the trailboss abuses his CodeRanch power for his other stuff (power corrupts. absolute power corrupts absolutely is kinda neat!)
permaculture light bulbs permaculture electric heat permaculture cast iron permaculture wood burning stove permaculture solar food dehydrators
The moose likes Meaningless Drivel and the fly likes Tax Time Big Moose Saloon
  Search | Java FAQ | Recent Topics | Flagged Topics | Hot Topics | Zero Replies
Register / Login
JavaRanch » Java Forums » Other » Meaningless Drivel
Bookmark "Tax Time" Watch "Tax Time" New topic
Author

Tax Time

Paul Stevens
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 17, 2001
Posts: 2823
Originally posted by Thomas Paul:
You say you don't have an interest in the correct number. Yet you are willing to let politicians spin the numbers.
It seems to me that it was some guy named Paul Stevens who started this thread by spinning numbers!

The first post is just numbers no commentary at all. Spin is trying to frame it a certain way.
Take for instance, someone who paid 100 dollars and someone who paid 1. Now I give a 10% deduction to the 100 dollar person that would be 10. I give 50% to the 1 person that would be .5.
Spinning would be claiming that the first person got a way bigger deduction than the second and it isn't fair. While in actual dollar value that is true but percentage wise it is not.
So there was no spinning at all in that first post.
Paul Stevens
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 17, 2001
Posts: 2823
Originally posted by Jeff Langr:

They aren't lockboxes, they're more like cookie jars that greedy politicians have raided numerous times. My cookie jars have the words "insolvency forthcoming" on them.
I disagree that there should be no cap on social security. In the words of the president who resided over a 12-year, horrible depression (imagine how that would be received today), "...we have tried to frame a law which will give some measure of protection to the average citizen and to his family against the loss of a job and against poverty-ridden old age."
Anyone earning over the current cap ($87,000) shouldn't need this additional "protection." Why make sensible people, who can get far better returns by making their own investments, sink more money down a rathole?
-j-


Wouldn't removing the cap make it a flat tax? I thought you where for a flatter tax. Wouldn't removing the cap allow for a change in the structure of the program? Like actually making it an account with the left over passed on to "your" future generation.
frank davis
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 12, 2001
Posts: 1479
Originally posted by Thomas Paul:

If you mean by "poor" those earning no income at all then you are right. Everyone else pays some federal taxes.

"A newly released Internal Revenue Service study of returns filed for the year 2000 shows that 25.2 percent of the 1040s, 1040A's, and 1040EZ's�after deductions and other benefits�ended up with no tax liability. That was up from 18.5 percent in 1986. And because of the earned income tax credit, some 16.1 million of those people who paid no tax nevertheless got a "refund" from the IRS as a federal supplement to their low wages."
http://www.usnews.com/usnews/biztech/buzz/archive/buzz030519.htm
[ April 12, 2004: Message edited by: herb slocomb ]
Jeff Langr
author
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 14, 2003
Posts: 762
Originally posted by Thomas Paul:
I just wish the federal government wouldn't take so much tax money from NY and send it to all the other states.

A-ha! My idea is to strip the federal government back to their original size. Money would trickle up, so that the union of states managed their own finances and/or taxation. The federal government would get what's left over, to do what the constitution states, which is to primarily defend the country. Not to send meddling troops around the world that serve to p*ss lots of people off. And not to create things like the department of education, for which the equivalent moneys would be far better spent locally.
The 50-year-old federal interstate highway system is a great idea of bad central control. While it was a good system, the individual states could have easily worked together to construct an equivalent system. Or even considered privatization: the privately-funded turnpikes of the early 1800s were very successful. Policies of corporate welfare and mercantilism, favored by Lincoln, introduced massive corruption, fraud, and waste.
Transportation monies go to better lobbies. They aren't equitably distributed. Cities like Colorado Springs get short shrift to more politically powerful centers like Denver, with respect to federal highway funding. The city of Madison, Wisconsin wants to spend $180+ million on a rail line will attract only 1,150 new riders per day. Meanwhile, the congestion is becoming extreme in most major cities.
Worse, the federal government wields their power like a sadistic mother-in-law holding on to allowance: "if you don't reduce the percentage of speeders to 20%, we're not giving you all your money;" "if you don't take down those signs and make those junkyards move, you're not getting your money;" and so on. This is what happens when the federal government takes all the money and lets some trickle down--it assumes it can control what goes on in each of the states. Take a look at how the Interstate Commerce Clause has been abused to allow the government to control goods completely manufactured and consumed within a single state. It's one big power trip.
It's certainly not fair that one state gets more money from the federal government than the other for their pet projects. The solution is to not let the feds take so much money in the first place.
I think we may have a lot more common ground than you think.

Ditto, but perhaps not a lot more.
-Jeff-


Books: Agile Java, Modern C++ Programming with TDD, Essential Java Style, Agile in a Flash. Contributor, Clean Code.
Jeff Langr
author
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 14, 2003
Posts: 762
Originally posted by Paul Stevens:
Wouldn't removing the cap make it a flat tax? I thought you where for a flatter tax. Wouldn't removing the cap allow for a change in the structure of the program? Like actually making it an account with the left over passed on to "your" future generation.

I'm in favor of abolishing social security completely. (And income tax completely. I'd only accept a flat tax were the myriad other federal taxes abolished.) If we need to replace it with a program for those who can't save for themselves, so be it. A person making over $30,000 is capable of saving for their own retirement. Or not. Their prerogative.
In lieu of that, which sadly won't happen, I like your idea of making it a true personal account. But the government would try to take gobs of that when you die (estate tax = double taxation). Why do we need the government to (mis)manage this at all?
-J-
Jeff Langr
author
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 14, 2003
Posts: 762
GRANDPA SIMPSON: People these days, always wantin' somethin' for nothin'. (walks into Social Security office. To the clerk: ) I'm old, gimme, gimme, gimme!

An amusing but uninformed joke. I presume Grandpa Simpson was probably the non-contributing slug that Homer is. (People like Homer are part of the reason I find socialism appalling.) But I'm sure Grandpa contributed plenty of money to social security in his lifetime, so he's not "wantin' somethin' for nothin'." The joke would be better written:

GRANDPA SIMPSON: People these days, always wantin' somethin' for nothin'. (walks into pharmacy. To the clerk: ) I'm old, gimme, gimme, gimme!

-j-
[ April 12, 2004: Message edited by: Jeff Langr ]
Thomas Paul
mister krabs
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 05, 2000
Posts: 13974
Originally posted by Jeff Langr:
Anti-war, anti-Bush, pro-Passion, pro-Jesus, anti-XP, pro-progressive tax.

which war? , wrong, right, right, anti-hype, right.


Associate Instructor - Hofstra University
Amazon Top 750 reviewer - Blog - Unresolved References - Book Review Blog
Thomas Paul
mister krabs
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 05, 2000
Posts: 13974
Originally posted by Jeff Langr:
Me, I believe in respect for others, no use of force, minimal waste, and capitalism. The income tax is a use of force.
All forms of government are a form of force but other than living in the jungle by yourself what do you suggest?
Thomas Paul
mister krabs
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 05, 2000
Posts: 13974
Originally posted by herb slocomb:
"A newly released Internal Revenue Service study of returns filed for the year 2000 shows that 25.2 percent of the 1040s, 1040A's, and 1040EZ's�after deductions and other benefits�ended up with no tax liability. That was up from 18.5 percent in 1986. And because of the earned income tax credit, some 16.1 million of those people who paid no tax nevertheless got a "refund" from the IRS as a federal supplement to their low wages."
Herb, unless you are going to actually read my posts then I am not going to respond to you. The poor still pay SSN and Medicare which the EIC is supposed to reduce BUT DOES NOT ELIMINATE. Yes, it is true that most of the poor do not pay INCOME TAX, BUT INCOME TAX IS ONLY ONE TAX THAT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT CHARGES. If a poor person buys food, how much of the cost of that food comes from federal taxes on the fuel that brought it to the store? On the corporate taxes paid by the manufacturer? By the price guarantees given to the farmers?
Thomas Paul
mister krabs
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 05, 2000
Posts: 13974
Originally posted by Jeff Langr:
Ditto, but perhaps not a lot more.
Actually, I misread you. We have virtaully no common ground. The America you want to live in would have lost World War II.
Paul Stevens
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 17, 2001
Posts: 2823
Originally posted by Thomas Paul:
Actually, I misread you. We have virtaully no common ground. The America you want to live in would have lost World War II.

I seem to be somewhere between you an Jeff. I believe there is alot of extra constitutional stuff but some should stay. The interstate highway system being one.
In fact Jeff that is one of the fairer methods. It is mostly maintained by gas taxes. There is still too much waste in it but the system itself isn't the problem. The government does take the interstate commerce too far though.
frank davis
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 12, 2001
Posts: 1479
Originally posted by Thomas Paul:
Herb, unless you are going to actually read my posts then I am not going to respond to you. The poor still pay SSN and Medicare which the EIC is supposed to reduce BUT DOES NOT ELIMINATE. Yes, it is true that most of the poor do not pay INCOME TAX, BUT INCOME TAX IS ONLY ONE TAX THAT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT CHARGES. If a poor person buys food, how much of the cost of that food comes from federal taxes on the fuel that brought it to the store? On the corporate taxes paid by the manufacturer? By the price guarantees given to the farmers?

Sorry, I thought the discussion was about federal income taxes in the original post starting this thread; and that somehow federal income taxes were especially relevant this time of year(I'll finish my return tommorrow unless I get bogged down here...)
A discussion on the federal taxes on fuel seems to unneccesarily obfuscate the prime issue of this thread. Let's fix the federal income tax system first, then we go after the less significant taxes....
John Smith
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 08, 2001
Posts: 2937
Herb: Let's fix the federal income tax system first, then we go after the less significant taxes...
The country is not ready yet to go back to 3% income tax, Herb. We will hit the rock bottom of 75% tax on middle class and 95% tax on the rich before a libertarian gets elected in the high office.
Thomas Paul
mister krabs
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 05, 2000
Posts: 13974
Originally posted by herb slocomb:
A discussion on the federal taxes on fuel seems to unneccesarily obfuscate the prime issue of this thread. Let's fix the federal income tax system first, then we go after the less significant taxes....

Guess which tax hurts a person making minumum wage... (1) federal income tax (2) federal excise tax on petroleum. No fair looking it up.
So your plan is to "fix" the taxes that hurt the rich but do nothing about the taxes that hurt the poor? Good plan if you are rich.
And the prime issue of this thread was federal taxes, not federal income taxes.
Thomas Paul
mister krabs
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 05, 2000
Posts: 13974
In fact Paul's chart shows something very interesting. The top 1% pay 36% of all federal income tax while they only pay 23% of all federal taxes. The bottom 80% pay 17% of federal income tax but 31% of of all federal taxes. That tells me that the people on the bottom are getting hit hard by other federal taxes.
frank davis
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 12, 2001
Posts: 1479
Originally posted by Thomas Paul:

Guess which tax hurts a person making minumum wage... (1) federal income tax (2) federal excise tax on petroleum. No fair looking it up.

I thought my prior post and cited URL explained how the poor can often pay nothing in federal income taxes and/or even have a negative tax rate, so I don't see the point of the question except to drag us into a debate on federal fuel taxes...


So your plan is to "fix" the taxes that hurt the rich but do nothing about the taxes that hurt the poor? Good plan if you are rich.

I never said "my plan" (do I really have one?) would do nothing, I just see greater inequities in the federal tax system and I believe more money is unjustly confiscated through that system than any other. I'm not just talking about the rich either, I believe more money is inequitably taken from the middle class as well.
Several times you have mentioned the fuel tax, please give figures on how much the average "poor" person pays. If you got the figures, you can change my mind. But I'll still rail against the federal tax system anyway....

And the prime issue of this thread was federal taxes, not federal income taxes.

Did Paul delete his first post? Is tommorrow April 15th? What's the title of this thread?
frank davis
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 12, 2001
Posts: 1479
Originally posted by Eugene Kononov:
Herb: Let's fix the federal income tax system first, then we go after the less significant taxes...
The country is not ready yet to go back to 3% income tax, Herb. We will hit the rock bottom of 75% tax on middle class and 95% tax on the rich before a libertarian gets elected in the high office.

The Great One (Reagan) did dramatically turn back the top tax rates, which were at 75% at one time and he significantly lowered the other middle rates as well. We just need another great Republican in office.
Paul Stevens
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 17, 2001
Posts: 2823
Originally posted by Thomas Paul:
In fact Paul's chart shows something very interesting. The top 1% pay 36% of all federal income tax while they only pay 23% of all federal taxes. The bottom 80% pay 17% of federal income tax but 31% of of all federal taxes. That tells me that the people on the bottom are getting hit hard by other federal taxes.

I don't think that is what it shows at all. Most everyone who works pays SSN and Medicare taxes. What is actually shows is that very little of the bottom 80% of wage earners pay federal income tax. Most everyone pays SSN and Medicare.
I also do not know if the EIC is incorporated into the numbers. If it is not then they are incorrect. They would show both the 17% and 31% higher than reality.
Herb,
Thomas is correct in including gas, SSN, and medicare in the discussion since the first chart and my post clearly state that they are included in the numbers. If you want to narrow the focus and just discuss federal income tax that is fine as well. But it will be very difficult to get a major ground swell on changing a tax system when the bottom 80% pay only 17% and many actually get a net increase. I am not saying this is right or wrong just reality.
I think dealing with the waste and fraud should be the first step. You seem to want to take the other approach which is cut off the funding and they will have to come to grips with the fraud, waste, abuse and duplication of programs. I just don't think congress would come to grips with it. The Penny/Kasich attempt of about 10 years ago proved that. Their bill would have forced congress to go through every budgetary item and reauthorize them 1 by 1.
Paul Stevens
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 17, 2001
Posts: 2823
Here is an article that Herb and Jeff will find interesting.
fred rosenberger
lowercase baba
Bartender

Joined: Oct 02, 2003
Posts: 11229
    
  16

OK, to get back to a VERY important point that everybody seemed to just let slide...
Jeff Langor wrote:
I presume Grandpa Simpson was probably the non-contributing slug that Homer is.

What the heck do you mean by this??? Homer has been gainfully employed and the Nuclear Power Plant for years. He goes to work (almost) every day, supports local business (Moe's Tavern), attends church every sunday (one of the few people on TV who do), and takes his kids to all kinds of cultural events (The Bi-Mon-Sci-Fi-Con, museums, etc). Why do you feel that he is a "non-contributing slug"???
ok, i don't really need an answer... i'm just trying to lighten things up a little...


There are only two hard things in computer science: cache invalidation, naming things, and off-by-one errors
Jeff Langr
author
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 14, 2003
Posts: 762
Originally posted by fred rosenberger:
ok, i don't really need an answer... i'm just trying to lighten things up a little...

;-) Thanks for that.
As you recall, Homer's been canned numerous times; he's started many nuclear incidents; he's contributed to the death of coworkers (Grimesy). He's even had a bobbing flamingo click his keyboard to pretend like he's doing work.
-J-
Jeff Langr
author
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 14, 2003
Posts: 762
Originally posted by Thomas Paul:
Actually, I misread you. We have virtaully no common ground. The America you want to live in would have lost World War II.

a) Hyperbole again. We have a decent amount of common ground, you just choose not to see it.
b) That's an amazing leap of logic.
Jeff Langr
author
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 14, 2003
Posts: 762
Originally posted by Paul Stevens:
I seem to be somewhere between you an Jeff. I believe there is alot of extra constitutional stuff but some should stay. The interstate highway system being one.
In fact Jeff that is one of the fairer methods. It is mostly maintained by gas taxes. There is still too much waste in it but the system itself isn't the problem. The government does take the interstate commerce too far though.

Hi Paul,
You haven't supported the argument that the states are incapable of managing the interstate highway system.
In my earlier post I mentioned how the funds are inequitably distributed among the states. Transit programs, which are big money sucks, get a far larger share of the pie than they deserve because of their strong lobbies. Also, up until 1998, many highway funds were siphoned to other things.
Regards,
Jeff
Jeff Langr
author
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 14, 2003
Posts: 762
Originally posted by Paul Stevens:
Here is an article that Herb and Jeff will find interesting.

I'd read that story a while back elsewhere. Thanks for posting the link.
There is always some new compassionate need that congress will insist is their duty to rectify. Today, it's prescription drugs for the elderly. I've heard many people argue that it's the government's duty to provide quality medical care for everyone. Tomorrow, then, it should be the government's duty to provide food, utilities, vehicles, housing, and big screen TVs for everyone.
Health care is like the highway system. It's a big power and control trip. Imagine that the government does end up completely controlling health care. It's a short trip to the vote in congress to begin taxing fatty foods--after all, if the government is paying, then they (through the nannies in the rest of us) have the right to control what you eat. It's also a short trip to rationing. I've also heard people argue, seriously, that we shouldn't be doing heart surgery on people over 70.
The US medical system, like many other things we have, is among the best in the world. It didn't get that way through government control.
-J-
Jeff Langr
author
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 14, 2003
Posts: 762
Originally posted by Thomas Paul:
All forms of government are a form of force but other than living in the jungle by yourself what do you suggest?

I suggest resisting and minimizing the continually growing force. I'd think that was clear from my other postings.
You, on the other hand, suggest that it's ok to arbitrarily use force against someone. Your rationale is that you can apply more force to people because they are capable of withstanding it (progressive taxation).
-J-
Thomas Paul
mister krabs
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 05, 2000
Posts: 13974
Originally posted by Jeff Langr:
You, on the other hand, suggest that it's ok to arbitrarily use force against someone. Your rationale is that you can apply more force to people because they are capable of withstanding it (progressive taxation).
That last sentence didn't make any sense to me at all. Are you saying that taxing a wealthy person involves using more force than taxing somone in the middle class? But I also don't know how you can use the word "arbitrary". Force is not used in an arbitrary manner. It is used based on the democratic government that we have formed to do the jobs that we have decided the government should do. I think the problem is that you believe we live in a dictatorship. If you don't like things then get involved. Run for office. Go out and support your candidates.
Thomas Paul
mister krabs
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 05, 2000
Posts: 13974
Originally posted by Paul Stevens:
I don't think that is what it shows at all. Most everyone who works pays SSN and Medicare taxes. What is actually shows is that very little of the bottom 80% of wage earners pay federal income tax. Most everyone pays SSN and Medicare.

Two problems. Many wealthy people have no wages and therefore don't pay social security or medicare. And you can't look at just income tax. People pay every tax so only the seond column is relevant. I think it is quite significant that 17% of the income pays only 23% of federal taxes. When you consider that the people at the lowest end can not afford to pay any tax it seem to me that the tax burden is being heavily shifted to the people who can least afford to pay it. It appears to me from that chart that the wealthy have nothing to complain about.
Jeff Langr
author
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 14, 2003
Posts: 762
Originally posted by Thomas Paul:
That last sentence didn't make any sense to me at all. Are you saying that taxing a wealthy person involves using more force than taxing somone in the middle class? But I also don't know how you can use the word "arbitrary". Force is not used in an arbitrary manner. It is used based on the democratic government that we have formed to do the jobs that we have decided the government should do. I think the problem is that you believe we live in a dictatorship. If you don't like things then get involved. Run for office. Go out and support your candidates.

Good suggestions. I do support my candidates, but the system heavily favors the two dominant parties and incumbents. Both of those parties promote large government (which helps them keep their power base). It won't stop me from trying.
In many cases, a democracy is just as bad as a dictatorship. The majority of the people are good at making arbitrary decisions about how to apply force to the minority. It's easier to overthrow an oppressive dictatorship than an oppressive majority.
Since I view progressive taxes as a penalty, yes, penalizing someone by making them pay more taxes, "just because they can," is applying more force arbitrarily.
-j-
Paul Stevens
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 17, 2001
Posts: 2823
Originally posted by Thomas Paul:

Two problems. Many wealthy people have no wages and therefore don't pay social security or medicare. And you can't look at just income tax. People pay every tax so only the seond column is relevant. I think it is quite significant that 17% of the income pays only 23% of federal taxes. When you consider that the people at the lowest end can not afford to pay any tax it seem to me that the tax burden is being heavily shifted to the people who can least afford to pay it. It appears to me from that chart that the wealthy have nothing to complain about.

It also doesn't show that the bottom is getting socked. The bottom 80% pay 31%. The majority is probably in the top of that 80%.
Warren Dew
blacksmith
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 04, 2004
Posts: 1332
    
    2
Originally posted by Jeff Langr:
You haven't supported the argument that the states are incapable of managing the interstate highway system.

I think I can support that.
When states manage the highway system, they'll do it for the benefit of their own citizens, rather than for the benefit of all the people who use the highways. This doesn't work well for what's supposed to be an interstate, rather than an intrastate, highway system.
For example, many billions of dollars were spent on the 'big dig' work on I-95 in downtown Boston. The net effect is that we have about the same number of through lanes from south of Boston to north of Boston, but they are now below ground so they don't mess up the views of all the people who live and work in Boston, who will get some nice open space to enjoy instead. Oh yes, and there's now a very artsy suspension bridge instead of a functional but ugly rusty green thing made of girders. I doubt if all that will help people driving through from Rhode Island to New Hampshire much at all.
Of course, that's only half the answer ... the other half is, is the Federal government capable of managing the interstate highway system? Given that most major Federal spending decisions are made by horse trading between congressmen focused on local issues, I'm not convinced ... after all, the 'big dig' is mostly Federally funded.
And I see from other posts that people are now worried about taxing the "wealthy" ... since wealth does not imply income, it seems that income taxes won't help on that issue. What were you saying about property taxes hitting the "poor" more?
Jeff Langr
author
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 14, 2003
Posts: 762
Originally posted by Warren Dew:
When states manage the highway system, they'll do it for the benefit of their own citizens, rather than for the benefit of all the people who use the highways. This doesn't work well for what's supposed to be an interstate, rather than an intrastate, highway system.

Greetings Warren,
I think you ended your post arguing against federal control.
Highways should largely be for the benefit of their own citizens.
One benefit to citizens is bringing commerce to the state; without a good road system this will not happen. It is in the best interests of a state to build highways that support commerce. In the absence of federally controlled highways, we did and would have a sufficient road system. In the absence of state-built and controlled highways, we did have a sufficient privately-funded turnpike system.
Even if the big dig were funded by the state of Massachusetts, power and corruption would demonstrate how much inequity there is in any government controlled disbursement, whether it's the municipality, the state, or the feds controlling the purse. Less powerful, outlying communities like Bedford and Cambridge always suffer for the artsy pillars of Boston. You can see the same thing in any state across the country, and you can see the same thing in public schools across the country. The poorest subdivisions in the school district usually get the worst education.
And I see from other posts that people are now worried about taxing the "wealthy" ... since wealth does not imply income, it seems that income taxes won't help on that issue. What were you saying about property taxes hitting the "poor" more?

Hm? I was saying that most taxes hit the poor more; I probably shouldn't have included real estate taxes, since they are scaled to the value of the property. But any percentage of your income is painful when you're at the poverty level.
If you're making the point I think you're making, it's one more reason why the income tax is unfair. There are many people who take in plenty of money but don't have an income per se. They get off without paying taxes. There are people in cash-heavy industries that pay a fraction of what they should.
No system will ever be construed as completely fair. The best thing to do is to concentrate on why we have to take so much of everyone's hard earned income in the first place. It's not necessary, and it's greedy.
-Jeff-
Warren Dew
blacksmith
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 04, 2004
Posts: 1332
    
    2
Originally posted by Jeff Langr:
But any percentage of your income is painful when you're at the poverty level.

Are you saying it's more painful than if you're above the poverty level? What if you're a third world citizen relative to whom people at the U.S. poverty level are unimaginably affluent? I'll agree that a fixed amount is more painful for people less well off, but I'm not at all convinced about a fixed percentage.
I agree that the present U.S. income tax is unfair, but only because the 16th amendment broke the basic principle - "no taxation without representation" - on which the U.S. originally declared independence. If peoples' voice in the government were proportional to the amount of taxes they paid - well, it might still be unfair, but it wouldn't be unfair to those paying more taxes, since they could always vote to reduce their taxes (and their representation in government).
The truth is, I don't worry too much about 'fair' and 'unfair' - I worry more about 'stupid'. I think the current income tax brackets and deduction phaseouts are so progressive they discourage many of the most productive people from working harder - resulting in lower total tax receipts and everyone being worse off than they would otherwise be. Whether or not it's unfair, it's just plain stupid.
No system will ever be construed as completely fair. The best thing to do is to concentrate on why we have to take so much of everyone's hard earned income in the first place. It's not necessary, and it's greedy.

Except that the present system does not, in fact, take "everyone's" hard earned income - as pointed out by others above, if you're in the lower 50% of income tax returns, you pay very little. (I've been there some years, I know!) A quarter of all returns actually pay nothing. Why should people who aren't helping to pay for the spending want to reduce it? It strikes me that from their point of view, the 'best' thing to do is to increase taxes and spend more on things that will benefit them.
Jeff Langr
author
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 14, 2003
Posts: 762
All very good points Warren. Those at the low end of the scale pay little or nothing in taxes; they have become the oppressive majority that demands more from the rest of us. And you're absolutely right about not having enough representation.
-j-
Warren Dew
blacksmith
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 04, 2004
Posts: 1332
    
    2
Hm, doing my state taxes here ...
Income tax is 5.3%. Just a few years ago, I think it was 7%. This is definitely going in the right direction here....
But for those who think it should be higher, I just came across the following page in Macintax:

Alternate 5.85% Tax Rate:
The Massachusetts Department of Revenue offers a voluntary tax rate on 5.3% income. The voluntary rate is 5.85%.
Do you wish to pay this higher rate of tax?
(Note: the new tax rate is strictly voluntary and will increase your tax. Most people answer "No" here.)

I have to admit, it's tempting to pay it just to push the concept of voluntary taxes....
Thomas Paul
mister krabs
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 05, 2000
Posts: 13974
In many cases, a democracy is just as bad as a dictatorship. The majority of the people are good at making arbitrary decisions about how to apply force to the minority. It's easier to overthrow an oppressive dictatorship than an oppressive majority.
How true. Look how easy it was to overthrow Hitler and Mussolini.
Thomas Paul
mister krabs
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 05, 2000
Posts: 13974
Originally posted by Jeff Langr:
All very good points Warren. Those at the low end of the scale pay little or nothing in taxes; they have become the oppressive majority that demands more from the rest of us. And you're absolutely right about not having enough representation.
The people in the lower income brackets pay a very significant part of their income in taxes. They just don't pay federal INCOME tax. And does anyone really think that the politicians are not responsive to the wealthy? Jeff's post is so far from any reality that I can recognize that I have no idea where to begin with him.
fred rosenberger
lowercase baba
Bartender

Joined: Oct 02, 2003
Posts: 11229
    
  16

Everybody has to pay for certain basic needs. food, rent/mortgage, utilities, health care, auto/home/property insurance... and lots of other things. You cannot get away from this basic minimum standard. And, it's the same for everyone. yes, somebody who earns more will pay more for their house, but that is by choice. there is no reason why somebody making $2.4 million a year can't live in a $300/month apartment.
so, assume these BASIC living expenses are $12,000 (the specific number is not important).
person A makes $24,000 a year. Assume we have a flat tax of 10%. he then groses 21,600. take off his basic expenses, he has 9,600 left for discresionary spending, or 40%.
person B makes $2,400,000/year. After taxes he grosses $2,160,000. take off his basic expenses, and he has 2,148,000, or 89.5% of his salary left.
So, people who earn more can afford to pay more in taxes. Nobody is forcing you to take that promotion/raise if you don't want it. If you don't want to pay more taxes, tell you boss to give you a pay cut - i'm sure they'll agree.
Let the debate CONTINUE!!!
Jeff Langr
author
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 14, 2003
Posts: 762
Originally posted by Thomas Paul:
The people in the lower income brackets pay a very significant part of their income in taxes. They just don't pay federal INCOME tax. And does anyone really think that the politicians are not responsive to the wealthy? Jeff's post is so far from any reality that I can recognize that I have no idea where to begin with him.

Please read more carefully in the future. I didn't say anything about people in lower income brackets not paying a significant part of their income in taxes. I said that people in lower income brackets paid little or nothing in income taxes. And, I've said many times that the people in lower income brackets are getting screwed, yet you've continually ignored the fact that you and I agree on this point.
Earlier, you were touting the magic of being able to change things through democracy. The majority of the people don't pay much in taxes relative to the wealthier minority. Are you denying that a democratic majority hasn't influenced the fact that the wealthy pay a higher percent in taxes?
In any case, you make a valid point that politicians cater to the wealthy. It just demonstrates how corrupt the system is, yet you continue to defend it. And none of this goes to answer why it's ok for me to get screwed, while I'm neither wealthy nor poor. I'm not part of the democratic majority and I haven't the wealth to influence anything.
Try reading my posts more carefully for a change, Thomas; this is yet another of the many times where you've either completely misunderstood or twisted my words.
Jeff Langr
author
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 14, 2003
Posts: 762
Originally posted by Thomas Paul:
In many cases, a democracy is just as bad as a dictatorship. The majority of the people are good at making arbitrary decisions about how to apply force to the minority. It's easier to overthrow an oppressive dictatorship than an oppressive majority.
How true. Look how easy it was to overthrow Hitler and Mussolini.

Hitler and Mussolini didn't get "overthrown" from within, they were defeated. The fact that they started a world war obviously changes the picture, and in fact the extent to which they succeed shows how much their people believed in them. Even still, their reign lasted an extremely short time.
The point is that people will rise up against a small, oppressive minority and more often than not succeed. The minority cannot so easily defeat the majority.
Thomas Paul
mister krabs
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 05, 2000
Posts: 13974
JL: Please read more carefully in the future. I didn't say anything about people in lower income brackets not paying a significant part of their income in taxes. I said that people in lower income brackets paid little or nothing in income taxes.
TP: This is what you wrote:
Those at the low end of the scale pay little or nothing in taxes
I see nothing about income taxes in there at all. No matter how carefully I try to read that line I can't find the word income in there anywhere.
JL: Are you denying that a democratic majority hasn't influenced the fact that the wealthy pay a higher percent in taxes?
TP: Of course not. But the income tax was actually the idea of the wealthy! Look at the people who have proposed it and supported it. They know that a strong central government is good for wealthy people.
JL: And none of this goes to answer why it's ok for me to get screwed, while I'm neither wealthy nor poor. I'm not part of the democratic majority and I haven't the wealth to influence anything.
TP: "Get screwed"? I'm not sure how living in the US can be described as "getting screwed" but if you really feel that way perhaps you can trade places with one of the hundreds of millions of people who would love to come here and "get screwed".
And there are other ways to influence people than being wealthy. It is just easier when you're wealthy.
JL: Try reading my posts more carefully for a change, Thomas; this is yet another of the many times where you've either completely misunderstood or twisted my words.
TP: I will do so but I will ask that you try to write your posts more carefully in the future.
[ April 14, 2004: Message edited by: Thomas Paul ]
 
permaculture playing cards
 
subject: Tax Time