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GOP Discusses National Sales Tax

Old 12-01-04, 06:28 PM
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Originally posted by Ranger
Tampering with the system further... in the middle of two major wars, after giving significant tax cuts, and a large federal budget deficit - smart.
Just a question - I keep reading in these threads about "two major wars", but since, as we've seen in another thread, troop deployment is at most 150,000 for Afghanistan and Iraq <i>combined</i>, can either be called "major"?
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Old 12-01-04, 06:30 PM
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no, they get that way by spending within their means and not carrying large amounts of CC debt at high interest rates. they still buy stuff

Originally posted by wabio
That's not entirely true. Most wealthy individuals get that way by doing the exact opposite.....not spending anything.

Last edited by mikehunt; 12-01-04 at 06:33 PM.
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Old 12-01-04, 06:30 PM
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You don't police protection, fire protection, public schools, the military, NIH, and myriad of other services provided by government?

Yeah, you do!

People constantly say they want a smaller government; but, they demand more and more services from the government. Therefore, I conclude they're not being entirely candid whenever they say that they want smaller government.
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Old 12-01-04, 06:32 PM
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Originally posted by classicman2
You don't police protection, fire protection, public schools, the military, NIH, and myriad of other services provided by government?

Yeah, you do!

People constantly say they want a smaller government; but, they demand more and more services from the government. Therefore, I conclude they're not being entirely candid whenever they say that they want smaller government.
I want a smaller government, but I'm quite aware that there are certain aspects of government I would not or cannot do without.
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Old 12-01-04, 06:34 PM
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I'm thinking in terms of what the war is costing us financially, not number of troops. Even if neither Iraq or Afghanistan were major wars, it seems like a bad idea to fiddle with the tax system at this point.
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Old 12-01-04, 06:37 PM
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Originally posted by X
I thought the object of progressivity was to make those who make more money pay an increasing rate on their income (or purchases in this case).

If everyone pays 0% up to say $40,000 and then 25% (or whatever) above that, the more spent above $40,000 the closer the rate is to 25%.

If someone spends $80,000 their tax is ($40,000 x 0%) + ([$80,000-$40,000] x 25%) which is an overall rate of 12.5%. If they spend $1 million their rate is going to be pretty close to 25%.

That looks pretty progressive to me.
That notion of "progressivity" depends an awful lot on the presumption that the wealthy will consume (and therefore assume the tax burden) at a rate directly proportional to their wealth. A sales tax is essentially a voluntary tax: if you don't spend, you're not taxed, and if you do spend, you are taxed at an equal rate across the board (assuming the tax for all goods is fixed). The assumption your argument makes is that simply because the wealthy are better equipped to absorb that tax, they will do so at a rate directly proportional to their wealth, which is fallacious.

Unfortunately, there is no reason to believe that simply because the wealthy would be able to spend money when the cost of doing so is higher, they will in fact spend at such a rate that it would proportionally "offset" the tax burden of the middle/lower classes under such a system, essentially evening out the effect of such a tax. In fact, if anything the wealthy would be far less likely to spend more when there is a perceived disincentive in doing so because of a larger sales tax. It most certainly seems unlikely that they will spend at the much higher proportion that would be necessary to make a national sales tax truly "progressive" in any sense.
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Old 12-01-04, 06:42 PM
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you can have smaller/cheaper gov't without eliminating police and fire
things like medicaid (ny pays more than ca and tx <b>combined</b>), or the $66 million in state and local tax money that Bass Pro will be getting to come to buffalo. those are just two local examples

Originally posted by classicman2
You don't police protection, fire protection, public schools, the military, NIH, and myriad of other services provided by government?

Yeah, you do!

People constantly say they want a smaller government; but, they demand more and more services from the government. Therefore, I conclude they're not being entirely candid whenever they say that they want smaller government.
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Old 12-01-04, 06:53 PM
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Originally posted by Sex Fiend
A sales tax is essentially a voluntary tax: if you don't spend, you're not taxed

Very interesting point....and a very scary one too. What if, by chance, 85% of the population decides they aren't going to spend caRp this year...? What would we do? Shut down the government?

And I'd hate to see what the consequences would be to the products we buy. Companies might start making items (i.e. cars, lawnmovers, etc.) of lower quality to fuel turnover to increase federal revenue. More people would start buying cheaper products made overseas to offset the cost of the tax leading to an even bigger trade deficit. yada yada yada....I need my Excedrin now.
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Old 12-01-04, 06:53 PM
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Originally posted by wendersfan
I want a smaller government, but I'm quite aware that there are certain aspects of government I would not or cannot do without.
"I want a smaller government, and I think we should make government smaller by getting rid of government services that the other guy uses."
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Old 12-01-04, 06:59 PM
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Originally posted by JasonF
"I want a smaller government, and I think we should make government smaller by getting rid of government services that the other guy uses."
On the contrary, I was mainly referring to government services that are used by almost everyone - things like mail delivery, roads, national defense, etc. I may be a libertarian, but I'm a relatively moderate one.
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Old 12-01-04, 07:04 PM
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Originally posted by JasonF
"I want a smaller government, and I think we should make government smaller by getting rid of or at least implement major cutbacks on most government services."
Better. I mean come on, is every government service necessary?
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Old 12-01-04, 07:05 PM
  #62  
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Originally posted by Sex Fiend
That notion of "progressivity" depends an awful lot on the presumption that the wealthy will consume (and therefore assume the tax burden) at a rate directly proportional to their wealth.
Again, I'll refer to my example of how the tax rate increases progressively as consumption above a moderate level increases. The progressivity increases very quickly after you get over the base amount that would be taxed at a zero rate.

And I'll point out the low tax rate rich people can currently pay by again stating the example of Teresa Heinz Kerry. Does she dip into the billion and spend more than her yearly income? I don't know. But it sure looks like she spends a lot. Perhaps enough that a consumption tax would be greater than her current income tax.

Since I doubt that there are many people who make lots of money so they can live like paupers I am open to being proved wrong with the specific examples people here arguing that position will provide. Since this plan is in the early discussion phase I see no reason to dismiss it with pure speculation concerning the spending patterns of the rich. There will be time to get the facts.

However I don't really have a problem with people finding it advantageous to save and invest most of their money instead of blowing it all. That helps everyone by growing the economy and providing jobs.
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Old 12-01-04, 07:09 PM
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why can't left wingers understand that many of these "services" shouldn't be gov't run and many others are mismanaged and have waste?
water, sewer, police, fire, medical infastructure (ie building the hospital), roads. I have no problems paying taxes for those
schools: wasteful as the current "solution" to failing grades seems to be throw more money at it
medicaid: benefits should be cut an dco-pays slightly increased as well as not giving any coverage for going to an ER for something that could have been taken care of at a clinic
spending $500,000 in tax money to buy $50,000 in furniture because the salesman has raised millions for you and your friend's election campaigns (local scandal): I have a huge problem with this

Originally posted by classicman2
Why is this concept so difficult for right-wingers to understand?

Last edited by mikehunt; 12-01-04 at 07:12 PM.
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Old 12-01-04, 07:12 PM
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Originally posted by mikehunt
why can't left wingers understand that many of these "services" shouldn't be gov't run and many others are mismanaged and have waste?
water, sewer, police, fire, medical infastructure (ie building the hospital), roads. I have no problems paying taxes for those
You live in a society - I understand right-wingers have difficulty sometimes accepting that reality. What you folks to the far right might think is not necessary, the vast majority of folks in the center might believe is necessary.
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Old 12-01-04, 07:30 PM
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Here's the thing about government services - they're not a la carte. You don't get to choose which ones you want to pay for, and which ones you don't. When you say you don't want the services to begin with, pardon me for being skeptical. But if you're really serious, then might I suggest you vote Libertarian?
Just FYI, I voted for Badnarik.

That's the thing - in the private sector you DO get a choice. Throw it to the government and they LEGALLY can maintain a monopoly. (Heaven help Bill Gates for being so EEEEVIL though )

I WANT CHOICES.

So many government programs are SHIT. They are RUN like SHIT. And they waste money like diarrhea.

Anywhere in the private sector people would be fired for the waste - but not within our lovely government though. It's SOMEONE ELSE'S money they are spending...
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Old 12-01-04, 07:41 PM
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If many of those things were run by private organizations, they would either run more efficiently or go out of business.
Because they're run by the government, a virtual monopoly, they have no motivation or incentive to improve themselves.
Look at the IRS itself. If you call THEIR helplines for help on THEIR tax forms, something like 40% of the time you get the WRONG answer. And of course it's YOUR fault. I work in an office that provides tech support for multimillion dollar medical equipment. If we give the wrong answer 40% of the time, we'd go out of business. As we should.
The government can and should run certain things. Some of those things should be federal and some should be state. But the fed government has got its hands [and our money] in billions of things that have no relevance or important to the nation as a whole.
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Old 12-01-04, 07:44 PM
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Originally posted by mosquitobite
Just FYI, I voted for Badnarik.
God bless you, my child.
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Old 12-01-04, 07:54 PM
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Electric companies, natural gas companies, cable companies, local telephone companies, etc. - all private businesses - are virtual monopolies also.

What was your point again?
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Old 12-01-04, 08:04 PM
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Monopolies only because of government regulation...
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Old 12-01-04, 08:55 PM
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Originally posted by mosquitobite
Monopolies only because of government regulation...
And/or perhaps greed.
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Old 12-01-04, 08:58 PM
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And they run inefficiently, not reacting to the marketplace, because they've got a government-induced monopoly. Who are two of the quintessential stereotypes of poor service, poor products, and lack of reaction to customer demand? Telecom companies and cable companies. My cable company is much better now than it was when I was growing up. Coincidentally, satellite providers have made great inroads into historically cable-only markets, though the cable co.s have tried to make that as difficult as possible.
Structural monopolies are bad for the consumer. Even worse is when they are government monopolies, or government-sanctioned monopolies.
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Old 12-01-04, 09:05 PM
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So, do you think this is why technologies like mobile phones developed faster in places like the UK than the US? When you consider that British Telecom has always been much worse than even Bell Telephone of old, the only open marketplace for personal telecomunications was cellphones, so they were a much more viable consumer alternative earlier for Brits than for Americans. It's a theory.
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Old 12-01-04, 11:41 PM
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From the article
"We spend about $400 billion a year complying with the tax code. We spend $200 billion a year just filling out IRS paperwork," said Rep. John Linder (search) , R-Ga., who has proposed a bill that would create a national sales tax.
Bureaucracy at its best. It's your job to see that it doesn't get out of hand, looks like you've done a good job there.
Proponents have spent millions on research and have concluded that a national sales tax can replace the income tax, payroll tax, estate tax and corporate tax.
millions of tax-payers' money I bet.

I mean, shit, how the hell could it take millions to think up and study this 'plan'? It's so absurd, and this is just one study, also a Congressional committe is even considering conducting a study comparing internet porn to heroin.

The purpose of the IRS is to collect money and find people who do not pay their taxes. How can a federal budget be funded by an anonynous national sales tax? It would be certain to fail.

It's all so ludicrous, it boogles my mind.
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Old 12-02-04, 12:55 AM
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Interesting. I remember reading about this idea probably a dozen years ago as proposed by the Green Party. Now it's a Republican idea. Hey, either way...

Anyways, wouldn't you find a lot of the uber-wealthy working here, making their money here and then living elsewhere? I might just be really tired, but what would stop this from happening? Other than the commute, of course.
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Old 12-02-04, 01:21 AM
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Originally posted by mosquitobite
Monopolies only because of government regulation...
If you think networked companies like utilities are monopolies only because of government regulation, think again.

In fact, it's government regulation that allows us to have multiple long distance carriers and multiple cable carriers in a single market.
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