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The US Tax Policy Thread

Old 11-20-17, 02:26 PM
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Re: The US Tax Policy Thread

Originally Posted by PerryD View Post
Plus, it has been debated that one benefit would be less corporations moving to tax havens, or hiding money overseas if there was a lower corporate tax rate here.
I don't think lowering taxes prevents people from trying to cheat. They may invest less into cheating techniques and the dollar value of cheating they end up getting away with may be less (just because they have to pay less to begin with), but it will always exist to roughly the same degree. That number of people that cheat their state on Use taxes is so high, the states had to start going after Amazon to collect the tax for them. If people are willing to cheat their state out of ~10% in tax on purchases from out of state, companies are more than willing to try and cheat a 15% tax.
Old 11-20-17, 02:39 PM
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Re: The US Tax Policy Thread

I also don’t see why we’re rewarding corporations for doing shitty things. Perry’s argument seems to be that we shouldn’t tax corporations because corporations have enough power to circumvent the taxes or punish the consumer for higher taxes. Maybe what’s needed is more controls and regulations on corporations so they don’t do the shitty things that make people like Perry think it’s a bad idea to tax them.
Old 11-20-17, 03:29 PM
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Re: The US Tax Policy Thread

The tax debates frustrate me. I'm more than willing to pay more specific withholdings for entitlements like SSA and medical. It's the general income tax that pisses me off. I HATE the big bucket that gets siphoned off for more military and corporate benefits.

And the whole "making people buy health insurance is a tax" nonsense is bullshit.
Old 11-20-17, 03:49 PM
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Re: The US Tax Policy Thread

Old 11-20-17, 04:03 PM
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Re: The US Tax Policy Thread

The article in the OP states:

"The House bill would also put a cap on the size of loans that qualify for that deduction at $500,000 — down from $1 million under current law — while eliminating the deduction altogether for second homes."

It seems to me that this is a tax increase that would apply primarily to the rich.

And yet, it's being supported by Republicans, and opposed by Democrats.

I find this to be quite ironic.

Last edited by grundle; 11-20-17 at 04:09 PM.
Old 11-20-17, 04:05 PM
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Re: The US Tax Policy Thread

Originally Posted by grundle View Post
The article in the OP states:

"The House bill would also put a cap on the size of loans that qualify for that deduction at $500,000 — down from $1 million under current law — while eliminating the deduction altogether for second homes. On top of these changes, Americans would lose the ability to deduct some (under the House bill) or any (under the Senate one) of their property taxes."

It seems to me that this is tax increase that would apply primarily to the rich.

And yet, it's being supported by Republicans, and opposed by Democrats.

I find this to be quite ironic.
The actual wealthy, as opposed to those who are swimming in debt to appear wealthy, can afford to pay cash and don’t have to worry about loan deductions. This will not affect the rich at all.
Old 11-20-17, 04:13 PM
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Re: The US Tax Policy Thread

Originally Posted by grundle View Post
The article in the OP states:

"The House bill would also put a cap on the size of loans that qualify for that deduction at $500,000 — down from $1 million under current law — while eliminating the deduction altogether for second homes."

It seems to me that this is a tax increase that would apply primarily to the rich.

And yet, it's being supported by Republicans, and opposed by Democrats.

I find this to be quite ironic.
This has been discussed before. A $500,000 mortgage in NY, DC, San Fran doesn't make you rich. It's the cost of living in those areas. It's a tax on blue states more than a tax on the rich.
Old 11-20-17, 04:15 PM
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Re: The US Tax Policy Thread

Is this the first time in US history that a tax "cut" actually raises taxes for some people, and in this case, a fairly significant amount of people?
Old 11-20-17, 04:44 PM
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Re: The US Tax Policy Thread

I like the way these other countries fill out their income tax forms. I think the U.S. should adopt the same system:


https://www.theatlantic.com/business...return/475899/

The 10-Second Tax Return

Letting the government do its citizens’ taxes is cheap, efficient, and accurate. Naturally, the United States won’t do it.

March 30, 2016

Each tax season, tens of millions of American households have a decision to make.

A) They can collectively spend hundreds of millions of hours preparing tax information that the federal government already has.

B) They can pay other people billions of dollars to do it for them.

But let’s add a choice C: They go for a walk. Or, they have a nice dinner. Basically, they do whatever they want with those millions of hours and billions of dollars. Because their taxes are done for them, for free. They receive a document from the government with all of the relevant information already filled out, and they check a box to say, “okay!"

In the United States, the third choice sounds like a fantasy. But the excruciating pain of tax season is just another example of negative American exceptionalism. In fact, about one-half of American taxpayers earn all their income from one employer’s wages (which the IRS can see) and interest from one bank (which the IRS can find out without much effort). The IRS could easily send tens of millions of individuals their nearly completed taxes by mail—or even, by text.

“Rather than some crazy, wild idea that’s never been tried before, this is doable and a lot of countries do it,” said William Gale, a tax expert at the Brookings Institution. Eight OECD countries, including Finland and Norway, fully prepare returns for the majority of its taxpayers. In Estonia, it famously takes the average person five minutes to file taxes.

In Sweden, the vast majority of taxpayers don’t do battle with tax documents and fine-print questions about itemized deductions. They just get a document from the government with all the relevant information already filled out. Some even get a text message with their prepared tax information, and if they respond “yes,” their taxes are done. Andreas Hatzigeorgiou, a chief economist with the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce, told PRI that individuals with more involved filings can always spend more time on their taxes, if they like. “If you don’t have any complicated things that you want to do”—like listing business expenses from a sole proprietorship —“it takes you five seconds,” he said.

In the United States, however, taxes are tortuous—for those who pay them as well as those who collect them. Compliance costs are 10 times higher than in most European countries. Poor Americans in particular suffer for the time and money it takes to fill out what are essentially redundant documents. "These taxpayers are just copying into a tax return information that the IRS already receives independently,” the economist Austan Goolsbee wrote in a Brookings paper.

In 2006, Goolsbee proposed a "Simple Return” that would pre-fill forms for workers with the most straightforward taxes. California tried something like this in 2004, when it sent 50,000 single taxpayers a European-style "ReadyReturn.” Ninety percent of users said it saved them time. The median cost of completion? Zero dollars.

The Simple Return could proceed in several steps. First, the IRS could start with a pilot program for the most straightforward tax returns: single, low-income taxpayers who don't itemize their deductions. There are about nine million such people in the U.S. They would get a document from the IRS early in the year showing total income earned and total taxes owed. They could check a box saying "Okay,” make changes, or—if they insist—burn the page, throw the ashes in the trash, and log onto TurboTax.

If millions of people seemed happy with the streamlined one-pager, the IRS could expand the program to the millions of people with the second-easiest returns, like married couples who don’t itemize their deductions. “We might never get everybody in the system, because some people’s tax situations are quite complicated,” Gale said. But step two of the Simple Return could still reach about 17 million taxpayers.

What’s stopping the Simple Return? There are three barriers, and appropriately, since the issue at stake is taxes, they are all fundamentally about money.

First, changing the tax-payment system for tens of millions of people would require resources for the federal government, and the IRS is already squeezed. Its budget has fallen in the last decade and Congress hasn’t shown much enthusiasm for making their jobs any easier.

Second, America’s federal income tax system is byzantine—a messy reflection of the messy will of the people. "A simpler tax code is everybody’s second priority,” Gale said. Their first priority? That would be to keep the tax breaks they already have—or even to create new ones. It’s often said that Americans love their congressman but hate Congress. It’s the same with tax breaks: Everybody loves their tax benefit and hates the tax system. Without a simpler tax code, it’s hard to imagine a Simple Return working for more than the low- and middle-class Americans with the most straightforward earnings.

Third, the opposition to simpler taxes unites two unlikely allies. First, Grover Norquist and other conservatives who want to cut taxes don’t want tax collection to be more efficient. They’re afraid it will be easier for the feds to raise revenue if taxes feel effortless and people spend less time considering them. Second, tax preparers like H&R Block and Intuit,the company behind TurboTax, have spent millions of dollars lobbying against painless taxes, since those companies are in the business of pain relief. It’s a rich irony that the coalition against simpler taxes creates strange bedfellows: Those who want more tax complexity and those who want the simplest tax code of all—one that doesn’t exist.

Even if the Simple Return became a reality, some Americans would still have to deal with their deductions. For example, donating to charity reduces a person's taxable income. If I donated money to the Red Cross, how would the IRS know to withhold less money from my paycheck?

Once again, perhaps the U.S. could take a lesson from the world. An American donating to charity takes a deduction at the end of the year. But a British resident donating to charity can simply leave out the amount of the tax deduction from her charitable gift; then the UK’s tax collector pays the charity the equivalent amount. To put it another way: Rather than donate $100 in December and get $10 back from the government in April, she gives $90 in December and the government pays the charity the final $10. This essentially makes charitable donations a kind of government matching program, but it has the same effect: helping charities by rewarding donations.

Several years ago, the White House estimated that American taxpayers spend 7.6 billion hours and $140 billion a year figuring out what they owe the government and paying people to help them owe less. Those who want to play the game—and have the money to do so every year—are welcome to continue. The rest of the country deserves a 21st-century approach to taxes.
Old 11-20-17, 07:43 PM
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Re: The US Tax Policy Thread

Originally Posted by grundle View Post
I like the way these other countries fill out their income tax forms. I think the U.S. should adopt the same system:
The IRS has been working towards this to some degree. You have to keep in mind that this only really works for employees and not business owners. You also have to keep in mind that the US has many deductions (charitable donations, medical expenses, mortgage interest, theft, employee business expenses) that are not typical to other countries. Many of those deductions aren't something for which tax forms are generated to the IRS. You wishing for this structure would likely mean a lot of those deductions going away.
Old 11-20-17, 08:03 PM
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Re: The US Tax Policy Thread

Originally Posted by Timber View Post
A $500,000 mortgage in NY, DC, San Fran doesn't make you rich.
Seems like a $500k mortgage would make you quite poor!
Old 11-20-17, 08:07 PM
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Re: The US Tax Policy Thread

Originally Posted by JasonX View Post
The IRS has been working towards this to some degree. You have to keep in mind that this only really works for employees and not business owners. You also have to keep in mind that the US has many deductions (charitable donations, medical expenses, mortgage interest, theft, employee business expenses) that are not typical to other countries. Many of those deductions aren't something for which tax forms are generated to the IRS. You wishing for this structure would likely mean a lot of those deductions going away.

Then make it optional. Give people a choice.
Old 11-20-17, 08:11 PM
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Re: The US Tax Policy Thread

A person in Idaho has a 3,000 square foot house that is worth $200,000.

A person in San Francisco has a 1,000 square foot house that is worth $700,000.

Which person is better off?

My guess is that each of the two could theoretically view the other as being better off.

But it's also possible that each of the two might view themself as being the one who is better off.

A lot of it has to do with perception.
Old 11-20-17, 08:12 PM
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Re: The US Tax Policy Thread

Originally Posted by grundle View Post
Then make it optional. Give people a choice.
Turbotax already can fill out your form for you if it is simple enough. The instances of ID theft are way up and many don't update their address with the IRS between tax returns. I think it best not to attempt something like this until the IRS has significant technological upgrades. For budgetary reasons, those upgrades are unlikely to happen anytime soon.
Old 11-20-17, 09:18 PM
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Re: The US Tax Policy Thread


While I’m sure this will help some, that’s less than $100 a month.

Also, this is great - as the son of a teacher, the first one is especially heinous:


Last edited by Draven; 11-20-17 at 09:25 PM.
Old 11-20-17, 09:35 PM
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Re: The US Tax Policy Thread

Originally Posted by grundle View Post
A person in Idaho has a 3,000 square foot house that is worth $200,000.

A person in San Francisco has a 1,000 square foot house that is worth $700,000.

Which person is better off?

My guess is that each of the two could theoretically view the other as being better off.

But it's also possible that each of the two might view themself as being the one who is better off.

A lot of it has to do with perception.
Right. And I think we would all agree that should both people have an 80% mortgage on their home, a modest savings as a percentage of their average yearly income, and making the median income for their area would be solidly middle class. Why then should the person in San Francisco only be able to deduct part of their mortgage? Actually it is likely that both these people would suffer under the current tax plan, because the person in Idaho would now likely be taking the standard deduction (or at the very least losing the state tax deduction and his exemption) and the person in San Francisco would loose the ability to deduct state taxes, vehicle taxes, and his exemption while facing limitations to property taxes. If either of these people are struggling to get by because of a change in work situation, this new tax plan could potentially force a relocation or a home sale. Which ironically under the new plan, they would not be able to deduct the cost of should they be required to move.
Old 11-20-17, 09:35 PM
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Re: The US Tax Policy Thread

Originally Posted by Draven View Post
Also, this is great - as the son of a teacher, the first one is especially heinous:
FYI, the current senate tax plan not only decided to keep that tax deduction, but increase it from $250 to $500.

http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/campa..._supplies.html
Old 11-20-17, 09:48 PM
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Re: The US Tax Policy Thread

Originally Posted by joeblow69 View Post
FYI, the current senate tax plan not only decided to keep that tax deduction, but increase it from $250 to $500.

http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/campa..._supplies.html
I liked this comment on your link:

Instead of putting more onus on us to supply our classrooms, the money should be making it to the schools themselves to buy those supplies. It's just another slight of hand to underfund education.
Old 11-20-17, 10:05 PM
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Re: The US Tax Policy Thread

Originally Posted by joeblow69 View Post
FYI, the current senate tax plan not only decided to keep that tax deduction, but increase it from $250 to $500.

http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/campa..._supplies.html
Well that’s a good thing. We’ll see if it sticks around. Course it would be better if they didn’t have to buy supplies at all but that’s education for you.
Old 11-20-17, 11:49 PM
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Re: The US Tax Policy Thread

Gather ye throwing tomatoes, and practice your eyerolls...here comes tax reform, Fist Of Doom-style.

1. Estate Tax: $5mill exemption. Above that? Tax the cash, at a 50% flat rate ("cash" meaning liquid assets like bank accounts, CDs, publicly-traded stocks, bonds, gold, etc.). You wanna keep running the family business? Cool. When you sell it, the 50% tax comes in.

2. Retirement Accounts: Currently, we have 401(k)s, 403(b)s, regular IRAs, Roth IRAs, SEP-IRAs, SIMPLE-IRAs, ESOPs, SEPs, SAR-SEPs, Keoghs...ridiculous. Just let everybody put aside $4k a year, tax-deferred. You wanna save more? Cool, it just won't be tax-deferred. The whole point is to incentivize the average Joe to save for retirement.

3. Corporate Taxes: Eliminate them. Much like Donny from The Big Lebowski, they don't exist except in your mind - they're a legal construct. Corps don't pay taxes, people do. They merely act as a conduit, passing their tax burden in the way of higher prices, lower wages, lower dividends, etc. Billions are wasted complying with them, and politicians use the tax code to provide favors to Corps that support their campaigns.

4. Individual Income Taxes: Raise taxes on the middle class/upper-middle class some. On the wealthy? More.

5. Capital Gains: Tax them at regular income tax rates. Insane that Warren Buffett's secretary pays a higher income tax rate than he does.

Bottom line: At some point, you gotta pay for what you spend. Economists don't agree on anything, except our national debt: almost $20trillion. It's not magically going away with tinkle-down economics. As it stands, we're passing our problems down to our grandkids.
Old 11-21-17, 04:09 PM
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Re: The US Tax Policy Thread

Originally Posted by JasonX View Post
I liked this comment on your link:

Instead of putting more onus on us to supply our classrooms, the money should be making it to the schools themselves to buy those supplies. It's just another slight of hand to underfund education.

The U.S. has the most expensive public schools, per student, of any country in the world.

Adjusted for inflation, we spend far more now per student than in the past, with zero academic improvement to show for it.

Public schools spent a much higher percentage of their budget on administration than private schools.

Numerous examples show that giving more money to bad schools does not make them any better.

Numerous other examples show that low income children do very well if the expectations of them are high.

There are also numerous examples of teachers' unions being opposed to successful charter schools which had had tremendous success with low income students.

Marva Collins and Maria Montessori both showed that you can successfully teach low income children with relatively small school budgets.

In short, the claim that U.S. public schools are "underfunded" is completely disproven by huge amounts of evidence.

Please see the many, many, many articles on these things which I have posted in these threads.

https://forum.dvdtalk.com/religion-p...t-reading.html

https://forum.dvdtalk.com/religion-p...rs-unions.html

https://forum.dvdtalk.com/religion-p...-000-year.html

https://forum.dvdtalk.com/religion-p...ot-enough.html
Old 11-21-17, 05:19 PM
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Re: The US Tax Policy Thread

Originally Posted by grundle View Post
The U.S. has the most expensive public schools, per student, of any country in the world.

Adjusted for inflation, we spend far more now per student than in the past, with zero academic improvement to show for it.

Public schools spent a much higher percentage of their budget on administration than private schools.

Numerous examples show that giving more money to bad schools does not make them any better.
Seems at least some of your "facts" are wrong. The US is below average (based on GDP) for Elementary and Secondary School spending. It also isn't the most expensive overall. Unless you think the National Center for Education Statistics is biased. It seems our secondary schools are in bad shape, but if you are underfunding elementary schools, it is no wonder that people aren't where they need to be when they start high school.
Old 11-21-17, 07:22 PM
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Re: The US Tax Policy Thread

Originally Posted by Fist of Doom View Post

2. Retirement Accounts: Currently, we have 401(k)s, 403(b)s, regular IRAs, Roth IRAs, SEP-IRAs, SIMPLE-IRAs, ESOPs, SEPs, SAR-SEPs, Keoghs...ridiculous. Just let everybody put aside $4k a year, tax-deferred. You wanna save more? Cool, it just won't be tax-deferred. The whole point is to incentivize the average Joe to save for retirement.
4k a year isn't going to do shit for retirement. That is way too low. Especially since a lot of younger folks with any sort of professional job / education are likely drowning in student loan payments and rent in their early 20s before they make anything. I'd bet most don't start dumping any sort of real amount of money into a 401k until their 30s. I certainly didn't put much in for years when I was younger and struggling.

On the other points, companies certainly do pay income tax. Not enough given the loopholes and such, but it's a substantial hunk of cash.
Old 11-21-17, 10:38 PM
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Re: The US Tax Policy Thread

Originally Posted by story View Post
I honestly believe there is some sort of self delusion in all of this, if even at least at a subconscious level, that someday maybe, just maybe, we will be rich or maybe even they'll give us some of that money, too. It's where dreams meets fantasy and kicks reality out the door.
Originally Posted by Supermallet View Post
And yet all the time I see people defending the rich, defending the right of the rich to essentially ruin the country and the planet at our expense. It’s fucking insane.
This is a really easy one.

You know why those guys living on disability in leaky trailers get red-faced angry at things like estate taxes they're never going to have to worry about?

It's because conservative propagandists (talk radio, Fox News, etc.) havedone an exemplary job of selling conservative dogma to these people. You feed them an entry drug -- tell them the liberals are going to take away their guns, or dog whistle racism, or the liberals are going to turn them gay -- and they get obsessed with not just being a conservative, but being a good conservative and accepting the whole package deal. It's like a feedback loop of extremism that leads to Trump.

I have seen it happen myself to people I know. Among people of my age group, born from the mid 60s to the mid 80s, 9/11 was the entry drug. These were people in their late 20s and 30s who never once thought about politics. Then the planes crashed into the towers, and they're angry at the moose-lambs. They're waving their little flags, fawning over the cops and military, believing GWB was the right hand of God Himself. And the hyper-patriotism snowballs from there. Then they become virulently against abortion even though they never cared about it before. They become obsessed with Second Amendment stuff. And then they become virulently anti-union and anti-regulation. And then it's homophobia. And that leads to gamergate and the red pill shit. And the alt-right and dominionism and dark enlightenment.
Old 11-21-17, 11:22 PM
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Re: The US Tax Policy Thread

Originally Posted by JasonX View Post
Seems at least some of your "facts" are wrong. The US is below average (based on GDP) for Elementary and Secondary School spending. It also isn't the most expensive overall. Unless you think the National Center for Education Statistics is biased. It seems our secondary schools are in bad shape, but if you are underfunding elementary schools, it is no wonder that people aren't where they need to be when they start high school.

This was my source for the U.S. having the most expensive public schools in the world:

http://www.oecd.org/general/oecdcall...ndtraining.htm

Both of our sources are credible, but your source is more recent. Thanks for the correction and update.

My source also says:

"Spending is not necessarily a guarantee of higher quality in terms of education, though: Australia, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Finland, Japan, Korea, the Netherlands and New Zealand all have moderate expenditure on education per student at the primary and lower secondary levels but are among the countries where 15-year-olds perform strongest in key subject areas."

Whatever those successful countries are doing, we should at least consider copying it.

Last edited by grundle; 11-21-17 at 11:34 PM.

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