stamp fraud, etc., etc.. Maybe I'll start . . . tomorrow.
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    didnt rumsfeld say the pentagon had lost track of something like 3 *T*rillion $ before 911, maybe between the sofa cushions?
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    Quote Originally Posted by icewendigo View Post
    didnt rumsfeld say the pentagon had lost track of something like 3 *T*rillion $ before 911, maybe between the sofa cushions?
    Yeah, that was in Iraq. A whole truckload of money just . . . disappeared. I'll try to find a reference.
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    It might have only been in the billions:

    For the first time, federal auditors are suggesting that some or all of the cash may have been stolen, not just mislaid in an accounting error. Stuart Bowen, special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, an office created by Congress, said the missing $6.6 billion may be "the largest theft of funds in national history."
    The mystery is a growing embarrassment to the Pentagon, and an irritant to Washington's relations with Baghdad. Iraqi officials are threatening to go to court to reclaim the money, which came from Iraqi oil sales, seized Iraqi assets and surplus funds from the United Nations' oil-for-food program.
    Iraq: Missing Iraq money may have been stolen, auditors say - Los Angeles Times

    It's these sorts of news articles that make me want to shout: NO NEW TAXES!!!
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  21. #20  
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    "Yeah, that was in Iraq. A whole truckload of money just . . . disappeared. I'll try to find a reference."no the iraq truckload of money was in the bilion $ range or less, but the rumsfeld press conference before 911 was a completely different instance and was Trillions with a T (were not in kansas anymore)
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    It never ends. When it comes time to vote I might as well roll a roulette ball. If it lands on red repub, black dem, neither libertarian. If no libertarian, roll again. It seems that futile sometimes.
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  23. #22  
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    That could indeed work (provided you started at the poverty line, not at the first dollar earned) but wouldn't do much to reduce complexity. The act of multiplying two numbers together (and doing that three or four times) to get an effective tax rate isn't the hard part. The hard part is business income, rental income, capital gains, tax credits, tax deductions, definitions of profit, stock basis vs sale price, straight sale vs options exercise etc etc.
    There's little point in complaining about complexities. The reason they're there is that governments have to play catch-up with the "creative" accounting of people who don't want to pay tax but who don't want to break the law either. So they stretch things, rename things, fidget and fuss with things so that some amounts of money finish up being claimed as deductions when they weren't really incurred in earning income at all, or they disappear from income because someone described them as capital or as anything-but-income.

    Far better to look at whether the system makes sense as it stands. One feature of the US tax system that I've never understood is that interest payments on mortgages and loans are deducted from personal income. How does that work? Why should the government's revenue be depleted by private decisions to overcommit to private accommodation costs? Same thing goes for the Australian tax system allowing negative gearing on "investments". It's just a way for the taxpayers at large to subsidise the costs of someone buying real estate or share portfolios - knowing full well that the rents or dividends received will never offset the interest costs of purchase - so that the person can later sell the asset/s and pay capital gains tax on only half of the profit on the capital "invested". Most schemes based on this are sold entirely on the "tax benefit gained" basis. There's a very old rule in taxation matters that if the only reason for a transaction is its tax effect, then it's not a business decision in the first place. This simple logic seems to have gone out the window.

    And there are dozens of such sillinesses in various tax regimes around the world. And it isn't feasible to just stop these things dead in their tracks. The tax benefits of such arrangements have been woven into the financial and accounting practices of each country and it would be a genuine hardship to far too many people to suddenly overturn such laws. In some cases it could seriously upset the whole economy or at least whole industries. The only sensible thing to do would be to grandfather current arrangements and disallow future arrangements. That then requires more complicated legal boundary setting to ensure that people can't artificially get ineligible transactions/ loans/ payments/ receipts included in the grandfathered category.

    As for defining profit. That requires defining what is and isn't income and what is and isn't capital and what is and isn't an income-related expense and what is and what isn't a capital outlay and whether or not it's depreciable and, if so, at what rate per annum and for all those definitions, whether the item in question belongs in this year's income/ loss calculation or in some other year's accounts. Once you've done that you have to determine how losses are calculated and whether they are or aren't carried forward to offset a following year's income. Accounting isn't as simple as a lot of people would like it to be.

    As for the economic impacts of various tax laws. They should be based on the same kind of logic as the economic impact of direct outlays from the revenue. This also is pretty simple. If you pay cash / allow a benefit to people who treat money as if it's made round to go round, then the economic benefit is pretty high. Because that kind of money gets taxed over and over again. The recipient/ beneficiary buys stuff with the money and the person/business receiving that payment pays it out in wages or in buying replacement stock or it finishes up in taxable profits - and some of those transactions are also subject to sales or similar taxes which provides another revenue stream (not necessarily to the same government as the initial benefit).

    Or you can frame your laws so that most benefit/ cash/ whatever goes to people who treat money as if it's made flat to stack. Such payments and benefits can be a drag on an economy because the funds don't entirely, and certainly not instantly, circulate back into the economy.

    It isn't as straightforward or as simple as we'd like. The thing to remember is that the reasons for complex tax laws are

    firstly, to include and codify accounting conventions so that taxation is part of rather than additional to ordinary bookkeeping,

    secondly, to make those specifications as explicit and detailed as possible to get pre-empt or to rectify attempts to avoid paying tax.

    This all gets complicated by political manoeuvring to get concessions and benefits "built in" to the accounting and taxation provisions so that certain activities and industries aren't seen to be gaining cash benefits from the rest of the taxpaying community because their benefit is automatically included and partly concealed by a reduced tax liability rather than made obvious by an overt transfer of cash.
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    Whoops, sorry 'bout that wall of text.

    Wrote it in bits while doing something else, didn't realise I'd written a minor dissertation. And at the moment I can't edit. The rest of my computer's functionality seems to have recovered but not everything on this site.
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    Whoops, sorry 'bout that wall of text.
    It seems apropos, considering the subject. Depressing. Major depressing.
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    Quote Originally Posted by billvon View Post
    Combine that with the democrats - no spending reductions! - and you get the deficit mess we are in now. We have to raise taxes and cut spending; there's no other way around it. Both are painful. Both are necessary.
    Or grow out of it, which is what's happening now for discretionary spending that will likely run a surplus in the next two years. Of course discretionary spending isn't really the problem and masking social program spending increases for our aging demographic--a similar problem as EU and Japan.

    --
    And amount of waste is generally far overestimated--the reality is our government is probably the most efficient that any government has ever been, with number of government employees at an all time low compared to the population and handling hundreds of times more information better than ever before. (State programs are more complex than federal programs just a couple decades ago).
    Most likely real waste is well below 5% and even programs with the worst reputations such as the "food stamp program" by recent reports having less than 2% waste.

    --
    And I agree our tax system is far too complex with most deductions only available to the wealthy.
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    And amount of waste is generally far overestimated
    Absolutely. One person I read described it as governments and economists being anorexic.

    An anorexic person can look in a mirror at a skeletal frame but "see" a grossly overweight body and continue to avoid food. Economists, commentators and people in government have been advocating and implementing starvation tactics for government activities. And they look at the result after a couple of decades of this and they still see gross bloating where anyone who looks at - and especially for - government services sees gaps and holes and overworked, underfunded organisations making do with far fewer staff and far less resources than they really need to do a good job / carry out their statutory responsibilities / whatever terminology you prefer.
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  28. #27  
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    BTW, How much per year are the interests on the debt?
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    Quote Originally Posted by icewendigo View Post
    BTW, How much per year are the interests on the debt?
    Historically quite low with nearly half against other government organizations.
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    Quote Originally Posted by PumaMan View Post
    You know Bill, every other day I read about wasted tax money. Always in millions. Sometimes in billions. That's not much of an exaggeration either.
    I think it is. But even if you find a few billion in outright completely unneccesary waste (which is very unlikely) and you cut every cent of it (which is also unlikely) you have only cut 0.2% of our deficit.

    But the way it is here in the US, no one seems to get upset over the waste and several days later it is forgotten..
    Oh, I am upset over any waste. There just isn't that much of it. Sure, there are instances of waste in the government just as there are instances of waste in every company, organization, society, alliance etc etc in the world.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    Or grow out of it, which is what's happening now for discretionary spending that will likely run a surplus in the next two years.
    That might well happen. What I am worried about is:

    1) We do nothing. Debt grows hugely.
    2) As the economy recovers, the deficit drops until one year we have a surplus. We pay off a tiny portion of the debt.
    3) All politicians celebrate. The GOP takes credit for the surplus, claiming they have held costs down. The democrats take credit for the surplus, claiming their stimulus worked.
    4) Both sides SPEND SPEND SPEND! There's a surplus! The GOP gets lots of military-project pork for their districts. The democrats get an increase in SNAP and education spending.
    5) The next year there's a big deficit again. We go further in to debt. But it's OK; the economy is still growing. I'm sure receipts will grow again.
    6) The next recession hits - and we finally default. (Or more accurately ask for debt forgiveness, which is almost worse.)

    And I agree our tax system is far too complex with most deductions only available to the wealthy.
    Yep. But simplifying it is very hard to do.
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  32. #31  
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    heres an intersting light video indirectly related to ways of thinking about taxes

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    Quote Originally Posted by billvon View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by PumaMan View Post
    Our tax system here in the US is a nightmare. And if that isn't bad enough, after they get it, the government wastes so much of it. It is one of the few things that I agree with the GOP: No new taxes!.
    Combine that with the democrats - no spending reductions! - and you get the deficit mess we are in now. We have to raise taxes and cut spending; there's no other way around it. Both are painful. Both are necessary.
    That's the fallacy of compotition. It's not a big problem to run deficits as long as your the ratio debt/gdp is constant. In a depressed economy, when you reduce demand (by cutting spending and raising taxes) you create more recession. It's easier to cope with debt when you have growth than when you shrink your economy.


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    Quote Originally Posted by LuciDreaming View Post
    This may be a rather naïve question - but I have to admit to knowing nothing about economics. We have a problem with tax evasion or using tax loopholes in UK amongst the rich and I cant help but think the way we tax individuals here seems unnecessarily complicated and unfair. Would it not be feasible to have a flat rate of tax for all individuals on the premise that by earning more obviously you pay more? It just seems to me to be a much fairer way of doing things - I would begrudge giving the government 50% of my income for sure. Would it work?
    Since sales taxes take a higher percentage of income from the poor, a federal flat tax gives rich people lower (overall) tax rates than everyone else.

    Taxes like gasoline taxes take a higher percentage of a poor persons income. For example, if a person has $10 of income and must pay a $1 tax for a gallon of gasoline, that tax represents 10% of that person's income. But if a person has $20 of income, that $1 tax only represents 5% of that person's income. And when sales taxes and a federal flat tax are calculated together, rich people then get lower (overall) tax rates than everyone else when a flat tax is in effect.

    The above also happens with taxes on life's necessities such as food, clothing, and shelter, and rich people pay a lower percentage of their income in taxes for those things. And when a federal flat tax is in effect, rich people once again get lower (overall) tax rates than everyone else.

    Regressive Tax Definition | Investopedia
    Last edited by chad; March 25th, 2014 at 12:09 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Achilleas View Post
    That's the fallacy of compotition. It's not a big problem to run deficits as long as your the ratio debt/gdp is constant. In a depressed economy, when you reduce demand (by cutting spending and raising taxes) you create more recession. It's easier to cope with debt when you have growth than when you shrink your economy.
    That only works if you are willing to do the opposite (cut spending and increase taxes) when the economy is doing well. And generally we are not willing to do that.
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    Quote Originally Posted by PumaMan View Post
    Our tax system here in the US is a nightmare. And if that isn't bad enough, after they get it, the government wastes so much of it. It is one of the few things that I agree with the GOP: No new taxes! Not until the gov't quits wasting what it extracts from us. Almost every day in the paper I read about wasted taxes, at the federal, state, and county levels. There are a few other bricks in the GOP platform that I agree with.
    We need to raise taxes on CEO's.

    Billionaire CEO's like Warren Buffet have 11%-17% federal tax rates.
    And non-CEO's who make $410,000 dollars a year are in a 39% tax bracket.
    (We need to raise taxes on CEO's, and then give everyone else some tax relief.)

    Warren Buffett's Effective Federal Income Tax Rate Was Just 11% - Forbes


    And instead of giving rich people trillions of dollars in tax cuts like the ones bellow. Our government needs to take in those tax dollars, and then give everyone else lower tax rates. I know people who make around $100,000 a year, and they are sending checks to the IRS so big it is literally hurting them.

    Romney's Economic Plan Includes $6.6 Trillion Tax Cut For The Rich And Corporations | ThinkProgress
    Last edited by chad; March 25th, 2014 at 02:42 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by cosmictraveler View Post
    A flat tax beginning at 35,000.00 US would be a smart way to help the poor because they won't have to pay anything. So anyone earning over that amount would pay 15% of their earnings and no more. That way it is a fair tax for all.
    Countries with progressive tax systems are more modern, more advanced, and (actually) have happier citizens.

    Progressive Tax Rates Linked To National Happiness: Study


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    Quote Originally Posted by chad View Post
    We need to raise taxes on CEO's.
    Won't do anything to help our financial problems, but lots of people like to screw over CEO's - so maybe it would improve morale. (Of course there's a bit of a moral hazard in getting people excited about screwing over other people . . .)

    Our government needs to take in the above tax dollars, and then give everyone else lower tax rates. I know people who make around $100,000 a year, and they are sending checks to the IRS so big it is literally hurting them.
    Do the math. Double the taxes on the top 100 richest people in the country, then figure out how much of a tax cut everyone else will get.

    Like I said, doesn't really do anything to help. If you want to decrease the deficit you have to tax EVERYBODY more.
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    Quote Originally Posted by billvon View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by chad View Post
    We need to raise taxes on CEO's.
    Won't do anything to help our financial problems, but lots of people like to screw over CEO's - so maybe it would improve morale. (Of course there's a bit of a moral hazard in getting people excited about screwing over other people . . .)

    Our government needs to take in the above tax dollars, and then give everyone else lower tax rates. I know people who make around $100,000 a year, and they are sending checks to the IRS so big it is literally hurting them.
    Do the math. Double the taxes on the top 100 richest people in the country, then figure out how much of a tax cut everyone else will get.

    Like I said, doesn't really do anything to help. If you want to decrease the deficit you have to tax EVERYBODY more.
    Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, and the chair of the Federal Reserve, all disagree with your above opinion.


    Buffett: Tax cuts for all but the rich - YouTube

    Bill Gates: Rich should pay more taxes - YouTube
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    Quote Originally Posted by chad View Post
    Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, and the chair of the Federal Reserve, all disagree with your above opinion.
    So what are the actual numbers? If you doubled the taxes on the top 100 richest people in the US, what would the total savings to the rest of us be? Until you have any actual numbers you're just posting an unsubstantiated opinion.
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    I used to have a good bookmark on the numbers, but it vanished along with all the others a few weeks ago.

    I did pick this up the other day. It mentions rates rather than $$$ but it's significant. I'll have a look around and see if I can find something more directly addressing the numbers specifically.

    http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/201...gion=Body&_r=0
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    Here's a couple of worthwhile studies and reports.

    For example, doubling the average US individual income tax rate on the top 1% income earners from the current 22.5% level to 45% would

    increase tax revenue by 2.7% of GDP per year


    – as much as letting all of the Bush tax cuts expire
    Why the 1% should pay tax at 80% | Emmanuel Saez and Thomas Piketty | Comment is free | theguardian.com

    These are two good, but long, papers on wealth, income and taxes and very little reference to $$$ - mostly percentages. But worth a read anyway. Though I'm going to reread more carefully to get my head straight on how it all hangs together.

    http://www2.ucsc.edu/whorulesamerica...ate_wealth.pdf

    Who Rules America: Wealth, Income, and Power
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    Quote Originally Posted by billvon View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by chad View Post
    Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, and the chair of the Federal Reserve, all disagree with your above opinion.
    So what are the actual numbers? If you doubled the taxes on the top 100 richest people in the US, what would the total savings to the rest of us be? Until you have any actual numbers you're just posting an unsubstantiated opinion.
    In 2009 the richest 1% of Americans paid 37% of all income tax revenue received.
    The richest 5% of Americans paid 59% of all income tax revenue received.
    The richest 10% of Americans paid 70% of all income taxes received.

    National Taxpayers Union - Who Pays Income Taxes?


    "The Tax Policy Center found last year that there are about 4,000 households with incomes over $1 million that were not paying any taxes at all."

    The rich pay majority of U.S. income taxes - Mar. 12, 2013



    But many of the above wealthy people who are not CEO's are already in a 39% tax bracket.

    Note: Its hard to find a source talking about how much the top 1% pays in taxes, because most sources (like my first source) are corporate think tanks, and they are only trying to reduce rich peoples taxes further.
    Last edited by chad; March 25th, 2014 at 02:35 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by billvon View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by chad View Post
    We need to raise taxes on CEO's.
    Won't do anything to help our financial problems, but lots of people like to screw over CEO's - so maybe it would improve morale. (Of course there's a bit of a moral hazard in getting people excited about screwing over other people . . .)

    Our government needs to take in the above tax dollars, and then give everyone else lower tax rates. I know people who make around $100,000 a year, and they are sending checks to the IRS so big it is literally hurting them.
    Do the math. Double the taxes on the top 100 richest people in the country, then figure out how much of a tax cut everyone else will get.

    Like I said, doesn't really do anything to help. If you want to decrease the deficit you have to tax EVERYBODY more.
    If you raise taxes on the working poor and middle class it hurts the whole economy. Their spending in stores, restaurants, bars, cell phone service, internet service, ex.ex. is what stimulates our whole economy.

    And Americas richest citizens have already acquired a huge percentage of Americas wealth, and they have all the savings needed to finance any financial endeavor they desire.
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    Quote Originally Posted by billvon View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by chad View Post
    Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, and the chair of the Federal Reserve, all disagree with your above opinion.
    So what are the actual numbers? If you doubled the taxes on the top 100 richest people in the US, what would the total savings to the rest of us be? Until you have any actual numbers you're just posting an unsubstantiated opinion.
    Probably no savings. We have a massive debt to pay off.
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    Quote Originally Posted by chad View Post
    If you raise taxes on the working poor and middle class it hurts the whole economy. Their spending in stores, restaurants, bars, cell phone service, internet service, ex.ex. is what stimulates our whole economy.
    That's why you do it when the economy is booming. It's a pretty simple concept - save money when times are good (and put the brakes on the next bubble) spend money when times are bad (and help mitigate the pain of a declining economy.)
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by billvon View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by chad View Post
    Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, and the chair of the Federal Reserve, all disagree with your above opinion.
    So what are the actual numbers? If you doubled the taxes on the top 100 richest people in the US, what would the total savings to the rest of us be? Until you have any actual numbers you're just posting an unsubstantiated opinion.
    Probably no savings. We have a massive debt to pay off.
    The "Buffet Rule" proposed by B. Obama would ensure everyone making over a million dollars a year pays a minimum effective tax rate of at least 30 percent.

    Conservatives from the Tax Foundation say, "If enacted, the Buffet Rule change would result in $36.7 billion per year in additional tax revenue ($367 billion over the next decade)."

    Liberals from Citizens for Tax Justice say, "If enacted it would add $50 billion per year in tax revenue ($500 billion over the decade)"

    Buffett Rule - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


    Examples of what the Buffet Rule money could do (using the conservative's figures),

    The total cost of the entire space shuttle program is $196 billion dollars. The Buffet Rule would generate $367 billion over the next decade, that's enough money to have funded the entire space shuttle program (and still have $171 billion dollars left over.)
    Space Shuttle program - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Or NASA's total budget for 2013 was $17 billion dollars. The (yearly) increased revenues from the Buffet Rule could pay NASA's budget 2x over (and still have billions of dollars leftover.)
    Highlights of Obama's 2013 NASA Budget Proposal | NASA & Fiscal Year 2013 Budget | ExoMars Missions & Mars Exploration | Space.com



    Chad.
    Last edited by chad; March 25th, 2014 at 06:33 PM.
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    Great! Actual numbers; thanks.

    Quote Originally Posted by chad View Post
    The "Buffet Rule" proposed by B. Obama would ensure everyone making over a million dollars a year pays a minimum effective tax rate of at least 30 percent.
    Conservatives from the Tax Foundation say, "If enacted, the Buffet Rule change would result in $36.7 billion per year in additional tax revenue ($367 billion over the next decade)."
    Liberals from Citizens for Tax Justice say, "If enacted it would add $50 billion per year in tax revenue ($500 billion over the decade)"

    OK. So let's take the average of those two - $43 billion a year. Last year our deficit was $680 billion, so that would reduce the deficit to $637 billion.

    Good start. Who pays the rest of the tax to meet our obligations? Unfortunately, the answer is almost always "someone else, not me." - which is how we got into this mess to begin with.
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    Quote Originally Posted by chad View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by billvon View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by chad View Post
    Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, and the chair of the Federal Reserve, all disagree with your above opinion.
    So what are the actual numbers? If you doubled the taxes on the top 100 richest people in the US, what would the total savings to the rest of us be? Until you have any actual numbers you're just posting an unsubstantiated opinion.
    Probably no savings. We have a massive debt to pay off.
    The "Buffet Rule" proposed by B. Obama would ensure everyone making over a million dollars a year pays a minimum effective tax rate of at least 30 percent.

    Conservatives from the Tax Foundation say, "If enacted, the Buffet Rule change would result in $36.7 billion per year in additional tax revenue ($367 billion over the next decade)."
    That's great is you think that taking 30 years just to pay for what we currently owe the social security trust fund and medicare is ok. We'd be stupid as heck to put it all into NASA, or anything else above and beyond what's we already owe ourselves or what not in the US Constitution. Far better if we actually get any extra money we put it into infrastructure--bridges, internet connectivity into small towns etc.
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    Quote Originally Posted by billvon View Post
    Great! Actual numbers; thanks.

    Quote Originally Posted by chad View Post
    The "Buffet Rule" proposed by B. Obama would ensure everyone making over a million dollars a year pays a minimum effective tax rate of at least 30 percent.
    Conservatives from the Tax Foundation say, "If enacted, the Buffet Rule change would result in $36.7 billion per year in additional tax revenue ($367 billion over the next decade)."
    Liberals from Citizens for Tax Justice say, "If enacted it would add $50 billion per year in tax revenue ($500 billion over the decade)"

    OK. So let's take the average of those two - $43 billion a year. Last year our deficit was $680 billion, so that would reduce the deficit to $637 billion.

    Good start. Who pays the rest of the tax to meet our obligations? Unfortunately, the answer is almost always "someone else, not me." - which is how we got into this mess to begin with.
    There are also corporations that dodge taxes or pay no taxes. "Tax dodging costs the U.S. about $300 billion per year."

    Over 10 Percent Of America's Largest Companies Pay Zero Percent Tax Rates


    "As the corporate share of our nation’s federal tax revenue has fallen, individual Americans have paid a relatively higher percentage of federal tax revenue. Corporate taxes fell from 26.4 percent of total tax revenue in 1950 to just 7.4 percent of total tax revenue in 2010."

    "78 of 280 of the nation’s largest and most profitable companies paid no federal income taxes in at least one of three years. Overall, the study found that the Fortune 500 companies included in the survey paid 18.5 percent in taxes, or about half the corporate income tax rate of 35 percent.

    Avoiding Their Fair Share of Taxes



    And this source says corporate loopholes cost the US $150 billion dollars a year.

    Close Corporate Tax Loopholes | U.S. PIRG
    Last edited by chad; March 25th, 2014 at 07:12 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by chad View Post
    And this source says corporate loopholes cost the US $150 billion dollars a year.
    Close Corporate Tax Loopholes | U.S. PIRG
    OK, now you've reduced it to $487 billion. Great start. Keep going and we'll get there.

    (Now keep in mind that those "corporate loopholes" include things like hybrid vehicle tax credits, solar homeowner subsidies, subsidies for electric vehicles and advanced fuel cell cars, large alternative energy projects - you sure you are better off without those things?)
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    Don't really care too much about corporate taxes, if anything I'd prefer zero tax for all US revenue for all businesses and make up for it through a combination of individual tax and a VAT type sales tax.
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    Quote Originally Posted by billvon View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by chad View Post
    And this source says corporate loopholes cost the US $150 billion dollars a year.
    Close Corporate Tax Loopholes | U.S. PIRG
    OK, now you've reduced it to $487 billion. Great start. Keep going and we'll get there.

    (Now keep in mind that those "corporate loopholes" include things like hybrid vehicle tax credits, solar homeowner subsidies, subsidies for electric vehicles and advanced fuel cell cars, large alternative energy projects - you sure you are better off without those things?)
    I thought all corporate loopholes were simply dishonest schemes to avoid paying taxes.

    I found a source with 10 commonly used loopholes.
    10 Giant Loopholes That Businesses Use To Dodge Taxes - Business Insider


    But I personally found only 1 out of the 10 loopholes to (not) be a handout.

    That was the "Tax Deduction for Domestic Manufacturing"- this loophole enables a tax deduction for manufacturing activities conducted by American companies within the United States. It covers conventional manufacturers, but also extends to industries like software development and film production. The intent is to keep manufacturing from being outsourced.

    10 Giant Loopholes That Businesses Use To Dodge Taxes - Business Insider
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    The start up and research deductions are quite legit as well.

    --
    And it's really somewhat of a misnomer to call any of these loop holes....they were set up on purpose and corporations are simply using them as intended.

    And since 60% of Americans are investors in corporations and those same corporations are vitally important to American jobs--why would anyone really want to tax them at all?
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    Quote Originally Posted by chad View Post
    I thought all corporate loopholes were simply dishonest schemes to avoid paying taxes.
    Well, it depends on your point of view, doesn't it?

    In the US everyone is entitled to one personal deduction for no apparent reason. Is that a dishonest scheme to avoid paying taxes? You can deduct part of a home office if you work at home. Is that dishonest? You can deduct your mortgage interest payment. Is that dishonest use of a loophole? If you buy a government bond, often the income from that bond is tax free. Are you being dishonest by claiming that deduction? If you invest in a stock and hold it for two years, you pay a lower tax (capital gains) on any gains rather than regular income tax. Is that an unfair government handout to you?

    Most people would probably say "no, I'm entitled to them!" As businesses are entitled to theirs.
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    You can deduct your mortgage interest payment. Is that dishonest use of a loophole?
    I don't think it's dishonest - because it's the way the system is structured. Otoh, I think it's absolutely insane. The idea of deductions for private expenses of this kind - completely at the discretion of the individual concerned - is totally weird to an Australian.

    If you invest in a stock and hold it for two years, you pay a lower tax (capital gains) on any gains rather than regular income tax. Is that an unfair government handout to you?
    Once again, it's the system. A warped system. We have a similar arrangement here for capital gains, but the tax rate paid on the calculated result is the same rate applicable to that amount regardless of its source. We don't have a concessional tax rate for unearned income the way the USA does for dividends, interest and capital gains. The only "concession" on dividends here is that there is an offset company tax paid by the company attributable to the individuals portion of the dividend paid.

    This is all about high earning individuals and groups putting pressure on governments to bias the system in their favour. It happens everywhere to some degree, but it seems to be to an extraordinary degree in the USA.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    The start up and research deductions are quite legit as well.

    --
    And it's really somewhat of a misnomer to call any of these loop holes....they were set up on purpose and corporations are simply using them as intended.

    And since 60% of Americans are investors in corporations and those same corporations are vitally important to American jobs--why would anyone really want to tax them at all?
    I don't think large corporations should get any financial favor that small/medium sized businesses don't get. I know you like corporate stock and the stock market (and perhaps they are good for America), but in a business sense large corporations do very little.

    Its small and medium sized businesses that create 65% of Americas new jobs.
    http://boss.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/0...-job-creators/

    Large corporations employ the most low wage/min wage workers.
    Low-Wage Workers Employed Mostly By Large, Highly Profitable Corporations: Report

    And large corporations only contribute 7% of the federal governments total tax revenue.
    Avoiding Their Fair Share of Taxes


    Sorry if I was rude,
    Chad.

    ps I hope that you are doing well.
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    Quote Originally Posted by chad View Post

    I don't think large corporations should get any financial favor that small/medium sized businesses don't get.
    I agree....but are they? Of the tax deductions listed half of them favored small start ups. The only one they probably can't take much advantage is the the offshore tax offset reimbursement.

    I know you like corporate stock and the stock market (and perhaps they are good for America), but in a business sense large corporations do very little.

    Its small and medium sized businesses that create 65% of Americas new jobs.
    http://boss.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/0...-job-creators/

    Large corporations employ the most low wage/min wage workers.
    Low-Wage Workers Employed Mostly By Large, Highly Profitable Corporations: Report

    And large corporations only contribute 7% of the federal governments total tax revenue.
    Avoiding Their Fair Share of Taxes
    It's not that simple, those smaller companies are producers for those larger ones--they aren't really as separate as we might pretend.

    And of course they create the most new jobs, they are new companies growing....they also fail the most and lay off the most people.

    As for the 7%, it's a shame we are taxing more than half the population twice and creating such a disincentive for more American business.

    And no were not rude at all.
    Thanks
    Last edited by Lynx_Fox; March 27th, 2014 at 03:09 AM.
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    I don't think large corporations should get any financial favor that small/medium sized businesses don't get.
    And I don't think individuals or small companies or large companies should get any tax advantages which distort the economy regardless of whether they're fairly distributed among various taxpayers.

    Here we have the distortion in our housing market induced by negative gearing of rental properties for individuals trying to both reduce their total tax payments and get a capital asset at other taxpayers' expense.

    In the US you have your own set of problems.
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    Quote Originally Posted by billvon View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by PumaMan View Post
    Our tax system here in the US is a nightmare. And if that isn't bad enough, after they get it, the government wastes so much of it. It is one of the few things that I agree with the GOP: No new taxes!.
    Combine that with the democrats - no spending reductions! - and you get the deficit mess we are in now. We have to raise taxes and cut spending; there's no other way around it. Both are painful. Both are necessary.
    Democrats aren't the only ones spending treasury money. Not even the party most responsible; House has GOP majority, where spending bills originate. The question of spending is: on what ? Guns or butter. I say butter.
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    Because corporations exert a disproportionate influence on the political process. Business/corporations are indeed 'comprised' of people, but these are not one- in- the- same. Corporate entities were granted legal "personhood" long ago; a grave mistake. It has allowed money to warp representative government in favor of "bottom-line", corporate interests' to the detriment of the voice of free individuals and workers. Corporations are not People.
    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    The start up and research deductions are quite legit as well.

    --
    And it's really somewhat of a misnomer to call any of these loop holes....they were set up on purpose and corporations are simply using them as intended.

    And since 60% of Americans are investors in corporations and those same corporations are vitally important to American jobs--why would anyone really want to tax them at all?
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    Quote Originally Posted by umbradiago View Post
    Democrats aren't the only ones spending treasury money. Not even the party most responsible; House has GOP majority, where spending bills originate. The question of spending is: on what ? Guns or butter. I say butter.
    Definitely. There are differences in details, but from a 10,000 foot perspective, both parties are eerily similar. Both want to spend more on their stuff. Both want to raise taxes on someone else. Both want all the rights they can get, and really don't care about anyone else's rights.
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    You can deduct your mortgage interest payment. Is that dishonest use of a loophole?
    I don't think it's dishonest - because it's the way the system is structured.
    Fair enough. Then corporations who exploit similar loopholes are not dishonest either.


    This is all about high earning individuals and groups putting pressure on governments to bias the system in their favour. It happens everywhere to some degree, but it seems to be to an extraordinary degree in the USA.
    Given that the poor people get money back from the US taxation system (i.e. the IRS pays them every year; they have a negative tax rate) that happens on both sides of the wealth spectrum. You could eliminate all that, but that would hurt the poor as well as the rich.
    Last edited by billvon; March 27th, 2014 at 02:26 PM.
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    Move closer-in. Republicans base everything on money. Democrats, on people. It's more complicated than this, but not by much.
    Quote Originally Posted by billvon View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by umbradiago View Post
    Democrats aren't the only ones spending treasury money. Not even the party most responsible; House has GOP majority, where spending bills originate. The question of spending is: on what ? Guns or butter. I say butter.
    Definitely. There are differences in details, but from a 10,000 foot perspective, both parties are eerily similar. Both want to spend more on their stuff. Both want to raise taxes on someone else. Both want all the rights they can get, and really don't care about anyone else's rights.
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    Quote Originally Posted by umbradiago View Post
    Because corporations exert a disproportionate influence on the political process. Business/corporations are indeed 'comprised' of people, but these are not one- in- the- same. Corporate entities were granted legal "personhood" long ago; a grave mistake. It has allowed money to warp representative government in favor of "bottom-line", corporate interests' to the detriment of the voice of free individuals and workers. Corporations are not People.
    Corporations having some of the same rights and allowed actions as persons goes back before the writing of the US Constitution (and nailed down early 19th century in Constitutional case law). It's hardly anything new and allowed Western societies to thrive by distributing risk cost and organizing to do big things--obviously for example corporations have to be able to enter into legal contracts, buy things, sell things, work with regulators, negotiate with community leaders etc. Business as we know it, nor society, would simply not be possible unless they had these abilities.

    That being said, I don't think Citizens United was a good decision by the US Supreme Count, mostly because it allows unlimited and anonymous political donations--something that arguably goes further than individual rights. I also think we need a relook that includes the consideration of allowing one side or the other to monopolize the conversation through advertizing--big money by shunting money to take up all the airtime is the equivalent of one person holding a megaphone in a small room--there's simply no room for public conversations and discourse. Our government could fix the much of the problems of Citizen's United though, but just making the entire donations process transparent.
    --

    A loophole is generally seen as some person or business that's going around the intent of the law. In the examples so far given the business are using the tax code exactly as intended.

    --
    "Both want to raise taxes on someone else."
    Odd perception. The Republicans in recent years are mostly about raising no taxes at all on anybody--and working balancing the books by reducing spending for both discretionary and nondiscretionary sides.
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  66. #65  
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    "Both want to raise taxes on someone else."
    Odd perception. The Republicans in recent years are mostly about raising no taxes at all on anybody--and working balancing the books by reducing spending for both discretionary and nondiscretionary sides.
    Mainstream Republicans have strongly supported repealing the payroll tax cut and the various stimulus tax cuts (specifically the earned income tax credit and the child tax credit.) This, of course, raises taxes, primarily on the poor. More extreme Republicans want to start taxing the poor so they "feel the pain." This is exemplified by Rep Rob Woodall:

    "You know, folks mock Mitt Romney for what he said, but he’s right. Forty-seven percent of American citizens pay zero in income taxes. It’s just true . . . You need to believe that you are involved in the process, and you need to have skin in the game."
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    Quote Originally Posted by billvon View Post
    "Both want to raise taxes on someone else."
    Odd perception. The Republicans in recent years are mostly about raising no taxes at all on anybody--and working balancing the books by reducing spending for both discretionary and nondiscretionary sides.
    Mainstream Republicans have strongly supported repealing the payroll tax cut and the various stimulus tax cuts (specifically the earned income tax credit and the child tax credit.)
    They were never meant to be enduring--so I don't think they count.

    More extreme Republicans want to start taxing the poor so they "feel the pain."
    Count me as one of them. I'd raise taxes on everyone and make the entire code FAR more progressive. I do think however that every tax payer needs skin in the game--even if it's only a few bucks for the guy living under a bridge.

    My issue with Romney's statement had nothing do with his truism about the 47% that don't pay taxes. I took great issue with his opinion that their lower socioeconomic status was deliberate and by their choices to be leaches off the government completely without compassion for the single-moms, disabled soldiers, unlucky handicapped and all the rest of the unfortunate by no fault of their own. He immediately lost my vote.
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    See Santa Clara County vs. Southern Pacific Railroad. This is the start, not Constitution
    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by umbradiago View Post
    Because corporations exert a disproportionate influence on the political process. Business/corporations are indeed 'comprised' of people, but these are not one- in- the- same. Corporate entities were granted legal "personhood" long ago; a grave mistake. It has allowed money to warp representative government in favor of "bottom-line", corporate interests' to the detriment of the voice of free individuals and workers. Corporations are not People.
    Corporations having some of the same rights and allowed actions as persons goes back before the writing of the US Constitution (and nailed down early 19th century in Constitutional case law). It's hardly anything new and allowed Western societies to thrive by distributing risk cost and organizing to do big things--obviously for example corporations have to be able to enter into legal contracts, buy things, sell things, work with regulators, negotiate with community leaders etc. Business as we know it, nor society, would simply not be possible unless they had these abilities.

    That being said, I don't think Citizens United was a good decision by the US Supreme Count, mostly because it allows unlimited and anonymous political donations--something that arguably goes further than individual rights. I also think we need a relook that includes the consideration of allowing one side or the other to monopolize the conversation through advertizing--big money by shunting money to take up all the airtime is the equivalent of one person holding a megaphone in a small room--there's simply no room for public conversations and discourse. Our government could fix the much of the problems of Citizen's United though, but just making the entire donations process transparent.
    --

    A loophole is generally seen as some person or business that's going around the intent of the law. In the examples so far given the business are using the tax code exactly as intended.

    --
    "Both want to raise taxes on someone else."
    Odd perception. The Republicans in recent years are mostly about raising no taxes at all on anybody--and working balancing the books by reducing spending for both discretionary and nondiscretionary sides.
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    Romney was full of shit. 53% full, at least.
    Quote Originally Posted by billvon View Post
    "Both want to raise taxes on someone else."
    Odd perception. The Republicans in recent years are mostly about raising no taxes at all on anybody--and working balancing the books by reducing spending for both discretionary and nondiscretionary sides.
    Mainstream Republicans have strongly supported repealing the payroll tax cut and the various stimulus tax cuts (specifically the earned income tax credit and the child tax credit.) This, of course, raises taxes, primarily on the poor. More extreme Republicans want to start taxing the poor so they "feel the pain." This is exemplified by Rep Rob Woodall:

    "You know, folks mock Mitt Romney for what he said, but he’s right. Forty-seven percent of American citizens pay zero in income taxes. It’s just true . . . You need to believe that you are involved in the process, and you need to have skin in the game."
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    Quote Originally Posted by umbradiago View Post
    See Santa Clara County vs. Southern Pacific Railroad. This is the start, not Constitution
    Try Trustees of Dartmouth College v. Woodward (1819) where the Supreme Court upheld the contract between Dartmouth College (a proxy for a corporations at the time called chartered institutions) and the citizens under the King of England which they said was still legally binding to US citizens and immune to being altered by their state governments. Of course at the time it was a shield from government interference into private contracts--something that allowed businesses to really take off in the US for good and bad; mostly good though because it led to incredible growth. It played a role in making the US the largest economy on Earth by 1870 or so.
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    Thanks, I will. But I was referring to corporate legal personhood (Santa Clara), not proxy anythings. The Supreme Court has reached many 'curious' decisions. Dred Scott, for example. No authority is infallible. NONE. The recent SC decision allowing virtually unlimited money for PACs (private money)was horribly short-sighted, we shall rue the day.
    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by umbradiago View Post
    See Santa Clara County vs. Southern Pacific Railroad. This is the start, not Constitution
    Try Trustees of Dartmouth College v. Woodward (1819) where the Supreme Court upheld the contract between Dartmouth College (a proxy for a corporations at the time called chartered institutions) and the citizens under the King of England which they said was still legally binding to US citizens and immune to being altered by their state governments. Of course at the time it was a shield from government interference into private contracts--something that allowed businesses to really take off in the US for good and bad; mostly good though because it led to incredible growth. It played a role in making the US the largest economy on Earth by 1870 or so.
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    This is exemplified by Rep Rob Woodall: "You know, folks mock Mitt Romney for what he said, but he’s right. Forty-seven percent of American citizens pay zero in income taxes. It’s just true . . . You need to believe that you are involved in the process, and you need to have skin in the game."
    Quote Originally Posted by umbradiago View Post
    Romney was full of shit. 53% full, at least.
    Fittingly, he got 47% of the vote.
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    Yea, thought that was funny, too. That'll teach him to speak his mind. An empty suit.
    Quote Originally Posted by billvon View Post
    This is exemplified by Rep Rob Woodall: "You know, folks mock Mitt Romney for what he said, but he’s right. Forty-seven percent of American citizens pay zero in income taxes. It’s just true . . . You need to believe that you are involved in the process, and you need to have skin in the game."
    Quote Originally Posted by umbradiago View Post
    Romney was full of shit. 53% full, at least.
    Fittingly, he got 47% of the vote.
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    Quote Originally Posted by LuciDreaming View Post
    This may be a rather naïve question - but I have to admit to knowing nothing about economics. We have a problem with tax evasion or using tax loopholes in UK amongst the rich and I cant help but think the way we tax individuals here seems unnecessarily complicated and unfair. Would it not be feasible to have a flat rate of tax for all individuals on the premise that by earning more obviously you pay more? It just seems to me to be a much fairer way of doing things - I would begrudge giving the government 50% of my income for sure. Would it work?

    er....this is what the UK has now, and always has had.

    I don't get your point, because it's only wealthy people who pay 50% rates. Low earners can pay 10% or non at all depending on their salary.
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    Quote Originally Posted by PumaMan View Post
    Our tax system here in the US is a nightmare. And if that isn't bad enough, after they get it, the government wastes so much of it. It is one of the few things that I agree with the GOP: No new taxes! Not until the gov't quits wasting what it extracts from us. Almost every day in the paper I read about wasted taxes, at the federal, state, and county levels. There are a few other bricks in the GOP platform that I agree with.
    And in most cases the story is factually wrong or amounts to such a trivial fraction of expendatures it would take more money to eliminate them than actually accept the tiny amount that slips through.

    Governments have in general gotten much more efficient at everything they do at every level over the past couple decades. I do agree though--I'd rather level taxes and do most of the balancing on the services end--particularly at the Federal level where most money is being spent on things not its responsibility according the Constitution.
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