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  1. #51
    ^He pronks, too! Magic Poriferan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DiscoBiscuit View Post
    They pay 70% of all taxes and earn 50% of all income.
    Three things to consider here.

    This figure makes the taxes look really big compared to the income, but to see it clearly you'd have to observe all of the country's income against all of the country's tax revenue. The amount of taxes they actually pay compared to their own income is not terribly impressive. It is sometimes, but not even always more than is paid by the middle-class. Even when it is, it's not very high. That is to say, it's not as high as the rates paid in most of the rest of the developed world, not as high as the rates paid in the USA through most of the 20th century, and not high enough to put much of any constriction on their wealth (i.e. they don't have much to complain about).

    Taxes are just a simple collection of a defined amount of money each year. These taxes are never bringing people down to zero dollars. In the case of the rich it's not even close to zero dollars. They're still left with far more income than people in the brackets below them. With their income after taxes they obtain wealth, and wealth accumulates. The article mentions that the 20% highest earners have 50% of the country's income. Well they also have 85% of the country's wealth. Accumulation, you see. Those supposedly onerous tax burdens seemingly haven't slowed that gravy train down.

    You see, the value of money doesn't really scale up. I don't have to pay more for goods and services the richer I get. As a result, each subsequent dollar I earn is effectively less valuable than the previous one, which is also to say that I can more affordably give it up. Here's the consequence of that. If a man earns $2 million each year and I start taxing his income for 50% (which is more than that guy would be giving), he'll be down to $1 million a year, which means he will continue to live like a king. If a man earns $20,000 a year and I start taxing him at 10%, he will then be making $18,000 year. At that size of income, a difference of $2000 a year could be the difference between subsistence and homelessness. The guy with the low tax rate got the raw deal. This, as an aside, is why a flat tax would actually be extremely unfair.

    So the information you cite is clearly supposed to make it sound like the wealthy are being put upon, but the practical result is that they really aren't.
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  2. #52
    Senior Member KDude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zarathustra View Post
    If you count federal income, state income, sales, and property taxes, the rich already pay somewhere between 50%-60% of their income in taxes. That's getting you damn well near the threshold of the Laffer curve at which raising taxes actually lowers revenue, because, in the terms of your metaphor, "you've already broken too many arms".
    The sweet spot would be two or three steps before you kill their spirit. That's just me though. Or to put it another way, when they start seeking areas in their lifestyle that's middle class (no Bentleys, no expensive private schools, no 60 room mansion, etc). Not totally middle class, but something they makes them experience life differently.

  3. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by KDude View Post
    The sweet spot would be two or three steps before you kill their spirit. That's just me though. Or to put it another way, when they start seeking areas in their lifestyle that's middle class (no Bentleys, no expensive private schools, no 60 room mansion, etc). Not totally middle class, but something they makes them experience life differently.
    Excuse me for thinking this reads a bit more like a desire to exercise one's resentment than sound economic planning.

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    In a utopia there are no rich people, there are no taxes, and there is no money whatsoever. People share their creativity amongst all, without price, and without destruction.

    The global awakening that could put such events in motion can only be achieved as a direct consequence of world peace and universal enlightenment.

    The first step in the accomplishment of such a momentous task is to advance knowledge and annihilate all ignorance as well as arrogance, a world in which we embrace all individuality.

  5. #55
    Senior Member KDude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zarathustra View Post
    Excuse me for thinking this reads a bit more like a revenge-wish than sound economic planning.
    It has nothing to do with personal sentiment. I'm just cutting to the chase. People want to be "civilized" about the subject, but I consider that an exercise in futility. There's no way liberals can offer an "economical plan" that makes their opponents happy. Nothing will be acceptable. And even if there is a solution, it'll take a long, long, long time, with every cent being fought over. And it will be an empty victory, besides. The most sound economical plan is splitting some skulls open (wait, I mean break some arms). I'm not saying anyone has to really do it, but I know it will work. If people want to change the entire class system, that's what it will take. A lot of dead people, for sure. This kind of change doesn't happen through "clever debating" or sound planning.

    edit: Oh, and personally, I'm fine with relatively little. I've taken the other option of doing "nothing". I'm a cynic, if you didn't notice. It doesn't mean I don't recognize what would work though.

  6. #56
    Certified Sausage Smoker Elfboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RaptorWizard View Post
    In a utopia there are no rich people, there are no taxes, and there is no money whatsoever. People share their creativity amongst all, without price, and without destruction.
    The global awakening that could put such events in motion can only be achieved as a direct consequence of world peace and universal enlightenment.
    The first step in the accomplishment of such a momentous task is to advance knowledge and annihilate all ignorance as well as arrogance, a world in which we embrace all individuality.
    so basically you want a society of hunter gatherers with scholarly wisdom?
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  7. #57
    Senior Member KDude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elfboy View Post
    so basically you want a society of hunter gatherers with scholarly wisdom?
    They sound like druids.

    I'm gonna jam out to some Spinal Tap now.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Elfboy View Post
    so basically you want a society of hunter gatherers with scholarly wisdom?
    Not hunter-gatherers, a super-civilization, one that has expanded to spheres beyond the terrestrial, one in which people are immortal, where the focus is not survival, but science.

    The Venus Project is a good real-world vision for what I described.

  9. #59
    pathwise dependent FDG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DiscoBiscuit View Post
    They pay 70% of all taxes and earn 50% of all income.
    Well then, maybe they should start thinking how to earn a little bit less
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  10. #60
    Analytical Dreamer Coriolis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zarathustra View Post
    They're the actual tax rates for those years.

    The top marginal tax rate is not the actual rate.

    The actual rate is total tax revenue / total income.
    But the marginal and actual (statutory) tax rates are the same for income tax. IOW, someone in that highest 35% tax bracket pays that rate on all his/her taxable income, not just the portion above some threshold. Are you accounting for the fact that one's taxable income is generally lower than one's net income due to deductions? Total revenue/total income is the average tax.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zarathustra View Post
    The simple fact of the matter is that we are in the midst of a major demographic shift, in which more of our country is getting older, and, as such, we must allocate more of our resources to the government in order to pay for these old peoples' Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. But by the same token, we cannot afford to pay for everything we have promised them, and, as such, we must reform entitlements. Social Security was originally set up with the expectation that it would only pay for 2 years of benefits until the average retiree died. This is no longer the case, because life expectancies have increased so dramatically over the last 60-80 years. Now they're paying for 20 years, or more, of benefits. This is unsustainable. You can't have such a huge number of old people leeching off the system for so long a time, with such large benefits.
    OK. So what would you suggest the elderly do instead to ensure their needs are met?
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