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Author Topic: Are you paying your fair share?
cherrypoptart
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You don't have to worry about giving to charity anymore. The government is going to take care of all that. They know how to do it better than you so they're just going to take that decision right out of your hands, quite literally by taking your money out of your pocket.
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JWatts
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quote:
Originally posted by Redskullvw:
Tom
my charity work is what I do full time. I get no renumeration for the efforts.

Redskullvw, Thanks for your charity work. I'm sure it makes the world a better place. [Smile]
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Redskullvw
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Wow Tom, not only are you now a tax professional but you also are now dictating what is and what is not a suitable level of living standard.

I know its kinda hard for people like you, who are barely average in terms of economic success, to understand how tax law impacts people or what people should consider to be appropriate living standards. I know it must boggle the mind of such people to understand that by continuing working at a given level could lead to less money in ones pocket as a result of a tax increase. I can also see how it would further boggle one's mind to grasp the concept that by working less would result in a net gain in income because of taxation law. I can further see how it could boggle one's mind that charity isn't free and if someone ceases charity to the community the net effects of the tax law actually would result in less taxes.

You strike me as someone who has had a lot of bad choices made in your lifetime personally. I can understand how you might assume that I live a lavish lifestyle. I actually don't. Unlike you, I have chosen to mitigate and correct mistakes in my past that for example left me homeless. I can understand you not understanding that government handouts were not the solution to my ending my own personal poverty or gaining a higher education. I also can see how you don't realize that in my personal economics I made hard choices that for years had me barely above the federal poverty level, but insured the future I now currently enjoy. I did this myself. From working multiple jobs, including very blue collar ones, to wisely limiting my expenses for years- I set in motion a success story you now charge to be lavish.

The assumption that I do charity only as long as it doesn't impact me personally is childish and pejorative on your part. The irony is that you fail to realize that my charity work has indeed caused me to live more cheaply than I otherwise would. The reality is that at some point it indeed comes down to numbers and quality of life. My charity and my wife's work has a negative impact on my family life. We spend much more time doing for others than for ourselves. We don't have an invisible government hand doling out lavish incentives that favor us and support us when the economy does badly.

Instead, and unlike you, we work for our version of an American Dream which doesn't depend upon everyone being suitably the same in spite of whether individual efforts being unequal can impact the outcome. I don't declare your lifestyle of lower middle class stagnation to be a selfish choice on your part or offer insinuation that it is. In the decade we have been here, your lifestyle hasn't changed much at all. But mine has. I was under the poverty level, on the verge of homelessness, and not qualify-able for any government aid. Now, I guess you could call me an example of what you are not.

I have watched my taxation level go up over the years as I progressed through the table tables each year. Each year I paid more. Last year I paid the most ever. Unlike you, where I doubt your campus IT job has suffered any radical increase or decrease in income, I have not been plodding along in the same relative tax bracket paying the same tax year on end. So I can see how you would assume that it would be impossible to work less and keep more money after tax than to work more and keep less after tax money when compared to simply working at the same level and doing nothing.

AMT hasn't been patched yet, and it will likely keep on going as is until inflation finally catches up to Tom's level of income and shocks him. But given his pauper lifestyle I doubt that will happen until the end of next decade.

Tom, to sum it up, you are most likely judging from self disclosures over the years, someone who either has no federal tax liability or has such a small liability that withholding abates your annual obligation in full. Meaning, you don't actually ever "see" what your tax is. All you know is every year you get a refund or have to write a check to the IRS for a few hundred dollars. That skews your perspective. You assume people complaining are just griping due to an unfair and mean spirited greediness because paying taxes impedes their lavish lifestyle.

The reality is, us "Lavish" lifestylers are paying more every year and not seeing the bottom half improving at all. We are increasingly concerned with your poverty and inability to stand on your own two feet without excessive government entitlements. We feel that since our minority pays the vast majority of the tax bill for benefits we ourselves never receive, the right to question current tax policy belongs to us to a paramount level. We have seen no improvement in the condition of the lower 50% of the population who pay nothing. Instead we have seen an ever increasing number of people who pay no tax while at the same time the people who do pay tax enjoy higher taxation. At some point those who do pay taxes, "me", get to question those of you who don't pay taxes, "you", as to why you continue to have a right to my economic production that I do not have comparatively to yours. We further have a right to question why we should shoulder further taxes without any right to change the system or how we chose to operate under the system.

In my family's case we have decided that you and people like you pay too little in taxes and gain too many benefits from having the government tax our efforts. Since we cannot stop paying taxes, we seek an alternative solution. Our solution is to remove from the economy things like charity and a willingness to accept increased work loads beyond what is required for employment. To my family it means we will indeed earn less, but as a result we will be taxed less than we would otherwise be if we made no change at all. And in terms of a willingness to work harder to keep the same net result after taxes, we have chosen not to do so. What it means to us, is that we wil have much more free time, a lower tax burden, and still maintain our current lavish lifestyle.

What it means to you, and those like you, is that we refuse to be gamed by the system anymore. You will have one less productive person in the economy to tax at an increased level. Hopefully it will mean that people like you will wake up and realize its your own responsibility to take care of yourself. After taxes are used for the military, local safety services, regulation of trade, interstate transportation, and government administrative costs- the rest of your income should be yours. You don't realize that yet because you have never been successful. You don't face ever increasing taxes. Instead you live a nice little life with a wife and two deductions, in a postage stamp house, with disposable furniture, and two econobox cars in the garage always wondering why the people who live lavish lifestyles get to do so, while you don't.

I'll give you a hint....its called hard work and succeeding despite what the government taxation policies are at any given time. And i'll leave you with this. it isn't fair that you don't pay taxes and get to live your lavish lifestyle. At least in my case I do get to drive a Porsche and travel despite the fact that part of my taxes goes to subsidizing your existence.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
Wow Tom, not only are you now a tax professional but you also are now dictating what is and what is not a suitable level of living standard.
I haven't claimed either. I've said:

1) If you're bumping up against the AMT, the last thing you want to eliminate is charitable deductions, as they're worth considerably more in AMT calculations than they are in "normal" tax.

2) Your wife will bring home more money even if she moves you into another tax bracket (barring of course AMT issues, but that's a relatively rare situation).

3) What you are doing amounts to choosing to eliminate your charitable deductions to keep your lifestyle at its present height. Personally, I suspect that childcare costs play a significantly higher role in your decision than taxation does.

In reply to your mostly pointless rant, I have this to say:

quote:
The reality is, us "Lavish" lifestylers are paying more every year and not seeing the bottom half improving at all.
Statistically, this is untrue. In your specific case, if you only recently became wealthy, it is possibly the case that your tax burden has increased even as your income has increased. That you may have first become wealthy during a period of historically low taxes on high income is something that I can understand must be frustrating for you.

quote:
We feel that since our minority pays the vast majority of the tax bill for benefits we ourselves never receive, the right to question current tax policy belongs to us to a paramount level.
Whereas I feel you are wrong. If you would like a discussion of why you are wrong, I'd be happy to have it with you.

[ April 27, 2010, 11:51 AM: Message edited by: TomDavidson ]

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Wayward Son
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From what I understand from the tax laws, the higher taxes rates only apply to the monies earned above the cut-off point. So regardless of how much you make, you will still keep more money if you make more money. It is only the percentage of the increase of that money that changes. The first dollar you keep completely. The 100,000th dollar, you keep only about 60 cents. This is known as "the tax law of diminishing returns." [Smile]

Of course, this does not take into account AMT, which very well may skew that scenario. [Frown]

From what you revealed, Red, it sounds like the main reason you will be keeping more money in the future is because you have significantly decreased your expenses. Your "charity work" was not really "work" in the traditional sense, since you were losing money doing so. (How many of us would go to work if each day we came home with less money than we started with?) This is probably more significant than the lower tax rates you will enjoy.

But, of course, since I haven't seen your figures (and do not expect to--ever! [Smile] ), I can't say for sure. But I would like to know how your situation differs from the scenario I just described.

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Redskullvw
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Tom
Child care cost for alex, ZERO$ Tuition at school is the only " childcare" cost we have. I take care of him or Angela takes care of him at all other times. There is no babysitter nor are any family present assisting.

Wayward we will be avoiding AMT and also dropping income to avoid Bush tax deduction twighlight.

Tom while it is true i only recently became "wealthy" by your standards, the statistical reality is that I am the exception to the rule not the norm. Fewer people are paying taxes, and more are gettingmore from the government while the few get taxed more.

The reality- whether you chose to accept it or not- is that rates are increasingly going to go up, and unless something is changed most people will owe no federal tax.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
the statistical reality is that I am the exception to the rule not the norm. Fewer people are paying taxes, and more are gettingmore from the government while the few get taxed more.
Except that income growth has outpaced taxation rates on those making over $100,000 a year, and has done so considerably and consistently. In fact, the percentage of wealth controlled by the wealthiest has increased at a considerably faster rate than the percentage of tax paid by that same group.
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Wayward Son
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And it is still true that about 96 percent of the taxes come from those who make about 87 percent of the income.

It's hard to imagine that changing by very much. [Smile]

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TomDavidson
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Only if we stopped redistributing wealth, and I can't imagine our country doing something so disastrously stupid.
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G3
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We have a update:
quote:
The top 40 percent of households by before-tax income actually paid 106.2 percent of the nation’s net income taxes in 2010, according to a new study by the Congressional Budget Office.

At the same time, households in the bottom 40 percent took in an average of $18,950 in what the CBO called “government transfers” in 2010.

Taxpayers in the top 40 percent of households were able to pay more than 100 percent of net federal income taxes in 2010 because Americans in the bottom 40 percent actually paid negative income taxes, according to the CBO study entitled, “The Distribution of Household Income and Federal Taxes, 2010.”

...

In 2010, the CBO determined, American households in the bottom 40 percent paid negative amounts in income-tax dollars and a negative average income-tax rate.

“Much of the progressivity of the federal tax system derives from the individual income tax,” said the report. “In 2010, the lowest quintile’s average rate for the individual income tax was -9.2 percent and the second income quintile’s rate was -2.3 percent.”

...

The households in the top 20 percent by income paid 92.9 percent of net income tax revenues taken in by the federal government in 2010, said CBO. The households in the fourth quintile paid another 13.3 percent of net income tax revenues. Together, the top 40 percent of households paid 106.2 percent of the federal government’s net income tax revenue.

The third quintile paid another 2.9 percent—bringing the total share of net federal income tax revenues paid by the top 60 percent to 109.1 percent.

...

The households in the bottom 40 percent of income—which on average paid negative federal income taxes—were on average receiving many thousands of dollars in what the report calls “government transfers.” These transfers included, among other things, benefits from unemployment insurance, Medicare and Social Security, as well as from means-tested programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps), and Medicaid.

...

...those in the top quintile, according to CBO paid 68.8 percent of all federal tax revenues in 2010. That means those in the top quintile paid 172 times as much in taxes as those in the bottom quintile.


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Wayward Son
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And, once again, how do the taxes these quintiles pay compare to their incomes? [Wink]
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AI Wessex
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G3, do you have any wisdom to add to those snippets?
quote:
The fact that most people who don’t owe federal income tax in a given year pay substantial amounts of other taxes — and also are net income taxpayers over time — belies the claim that households that do not owe income tax in a given year will form bad policy judgments because they “don’t have any skin in the game.”

Furthermore, although the federal tax system is progressive overall, state and local tax systems are regressive and undo a significant share of that progressivity. There is nothing wrong with having one part of the overall tax system shield low- and moderate-income households, who pay substantial amounts of other taxes and generally pay federal income tax as well in other years.

To substantially increase the share of households that owe federal income tax, policymakers would have to take such steps as: lowering the personal exemption or standard deduction — which would tax many low-income working families into, or deeper into, poverty; weakening the EITC or Child Tax Credit, which would significantly increase child poverty while reducing incentives for work over welfare; or paring back the tax exclusion for Social Security benefits, which would subject more seniors with modest fixed incomes to the income tax.

How would you address the issues raised in the article I (anonymously) cited?
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Pete at Home
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Breaking story by our correspondent G3:

It seems that people who make more money, tend to pay more taxes!

In other breaking news, having sex seems to be linked to pregnancy and overeating to weight gain.

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by Redskullvw:
Liberal or conservative, can you honestly agree that it is fair for any government to take half of aperson's income?

Depends on what the government is giving back, Red.

Our current government, no.

But let's say we live in Switzerland circa 1941. Government says it needs half your income to build defenses against a Nazi horde. Fair under those circumstances? I think so.

Technology, politics, and other variables create a situation where what is fair may vary depending on what is needed, and what the government is giving back.

If someday we have colonies in space, government might be necessary to provide infrastructure by which we breathe, to protect us from radioactivity, etc., and who knows what that would run.

During a war or reconstruction subsequent to a war where the US was threatened on a 9/11 scale, half would be stretching it, but 40% might be fair at the top end. But IMO any income tax over 1/3 should be enacted with an expiration date.

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AI Wessex
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Can you prove any of that? I mean, you're phone is known to gobble you message from tone to tone.
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G3
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
It seems that people who make more money, tend to pay more taxes!

about 172 times more. While the lower wage earners receive income. Tell me, how much income redistribution is going to be needed before all the evil rich people are paying their fair share?

quote:
Originally posted by Wayward Son:
And, once again, how do the taxes these quintiles pay compare to their incomes? [Wink]

And, once again, let's look. I am curious though, when you keep asking this do you think the answer will change?

2010 mean income (since the CBO study was 2010 numbers), from lowers to highest quintile:

1st $10,994
2nd $28,532
3rd $49,167
4th $78,877
5th $169,391

The 5th paid 172 times more but earned only 15 times more than the bottom.

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kmbboots
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Originally posted by Redskullvw:
quote:
Liberal or conservative, can you honestly agree that it is fair for any government to take half of aperson's income?
Sure. Depends on how (if) they made it and how much would be left afterwards.
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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by G3:
quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
It seems that people who make more money, tend to pay more taxes!

about 172 times more. While the lower wage earners receive income. Tell me, how much income redistribution is going to be needed before all the evil rich people are paying their fair share?

quote:
Originally posted by Wayward Son:
And, once again, how do the taxes these quintiles pay compare to their incomes? [Wink]

And, once again, let's look. I am curious though, when you keep asking this do you think the answer will change?

2010 mean income (since the CBO study was 2010 numbers), from lowers to highest quintile:

1st $10,994
2nd $28,532
3rd $49,167
4th $78,877
5th $169,391

The 5th paid 172 times more but earned only 15 times more than the bottom.

When most of the wealth is not captured by the top 5%, I will start being concerned about their plight.
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Wayward Son
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quote:
2010 mean income (since the CBO study was 2010 numbers), from lowers to highest quintile:

1st $10,994
2nd $28,532
3rd $49,167
4th $78,877
5th $169,391

The 5th paid 172 times more but earned only 15 times more than the bottom.

Good.

Now, subtract the amount of money necessary to survive (food, shelter, clothing, etc.) from the income of each quintile, then recalculate the difference in disposible income between the bottom and top quintile.

Is that any closer to 172 times? [Wink]

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by G3:
quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
It seems that people who make more money, tend to pay more taxes!

about 172 times more. While the lower wage earners receive income. Tell me, how much income redistribution is going to be needed before all the evil rich people are paying their fair share?
When did I say anything about rich being equal or the apportionment of taxes being fair?

First, we figure out what the government needs, in order to do the job that we've decided it must do.

Then we figure out how to tax that from the people in a way that causes least damage and destroys the fewest opportunities.

I'm not arguing for the tax bonus. btw. I've benefited from it, but I don't think that's a good way to do things. It does smack of pure redistribution, I'll give you that.

But when we're facing two wars, I don't think it's unreasonable that the rich bear the heavier financial burden, since it's the middle class and the poor that will provide most of the blood.

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edgmatt
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kmboots:

quote:
Sure. Depends on how (if) they made it and how much would be left afterwards.
How is it fair though?
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G3
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quote:
Originally posted by Wayward Son:
quote:
2010 mean income (since the CBO study was 2010 numbers), from lowers to highest quintile:

1st $10,994
2nd $28,532
3rd $49,167
4th $78,877
5th $169,391

The 5th paid 172 times more but earned only 15 times more than the bottom.

Good.

Now, subtract the amount of money necessary to survive (food, shelter, clothing, etc.) from the income of each quintile, then recalculate the difference in disposible income between the bottom and top quintile.

Is that any closer to 172 times? [Wink]

You tell us. I'm sure you can torture the data sufficiently.
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TomDavidson
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I think it's more telling that fully 20% of the country has an annual household income of under $11K. I also think it's ridiculously pathetic that people making what I'm making -- i.e. us "makers" who're paying all the taxes, apparently -- whine about taxes.

[ December 09, 2013, 11:39 PM: Message edited by: TomDavidson ]

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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by edgmatt:
kmboots:

quote:
Sure. Depends on how (if) they made it and how much would be left afterwards.
How is it fair though?
It is considerably more fair than one child born to a family with nothing and another born to a family that has more than it can ever use. What is fair about that? Where does fair even enter into this?
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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by edgmatt:
kmboots:

quote:
Sure. Depends on how (if) they made it and how much would be left afterwards.
How is it fair though?
It is considerably more fair than one child born to a family with nothing and another born to a family that has more than it can ever use. What is fair about that? Where does fair even enter into this?
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Seneca
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I heard on the radio today that a report came out showing that the top 20% now pays 92% of taxes. Why is it they need to pay more? The lowest %s pay negative tax.
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TomDavidson
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quote:
Why is it they need to pay more?
Well, for one thing, it's much more economically efficient to redistribute wealth from the wealthy to the poor, who are far more likely to circulate it.
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edgmatt
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quote:
It is considerably more fair than one child born to a family with nothing and another born to a family that has more than it can ever use. What is fair about that? Where does fair even enter into this?
It doesn't, and it shouldn't. But when asked if it was fair, you were very certain that it was, so I wanted a clarification.

I think it's the wrong mindset when people start making presumptions like:
- one person is able to determine how much (money) another person deserves.
- one person is able to determine how much another person needs.
- it's morally right to take from someone and give to another.


Now, I'm not saying taxes aren't necessary. I'm saying we shouldn't be saying they are necessary based on "fairness" or a sense of righting a wrong.

The best argument for taxes is that, collectively, we have a stronger power to accomplish things than we do as individuals. Taxes allow our governing body to use that mass of money to accomplish many (good) things that we couldn't possibly do on our own. I really don't need to cite examples, everyone here can list them.

But let's not pretend that taxes are fair.

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edgmatt
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quote:
Well, for one thing, it's much more economically efficient to redistribute wealth from the wealthy to the poor, who are far more likely to circulate it.
To a point, then things go south again. Also, that's such a blanket statement. I'm not even sure I believe it the more I think about it.

And it's not like the government cuts everyone else a check, and lets them spend it. They spend it on stuff that they see fit. So the redistribution goes from the powerful financially to the powerful politically. How much of that actually leaks through to the people who need it the most?

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Seneca
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quote:
But let's not pretend that taxes are fair.
But of course they are fair!

It is fundamentally UNFAIR that some people scrimped and saved their whole lives, forgoing luxuries and pleasure in their youth to create evil things like retirement funds or acquired elitist college diplomas to allow them to achieve 'income inequity.' Those evil people need to be PUNISHED and have their ill-gotten gains redistributed to the hard-working people who decided to go into credit card debt for big screen TVs and expensive cars when they were 18 and who are now, the poor darlings, forced to live on EBT cards.

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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by edgmatt:

I think it's the wrong mindset when people start making presumptions like:
- one person is able to determine how much (money) another person deserves.
- one person is able to determine how much another person needs.
- it's morally right to take from someone and give to another.

But we make those judgements anyway about poor people. "We" have decided that they don't deserve more than they have. Some have even decided that they don't need more. So it is really only the last bit that bothers you.
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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by Seneca:
quote:
But let's not pretend that taxes are fair.
But of course they are fair!

It is fundamentally UNFAIR that some people scrimped and saved their whole lives, forgoing luxuries and pleasure in their youth to create evil things like retirement funds or acquired elitist college diplomas to allow them to achieve 'income inequity.' Those evil people need to be PUNISHED and have their ill-gotten gains redistributed to the hard-working people who decided to go into credit card debt for big screen TVs and expensive cars when they were 18 and who are now, the poor darlings, forced to live on EBT cards.

Some people are born into money and have never known an unfulfilled whim or worked a day in their lives. And others worked and scrimped their whole lives and still never got anywhere due to bad luck. So?
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TomDavidson
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quote:
So the redistribution goes from the powerful financially to the powerful politically.
We were just saying that the bottom quintile of the population gets most of the redistribution dollars. What political power do you think the poor and the homeless have, exactly?

----------

quote:
It is fundamentally UNFAIR that some people scrimped and saved their whole lives, forgoing luxuries and pleasure in their youth to create evil things like retirement funds or acquired elitist college diplomas to allow them to achieve 'income inequity.'
Do you believe that people who win lotteries or are born wealthy are less entitled to their money?
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by edgmatt:
kmboots:

quote:
Sure. Depends on how (if) they made it and how much would be left afterwards.
How is it fair though?
Fair doesn't play in to it. Rather, there is a real public cost and danger that emerges from uncontrolled income growth above and beyond what people can reasonably spend or invest productively the excess funds financialization and speculative bubbles for lack of good returns on productive investment, while there is little corresponding danger (and, in fact significant benefit) to putting increasing low end incomes, because that money tends to be put almost completely into increased market demand (and thus serves to actively increase the profitability of making real productive investments, while diminishing the demand for loans and related financial products).

(It is far more profitable in the short term to loan someone the money to buy a car such that they have to pay you back, instead of paying them to build the car so that they can afford to buy it on their own, buy the latter leads to better long term economic health, not to mention overall greater long term profitability, however the short term returns are what primarily influence decision making, particularly when it comes to attracting individual investors who tend to care more about immediate margins than long term stability. )

Progressively taxing higher incomes both serves to reduce the amount of idle money looking for the highest margin returns and to discourage offering high salaries as compensation in favor of either deferred income instruments or other benefits, while increasing both the short term value of putting more money into low end wages and correspondingly opening up more opportunities for more productive investment to meet the rising demand from that increase in low end compensation.

Fairness doesn't enter into it. It's about preventing a natural state of market failure by aligning the actual societal costs of offering and taking high salary levels with the act of doing so, instead of allowing it to be shifted to the rest of the population in the form of the next financial bubble popping.

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edgmatt
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kmboots -

quote:
But we make those judgements anyway about poor people. "We" have decided that they don't deserve more than they have. Some have even decided that they don't need more. So it is really only the last bit that bothers you.
No we don't. I don't even really understand why you say that. Could you go into detail? (and I assure you that all 3 bother me. I can add more too....)

Tom -
quote:
We were just saying that the bottom quintile of the population gets most of the redistribution dollars. What political power do you think the poor and the homeless have, exactly?

They get a check for how much? The ~$15,000 I paid in taxes last year? Someone got bumped from 0/year to $30,000 from a check from the fed? Like I asked, how much of what the government takes in actually goes to those who need it, and allows them to spend it?

quote:
Do you believe that people who win lotteries or are born wealthy are less entitled to their money?
I won't speak for Seneca, but I am not talking about people who win the lottery. I am talking about people who have worked hard their whole lives, or who had ancestors that did so in order to provide for their kids.

I also mentioned I think taxes are necessary, and I'll add that I'm not against an unfair system, where the richer pay a little more. But I'm not pretending that that is fair, or morally just.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
They get a check for how much? The ~$15,000 I paid in taxes last year?
quote:
how much of what the government takes in actually goes to those who need it, and allows them to spend it?
For the purpose of this conversation -- namely, using income tax as a form of income redistribution -- the answer is nearly all of it. The portion of income tax that gets spent by government on things like defense obviously doesn't get handed back to the poor (except via the usual money-pump route, since defense spending injects money into the workforce in the typical way), but the complaints here about "negative tax" are specifically talking about money being taken from you and given to someone else.

----------

quote:
I won't speak for Seneca, but I am not talking about people who win the lottery. I am talking about people who have worked hard their whole lives, or who had ancestors that did so in order to provide for their kids.
How would you possibly build that into the tax code? Do you intend to somehow measure how hard someone had to work? What if someone marries into a family of hard workers and has children that, as a consequence, will never have to work hard? Do those children not deserve the tax breaks that their cousins should get by virtue of being the children of actual hard workers?

Pretending that money is a yardstick of work -- and that work is a measure of virtue -- is a complete farce. It doesn't actually add up at any stage, and is a pernicious fiction that ultimately degrades any conversation about the economy, which doesn't care how hard you or anyone else worked for what you have.

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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by edgmatt:
kmboots -

quote:
But we make those judgements anyway about poor people. "We" have decided that they don't deserve more than they have. Some have even decided that they don't need more. So it is really only the last bit that bothers you.
No we don't. I don't even really understand why you say that. Could you go into detail? (and I assure you that all 3 bother me. I can add more too....)

Tom -
quote:
We were just saying that the bottom quintile of the population gets most of the redistribution dollars. What political power do you think the poor and the homeless have, exactly?

They get a check for how much? The ~$15,000 I paid in taxes last year? Someone got bumped from 0/year to $30,000 from a check from the fed? Like I asked, how much of what the government takes in actually goes to those who need it, and allows them to spend it?

quote:
Do you believe that people who win lotteries or are born wealthy are less entitled to their money?
I won't speak for Seneca, but I am not talking about people who win the lottery. I am talking about people who have worked hard their whole lives, or who had ancestors that did so in order to provide for their kids.

I also mentioned I think taxes are necessary, and I'll add that I'm not against an unfair system, where the richer pay a little more. But I'm not pretending that that is fair, or morally just.

How is deciding that the homeless guy doesn't "deserve" more than he has different from deciding that the lottery winner (and being born rich is pretty much a lottery winner) "deserves" what he has? Or that a family scraping by doesn't need anymore than they have but hedge fund manager does "need" every penny that he has.

Don't pretend that any of it is "fair". Fair has nothing to do with it.

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scifibum
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Since this thread was started to talk about "fair share" it's difficult to keep the word "fair" out of the conversation, but I agree that fairness is a red herring when it comes to taxation. A fair tax code is impossible. You'd need an impartial judge to review every situation and decide how much a person deserves to keep and how much they should have to turn over.

If you decide to substitute "simple" for "fair" then it's easy to implement, but still not fair.

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AI Wessex
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It works the other way around. Society needs money to function, and government needs money to help make it work. I think that the complaint about fairness from conservatives is partially rooted in the belief that it's not fair for the government to take as much as they do because it doesn't spend it the way they want it spent. That argument breaks down completely when you shift the focus from one level of government to another, as from federal to state to municipal. I haven't seen anyone here complaining about their state or city taxes, even though in some states and cities they are both regressive and very (pejorative) high.

Many of the so-called federal tax reductions in recent years have reduced the amount of funding that goes to the states, and many of them have responded by increasing fees for services or raising their own sales or property taxes.

No matter how you cut it the less well off among us, particularly the poor, pay far more of their share of money that any of us would consider necessary to survive in a healthy way. But, it seems to be only the wealthy who complain.

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Seneca
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Life is not fair, and it is nigh impossible to make it so.

So we move to what is practical and what will make conditions the most desirable. What made this country great is freedom, and in that environment of freedom people felt empowered to take risks and build great economic wealth.

The more you disincentivize economic activity by punitively taxing it and telling people that no matter how hard they work, you are going to come and take from them to give to others who did not earn it, the less likely they are to have the desire to work hard, and the whole system will eventually collapse. But then, many liberals are aware of this argument and they usually either do not care, do not think it will happen in their lifetimes, or think that the threshold for what is considered unreasonable taxation is close to 100% so they think we can keep increasing taxes.

quote:
I think that the complaint about fairness from conservatives is partially rooted in the belief that it's not fair for the government to take as much as they do because it doesn't spend it the way they want it spent.
Wrong. It's not fair because it's the government taking something that isn't theirs period, it has nothing to do with "how it is spent."

quote:
That argument breaks down completely when you shift the focus from one level of government to another, as from federal to state to municipal. I haven't seen anyone here complaining about their state or city taxes, even though in some states and cities they are both regressive and very (pejorative) high.
The reason many don't complain about local or state taxes is because you are free to move away from areas that are dumb enough to have those policies. Which is part of the reason why more people are fleeing CA every year than moving into it, and also part of the reason on why many fled Detroit. Unfortunately, it is significantly harder to flee the US as a whole and there aren't many better places to go.

quote:
No matter how you cut it the less well off among us, particularly the poor, pay far more of their share of money that any of us would consider necessary to survive in a healthy way. But, it seems to be only the wealthy who complain.
Absolutely wrong. The poorest pay NEGATIVE tax, that means they pay nothing and receive huge amounts of "government transfers." The wealthiest 20% pay 92% of tax.

[ December 10, 2013, 01:25 PM: Message edited by: Seneca ]

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