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  1. #141
    null Jonny's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DiscoBiscuit View Post
    So?
    Well, you mentioned that our poor don't pay the same share of taxes as do the poor of other countries, and my point was that, after taxes and transfers, our country has a higher level of income inequality than do those other countries.

    Country X has two people: Person A makes $100 per year and pays $5 in taxes. Person B makes $10 per year and pays $0 in taxes.

    Country Y has two people: Person A makes $60 per year and pays $3 in taxes. Person B makes $50 per year and pays $2 in taxes.

    Same GDP, same tax revenues, yet in country Y the poor person pays more in taxes. See my point?
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  2. #142
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonnyboy View Post
    Well, you mentioned that our poor don't pay the same share of taxes as do the poor of other countries, and my point was that, after taxes and transfers, our country has a higher level of income inequality than do those other countries.

    Country X has two people: Person A makes $100 per year and pays $5 in taxes. Person B makes $10 per year and pays $0 in taxes.

    Country Y has two people: Person A makes $60 per year and pays $3 in taxes. Person B makes $50 per year and pays $2 in taxes.

    Same GDP, same tax revenues, yet in country Y the poor person pays more in taxes. See my point?
    The thread isn't about inequality its about tax rates.

    If you have a problem with the level of compensation in the financial industry (or whatever corporate boogey man you prefer) take it up with them.

  3. #143
    null Jonny's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DiscoBiscuit View Post
    The thread isn't about inequality its about tax rates.

    If you have a problem with the level of compensation in the financial industry (or whatever corporate boogey man you prefer) take it up with them.
    I suppose I'm just confused. I was responding to your post about the tax rates in other nations. To the extent that that is relevant to the conversation at hand, then so is a discussion about the relative economic inequities. We cannot usefully compare such things without a more detailed look into the driving forces behind them.
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  4. #144
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    Quote Originally Posted by Magic Poriferan View Post
    So it's one answer to your god damn question. Two questions actually. How progressive is the USA's tax code compared to others, and why should rich people in the USA have to pay such high tax shares.

    I'll just have to wait for Jonny to come along with some graphics that echo my other point, the one about the USA's over-all tax rate being really low and kind deflating the significance of how the taxes are structured. As promised, I'm not going to bother with that, myself.
    The grown ups are talking.

    And like I said to him, this seems like a compensation problem as opposed to a taxes problem. Take that up with corporate America if you want.

    You can't try and redistribute with taxes all you want, they will counter by lobbying for deductions, and the cycle will continue.

    Unless you want to tackle deductions which are hugely popular with the middle class, simplify the code, and broaden the base, the money simply isn't there to cover the bill on the rich alone.

  5. #145
    Emperor/Dictator kyuuei's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DiscoBiscuit View Post
    The thread isn't about inequality its about tax rates.

    If you have a problem with the level of compensation in the financial industry (or whatever corporate boogey man you prefer) take it up with them.
    Tax rates have everything to do with equality and/or inequality. The whole title of the thread is not if they pay too much money--only if the money they are paying is their 'fair' share. The amount they actually pay is really irrelevant.
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  6. #146
    Analytical Dreamer Coriolis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DiscoBiscuit View Post
    Homelessness, poverty, hunger and war are never going away.

    We can only minimize the effect they have.
    Or we can choose not to do so. Not everyone sees this as a valid goal, and those who do often differ as to the best way to achieve it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Magic Poriferan View Post
    So it's one answer to your god damn question. Two questions actually. How progressive is the USA's tax code compared to others, and why should rich people in the USA have to pay such high tax shares.

    I'll just have to wait for Jonny to come along with some graphics that echo my other point, the one about the USA's over-all tax rate being really low and kind deflating the significance of how the taxes are structured. As promised, I'm not going to bother with that, myself.
    One consideration is that Americans pay out of pocket for some significant things that are covered by tax revenues in other countries, e.g. medical services and higher education. For a more local example, where I grew up, trash collection was paid through property taxes. Where I live now, residents pay the trash company directly. One way or another, we still pay, so an apparently lower tax burden does not necessarily translate into more money staying in the taxpayer's pocket.

    Quote Originally Posted by DiscoBiscuit View Post
    The thread isn't about inequality its about tax rates.

    If you have a problem with the level of compensation in the financial industry (or whatever corporate boogey man you prefer) take it up with them.
    The thread is about fairness of the tax system. One consideration in assessing fairness is the degree to which various segments of the population will be impacted by an increase in taxes. If the income gap between the richest and poorest is small, (Jonnyboy's country Y), the poor can shoulder a greater share of any tax increase with less adverse effect than if the income gap is large (country X).

    Quote Originally Posted by DiscoBiscuit View Post
    Fair is in the eye of every beholder.

    Your fair and my fair, not to mention everyone else's, are quite different.

    And as such, an appeal to some unknowable fairness can't be the basis for any logical discussion of tax policy.
    Correct. The thread is asking the wrong question. Better to ask whether the rich (or anyone else) are paying the optimum amount of tax to generate necessary revenues without hampering economic and personal opportunity. In other words, what is the most effective way to distribute the tax burden, so we neither discourage investment and innovation, nor create economic impediments to full utilization of our human resources?
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  7. #147
    ^He pronks, too! Magic Poriferan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DiscoBiscuit View Post
    The thread isn't about inequality its about tax rates.
    That's an example of your beliefs and your difficulty understanding other peoples' beliefs. A lot of people think there is a relationship between fairness and equality. Saying it's about one and not the other doesn't exactly make sense to those people.

    Some people think that inequality itself often becomes a bad thing. And one can argue that because of wealth aggregation rich people are bound to get richer outside of severely screwing up, so in many cases they get richer and society becomes more unequal by default and not by any particular merit or accomplishment of those rich people, thus justifying a pro-active attempt that equalizing things a bit.

    And then you have those other things that have been mentioned here. I've been trying to phrase things in terms of utilitarian concepts instead of principles of fairness but it's quite easy to just frame those ideas as a matter of fairness, and people do.

    So perhaps it's unfair that some people have hordes of money they don't even use and which full use they couldn't psychology appreciate, while masses of people struggle for food, shelter, health, some since of contribution and any opportunity for leisure.

    Perhaps it's unfair that rich people, being the most fortunate products of our society, refuse to pay more for the society that they are benefiting from more than anyone else.

    Now, getting back to cutting fairness out of the discussion, you know it's also just sheer logistics? We do have significant income inequality and you can't collect taxes and disperse benefits while just ignoring that fact. It can't work. It's like trying to ram a cube into a circular hole. Moral or not, it just isn't going to last very long.

    Quote Originally Posted by DiscoBiscuit View Post
    If you have a problem with the level of compensation in the financial industry (or whatever corporate boogey man you prefer) take it up with them.
    You know, when I find a problem is related to corporate America, my first thought is that I'm almost certainly going to need the government's help to deal with it.


    Quote Originally Posted by DiscoBiscuit View Post
    The grown ups are talking.
    And with comments like that I'm supposed to think you're one of them?

    Quote Originally Posted by DiscoBiscuit View Post
    And like I said to him, this seems like a compensation problem as opposed to a taxes problem. Take that up with corporate America if you want.
    And I made my point above.

    Quote Originally Posted by DiscoBiscuit View Post
    You can't try and redistribute with taxes all you want, they will counter by lobbying for deductions, and the cycle will continue.
    Ugh. The argument that we shouldn't regulate because people try to weasel out of regulations is a bad one. It's basically an argument against law.

    Quote Originally Posted by DiscoBiscuit View Post
    Unless you want to tackle deductions which are hugely popular with the middle class, simplify the code, and broaden the base, the money simply isn't there to cover the bill on the rich alone.
    I'd like to replace the entire tax code, it's an incomprehensible mess. And I would like to kill a lot of deductions. And I agree that the USA's tax revenue is so low that just taxing the rich is never going to be enough. But I'm not going to support raising taxes on the middle class without seeing them go up on the rich. And I don't think we need to get revenue from taxing the poor and I'm not even sure how much we can. To get anything out of it the taxation rate would have to be very small.

    Quote Originally Posted by Coriolis View Post
    One consideration is that Americans pay out of pocket for some significant things that are covered by tax revenues in other countries, e.g. medical services and higher education. For a more local example, where I grew up, trash collection was paid through property taxes. Where I live now, residents pay the trash company directly. One way or another, we still pay, so an apparently lower tax burden does not necessarily translate into more money staying in the taxpayer's pocket.
    I'm well aware of that. I'm also aware that other factors relating to private vs public services means that the people paying higher taxes may actually still be paying less. Comparing health care between the USA and countries that have national health care is a great example of that.

    [QUOTE=Coriolis;2029878]
    The thread is about fairness of the tax system. One consideration in assessing fairness is the degree to which various segments of the population will be impacted by an increase in taxes. If the income gap between the richest and poorest is small, (Jonnyboy's country Y), the poor can shoulder a greater share of any tax increase with less adverse effect than if the income gap is large (country X).

    Yep. So that makes you the third or fourth person to explain that in this thread?

    Quote Originally Posted by Coriolis View Post
    Correct. The thread is asking the wrong question. Better to ask whether the rich (or anyone else) are paying the optimum amount of tax to generate necessary revenues without hampering economic and personal opportunity. In other words, what is the most effective way to distribute the tax burden, so we neither discourage investment and innovation, nor create economic impediments to full utilization of our human resources?
    I perhaps didn't chart a course precisely along those points, but I initially contributed to this thread with an explanation of what tax system I believed yielded the most utility. He's just dancing around it.
    Last edited by Magic Poriferan; 01-29-2013 at 02:05 PM.
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  8. #148
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    Quote Originally Posted by DiscoBiscuit View Post
    Poorly.

    The thread's title is not what does the concept of fair mean.

    It is, do the rich pay their fair share of taxes. When one asks, "what is fair?" in such a thread, a reasonable person would understand the question to mean, "what is fair?" (in the context of the conversation regarding tax progressivity)

    So what exactly is fair? Given the amount the term has been used over the last several months, I would think there would be some consensus as to what it means.

    Is fair when the rich forfeit all of their $ except enough to subsist on?

    Is fair when they have to give up more than they take home?

    What is fair? What is a fair way to address revenue issues, when the amount of money we need arithmetically can't be raised by the rich alone.

    Is it fair to rain benefits on people who have no stake in paying for those benefits? Is it fair to burden future generations with the bill for an entitlement system that those receiving the benefits aren't willing to pay for?

    Is it fair to ask our creditors to endlessly make up the difference?

    Is it fair to ruin our financial stability in an effort to avoid any short term pain?

    What is fair?
    As for taxes, many see flat taxes as the fairest system. However, they overlook the fact that it takes money to make money. If you have $12 million in your bank account, you have much more opportunity to go out and gain more money than does the person who has a bank account $12,000. Also, one must look at the fact that a person holding multimillions or billions has a much greater share of the nations GDP and therefore has a greater responsibility to invest that money wisely to return honest and environmentally sustainable profits. To ensure that they do, they should get taxed at a higher %. This is the economic reason for progressive taxes.

    The other more controversial aspect of progressive taxes is what the heck does someone do with multimillions or billions. Because they don't really need this much money, they should get taxed more.

    As for entitlement programs it should always be worse off for those on the government programs than for those who work and are not. Plain and not so simple.

  9. #149
    Senior Member The Great One's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by freeeekyyy View Post
    Its not necessarily wrong to take advantage of the tax code as it is; nothing illegal is being done when a loophole is used. But those loopholes should be eliminated. Everybody should pay their fair share, including the rich. The question is just what is a fair share.
    We shouldn't close the loopholes. The reason being is that the more money that entrepreneurs make, the more jobs they can create. You're not looking at the big picture.

  10. #150
    ^He pronks, too! Magic Poriferan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Great One View Post
    We shouldn't close the loopholes. The reason being is that the more money that entrepreneurs make, the more jobs they can create. You're not looking at the big picture.
    Is that in jest?
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