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My theory on Bush's Tax Fairness.

Old 11-08-04, 09:20 PM
  #101  
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It's not deflection. It's simply responding your fellow right-winger's comments.
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Old 11-08-04, 09:24 PM
  #102  
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Let me rephrase then in a way that hopefully doesn't allow a sound bite as an answer.

Why should someone who has more money or buys something orth more pay a higher percentage in taxes than someone who doesn't?

Why is it 'obvious' that "there has to be some progressivity in a sales tax approach"?

I answered your question [" do you believe you should pay the same rate of tax if you purcase a Kia as you would if you purchased a Rolls Royce?" "Certainly."] without flippant sound bites and with reasoning.
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Old 11-08-04, 09:47 PM
  #103  
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Why did at least 2/3 of the House of Representatives & at least 2/3 of the United States Senate and at least 3/4 of the state legislatures put progressivity into the income tax system shortly after the turn of the 20th Century.

Remember - the social welfare state of the New Deal was over 2 decades away.

The congress and the states most assuredly were not anti-business. They were pro-business. Therefore, why did they put progressivity into the tax code? Were they anti-wealth? Were they socialists? Obviously, no.

Why: Because they had a different concept of the meaning of the word fairness than do some of our more conservative members on this forum. I believe they also must have had a different concept about the responsiblities to the society that wealth brings.
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Old 11-08-04, 10:06 PM
  #104  
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No moral judgments.
The job of a tax system is--or should be-- to fund the government in its basic duties [protect its citizens, interstate/international commerce, judicial system, aid for the truly needy, etc]. The purpose of a tax system should not be to 'legislate morality' or pass judgement or instill fairness. Again, the ultimate in fairness is the same rules for everyone. The current system is not 'fair' in the slightest. It's set to allow the 'rich' to have many loopholes, while ensuring the poor have an uphill battle to ever become non-poor.

Wealth held privately and given to private charities can do much more, more efficiently, than funneled through any government department in most cases. Government already handles the 'responsibilities to the society' via the millions of local, state, and federal laws on the books. If I'm rich, I don't have a legal 'responsibility' to take care of my poor neighbor. I may have a moral/ethical responsibility, based on my personal morals/ethics, but with the moral relativism we're seeing nowadays, even that is not a given. People who keep more of their own money, or at least control it, are more apt to give money to beneficial charities/organizations and thus fulfill their 'responsibilities to society'.

And we don't know what 'concept' of the word they had--for all we know, what went through their heads was what I said earlier: "well gee, they have more, so let's take more ". Even if they were attempting to cure society's ills with the Rockefeller fortune then, nowadays it's a simple redistribution of wealth to buy votes from the 'poor' or the targeted portion of society. Again, nothing close to 'fair.'
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Old 11-08-04, 10:15 PM
  #105  
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Originally posted by classicman2
I see. Those that are not rich, don't work hard.

What's you've obviously missed is a lesson about the society that we live in.
I'm far from right wing and do my fair share to help other members of society. I'm just not sure why I should be forced to pay a higher percentage, let alone a higher cost for the same benefits that those who make less than I do. Is it not enough for someone who makes 1 million a year to pay $300,000+ in taxes while someone making $60,000 pays less then $20,000? We are paying for the same service from our government but I (hypothetical) am paying 10x more. When you start talking "fairness" and "responsibility" then you are in fact making this a moral argument.

BTW: I make less than $50,000 a year for what its worth.

Last edited by Ketamine; 11-08-04 at 10:19 PM.
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Old 11-08-04, 11:05 PM
  #106  
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Who said anything about moral judgments?
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Old 11-09-04, 02:38 PM
  #107  
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I'm sorry, I misattributed, the moral judgement thing wasn't you, it was a reference response to "your fellow left-winger's comments".

Again, the questions remain:

Apart from governmental redistribution of wealth, and "because we can get more," why is it 'obvious' that any tax should be "progressive"?

Why should someone who [has or spends more money] pay a higher percentage rate in taxes than someone who doesn't?

Why would a sales tax be a bitch to set up [especially compared to the behemoth that is the current tax structure]?

And yes, any governmental endeavor requires bureaucracy; the plan is that since the national sales tax would be so simple in comparison, the bureacracy would be minimal.

Why should the "fairness" of the system, as allegedly envisioned by those who created it [and they did NOT envision the mess it is today], be focused on taking money from those who have it/spend it, and giving it, inefficiently, to those who do not have it, when given a standard rate and more money in citizen's pockets, they are more willing to give to help their fellow man through private channels, which are so much more efficient and have better results?

Why should the government be involved in deciding when someone has 'too much money'?
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Old 11-09-04, 03:01 PM
  #108  
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Originally posted by sfsdfd
Don't you think that's a little extreme? JMLEWIS1 was arguing for a progressive tax system - which is what we have now - only with a modestly increased slope. Hardly a claim that individuals should not own any property.
Sorry for the long delay in responding, I was away for a long weekend.

Yes, I think that communism is an extreme ideology. I also think that what JMLEWIS1 was describing sounds a lot like communism, although I don't think he intended it that way, and that's why I was asking the question. It wasn't a sarcastic "What are you, some sort of communist?!"

Originally posted by sfsdfd
That's hardly the "only way," though. You can estimate, at each income bracket, what percentage of income is typically spent on core essentials and what percentage is spent on luxuries, and then tax them at the different proportions. This is much better than taking 10% from the poor (who will have to eat less as a result) and 10% from the rich (who will get a 24-foot yacht instead of a 28-foot yacht.)

- David Stein
I understand the progressive tax system, and am not advocating a flat tax. I'm merely pointing out that reaching JMLEWIS1's stated goal of "equal pain", no one can have more disposable income than anyone else. As long as someone makes more, and, more importantly, keeps more of their own money, that "wealthy" person will be the easy target whenever tax increases are discussed. A progressive tax system must remain fair, and that means that increases are applied at all levels, but decreases are also applied at all levels. And yes, that means that a person making very little money, who pays very little in taxes, will get a tax reduction that comes nowhere close to the amount of a person making a great deal of money who pays a great deal of taxes.
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Old 11-09-04, 03:15 PM
  #109  
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Personally, I'm generally averse to the idea the that goverment should be causing pain, equal or not, to any of its citizens.

And using that terminology of equality, like Shoveler says, there's only two ways about it:
* ensure that every person has the same end result financially [thus being 'equal']
* if there's any "progressivity", any changes must be made equally along each band.

If you do something like this:
"what percentage of income is typically spent on core essentials
and what percentage is spent on luxuries, and then tax them at the different proportions"

that does three things:
* introduces yet another target for lobbyists and exceptions, thus reducing any alleged 'fairness';
* adds a very subjective element to what should/could be very objective;
* punishes or causes more 'pain' to those who keep the economy going the most, that is, those who buy and spend more.

What's an 'essential'? We all need housing. My house is ~1900 square feet. In the same city are houses that are 1200 square feet, and apartments that are 600 square feet. I have a coworker who lives in a 4000+ sq. ft. house. What square footage, or size, or lot size, is considered 'essential'?
We need to eat; what if I like lobster, steak, and someone else likes Ramen noodles? Will the government tax us on calories, fat, vitamin content of our food?
Is a car an essential, or will people living in cities where they have access to buses and taxis have to pay a special car tax, whereas someone out in the suburbs wouldn't?
We keep hearing that it's essential for our kids to learn computers; will Mac owners have to pay a higher tax because more companies use IBMPC's?

Your suggestion adds multiple layers of complexity that are already accounted for in the current FairTax proposal.
Credit/rebate for everybody the cost of essentials [based on poverty level and family size, possibly with regional/statewide variations]; X% rate on every dollar spent on new goods/services after that. Nothing but fair--the 'poor' pay little to no taxes, or even make money [which they can then save, spend on education, etc, and possible move away from being poor], the rich, who spend more money since they have more to spend, are taxed accordingly. Inherent, and fair, progressivity.

Last edited by tonyc3742; 11-09-04 at 04:22 PM.
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Old 11-09-04, 03:53 PM
  #110  
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And following dtcarson's discussion of fairness wrt housing...

People in NYC pay outrageous amounts of money for radiculosly small efficiency apartments. Are you going to allow them a higher COL "allowance" because they choose to live in a more expensive city? Will you stipulate that they require $24K/year for housing, but then allow me, living in Iowa, only $10K/year? Because I can assure you, they feel much more pain than I do when it comes to paying rent, but they choose to live there, and quite frankly they enjoy a lot of benefits that I miss out on in Iowa (and trust me, we miss out on a lot in Iowa!).
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Old 11-09-04, 08:27 PM
  #111  
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Originally posted by sracer
The current tax system does a fair job of defining "income" we could START with that definition. (Stating that a flat tax system is paralyzed from the get-go because of the need to define "income" is just silly)
Then you already have several hundred pages of tax code. So much for a simple tax code.
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Old 11-09-04, 08:36 PM
  #112  
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Originally posted by dtcarson
The job of a tax system is--or should be-- to fund the government in its basic duties [protect its citizens, interstate/international commerce, judicial system, aid for the truly needy, etc]. The purpose of a tax system should not be to 'legislate morality' or pass judgement or instill fairness. Again, the ultimate in fairness is the same rules for everyone. The current system is not 'fair' in the slightest. It's set to allow the 'rich' to have many loopholes, while ensuring the poor have an uphill battle to ever become non-poor.
Perhaps it's not the fairest system. Yes, the rich can take advantage of the loopholes much better than the poor can. As you say, the problem is in the structure as a whole, not in the tax rates/brackets. You're not complaining about the rates, correct? Because the rates are more than fair.

As for a national sales tax, forget about it. It'll almost be as complicated as the income tax.
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Old 11-10-04, 07:26 PM
  #113  
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I am complaining about the thinking that 'obviously the rich should pay a higher rate'. That's not obvious at all.
Also, how can a national sales tax be 'as complicated as the income tax'? I don't think it's possible for anything to be that complicated, much less a massively simplified, standard-rate, no-exceptions national sales tax.
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Old 11-10-04, 07:48 PM
  #114  
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>>Because the rates are more than fair.

Said by someone in a lower income bracket....

When you are single with zero deductions beyond yourself and you pay nearly 30% in federal tax alone, then let me know what you think about how fair it is. Especially when everyone else your age is voting with zero regard for monetary issues because that stuff doesn't matter to them because they don't make enough money..
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Old 11-10-04, 08:03 PM
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Originally posted by sq240
>>Because the rates are more than fair.

Said by someone in a lower income bracket....

When you are single with zero deductions beyond yourself and you pay nearly 30% in federal tax alone, then let me know what you think about how fair it is. Especially when everyone else your age is voting with zero regard for monetary issues because that stuff doesn't matter to them because they don't make enough money..
Exactly. And I face many specific stresses, risks and exposures that people making less than me do not. Where is my compensation for that?

Thing is, I don't want special treatment, I want equity. And ideally I want as little money coerced from me (and secondarily from the rest of the populace) as possible.
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Old 11-10-04, 09:29 PM
  #116  
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Originally posted by dtcarson
I am complaining about the thinking that 'obviously the rich should pay a higher rate'. That's not obvious at all.
Also, how can a national sales tax be 'as complicated as the income tax'? I don't think it's possible for anything to be that complicated, much less a massively simplified, standard-rate, no-exceptions national sales tax.
you have never eaten out in NYC
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Old 11-11-04, 05:59 AM
  #117  
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Originally posted by classicman2
Dark Elf,

I wasn't aware you worked for the post office.

It's laughable to me when people criticize the postal service. It's the best and most efficient and least costly postal system in the world, and we've got these right-wingers who tout the non-existant free market as the cure all for our problems. It's pathetic.
I totally forgot which thread I had posted this in.

Yes, I'm officially a letter carrier, even though I'm not in a career position at the moment.

And everyone should keep in mind I was talking about postal employees, not the USPS. People can criticize the USPS if they want. Hell, I haven't been there very long, and I already see plenty of ways I can be more efficient at my job, but management won't let me or any of us change the established system.

Then again, this same thing has been true in my other ("free market" and federal government) jobs throughout my career.
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