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Just a Friendly Reminder: You Aren't Rich

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posted on Jun, 7 2005 @ 12:08 PM
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wyrdeone says:


I'm sure the poor would be comfortable paying their share, just so long as they were assured the corproations that overshadow them are doing the same.


And how do you define "their share"? Are you saying that "their share" is proportionate to the goods and services they use?


Nobody wants punishment, they want equality and fairness. Remember when you were a little kid, how much it pissed you off when someone wasn't playing fairly? What happened to that righteous indignation OTS? How to find it again?


Well, taking away my money that I earned in order to give it to another person didn't earn it is hardly "fair", and it certainly is "punishment".

And I think when we talk about "equality" we're talking equality of opportunity, not eqaulity of results.


Why should trusts, insider information, offshore accounts, and market manipulations be allowed to occur when they very clearly do not benefit the country.
.

Why should you be allowed to buy a new car if it "very clearly does not benefit the country"? Why should I be allowed to get that new camera if it "very clearly does not benefit the country"?

Come on, wyrdeone, neither your actions nor mine are measured by "how they benefit the country". Mussolini and Hitler are dead, thank God, and so is that philosophy.


These obscenely wealthy individuals, and the entities they profit from, are in most ways above the law. How often do you see them on the six o' clock news, despite their persistent criminality?


You equate wealth with "obscenity"? What do you equate child molestation with, then?

If these people are above the law, then why do the top 1 percent of wealth owners pay 24% of all taxes in the United States? ( www.cbpp.org... )

And on the six o-clock news? How about Ken Lay and Enron and the folks at Tyco, and the people at Halliburton and the people at Arthur Anderson and martha Stewart and Michael Jackson? Are you and I watching the same six o'clock news?


We've done horrible things as a nation, and we deserve to fall.


I think that last statement of yours provides us all with the reason for most of your comments.

[edit on 7-6-2005 by Off_The_Street]




posted on Jun, 7 2005 @ 12:32 PM
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serum39 says:


Your second philosophy is shared not only by most people on this thread, it’s shared by most humans. It’s called Progressive Taxation and I doubt anyone would be embarrassed to admit that they support it.


I do, because I consider it theft; well-intended theft at least at first, but theft nonetheless.


Perhaps a more accurate description would be: “Taxes are a way to redistribute income within our society to improve income mobility and mitigate class warfare.”


I don't see how creating a multigenerational underclass "improves income mobility"; and your "mitigation of class warfare" sounds suspiciously like "Danegeld".


When thinking about taxes and redistribution of income, I think it’s better to consider what percentage of income any person has to pay for common assets (houses, burgers).


That's odd. Most people would say that the cost of something is tied to its production and reasonable profit costs, both of which are held in check by competition.

Not everyone, of course. I believe it was Marx that said "from each according to his abilities, to each acording to his needs." And contrary to opinions here, not all of us follow Marx' views.


- The car example is better—the car people might not ask you how much you make, but the people supplying the financing do.


You're confusing apples and oranges. The cost of money factors in statistical likelihood of defaulting; that is every bit as much "production" costs as the costs of steel are in the building of the car itself.


National Defense. You left out the part where the lower-income person has to actually go over and die to provide defense for everyone.


Don't feed me that crap, Serum. My father was a upper middle class engineer who raised two sons (both Vietnam-era veterans) and a daughter (Desert Storm veteran). And we were ALL volunteers.

Most of the neosocialist whiners and class-warfare proponents I see -- especially on this forum-- would never go in the military.

Present company excluded, of course.


The lower-incomes brackets are grossly over-represented not just on an absolute basis, but in terms of the proportion of people from their respective income levels.


That's because they see the military as a way to get ahead withoug having to have a lot of education or experience. Good on 'em!


Public schools are terrible, but I disagree that the rich guy loses out. It’s his choice to send his kid to a private school—that’s like a rich person complaining that they have to pay more for first class on an airplane.


The difference is that the guy who chooses a first class-seat is not forced by the government to buy an economy-class seat, too.

The way it works now is that if you want to send your kid to a freedom-of-choice school, you're still forced to support (by your property taxes, usually) the government-monoply schools that you don't use.


I would encourage all wealthy people to put their kids back in public school—maybe then someone will pay attention and actually improve the system. I don’t think it’s unrelated that as more wealthy families pull their kids out of public schools, the overall system deteriorates.


Interestingly enough, it's the disproportionately minority poor who would benefit the most by having freedom-of-choice schools; since the government-monopoly schools in their neighborhoods are often hideous. Nonetheless, they can't do that because the education bureaucracy and unions don't want to compete with freedom-of-choice schools.

By the way, I taught fifth grade -- in a government-monopoly school -- in Prince George's County, Maryland in the mid sixties for two years.



posted on Jun, 7 2005 @ 12:39 PM
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Great topic..needs to be discussed more.

The government does not do anything that does not benefit it. All the talk about flax taxes, VATs, ect is just that..talk. The current tax system will never because it gives the government too much power. People were excited about the last round of tax "cuts", even though they amounted to almost nothing. I was excited about my last refund, which was about $1,000 more then the year before. The result? I vote for the people that gave it to me, even I knew I was being suckered. The government moves the tax rates around a percent or two, and the masses think the government is taking care of them. That is what the GOP does with taxes. Democrats say the rich pay less then you in taxes and they should be punished. That plays on natural envy of the masses. The result. People vote for them. The GOP has basically been in control of the goverment for 6 years now. Are taxes less? Not really. Democrats were in complete control from 1992-1994. Did the rich start paying through the nose? Not really. Both sides use the tax structure to buy votes, but neither side pays up.

Michael



posted on Jun, 7 2005 @ 03:07 PM
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Originally posted by Off_The_Street
And how do you define "their share"? Are you saying that "their share" is proportionate to the goods and services they use?


As it is, the wealthy pay a higher portion of their wage, or rather, they're supposed to. Unfortunately, all the money that gets counted gets reduced at every step of the process, and since the system is so unwieldy, we see no benefits as a society. Look at the black budget, look at the defense budget (it's more than every other country on the planet combined for Christ's sake!), look at medicare! That money doesn't do the people nearly as much good as it could, it simply funnels back into the corporations that paid it out in the first place.

This is the fundamental flaw in the system, it syphons and stores the wealth, it doesn't circulate or move around like everybody says it does.

I think tithe rates are appropriate. 10% across the board, for everyone, on income and capital gains. I think the rules governing corporate holdings are woefully inadequate (lessened efficacy by virtue of increased complexity), they have too many shelters for the money, too many tricks. The whole tax code needs to be rewritten from the ground up, to remove all the crap that got shoved in there by guys who are motivated solely by greed. The entire legal system for that matter.

Part of the problem is subsidies for the rich to build engines of profit. You argue they create jobs and pay payroll tax, which is supposed to offset the expenditure. I see unfair advantage in a competetive market. The system favors those who already have insane sums of money, it helps them make more of it. What sort of sense does that make? The millions and billions they have in their bank account, taken from the country, helps nobody but the bankers. Not even American bankers...



Well, taking away my money that I earned in order to give it to another person didn't earn it is hardly "fair", and it certainly is "punishment".

And I think when we talk about "equality" we're talking equality of opportunity, not eqaulity of results.


I think equality of oppurtunity is basically eugenics. If that's what you want say it openly. Thing is, civilized societies have always had to struggle with how best to refine themselves. Of course in a warrior society, the strongest achieves success. In a capitalist environment the greed is a major factor, if not the only factor, governing success. We're refining ourselves into dollar hunting machines, and that's of limited use in the grand scope of things.

I think it's time for something else, a society that refines itself willfully, without violence or cruelty. Success based on individual merits, not tied to earning potential or greed threshold.



Why should you be allowed to buy a new car if it "very clearly does not benefit the country"? Why should I be allowed to get that new camera if it "very clearly does not benefit the country"?

Come on, wyrdeone, neither your actions nor mine are measured by "how they benefit the country". Mussolini and Hitler are dead, thank God, and so is that philosophy.


You're taking the argument to the extreme. I think most sensible people can see the difference between the ability to buy a new car and the freedom to defraud investors of billions through clever manipulation of laws bought and paid for by lobbyists for corporate interests.

If you think dissallowing theft, bribery, and tax evasion is wrong, I'd say you were a criminal.

I don't think special rules need to apply. All we need is some common sense, and equal accountability. If this is a country of individuals, that's fine. But we're at the point where we can feasibly stop cutting each others throats, and still survive. Don't you think it behooves us to do so since it's in our power?



You equate wealth with "obscenity"? What do you equate child molestation with, then?


What a ridiculous question! The word obscene is obviously strong, and is used appropriately in this case to denote more money than a man could spend in 100 lifetimes. There is honesty and courage in living modestly. The veneration of wealth is a sick pastime, one that can only end in anarchy. If we are trained to seek wealth above all else, and we live in an environment that rewards the selfish and greedy, we are steering our advancement straight back where we came from. Wealth is obscene, it's obscene because it inspires lust, a desire that gets more pronounced with time and attention.

I think any society that venerates wealth and decries responsibility is disgustingly shallow and inherently worthless. Feel free to disagree.



If these people are above the law, then why do the top 1 percent of wealth owners pay 24% of all taxes in the United States? ( www.cbpp.org... )


Without a detailed analysis, this is all conjecture. That number, 24%, is that before or after tax credits? Is that before or after writeoffs for charity? Is that only on money declared? What about the money in foreign banks?

In any case, if you taxed everybody 10%, no getting out of it, no slick maneuvering, there would be more than enough to go around. Just hitting up the Waltons and Billy Gates would net about 1.5 billion a year, just taxing the interest earnings on their holdings, 10% of their 10%. And did you read what I said earlier? Why is it that corporations control vast sums of money, through a network of semi-legal transactions, and pay 25% to our 75%? Why is that?

Is that what you're defending?



And on the six o-clock news? How about Ken Lay and Enron and the folks at Tyco, and the people at Halliburton and the people at Arthur Anderson and martha Stewart and Michael Jackson? Are you and I watching the same six o'clock news?


Martha Stuart was a newcomer to the wealth game, she didn't know the plays. Arthur Andersen was following the law by not disclosing options as liabilties. The law hadn't caught up to the bubble. They got hung out to dry, probably because they pissed the wrong person off. The law didn't say you had to include stock options when calculating liabilities, so they followed the law in keeping that information off the bottom line. The law is what was broken, but they took the fall. They were encouraged to be greedy (on behalf of their clients), just following the societal precedent yaknow?

I'm sorry, what the hell does MJ have to do with anything? Last I checked he was a decades old pop icon who happens to be black (in theory). He's about as far from a corporate tyrant as can be. What on earth made you think of him? BTW, he's broke now, has been for some time. His creditors can't afford the loss of cutting him loose, so they keep him on the books and just keep paying out.

I said:

We've done horrible things as a nation, and we deserve to fall.

You replied:
I think that last statement of yours provides us all with the reason for most of your comments.
My rebuttal:
I would like to see America fulfill its destiny, to bestow freedom and justice for all. We can't un-slaughter the natives, we can't un-enslave the hordes of multi-hued migrants, we can't un-do all the damage to the environment wrought by the robber barons. What we can do..the only think we can do, is try harder to do the right thing. Make the right choices this time around. We all pay for what we do, what makes you think America is immune to reciprocity?

I don't think we can legislate choice. The law is there for one simple reason, to protect us from each other. It can't make sinners into saints, it can only mitigate the damage they do. So I think you misunderstood my point. I don't see government control of wealth as being any better than individual control of wealth. At this point, neither the majority of individuals, nor the majority of governments, know how to use wealth responsibly.

I think what we really need is a sea change in consciousness, and in order to facilitate that, we need to change the prime motivator in our society. Right now it's kill or be killed, get all you can, step on the little guy, MAKE MONEY! That's the length and breadth of the average person's dream. The problem is, the impulse doesn't turn off automatically once you have enough. We have to turn it off ourselves, consciously. Most people aren't capable or interested in doing so.

Common sense..if only it wasn't so uncommon.


[edit on 7-6-2005 by Off_The_Street]



posted on Jun, 7 2005 @ 03:25 PM
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WyrdeOne:

Thank you, you put my exact feelings into words I could never come up with. If only finding a steady path from one mindset to another.



posted on Jun, 7 2005 @ 03:46 PM
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WyrdeOne, you get a WAY ABOVE vote from me (the first i've ever given out btw). Well said.


Peace



posted on Jun, 7 2005 @ 05:37 PM
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Wyrde one says:


I think tithe rates are appropriate. 10% across the board, for everyone, on income and capital gains.

Agreed. Of course, you're going to get some howls from the "progressive tax" people, but I don't have a problem with the equity of a ten percent across the board, no loopholes, no exemptions.


Part of the problem is subsidies for the rich to build engines of profit.

I'm against all subsidies (or welfare as some call it). No argument there.


I think equality of oppurtunity is basically eugenics. If that's what you want say it openly.

Don't put words in my mouth, kid. If you think equality of opportunity is eugenics, then knock yourself out. I think that equality of opportunity is simply that everyone shold have the came chance to get ahead as anyone else.


If you think dissallowing theft, bribery, and tax evasion is wrong, I'd say you were a criminal.

If you think it should be disallowed, I'd say you were a criminal, too. But I dont see anything in this thread where either of us disallowed such things. Do you?


I don't think special rules need to apply. All we need is some common sense, and equal accountability.

When you say "equal accountability", do you mean that each person should be equally accountable? If so I applaue you; that's exactly what I have been proposing for years. But it certainly doesn't seem like that's your philosophy, based on what you've said so far!


What a ridiculous question! The word obscene is obviously strong...

Of course the question is ridiculous. My point is if you want to make stupid comments (e.g., "profits are obscene") I can make stupid comments too. Now suppose you quit equating profits with obscenity, when we both know that obscenity has a completely different meaning.

If on the other hand, you want to cloud the argument with emotionally-laden terms, don't be surprised if you get the same thing in return.


I think any society that venerates wealth and decries responsibility is disgustingly shallow and inherently worthless. Feel free to disagree

I find it strange and wondrous indeed that, on the one hand, you seem to "decry responsibility" by proposing a society that, by its welfare removes responsibility from non-achievers, and yet you denounce a society which "decries responsibility".

I guess it depends on your definition of "responsibility" Perhaps you define it as "the responsibility the wealthy have to the non-wealthy"; I define it as "the responsibility that each person has to himself and his family."


Without a detailed analysis, this is all conjecture. That number, 24%, is that before or after tax credits? Is that before or after writeoffs for charity? Is that only on money declared? What about the money in foreign banks?

Well, wyrdeone, that is the reason that I published the link: so that you could go there and see exactly what it was. If you choose to do so, a simple CTRL-click works wonders.


In any case, if you taxed everybody 10%, no getting out of it, no slick maneuvering, there would be more than enough to go around.

I assume you mean no deductions for mortgage interest, medical expenses, educational expenses, charitable deductions, etc. -- as well as no deductions for tax shelters, and any of the other shibboleths of the Left.

Okay, I agree.



posted on Jun, 7 2005 @ 05:53 PM
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Originally posted by Off_The_Street

Well, taking away my money that I earned in order to give it to another person didn't earn it is hardly "fair", and it certainly is "punishment".



While clearly it isn't punishment except perhaps in the perspective of the greedy possessive (at worst anally retentive) materialist who understands nothing of the nature of giving, I would still be interested in a single example of how tax on any of your earnings is given directly to any other individual.



posted on Jun, 7 2005 @ 06:56 PM
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I remember reading or hearing about a statistic that 10-30 percent of all American's think they are in the wealthies 1 percent bracket of American income.

I just thought it was an interesting addition to this topic.

-O



posted on Jun, 7 2005 @ 08:31 PM
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Originally posted by Off_The_Street
Don't put words in my mouth, kid. If you think equality of opportunity is eugenics, then knock yourself out. I think that equality of opportunity is simply that everyone shold have the came chance to get ahead as anyone else.


Sorry, it sounded like you were tacitly giving the thumbs up to the screwy system in place now. I misunderstood, mea culpa.



If you think it should be disallowed, I'd say you were a criminal, too. But I dont see anything in this thread where either of us disallowed such things. Do you?


See above, I thought you were arguing in defense of the current system.



When you say "equal accountability", do you mean that each person should be equally accountable? If so I applaue you; that's exactly what I have been proposing for years. But it certainly doesn't seem like that's your philosophy, based on what you've said so far!


Absolutely everyone should be equally accountable. Rights without responsibilities don't work, it's a recipe for disaster. My philosophy is a little strange, because I believe in altruism and compassion, and all that fun stuff, but I also believe in hard lessons, and learning from your own mistakes.

However, as I said before, I think life should be possible without money. This is the only way to reduce people's craven desire for the green. As it stands, money is life in America, most of the world for that matter. If you don't have money, you don't have life. I know that with the resources at our disposal, we could eliminate that pesky hangup and move on to a better society.

Compassion is a natural human trait, that's a fact. We exhibit it most often when it benefits us! Also a fact. So what we need to encourage people to act compassionately, to act respectfully, is to set up a system that rewards that behavior.

Here's the system as I see it. Laymen who play by the rules make 3% on their money, average. Smart guys who play by the rules make 10% interest. Smart guys who break the rules when it serves them best can count on 30%! That's a 3 fold advantage in the cheaters' court.

That's a society that will breed cheats and liars, because those behaviors contribute to success moreso than honest dealing, at least numerically speaking. That's what has to change.

Like I said, you can't legislate choice. Well, you can, but the results are never pretty, and I want not part of that mess. Best thing to do is put the rat in the maze, and through clever construction of the maze, encourage it to find the cheese. The current system rewards the mice than cannibalize their brethren and chew through the walls to freedom.




Of course the question is ridiculous. My point is if you want to make stupid comments (e.g., "profits are obscene") I can make stupid comments too. Now suppose you quit equating profits with obscenity, when we both know that obscenity has a completely different meaning.


Obscene just means indecent in a repulsive way, which is, to my mind, an accurate description of the level of wealth that we're talking about. Here's the etymology from Wiki:
"Obscenity has several connotations. Obscenity and its parent adjective obscene come from the Latin word obscenus, meaning "foul, repulsive, detestable", and possibly derived from ob caenum, literally "from filth". The term is most often used in a legal context to describe expression (words, images, actions) that offend the prevalent sexual morality of the time."

So while it's most often used to connote sexual overtones, it's perfectly reasonable for this use. I like the word very much, and I stand by my use of it.



If on the other hand, you want to cloud the argument with emotionally-laden terms, don't be surprised if you get the same thing in return.


Can't help it, I'm a writer of fiction, using words that elicit emotional response - that's my bread and butter.

I think it makes for a higher temperature argument..but the results are savory.



I find it strange and wondrous indeed that, on the one hand, you seem to "decry responsibility" by proposing a society that, by its welfare removes responsibility from non-achievers, and yet you denounce a society which "decries responsibility".

I guess it depends on your definition of "responsibility" Perhaps you define it as "the responsibility the wealthy have to the non-wealthy"; I define it as "the responsibility that each person has to himself and his family."


I apologize if I was unclear. I think rights and responsibilities are hand in hand. You can't have one without the other, if you take one and leave the other, nothing good will come of it. Now, the safety net I'm talking about is, like everything in a meritocracy, based on merit. 'Give' was misleading, because everything has to be earned. The problem is, you can't describe a theory of governance in one page posts.

People who can't afford a house can earn one in other ways. (And to hell with this 300k for a roof over your head nonsense, I want 10k dome homes for 'societal participants' (voters, volunteers, professional students, etc.), 20k double domes for public servants, and let's not hear any whining about the looks.)

I think people need to be reminded of what's really important in life. Survive, sure. Breed, definitely. But there's a greater element of the human condition that can only be studied and nurtured when you're off the streets, out of feral mode. Anybody think gang members or convenience store clerks have time for self actualization? No, they're too busy just surviving.

I think capitalism was a great foundation, in that it set up the reward system and proved very successful at motivating people. I think it's time we changed the carrot, that's all, to lead the donkey in a better direction.

In the end it comes down to choices, it always does. You can't make people 'better', but you can give positive role models, a nurturing setting, and the freedom to choose to do the right thing. How many people do the wrong thing, simply because they have to? Remove that element of necessity regarding greed, and you severly limit that reaction, and you limit the effect it has on society as a whole.




Well, wyrdeone, that is the reason that I published the link: so that you could go there and see exactly what it was. If you choose to do so, a simple CTRL-click works wonders.


You misunderstood, I was saying that without any numbers to back up my position, it's all conjecture. I understand why you posted the link, and I understand how to operate it, no need to get all condescending.
What's in dispute, in my mind, is the proportion of undeclared earnings to declared, and without numbers to back my gut up..well it's conjecture.



I assume you mean no deductions for mortgage interest, medical expenses, educational expenses, charitable deductions, etc. -- as well as no deductions for tax shelters, and any of the other shibboleths of the Left.

Okay, I agree.


Right. The layering of legalese serves one purpose and one purpose only, it gives the advantage on the field to those who are schooled in the arcane art of tax law, or those who can afford a hired gun to handle their business for them. (err..hired calculator?)

It's a giant thorny tangle, and that puts 80% of the population at the mercy of the pseudo-government IRS bastards, the average Joe can file a return, but he can't reasonably expect to fight the IRS if they decide to take him for a ride.

Maybe you can shed some light on why everyone on ATS thinks I'm either a lefty or a righty. Is it really so hard to believe a person is unaffiliated in this day and age? Didja know I actually got called a neocon a couple of times? Pretty bizarre huh...

Point being, let's jettison the labels and start fixing problems instead of playing politics.

[edit on 7-6-2005 by WyrdeOne]



posted on Jun, 7 2005 @ 08:39 PM
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Originally posted by Off_The_Street
Ability to pay does not imply progressiveness; I do not recall anywhere in "Wealth of Nations" where ol’ “Invisible Hand” calls for a progressive tax.


"The subjects of every state ought to contribute toward the support of the government, as nearly as possible, in proportion to their respective abilities; that is, in proportion to the revenue which they respectively enjoy under the protection of the state ....[As Henry Home (Lord Kames) has written, a goal of taxation should be to] 'remedy inequality of riches as much as possible, by relieving the poor and burdening the rich.'"

Sound familiar? Adam Smith was not only an economist, but a philosopher. Sounds like a progressive tax to me.


Not any more than a poorer person who gets to keep all of his money does! As a matter of fact, a confiscatory tax is a disincentive to work hard or get special education to advance oneself; I'd think that such disincentives would work against a "stable economy and a prosperous society" rather than for it.


I agree. When poorer people are taxed heavily, it is more than a disincentive to seek advancement--it becomes impossible to survive.


I see no historical evidence for that whatsoever. Indeed, until the 20th century, every society, including that of Japan (which has been socially stable for almost 2000 years), has exhibited exactly the top-heaviness that you abjure.

I would say that history teaches, rather than that top-heavy societies are inherently unstable, is that such large discrepancies of wealth, irrespective of the reasons, are the norm, and not the exception.


Perhaps you have overlooked The Great Depression. The main cause was the fact that the country was producing more than it could consume. Why? A tremendous disparity between income classes. The post-war 20's led to extreme prosperity for the wealthy and poverty for everyone else.

In 1929, the top 0.1% controlled 34% of all savings in America--while 80% of Americans had no savings at all. A massive reduction in federal income and estate taxes enacted in 1926 benefited the most wealthy Americans and corporations, further widening the gap and reducing purchasing power of the lower income brackets. The tremendous outputs of American corporations led to massive speculation in the stock market about profits--and well, the rest is history.

And the Great Depression wasn't limited to the United States. It was a global crisis. Germany was hit hard--leading to the rise of Hitler. Italy was in dire straights--allowing Mussolini to rise to power.

And Japan didn't have Americans to sell rice and silk to and was also deeply impacted by the depression. However, Hirohito was pressured by the protesting masses and just invaded China to take over their resources. Hard to make a case for stability there...

The militarism in Germany, Japan, and Italy led to World War II.

One interesting side note is to study how the depression impacted Sweden. They recovered much faster than most other countries because they realized quickly how important it is to put purchasing power back in the hands of the lower and middle classes. The accomplished this in part via a progressive tax--and wealthy industrialists did object to it, but they more than recouped taxes as production and profits increased to levels significantly above pre-depression levels very quickly.

Disincentive to produce because of high taxes? Hardly.


One only has to look at the life style of Blacks in New York in 1920 compared to today to see this. In 1920’s a limited-tax, limited-government infrastructure resulted in a myriad of black small business owners. Compare that with the 3rd- and 4th-generation Black underclass today, recipients of the same largess that comes from confiscatory taxes.

How on Earth, in light of your affection for confiscatory taxes, do you explain that sad state of affairs?


I think you are confused about the Harlem Renaissance. It was a cultural movement. Black authors, artists and musicians were able to finally be recognized and make a living, yes-- but it was because of wealthy white patronage.

The club owners, publishers, landlords, and finaciers were all wealthy white patrons. There was even a backlash against many of these performers from some of the black community for accepting "white" money.

The only role that limited taxation had in this movement is that the ultra rich were flush with cash to sponsor black culture. Once the depression started, the white curiosity with the "exotic" waned for the most part. Harlem became a ghetto awash with drugs and poverty in the aftermath.

Racism, institutionalized discrimination and being disadvantaged by hundreds of years of slavery is a good place to start with why African Americans are still behind on the income curve... but thats a discussion for another thread.


I consider that comment disingenuous. As I mentioned in my previous post, I consider a flat tax system with no taxes at all for a family with an income of less than, say $25,000/year to be the best compromise between allowing wealthy people the fruits of their labors while ensuring that no one is deprived of necessities and needs.


Don't think a 10% flat tax will cover the vast government expenses like military expenditures, public works, running the government, public education, Medicare and Social Security, etc. The 2006 budget calls for $3 trillion in tax receipts to cover expenses (and that's just the federal budget.)

GDP is $15.9 trillion. You do the math. 19% is more like it. (Current flat tax proposals are in the range of 19 to 20%--notice the prevailing 2004 tax rates for income brackets above $50,000 in NY Times article are all around 20-22%.. although these are based on reported income, so the percentages are much lower for higher brackets... )

At 19%, a family making $30,000 will be left with $24,300. A family making $10,000,000 will be left with $8,100,000.

And a family making $24,300 is not going to be deprived? Of what? Getting to experience the joys of eating cat food?


Moreover, it would ensure that if I were ten times as rich as you, I would pay ten times as much taxes as you do, even though I probably won't use as much of the government’s support structure as you would.


I think that you are getting caught up in paying for "your share" without really thinking about what "your share" is.

How about an example?

You are the only wealthy man on an island of 5,000 peasants. Everyone needs to walk across a bridge to get to the town on the mainland to go to work--you need to get from your mansion to your office and the peasants need to walk from their cardboard huts to the fields to pick beans.

One day, a hurricane comes and wipes out the bridge. It will cost $500,000 to fix, so the government levies a special tax of 1% of income to collect money for the repair. (There is already a 10% income tax.)

Because you make $20,000,000 a year, your share is $200,000. The peasants make $1,000 a year and their share is $10. The government announces that it will take 2 years to repair the bridge because they only take in $250,000 a year.

Because the bridge is the only way on or off the island, you won't be able to get to or from your office until the bridge is rebuilt. Being away from your office for 2 years will put you out of business.

Dilemma: Although your feet utilize just as much of the bridge as each peasant, do you kick in the extra $250,000 (bumping up your tax rate to 2.25%) to fix the bridge so that you can get to your office?

Oh, and by the way, if you do, you also save the peasants (and yourself) from starving.

This is a simple example, but do you get the point or do you still feel slighted because you weren't compensated for inadvertantly saving the peasants from starving?

The wealthy do benefit greatly from kicking in the extra amount that a progressive tax requires. It's not a matter of raping the rich so the poor can stay home and eat bon-bons--it means a better educated workforce, a fully-funded military, proper infrastructure to deliver water and electricity, and a healthier society in general. Putting more purchasing power in the hands of consumers leads to a stronger economy instead of relying on foreign investment and debt.

And it is quite incorrect to say that the wealthy don't benefit from supporting public education. Private schools are the only places that produce doctors, lawyers, brokers, politicians, and bankers. I'm sure that the wealthy have relied on many professionals that attended public schools--so to say that the wealthy are paying for nothing is just absurd.


And you say even that isn't enough?


This is where your "disincentment" argument falls apart. The weathly WANT progress. The wealthy WANT to drive on smooth roads and fly out of efficient airports. They WANT to walk down a NYC street without tripping over homeless people and crackheads. They WANT to be proud of the country they live in because the kids are smart and there is little poverty.

Obviously, increasing the tax burden on the lower and middle income brackets isn't possible without serious consequences, so where is the money to achieve this going to come from?

Do you see the problem here? If the wealthy want to live in a better country, it is up to them to be the catalysts to create it. It can't be accomplished on the backs of lower and middle income classes--and it isn't a matter of laziness. It's just the reality of income and statistics.



posted on Jun, 7 2005 @ 09:22 PM
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imgyc
I think 10% is a number that's workable. Not with current expenditures, obviously, but that goes without saying. Consider the waste, consider the kickbacks, consider the cost of our regimented inefficiency.

Part of the problem is our ridiculously complex legal system.

There are a number of alphabet agencies that are dependent on the prevailing social conditions for a living.

The defense budget is heavily padded, as is the black budget.

The medicare system is nothing less than a conduit from the taxpayer's pocket, through the feds, into the coffers of big pharma. It serves the latter two almost exclusively.

Why are pharmaceuticals so expensive? Why do some people require federal assistance on top of huge out of pocket costs, for chemical combinations that are often no more effective than a placebo. I can understand covering development costs being factored into cost. What I can't condone is the enormous amount of money big pharma spends advertising their products, a cost which contributes directly to the sticker price of the meds.

They spend huge amounts of money to sell more drugs, and then they pass that cost on to the people taking the meds. The list of side effects is nauseating, but don't worry, they've got pills for that.


Back to the point, I believe 10% is a very reasonable figure. It would require aggressive dismemberment of government and the courts as we know them. It would be painful, excrutiating in fact, growth pains always are. In the end though, momentary discomfort is a small price to pay for positive change.



posted on Jun, 7 2005 @ 09:57 PM
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Hahahahahahahahahahaha, thats funny.

What I love is the differnce between economies.

In the 20's, dems controlled, great economy. Then republicans took over, Great Depression. Democrats take control, become THEE super power. Republicans get control, crappy economy, dems take it back, create the greatest economy ever, IE Clinton, then republicans take control and we have an economy equal to the Great Depression.

Why? How come when a democrat has power our economy is great, when republicans take over crappy economy? Here's why.

According to republicans, paying people for working, for labor, is evil. Someone wanting to be payed for working is to be eliminated. What they want is a country where everyone is a slave, except for them, and they all work for free. They then take the product that cost 2-3 dollars to make and charge a million dollars for it, and when the slaves don't buy it, they are then killed. So they didn't have money cause they were slaves, they had to be eliminated. In the end the millionaires are killed by the billionaires for not being rich enough, then billionaires killed by multi billionaires, and they are killed by the people more rich, until there is one person left who dies of starvation since he killed everyone, no workers left to grow food, or run power plants, or water plants, so forth and so forth.

In a democratic economy, people are paid at least 10 dollars an hour. Sure gas costs 3-4 dollars a gallon, but everyone can afford it. Sure a tv cost a hundred more, but again, they can afford it. Sure McDonalds has the 3 dollar menu, but again, everyone makes at least 10 dollars, so they can afford it. You flip burgers? You make 10 dollars an hour, and can afford a new car, saving the world money cause you don't need to pay for all the crap that happens to used cars. Yes things cost more, but everyone can afford it and more.



posted on Jun, 8 2005 @ 12:06 AM
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Ah but your forgeting computerisation James the Lesser theoretically that single rich man could have the world run by computers solely for his benifit removing the need for human workers and by extension humanity.


But seriously this is a complex matter made needles complex by the pet social theories of both right and the left. As usual rhetoric both pro and anti-tax cloud the issue. Most people just want a fair deal no more no less its human nature. The majority of people dont believe the rich are "evil" and should be punished no more then the majority of people believe the rich should have free reign over the rest of us. The fact is both the "progressives" and the "amateur entrepeneurs"arent that far apart in a opinion.

No one is able to express themselves clearly because te subject matter is so impenetrably dense that we just assume we're on opposite sides. One side thinks the others trying to exploit them while the other thinks they're being robbed. Once again we have been successfully manipulated by those really in charge (the super duper I'm so bloody rich you've never heard of me because I run the show rich).



posted on Jun, 8 2005 @ 12:16 AM
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Originally posted by lmgnyc
Perhaps you have overlooked The Great Depression. The main cause was the fact that the country was producing more than it could consume.


Oh my! Someone needs a brief history lesson. The cause of the great depression was the federal reserve act and the subsequent monetary manipulation that followed, combined with the creation and destruction of markets resulting from WWI. Possibly, neither of these by itself would have been enough to cause such an economic disaster, but the combination certainly could.

Once it started rolling, FDR's programs helped sustain it.

Broad scale recessions, inflation, depressions, etc. are the result of the manipulation of money and the creation/destruction of temporary markets almost always in support of war.

Smaller scale booms and busts are to be expected, as the result of imperfect knowledge of future demand.



posted on Jun, 8 2005 @ 12:52 AM
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While clearly it isn't punishment except perhaps in the perspective of the greedy possessive (at worst anally retentive) materialist who understands nothing of the nature of giving, I would still be interested in a single example of how tax on any of your earnings is given directly to any other individual.


Um, since when is the nature of giving forcing other people to give? It isn't OK to steal from someone just because their rich, and that's what progressive tax policies basically are.

It goes completely against the nature of charity to force people to give it.



posted on Jun, 8 2005 @ 07:20 AM
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I'm not replying to anyone in particular and probably won't respond again except generally, but here's my take:

A capitalist is not an owner of capital. Sorry to have to be the one to break Gumby's heart, but it's not your money dambit. Never was, never will be.

A capitalist is a supporter of Capitalism, with varying degrees of allegiance to a particular system of capitalism as evident in the vast disparity of expectations placed on individual citizens of the United States versus multinational corporations (MNC's).

It's been this way since industrialization, and no matter how the land owners and other deluded Libertarians may moan, it will continue to be so. It's not your gold anymore. Not that it belongs to the bankers, merchants, and industrialists either, but you do belong to them as long as you support Capitalism in this post industrial age, and expect to continue to receive your income from it.

The universal agreement we've entered is one in which you may elect exactly how much you wish to plug in to this system of Capitalism, or fluid worth and power literally printed by the STATE. It is, after all, their money dambit.

And there are rewards for rewards, as well as responsibilities. The more capital you invest in a bank or shares of this or that MNC, the more protection and voice your capital gets. After all, the government doesn't deploy troops to escort your apple harvest to market, they deploy troops to escort your international investment in Oil Development. They don't negotiate the price you get on yard sale crafts, they negotiate trade agreements for your capital investments. They don't build schools to educate your kid specifically, they build and education system to educate a work force for your investments. That paved road isn't for you, it's to get goods and services to you. And for the love of greed, everyone needs to get over the idea that we eradicate disease and hunger in the population because we care about poor people.
There's capital at stake my friends! That's all that's about. Don't kid yourselves.

This entitlement thing is really what gets me. And no, I don't mean poor people and government cheese. It's the idea that Paris Hilton's capital gains are somehow in some bizarre fashion of righteous indignation her money dambit. Like she earned it. Like she worked reeeeeal hard. You know, like all capitalists. She just planted money seeds, and through no support from the system whatsoever... *poof* ...money trees! Right.


Anyone that can't see that a progressive tax on income is not only the only fair way, but the only way to make a capitalist system work is deluded. This is a superpower people! Get over it. We're not some friendly alliance of gentleman farmers. You want to play? You have to pay.



posted on Jun, 8 2005 @ 07:57 AM
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Being rich can be a curse. The more you have, the more likely or probable that you will be handling "tainted" or blood money. Sort of like russian roulette. Hell is full of rich people.



posted on Jun, 8 2005 @ 08:00 AM
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Hand a man a rope and 99 out of 100 times he will hang himself with it. Funny.



posted on Jun, 8 2005 @ 09:51 AM
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Originally posted by spamandham

Oh my! Someone needs a brief history lesson. The cause of the great depression was the federal reserve act and the subsequent monetary manipulation that followed, combined with the creation and destruction of markets resulting from WWI. Possibly, neither of these by itself would have been enough to cause such an economic disaster, but the combination certainly could.

Once it started rolling, FDR's programs helped sustain it.

Broad scale recessions, inflation, depressions, etc. are the result of the manipulation of money and the creation/destruction of temporary markets almost always in support of war.

Smaller scale booms and busts are to be expected, as the result of imperfect knowledge of future demand.


Sweetie, I think you are confused. Are you aware of the impact of those policies?

In brief...

The net result of the Fed's easy-money policy throughout most of the 20's and income and inheritance tax cuts was over-production.

Over-extension of credit to foreign markets and protectionist trade policies enacted in the early 20's began to take its toll on farmers and the agriculture industry, leading to a reduction in purchasing power and a huge disparity in income classes.

When the Fed stepped in to tighten the money supply in 1928, it was already too late. The market bubble was already starting to weaken as smart investors already started pulling their money out. A Fed correction in August 1929 precipitated the crash in October. Another Fed correction in the early 30's, continued adherence to the gold standard, and the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act all served to worsen the crisis by shutting off foreign trade. To add insult to injury, Hoover doubled income taxes across the board in 1932 and did away with almost all exemptions.

After some wrong turns and bumbling, some aspects of FDR's New Deal eventually did stabilize the economy through vast deficit spending that put purchasing power back in the hands of workers in the form of wages. Unfortunately, FDR didn't have a solid enough grasp on economics to understand why his programs worked and when he tried to balance the budget later in the decade, the country was thrown back into recession....



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