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  1. #1
    ^He pronks, too! Magic Poriferan's Avatar
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    Default The federal income tax is 100 years old.

    I noticed that no one made a point of this. February 3rd was the 100th anniversary of the 16th amendment which, in a nutshell, makes a federal income tax possible.

    I was saddened yet not surprised to find that Google turned up nothing but results disparaging the evils of the income tax coming from the usual suspects like Forbes and the Cato Institute. The groups you'd expect to hate it are lamenting this anniversary, but the groups that should be celebrating it say not a word.

    I'm sure it would be hard for modern Americans to believe that Republicans and Democrats worked together to pass the 16th amendment in response to overwhelming public support. Perhaps harder still for them to believe that support came from poor private citizens, farmers, and small business owners, with a high concentration in the deep south.

    What did those people know then that they don't know now? What they knew is that the income tax burdened them less than other forms of taxation, and they knew that being taxed burdened them less than not being taxed. Far too few Americans seem to know that today. Perhaps it's because modern Americans have no memory of what it's like to live in a society with low tax rates that weigh mostly against the poor and not on robber barons. They can't even ask their parents or grand parents about it. They've been allowed to forget what an improvement this is.

    Since roughly the 1980s, Americans have been subjected to a never ending campaign to convince them that taxes are a metaphysical evil. Most Americans who oppose the income tax today would be hard pressed to explain the nature of their opposition. I know this from having spent a great deal of time listening to them. They make sparse moral appeals that rely heavily on key words. They mjight say that income taxes are wrong as they allow the government to steal the money that's rightfully yours because you earned it. A statement like that can certainly rile someone up but it is essentially vacuous. There's no practical utility to be found in that idea. Certainly no economics. In the popular discourse, people don't the wrong idea about income taxes as much as they have no idea about income taxes. What alternative to they desire? They don't desire any because they likely haven't thought about it.

    While I know I'm now an endangered species, I am among those people who enthusiastically supported the policy 100 years ago. The income tax is one of the best thing that happened to this country. It's a simple and direct route for the government to take all the revenue it needs to do important things. It's an ideal tool for taking money from where it has ceased to serve a purpose and distributing it to where it can best turn vagrant and dependent citizens into productive members of society. It is one of the best methods to combat the ruinous development of economic inequality. Without the 16th amendment, the triumphs of the United States that spanned 1930 to 1970 would have been infeasible. The New Deal, World War 2, the interstate highway system, and the Great Society programs would likely have been out of our reach.

    I would like to think that looking back on that day 100 years ago would force people to notice how much the present day rhetoric fails to match the USA's historical reality, but I lowered expectations beneath that sort of thing a long time ago. I would love to be surprised though, because I doubt the USA can survive much longer as a worthwhile nation if won't do away with it's irrational hostility to taxation.
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  2. #2
    pathwise dependent FDG's Avatar
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    I really do not think that many people oppose income tax but rather its level.
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  3. #3

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    I oppose capitalism.

  4. #4
    Senior Member KDude's Avatar
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    I say let the Rand adherents run amok, let corporate tax evasion completely destroy the middle class, and then we'll all get to see what the end result of unchecked greed is.

    Did you know Google technically only pays 2.4%? That's just one corporation. The rest of the taxpayers either end up taking up the slack, or.. Republicans get their spending cuts, and over time we get shittier roads, shittier education, shittier law enforcement.. take your pick, or all of the above. If that's the long term plan, then the whole country will end up looking like Detroit in no time. The one thing this shitty scenario has going for it is that, more than likely, we can all still own guns - and have nothing left to lose. OTOH, this has happened in many populations before and the people usually turn to drugs. It's a crapshoot. Revolution or rampant drug addiction.

  5. #5
    LL P. Stewie Beorn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KDude View Post
    I say let the Rand adherents run amok, let corporate tax evasion completely destroy the middle class, and then we'll all get to see what the end result of unchecked greed is.

    Did you know Google technically only pays 2.4%? That's just one corporation. The rest of the taxpayers either end up taking up the slack, or.. Republicans get their spending cuts, and over time we get shittier roads, shittier education, shittier law enforcement.. take your pick, or all of the above. If that's the long term plan, then the whole country will end up looking like Detroit in no time. The one thing this shitty scenario has going for it is that, more than likely, we can all still own guns - and have nothing left to lose. OTOH, this has happened in many populations before and the people usually turn to drugs. It's a crapshoot. Revolution or rampant drug addiction.

    I'm no Ayn Rand fan, but none of this makes sense at all. Law enforcement, roads, and Education are all local issues and I don't think federal spending can/should do jack shit to help. Moreover, we've increased spending on education for years and things have only become worst. How exactly does corporate tax evasion destroy middle class jobs? Detroit is so bad off because they don't have jobs not because they don't spend more money on roads, education and law enforcement.
    Take the weakest thing in you
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  6. #6
    Senior Member KDude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beorn View Post
    I'm no Ayn Rand fan, but none of this makes sense at all. Law enforcement, roads, and Education are all local issues and I don't think federal spending can/should do jack shit to help. Moreover, we've increased spending on education for years and things have only become worst. How exactly does corporate tax evasion destroy middle class jobs? Detroit is so bad off because they don't have jobs not because they don't spend more money on roads, education and law enforcement.
    State governments still depend on the Federal handouts. Some more than others.

    And besides that, there's still a whole network of Federal law enforcement at stake. Hell, both the Attorney General and FBI just warned of disaster if the spending cuts coming next month see the light of the day.

    http://www.cnbc.com/id/100463677/AG_...d_spending_cut

    The impending cuts would cause FBI furloughs equivalent in size to closing the bureau's offices in Chicago, Miami and Baltimore, slash the number of civil and criminal cases filed by federal prosecutors and delay the full use of four new prisons while taxing the ability to keep inmates and guards safe.

    "These would be cuts that impact not just DOJ employees, they would impact our citizens, and our safety, in every city and town in the country," said Attorney General Eric Holder.

    If the cuts take place, "the FBI would be required to do less in all its programs, including against al-Qaida and its affiliated groups, as well as the growing and sophisticated threats from cyberattacks, foreign intelligence and national and transnational criminal activities," said FBI Director Robert Mueller.

    Holder and Mueller expressed their concern in letters to Congress released Thursday by Senate Appropriations Committee chairwoman Barbara Mikulski, D-Md.

  7. #7
    LL P. Stewie Beorn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KDude View Post
    State governments still depend on the Federal handouts. Some more than others.

    And besides that, there's still a whole network of Federal law enforcement at stake. Hell, both the Attorney General and FBI just warned of disaster if the spending cuts coming next month see the light of the day.

    http://www.cnbc.com/id/100463677/AG_...d_spending_cut
    Bullshit. Those aren't spending cuts. They're decreases in the rate of increased spending.

    Those lost job positions and money are not jobs and money they currently have, but what they were planning to add without the sequestration.
    Take the weakest thing in you
    And then beat the bastards with it
    And always hold on when you get love
    So you can let go when you give it

  8. #8
    Senior Member KDude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beorn View Post
    Bullshit. Those aren't spending cuts. They're decreases in the rate of increased spending.

    Those lost job positions and money are not jobs and money they currently have, but what they were planning to add without the sequestration.
    No. They specifically mention suspending future hiring in addition to other issues. .."would have the net effect of cutting 2,285 employees _ including 775 agents _ through furloughs and a hiring freeze." Are you really that dedicated to this economic model of yours so much that you don't even want to read the article?

  9. #9
    LL P. Stewie Beorn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KDude View Post
    No. They specifically mention suspending future hiring in addition to other issues. .."would have the net effect of cutting 2,285 employees _ including 775 agents _ through furloughs and a hiring freeze." Are you really that dedicated in this economic model of yours so much that you don't even want to read anymore?
    Do you actually trust beaurocrats and journalists?
    Take the weakest thing in you
    And then beat the bastards with it
    And always hold on when you get love
    So you can let go when you give it

  10. #10
    LL P. Stewie Beorn's Avatar
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    I actually was looking at the DOJ budgets. In 2012 they were planning on adding over two thousand jobs so it makes sense that if you stop the increase the cost would be about that number of jobs.
    Take the weakest thing in you
    And then beat the bastards with it
    And always hold on when you get love
    So you can let go when you give it

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