Author Topic: Injustice of the Republican Tax bill  (Read 6338 times)

TheDrake

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Re: Injustice of the Republican Tax bill
« Reply #100 on: March 11, 2019, 06:25:18 PM »
The trick is in the governments benefit and intentional, why would they rectify it?

Because it would be harder for the media to use the same trick against them?

But seriously, it would be simple to rectify with a PSA campaign and a couple of talking points sent around to the cabinet and key congressional figures. If they wanted to. They could stop calling it a "refund", to begin with. Refunds sound exciting like you got something nice. They should call it an overpayment check.

A true refund is usually returned payment for poor service or quality. Hmmm. That's more valid than I thought.

Seriati

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Re: Injustice of the Republican Tax bill
« Reply #101 on: March 11, 2019, 09:36:10 PM »
I'm not going to defend a strawman.  There's no benefit to the government to upset this apple cart.  It's doing exactly what they hoped it would, it's making everyone thing the nice government is sending them fat refunds, rather than taking huge piles of their hard earned money.

Just don't fall for the trick.  If you don't know your actual tax burden, then it's hard to have a real opinion on tax policy.

Crunch

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Re: Injustice of the Republican Tax bill
« Reply #102 on: April 16, 2019, 09:23:54 AM »
Well, this thread aged well.  ;D . The New York Times: Face It: You (Probably) Got a Tax Cut

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If you’re an American taxpayer, you probably got a tax cut last year. And there’s a good chance you don’t believe it.

Ever since President Trump signed the Republican-sponsored tax bill in December 2017, independent analyses have consistently found that a large majority of Americans would owe less because of the law. Preliminary data based on tax filings has shown the same.

Why the disconnect that started this thread?

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To a large degree, the gap between perception and reality on the tax cuts appears to flow from a sustained — and misleading — effort by liberal opponents of the law to brand it as a broad middle-class tax increase.

If you think you didn't get a tax cut and should be angry, it's because you've been lied to.

Fenring

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Re: Injustice of the Republican Tax bill
« Reply #103 on: April 16, 2019, 10:30:07 AM »
Maybe you should re-read the thread's OP, Crunch. It's literally about the fact that the tax break *did* work, and that it disproportionately rewards wealthy people who don't need it. In other words, it's the same objection made about Bush Jr's tax break - that it was throwing money at the elite in a 'trickle down' fashion. Whether this charge is accurate or not I don't know, but the thread at least began about *how* it works, not whether it works.

Seriati

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Re: Injustice of the Republican Tax bill
« Reply #104 on: April 16, 2019, 12:03:56 PM »
Maybe you should re-read the thread's OP, Crunch. It's literally about the fact that the tax break *did* work, and that it disproportionately rewards wealthy people who don't need it.

Fenring, that's complete garbage.  It was a tax cut for 2/3's of all tax payers, including the vast majority of the middle class in amounts they thought were meaningful.  The portion that went to the rich is less than the proportion of the tax they paid.  In other words it "disproportionately" did not go to wealth people who don't need it.

What this actually is a masterpiece in manipulation.  The body politic has been completely convinced that a tax break that was shared by virtually all tax payers, including all tax payers in the lower and middle classes was somehow a gift to the rich. 

Not to mention after all the whining about corporate tax rate cuts (which put our rates closer to average for the first world from being the highest in the world), we have in fact generated a four fold increase in investment, massive surge in jobs (we now have more job openings than unemployed), low  unemployment numbers, including the lowest for some demographics ever and real wage growth.

So I go back to my first post.  I'm still pissed that the liars have convinced otherwise smart people that something that has been largely a universal good was somehow "unfair" and bad.  This is why we can't have nice things.

NobleHunter

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Re: Injustice of the Republican Tax bill
« Reply #105 on: April 16, 2019, 01:13:15 PM »
Speaking of universal good, how's the deficit doing?

Seriati

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Re: Injustice of the Republican Tax bill
« Reply #106 on: April 16, 2019, 01:15:17 PM »
Highest revenues in history - after the tax cuts - it's not a revenue problem that we're having it's a spending one.

Fenring

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Re: Injustice of the Republican Tax bill
« Reply #107 on: April 16, 2019, 01:50:24 PM »
Maybe you should re-read the thread's OP, Crunch. It's literally about the fact that the tax break *did* work, and that it disproportionately rewards wealthy people who don't need it.

Fenring, that's complete garbage.  It was a tax cut for 2/3's of all tax payers, including the vast majority of the middle class in amounts they thought were meaningful.  The portion that went to the rich is less than the proportion of the tax they paid.  In other words it "disproportionately" did not go to wealth people who don't need it.

You failed to include the second part of my statement in your quote, where I specifically said I was not assessing the accuracy of Greg's assertion. My point was that Crunch was framing the thread as being about how people wouldn't see tax breaks, and although there were some comments in the thread about being unsure whether they came out ahead or not, that was not the original OP purpose for the thread.

Wayward Son

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Re: Injustice of the Republican Tax bill
« Reply #108 on: April 16, 2019, 05:45:36 PM »
Highest revenues in history - after the tax cuts - it's not a revenue problem that we're having it's a spending one.

Yes, the highest ever.  A whopping 0.4 to 0.5 percent higher than FY 2017! (Depending on who you talk to.  And it was that high only because the first three months of FY 2018 were pre-tax cut.)

For comparison, FY 2017 was a mere 7.5 percent higher than 2016.

And inflation for 2018 was 2.44 percent.

So tell me about this "spending problem" we're having.  :)

Seriati

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Re: Injustice of the Republican Tax bill
« Reply #109 on: April 17, 2019, 10:37:41 AM »
Maybe you should re-read the thread's OP, Crunch. It's literally about the fact that the tax break *did* work, and that it disproportionately rewards wealthy people who don't need it.

Fenring, that's complete garbage.  It was a tax cut for 2/3's of all tax payers, including the vast majority of the middle class in amounts they thought were meaningful.  The portion that went to the rich is less than the proportion of the tax they paid.  In other words it "disproportionately" did not go to wealth people who don't need it.

You failed to include the second part of my statement in your quote, where I specifically said I was not assessing the accuracy of Greg's assertion. My point was that Crunch was framing the thread as being about how people wouldn't see tax breaks, and although there were some comments in the thread about being unsure whether they came out ahead or not, that was not the original OP purpose for the thread.

You could also go back and look at my first post, where I directly confronted Greg on the OP of the thread.  The purpose seemed to be to encourage the class envy meme by phrasing what's just a logical fact - people who pay lots of taxes will always get bigger (by absolute value) tax cuts as if it were the same thing as a "disproportionate" benefit from the tax cut.  That's just not true, which is exactly what my post above addressed.  The benefits to the "rich" here were less than their proportion of the tax payment, ergo it was "disproportionately" biased against them.

This idea that something is "fair" only if it punishes the rich is nonsensical.  We can certainly agree that "no one" pays more than 10% and it be fair, or that everyone pay 90% and it be fair.  But what makes something fair? 

If we're all citizens shouldn't we all have a tax burden?  No matter what you answer the way our tax laws work is unfair.  Federal income tax law pretty much exempts the poor, even gives them "negative tax liabilities" through refundable credits.  And yet that's what this whine is about?

Meanwhile, we're complaining about preserving state and local taxes, which are where the true master minds in the soak the poor strategy operate.  Before you go to bat here, remember that virtually every regressive tax is state law, sales tax, "sin" tax, "soda" taxes, gas tax, property taxes, a huge host of fees.  Sure the feds get in on the game on occasion (social security - though they do provide a direct benefit connected to this, phone taxes), but the vast majority of the taxes on the poor are from state legislators (and blue state legislatures really push the envelope here) putting a lie to the idea of progressive tax dream.

Highest revenues in history - after the tax cuts - it's not a revenue problem that we're having it's a spending one.

Yes, the highest ever.  A whopping 0.4 to 0.5 percent higher than FY 2017! (Depending on who you talk to.  And it was that high only because the first three months of FY 2018 were pre-tax cut.)

For comparison, FY 2017 was a mere 7.5 percent higher than 2016.

And inflation for 2018 was 2.44 percent.

So tell me about this "spending problem" we're having.  :)

Lol, in no world do I agree that an increase year on year in federal tax revenue from an already excessive level should ever be 7.5%.   The idea that you seem to be proud of that result is troubling to me.

But yes, the fact that they are more, even a by a trivial amount, pretty much makes a lie of the idea that the tax cuts were a disaster for federal revenues.  Were you really happier with "increasing revenues" and a dragging economy, less jobs and no real wage growth? 

It's a spending problem.  The government budget should be capped and only allowed to increase at inflation.  Make the government make cuts and prioritize.

For too long we've let Congress get away with an abdication of responsible government.  They don't make 95% of our laws, which they delegated to the executive branch through administrative regulation.  They don't make any choices on the budget, unable to cut anything because of the cost with their voters.  All we elect is spoiled children and we have given them unlimited credit lines to spend on buying their future voters.

Yes, we have a spending problem.

Let's run a simple thought experiment.  if we doubled our revenue, how long till our expenses exceeded our new revenue level?  Bet you not even 5 years.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2019, 10:41:53 AM by Seriati »

Wayward Son

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Re: Injustice of the Republican Tax bill
« Reply #110 on: April 17, 2019, 11:21:18 AM »
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Lol, in no world do I agree that an increase year on year in federal tax revenue from an already excessive level should ever be 7.5%.   The idea that you seem to be proud of that result is troubling to me.

You seem to be conflating revenue with a tax increase.  Revenue is based on how much people make in a given year.  If the economy is good (at Trump supporters constantly tout), then revenues should be up, with no change in the tax rate.  Or are you saying that if you make $10,000 more in year, paying taxes on that is more of a burden to you than if you hadn't made that money?  ???

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But yes, the fact that they are more, even a by a trivial amount, pretty much makes a lie of the idea that the tax cuts were a disaster for federal revenues.  Were you really happier with "increasing revenues" and a dragging economy, less jobs and no real wage growth?
 

You make irrelevant objections.  The economy was growing quite well in 2017 with the old tax rates.  That is why the revenue increased by 7.5%.  There would have been decreasing revenue if the economy was dragging and there were fewer jobs.  So we can have, and should expect, increasing revenues with a robust economy, more jobs, and real wage growth.

And from what I've read, the only reason there was a trivial increase was because of the first three months in FY2018, which were under the old tax rates.  So while you're touting how there was still an increase in tax revenues in spite of the tax cuts, in actual fact there was a decrease in revenues once those tax cuts began.  You should be (and probably soon will be) defending how less revenue is a wonderful thing for our country, rather than saying that the tax cuts had no significant effect.

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It's a spending problem.  The government budget should be capped and only allowed to increase at inflation.  Make the government make cuts and prioritize.

And yet the increase in revenue didn't keep up with inflation.  So it didn't even satisfy that minimum increase you allowed.

And are you saying that Trump's proposal to increase spending on the military is irresponsible?  Or how about his increase in building a border wall?  There's an area where the Democrats tried to cap spending to previous levels, and the Republicans were screaming at them for it.  Why is that?  Aren't budget considerations paramount?

If there are areas where there should be cuts, then get your representatives that you voted for to make those cuts.  But if you think they should make mandatory cuts, then programs you think are important--even ones you might believe are because of a "national emergency"--are going to have to get cut, too. 

As any surgeon will tell you, if you aren't careful about where you cut, you're going to cut muscles and bone along with the fat.  Mandatory cuts are like telling a surgeon how much to cut, regardless of how much he can cut.

TheDrake

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Re: Injustice of the Republican Tax bill
« Reply #111 on: April 17, 2019, 11:59:12 AM »
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You could also go back and look at my first post, where I directly confronted Greg on the OP of the thread.  The purpose seemed to be to encourage the class envy meme by phrasing what's just a logical fact - people who pay lots of taxes will always get bigger (by absolute value) tax cuts as if it were the same thing as a "disproportionate" benefit from the tax cut.  That's just not true, which is exactly what my post above addressed.  The benefits to the "rich" here were less than their proportion of the tax payment, ergo it was "disproportionately" biased against them.

There's no way this is a blanket true statement. You can raise the standard deduction - net change for lower income in a positive direction. No impact on high income people with itemized deductions. You can change the marginal tax rate in a middle bracket, that leaves it

I understand that philosophically, if one thinks that a flat tax is the most fair system, anything that moves the code in that direction is "more fair". If one believes there should be a progressive system, then there's a lot more open to debate.

I won't try to have that debate again, I don't think anyone is about to move from their positions on fairness from the original discussion.

Seriati

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Re: Injustice of the Republican Tax bill
« Reply #112 on: April 17, 2019, 12:48:41 PM »
There's no way this is a blanket true statement. You can raise the standard deduction - net change for lower income in a positive direction.

They doubled the standard deduction.  Hmmm..

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No impact on high income people with itemized deductions.

And yet, they also capped several of those deductions that "high income people" with itemized deductions used.  So, by this standard they actually disproportionately targeted high income people, didn't they?

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You can change the marginal tax rate in a middle bracket, that leaves it

They did this too, they lowered the rates on the lowest brackets, they made those brackets far larger than they were, which means literally and directly, they lowered taxes on everyone in the lowest and middle brackets.

Heck they even gave a gift to the upper middle class/lower upper class (far far from the 1%'ers, but literally the urban professionals hardest hit by the SALT limitation) by moving the bottom of the AMT to something like $650k from where it's been, around $150k.  I mean honestly, working in NYC, I've had to pay the AMT since I was 3 years out of school because of "abusive exemptions" (the only material exemption I had for almost a decade was NY state tax).  The AMT eliminated the SALT tax exemption, 100% of it, not just limiting it to $10k.

And one of the bigger changes (that the media has repeatedly failed to note) is that amended the long term capital gain rules to prevent investment managers from getting that tax treatment (the one that let Warren Buffet pay a lower rate than his secretary, supposedly) on carried interest for positions held less than 3 years (up from 1 year).  That may not sound like a bunch, but it actually was a big difference.

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I understand that philosophically, if one thinks that a flat tax is the most fair system, anything that moves the code in that direction is "more fair". If one believes there should be a progressive system, then there's a lot more open to debate.

You don't understand the philosophy.  I don't believe in a flat tax, I believe in a progressive system, I just don't believe that abusing anyone -including the rich - is fair.  I 100% believe that government is too large and is taking too much money to spend on things that the body politic really doesn't want or need, but that benefit certain interests that help to get politicians elected.  Corruption in spending is the MODEL not the exception and there's absolutely no reason we should be supporting paying more taxes to prop it up.

I also happen to believe that Democrats (politicians) are lying hypocrites on this issue.  Every state they control has MASSIVE regress taxes (lest there's confusion, those are taxes that burden the poor more than the rich), that they justify by reference to high minded goals.  Gas tax?  Overwhelming harms the poor, makes every economic activity in which they participate take more of their disposable income.  Justified to help the environment (notice the state actually spending that money on the environment or the poor?).

Sales tax?  In some states that an 8.5% additional income tax on most every thing purchased.  Hits the poor way harder than the rich, heck for some people its one of the primary taxes they pay.  Why is it there -at all- because of a dirty secret, there are a lot of poor people and a lot of middle class people, they far outnumber the wealthy, they buy most of the merchandise.

Sin tax?  Why is it legal to sell addictive products and then force the addicts to bear a punitive tax?  Better yet, why is the government declaring these sins?

You know what's coming - it's literally only a matter of time - some kind of transactional taxes on Apps, they are going to want to get their hooks into every click.

Fenring

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Re: Injustice of the Republican Tax bill
« Reply #113 on: April 17, 2019, 12:52:58 PM »
You could also go back and look at my first post, where I directly confronted Greg on the OP of the thread.  The purpose seemed to be to encourage the class envy meme by phrasing what's just a logical fact - people who pay lots of taxes will always get bigger (by absolute value) tax cuts as if it were the same thing as a "disproportionate" benefit from the tax cut.  That's just not true, which is exactly what my post above addressed.  The benefits to the "rich" here were less than their proportion of the tax payment, ergo it was "disproportionately" biased against them.

This idea that something is "fair" only if it punishes the rich is nonsensical.  We can certainly agree that "no one" pays more than 10% and it be fair, or that everyone pay 90% and it be fair.  But what makes something fair? 

Dude, your reply here is really reactionary. You're punching against the wind. I was making no argument of any kind about what's fair or whether Greg is right or wrong. I was correcting Crunch as to what the thread was about, and that's it.

As any surgeon will tell you, if you aren't careful about where you cut, you're going to cut muscles and bone along with the fat.  Mandatory cuts are like telling a surgeon how much to cut, regardless of how much he can cut.

Entitlements and bureaucratic fat are really the death of a system. These things build up only, and are never cut, often for the reasons you cite. Under this kind of thinking there would be no cutting ever, for fear of 'hitting meat', and every problem would instead of gently massaged and then forgotten. I'm sure surgeons would enjoy being able to rub their patient a little instead of having to do all that hard and bloody work, but then again, it stops being enjoyable when the patient starts bleeding interally and then dies.

Seriati

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Re: Injustice of the Republican Tax bill
« Reply #114 on: April 17, 2019, 01:39:52 PM »
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Lol, in no world do I agree that an increase year on year in federal tax revenue from an already excessive level should ever be 7.5%.   The idea that you seem to be proud of that result is troubling to me.

You seem to be conflating revenue with a tax increase.  Revenue is based on how much people make in a given year.  If the economy is good (at Trump supporters constantly tout), then revenues should be up, with no change in the tax rate.  Or are you saying that if you make $10,000 more in year, paying taxes on that is more of a burden to you than if you hadn't made that money?  ???

You seem to be confused by logic.  Trump told you that his tax cuts would be good for the economy and promote growth, which you all poo poo'ed, and then it turned out true.  He told you it was a tax cut for the masses, which your politicians lied about, and then it turned out true.  He told you it wouldn't lead to a massive decline in revenue, which pretty much you guys said was untrue, and again it turned out he was right

And now your complaint is that, even though tax revenues increased, even though the economy massively improved, even though the Fed tried to slow it down (without good cause and excessively) that taxes (in total) didn't go up enough?

Lol, we got a tax break, ergo revenues will not be at the level they would have been if we hadn't, if you assume that the economy would magically have grown by the same extent.  However, you seem to grossly misunderstand the point and impact of a tax break and the argument that tax breaks lead to a growing economy.  This is one of those things the left frequently does, assume that the results are independent from the decisions that lead to them, this is why they keep advocating for socialism, notwithstanding the absolutely disaster its been in practice.

Oh well, I guess when you're in deep enough denial and nonsense is the only course left.

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You make irrelevant objections.  The economy was growing quite well in 2017 with the old tax rates.  That is why the revenue increased by 7.5%.  There would have been decreasing revenue if the economy was dragging and there were fewer jobs.  So we can have, and should expect, increasing revenues with a robust economy, more jobs, and real wage growth.

Lol.  The economy started growing faster the second Trump replaced Obama.  Everyone in business knew exactly the direction of what would happen with a pro growth President instead of anti-growth one.

You seem to think it was "magic" and not increased optimism that the regulatory burden would be lifted.  Not to mention that the tax law itself was in negotiation in 2017, and well known, or that a lot of wealthy people deliberately moved income into 2017 to take as big an advantage of expiring and easy to manipulate deductions as they could.

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And yet the increase in revenue didn't keep up with inflation.  So it didn't even satisfy that minimum increase you allowed.

That's from an accurate budget, which we don't have.  Frankly the government should be on a harsh diet until we get to a reasonable budget, then it should it be pegged to inflation.

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And are you saying that Trump's proposal to increase spending on the military is irresponsible?  Or how about his increase in building a border wall?  There's an area where the Democrats tried to cap spending to previous levels, and the Republicans were screaming at them for it.  Why is that?  Aren't budget considerations paramount?

Total budget sure.  Looks like spending is $4.7 trillion proposed for 2019.  Is $5b for a wall material in that?  Not at all, and it's an important one.  How about we trim from the "automatic" increase policy?  Not to mention, the Fed's decision to raise the Fed funds rate excessively (delaying any part of that, or simply doing only reasonable increases, could have easily paid for a wall).  In fact, I seemed to have pointed out at the time that the extra revenue from a delay could have been used to reduce the debt.  I don't seem to recall you backing me on that.  Do you care about the deficit?

How about, as a fun thing, we think about zero base budgeting.  The federal government is in fact required to provide for the common defense, it's one of the things that it is legitimately required to do.

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If there are areas where there should be cuts, then get your representatives that you voted for to make those cuts.  But if you think they should make mandatory cuts, then programs you think are important--even ones you might believe are because of a "national emergency"--are going to have to get cut, too.

Why is that?  Do you really think $4.7 TRILLION is not enough to fund important programs?  That we have no waste?  How much do we really need to spend on a federal government (keep in mind we're also funding 50 state governments, and countless city and county governments some with very large budgets of their own).  The federal government is gonna eat 21% of the GDP, that's really something else. 

How about, and here's one, we double or even triple the staff budgets of Congress so they can actually the make the laws for the country and cut the legislative function from the administrative agencies?  That'd probably save a 1000 to 1 on costs.

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As any surgeon will tell you, if you aren't careful about where you cut, you're going to cut muscles and bone along with the fat.  Mandatory cuts are like telling a surgeon how much to cut, regardless of how much he can cut.

That's totally true, but what would a surgeon even do with a human patient that weighed 200,000 pounds?

So instead let's talk realistically.  If you are on a 10,000 calorie a day diet and you're not Michael Phelps, your problem isn't really lack of "exercise," it's overeating.  When the government is spending so much money on so many things it doesn't need to be doing, and simultaneously managing to ignore real things that do need doing - like upgrading bridges, roads, mass transit, securing the borders - the idea that we have a revenue problem is special kind of nonsense.

We have a corruption problem.  Specifically, we keep electing politicians whose primary interest is using our common resources to ensure their own re-election.  No easy fix for it with a poorly educated public who's been taught to "think" with their emotions rather than logic.  Not even term limits, as the incentive would change to create soft landings.  But for sure, just increasing revenues so they can spend more corruptly in their own interest without making any hard choices is not the answer.

Seriati

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Re: Injustice of the Republican Tax bill
« Reply #115 on: April 17, 2019, 01:43:12 PM »
Dude, your reply here is really reactionary. You're punching against the wind. I was making no argument of any kind about what's fair or whether Greg is right or wrong. I was correcting Crunch as to what the thread was about, and that's it.

My bad, I did misread you!  I've always viewed this thread  as little more than a propaganda thread spreading a bit of malicious falsehood.  Not lies mind you, just a twist on interpretation that's fundamentally misleading.

Crunch

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Re: Injustice of the Republican Tax bill
« Reply #116 on: April 17, 2019, 06:35:33 PM »
Speaking of universal good, how's the deficit doing?

Wait, are we worried about the deficit again? We haven't worried about that since ... well, since 2008.

Crunch

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Re: Injustice of the Republican Tax bill
« Reply #117 on: April 17, 2019, 06:38:17 PM »
Maybe you should re-read the thread's OP, Crunch. It's literally about the fact that the tax break *did* work, and that it disproportionately rewards wealthy people who don't need it. In other words, it's the same objection made about Bush Jr's tax break - that it was throwing money at the elite in a 'trickle down' fashion. Whether this charge is accurate or not I don't know, but the thread at least began about *how* it works, not whether it works.

And the point is, it did work for the vast majority of taxpayers. The idea of "people who don't need it" is immoral. The fact is, most of those that pay taxes got a cut. It's a pretty basic truth that the more you pay, the more you got a cut. It's really hard to cut the taxes of someone paying only a few percent.

Fenring

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Re: Injustice of the Republican Tax bill
« Reply #118 on: April 17, 2019, 08:28:48 PM »
The idea of "people who don't need it" is immoral.

Heh. This is one of those few topics that may actually trigger me. I'll refrain from debating this point with you, but yeah, I think most reasonable people recognize that no one "needs" millions or billions of dollars. The question of course is whether they're entitled to it. That gets us into "entitled", which many equate with "earned." What is 'earned', then? Benefited from a system that facilitated and enabled the earning. What "system"? Ah. That's the question. Once we open up how the system works and who fuels it we could get closer to defining "entitled". Until then - agree to disagree!

TheDrake

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Re: Injustice of the Republican Tax bill
« Reply #119 on: April 18, 2019, 10:52:07 AM »
The idea of "people who don't need it" is immoral.

Heh. This is one of those few topics that may actually trigger me. I'll refrain from debating this point with you, but yeah, I think most reasonable people recognize that no one "needs" millions or billions of dollars. The question of course is whether they're entitled to it. That gets us into "entitled", which many equate with "earned." What is 'earned', then? Benefited from a system that facilitated and enabled the earning. What "system"? Ah. That's the question. Once we open up how the system works and who fuels it we could get closer to defining "entitled". Until then - agree to disagree!

There are definitely people who don't deserve it, especially those who inherited it.

Seriati

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Re: Injustice of the Republican Tax bill
« Reply #120 on: April 18, 2019, 11:38:16 AM »
There are definitely people who don't deserve it, especially those who inherited it.

I'm guessing you don't have children.  Hard to imagine you would and that you'd believe your own kids don't deserve what you worked your whole life to give them.  Or is it only "rich kids" whose parents are morally wrong to give them things?

TheDrake

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Re: Injustice of the Republican Tax bill
« Reply #121 on: April 18, 2019, 11:54:57 AM »
People can give gifts whenever they want. The parents deserve and have the right to do what they wish. To embrace the idea of meritocracy, however, one should earn one's own wealth and not have it handed to them.

To expand on that:

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Perhaps in a culture of rational individualism, this might change in one respect: if people begin leaving bequests to heirs chosen for their merit, and not their genetic relation to the giver, perhaps then wealth would accumulate across chains of heirs over time. But the result in that case would not be plutocracy, but a society characterized by the pyramid of ability.

Fenring

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Re: Injustice of the Republican Tax bill
« Reply #122 on: April 18, 2019, 02:17:27 PM »
To embrace the idea of meritocracy, however, one should earn one's own wealth and not have it handed to them.

Ay, there's the rub: what is "earn"? I refrained above from getting into it, but I could at least give a bit of an illustration of how loaded a term "earn" is. For instance if all it means is "acquired without breaking the law" then we have a boundary so wide that it doesn't even including terms like "deserve" and "entitled to" in it, and merely means that for whatever reason the law didn't disqualify that method. If we're going to get any more specific than "legal" we need to define what the terms of merit are in the first place.

So let's take apart what money is: for the most part it means nothing more than the agreement for laborors to employ themselves on a task. Owning money essentially means that you are entitled to labor; or the fruits of that labor, which amounts to roughly the same thing. There are exceptions, for instance land, which cannot be created. But for any good or service that can be created 'from nothing' and requires only the will to do it, money means labor. This premise is becoming less true over time the more automation replaces labor, but let's leave that off for a moment, as throughout history labor power was the chief definition of what wealth was. Now a robot can be a means of production that excludes humans, and indeed that change is going to dramatically alter the definition of money (whether that definition was understood or not). We will no doubt have to shift to a rationing system rather than an earning system the more production resides entirely in robots; but let's get back to the topic.

As we know, wealth is what generates further wealth. And investment can pay dividends; the lack of an investment cannot. Labor (which is the physical manifestation of wealth in most cases) can also pay dividends, but requires practical application to generate that wealth; i.e. you have to actually do it each time. Wealth itself, i.e. the promise to repay labor, can generate its own dividends without the owner actually having to do the labor. That this is how commerce has worked for ages should mean that it comes as no surprise to know that owning the means of labor means owning the labor, and therefore the ability to generate more wealth (i.e. agreement by people that they will work). Slavery in the past was a common type of wealth where the possession was actually the labor itself; but now that this type of ownership is illegal we have only a placeholder for labor that we can own - money. But imagine for the moment that this is only a question of framing, because in practice money is almost exactly the same as slavery functionally (not morally): you own the money, you send it out, and it earns wealth for you, with of course the possibility that it will 'mess up' and cost you money, just as laborers sent out to repair a house might damage it instead and cost you more labor in the future (i.e. more money). These 'slaves', monies, sit in accounts, funds, invested or used, and work for you as slaves would, doing labor in proxy of you so that you don't have to. Of course, if you additionally do labor of your own the fruits of that are added to those of your monies to more benefit.

But now to put into perspective why I should speak of money as a slave, imagine a slave-owner having at his disposal 10 slaves, whom he sends out to do various labors, while the owner sits at home relaxing, and after some time period they have constructed a building, which the owner now owns. Would it be proper - even grammatically! - to say that the owner "earned" that new building? Well, we might well argue that the slaves had to be invested in and therefore this was a risk whose final benefit was the building; a payoff for risk and investment. But suppose now that the owner had previously had nothing, and did nothing, and now was awarded 10 slaves for no reason - a gift, inheritance, whatever. And these slaves built that same building: would you say the owner "earned" that new possession? Or would you rather suppose that since the slaves were unearned, that therefore all subsequent fruits of their labor are likewise unearned, especially as the owner wasn't required to participate in its construction? Ah but now we get into a touchy subject of what "earned" is supposed to mean. But it's worse than that when the slaves come from a combination of gifts, inheritance, lawful purchase, and indeed if the owner contributes his own work into the process, then how should we ever be able to determine what was earned and what was something more like a gift of fate, dropping into the lap of someone gratis? We could here distinguish between people who would sqander that gift, versus those that would use it wisely, and there is something to discuss there as well; but is the merit to employ something you didn't earn a manner of "transforming" the unearned into that which is earned? But then we'd be talking of something extra-capitalistic, because that system of economics cannot speak to the moral characteristics of a mere 'thing' or capital good; it can only assess who owns it and what the law is.

Translate all of this back into money and it gets worse, because tracking the original of particular monies is far muddier than tracking the origin of particular human slaves. Where did it 'originate from'? Was it 'earned' in the first place, in any intelligible sense? Or if 'earned' just means 'got ahold of it somehow within the law', does "earned" really have any moral siginificance as TheDrake would have it, such that really 'earning something' has an aspect of The Good about it, and therefore a natural right associated with it? Whence is the origin or that earning? Where do the mechanisms come from that facilitiate that earning, that are not only out of the control of the one doing the earning, but in fact wherein he finds himself utterly dependent on that system in order to be able to do anything? Where is the value established towards that system itself, enabling him to utilize 'monies' as personal servants, doing labor for him for profit? To what does the earner owe the system for the benefits it generates? To what does he owe the origin of his monies - his laborers if you will? 

These, and many others, are sticky issues, and the definitional questions they generate are legion. It is a good topic to discuss, but not a good one to quickly gloss over or to presume can be summed up quickly in simple moral terms. Rather, it's a massive quagmire that has to my satisfaction never been defined properly, and what's more, this muddiness in definition assists those who have to obscure from those who have not what it is that's actually going on. And no, I'm not calling foul on the 1% when I say this; I'm talking about basic systemtic structure here, not revolution.
« Last Edit: April 18, 2019, 02:24:57 PM by Fenring »

Pete at Home

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Re: Injustice of the Republican Tax bill
« Reply #123 on: April 23, 2019, 09:17:43 PM »
If a Democrat President like Hillary committed America to unnecessary wars as a form of military corporate welfare, I would absolutely be strongly critical.


She did just that as foreign secretary, no? Killing the Haitian minimum wage hike, supporting the plutocratic genocidal coup in Honduras, etc?

I agree on the horrific tax bill.

Pete at Home

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Re: Injustice of the Republican Tax bill
« Reply #124 on: April 23, 2019, 09:32:24 PM »
Dude, your reply here is really reactionary. You're punching against the wind. I was making no argument of any kind about what's fair or whether Greg is right or wrong. I was correcting Crunch as to what the thread was about, and that's it.

My bad, I did misread you!  I've always viewed this thread  as little more than a propaganda thread spreading a bit of malicious falsehood.  Not lies mind you, just a twist on interpretation that's fundamentally misleading.

How do you accuse someone of being "maliciously" fundamentally misleading without popping your dishonesty cork?  And all without any actual factual references that Greg allegedly misleads us from?

Whether a system designed to make the rich richer is unjust is a matter of philosophy and semantics and cannot justify terms like "misleading."


What I do find misleading is the right wing argument that making income taxation flat while ignoring all the other highly regressive forms of government revenue, somehow constitutes fair taxation. ALL taxation and revenue must account before anyone should blather about fairness.  Look at what percentage of income at different socioeconomic levels is being spent at the government's discretion rather than the individual.

Pete at Home

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Re: Injustice of the Republican Tax bill
« Reply #125 on: April 24, 2019, 12:06:31 AM »
There are definitely people who don't deserve it, especially those who inherited it.

I'm guessing you don't have children.  Hard to imagine you would and that you'd believe your own kids don't deserve what you worked your whole life to give them.  Or is it only "rich kids" whose parents are morally wrong to give them things?


Can you point to a rich billionaire paren't who made all his money by "working hard his entire life" -- say harder than the 90th percentile of say vegetarians, who make on average 25000 per year?

TheDeamon

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Re: Injustice of the Republican Tax bill
« Reply #126 on: April 24, 2019, 02:07:22 AM »
There are definitely people who don't deserve it, especially those who inherited it.

I'm guessing you don't have children.  Hard to imagine you would and that you'd believe your own kids don't deserve what you worked your whole life to give them.  Or is it only "rich kids" whose parents are morally wrong to give them things?


Can you point to a rich billionaire paren't who made all his money by "working hard his entire life" -- say harder than the 90th percentile of say vegetarians, who make on average 25000 per year?

Jeff Bezos, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg(can be debated on "worked hard" but it wasn't dropped in his lap by mom and dad either).

I think Elton Musk likely qualifies, and those are just off-hand.

Oh, for an older deceased example: J. R. Simplot and Sam Walton.

Pete at Home

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Re: Injustice of the Republican Tax bill
« Reply #127 on: April 24, 2019, 05:33:11 AM »
The question was not merely who worked hard at some point but who slaved away for decades. The phrase was worked hard all his life.

Sam Walton might be said to have worked hard all his life for his fortune. Clearly none of the young billionaires did. Money making is more a matter of fluff and bluff than hard work at that level.

Crunch

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Re: Injustice of the Republican Tax bill
« Reply #128 on: April 24, 2019, 09:15:00 AM »
The question was not merely who worked hard at some point but who slaved away for decades. The phrase was worked hard all his life.

Sam Walton might be said to have worked hard all his life for his fortune. Clearly none of the young billionaires did. Money making is more a matter of fluff and bluff than hard work at that level.

Yeah,but, getting to that level is phenomenally difficult. If it wasn’t, we’d all be billionaires.

Crunch

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Re: Injustice of the Republican Tax bill
« Reply #129 on: April 24, 2019, 09:23:05 AM »
There are definitely people who don't deserve it, especially those who inherited it.

I'm guessing you don't have children.  Hard to imagine you would and that you'd believe your own kids don't deserve what you worked your whole life to give them.  Or is it only "rich kids" whose parents are morally wrong to give them things?


Can you point to a rich billionaire paren't who made all his money by "working hard his entire life" -- say harder than the 90th percentile of say vegetarians, who make on average 25000 per year?

Michael Dell. Built from nothing in his dorm room. There’s tons of what wewould call wealthy people that built their wealth from nothing, read “The Millionaire Next Door”.


And this idea of deciding who “deserves” their wealth, who gets to decide who deserves their money and who doesn’t? This is a petty framework based on envy and bitterness which sets up the launching pad to steal their wealth. Instead of demanding better from our elected officials, we should demand better of each other.

ScottF

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Re: Injustice of the Republican Tax bill
« Reply #130 on: April 24, 2019, 10:21:59 AM »
I'd put Cuban in that same category (not sure if he was mentioned earlier). Does success breed success, and capital allow you to generate more capital? Of course.

The comment that making money is "...a matter of fluff and bluff " probably feels right for those who never have.

Seriati

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Re: Injustice of the Republican Tax bill
« Reply #131 on: April 24, 2019, 10:36:24 AM »
My bad, I did misread you!  I've always viewed this thread  as little more than a propaganda thread spreading a bit of malicious falsehood.  Not lies mind you, just a twist on interpretation that's fundamentally misleading.

How do you accuse someone of being "maliciously" fundamentally misleading without popping your dishonesty cork?

I thought it was already clear, I think the architects of the tax story (i.e., the DNC and Dem politicians) that the cuts did not provide a middle class tax cut and "disproportionately" favored the rich were acting maliciously.  I still do.  Those politicians sold an actual lie for no reason other than politics.

I view this thread as spreading that tale.  I think we are all guilty of repeating talking points without holding the premises up to the light.  On this one, ANYONE could have looked at the rates and the change to the standard deduction and using basic math understood that the claims were a lie.

Anyone who did read a story about how the tax cuts were a lie because refunds were down saw a blatant lie being propagated.

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And all without any actual factual references that Greg allegedly misleads us from?

This is not the first thread on this topic.  I actually walked through concrete examples under the rates on one.  I walked through a lot of the reasons why the "story" was untrue above.  I gave my own "concrete example" as someone that this reform was targetted to not help (ie, someone with a SALT deduction) and showed that it came out largely neutral.

Which proposition exactly do you need support on?  Depending on which source you look at, it was reported that over 80% saw a meaningful tax reduction (and the proportion that saw some reduction was even higher).

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Whether a system designed to make the rich richer is unjust is a matter of philosophy and semantics and cannot justify terms like "misleading."

Telling a false story, that a tax cut hurt the middle class, when it directly lowered the taxes of every lower and middle class tax payer to build your case is in fact misleading and untrue.

Reasonable people could disagree about whether the benefits on the top of the income scale should have been less, but that is really about a policy position.  The right believes (and the growing economy and business investment levels seem to prove) that reducing the yoke of taxes on corporations and high earners (not eliminate, reduce) has positive impact on the economy.  And really there's no basis for a counter argument that higher taxes spur growth - I'm not aware of any facts that show that.

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What I do find misleading is the right wing argument that making income taxation flat while ignoring all the other highly regressive forms of government revenue, somehow constitutes fair taxation.

Then maybe actually read my arguments above where I spent entire paragraphs criticizing the regressive taxes that the states impose.  The federal tax system is progressive, the states are regressive (and particularly the blue states). 

Show me anywhere that I've made a serious case for a flat tax.

TheDrake

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Re: Injustice of the Republican Tax bill
« Reply #132 on: April 24, 2019, 11:08:08 AM »
Some billionaires have had massive positive impacts. Ted Turner comes to mind, Bill gates, etc. I doubt they could have had the same impact if they were subject to the old 90% bracket.

yossarian22c

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Re: Injustice of the Republican Tax bill
« Reply #133 on: April 24, 2019, 11:41:39 AM »
Some billionaires have had massive positive impacts. Ted Turner comes to mind, Bill gates, etc. I doubt they could have had the same impact if they were subject to the old 90% bracket.

Actually since most of their wealth came from stock value growth, they don't pay any taxes on it until they actually sell the stock. I think Gates seeded his foundation with some cash but also with just lots of shares of Microsoft. Giving the shares directly allows him to avoid ever paying taxes on the wealth he acquired. He also is likely able to deduct the value of the stock he gave from his regular income taxes. I'm no tax lawyer but I'm guessing if he really wanted to he could set it up in such a way so his income tax bill ends up amounting to zero every year.

Pete at Home

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Re: Injustice of the Republican Tax bill
« Reply #134 on: April 24, 2019, 12:02:42 PM »
Are you angry yet?

I just plugged my data from 2017 into the 2018 version of TurboTax to see what the Republican Tax Law does to the income of those in the 1%. There's still two provisions that TurboTax says that the IRS has not finalized their determination, so this is approximate. The difference is a savings of $13,600. Note that  includes a provision aimed primarily against wealthy Blue states that limits deductions for state taxes to $10K - if I came from a lower-tax state than California, the net benefit of the tax law to someone with my income would be $22,400.

So all of you who voted for President Trump and the Republicans in 2016 - how much are you saving on your tax bill this year? Do you think that this tax cut primarily aimed at the wealthy was a good idea? Do you still?

And this is income tax savings - don't forget that by cutting Corporate tax rates by 1/3rd, everyone who owns stock got about a  9% increase in the value of their portfolio. For my retirement account, that's about another 100K.

Of course, this tax cut has ballooned the deficit by $300B+ in just the first year (and that's when the economy is doing well - it will be disastrous when the economy slows).

Okay, any of you Republican voters angry yet? Because this was by far the single greatest impact that the Republicans elected in 2016 had on the country - this is what you got for your vote. And don't blame me - I voted (and donated) to stop injustice such as this.

Seriati, here's the op to this thread. I see no denial here that the middle class got a tax break.

I don't deny your proposition that other threads and DNC ads may contain malicious falsehoods aka lies. (Can we agree that malicious falsehood and lie mean the same ?) but here Greg starts out with his own tax analysis, so your segway seems misleading (though not maliciously so.)

When I gave an example of a dishonest argument from the right re taxation I did not impute it to you.  I haven't seen you ever use that moronic argument that the poor aren't paying their share. 

I see taxation as an undesirable necessity.  We should tax the rich and not the poor because it's simply less harmful to tax a small group of their luxuries than a large group of their necessities.  Back when America could have been considered great, the rich accepted this burden and didn't botch incessantly about unfairness. 

Seriati: And really there's no basis for a counter argument that higher taxes spur growth -

Agreed. The power to tax is the power to destroy.


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Then maybe actually read my arguments above where I spent entire paragraphs criticizing the regressive taxes that the states impose

Will do. I started reading this thread at the beginning and haven't worked through it yet.  I concur that regression occurs at the state (and I would add local) level and look forward to your sources showing that blue states are the worst Regressors. From your wording I suspect you haven't accounted for fines and fees and forced "education" mandates and other bubba Gimmies in the criminal code; Georgia and Nevada do a lot of those. I would even weigh unsubsidized school book costs.
« Last Edit: April 24, 2019, 12:16:43 PM by Pete at Home »

Pete at Home

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Re: Injustice of the Republican Tax bill
« Reply #135 on: April 24, 2019, 12:27:43 PM »
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I view this thread as spreading that tale

Is your view backed up by any actual quote from the OP where that tale appears in any part?

Where Greg seems to be coming from is an outrage that the richest are getting tax breaks at a time that (1) the poor are getting poorer and (2)  the middle class are shrinking.  Do you disagree with those assessments and how could Greg or anyone make those points without getting obfuscated with DNC arguments on other topics?

Pete at Home

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Re: Injustice of the Republican Tax bill
« Reply #136 on: April 24, 2019, 12:33:02 PM »
Trying to think of what a GOP dominated 3rd might do to exploit and expose the blue state taxation scheme that you describe and the best I have so far is sic the CDC on the matter.  If guns are a "disease" then why can't regressive taxation also be so classified. :)